Monday, October 24, 2011

CHALK DAY at Hatton School

On October 10, the faculty and students of Hatton Elementary School in Southington, Connecticut had "Chalk Day", an entire day of school events that grew out of my book. Seeing the event that San Rafael Elementary School (Pasadena, CA) held earlier this year, Hatton School's wonderful principal, Roberta McAloon, formed a committee to plan their own day celebrating creativity and imagination. The committee, headed by amazing teachers Joyce Frederick and Denise Pedrotty, did an incredible job planning a day filled with an assortment of creative events.

The day began with my slide presentation to the students about my work and the creation of my books. Although the focus was on CHALK, the school depicted in one of my other books, Building With Dad, was based on a mix of photos of Hatton School and Strong School (two elementary schools in town).

Then I played a drawing game with the students and answered their questions. My youngest son and favorite model, Ethan (#4), started the game and showed the other students what they should do.

The day also included an asbsolutely incredible seven-foot-tall dinosaur sculpture created by Ms. Meda and her art students (and parent helpers)...

The "Poetry in Motion" dance group performed an energetic participatory dance event for the students (and their teachers)

And students illustrated their current topics of study on large black rolls of paper that were hung in the hallways.

The  capstone event was done on the playground blacktop- divided into rectangular boxes, each student was given a bag of chalk and their own box to fill with their imagination. Students will later write about the picture they each drew. I was amazed at the great effort and wonderful drawings that the students produced. There is a lot of imagination and talent at Hatton School!

At one point in the day, a teacher saw a kindergarten student sitting and staring at her drawing for an extended period of time. The teacher asked the little girl if anything was wrong and she replied, "No, I am just waiting for my drawing to come to life... just like in the book."

The day concluded with all the children going out to the blacktop for a school photo (and a quick dance) before catching their buses home.

That morning, I was also presented with the first "Hatton Hero" award and a plaque that will go on the school's wall. I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized in such a special way. However, a walk down the hallways of Hatton School reveals the true heroes… the caring and dedicated administration, teachers and staff that make Hatton School such a special place! Each of my three sons was a student at Hatton School, so I have personal insight to what a wonderful and caring community Hatton Elementary School is!

Monday, October 3, 2011

CHALK Named a Finalist for the 2011 Connecticut Book Award

The Connecticut Center For The Book has named CHALK as one of three finalists for the 2011 Connecticut Book Award in the Children's Illustrator category. Wendell Minor's "The Last Train" and Andrea Wisnewski's "The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane" join "CHALK" as the other finalists. Winners will be announced at the Hartford Public Library on Sunday, October 30.