Erik Brooks, Author of the Month: Visual Literacy Visits

SV_VisualLit2

Visual Literacy: The ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image, extending the meaning of literacy, which commonly signifies interpretation of a written or printed text.

Once upon a time, as a newly certified K–12 art teacher (c. 1995) who in three years of job searching and subbing only ever found a single full-time art teaching application opportunity, I ultimately turned my artistic interests to picture books. I haven’t really looked back, except to say that I always look forward to my teaching opportunities.

I get invited to literacy nights (and days) at schools, and as a picture book writer, I really do relish the opportunity to explore reading and writing with kids in the classroom. As an illustrator and wannabe art teacher however, I’m always even more excited to draw! And to me, visual literacy goes hand in hand with a more traditional idea of reading/writing literacy — and perhaps it sometimes even leads the way.

SV_VisualLit3

Kids “read” pictures, and words emerge to match.

Beyond books even, we are surrounded by visual media — and this media generally doesn’t ask you to do a lot of work. It’s passive consumption. Becoming visually literate demands that you analyze these images and try to figure out what you are being asked to learn or read in the process.  And kids should know that they can be active participants — both as consumers and creators. It’s powerful stuff disguised as drawing 🙂

Kids post, they text, they create video etc. And the tools of visual literacy — the choices that one makes about even the simplest things like line or color or composition — all work in tandem to inform the viewer/reader of what you are asking them to see — or what words you want them to conjure to accompany the pictures. And even these most basic tenants of image making help you tell a story. And they also help you read it. Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes it’s not, but visual literacy is integral to better communication, and making a picture or a picture book is such a great place to introduce this topic to a student audience.

Character, setting, plot, emotion, cliffhangers, hooks, foreshadowing … ALL of these things can be visual or given emphasis by visual cues. Literate art makes for literate readers.

DrawingDemo
Just a few of the ideas that I’ll demonstrate as tools for visual literacy. So kids are watching this happen while I talk them through it, and then they get to try in on their own.

And so, all of that being said, for the last few years I’ve been doing a LOT of drawing workshops where kids create characters and scenes with an intentional visual impact. Using lines and details to draw attention to certain things in their artwork; using angles or compositions to help a reader follow their picture in a certain logical order; deciding on just the right expression or gesture to represent an emotion; these are fundamental things to communicating an idea or telling a story — and it’s also drawing, and it’s work — but it’s so much fun!

SV_GatorArt2
Everyone starts with some guided drawing for a foundation…
GatorArtAsleep
…and it’s incredible how many different things will happen when the kids take over and start to add lines, details, emotions, expressions, and setting of their own!
SV_VisualLit1
Are we having fun yet? Do expressions help to tell a story?

And of course it’s always incredible when you hear from a school about visual projects  inspired by your books – even when you haven’t had a chance to visit! Great teaching starts with digging just beneath the surface and giving kids an idea of the process that they can put to work in their own fantastic artwork and storytelling 🙂

RunnawayTortillaArt
AMAZING expressions and gestures add to the humor and energy in these speedy tortillas inspired by Eric Kimmel’s THE RUNAWAY TORTILLA.
PolarOppositesArt
Inspired by the watercolors in POLAR OPPOSITES, students also emphasized the differences between two main characters using different colored backgrounds.

And finally, for an appropriately visual teaser to keep you on your toes for my next book, here is a sketch from Shelley Gil’s IF I WERE A BEAR (Sasquatch, Little Bigfoot, Spring 2018) to be released simultaneously with IF I WERE A BIRD.

BEARBookMap
Cover sketches for the next book. LOTS of little thumbnails like this and sometimes I get even a little more detailed then I should for such a small space!

These are both board books in the wake of our February 2017 collaboration on IF I WERE A WHALE.

Whale_p2-3
A favorite spread from IF I WERE A WHALE.

And it’s one day too late for this, but “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!”

HPno.368

Erik Brooks is the author/illustrator of 24+ books for children and their most excellent parents and teachers. Look for his newest picture book, IF I WERE A BEAR!, in Spring 2018.

Erik writes, draws, coaches, and visits schools and libraries from his home in Winthrop, WA. It’s a little off the beaten path, so online visits are the perfect thing — and screen sharing means drawing lesson work as well! To learn more about booking visits with Erik, head to the school visits page of his website at www.erikbrooks.com.

Advertisements

Around the Web with OAV Authors: September 2017

Note: Please enjoy this rerun of last year’s Back to School post.

You already know that you can find our team’s individual profiles right here on the OAV site. You can also find links to their websites in the right-hand sidebar of every OnlineAuthorVisits.com page. We try to make it easy for schools, libraries, and other groups to get to know us so you can select the right publishing pro(s) for your important virtual events.

So, for this Back to School edition of “Around the Web,” we thought we’d make it even easier to connect with our authors and author-illustrators by rounding up direct links to each OAVer’s primary public social media pages. Think: Facebook author pages, Twitter profiles, and writing blogs. You’re on your own for Instagram, Google+ Pinterest, Tumblr, Goodreads, YouTube, and others — but do let your fingers do the typing in those platforms’ search fields. You will get OAV-member results!

Ready? Let’s go!

10493030_748213755313635_638216203708108958_o
Row 1, L to R: Patrick Jennings, Janet Lee Carey, Joan Holub, Dia Calhoun. Row 2: Dori Hillestad Butler, Lisa L. Owens, Trudi Trueit, Suzanne Williams, Deb Lund. Row 3: Erik Brooks, Clare Hodgson Meeker, Laurie Ann Thompson, Dana Sullivan, David Patneaude. (Missing: Dori Jones Yang.)

 

Dori Jones Yang (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Dori Jones Yang

Suzanne Williams (author): Goddess Girls series Facebook page

Trudi Trueit (author): Facebook page, Twitter

Laurie Ann Thompson (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Dana Sullivan (author-illustrator): Twitter, blog

David Patneaude (author): Twitter, blog

Lisa L. Owens (author): Twitter, blog

Clare Hodgson Meeker (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Deb Lund (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blogs

Patrick Jennings (author): Twitter, blog

Joan Holub (author-illustrator): Facebook page, Goddess Girls series Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Janet Lee Carey (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog 1, blog 2

Dia Calhoun (author): Twitter, blog

Dori Hillestad Butler (author): Twitter, blog

Erik Brooks (author-illustrator): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Martha Brockenbrough (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

That covers the whole crew!

And, while you’re out and about taking a peek at our wonderful team’s various profiles, don’t forget to connect with OAV’s official Facebook page. We’d love to see — and hear from you — there!

Print

 

 

Around the Web with OAV Authors: July 2017

Our latest roundup of OAVer cyber sightings is best described as a virtual Cool Covers Show-and-Tell, featuring images from our talented members’ publication histories that make you want to dive into all the books!

This striking cover is from Trudi Trueit’s extensive nonfiction list.

ADHD

 

Here’s the adorable cover of a chapter book from author-illustrator Patrick Jennings.

rattlesnakes

 

How about this beauty covering a novel by Dori Jones Yang. (It’s brand-spanking NEW, by the way — the book comes out next month.)

Forbidden Temptation cover

 

This covers the German edition of Martha Brockenbrough’s The Game of Love and Death.

German GOLAD

 

The cover of this picture book by Deb Lund is a monstrous delight.

monsters

 

Lisa L. Owens counts this piece of cover art from her retold-classics series as a fave.

sherlock copy

 

Video alert! Watch author-illustrator Erik Brooks preview his picture book Polar Opposites. (Naturally, he starts with the cover!)

 

Here’s the spooky-cute cover of a picture book by OAV’s founder, Suzanne Williams.

witch

 

An evocative entry from a reprint edition of a David Patneaude novel.

ThinWoodWalls

 

What an engaging image on Clare Hodgson Meeker’s retelling of a classic Buddhist folktale.

A Tale of Two Rice Birds

 

This stunner is from one of Dia Calhoun’s novels.

avielle

 

Dana Sullivan created a darling illustration for the cover of Digger and Daisy Go to the Zoo, shown here on the book’s French edition.

DiggerZoo

 

Audio alert! A YouTube reading of Janet Lee Carey’s Wenny Has Wings features a sweetly spare cover image. (Note: To listen to the reading, you’ll need to head on over to YouTube, an option you’ll see and be able to click on in the lower right when you view the file embedded below.)

 

The photo on this Dori Hillestad Butler novel really sets the scene for the story to come.

truth

 

This early reader by Joan Holub sports a fun depiction of the Woodstock setting.

woodstock

 

And, finally, here’s another perfect representation of the story within, this time on a sweet picture book by Laurie Ann Thompson.

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

 

That covers all of us here at Online Author Visits!

Reminder: The back-to-school season is right around the corner — so be sure to check out our Author Profiles page to learn more about hosting an illustrious OAVer for a future Skype visit in your classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around the Web with OAV Authors: May 2017

How about another themed edition of our “Around the Web” feature, this time with a Throwback Thursday flavor. Our Online Author Visits members are always busy creating new works, but their earlier ones are just as fun to discover (or rediscover, as the case may be). The following roundup offers a clickable gem from each OAVer’s storied past!

Erik Brooks wrote and illustrated The Practically Perfect Pajamas, an adorable picture book about being true to yourself. It came out in 2000, and one teacher reviewer noted that it’s a perfect read-aloud for Pajama Day at school!PerfectPajamas

Kirkus called Dia Calhoun’s 1999 YA novel Firegold (her first!), “A heartfelt, emotionally trenchant coming-of-age adventure with a lightly mystical bent.”

Speaking of first novels, Patrick Jennings published Faith and the Electric Dogs in 1996, and Publishers Weekly said he took “a soaring flight into magic realism in this captivating tale narrated with brio by a Mexican street dog.”

For the October 2011 issue of Odyssey magazine, Laurie Thompson wrote the super-fun science article “Wanted for Breaking the Law (of Viscosity).” (It’s about non-Newtonian fluids. Activity included!)

Visit Dori Jones Yang’s website to learn the story of her collaboration with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on their popular 1997 business book, Pour Your Heart Into It.

Did you know that Martha Brockenbrough wrote a humorous book chronicling her pregnancy (and more) in 2002? It’s called It Could Happen to You: Diary of a Pregnancy and Beyond.

Here’s where you can find Suzanne Williams’s first-ever book, Mommy Doesn’t Know My Name. It launched in 1996, and according to School Library Journal, “It’s a fun, crazy book that works extremely well.”

Clare Hodgson Meeker’s lovely picture book Who Wakes Rooster? was a 1997 Bank Street College Book of the Year selection.

Talon, published in 2007, was the first novel in Janet Lee Carey’s Wilde Island Chronicles series.

Dori Hillestad Butler is known for her mystery series. Check out her 2003 nonfiction title Whodunit: How the Police Solve Crimes for a glimpse at a real-world process that informs her work.

In 1995, Booklist said, “Readers too young for Stephen King will find satisfaction” in David Patneaude’s eerie book Dark Starry Morning: Stories of This World and Beyond.

Former weather forecaster Trudi Trueit wrote Storm Chasers — one of her many, MANY informational titles — back in 2002.

Deb Lund published the sweet Tell Me My Story, Mama in 2004. Visit her author site for help tracking down a copy for a young one you know who’s about to become a sibling for the first time.

This looks like lots of fun: a 2004 picture book by Joan Holub called Geogra-Fleas! Riddles All Over the Map.

Click over to Lisa L. Owens’s website, then scroll down to see Booklist’s turn-of-the-21st-century comments on American Justice: Seven Famous Trials of the 20th Century.

And here you’ll find info on 2013’s BOB Books: Rhyming Words boxed set featuring Dana Sullivan’s always fetching illustration work.

That covers our whole crew. If you’d like to learn more about our members and consider booking one of us for a virtual or in-person visit, be sure to check out our Author Profiles page.

Happy #TBT, everyone — hope to see you again soon!

 

 

 

Around the Web with OAV Authors: March 2017

This edition of “Around the Web” is focused on online sightings of our member authors doing one of the things they love best: talking with young readers about books and writing.

Check out this Rogues Gallery of OAVers in action! And if you’re interested in booking one of us for your next virtual or in-person event, head on over to our Author Profiles page to learn more and see which author might be a good fit for your group.

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Skype school visits have been a terrific way for author/illustrator Erik Brooks to expand the participation in his Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project. After some terrific in-person conversations in Boston at ILA, Erik just did his first PPBPC Skype visit of the new school year with a fantastic group of second graders in Maryville, TN. You can read about it on the classroom blogspot here. With much thanks to teachers Alyson and Courtney for the awesome write up!

Erik also has a new cover reveal for his fist board book project, If I Were a Whale by Shelley Gill (Little Bigfoot, Feb. 2017) and a newly published paperback version of last fall’s The Runaway Tortilla (by Eric Kimmel) that published on Sept. 1st.

♥ ♥ ♥
For those attending the upcoming Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference in Edmonds, WA, Lisa L. Owens would love to see you at her session “Exploring Your Voice As a Children’s Writer.” The content is appropriate for writers at all levels, whether you’re already actively publishing or just starting to think about writing for the children’s market. It’s scheduled for Sunday, October 2, at 1:45 p.m.
♥ ♥ ♥
my-dog-japaneseLaurie Ann Thompson was thrilled to receive her author copies of the Japanese version of My Dog Is the Best! She’s also looking forward to reading the English version at the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library storytime on October 1st from 11am to noon.

 

itt-logo
In addition, she’s excited to be joining the incredible team of authors at iNK (Inter­est­ing Non­fic­tion for Kids), which “pro­motes the use of non­fic­tion in classrooms through pro­grams that help teach­ers use real books to teach to cur­ricu­lum stan­dards in ways that excite and inspire students.” Stay tuned for more!
♥ ♥ ♥

Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub are going to be writing a new series together! THUNDER GIRLS (tentative title) will be their fourth co-written series. This time they’ll be delving into the world of Norse mythology and writing about tween-age gods and godesses at Asgard Academy, which is located in the top one of nine worlds under the sheltering branches of the World-Tree, Yggdrasil. Books 1 and 2 (of an initial four) will pub Spring 2018. Suzanne is especially excited about this new series as she visits Norway often. Her daughter (and now a granddaughter too!) live in Oslo.

img_0782
The Norse god, Odin, rides on his eight-legged horse, Sleipner, in this painted wooden frieze, one of many depicting Norse myths on the side of Oslo’s town hall.
♥ ♥ ♥
And if you’re attending the Washington Library Association’s conference on October 15 at Highline College in Des Moines, WA, come hear OAV members Erik Brooks, Dori Hillestad Butler, Martha Brockenbrough, Janet Lee Carey, Clare Hodgson Meeker and Dana Sullivan talk about their new books at two “Behind the Books” sessions. Deb Lund will be moderating the elementary session and Laurie Ann Thompson will be moderating the middle and high school session.

Around the Web with OAV Authors: August 2016

You already know that you can find our team’s individual profiles right here on the OAV site. You can also find links to their websites in the right-hand sidebar of every OnlineAuthorVisits.com page. We try to make it easy for schools, libraries, and other groups to get to know us so you can select the right publishing pro(s) for your important virtual events.

So, for this Back to School edition of “Around the Web,” we thought we’d make it even easier to connect with our authors and author-illustrators by rounding up direct links to each OAVer’s primary public social media pages. Think: Facebook author pages, Twitter profiles, and writing blogs. You’re on your own for Instagram, Google+ Pinterest, Tumblr, Goodreads, YouTube, and others — but do let your fingers do the typing in those platforms’ search fields. You will get OAV-member results!

Ready? Let’s go!

10493030_748213755313635_638216203708108958_o
Row 1, L to R: Patrick Jennings, Janet Lee Carey, Joan Holub, Dia Calhoun. Row 2: Dori Hillestad Butler, Lisa L. Owens, Trudi Trueit, Suzanne Williams, Deb Lund. Row 3: Erik Brooks, Clare Hodgson Meeker, Laurie Ann Thompson, Dana Sullivan, David Patneaude. (Missing: Dori Jones Yang.)

 

Dori Jones Yang (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Dori Jones Yang

Suzanne Williams (author): Goddess Girls series Facebook page

Trudi Trueit (author): Facebook page, Twitter

Laurie Ann Thompson (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Dana Sullivan (author-illustrator): Twitter, blog

David Patneaude (author): Twitter, blog

Lisa L. Owens (author): Twitter, blog

Clare Hodgson Meeker (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Deb Lund (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blogs

Patrick Jennings (author): Twitter, blog

Joan Holub (author-illustrator): Facebook page, Goddess Girls series Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Janet Lee Carey (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog 1, blog 2

Dia Calhoun (author): Twitter, blog

Dori Hillestad Butler (author): Twitter, blog

Erik Brooks (author-illustrator): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

Martha Brockenbrough (author): Facebook page, Twitter, blog

That covers the whole crew!

And, while you’re out and about taking a peek at our wonderful team’s various profiles, don’t forget to connect with OAV’s official Facebook page. We’d love to see — and hear from you — there!

Print