Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mazza Museum Summer Conference Day 4

Tom Lichtenheld began our today. He is the illustrator of 19 books (more
currently being illustrated). Tom confessed that he was not good at school, but in middle school, his teacher submitted a piece of his artwork to a contest with Scholastic and Tom won a pin. Hurray for the teacher who recognized Tom’s gift and found a way to help Tom receive the affirmation that he had gifts, even if he didn’t fit the regular “school success” mold!
Like so many authors I know, Tom belongs to an illustration critique group and he showed how a simple crop of a picture (that Tom had not seen himself) took a really nice illustration to the next level.  I love this message for students who sometimes think of suggestions for work improvement as discouraging or even mean. Whenever authors and illustrators can share that they seek out good helpful criticism, it’s good for kids to hear. Two heads are better than one, I always tell kids (and explain it to the younger kids!)
Another thing I loved learning is that Tom’s website has free teacher resources here for book-use in the classroom. Yay! I guess that makes this a Freebie Thursday!

Following Tom we heard from author Sherri Dusky Rinker. Tom illustrated Sherri’s first two books, Good Night Good Night Construction Site, and Steam Train, Dream Train. Sherri spoke of how she feels she “won the lottery,” by being published by the amazing Chronicle Books—on her first submission ever. Okay children’s writers—deep breath—it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.  Sherri a likeable speaker who is very transparent about her writing and revising process. She spoke of the agony she felt going through the editorial process the first time around—and how it’s getting easier. Sherri's presentation was interesting, informative, and funny!

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