Monday, June 11, 2012

"Best Day Ever!" My First Class Visit

Hi there!

As I mentioned in my blog post last week, I got to finally meet Mr. H, author of Little Raindrop, and his classroom of third graders! The day before the actual visit, Mr. H gave me a tour of the school, introduced me to the school's turtles, and showed me the hallway walls decorated with turtles for Turtle Week! I even visited the Art Room and breathed in that old familiar smell of tempera paint.

On the day of the visit, Mr. H's wife and my husband both joined in on the fun, and they were kind enough to take pictures and video, too! When I first walked into the classroom, everyone was outside for Recess, and I was greeted with these on the wall:

A mural of Little Raindrops and they let me KEEP it too!


 I set up my things and waited for the kids to come in. I was just a little bit nervous because I hadn't spoken in front of a group of kids before, but when they all timidly walked into the classroom I realized I wasn't the only one feeling shy! Once I got warmed up, things ran pretty smoothly.

Miss Melanie, Teacher for the Day!

hi Gabe!

The girl in pink put my bookmark
in her Harry Potter (GOF) book!

Mr. Cool

I must have been saying something important here!

Looks like Mr. H has an agenda...

Do you know the answer?
I showed the kids how I go about doing the design and layout of the book, how I get ideas from sketching from nature, and how I draw in blue pencil to keep things clean. I showed them the original painting I did of the River Habitat. We passed around my sketchbook and I gave out bookmarks and buttons, and we even had a little birthday celebration for Megan, complete with delicious Oreo cupcakes! It was a real blast!

There's Sharon, taking pictures!

We're getting absolutely SILLY!

This dude is using my sketch for reference for HIS sketch!

Checking out my Red Panda sketches!

Great questions were asked!

The final piece of art! Great job, I'm super proud of you, Dillon!
 The coolest thing about the visit was getting to meet the people who had been sending me postcards and letters all year long. They are all sweet and talented kids, and each one special in their own way. They read me some of their letters they had written that morning, and asked a lot of great questions. It was really touching to hear how excited they were to meet me and how happy it made them! One of the boys came up to me to thank me for visiting, and another told me that "today is the BEST DAY EVER!" and I truly have to agree with him.

They even asked me to sign their yearbooks!

At the end of the visit, when school was out and everyone left, there was a certain little girl (with pink in her hair) who lingered a few minutes to give me a hug. She's a super talented artist and it TOTALLY made my day!

The kids may have learned something, but I was surprised to learn a few things myself. One, that my biggest challenge that day would be to keep my cool! The kids were so sweet and caring, and loveing and innocent, that there were a few times where I thought I was going to actually cry. And two, it really made me think of the responsibilities we have as writers and illustrators to our young readers, and the huge rewards (like hugs!) we receive for all our hard work. And that I am SO thankful that Mr. H chose me, of all the other artists out there, to illustrate his story.

Hey! You wore the same thing as me!
If I ever doubted in the past that this career path was meant for me, I truly will not doubt it ever again. Seeing those little faces light up because of something I did? There is no money in the world worth trading that feeling. I will never forget it!

And the awesome thing is, neither will they. :)

Hold up your cool Little Raindrop stuff!

Now do something silly!

Now pose like a raindrop!

As my Auntie Jean would say: SO stinkin' cute! :D

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