Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guest Post by Kevin Glavin and Sarah Grepo

Today's guest post comes from Kevin Glavin and Sarah, who are the author and illustrator of the children's book All the Things You'll Do

On the inspiration behind the book:

I wanted to write a book for my children, and for all children, that would be very positive and helpful in encouraging their dreams. The first half contains the story and wonderful illustrations by Sarah, with the parents singing to their child—imagining together all the great things he’ll do. The second half is a metaphorical “canvas,” where children can actually plan specific dreams and celebrate accomplishments. I felt it was important to provide space where young readers, their family, and friends can draw their own illustrations, place photos and mementos, plan out, and reflect upon their goals. ––KG

On the educational approach:

Educational research supports the writing and reflection upon goals in the accomplishment of them. There has been much written about the relationship between language and thought, and the idea that thought is completed in the word. That is, writing crystallizes thinking, giving amorphous ideas shape. The interactive function of the book aspires to reflect the root of the word education––educare (to draw out, or bring out from within). This Vygotskian, constructivist approach offers crucial scaffolding for developing a healthy, positive, and focused child. So many children’s books are read a few times and discarded. This one will hopefully be returned to again and again, in an effort to serve the utilitarian purpose of helping children accomplish their greatest hopes with the support of friends and family. ––KG

On some details that might otherwise be missed:

The different colors of the rainbow are purposely reflected upon the cover of the book in the flowers. This is part of a concerted effort throughout the book to include children of many ethnicities (all the colors of the rainbow, so to speak). It is also an allusion to Rock Star’s Rainbow, my first novel. A special needs child (in a wheelchair) is also included. I thought this to be very important, as I have noticed that in most children’s books they are not. The high school-aged boy is reading Hamlet, and feeling inspired, is writing a song called “Hamlet Omelette” (you have to look very closely). In the ebook, this song will be playable. When the boy is acting “so cool,” the 1950s motorcycle illustration is an allusion to The Wild One. ––KG

On illustrating digitally vs. drawing:

Illustrating digitally does not require any paper, and so it saves a lot of trees. This is great, in case mistakes are made and work has to be redone, and sometimes numerous designs must be made before a final decision is made as for how one illustration will look, which would have used up a lot of paper. Working on illustrations digitally also saves more time, as work will already be in the computer and ready to be e-mailed at any moment for feedback or approval. Drawings done on paper, though, would need to be scanned into the computer or photographed and uploaded if they are to be e-mailed. Or if not e-mailed, then mailed or taken over in person. With our busy schedules and working cities apart from each other, there would be times when Mr. Glavin and I wouldn't have been able to meet up the moment I finished something and needed feedback immediately, so being able to e-mail a concept the moment it was done without having to scan, mail, or physically bring over, was wonderful. ––SG

On how to encourage kids to write or to draw:
As a child, some of my most significant experiences have been when I've recorded something special that's happened in my life in a diary. While this book is not a day-by-day diary, I feel it gives a similar feeling of reminiscence if a child were to look back as they are growing older. Remembering what goals or accomplishments you had as a child, and seeing proof of that written somewhere by you, is very special. In terms of how this book may inspire children to draw, I hope this book goes to show that it doesn't matter how young or old you are to go out and draw a children's book. What matters is the time, effort, observation, and teamwork you put into reaching your goal. :) ––SG

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