Creating, Connecting – International Dot Day

dot_day_2012_v01Today is International Dot Day, based on Peter H. Reynolds book, The Dot.  It will be celebrated all week-long.  This year 1,260,227  (increasing daily) children from 82 countries have signed up to participate in this week’s many activities.  They will be using their imaginations and creativity to make their marks at home and in classrooms globally.

Like last year, teachers and students will take International Dot Day   to an entirely new level, using SKYPE and other means to connect and partner with teachers and students in all 50 states and in 82 other countries — virtually connecting the dots with each other globally and breaking down barriers.   Check out the site and Facebook page to see what kids are doing.   It is also important to remember the week will overlap with International Day of Peace on September 21.  This is a beautiful way for children to celebrate their global village.  Learn more about how The Dot traveled into space on the Soyuz rocket last December 2012 with Commander Chris Hadfield, making this a galactic event.

Today, Peter H. Reynolds will spend Dot Dat at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst Massachusetts from  noon to 5 p.m.  The day’s activities will offer an opportunity to connect and collaborate with Peter. Visitors can help create an original drawing on the main wall at the Museum or join a story session during which Peter will read The Dot.  Peter will sign books today.

Not only will children be making their dots, but celebrities have posted their dots on the International Dot Day website.  And, many KidLit bloggers are posting their dots.  My dot is a picture I took of my daughter looking through a tire.

Nicole and tireCAM00400

Copyright 2013 Patricia Tilton

Sky Color

Sky Color9780763623456_p0_v1_s260x420Sky Color

Peter H. Reynolds, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction, Aug. 2012

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes:  Art, Creativity, Imagination,

Opening“Marisol was an artist.  She loved to draw and paint, and she even had her very own art gallery.  Not all her art hung in a gallery.  Much of it she shared with the world.”

Synopsis: Marisol’s teacher announces to the class they are going to paint a mural for the library.  Marisol wants to paint the sky.  She searches through the box of paints and can not find the color blue.  She wonders how she will paint the sky without blue paint.  On her way home from school Marisol stares out the bus window as the horizon changes.  She watches the sunset turn into night.  She realizes that maybe there are other ways to paint the color of the sky.

Why I like this book:  Another beautiful and original story about imagination and creativity from author/illustrator Peter Reynolds, who shows his young readers that the sky is the limit when you dream big and think outside of the box.  He encourages children to open their eyes and really look at their surroundings.  Is the sky really blue, the grass green, the sea blue and the moon white?  This is a great way to encourage kids to be daring and experiment with a  variety of colors.  What a great lesson in creativity for children.  This is the third story in his Creatrilogy series, which also includes The Dot and Ish.  Visit Peter H. Reynolds at his website.

Resource:  The website OMazing Kids  has some terrific ideas about encouraging creativity using many of Peter Reynold’s books.  Check out this July 6 post Inspiring Kids Creativity with Books, Art and Movement.

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Cool Ali

Cool Ali 51Q8TF9B7AL__SL500_AA300_Cool Ali

Nancy Poydar, author and illustrator

Margaret K. McElderry Books, Fiction, 1996

Suitable for:  Ages 4-7

Theme:  Art, Summer heat, City life,  Neighbors

Opening/SynopsisAli loved to draw.  She drew all the time.  One summer day, her mother said, “Ali, Ali, it’s just too hot to be indoors!”  That’s when Ali took her box of fat chalk outside.   It hadn’t rained in weeks and Ali beat the summer heat by drawing cool scenes on the sidewalk and buildings .   She drew grass and flowers, a lake under Mrs. Frye’s chair, a beach umbrella on the wall  to shade Ira, the North Wind for Mr. Boyle,  a Polar Bear and  a snow storm.  A crowd gathered and found pleasure in Ali’s drawings and forgot the heat until something happens.

Why I like this book:  Nancy Poydar has written a fun book that will ignite a child’s imagination.  There is also a sense of neighborhood and everyone (young and old) dealing with the heat wave together.  Her illustrations are expressive and colorful.  She uses watercolors and oil pastels.   This is a cool end-of-the summer read for kids.  Check out Nancy Poydar’s website for the many books she’s written and illustrated.  Each of her picture books tells of a child who gives gifts of storytelling through art.

The Art of Miss Chew

The Art of Miss Chew

Patricia Polacco, Author and Illustrator

G.P. Putnam’s Sons,  April 2012, Fiction

Suitable for: Ages 5 and up

Theme: Artistic Expression, Autobiographical, Learning Disabilities, Self-esteem

Opening/Synopsis:  “I discovered how much I loved art the summer I spent with my grandmother and father in Michigan.  Grandma was an artist; she drew and painted so beautifully!  Grandma even told me that I was a natural artist, so I couldn’t wait to take Art at school next fall when I got home to California.  I only had one problem left –tests.  I just couldn’t seem to pass them.”  Trisha loves school, but she has a lot of trouble reading.   Her new teacher, Mr. Donovan, recognizes that she is smart, but needs more time taking test.  He gives her that time and she begins to pass them.  He also discovers her artistic talent when he sees one of her drawings.  Since there isn’t an art program in her school, Mr. Donovan arranges for Trisha to study art with Miss Chew, head of the high school art department, twice a week.  Miss Chew inspires Trisha “to see” an object before she draws.  Trisha carries her sketch book with her everywhere.  One day Mr. Donovan’s father dies and he has to leave for Ireland.  The stern substitute teacher sees no value in art and attempts to derail Trisha’s art classes.  But, Trisha and Miss Chew have a plan to outsmart the new teacher.

What I like about this book:   This is a heartwarming  autobiography of author/illustrator Patricia Polacco and the people who nurtured her artistic abilities, including two real teachers she names in the book.  This book is a lovely tribute to the educators who spotted her talent and encouraged her in that direction.  Patricia Polacco is an outstanding storyteller.  Her story is an important read for young aspiring artists, and for kids who have trouble reading.   Her colorful and bold illustrations evoke a lot of emotion and fun.  She has created over 50 picture books.  In a note to her readers, Polacco says “The tragedy is that today, too often monies are no longer available in many public schools to support art, music, drama, or descriptive arts programs.  How could this be?  Art teaches us to speak a language that originates in the heart, the soul and earliest memories.  How could any course be more important?”  Click here to visit Patricia Polacco’s website.

Activities:  Encourage your children to do art projects at a young age.  Introduce them to a variety of art supplies, crayons, colored pencils, chalk, paints, drawing pads and molding clay.    Many recreation centers, YMCA’s and art galleries have art and craft programs throughout the summer and year.  Visit art galleries, topiary gardens and concerts.  Create a space in your home to showcase your child’s artwork and let your child know how much joy his/her drawing brings you.

Additional Resources:  Colleague Beth Stilborn featured the “Arts and Books on Vacation” series on her blog last summer.  She focused on a variety of art programs for youth in New York City, Los Angeles, Canada and London.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.  Perfect Picture Books will be going on vacation after today’s posts,  and all the contributors will resume again September 7.    I will continue to publish book reviews and do some interviews throughout the summer, perhaps with some breaks.