Instagramming an Author Visit: Stick Dog Creator Tom Watson
Man, I haven’t messed with one of these signs since high school (and that was definitely not approved).
But a big welcome was in order. Last week Stick Dog author Tom Watson visited our 3rd and 4th graders. So to start the morning I grabbed all the giant plastic letters I could get my hands on and pulled a little trick I learned from Colby Sharp – welcome a visiting author on the school marquee.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Nay. Giant book covers take the sincere flattery up to 11. Time to roll them out. The one above is in the pre-taped together stage. I made these in Publisher – a la The Bill Clinton of Giant Book Covers, John Schumacher.
Next up, some student Stick Dog artwork. I think it was the Neverending Search blog where I first saw the potential of Crayola Window Crayons. I grabbed a box, a few kids, and let them go wild on the windows of the library. I printed out a picture of Stick Dog and taped it up for them to refer to if needed.
I had to get in on the act too. Side note: decorating library windows is an oddly liberating activity. Anything goes! I recommend it.
I used something called window chalk for mine. It was white, so I wasn’t sure if it would show up, but it ended up working well.
So Tom Watson – great guy! After Mr. Watson arrived we had a chance to chat for a few minutes while we got things set up in the story area of our library. Then it was time for the show to begin.
Mr. Watson opened by talking about his books and sharing stories from his life that inspire his writing- at every turn he was funny and engaging. Students were having a good time.
And then the drawing began.
If you’ve ever been a part of an author/illustrator visit, you know that when the marker comes out, you can hear a pin drop (in a good way). Students came armed with clipboards, paper, and pencil and followed right along.
Mr. Watson drew all of the main Stick Dog characters with students. He even pulled out a bonus illustration: Karen in a tornado.
After the drawing session, Mr. Watson did some Q&A time with students. He also asked for some input on his next book – this was a great idea and led to some excellent suggestions from kids.
And just like that, it was wrap up time. A morning well spent!
Many thanks to Tom Watson for stopping by. It was a great day.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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