Teaching Kids About Authors & Illustrators Posted on 15 Jul 12:02 , 0 comments

Teaching Kids About Authors & IllustratorsTeaching Kids About Authors & Illustrators

Teaching kids about authors and illustrators can be both fun and frustrating.  Sometimes it’s hard for children to remember the separate jobs of authors and illustrators, especially kids in Kindergarten and first grade.  One thing that makes it a little easier for children to learn about authors and illustrators is if they get to meet and interact with them a little bit!  That’s what makes book talks and author signings so special.  I often see teachers lining up in VERY long lines to meet and chat with some famous authors that visit the various conferences that I attend, and get their books signed and dedicated to their classes.

Teaching Kids About Authors & Illustrators
 

The funny thing about being back in the classroom last year and over the last few years is that I had a chance to share some of the books that I wrote and published with my class!  Each time I have done this, their eyes nearly popped right out of their heads!  When they see MY NAME on the book as the author, and even my photograph- the kids get so excited that they start physically bobbing up and down in their seats!

These books made really GREAT listening centers, because they take about 12-14 minutes to listen to from start to finish. This keeps kids busy for a little while!
These musical books made really GREAT listening centers, because they take about 12-14 minutes to listen to from start to finish. This keeps kids busy for a little while!
 

Then the kids are always just FILLED with questions!  How did I get my picture on that book?  How did I get my name on that book?  Did I draw the pictures?  How long did it take to write it?  Kids are ALWAYS stunned to find out that I usually spend MONTHS (off and on) working on the text of a book.  This usually changes their perceptions a little bit about writing and how a real author must continue to work on a book, editing it over time.

Since many of you reading this blog use my DVDs, your students probably feel as if they “know Miss Heidi.”  So I thought that I would answer some of these questions in relation to each book that I have written.  Feel free to share these questions and answers with your students when you are teaching them about authors and illustrators!

 

The Story of the Wide Mouthed Frog

The Wide Mouthed Frog
 

Question 1:  How long did it take to write the book?

Answer:  The Story of the Wide Mouthed Frog has all of the same words as the musical play for kids that I wrote by the same name.  It also contains the narration.  So basically, when I wrote the play, I also wrote the book!  Therefore, it took me about two months to write it.  My husband Greg and I spent about a month trying to figure out which words would go on which pages, and what types of illustrations would go on each page.

Question 2:  Did you draw the pictures?

Answer:  No, it was illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi.  She is the same artist that illustrated my book, The Gingerbread Man.  We had to tell her what we wanted on each page, and each time she finished a page, she sent it to us for approval.  That process took a couple of months!

This is Keika Yamaguchi, illustrator of the Wide Mouthed Frog and The Gingerbread Man!
This is Keika Yamaguchi, illustrator of the Wide Mouthed Frog and The Gingerbread Man!
 

Question 3:  Who are those kids on the back cover?

Answer:  Those are the children who were in my class the year that I first put on the play!  If you look at the class photo, you’ll see my daughter Kimmie on the left, and me on the right.  Kimmie is a “real” teacher now!  The individual pictures are some of the kids that were in the play, too!  The girl in the frog costume got to play the Mother Frog that year, and her name is Madisen.  The boy in the monkey costume’s name is Hayden, and the little boy in the lion suit’s name is Christian.  Both Madisen and Christian had parents or family members that volunteered extensively in my room, and Hayden’s mom was an aide at my school.  You can see all of these kids on the YouTube movie of the play right here!

The Wide Mouthed Frog Book - Back
 

Question 4:  Who is your favorite character in the book?

Answer:  Oh, hands down, the best character in the book is the Mother Frog, followed by the Crocodile.  I enjoy making silly voices when I read this story to my class, just as my mother used to do when she read or told stories to me when I was a child!  Being dramatic with the voices the best part of reading a book aloud!

Question 5:  When did you write this book?

Answer:  We wrote the play in 2009, but the book was not written until 2014!  Where did the time go!

 

The Tale of the Gingerbread Man

The Tale of the Gingerbread Man
 

Question 1:  How long did it take to write the book?

Answer:  The Tale of the Gingerbread Man took several months to put together, and the hardest part was trying to SQUEEZE it down to all fit into an acceptable amount of pages!  It was going to be too long, so we had to do a lot of editing!

Question 2:  Did you draw the pictures?

Answer:  No, it was illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi, again!  She is the same artist that illustrated my book, The Wide Mouthed Frog.  Just like the other book, we had to tell her what we wanted on each page, and each time she finished a page, she sent it to us for approval.  That process took a couple of months!

Puddle Pug & Keika
This is Keika Yamaguchi, who illustrated our Gingerbread Man book, The Wide Mouthed Frog, AND Puddle Pug (not our book, but so cute!) Source
 

Question 3:  Who are those kids on the back cover?

Answer:  Those children were the kids in the play the year that I videotaped it for our YouTube Channel right here.  The little girl that played the Gingerbread Man was the daughter of another Kindergarten teacher, and her name is Brianna, but her nickname is “Breezy.”  The little girl that played the Fox is Keeley, and is one of those special children that found a place in my heart, and whom I will never, ever forget!  I loved her like my own, and was thrilled that I got to be her teacher two years in a row!

 

I added the parts of the Dancing Christmas Trees in order to give more children something to do on stage.  Those kids are Alicia, Luke, and Brandon.  Then we did a song about the Shoemaker and the Elves after the play, and had some reindeer give Santa and Mrs. Claus a ride in a wagon sleigh!  I do remember that one of the reindeer was the child of a good friend, and his name is Carson!  I taught most of his brothers and sisters, too!  Mrs. Claus was a sweetheart named Ashley, and the little elf girl was Madeline.  These pictures were taken in 2006, so I’m having trouble identifying the rest!

Tale of the Gingerbread Man Book - Back
 

The Gingerbread Man Play
 

Question 4:  Who is your favorite character?

Answer:  Oh, the FOX is always the most fun, no question!  The children always want to be the fox, and the fox always steals the show!

Question 5:  When did you write this book?

Answer:  I wrote this book in 2013.  It’s already been three years!

 

The Opposites Rhyming Book

Opposites Rhyming Book
 

Question 1:  How long did it take to write the book?

Answer:  Oh, my!  I’m sure I worked on the Opposites Rhyming Picture Book over the course of more than two months, maybe three!  I actually got stuck trying to think of opposites in rhyming pairs (such as high/low, fast/slow,) so I posted on my Facebook page asking for help!  A lot of teachers there contributed their ideas!

Question 2:  Did you draw the pictures?

Answer:  Nope!  Jessica Dunn, who is the daughter of a good friend (who sadly now moved out of the area) was the illustrator for us on this book!  She is also an extremely talented dancer as well.  We used to go to the beach and hang out with her mom and her brother a lot when the kids were all little.

Opposites Rhyming Book Artist - Jessica Dunn
 

Question 3:  What’s your favorite rhyme?

Answer:  I think I like “Whisper/shout, in/out” and “thin/fat, this/that” best!  I also really “stretch/bend, start/end” a lot too, because it comes right at the end of the book, so it fits really nicely.  

Question 4:  When did you write this book?

Answer:  2013!  I guess we have been BUSY!

Question 5:  Is there a song for all your books?

Answer:  Good question!  Come to think of it… I guess not!  The books about Wiggles and Little Sittles don’t have songs with them!  The Wiggles books help teach kids the rules and classroom procedures, and the Sittles book teaches about the importance of active participation.  And the Holidays Around the World book doesn’t have any song to it, either.

We read one of these Wiggles books nearly every day as a way of teaching and reviewing the procedures and rules.
We read one of these Wiggles books nearly every day at the beginning of the year in Kindergarten as a way of teaching and reviewing the procedures and rules.
 

The Little Sittles book teaches about the importance of active participation in the learning process. Kids don't usually learn a lot when they just SIT there and watch! They need to get up and MOVE!
The Little Sittles book teaches about the importance of active participation in the learning process. Kids don’t usually learn a lot when they just SIT there and watch! They need to get up and MOVE!
 

Here’s a video of my class from years ago reading the Opposites Rhyming book! We sing-along with it, too! (This book is now only $3!)

 

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