Because I’m a photographer as well as a writer, some of my books begin not with words, but with images I’ve gathered through my camera's lens. A simple photograph is a great jumping off point for letting your imagination take over! Students are asked to bring a favorite photograph or a series of photographs from home and, together, we explore how a photographic image can tell a story without any words, inspire the perfect words to tell a story, or work together with words to tell a story even better.
* How photos can be used as inspiration as well as illustration
* How having an image to look at makes it easier to begin writing
* How a photo can help you establish place and time… develop fictional characters and plot…and bring a story to life
* Why writing about what you know—your family, school, pets—is the best way to get started
* What is real and what is made up
* How photos and words can be interwoven and “maneuvered” to enhance each other
* How making a book is a process that requires lots of "do-overs" --- experiments, trials, mistakes, and hundreds of changes before it’s exactly the way you want it
* How photography is a similar process where hundreds of photographs are taken in order to get just the right one
* How flexibility, perseverance, and patience can bring great results!
While my books are written for the picture book crowd, their intergenerational themes, photographic elements, and the sophisticated techniques used to make them appeal to all ages. I bring my camera, contact sheets, photographic proofs, rough drafts, dummies, AND the publisher's layout, “folded and gathered”, so that students can see all of the development stages and the hard work it takes to create a book with only 19 words and 32 pages in it. The youngest children learn how to “see” a story and become better thinkers and readers. Older children learn how to develop their “artist’s eye” for photography, and, by seeing what was selected, what was altered and why, learn valuable editing and decision-making skills for becoming better writers. “ART IS A PROCESS OF SELECTION”
Great slides and attention-holding discussions explore: What is a photograph? How do you “read” a photograph? Is a photograph the truth? How are black and white photographs different from color photographs? Are black and white photographs "old fashioned"? Where do we see black and white images today? What makes one photo “better” than another? What is “good composition” or design? How are images in newspapers and magazines used to influence us? How does darkroom photography differ from computer photography and how is photography rapidly changing? Using my own books, I show how black and white photos can be digitally colored on the computer to create a whole new image and how the ability to digitalize my images allows me to blur the line between reality and fantasy.
“Your rapport with children was evident. From pre-kindergarten to fifth graders, you deftly adjusted each session to meet the interest and maturity level of the group.” Manoa School
“The children were captivated by your enthusiasm, slides, and encouragement of audience participation. You made each child feel they were special.” Shamona Creek Elementary School.
“My sixth graders were spellbound and I think many of them have caught the “shutter bug” for life. ”The Coopertown School