Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eileen Christelow - Vermont Author & Illustrator

Eileen Christelow visited our school on May 22, 2014, thanks to a grant from our generously supportive PTO.

     Having an author visit your school is always a treat; you get to bask in their light and absorb their wisdom and experiences for the day.  It proved true with Eileen! On their way to their classrooms when they first arrived in the morning, the kids peeked into the library .  All the shelves have been pushed out of the way and the space looks cavernous.  "Whoaaaa! Is she here yet?" they whispered.  Not yet, but soon!, I told them.  The excitement in the air is nearly tangible.  The whole school has been reading Eileen Christelow's books for the last month or so.  I have raided nearly every public library in my county of their copies of Eileen's books, so that we have lots available for my big school.  We have read, we have laughed, we have noticed, we have explored, we have adored.  I think we are ready for her!

     As an aside, Eileen has two great websites.  Visit them here and here.  They have lots of fun activities and cool comic strip interviews by the adorable Emma dog to read. (Make sure to see the pictures of Emma and her felted look-alike further down the page.)

Our second graders love Eileen Christelow's books!

Eileen Christelow has had a very prolific career, writing more than 30 books.
Eileen's first published book - 1982    and      most recently published - 2013

Some are inspired by true stories:

Some are mysteries:

Some are just downright fun:

Some are nonfiction:

And all of them are laugh-out-loud great!

Multiple times the children would exclaim at the end of the story, "Thaat was a good story!"  I absolutely love to hear children say that.  In this age of digital everything, I am thrilled when a seemingly old-fashioned technology pulls the rug right out from under us.  Eileen is a masterful storyteller.  She knows how to put a twist at the end of the story that takes everyone by surprise, completely undoing our predictions.  And her illustrations?  So much fun!  There's a lot going on in her pictures, and readers soon learn they have to keep their eyes peeled for those details that give clues to the story.  

We learned about Eileen's early years as a writer.  The slides were drawn by Eileen and particularly engaging.

It is so cool to watch
 an artist draw!

How to add expressions with eyebrows
Eileen shows the students how to change a character's expression with a few simple lines.
Signing books after lunch


Lulu the Babysitter comes to life before our very eyes!

What does Lulu see when she opens the door?  It's a great writing prompt. You take the story from here!

Our Main Hallway display of The Art of Hope and Healing from Vermont authors & illustrators

The Desperate Dog Writes Again (2010) - gift from Eileen Christelow

Five Dog Night (1993) - gift from Eileen Christelow


And here is the felted Emma modeled from the books

top view

Thank you, Eileen Christelow, for coming to our school.  We were honored to have you visit us!  We are looking forward to your next story.  Whatever it is, we know it will be wonderful!