children's author and illustrator Nina Crews visits KES

Young students' first author visit

Rebecca Cambareri’s kindergarteners didn’t quite know what to expect as they sat on the carpet waiting for something called an author visit. A kind-looking woman walked in, sat down and took a picture book out of her bag. “Let’s start by reading ‘I’m Not Small’ together,” she said.

“Sunshine! Daytime! Time to play outside,” she read. From the first words and bright illustrations, the students were absorbed in the story of a child about their age playing outside by himself.

Children’s book author and illustrator Nina Crews visited all kindergarten and first grade classes at Katonah Elementary School in the past week. She shared three of her picture books with students and introduced them to how a storybook is published—a process, they discovered, that is a lot like the way they create stories in school.

Learning about the Writing Process

“Just like you, all of my stories begin with a pencil and paper,” said Crews. She said that “I’m Not Small” was based on her son Asa and the idea that we are all big and small at the same time.

Children inched closer and closer as she read; Crews took time to acknowledge all comments and ideas.

“I like being big but sometimes I am happy to be small,” she read.

“Because someone can carry you,” added a kindergartener.

After reading “I’m Not Small,” she showed the kindergarteners the black and white mockup of the book, explaining that making a preliminary version helped her figure out her ideas. The children turned it into a game of I Spy, finding all the ways that the mockup was different than the published version.

“Some of the changes you’re noticing were not my ideas,” said Crews. Students learned that a team of people gives feedback on an author’s stories— “like your teacher might,” she added.

Thank you for sponsoring this visit, KES PTO.