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.
A special storytime
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.
PTO-sponsored book signing
Writing runs in her family
Crews also showed students her books “One Hot Summer Day” and “Below.” She told the children that she’d been writing stories since she was their age—creating picture books was what her family did. Her parents were both children’s book authors; her father, most notably, wrote “Freight Train.”
“Many times, I start working on an idea and never finish,” said Crews. “Sometimes I start working on a story and then set it aside; start again, and then set it aside,” she said. “And sometimes I start again and finish it.”
The students nodded. They had been putting story ideas on paper with pictures and words. They could relate.
Thank you for sponsoring this visit, KES PTO.