Opportunity for Deeper Connection with Authors and Illustrators
January 4, 2016
by Melissa A. McDonald, MLS
As an elementary school librarian, my favorite part of the Gaithersburg Book Festival is the opportunity to listen to the children’s book authors and illustrators read their books and talk about their inspiration and their craft. I can read a book aloud to my students with enthusiasm, providing the voices of the different characters, and emphasizing what I think are the important parts on each page. However, nothing compares to an author reading aloud his or her own book to their adoring audience, or watching the illustrator start with a blank piece of white poster paper and creating the book characters in front of our eyes. It is magical! That moment when the author and illustrator connect with his or her readers is a great one indeed.
Throughout my school library, I have pictures of myself with authors and illustrators — I think it is important to show my students that the people who create their favorite books are real people — to show them the connection we have through their written word and art. When I am able, I like to video their talk and book reading, and love to share with my students as most of them are unable to attend events such as these.
Last year I enjoyed Michelle Knudsen’s reading of “Marilyn’s Monster” and listening to Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan discuss how they worked together to create the book. Because of these videos, my students were able to connect with the book, the author and the illustrator on a deeper level than if I had simply read the book to them. For this, I am deeply grateful, and hope that this is one way in which I can encourage life-long readers.
- Michelle Knudsen’s Website
- Matt Phelan’s Website
- “Marilyn’s Monster” by Michelle Knudsen
- Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan discuss creation of Marilyn’s Monster
Melissa A. McDonald is a school library media specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools and a member of the Gaithersburg Book Festival planning committee.