Friday, December 5, 2014

Author Cathy Camper

I'm grateful that every Friday an author or an illustrator finishes my sentences. This week's special guest is author and librarian Cathy Camper. We chatted about Lupe Impala, art, graphic novels, libraries, and bugs. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Cathy! 

El Chavo Flapjack Octopus, Eliro Malaria, and Lupe Impala work for a car dealership six days a week. But like most of us, they have a dream outside of work – they want a garage and a cool car of their own. They figure out a way to combine all their talents to make it happen. Well, plus they get a little help from outer space! 

Illustration credit: Raúl III 

The illustrations for Lowriders in Space are done entirely in Bic pen and black markers. Raúl III and I wanted to make a book that would encourage kids to write and draw, and to use materials available to everyone. Raúl and I also both love comics’ illustrations that have many layers, and we think readers will find the pictures in our book are packed with details. 

Illustration credit: Raúl III 

Art has the power to change people. People’s actions are influenced by what they see and read, but also, people are often encouraged to write and create art themselves, by what they read and the art they see. Raúl and I hope Lowriders in Space has both these effects on its readers. 

Illustration credit: Raúl III 

Graphic novels are fantastic, because you can read both the words and the pictures, which means you’re developing multiple parts of your brain all at the same time. Also, think about it, with a pen and paper you can create a fantastical story about things even a movie couldn’t portray. 

Bugs are probably going to inherit the Earth! Cockroaches have been around from before the dinosaurs, and can survive a nuclear war. Beetles are some of the most prolific creatures in the world! I wrote my book Bugs Before Time: Prehistoric Insects and Their Relatives because when I read that some prehistoric dragonflies were as big as crows, and there were sea scorpions bigger than your mom, that stuff was too cool not to share with kids who love amazing science like that. 

School libraries make a crucial difference in students' lives, and need to exist. School librarians teach students vital lessons in information literacy, essential to scholastic success. They teach kids library skills too, like how books are organized, how to find the books you want, plus, they share information about good books through book talks, book displays and library events. In schools, the library is also one of the few free spaces where kids can hang out to study, read, or just find peace, calm and a safe space. I’m a huge supporter of both school libraries and the library staff that work there.
Click here to read the bios 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what made you write Lowriders in Space in the first place? I wrote it because as a youth service outreach librarian, I was tired of not having books that matched the needs and interests of the great diversity of kids I was visiting every day in schools. I wanted to make a book in English and Spanish, a book that would appeal to boys (since boys literacy rate is dropping), but would interest girls too. It would have to include science – science is better than any magic I could make up! Including outer space and cars gave me that opportunity. And I’m glad it allowed my friend Raúl III and I to be silly, and to stretch our ideas in all kinds of crazy ways to make the best book we possibly could. 

Borrow Lowriders in Space from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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