Happy Tuesday! I'm celebrating the book trailer for Ruby Rose Off to School She Goes with Rob Sanders and Debbie Ridpath Ohi. I wrote the words in black, Rob wrote the words in orange, and Debbie wrote the words in purple. Thank you, Rob and Debbie! Happy watching, everyone!
When I was Ruby Rose’s age I had already passed on Mighty Mite football, and had decided that playing baseball with the Cracker Jacks was not for me either. I wasn’t a dancer either. Instead, I spent most of my time with books, singing to the top of my lungs in the backyard, and drawing, painting, and creating anything I could imagine. I was a kid who marched to my own drummer, so in that way, I guess I was a lot like Ruby Rose.
The first time I saw the finished illustrations for Ruby Rose Off to School She Goes, I was clicking my heels. I had seen the sketches at several stages along the way, but the finished art blew me away. During the early stages of her process Debbie asked for photos of my great niece Madi (who bears quite a resemblance to Ruby Rose), pictures of Madi’s house, scans of her art work, photos of my classroom, and more. Debbie included many of those familiar objects and scenes in her art. So with each page turn I see something familiar that makes me smile.
Picture books are . . .
. . . the gateway to literacy
. . . imagination developers
. . . sit-with-me moment creators
. . . the intersection of art and words
. . . relationship builders between reader and listener
I think Ruby Rose dances in her dreams.
When I was Ruby Rose’s age I loved to dance, but never in front of anyone. I loved music, and banged out songs I made up on our family piano. I was writing my first chapter book; I wrote in pencil and illustrated it. It had four children who discover a secret doorway and fairies and a flying carpet and evil villains. My father used to take the whole family to the library once a week, and I remember delighting in carrying home stacks of books.
The first time I read the manuscript for Ruby Rose Off To School She Goes, I knew I had to illustrate it. Not only am I a big fan of Rob’s wonderful Picture This! blog but Ruby Rose’s joy in dance immediately spoke to me. Dance is one of my favorite illustration subjects and as soon as I read the manuscript, my fingers were already itching to draw Ruby Rose. You can see some of my first sketches here.
Picture books are important because they encourage conversations between young and older readers, bridging the gap between generations. Picture books introduce children to a love of art in a way that just taking a child to an art gallery can’t achieve. Picture books help children discover themselves and the world, giving young readers a sense of control and building self-confidence. Picture books are important because they plant the seed for writing skills, because they encourage the joy in reading. Picture books offer comfort. If anyone has any doubt about the importance of picture books, I strongly encourage you to check out some of the posts on PictureBookMonth.com.
Look for Ruby Rose Off to School She Goes on June 21, 2016.