Chalk by Bill Thomson

Once in a great while, you come across a wordless picture book that is pure perfection. Imagine you are booktalking Chalk to third graders. You stand before the group and reveal a green dinosaur holding a bag of magical chalk. You explain the story of three children who draw pictures that come to life. Your talk is going beautifully, and suddenly you’re having an adjective love fest… Stunning. Brilliant. Imaginative. Expressive. Intricate. Beautiful. Magnificent. Grand. Visionary. Fantastic.

A student raises his hand and says, “Those are amazing computer generated images.” To which you respond (in this order):

  1. No, no, no. (said with an all-knowing look)
  2. You flip to the back of the book to read the note. “Bill Thomson embraced traditional painting techniques and meticulously painted each illustration by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils. His illustrations are not photographs or computer generated images.”
  3. Now, go take another look at Chalk.

Take a look at Bill's portfolio. He's brilliant!

Browse inside Bill's latest picture book, Soccer Hour.

Bill describes the creative process for creating Soccer Hour's illustrations.

Borrow Chalk from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.


  1. Well you know my obsession with CHALK. I can't praise it enough. And my CHALK event is this Friday. Will share this with my staff.

  2. I thought of you when I found the video. :)


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