Author-illustrator Loren Long

Teacher-librarian Donna Kouri and I met each other  approximately eight years ago. Let's see, over the past eight years, we...

*traveled to forty-eight states together. 

*visited dozens of independent bookshops and libraries. 

*met the real the one and only Ivan. 

*explored too many wacky roadside attractions to name. 

*hosted author-illustrator Loren Long during the same week. 

Donna dropped by Watch. Connect. Read. to discuss the red asterisk. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Donna and Loren! 

Loren Long visited our first and second graders to talk about his newest book Otis and the Puppy.

My students prepared for Loren Long’s school visit by reading Otis and Otis and the Tornado. We watched Loren’s presentation at the National Book Festival and followed Loren’s instructions and learned to draw Otis. Students then, with our amazing art teacher, created beautiful farm scenes featuring Otis. We used these to decorate for him and let him know how excited we were to host him! We also looked at the other books that Loren illustrated. Students were so excited to learn he illustrated Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing.

The Otis series is so fun to read and teaches the importance of friendship. Students learn that everything has value, even something old. They also learn how to be a loyal friend and what it means to be brave. Students are in love with Otis (and are pretty fond of Loren as well).

I think my students will always remember Loren’s visit. They were mesmerized as he drew us a picture of Otis and the Puppy and listened intently as he discussed how important it is do always do your best and to be proud of your work. He took such an interest in them as he signed their books that they left feeling they had a new friend.

Picture books are for everybody. There are so many fascinating stories within their pages. It makes me sad when students think they are too old to read picture books. I hope I am able to convince them otherwise!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the thoughtful video Loren sent us. It featured his dogs and him in his studio talking about how excited he was to visit our school. The students’ jaws hit the floor when he mentioned our school by name. 

Look for the Otis series at your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops


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