Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Visit from Laura Ljungkvist

Children's book author and illustrator Laura Ljunkgkvist shared her latest publication Pepi Signs a New Song with our preschool and kindergarten students recently.

Laura has visited our school in the past so I was really looking forward to seeing her again and learning first-hand what she has been up to since our last meeting in 2008.

This Swedish charmer, whose successful Follow The Line books brought her much deserved attention, has created Pepi to expand children's vocabulary in an entertaining way.

I am not sure if she knows it or not but one of the hot topics in education at the moment is vocabulary instruction. And Pepi knows quite a few words to go with the places he visits. My students were thrilled to see Pepi visit a bakery and name all of the things he saw there.

But the real magic, for me at least, are the illustrations. I love her bright, colorful, clean, retro-ish drawings.

On this visit Laura showed us her very first children's book. It was a beat-up 'dummy' book she put together long before she was ever published. That book contains impressive illustrations already showcasing her unique style right from the start.

Although that book was never picked up by a publisher it does have the distinction of introducing Pepi as a character. Pepi's path from supporting player to star of his own book reminded me of how Curious George got his modest start in Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys. You never know where the seeds of inspiration may lead. The key is to keep creating.

Laura read several of her books and then answered questions from our children. At one point I showed her the books our students wrote based on her Follow the Line series. She was very touched as they came up with Follow the Line through Central Park and Follow the Line through Outer Space, etc. She knew how precious they were and I can imagine it to be quite flattering. Below is one of my kindergarten students book entitled Follow the Line through the Bronx Zoo.

Thank you Laura for coming back to visit us. We hope to see you again soon!


Barbara said...

I haven't read Laura's book, but I am really impressed with your children's efforts at "Follow the line." Excellent animal pictures! It's great they get exposure to real published authors. Who knows -- maybe one or more will go on to be writers!

Gary said...

Barbara - First of all, thanks for reading! It always seems to me that children are amazing artists. Maybe because they haven't learned to question themselves and draw from the heart. This particular child is also a skilled writer. I am constantly impressed.

WAT said...

How do you say Laura's last name again? lol

lettuce said...

well i'm sceptical about the monkeys being so easy to hold

lovely drawings, and I'd love to see the follow the line through space. I've only seen Laura's work here but it looks great.

don't you have a great job!
and don't you do it so well!


Gary said...

Good question Wat.

Letty - Yes, I am not so sure about the monkey thing myself but remember I have exposed my kids to Curious George since day one and may have skewed their outlook.

Laura said...

Hi Gary,

It was so nice to see you again! And yes, I was really moved by "Line" books students had made.

It is really nice to get out of my studio and see where my "work ends up". And to realize that you have inspired some kids, that's just fantastic!

Best, LL


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