Touring In: Quebec
Genre: picture books, junior fiction, YA
Ideal Audience Size: 20-30
Maximum Audience Size: 2-3 classrooms
Special Equipment: Flip chart, and a document reader or overhead projector. Please let Kathryn know in advance so that she can tailor each presentation to the setting.
Shortlisted for the 2011 Chocolate Lily Award
Shortlisted for the 2010 Rocky Mountain Book Award
In general when presenting to classroom sized groups I prefer to use original artifacts from my work, rough sketches, rough paintings, thumbnail drawings, book dummies final art and final printed books in order to share the concrete experience of creating a book from written story to final published book. While digital presentations have a fine use for large audiences, my experience is that most people of all ages love to see tangible materials, that is the sketched out conceptual work that goes into creating illustrations as well as examples of the final painting and drawing. That experience gives people a clear accessibility, a sense that indeed they themselves could make a book. A digital presentation abstracts the process in the sense of creating more distance between the viewers and the work. As I mentioned, this may be necessary in a large group presentation, but for smaller groups, such as classrooms and small library gatherings, the TD Canadian Children’ Book Week tour provides the unique experience of bringing people and creators together in a small setting where there is a kind of level playing field of sharing. The author/illustrator is sharing a work process in a situation that promotes spontaneous discussion and questioning. And for some it will be the experience that inspires a person to go on to create her own books. That was my experience as a child and aspiring illustrator. Meeting and chatting with published authors and illustrators confirmed my belief that I too could create books.
Kindergarten to Grade 2
For this age range, I read My Animal Friends, poems from Floyd Flamingo, as well as some bits of my favourite childhood books. I share samples of artwork I did as a child, some favourite toys and then I demonstrate drawing on chart paper. I demonstrate how to make a little book and share some small examples.
Grades 3 to 4
For this group, I read a portion of No Pets Allowed and then discuss how I selected the illustration techniques to illustrate the book, and in particular, how to depict an imaginary dog. I demonstrate the difference between illustrating No Pets Allowed, Floyd and a sophisticated picture book. For this presentation to a small group, if there is time I will provide pieces of scratch board so the students may experiment with the technique.
Grades 5 to 7
For this group, I talk about the process of researching the way things were in a particular historical period. I discuss the importance of authentic visual depictions of people in particular cultures, historical times and locations and how those depictions make a narrative culturally and historically authentic. show my journals, sketches, dummies and final drawings and paintings.
Grades 7 to 12
I share the process of researching and then conceptually creating a complex picture book or graphic novel The talk is a kind of road map of the process for those who are interested in creating books and comics. This talk includes an in depth presentation of the process of researching the way things were in a particular historical period. I discuss the importance of authentic visual depictions of people in particular cultures, historical times and locations and how those depictions make a narrative culturally and historically authentic. I show my journals, sketches, dummies and final drawings and paintings.
Creative Writing and University Presentations
I tailor the presentation to the particular interest of the group. For a Creative Writing group the focus might be on my process or it could be on how to write a picture book or graphic novel. For a Children’s Literature group it might discussing the construction of meaning and how in some forms such as the picture book words and pictures construct meaning in different ways but essentially fill in each others gaps.
Librarian and Educator Presentations
For librarians and educators, this is usually custom designed to suit their interests from how illustrated materials support literacy and literary development to how wordless books support new English learners. Or I can do a program on comics and graphic novels and how they are created. Since my new book is a graphic novel, it is an excellent focus for the presentation.
Book List / Discography
Seeking Refuge. Written by Irene N. Watts. (Tradewind Books, 2016)
No Pets Allowed. Written by Irene N. Watts. (Tradewind Books, 2010)
Clay Man: The Golem of Prague. Written by Irene N. Watts. (Tundra Books, 2009)
Good Bye Marianne: The Graphic Novel. Written by Irene N. Watts (Tundra Books, 2008)
Floyd the Flamingo and His Flock of Friends. Written by Tiffany Stone. (Tradewind Books, 2005)
What’ll I Do With the Baby Oh? Written by Jane Cobb. (Black Sheep Books, 2006)
A Telling Time. Written by Irene N. Watts. (Tradewind Books, 2004)
My Animal Friends. Written by R. David Stephens. (Tradewind Books, 2002)
Kathryn E. Shoemaker is the illustrator of forty-one books for children, among them, No Pets Allowed and Clayman: The Golem of Prague, both written by Irene N. Watts. Her most recent book is the graphic novel, Seeking Refuge, a sequel to the graphic novel version of Irene N. Watts’ Good Bye Marianne. Also among her works are A Telling Time by Irene N. Watts, My Animal Friends by R. David Stephens, and Floyd Flamingo and His Flock of Friends by Tiffany Stone.
Kathryn is the author of four of her published books, including the best selling, Creative Christmas. As well she has illustrated hundreds of educational materials, cards, posters and calendars. She has broad experience as an art teacher, curriculum specialist, filmmaker and fund raiser. For the past sixteen years she has taught courses on illustrating children’s books.
Dr. Shoemaker holds a B.A. Magna Cum Laude, a Masters Degree in children’s literature from the University of British Columbia and a doctorate in Language and Literacy Education from UBC. Her research focus is on the social semiotics analysis of sequential visual narratives literary forms. She is an adjunct Professor at UBC where she teaches courses in the department of Language and Literacy Education and in the ISchool (Library school) on children’s literature and writing children’s literature with particular focus on visual sequential narratives; picture books, comics and graphic novels.
No Pets Allowed
- Shortlisted for the 2011 Chocolate Lily Award
Clayman: The Golem of Prague
- Shortlisted for the 2011 Chocolate Lily Award
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Rocky Mountain Book Award
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Jewish Book Awards
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Sidney Harris Jewish Book Awards
Goodbye Marianne: The Graphic Novel
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Chocolate Lily Award
- Shortlisted for the 2009 Christie Harris Book Prize
A Telling Time
- Shortlisted for the 2006 for the Chocolate Lily
- Recipient of the 2006 White Raven Award
Floyd Flamingo & His Flock of Friends
- Winner of the 2006 Chocolate Lily Award (3rd place)
My Animal Friends
- Selected title for the 2004 BC Ready, Set, Learn Program
Praise for Kathryn Shoemaker
“I invited Kathie to do a presentation at the school where I was teaching. I mentioned to her that I had learned a great deal in her courses and was excited about the idea of having my students meet and learn from a ‘local’ author and children’s illustrator. She presented to the students in grades 4-7. She chose to do three different presentations in a two hour time frame since she felt that it was important to cover material that was appropriate for the different age groups. This impressed me and the grade four classes were thrilled to see how an
author/illustrator creates a picture book.”
—Laurie Clausen, retired teacher