We were lucky enough to have an author and illustrator team, Tad and France Mitchell, visit our school last week.
I think author visits are fantastic for kids as writers. Getting to meet a “real” author is so inspiring and can make reading and writing come alive.
The author and illustrator team that visited us this winter have one book, Where is the Sears Tower?, which they self-published.
They were kind enough to offer a free paperback copy of the book to each classroom teacher that agreed to read the beginning of the book to the kids.
But what I really loved about their book was the brilliant artwork that many of my kids could recognize. We’re within a few short hours of Chicago, and the book features famous landmarks like Soldier Field, the “Bean,” and Navy Pier, along with- of course- the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower). Many of my students had been to places in the book and loved seeing familiar places.
Some of the canvas art was actually brought to our school, where the kids could see the paintings up close. The artwork was just incredible.
When they visited, the couple “acted out” the beginning of the book and talked about the message of “following your inner compass.” They talked about where they got their ideas and talked at length about the process of writing, illustrating, and actually publishing a book.
They even brought a video showing how the paperback and hardback books were printed and put together.
Every student got to take home a bookmark featuring the artwork, and those who wanted could buy copies of the book or art prints of the illustrations. The books were even personalized for free.
We’re planning on having another author visit later in the year (thanks to our amazing parent council and both authors living only a couple of hours away), but my kids really enjoyed meeting these two.
If you live near Chicago, you should definitely look into getting a copy of the book for your classroom! Your kids will really enjoy it.