Todd Hall Elementary elephant sculpture
Make-A-Book Project

An elephant-sized lesson in recycling

Last week I got to visit a school in the Chicago area to discuss a potential make-a-book project about recycling. The art teacher Ms. Holly, of Todd Hall Elementary School, thought of making an elephant sculpture out of recyclable laundry detergent bottles. This is a great, life-sized example of just

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A aerial view of my message. It could read "We ♥ worms" or "We heart worms" or "We love worms."
How we make stuff

We ❤ Worms

School playground photo of “We ❤ worms”. I’m very surprised this picture turned out so great! Another one of my personal favorites. And a giant framed photo will soon be hanging in the school office until the end of times.

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Students examining some red worms up close.
How we make stuff

Collateral worm book projects

While I was producing the final book, the students continued exploring some related projects. Pictured here is Mrs. Lambert’s class examining some red worms up close.

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Sorting the illustrations
How we make stuff

Choosing drawings for the new book

After working with the elementary students for 6 days, I got approximately 1000 drawings to choose from. So, being more of the right-brained-artistic type, it is a major organizational challenge.

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A colorful sign with bugs and a voting box and ballots.
How we make stuff

Name that bug contest

One fun idea to get the students more involved in the production of the book was to have them name the characters in the story. So I, along with my self-appointed fan club, made this ballot box.

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Illustration ideas by subject
How we make stuff

Thinking outside the words

I continue to learn how to work with the various ways kids learn and create. Some students prefer to illustrate an actual sentence from the book, which requires a more literal interpretation; while other students prefer a more conceptual approach.

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Scott Stoll hands out pages with excerpts from his book, “Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job,” to students at the Waukesha STEM Academy’s Randall Campus this week. Students are drawing illustrations for the book. Photo by Wentz-Graff, Milwaukee Journal
How we make stuff

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article

World traveler came home to fulfillment. This is a great story about my trip around the world, coming home, and how this all evolved into working with local schools to illustrate children’s books.

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Teachers dressed as their favorite storybook character IMG 1889
How we make stuff

Storybook Parade

During my visit, which was Reading Week, one of the teachers organized a Storybook Parade, where all the teachers dressed as their favorite storybook character and paraded through the hallways.

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