The last few days flew by in what felt like five minutes. Yesterday, at one point, I was laughing to myself about the sheer number of balls that were in the air and the number of student and teacher requests – a happy situation, but I bet there’s an escaped ball bouncing around somewhere.
The book I kept peeking at during the Wednesday frenzy was aptly titled – Scraps. Yesterday, cold and blustery in New England, was the perfect day to escape into Ehlert’s explosion of color. But this morning I had a chance to really enjoy Lois Ehlert’s bright and vibrant new book, Scraps: Notes From a Colorful Life. This is a “must buy” for young and not-so-young artists at any level. Ehlert, the illustrator of thirty-five picture books including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, opens her studio and shares her process and “scraps” about her life and work. Ehlert’s collections dazzle. She collects everything – words, photographs, fabric swatches, milagros, leaves and colors! My favorite items were cinnamon sticks and Mexican scrub brush. “Mother Nature gives me free art supplies,” she writes. Ehlert’s book is inspiring and beautiful in equal measure. You could make an art teacher very happy by sharing Scraps with them.
The “Big Question” column in this month’s issue of The Atlantic asks 10 well-known writers to name the “Greatest Fictional Character of All Time.” The responses are interesting and worth checking out. Here’s the link:
Michael Cunningham makes a good case for Emma Bovary’s inclusion on the list. Cunningham writes that Bovary “may not be the greatest of fictional characters, but she’s the greatest fictional creation. She’s selfish, frivolous and dim-witted. She’s unfaithful. She’s vain. But Flaubert insisted so ardently on her right to our attention that he created a tragic, immortal literary figure out of a twit. That’s greatness.” Cunningham is right. Emma Bovary is all of those things, but I remember reading the book and feeling simultaneously infuriated and sympathetic towards her.
When we were in Mexico a few weeks ago, our hotel room happened to be directly across the street from the Oaxaca Central Library. I took a walk over one morning and found the children’s room where this poster was hanging:
Only when I asked our Spanish teacher to translate, did I learn that it reads: Where are You Going, Tomas? To Read More!
And, finally, an impressive piece of white board art….
I’m reading A Wrinkle in Time with a group of students right now, and today I saw that one of our students was inspired to draw Mrs. Who. Pretty good…and I just noticed that it reads “logistics” over Mrs. Who’s head. Perhaps she is thinking about the logistics of traveling through a tesseract!