Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Learning Early

Whatever the cost of our libraries the price is cheap compared to an ignorant nation.  Walter Cronkite

Jody Suiter introduces Lyn Fenwick as the day's speaker.
Everyone watches for the next pop-up illustration!
The flyleaf of Isaac's journal included a notation, "Vol. 5th."  At that time, Isaac was in his mid-20s, apparently having already filled four earlier journals!  His twin brother also kept a journal, now in a library in Reading, PA.  According to school records, Isaac and his brother were both attending school at the age of seventeen, longer than many students of that era.  Apparently Isaac's parents taught their children a love for learning, a quest for reading, and a habit of regular journaling.  (See "Advice from Henry Ward Beecher," 12/7/2012.)  

The training to learn these things is best taught early, and Isaac's old community is fortunate to have excellent small-town libraries. (See "April Delight," 4/30/2014 about the Kinsley Library.)  St. John has a wonderful library located next to the school so that it can be utilized by the students.  Several old photographs appearing in previous blogs were found there.  (See "Music on the Prairie," 1/24/2013 and "Women on the Prairie," 2/2/2013.)

I am particularly impressed by the Macksville City Library and its librarian, Jody Suiter.  It was Jody who contacted me to do a program about "The Wizard of Oz."  (See "Isaac and the Wizard of Oz," 12/15/2011.)  That program, initiated by Jody, was held in the library of the Macksville Grade School, with several grades attending a series of programs planned for the different grade levels throughout the afternoon.
Sharing Robert Sabuda's art.

The Summer Reading Program for Macksville kids is amazing for such a small town.  I was pleased when Jody asked me to do a presentation about engineered books.

Remember, you can click on the images to enlarge them.

Sometimes a little help is really appreciated.
I began with a fairly simple engineered book from the 1950s, "Santa Claus in Toyland," and followed with another Christmas book by Tasha Tudor.  I told the children about the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in Abilene, TX and shared  "Knick-Knack Paddywhack!" by Paul Zelinsky, whom we met at the NCCIL.
This young artist needs no help.

When I shared the beautiful pop-up book illustrated by Kees Moerbeek, an artist from the Netherlands, depicting the classic "Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees," I told them about checking out this original story by Johnny Gruelle from the old St. John Library over the fire station, a magical place in my memory from my pre-school visits many years ago.  I followed that with a recently published pop-up book of the classic by Antoine De Saint-Exupery's, "The Little Prince."

A special card for Dad!
I had asked the children if they could ever imagine a trip to the dentist as being a wonderful memory to one famous artist of children's pop-up books.  I explained that it was in a dentist office where Robert Sabuda saw his first engineered book, and I told them to remember to listen for his name.

Young artists pose with their cards.
When it was finally time to enjoy the Sabuda books, several hands shot up to show that they remembered his name.  I began with "Fairies and Magical Creatures." Next I turned every page and read aloud Maurice Sendak's "Mommy?" engineered by Sabuda's partner Matthew Reinhart, and they loved all the ghoulish creatures!  Many of the children remembered Sabuda's "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" from seeing it when we did the Oz programs at the school, followed by Sabuda's "Peter Pan."  I saved Sabuda's "Alice in Wonderland" for last, finishing with the dramatic scene of Alice throwing all of the playing cards into the air.

The children help each other make their cards.
When my part of the program ended, Jody had a special project for the children, inspired by ideas from  Using the ideas for creating pop-ups that she found there, she provided the materials for the children to make pop-up Father's Day cards, or cards for anyone they wanted to surprise with a hand-crafted card.

Mrs. Loomis helps with a pop-up card.
All of the photographs on this blog were taken in the Macksville City Library on a rainy day where a group of eager children learned about the magic of engineered books and created their own special pop-up cards.  Walter Cronkite and Isaac Werner would have smiled at the enthusiasm of these children as they selected the books they wanted to take home to read!  It certainly looked as if they were well on their way to a lifetime love of reading!!

To see more photographs and read more about the Summer Reading Program you may visit  

No comments: