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We will read The New Bicycle, discussing various images as we go. Afterward, we will do an interactive drawing based on one of the following:

Perilous Places: I will show earlier versions of my story and photographs of interesting buildings. Together, with suggestions from the children, I will draw a fantastic building.

Bicycle Overload: How many things can we pile on Mari's bicycle? I will show photographs I've collected of bicycles loaded with oddities. Then the children can choose from cards, or call out, suggestions of things for Mari to carry on her bicycle and I will draw them.

Happy and Sad Lines: Discuss the elephant's emotions in different images. The children can choose a card/call out an emotion, and I will draw it and then we will either change it or draw a contrasting emotion. 

Illustrations Games: How do illustrators get ideas or how do they illustrate someone else's ideas. Children choose from cards/call out an animal, a place, an action (or similar) and I attempt to illustrate it (with their help). 


Grades K-2


This talk gives young students an idea of what a writer/illustrator does, the different challenges of writing novels and picture books, editing and revision in both writing and illustrating, and depending on the class, I can also speak about publishing and the submission process for writers and illustrators. 

This can be tailored to the classroom's needs and timeframe. 


This interactive talk works best with smaller groups (1-2 classes at a time). 


Grades 2-12


This presentation focuses on illustration. It can be adapted to the age group.

For younger students, the focus is on what an illustrator does.

For older students, the focus is on process and illustration as a career.


Some possible discussion points:

  • What is an illustrator?

  • Compare illustrating another author’s text with being an author illustrator?

  • Process of book illustration, with examples of each stage.

  • Revision: page turns, rhythm, and balance.

  • Look at earlier texts and dummies of The New Bicycle.

  • Read the published copy of The New Bicycle

  • How does an illustrator get a job? Show my portfolio, postcards.


grades 2-4


This discussion uses picture books to discuss how we read images and the relationship between images and words. First, we look at Cendrillon, by Perrault, illus. Francine Vergeaux. Most children are familiar with a version of Cinderella so reading the images is easier than an unknown text. Then we look at De Nieuwe Fiets (The New Bicycle, in Dutch). Finally, we will look at The New Bicycle and discuss how the text works with the pictures but does not describe them.

Optional: Matching image and words exercise.


This interactive talk works best with smaller groups (1-2 classes at a time). 




Using art history topics, these art discussions challenge students to ask questions and look deeper at not only the art but hopefully the visual world outside the classroom. Talks can be about various periods or artists, depending on the curriculum. Based on the AIC teaching methods and Stages of Aesthetic Development, by Abigail Housen. 


Topics include but are not limited to:

Environmental Art: Andrew Goldsworthy

Architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright

American Art: Ivan Albright

Folk Art: American Quilts

American Art: Horace Pippin

Impressionism: various artists

European: Bernat Martorell’s St. George and the Dragon


In addition, I am happy to consider any requests for specific art or architecture subjects.


Note:These are discussions, not lectures and there is no studio art project. 

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