We have been excited since the very beginning of this year about author/illustrator Mike Curato visiting our school. Thanks to Henry Holt, a division of Macmillan, and Avid Bookshop, our local independent bookshop, Mike visited all of our Prek-2nd grade classes. We all read Little Elliot, Big City during library orientation this year, so we were super excited to meet the person who created it.
On field day, students created a massive window display of Little Elliot and cupcakes. They worked for 30 minutes designing their own special cupcake. They also added dots to a collaborate Little Elliot. Many volunteers worked to get all of the cupcakes and elephants onto our windows to celebrate the author visit.
The display has been so much fun to look at and watch students searching for their dots and cupcakes.
It was a busy time at our school during the visit because it is also our fall book fair. Instead of having our visit in the library, we moved everything to the cafeteria stage.
Students enjoyed a reading of Mike Curato’s new book Little Elliot, Big Family.
Mike had the book’s pages displayed on the large screen so that students could easily see what he was reading from the book. They were mesmerized by the story and were such careful listeners.
After his story, Mike shared some slides and stories about how he works as an author and illustrator. Students saw sketches beside finished artwork as well as a time lapse of a drawing being created. He also showed students pictures of how Little Elliot has changed through the years. He has been drawing him for several years, and he has gone through some changes along the way. We also saw sketches of some of Mike’s early artwork, which was a wonderful connection for our young learners to see how work they are doing right now could inspire a future career or hobby.
Students even got to see the cover of next year’s Elliot book Little Elliot, Big Fun.
Next, Mike worked with the entire room to create 3 pages of a new story. He wrote a sentence to start the story: “Elliot went to school”. Then, he drew Elliot on the page and let the students take it from there. They suggested things to add to the picture and Mike added them in. For the next 2 pages, Mike took suggestions from the audience about what Elliot should do. Students decided he would read a book and go to lunch. Once again, Mike added details to the drawing that were suggestions straight from the audience. The best part was that we got to keep the 3 drawings to enjoy in our library!
Finally, students got to ask questions. Mike jumped right out into the audience with the students to take their questions and give thoughtful answers. The kids were so attentive during the whole process.
Before Mike left, he took time to sign all of the books purchased by students. Our incredible PTA bought a copy of each book for every PreK-2nd grade classroom, so he signed those as well.
He also took time to look at the big window display and marvel at the students’ creativity. If you ever get the chance to have Mike Curato at your school, don’t hesitate. He was wonderful and the kids and teachers have talked about it all day. Be sure to check out both of his Elliot books, add them to your home and school collections, and enjoy the many positive messages that your sure to take after reading the books with kids.
Thank you Mike Curato and Avid Bookshop for a wonderful day! We can’t wait to reconnect once the Polka Dot Express arrives at our school soon!