It’s all about the Book

Recently we read Emily’s Art written and illustrated by Peter Catalanotto and he invited the students to send him some art. Well . . . Emily’s Art was such a special book that we wanted to “gift” Peter with something special in return. His paintings are truly majestic and we wanted to make something that might make him have a bit of that “glowy” feeling that he inspires in us as we look at his illustrations.

At the library, I found a copy of Book written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Peter Catalanotto. Sadly, this gorgeous book is out of print so we were lucky the VPL had a copy! Book is an ode to the magic and power of books. Lyon’s words and Catalanotto’s pictures invite us to escape to the magical place books transport us to simply by opening up the cover and stepping in . . .


We read this book a few times, marvelling at the images and savouring the words. We were delighted by the whirling words interacting with the images.  Students then wrote about what reading means to them.

P1020560The next day, inspired by this image (left) in particular, we started creating images.

While the students worked, I called each child up and we looked at their personal writing – selecting a line or a few lines that really captured their relationship to reading.

I typed up the text and then students added their text to their art in a variety of ways – inviting our viewers to celebrate reading, language and learning with us! Framed pieces are on display in the main office and in the library. Enjoy!

Lisa shared her feelings about books: I like books because each book has a different story in it.

Lisa's work

Many students wrote about the way reading makes them feel. Gary wrote: Reading is fun and calm. When I read, I visualize the pictures.

Kevin shared: “If you get really into the book, you might even dream about it. When my Mom and my teachers read to me, I feel relaxed and happy.”

Alyson is passionate on the subject! “Books change the world and books change us.”

Catriona writes: “I like reading because if you read a book, it feels like you travel into the book and you become your favourite character and you feel like you’re doing something you would love to do but it’s impossible.”

Catriona's piece

Sigh 🙂 Is that not beautiful? And if you look closely at Catriona’s picture, you might notice that she has a book heart.

Josiah shared: “I like reading because I learn new words. I get all emotional when it’s exciting.”

Eddy‘s picture is beautiful and bright and features a tree house up in a tree. He writes: “I’m happy when I read because I feel good and like I’m learning.”

Eddy's words

Learning while we read was a big theme! Jenifer says, “Books are telling things that we can learn.”

Jeremiah shares:” I like reading because it makes you learn stuff you need to learn. When I read, it feels like I’m in it.”

Sergio lays it out like only he can! “You know why I like reading? Because I will be smarter. And you know why I like being read to? Because the people that read to me, they will be smart like me.”

Ricky states: “When I read it’s like I’m watching a movie but I have to flip pages. When someone reads a good book, I can look at the pictures and visualize.”

Ricky's work

Many children wrote about how they love being read to. Always, read aloud times throughout the day are a time to connect, learn and discuss themes and concepts from the books we read.

Hajhare shares: “I like getting read to because the teacher always uses expressions and they talk kinda funny.”

Scott agrees. “I like when someone is reading to me because I could learn more stuff. It feels exciting.”

Truman drew himself happily celebrating reading.

“When someone reads to me, I feel like in the book.”

Truman's piece

This was a common theme.

Annie writes: “Books make you feel like you’re actually inside the book. I like books because they teach you things that you want to learn.”

Jenny’s thoughts are lovely. “Books are my friends and books are like alive to me. Looking at the illustrations gets me ideas.”

This was such an enjoyable way for our reading group to celebrate our relationship to books and reading.

Inspired by Book!

Copies of these gorgeous pieces are on their way to Peter Catalanotto as thanks for the inspiration!

Jena’s words are very special and capture the feeling of the cover image of Book.

“I like reading because I get to think of mystical things. When I finish the book and I like it so much I hold on to it and if it’s really emotional my eyes start to water.”

6 thoughts on “It’s all about the Book

  1. These are outstanding pieces of art and writing. This art work looks absolutely amazing hanging up in the office of Seymour Elementary School. Thanks, Ms. Gelson, for your creativity and inspiration.

  2. Love your words and your images. You all need to know that while the books you choose are most certainly beautiful books filled with powerful language and stunning images, it is your rich reponses that bring these books even more alive! Is it entirely all about the book? Love your work Ms Gelson!!

  3. Ahh. . . you are clever Ms. J! You are right – it is not just the book but the discussion, inspiration and thinking that makes it all come together. But, some books knock us right over. This was one.

  4. Pingback: Celebrating students, celebrating books | There's a Book for That

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