Riding through an artist’s life – a celebration of Melissa Sweet

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

When you read stories with children you know that everything in a book matters. Everything. Each word. Each image. The end pages. The book jacket. Every tiny detail. Children notice and question everything. They remind us that it is more than words that tell a story. The story becomes alive via their interactions. Reading to children is a joy.

Illustrator and author Melissa Sweet is all about each tiny detail. And lots and lots of joy. We immersed ourselves in Melissa Sweet‘s world a while back for an illustrator study and I had the pleasure of introducing Melissa (with help from my little artists) when she spoke in Bellingham at the Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference.

This post celebrates that wonderful week and the introduction that was the result.

From my introduction:

Melissa Sweet is Melissa Sweet for all day of every day. In my Grade 2/3 class in Vancouver BC, we waded and splashed through her world for one full week of learning and inspiration.

  • We made some art
  • We looked at some things from new perspectives
  • We did some research
  • We fell in love with graph paper
  • And of course, we read some beautifully, beautifully detailed picture books

In a 2010 interview with Julie Danielson from the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Melissa Sweet indicated that she would love any job that involved a bicycle. You will see a bit of a homage to the bicycle here. All bicycles are original pieces inspired by a sketch by Melissa.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

During the week we read or reread many titles illustrated or written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Inspired by the pencil characters in Little Red Writing, we drew some of our own.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for ThatRiding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa Sweet #sol16

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

We wrote and illustrated our own Night poems Melissa Sweet style. This illustration is from the book Firefly July:

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

And our work:

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

 

 

These look stunning mounted on a double bulletin board display.

 

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for ThatRiding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

We read that Melissa fears anything to do with a ladder and decided to think about why.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

We thought that maybe she should rethink this fear and look at ladders from some new perspectives. Can you spot the ladder in each picture?

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

And I am sure she never thought of this one:

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for ThatWhen my students from last year heard I was doing an illustrator study on Melissa Sweet, they wanted to participate. Last year The Right Word was part of our Mock Caldecott and they were fascinated by Melissa’s work. They drew all of the bicycles and helped make a number of green things. In Little Red Writing, there were scraps and scraps of red things collected in a basket.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

We read that Melissa was maybe not so great at relaxing and so thought we would make her some green things to help her feel calm.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Some things I expected.

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Some I didn’t

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Some were maybe not so calming!

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

 Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

I brought them all along (108 green things at last count) and gifted them to Melissa so she could relax during her presentation 🙂

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

If this post weren’t already a million images long, I would share some of the wonderful in Melissa’s presentation. But it is, so I won’t. I leave you with just these words from her:

“The act of drawing is thinking and remembering”

Sounds a lot like the act of writing. Of telling stories. This telling was a visual feast to celebrate the incredible Melissa Sweet!

Riding through an artist's life - a celebration of Melissa Sweet There's a Book for That

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March. This is day #26

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

This is also a celebration post.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!

Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.

celebrate-link-up

43 thoughts on “Riding through an artist’s life – a celebration of Melissa Sweet

  1. Carrie, I’m so glad you shared this presentation. I wish everyone could have heard you give it. It was delightful! My favorite part was rethinking ladders and of course, the snail slime to help her relax!

  2. She is a wonderful author/illustrator gift to us, and I think your students will never forget that time, Carrie. Did you know that she has a book coming about E.B. White? Can’t wait. Like always, thanks for sharing all the pictures. (I could have looked at more!)

  3. What a tribute to accompany your lovely introduction of Melissa at the WWUCLC. I’m grateful to see/read/view your students’ responses again, with time to linger over their celebration and inspiration gleaned from her work. Thanks to you and your students for reminding us how Melissa Sweet’s brilliance translates through children’s perspectives.

  4. I love that you immerse your students in an author and that last year’s students heard and wanted in on it too. What a way to build a love of reading! And you’re so right about how everything in a book counts with little ones. My toddler notices so much that would slip right past me. He’s teaching me what visual literacy is truly about!

  5. LOVE love this post. I was thinking throughout it that we stop that way of learning when we are adults. We don’t stop and draw “like” an author or think of things an author might like. I think it might help me write better book reviews if I try to think and proceed this way as well.

  6. A visual feast for a reader’s eyes! What a wonderful presentation! Thank you for sharing the celebration of the learning that happens in your class.

  7. Amazing work you and your students did as you immersed yourselves in the work and person of Melissa Sweet. I loved studying all of it! I especially delighted in the rethinking of ladders. Your students will never just read the words of a book again. You have taught them to savor every bit of a book.

  8. There are so many times I wish I could be right there in your classroom. This is a week I would have loved. You created so many great experiences with her books! What a treat for your students. I so love Melissa Sweet’s work.

  9. I so enjoy reading your posts. They are filled with joy! Thank you for sharing so much about Melissa Sweet and all the work and thinking from your kids. It just made me smile. 🙂

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