Illustrator Jerry Pinkney is Picture of Success

On Monday, Lamplighter students were delighted to meet famed illustrator Jerry Pinkney, who has worked on more than 100 children’s books. His illustrations grace the pages of Little Red Riding Hood, the Ugly Duckling, and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

Pinkney read with students and even put on a workshop in giraffe drawing. For more information on the visit, check out the school’s release after the jump.

Celebrated Children’s Book Author-Illustrator Jerry Pinkney Visits Lamplighter

DALLAS, Nov. 7 The Lamplighter Dooley Author Series sponsored award-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney as the 2011-12 author of the year. An illustrator of over 100 children’s books, Mr. Pinkney engaged students with his drawings, storytelling and a narrative of his life as an illustrator.

Pinkney has won five Caldecott Honors, including the 2010 Caldecott Medal for “The Lion and the Mouse.” He has also received five Coretta Scott King Awards and has been nominated for the esteemed Hans Christian Andersen Award. His new book, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” features the lyrics of the popular children’s lullaby.

Second grade teacher, Ana Casanova, was excited to meet Mr. Pinkney but her students, who had been studying his illustrations and genre for several weeks were, as she explained, “Honestly, they were star struck!

Something he discussed that resonated with many of our young readers and writers was ‘work ethic.’ He encouraged the children to use the word ‘challenging’ instead of ‘this is hard.’ He also reminded them that when they write or create something they need to revise, revise, revise! This is something we have modeled for them during writing workshop but to hear it out of the mouth of a true artist and author was very powerful.”

Pinkney asked the pre-k students if they knew the word “personification.” He captivated them when sketching a giraffe and had students suggest items the giraffe might need to attend a birthday party. The students were actively involved in the process, helping to create the story as Mr. Pinkney illustrated before them.

Meg Graves, mother of Quinn, a K-T1 student, and third grader, Everett, summed up Pinkney’s visit this way, “they thought he was awesome! They came home chattering about the visit, excited to hear about Mr. Pinkney’s creative process and ‘fancy artist tools.’ Quinn was struck that, ‘he drew a giraffe with clothes!’ and thought it made the giraffe human and funny. Everett told me how ‘Mr. Pinkney explained how his childhood and personal experiences contribute to his art.’ Interestingly, Everett took that advice to heart as he started to work on a comic strip that night!”

Pinkney enjoyed lunch with former Head of School, Pat Mattingly, newly installed Head of School, Joan Hill, and Marilyn Halpin. Halpin and her daughter, Elizabeth McLamb, created the Dooley Fund in memory of Elizabeth’s father in 1996, that is used to support the author series. “Mr. Pinkney made art and literature accessible to the Lamplighter students in a unique way. He explores the possibilities with children and encourages their creativity. His visit was magical,” Mrs. Hill marveled.

Later Pinkney spent time with the third grade. According to teacher, Jody Stout, “Mr. Pinkney’s discussion of his collaboration with Julius Lester on the picture book ‘John Henry,’ was a highlight for third and fourth graders who have studied the legend in some depth. Mr. Pinkney encouraged our students to consider the unique problem solving required to illustrate figurative language. Many third graders were eager to consider the challenge.”

Ms. Stout added that “Mr. Pinkney encouraged the students to watch for his next book based on the classic tale of ‘Puss in Boots.’ Explaining that the project was planned prior to knowledge of the current film release, Mr. Pinkney stated that his work is inspired by the original tale. A handful of students noted, ‘Oh yeah, the original ‘Puss in Boots’ is from Shrek.”

“Ahh… youth” she grinned.

Finally Pinkney signed books and toured the barn on the campus of Lamplighter, where he enjoyed visiting the chickens and farm animals that, who knows, just might become come to life in his next children’s book.

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