Speed Mural

Each October, as part of the Taleblazers program, the Young Alberta Book Society sends authors and illustrators around the province to talk to schoolkids about writing and drawing books. If you are a teacher, librarian or parent, you should check it out: www.yabs.ab.ca.

Last week for Taleblazers, I headed to northeastern Alberta. At one school, I enlisted a grade five class to make a collaborative speed mural. We brainstormed ideas to design a fantasy creature, drew two drafts and took turns coloring our group picture with oil pastel. The students incorporated tree characeristics into our critter because they've been studying forests. Can you spot the places where we used our brainstormed ideas?

Leaves

Branches

Crown

Canopy

Roots

Trunk

Owl

Bird

Star-Nosed Mole

Deciduous

Coniferous

From brainstorming to sketch drafts to full color mural - colored by the students in relay teams - all in fifteen minutes. Not bad, huh? I wish I could always have this crew of grade five students in my studio when I'm struggling under deadline!

Ravessa, a grade five student, gave me a copy of her story entitled The Lost Page, about two girls who encounter an enigmatic character and a strange book. Will Charlie and Audrey be able to unravel a mystery, find the lost page and save the world?

And Kody from grade three gave me this marker drawing.

I love it! Thanks to Kody, Ravessa, Ardmore Grade Five Speed Muralists, and to all the kids, teachers and librarians I met last week. Keep on reading, writing and drawing!