English · PDHPE · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book review: The Dot

the dot

Book review: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot is the story of Vashti, who somewhere along the line has lost her confidence in her drawing abilities. Thankfully, she has an understanding art teacher, who has most likely taught many students with this same view.

(As an art teacher, I have taught many students who have announced that they couldn’t draw. One of those students went on to become a recognised artist for their drawing ability!)

Vashti, in frustration, jabs the paper and creates “The Dot”. With encouragement and determination, she goes on to explore the basic shape as an artmaking theme and creates bigger and more exciting artworks each time she creates. Her confidence grows and she encourages others with their drawing as well.

This is a beautiful book about not giving up, keeping it simple, developing skills, having a go, growing in confidence and encouraging others. We are dedicated fans of author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and highly recommend his books, particularly the others in this set, Ish and Sky Color.

To extend the learning from this book you could have a read of the following activities.

  • Discussion: Do you sometimes feel like drawing is difficult like Vashti did? Do you have a go anyway?
  • What artworks could you create using just dots?
  • How important is encouragement to you and do you like to encourage others?
  • Yayoi Kusama is a popular artist who uses dots in her work. Have a look at this white room in a gallery that visitors were able to stick coloured dot stickers onto the walls, floors and furniture!*

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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*Note: We do our best to make sure any external links are suitable but a supervising adult will need to do the research first to check that the content is suitable for students. Many artists have a wide range of artworks and although some artworks may be suitable for children and families, other artworks may not be. Supervising adults are responsible for ensuring that the content is appropriate.

English · PDHPE · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: The Book of Mistakes

book of mistakes

Book Review: The Book of Mistakes, written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken

Goodness, this book is a gorgeous gathering of images and messages all bundled up into one wonderful book.

Artist Corinna Luyken has shared her vulnerable artmaking approach in this whimsical story about how sometimes the mistakes we make (in art or life) can be the inspiration for something even better. This book won me over with it’s celebration of genuine creativity and it’s clever incorporation of the artmaking process into the story. The drawings are full of personality and character and as the story evolves we get to see how those characters and mistakes fit into the big picture.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Have a chat about how sometimes our mistakes can be really frustrating but maybe we could look at them as inspiration instead. Mistakes are part of the artmaking process and the more we accept that, the more we will learn about art.
  • Draw a character, but as you make mistakes, turn those mistakes into unique characteristics for your drawing.
  • In pairs, draw 4-5 lines and/or shapes on a piece of paper. Swap the paper with the other person and try to turn the lines and shapes into a picture.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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English · Geography · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Australia Illustrated

Australia

Book Review: Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an Australian artist who has illustrated many books. Her journey also includes a lot of other creative ventures, including encouraging others to draw and illustrate. Anyone who helps promote creativity in Australia gets a big thumbs up from us!

Australia Illustrated is a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to bringing the character of Australia to life through McCartney’s whimsy, watercolour images and digital art. Each section of this vast and varied country is explored, from the iconic places we know and love to the quirkier details that make us want to explore it more. From major cities to iconic foods, animals to historic details, Australia Illustrated is a visual feast of learning.

This book is a perfect way to introduce kids to the geography and diversity of this big land. The illustrations are an ideal way to communicate all of the amazing details and both kids and adults will be inspired. It would also be the perfect companion to anyone who is exploring Australia or planning a trip!

Tania McCartney’s website has links to teaching notes that explain all of the ways her book relates to different subject areas. It has quite a few ideas for activities in those different subject areas too.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some extra suggestions for activities.

  • On a map of Australia, plan a trip based on the things from the book you would like to visit.
  • Draw some of your own illustrations of things you think are important for people to know about Australia or another country that is significant to you.
  • Using the illustrations you have drawn from the previous task, create a poster/brochure for your chosen country.
  • Give watercolour painting a go!

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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English · Geography · History · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Home

home

Book Review: Home by Jeannie Baker (It is also titled Belonging)

Home is one of the many, many books created by collage construction artist, Jeannie Baker. This book is the companion to another book of Baker’s, Window. Where Window creatively documents the urban sprawl of a suburb through the changing view from the window, Home/Belonging documents the hopeful reverse, where the concrete jungle of the city becomes slowly transformed into a lush green community space for the residents and native creatures. You can read more about the ideas of this wonderful book on Jeannie Baker’s website.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then Jeannie Baker’s, often wordless books, speak volumes about community, culture, the environment and changing times. There is a reason they are on the NSW English suggested texts lists for Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 multiple times. They speak to people of all ages through the different layers of meaning.

Jeannie Baker demonstrates extreme levels of patience with her artmaking method, building up collages, layer by layer after dreaming up the idea, creating the images to work from and sourcing all of the varied materials. We have been fortunate enough to visit an exhibition of her collage works from her books and they are truly inspiring.

To extend the learning from this book, there are so many things you could do.

  • Collect materials and design and make your own collage construction.
  • Look at old photos of your own city, town or environment and see how it has changed over time.
  • Brainstorm ways to include more native plants in your community.
  • Research what the environmental issues are in your local community and think about what you could do to help solve these problems.
  • Write a description of a community from the perspective of two families. One perspective from today and one perspective from fifty years ago.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.