Days 2-3 of author/illustrator Sophie Blackall’s five-day “Hello Lighthouse” tour took place at Lubec Consolidated School and Whiting Village School in Washington County.
Lubec Consolidated School
The gloomy day outside could do nothing to dampen the spirits inside Lubec Consolidated School where lighthouse poetry, paintings and clay models lit Sophie’s way to the room where pre-K and kindergarten students were waiting for her to read her book, “Hello Lighthouse.” Their questions, “Did you do that with a pencil?” and “How did you paint the fog?” revealed the intensity of their interest in the book. Sophie introduced the squiggly game and had kids draw a free-shaped line and then use their imaginations to see the possibilities of what it could be.
Sophie told them that sometimes you have to be upside down for this and as you can see, they had no problem complying. Sophie finished the picture with their suggestions and one girl asked, “How do we get our parents to do this at home?”
Grades 1-4 met in the art room with plenty of space for drawing. Sophie had them draw lighthouses with speech bubbles of what they might say, cutting them out and gluing them onto a mural together. They had a lot of fun taking selfies with Sophie and learning facts about Australia where she is from.
The upper grades were treated to a slideshow of Sophie’s travels with Save The Children, pictures of her studio in New York City and learned of the 45 books she has illustrated. Modeling on the idea of Sophie’s artwork in her adult book, “Missed Connections,” students created their own mixed people poster with fantastic results.
Students then had a blast drawing feet, legs, bodies and heads that were mixed in a pile and then glued onto a mural randomly to great effect. All the murals were hung in the hallways for continued giggling and fond memories of the day’s visit.
Whiting Village School
Sophie’s last stop in Washington County was in Whiting, before heading to Mount Desert Island for the night.
At Whiting Village School, Sophie shared some of the 45 books she has illustrated. “Big Red Lollipop” was one that had kids shouting, “We’ve read that one!” Their teacher believed that pretty much every student in the school had read it. This warmed Sophie’s heart!
It’s a pretty amazing experience to have an author/illustrator read their own book to you in person. She read aloud “Hello Lighthouse” to the youngest kids, her endearing Australian accent, her voice soft and lilting. On the last page she’d pause and ask the kids what they noticed in the illustration. “The girl has grown up!” “I see the lighthouse.” “I see all the pictures they had up in the lighthouse!” “I see the whale!”
Grades 1-4 had chosen lighthouses to research and created stories and pictures inspired by their findings. During their art workshop, they drew lighthouses and aliens to attach to a class mural. We loved their creativity!
In the grades 5-8 workshop, the older students worked on a mural inspired by “Missed Connections.” There were giant heads, tiny arms and crazy clothing. A fun day was had by all!