SCBWI Big Five Oh Conference Sketches

There is so much to be gained from sketching speakers at conferences, and while I enjoy being there in person the virtual sessions allow a much better closeup for features. I enjoyed myself immensely this year!

Peter Brown, TeMika Grooms, Saho Fujii
Cecilia Yung, Barbara Marcus, Sophie Blackall
Laurent Linn, Ann Whitford Paul, Mike Curato
Don Tate, Linda Sue Park, Paul O. Zelinsky

PPBF: It Jes Happened

Author: Don Tate
Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, 2012
Age Level: 6 and up
Themes: African American painters, folk art, Alabama, biography
Opening: It was early summer in Montgomery, Alabama, 1939. On downtown Monroe Avenue, an elderly man sat on a wooden crate. With a board laid across his lap and the stub of a pencil grasped in his hand, he began to draw a picture on the back of a discarded laundry soap box.
Summary: A biography of twentieth-cenury African American folk artist Bill Traylor, a former slave who at the age of eighty-five began to draw pictures based on his memories and observations of rural and urban life in Alabama.

Why I like this book: This is a beautifully written story of a very poor man whose light certainly shined within (Traylor is now considered to be one of the most important self-taught folk artists). Here another excerpt: ‘Rectangles became bodies; circles became heads and eyes; lines became outstretched arms, hands, and legs. He filled in shapes with sketchy lines and smoothed out edges.’ In researching this post I was surprised to find out that Tate is better known as an illustrator. I was so taken by the story that I asked, and found out, that there will (hopefully) soon be a site where we can view Traylor’s original work.
Resources/Activities: Check out the teacher’s guide on Don Tate’s website, by Debbie Gonzales.


For more PPBF picks, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE