StarWalk Kids Media, the award-winning PreK-8 digital learning company, has announced the publication of its first Young Authors Book as both an enhanced eBook and a paperback available from Amazon. Third grader Violetta J. Lam of Blue Springs, Missouri was selected from more than 900 entrants in a nonfiction writing contest for her manuscript entitled PLANTS AND ANIMALS. Sibert-Award winning illustrator Susan L. Roth traveled to Missouri and worked with the third-grader to illustrate her story, about the interdependence of plants and animals in our ecosystem.
BSSD Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Annette Seago originally conceived of the contest as part of a student writing program. “As we utilized the StarWalk Kids Media streaming eBook collection across our district and got to know their executives, I decided to reach out to the company and see if they would work with us to make an even great student payoff for participation in the writing contest. They immediately agreed, and the incredible illustrator Susan Roth signed on to come and work on the project.” Dr. Seago added, “Seeing the process of making a book come to life was transformative for our students.”
Here is how the illustrator Susan L. Roth described the experience in her blog:
In the attractive library at Daniel Young Elementary School in Blue Springs, Missouri, Violetta and I sat at one of the several library tables for about four hours without getting up! Two writing teachers were also in attendance. Together Violetta and I explored the way to illustrate a non-fiction text, one step at a time.
1. Read and re-read the text;
2. We divided the text into pages;
3. We made a quick storyboard;
4. We corrected the storyboard;
5. We made a tiny dummy to make sure that our pagination was correct (it wasn’t, we corrected it);
6. We made a small, but precisely proportional-to-the-book-size dummy, and numbered its pages. We cut the text into pieces, and taped each piece to its proper page;
7. We discussed possible images and sketched several possibilities on separate papers;
8. We sketched our ideas directly into the real dummy. Sometimes we disagreed. We talked out our different approaches until we reached agreement. Each of us did this without feeling that one of us was ever dominating the project.
The extraordinary thing that happened was the collaboration, one to one, between Violetta and myself as we were sitting together quietly for all those hours in the library. It was a genuine collaboration, and our age difference did not enter into the equation.
View Video Trailer of Plants and Animals.
StarWalk Kids Media's Liz Nealon said of the project, “As the Publisher of StarWalk Kids Media, it is my privilege to choose outstanding books by respected authors and illustrators to add to our growing collection. But we are a 21st century publisher for the rising new generation of talented and dedicated students, so we also feel it is important to publish books by authors of the future.”
The company has decided to make the Young Authors Series an annual event, and invites all schools and districts that subscribe to the StarWalk Kids Media collection to apply for the opportunity to submit next year’s winning entry for professional illustration and publication.
ABOUT ILLUSTRATOR SUSAN L. ROTH: Susan L. Roth is the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of over 45 children's books, but Susan doesn't paint! Over the years she has developed her own collage technique into one that is exclusively faithful to cutting and tearing. From the most complete background papers to the tiniest dots of eyes and I's, she ONLY cuts or rips. Her technique results in art that is expressive, textured and totally unique. Susan L. Roth has received numerous awards and recognition for her books, including the 2014 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal from American Library Association for Parrots Over Puerto Rico, co-authored with Cindy Trumbore. Hands around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books, co-authored with Karen Leggett Abouraya, received 2013 Arab American Book Award, was named one of Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children's Books of 2013, a 2013 Notable Social Studies Trade Books (National Council for the Social Studies and Children's Book Council) and a 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society (International Reading Association).
STARWALK KIDS MEDIA: Founded by renowned children’s science author Seymour Simon and former Sesame Street Creative Director Liz Nealon, StarWalk Kids Media is a PreK-8th Grade digital learning company. Its National Science Foundation-funded StarWalk Writer™ software raises the bar in educational technology, facilitating collaborative reading, writing and research in a single, digital environment. The Writer software is integrated with the company’s exclusive, enhanced eBook collection of 500+ titles from more than 150 celebrated authors including Seymour Simon, Jim Arnosky, Kathryn Lasky, Pat Mora, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Diane Stanley, Bernard Waber, Nikki Grimes, Jane Yolen and more. For a surprisingly affordable, annual subscription price, schools and libraries can access professionally narrated, high-quality mentor texts that allow multiple-user access and work on any device. Learn more at www.StarWalkKids.com.
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