Tag Archives: young alberta book society

SHS Elementary Inspired by Visit from Illustrator Georgia Graham

20141006-DSCF5021Yesterday,  elementary students at Swan Hills School were treated to presentations by Alberta illustrator and author, Georgia Graham. Growing up on an Alberta farm and now living on a tree farm in central Alberta, Georgia has a natural affinity for animals and wildlife which shows in the  beautiful and realistic drawings in Where Wild Horses Run among others. Georgia also excels in a completely different style with the humourous cartoon-style images in books like Here Comes Hortense and The Lime Green Secret.

6164409While fascinating the kids by drawing detailed pictures, she told her stories  and showed slides of her illustrations and the photos she took while researching. She showed pictures of herself as a child and her early drawings, and talked about how she had been fascinated with pastels since her mother gave her a set in Grade 4.

6321955Working through pastel drawings of a circle transformed into an apple, a scene with a road through hilly hay fields (from The Strongest Man This Side of Cremona) , a sled dog (from A Team Like No Other) and several others,  she demonstrated how to create depth and perspective in objects and scenes with shadow and light. She described the process involved in creating a book from concept to publication and how she often uses an inspiring true story to ‘tweak’ into a great fiction book.

GeorgiaGrahamSwanHillsSchool2014Division Two learned the proportions and shading techniques of making a realistic portrait and Division One watched her create the whimsical, cartoon-style protagonist of The Lime Green Secret. After each drawing was complete, she drew the name of a student who would take the drawing home. The kids were amazed and enlightened as she laid transparencies in cyan, magenta, yellow and black over one another to create a final image of one of her illustrations from the very popular Tiger’s New Cowboy Books written by Irene Morck.

3141384Students had been introduced to Georgia Graham’s books in library classes and were eager to meet her. They were not disappointed as she fleshed out their experiences with the books and gave them the motivation to check them out more closely on their own, which will broaden their understanding of Alberta, of nature, of people and of life – those things we all gain from intimacy with books.

6881719With their beautiful, realistic depictions of Alberta’s landscapes, several of Georgia’s books are listed in Learn Alberta’s Social Studies Literature Connections (K-12), and more could be added for students studying Alberta in general, various geographical regions, rural life and individual identity. Based on a true story, The Strongest Man This Side of Cremona tells of the destruction of a farm during a tornado that hit the area in 1965. Sweeping prairie vistas and period-accurate illustrations strengthen the story of how the experience must have felt to one small boy.  Sled dog driving is featured in A Team Like No Other,  a story of love and trust set in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.


Illustration from ‘Where Wild Horses Run’ by Georgia Graham

Our annual author visits are partially funded by the Young Alberta Book Society, who in turn are sponsored by many groups and agencies. We pay the artist’s fee only with the money we earn through the excellent local patronage of our annual Book Fair.

Next week is the Junior & Senior High’s turn when storyteller and urban myth exploiter Gail de Vos visits on the 15th.

Georgia Graham’s Website
Reviews on Goodreads
Young Alberta Book Society’s Taleblazers



Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education, Library Programs

Great news, sage advice and a little bit of dreaming to wrap up the school year

Marty Chan

I received some great news the other day in an email from the Young Alberta Book Society, which supports reading, writing and the work of Alberta authors, illustrators and storytellers. YABS hosts an annual literary arts festival for children called Taleblazers. I have participated for almost every one of my thirteen years at the school and I was thrilled to hear that I will be hosting a visit from Marty Chan next October.

Something else to look forward to in the fall is the announcement of the winners of the array of awards —– by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. You can see all the finalists at the link.

But for now – School’s Out for Summer. The kids will forget all about us for two months. Teachers, administrators and support will try to do the same – on and off – for a few days less than the kids. I don’t expect to be posting much over the summer if at all, but you never know. I might just come across something interesting by accident and have to share it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be at the school as little as possible to tidy up for September. I also have the yearbook to finish, company coming and a few short trips planned, and a couple of weddings to attend. Of course I’ll be reading; I’ll be spending lots of time with my children and grandchildren, my parents and siblings and my friends. I’m looking forward to doing a little horseback riding with my hubby. I want to get out as much as possible with my camera and make some posts for my photography and nature blogs, which have been sorely neglected…

And then…I will try to follow the sage 5-Rs advice of the inimitable Daring Librarian: Relax, Reflect, Revise, Rededicate and Rejoice. Each stage has it’s own challenges and 2 months doesn’t seem like enough time to get through the process, but I will try to fit it all in because I’m a library manager and I’m totally used to biting off way more than I can chew.

From my little town in the woods of Alberta, I wish all of those who wander by here the best of the best during the next two months. See you again in September.

Evening by a Pond on the Hill


Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Library Management, Wisdom