Young authors display work at library

Jasper Haase, J.T. Geraci, and Nicholas Conti peruse the books written and illustrated by their peers.

Jasper Haase, J.T. Geraci, and Nicholas Conti peruse the books written and illustrated by their peers.

The Art of the Story is a new display in the Cornwall Public Library Community Room. Over the course of four to six weeks, 25 kids wrote and illustrated short stories during a series of workshops led by Alaina Enslen.

An opening reception was held this month and samples of the children’s work were put on display until the end of August.

The spring workshop was open to students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Enslen worked with the younger children, talking to them about the primary colors and how they can be mixed to create secondary colors. Then she started with a general theme, “I am an artist,” and asked the kids to create artwork with that theme in mind. She asked them to consider how they see themselves as an artist when they create their drawings.

The older kids had an open-ended list of options when it came to selecting a subject for their short stories. Among those chosen were unicorns, Minecraft, and science.

The next step in the creative process was to develop a storyboard of eight or 16 pages, depending on how much text they wanted in their book.

“I would help them create the storyboard and sequence the art with text to make sure it flowed nicely,” said Enslen.

Once the storyboard was laid out, the kids worked everyday on their story. The illustrations were completed using water colors, markers, colored pencils, or paint. The end of each book included a short biography and a photo.

Enslen then had each book professionally printed.

The stories were first unveiled during a book reading and signing at 2 Alices in May. Each child read their book aloud, then they went around collecting autographs from their peers.

“I really wanted the kids to see how art works in the community,” Enslen said. “This added another level of confidence. Most of the kids at first didn’t want to read in front of everybody. Once they saw their peers doing it and they got encouragement, they were able to stand up and share their artwork and share their books. They had a great time.”

Enslen then spoke to the library staff about putting on a display. A table has been set up featuring some of the books. Along the walls are enlarged versions of some of the illustrations that appear in the books.

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Jason Kaplan