Show & tell
It was “show and tell” at the James V. Brown Library Tuesday morning as author and illustrator Susan Stockdale presented her book “Stripes of All Types.”
Stockdale was here as part of the Pennsylvania One Book for Every Young Child program. She presented writing and illustrating techniques to children from the Children’s Learning Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Children’s Development Center and other children throughout the community. Each child was sent home with a copy of the book.
Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child program highlights the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers ages 3 to 6. The program’s design is based adults engaging children in activities like talking about a book’s cover and illustrations, discussing the action in the book and favorite parts, pretend play related to the book and more. The program provides opportunities for adults to read aloud and share books, stories and related activities with preschoolers, which has been shown to be crucial to early learning.
“There have been so many studies that have proven that reading to young children, enhances their vocabulary and prepares them for school and is the best predictor of success,” Stockdale said.
As a child, Stockdale spent time living in Florida and Ireland. It was there she learned to love nature and animals at a young age. Her mother was a published poet and taught her to rhyme words.
When she went on to college she majored in art, and after graduating she worked in public relations. Although she worked in public relations, she would take on art projects on the side. One example of her art projects included working as a freelance textile designer, where she created patterns for clothing.
Through her experiences she learned to love patterns, colors and details, which she has incorporated in all six of her published books.
During her presentation Tuesday, she explained to the children how she comes up with ideas for stories and how she illustrates them in her home studio in Chevy Chase, Md. She told them that she loves doing the fine detail in the illustrations, such as painting a tiger’s stripes, and has loved doing fine details since she was a child.
Stockdale told the children that she does a lot of research when creating her books.
“I have to make sure everything in my book is factually accurate,” Stockdale said.
The book “Stripes of All Types,” is about animals around the world and how they benefit from their stripes, so Stockdale took advantage of living near the Washington area and did research at the Smithsonian and the National Zoo. She worked with eight scientists, who are credited in the book, to make sure she had a accurate description of each animal in the book.
“When people help you in life, you have to thank them,” Stockdale said.
At the end of the book Stockdale also included a picture glossary of each animal. She includes: why the animal has stripes, how the stripes benefit the animal, where the animal lives and what kind of animal it is.
She also included a game in the back of the book, where the children can guess the stripes to each animal.
Stockdale hopes that her book encourages parents and care givers to read to their children and excite them about the joy of reading.
“I am so thrilled to be an ambassador for this program.”