CLiF would like to introduce or re-introduce you to John Steven Gurney of Brattleboro, VT. John wrote and illustrated the graphic novel series Fuzzy Baseball series and the picture book Dinosaur Train. He has illustrated over 140 chapter books, including the chapter books A to Z Mysteries, the Bailey School Kids, and The Calendar Mysteries series. He has illustrated board games, advertising, posters, puzzles, and a shopping bag for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Watch a clip of John’s presentation from CLiF’s Virtual Author’s Series here.

Things to think about:

  • What is the appeal of drawing people and caricatures?
  • How is it similar and different to illustrate a book than to create a graphic novel?
  • How do you create illustrations? How do you use pencil/ink v color?
  • How many projects do you work on at one time? How does it work when you are writing and illustrating a book then when you are illustrating?

Here are a few ways to get to know John’s work better:

CLiF has created literacy activities for students of all ages here. Here are some that would go nicely with John’s work:

For younger kids:

  • Circle Story – arrange images in different orders to tell different stories
  • Grab a Word – try images instead of words to tell interesting stories and to play with words

For older kids:

  • Book Trailer Posters – use images to describe the action in your favorite book
  • Literacy Selfies – how would you use caricature or emojis to sum up your favorite book character?

For families:

  • Reading Passports – document the places you travel to with books, use words and images
  • Wonder Wall – mix up words and images for inspiration and conversation starters

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