Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let Me Draw You a Picture!

Books We Love: Make a World by Ed Emberley
If you have a child who is just learning how to write, you know that they learn their letters one stroke at a time. There are any number of workbooks and apps that encourage kids to trace letters. It’s fundamental and one of the building blocks of literacy. I don’t need to sell you on its importance.

But we as parents often take another tack when it comes to drawing, which often boils down to, “Here’s some paper and crayons. Have fun.” If you’re convinced you yourself can’t draw, it could be difficult to help your kids explore and cultivate this skill. A great resource is the book Make a World by Ed Emberley; or for that matter, any one of a number of drawing books by Emberley.

Emberley’s books make drawing simple and straightforward. If your child can draw lines and simple shapes, they can draw the world. And Emberley shows how, one step at a time: how to start with a simple shape, add a line like so, and after a few steps, people, animals, vehicles, and you name it emerge. It’s another form of literacy, sure to encourage an “a ha” moment in your child. Add to that the satisfaction of being able to communicate through pictures and a new world is opened to them.

Ed Emberley is convinced that anyone can draw and his books can make a believer (and an artist) out of virtually anyone. Emberley’s the author of over eighty books including Go Away, Big Green Monster! He won a Caldecott Honor in 1967 for One Wide River to Cross and the Caldecott Medal in 1968 for Drummer Hoff. He started creating his drawing books back in the 1970s and they’re still in print. They cover a wide range of topics—like animals, faces, Halloween—and suggest different “drawing” techniques, such as Picture Pie with instructions on how to create illustrations from cut paper.

One of my favorites, Fingerprint Drawing Book, is filled with clever ideas for incorporating your fingerprints into simple illustrations. With Fingerprint Drawing Book, kids will enjoy creating the illustrations, but I think parents will enjoy incorporating a bit of their children into holiday decorating, the creation of greeting cards, and the simple but adorable personalization of just about everything. It’s a good sign when your kids’ books get you thinking, too.

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