Sunday, March 7, 2010

Guest Post from Hillary: A Visit with Author/Illustrator Floyd Cooper

This social media is a funny little thing. Take my friendship with Hillary C. (no, not that one), who I've known since my college days. Back then, although our respective circles of friends occasionally overlapped (an inevitability given the small size of our alma mater and the close-knit atmosphere on our campus), Hillary and I were mostly acquaintances than best buds. 

Which you'd never guess now, judging from how often we "talk" via Twitter, usually several times a day. So when Hillary mentioned that her son's school would be hosting a visit from children's author and illustrator Floyd Cooper, I offered her a guest post here - since I've been known to write a thing or two about books on occasion.

You can find my friend Hillary at her personal blog called my scraps ... a place of ideas, opinions and memories (she is an awesome scrapbooker!), on Twitter, and blogging as Scrappin' Mom on MomSpace.  And right here, as she tells us about their school's visit with author/illustrator Floyd Cooper. Please welcome my friend Hillary and enjoy her guest post.

Our elementary school hosts an author/illustrator visit each year. I have had the pleasure of chairing the committee that coordinates this event for the past 4 years.

This year’s author/illustrator was Floyd Cooper. Prior to this event, I was not at all familiar with Mr. Cooper’s work. I learned a bit by preparing our order form, and doing the administration of ordering the books and getting them ready for him to sign. When I had 88 copies of various books that he has written and illustrated strewn across my living room floor. . .I realized his amazing talent.

The covers that stared back at me from the floor were beautiful. The colors and the soft focus brought a feeling of peace and contentment. He uses warm colors in his illustrations, and everything is soft and comfortable. I couldn’t help but pull a few to read through. . .they didn’t disappoint.

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Cooper when he came to school to talk to the children and sign their books. (pictured here, with the school librarian). He is a soft-spoken, charming man. He was funny and kind and the entire school was enchanted with his visit. Mr. Cooper provided a presentation (complete with original, on-the-spot illustrations) for each grade level. In addition, one child from each grade won the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Cooper over lunch. There was much talk of how to become an author. Mr. Cooper’s advice was to READ – a lot!

In between presentations, Mr. Cooper signed and personalized over 88 of his books. He also chatted with our librarian and myself about writing, authors, books and life in general. He has two boys of his own. Mr. Cooper also took the time to look at all the children’s artwork, inspired by his books, that the librarian had hung around the library.

I asked my nine year old and some of the other kids “on the street” about their thoughts on Mr. Cooper’s presentations. All the reviews were positive! “He was great.” “He’s a really great drawer.” “He made a lion out of a scribble.” Apparently, Mr. Cooper gave out bits of eraser to kids who answered questions or volunteered . . .these eraser bits were a HIT – there were three at my bus stop alone. One 4th grade girl showed me the “doodle” he drew on the back of her hand. . .she took great care not to let it wash off.

So I would say, if a Floyd Cooper book is not part of your child’s library, it probably should be. If you are familiar with his work, and have a favorite, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks so much, Hillary, for sharing some of your day with us and introducing us to such a talented author and champion of children's literature!

Catch you soon, my friend ...

1 comment:

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Yay for social media and its power to bring (or keep) friends together.

Thanks for the guest post, Hillary. I'm not familiar with the work of Floyd Cooper, but I'll see if any of his books are at our local library, and maybe add some to our stacks at home.