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Edel Rodriguez
behindthebook.org
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Last month I was invited by Behind the Book to visit P.S. 274 in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.  I had a lot of fun with the kids, helping them illustrate poems they had written and telling them about what I do as an illustrator and art director.
Behindthebook.org is a group dedicated to bringing children's book authors and illustrators to schools that do not get as much attention or budgets as other schools in the New York City.  Katherine Leiner, the author of the first kids' book I illustrated back in 2001, Mama Does the Mambo, worked with the students during a couple of sessions and had them write poems.  For the third session, I helped them illustrate their poems.  They were very curious and excited to learn, and had wonderful questions too.  Behind the Book also purchases books for all the students in the class to keep and take home.
If you have illustrated a kid's book that is appropriate for kids from Grade 2 - 6 and would like to participate, please get in touch through their site's contact section or e-mail joumans@behindthe book.org.  They're always looking for authors and illustrators to take part.  It's a lot of fun and rewarding to see kids reading and interacting with one's books, I'll definitely do these visits again.
This student really got into the collage technique. I showed him how to transfer his quick pencil sketches onto the color paper by rubbing them and he really dug that.
This girl was very shy at first but really got into the groove of it after a while.
This boy's drawings reminded my of Rob Dunlavey
This boy was not into the drawing, more of a sculptor. He made a shark out of the kneaded erasers we handed out. Kids love kneaded erasers.
Behind the Book gave all the students copies of my latest book.
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