Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hairy Beary Ideas!


When a new book is published, I have to 'learn' how to read it. It takes a while before I warm up to a story.


I find places where I can pause and ask questions, or get the children to participate; I discover where the kids like to point things out; I practice the character's voices: where to be loud, where to whisper; I learn what little jokes I can tuck in.

I also like to devise activities, songs etc to 'add value' to the reading and make it more of an active experience.


I have been looking over Bears on the Stairs this week, getting my head together for the first readings, when it's published in August.

When I was in Birmingham recently, I caught a few minutes of a performance by Chris White and was inspired by the hilarious way he used audience chanting and clapping to read his poetry (he does a very passable Elvis impersonation too).


So, 'borrowing' that basic idea (thanks Chris), I have devised a funny chant poem that I hope will work really well after we've read Bears on the Stairs (including references to a hairy bum, whiffy feet, nose picking and gross burps - should be a huge hit with the average 7 year old).

I will try it out at the next school I visit... teachers beware!

12 comments:

Alison said...

What a great idea! I think that would be so much fun to do; read stories out loud and get kids excited about a story. Good job!

Lynne Chapman said...

Yes - I think I have even more fun than they do!

Tati said...

Oh, so cool! I looove kids! Nothing better than being close to them!

My favourite part is when they ask too much... mainly embarrassing questions! Does it happen to you too?

:D

Hugs,
Tati

Lynne Chapman said...

Yep! Actually, that has reminded me of a very funny anecdote about cow's rude bits that I don't think I've shared yet...thank Tati: watch this space!

nicole said...

I haven't yet started these class visits but will in september... so I must start to learn and read my story... I hate that! My books don't seem to belong to me any longer and I just can't get round reading them !! Have you experienced this strange feeling?

So we start reading the story and let them ask questions! panik! What next? I can't draw!!!

Lynne Chapman said...

Don't panic Nicole!

I know what you mean - it's often such a long time before the books are actually published, that I have to re-learn the story how to draw the characters.

One good tip to extend a storytelling is to take a song the children already know, then change the words to match your story. Children love to learn a new song.

Plus, even if you're not an illustrator, there's no reason why you can't get them to draw pictures from the story. I know lots of authors who do that.

Or you could get the children to invent a brand new adventure for the main character in your book, making up a group story together verbally, by asking them for suggestions about what might happen next...

Good luck!

Nicole said...

...I have butterflies in my stomac just thinking about it!!
Great ideas... I must put all that down on paper!
Then I have to give ideas to the illustrator that has never done that in his life!!I wonder if he can sing!:-))))))))

thanks!

Alice said...

Hi Lynne, I've been reading your blog for a while now and you've been a great inspiration to me. I love to draw though I have no training, and your posts have helped me work on developing my skills as an illustrator for childrens' books.
I have a question that isn't really related to this post...
When you submit your first sketches for a book, are these finished drawings or pencil sketches? Also, what is the time frame of a typical project?

Thank you

Lynne Chapman said...

It's lovely to hear that you've found my blog so inspiring and useful, Alice.

Personally, I tend to present mainly pencil drawings, because I can rely on my backlist to demonstrate my colour technique. However, if I were a new artist submitting a book idea, I would draw most of the illustrations in pencil only, but do at least one colour sample of a key character and one colour spread, to show precisely how things would look. There's not much point in doing more, since the publisher will inevitable change things.

Timescales do vary a lot, depending on the artist and the project. I tend to take around a month to rough out a book and then 6 weeks - 2 months to colour it up. But it's usually a further 18 months before publication.

Hope that helps!

Alice said...

Thank you, Lynne, it does :)

Julia Jarman said...

Longing to hear the chant, Lynne. Will ring you later to hear it!

Lynne Chapman said...

I tried it out today Julia and it went down a storm! They loved the book too and were very pleased to be the first children I'd ever read it to.