Douglas Florian has written and illustrated more than 50 children’s books. These include beast feast, winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, insectlopedia, a national bestseller featured on National Public Radio and The Today Show, Dinothesaurus, which was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and Poetrees, which School Library Journal called an “exquisite collection.” Recently Beach Lane Books published his How to Draw a Dragon, which received a starred review in Booklist and was called in Kirkus Reviews a “rhyming romp (that) will no doubt spur multiple requests for rereading—and redrawing.” He’s also visited more than 500 schools throughout America as an author and artist. In his high-energy presentations to students (grades K-6) he illuminates the entire process of creating a book, using humor and audience participation to generate excitement and understanding. He discusses where he gets his ideas and the importance of research. He shows his original artwork and book dummy, as well as the printer’s proofs. And he demonstrates how the editor and designer work with him to improve both the text and art for the book.
From there Florian moves on to poetry, relating its different aspects and elements, such as rhyme, rhythm, repetition, wordplay, personification, alliteration, and, of course, imagination. He enthusiastically recites poems from his books of humorous verse, while holding up blowups of the illustrations. He encourages choral and echo reading with the students. He then finishes with a large‑scale drawing demonstration (kids love it!) and answers any questions the students may have. His presentations connect science and non-fiction with poetry and creative writing. And they convey and express his love of poetry to the students and teachers.
More on Mr. Florian’s art and poetry can be found at http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1624