Otsego Public Schools

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Students Enjoy Author Visit

Can you turn the letter P into a penguin? Can you turn the number 5 into a lion? Our students now can thanks to guidance of author and illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw. She visited with students at Alamo and Dix Street elementary schools today for March is Reading Month.


She shared her life story with students and how she developed her career. She decided she wanted to be an artist in school and worked hard it. One of her teachers gave her a journal and she began drawing wherever she went. She showed students several of her journals and has several going still, then had them help her create a story.


“Start with a character, draw it, then write the story.” That’s the advice she gave her students in developing a story. They did that together. They developed a character named Fred, a bunny. They drew a picture of Fred then added in a friend, enemy, conflict and solution. Then the story started flowing, all with the input of the kids.


She also walked the students through drawing a penguin in a P, a lion from the number 5, flags within the word FLAG and more. The kids loved discovering their creativity. They also learned just how long it takes to create just the character for the book and just the right words. She shared that some authors will revise their work 50-100 times before it’s ready for publication. She told them that she will draw a character 50-100 times before she decides what it will be.


McNally Barshaw is the author of the Ellie McDoodle books and gave each student an autographed bookmark.

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