Creating a mascot

Times-Herald Staff
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Illustrator and author promotes creativity

He had a mustache, some crazy hair and a goofy hawaiian shirt. He's the Children's Book Week mascot.

Patricia Storms, an illustrator and author from Toronto, sketches the book week mascot at the MJM&AG. The character was created throught the suggestions of the audience at the Moose Jaw museum. 

Illustrator and author Patricia Storms let go of her creative license for an hour on Thursday at the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery as a part of the TD Canadian Children's Book Week tour and Reading Town Canada. 

The Toronto author of the popular book Pirate and the Penguin, let the full auditorium of elementary school students decide what the character should look like and what it should wear. Then Storms had the students draw their own picture to illustrate a short story.

"It was a little nerve racking because of the crowd, the lights and the studio," said Storms, who will do 16 presentations this week. "Once I forget about being nervous the children make it easier. I am a bit of a ham and I do really love kids. I feed off of their energy."

Tina Dolcetti, children's librarian at the Moose Jaw Public Library was really impressed by Storms hands on approach.

"She was wonderful and super flexible and just completely awesome," said Dolcetti. "Really upbeat and outgoing and enthusiastic and creative."

After the presentation Storms spoke to the Times-Herald about her concern for children's literacy and how she hopes the presentation encouraged student's to read, write and draw.

"When I was a kid we had television but we didn't have all of these other distractions. We just went outside and played and I entertained myself with reading and writing and drawing," said Storms.  "I think It's really important to encourage those creative skills, because these kids will be the ones in charge one day."

Dolcetti, who organized the presentation and who has also had a big hand in Reading Town Canada week, thinks Storms did a great job of inspiring the children.

"I really hope the kids got out of this that they can use their creativity in anyway possible, to develop their own stories and get their own ideas running and to enjoy reading,"said Dolcetti.

To keep track of all the different activities of Reading Town Canada week, check out www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca/reading-town.

Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Museum Art Gallery, Moose Jaw Public Library, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Toronto

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