Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Mark Teague - February 10

Happy Birthday Mark Teague - February 10

Over the past few years, I have heard so many remarkable stories from children's authors and illustrators. The stories are told with great enthusiasm and respect for their profession. I love hearing stories about how a love of books and art blossomed into a career or how a tiny idea developed into a book that I love.  It is hard for me to walk away from a book-related event where I have had the opportunity to hear an author or illustrator speak and not be inspired to create something myself; a story of my own, a craft with my children, a new birthday blog post.

I have attended many events alone, which I love, but I have found that I equally enjoy attending these events with my family. Amazingly, whether the event is big or small, or the author or illustrator is a national best seller or local sensation, we have always had a positive experience!

On our most recent trip to big-book-related event, the National Book Festival last fall, we had the opportunity to meet Mark Teague. He was the last author signing books on the last day of the event.  My family had waited in long lines for two full days. You would think that waiting in one more line for 45 minutes would have pushed my little ones over the edge, but....
National Book Festival via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
waiting in a long line isn't so bad when your sitting on a blanket with Washington Monument in front of you, the Capitol building behind you, sunny skies above you, and book lovers all around. (The truth is that all the kids held it together until we got back into the car!)
National Book Festival via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
The line for Mark Teague was unusually long for the last signing of the day on this Sunday evening, but hundreds of people stood patiently with their Dinosaur and LaRue books for a chance to meet this inspiring author-illustrator.
National Book Festival via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
Smiles all around!
Mark Teague National Book Festival via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
My son had Mark Teague sign Pancakes for Supper! by Anne Isaacs. My youngest daughter had Baby Tamer, my youngest son had How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen, my oldest daughter had Pigsty signed.
Earlier that day, before Mark Teague's book signing, we took a break from the other book signings to listen to Mark Teague's talk about how much he loves his job as a children's book author and illustrator.  Teague has illustrated over 40 children's books including the Poppleton series written by Cynthia Rylant and the How Do Dinosaurs series written by Jane Yolen. 

Mark Teague National Book Festival via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
Mark Teague read the latest Dinosaur book, How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad?
Mark Teague National Book Festival via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
He also showed us how to draw a dinosaur.  I was amazed to learn that Mark Teague had no formal art training. He is self-taught! According to Children's Corner, after graduating with a degree in history he went to visit his brother in New York City. The sketchbook he filled on the trip helped him land a job working at Barnes and Noble making window displays. The connections he made on job and being around inspiring children's books each day helped him publish his first book, The Trouble with the Johnsons in 1989.
Before becoming an illustrator Mark Teague had been drawing his whole life. He loved drawing as a child. In an interview with Reading Rockets he said, "Even before I was able to write, my mom would write the stories. I would dictate and my mom would type the stories for me, and then I would draw the pictures to go along with it." From the sounds of this interview, Mark and his mom had a very positive creative relationship.  But, then like most moms there is a line that shouldn't be crossed....

"I was that kid in the back of classroom always scribbling pictures all over everything. I even got in trouble with my teachers instead of doing the math test I would be drawing pictures on the desk. I got in trouble one time with my mom because she bought me a new pair of sneakers, these beautiful white canvas sneakers. And by the time I got home from school that day, they had been covered with little ink drawings all over. My mother didn't always appreciate my artistic talents." (Mark Teague, National Book Festival 2013, Library of Congress).

At the moment of hearing this story from Mark Teague I was inspired by the idea of creating art on pair of white canvas sneakers. I have my own memories of seeing kids draw on shoes in school. But, I was never brave enough to try it, and if I did I am sure I did it on the bottoms of the shoes where my mom wouldn't find it.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
We started our celebration for Mark Teague by rereading all our books in our personal collection.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
I hunted down three pairs of brand new white canvas sneakers.  They weren't easy to find, since it was the middle of winter, but Kmart came through for us! (I just saw that they are listed on sale in this week's advertisement flyer for cheaper than what we paid! I hope you pick up a pair this week!)
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
We got out our brand new set of Sharpie markers to turn these plain white shoes into a work of art.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
We talked about using a pencil first to plan out our designs. This lasted a little while and then my children found was easier to just let creativity lead the way in the design.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
What would Mark's mom think of this?....What would my mom think of this? ("Hi, Mom! I know you are reading this.)
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
My youngest son was serious about his shoe decorating!
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
It seems like we have been doing a lot of projects in our pajamas recently.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
Looking good!
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
The next thing we knew our youngest came in with one of her own shoes.  I guess she felt left out.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
So, we gave her an older pair of shoes and a Sharpie too.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
He was happy with his first shoe!
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
One shoe finished and it fits good.  Now to decorate the next one.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
These fine lookin' shoes were created by my 3-year-old son.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
These sweet lookin' shoes were created by my 6-year-old son.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
My daughter thought they were pretty sweet too, so she stole them!

Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
From the moment I thought about doing this project with my children I wondered if they would wear the shoes.  I am very surprised that my boys have worn them to school every day since making them.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
My 8-year-old daughter just finished her shoes today and said that she won't wear them to school.
Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
However, she has worn them around the house all day! We'll see....
Thank you Mark Teague for inspiring us with your childhood story at the National Book Festival. Your enthusiasm for children's books is infectious!  It was a highlight of our trip to meet you! Have a wonderful birthday!

UPDATE:

Mark Teague Activity via www.happybirthdayauthor.com
She wore them to school!
Links:
1. Video Interview - Reading Rockets
2. Author Profile of Mark Teague by University of California Santa Cruz
3. Interviews - RIF, Publisher's Weekly, Children's Corner
4. In the Studio with Mark Teague - Publisher's Weekly
5. Video Interview - Scholastic
6. Free Activity Sheets for Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School - Scholastic


You Might Also Like:

Related Posts with Thumbnails