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Reading for Work: 04/13/19

January book sources

The summer of 2017 I was hired part time as an art teacher at a local gallery. It's the shortest commute I've had since 1999 when I was working as a web designer for and had a five minute, no freeway commute.

Initially this job as an art teacher didn't amount to many hours. It was essentially two weeks of work to give me a break from the move we were going through. Assisting at a summer camp was a lot more fun than scrubbing our old condo so we could put it on the market.

The woman who hired me originally left shortly after the start of the summer camp season. I don't think my paperwork was completed properly and with her no longer in charge of scheduling hours, I wasn't called in for any more work.

Last fall when I saw my job re-offered, I contacted the director and asked about the job position. The short version is that I was rehired. The paperwork is now done properly and I've been working fairly steadily since November.

The summer camp season is approaching and the director sent out an email asking if any of us wanted to teach a week-long art camp. Even though I haven't taught one before, I jumped at the chance.

I spent January and February writing and illustrating a sketchbook about my love of dinosaurs and birds. Inspired by what I learned in the process, I suggested the summer camp topic: "Birds of a feather, dinosaurs together."

But here's the thing. I can't just spend the week making bird and dinosaur sketch books with a studio of children! I need to come up with two projects for each day for a total of ten.

The director, though, had a brilliant piece of advice for teaching art to children: read picture books for inspiration. So that's what I've been doing. I'm reading bird and dinosaur themed picture books and taking notes.

In the past weeks I've read:

  1. Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars
  2. Magnificent Birds by Narisa Togo; library book
  3. Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World's Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner and Andy Comins (photography)
  4. Capturing the Essence: Techniques for Bird Artists by William Thomas Cooper
  5. Birds & Other Animals by Pablo Picasso
  6. All Ducks Are Birds: But, Not All Birds Are Ducks by Tara Michele Zrinski
  7. Birds Make Nests by Michael Garland
  8. Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko and Dan Santat
  9. Kids Draw Dinosaurs by Christopher Hart
  10. Make-A-Saurus: My Life with Raptors and Other Dinosaurs by Brian Cooley
  11. You Are Light by Aaron Becker
  12. This Is the Nest That Robin Built by Denise Fleming

Comments  (8)

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Comment #1: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 06:13:25

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

I love the director's suggestion. Picture books are my favorite genre, and these are a lovely collection with a nice variety of styles and moods. A wonderful project.

Comment #2: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 19:49:00


It was the obvious direction to take and yet I needed to hear it from her first.

Comment #3: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 09:51:24

Bryan G. Robinson

When I first think of "reading for work," I think of training manuals or notes (at our library, we leave notes in Google Drive for other staff members so paper notes don't get lost on the desks). Obviously after looking at your graphic, and then reading your post, that isn't the case here, and I'm glad to see that. So are you getting some good ideas for the summer camp?

Comment #4: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 19:51:00


I've had jobs where the reading is more like what you expected. This job is unlike any others that I've had. I'm about 2/3 through planning the week. I think I have some good ideas.

Comment #5: Sunday April, 14, 2019 at 13:17:52

Wendy @ Falconer's Library

This sounds like a delightful class! I've been wanting to read Crow Smarts for a few years now. Another book with incredible bird illustrations is Kadir Nelson's "If You Plant a Seed." It's not specifically about birds, but it has a few great spreads with them.

Comment #6: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 19:54:00


Crow Smarts is good but wasn't quite what I needed for my camp. I'll look for the book you've recommended.

Comment #7: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 23:29:39 Shelleyrae @Book'd Out

I'm sure your program will be very well received . My kids favourite dinosaur picture book was called Dinosaur Roar by Harriet Stickland

Have a great reading week:)

Comment #8: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 20:37:00


That book was a favorite of my two when they were little. I might still have a copy in storage.