I love Lois Ehlert! Maybe it’s because she’s a Wisconsin native like me, or maybe it’s just because she’s amazing, but either way I’ve always loved her books. Have you seen The Scraps Book: Notes on a Colorful Life that came out earlier this year? It’s like an autobiographical artist’s notebook. It’s beautiful and inspiring. There are notes about her life, where she gets ideas for her art, and how she makes her art. All of it is arranged in a way that feels like you are stepping into her studio or her home to see all the beauty she’s collected to work with. Anyways, I was inspired by this book and a fellow librarian in my system to do a paper collage workshop this past weekend.
My system had been a bagillion die cuts of awesome science shapes (robots, beakers, magnifying glasses, gears, etc.) for staff to use for whatever we wanted for Fizz, Boom, Read Summer Reading. One of my colleagues let the kids use them to make paper collages and said that the kids really enjoyed it, so I decided to follow suit and add a little Lois Ehlert to the mix.
I pulled a bunch of Lois Ehlert books and showed the kids The Scraps Book to talk about making art out of scraps. Then, the kids and their families went to town with the scraps of paper, left over die cuts, scissors, and glue sticks. The kids of all ages really enjoyed it. Toddlers were loving the sensation of gluing stuff – there were some paper canvases totally covered in layers and layers of other paper shapes much to the delight of the little ones. Another girl made a gorgeous apple tree scene, and one mom recreated the cat from the Boo to You cover for her little girl. A young girl made a book with loads and loads of hearts for her mom. I forgot to take pictures of their work, but trust me it was great! Try it yourself to see what your kids come up with!
This program was wonderful for so many reasons. It highlighted a really great author and illustrator and allowed families to find a wider variety of her books – some are cataloged in nonfiction and not as easily found. It was super easy to set up and clean up. It got rid of random scraps that had been cluttering up the craft closet and, best of all, it was truly enjoyable for kids of all ages and abilities.