Bragging on my Kids: Writing, Art and Environmentalism

On Saturday, my husband and I took the kids to the art museum a few towns over for the Grand Opening of their renovated Children’s Center.

The gallery was filled with original illustrations by Eric Carle, Leo Leonni, Ted Arnold (My Working Mom)*, and many others, including a series by John Par Miller, which kept Sunny busy finding the little turtle in every single picture  and kept me busy trying not to drop her as she leaned waaay out of my arms with her finger extended because she wasn’t supposed to touch the art and I kept backing away from it.

We enjoyed the illustrations for so long, we were too late to get into the auditorium to hear the speeches—oh, well—so we wandered into one of the studios, where tables had been set up with tons of craft materials: construction paper, markers, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, paper plates, sticks . . . and some pre-stapled little books.

Janie and I made a beeline for those, while my husband doodled some excellent steampunk airships and cartoon characters and Sunny stuck together a few collage turtles on paper plates and provided me with rhyming assistance and art direction in exchange for my (barely) more skilled scissor work.  When she’d done everything she could do with her turtles, she helped me glue.

I think that deserves co-author/illustrator credit, don’t you?  She did.

She also wanted me to put it on the blog, Mommy, so please for to witness the blog debut of I Am One, by Sarah and Sunny Wesson.**






Authors’ Note:  That thing on page Six?  It’s a table, not a chimneySo there.

Janie wouldn’t let anyone see her book until she was done.  When I was finally allowed to read it, I was blown away.  Seriously.

The drawings are cute, the perspective is interesting, the plot has an environmental message . . . and she wrote it in ocean language.***

It’s untitled, mostly because she keeps changing her mind, but Whale Saves the Party** was my personal favorite:

Whale was late for Little Star’s Party.

He swam underneath a big boat.

The people were dumping garbage on Little Star’s Party!

Whale took care of that!

The boat flipped over.  Little Star gave Whale a hug.

The people promised to never dump garbage in the ocean again.

It was a very good day.

The End.

Janie claims that the dolphin in the next-to-the-last page isn’t actually sticking its tongue out at the people—it’s a bottlenose.    She also says that Whale’s name is Whale and didn’t provide a clear answer as to whether he’s a killer whale or a whale-whale.^

But I do know the starfish hug is adorable—and the retribution is hilarious—both my kids are brilliant, and you have to love a museum that allows the parents to play, too.


*Lyra, look at this one—I have a feeling your crew will like it

**©2012,  all rights reserved, get your own stapler and make your own book.

***And, I might add, in better handwriting that her homework folder has ever seen.

^Instead, she gave me the I’m the Writer And Does Precise Fin Placement Really Matter To The Integrity Of The Message Look.  I know that look—I’ve often given variations on it myself—so I didn’t follow up.

15 thoughts on “Bragging on my Kids: Writing, Art and Environmentalism

  1. I’m speechless. Seriously speechless. These are unbelievable. I know you know this but seriously? These are fantastic! And the ocean language? OMG! LOVE. Seriously.

  2. wow. that’s really impressive. and, i too love the sea language. (and the cursive…harley’s most proud moments are full paragraphs written in cursive.)

    is seven with kevin giving the peace sign? love it.

    • Janie would rather do anything else than write a full paragraph, cursive or print . . . we’re all living for the day she’s allowed to type out all her homework.

      I’m not sure about the peace sign, but I think they’re both disavowing the pink bunny . . . .

  3. These are fantastic! The mysterious pink bunny honing in on the scene is hilarious. But my favorite is the whale language!
    And thanks for the recommendation. We currently have Holler Loudly from the library thanks to Sunny’s recommendation and they love it.

    • Sunny wanted that bunny—I think it makes that page. And I’m tempted to figure out how to do a podcast of whale language—it’s a literal hoot. 🙂

      I’m glad Holler Loudly was a hit! My kids love everything yours recommend—we should do a bookswap sometime.

      • The podcast would be awesome!
        Hey did your ladies get to watch the Marcel the Shell with Shoes On videos (YouTube, methinks). Those are a current favorite at our house, along with the book. My six year old loves that shell.

  4. The “I am four and roll on the floor!” had me grinning. (I love the rolling smiley face!) But then I got to “I am five, awake and alive” and was blown away. There is poetry and depth in that little rhyme. You’ve got a special one on your hands.

  5. Three cheers! The book you co-wrote with Sunny is so sweet with fun rhymes and Janie’s is so clever.

    The museum sounds wonderful. What a great way to spend the day being creative with your brilliant children.

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