Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Author: Denise Fleming

I am a real fan of Denise Fleming's books and art. When I heard she was speaking at TLA I made a beeline for her session.

Fleming is a savvy and funny speaker. She shared photos from her childhood and of her home. She draws inspiration from nature and her garden. Her garden echoes throughout her books such as, In the Tall, Tall Grass and In a Small Small Pond. You can see many of these photos on her website.

Her medium is papermaking and indeed the whimsical and glowing images emerge from the pages themselves.

She focuses on verbs in her text (<--Teachers, note!) and she sweats the small details including the style and size of the typeface, making them part of the design. She did say something that would make today's art teachers gasp. She admitted to loving coloring books as a kid and pointing to the display of her books said, "Coloring books did not hurt me." She loves googley eyes and puts them on everything as inspiration for characters and story ideas. She views picture books as small plays and has patterns of characters from her books to use in reader's theater or storytime presentations on her website. She is very proud of her website, which she has put together with her daughter, Indigo. (What a great name for an artist's child.) There are dozens and dozens of activities including word finds, crossword puzzles, hats, masks. Grab a supply of googley eyes and go nuts!! Sadly, she does not do school visits any more as she suffered non-stop strep and ear infections following school visits a few years ago. She was a warm and generous presence and I feel lucky to have heard her. Denise Fleming Website

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