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Children's Bookshelf - March 2020

View Previous Children's Bookshelf Articles

Turning Story Time into Art Class
by Audrey Heneage

 One of my favorite things to do is to use the illustrations in a picture book to engage children’s creativity. Children’s book illustrators are incredible artists whose various techniques can be used to expose children to a range of artistic expression. By carefully choosing the level of the book and preparing materials appropriate for the age of the child, a successful experience can be had at most any age.

The Wing on a Flea

by Ed Emberley


Shape by Shape

by Suse MacDonald 

Either of these books would be perfect for your youngest listeners (ages 2-4) followed by a collage session with adult-provided shapes for gluing. Allow the child to see what they can create with no object in mind.   Supplies: Background paper, pre-cut small and large circles, squares, triangles in various colors and a glue stick.     The same project can be aged up with different books and a greater variety of materials.  


by Leo Lionni

Frederick is a great read for older kids (ages 5-8) with illustrations made of cut and torn paper. Children have a lot of fun creating a character and putting it in a setting.   Supplies: Various papers, scissors, glue, watercolors or markers.

Waiting for Goliath

by Antje Damm

Waiting for Goliath is a sweet story about friendship with collage illustrations that are 3-dimensional. This is more challenging, but kids who love to build with their hands will have fun trying to do something similar.   Supplies: cardboard, toilet paper rolls, various papers, crayons, scissors, glue and miscellaneous other supplies (sticks, yarn, pompoms etc.) as needed.  

For a very tactile, extended experience

Read any book by clay illustrators Barbara Reid or Eugenie Fernandes

These two author/illustrators make amazing art out of plasticine clay. Barbara Reid also has some informative videos of her process on YouTube. Give your older child a paper plate to work on and plasticine modeling clay and let their imagination run free!   Extending reading and listening into an art experience is a great way to increase the literacy value of the activity and can include the whole family.

March Events at New Canaan Library


Every month we offer art classes for children at the library. March is a special month this year because of our concurrent exhibit of the photographs of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper by photographer Ahmet Ertuğ.  


Calling all young artists — come be inspired by the Last Supper installation and become a gallery artist yourself! Visit the Children’s Room to pick up a canvas (supplies limited — first come, first served) and create art inspired by the masterworks. Submit your finished canvas for hanging in the gallery by March 27.  


Tuesday, March 3, 4:15 p.m., Invisible Ink for grades K-2.   Leonardo was a prankster! Learn one of his tricks for hiding messages by testing out some methods for secret writing. Register online.  


Mondays, March 9 and 16, 4:30 p.m., Art Detectives: Family Supper Mural for grades 2-5 (two part workshop).   Students will explore the photographic installation of Leonardo’s Last Supper with Mary Moross before going to the studio to develop their own ideas for a mural of their personal family meal table. Register online.  

Saturday, March 14, 1 p.m., (Not) Just for Kids with Norwalk Symphony: Woodwinds!  Disney made the tune famous, and we can all envision the dancing brooms of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The symphony’s woodwind quintet will be showcased, along with members of the Norwalk Youth Symphony for our March concert.  


Thursday, March 26, 4:15 p.m., After-School Arts & Crafts: Egg Tempera!, for grades 2-4. One of the paints used extensively during the time of Leonardo was egg tempera. We will explore making the paint using eggs and watercolor pigment. We will then use it on a canvas and explore its properties. Register online.


The New Canaan Library is located at 151 Main Street. For more information, call 203-594-5000 or visit newcanaanlibrary.org.

Audrey Heneage, vintage Children’s Librarian at New Canaan Library.