(This sun is on the front of my house.)
A few weeks ago I had the chance to draw some pictures for Calgary Reads, a local early literacy initiative. (Here's the picture I drew!) A group that encourages reading – what’s not to love about that? But there was something else I really liked, too: the colours. Calgary Reads has used colour to make its work space fun, vibrant, and inviting. And in doing so, it’s branded itself as a fun and colourful organization.
Calgary Reads front lobby welcomes you in with bright colours that tell you all about what you’ll find inside. Here is a bookshelf’s worth of sponsor names – a great way to recognize them in a permanent way that’ll never get boring.
Everywhere you look, there’s art by local mural artist Dean Stanton. His style is pretty unmistakable. One of his best-known works is the mural on Sunalta School (you can see it from Crowchild Trail. And you can also get a pretty good view of it from Scarboro Avenue – right across the street from the school – which is where I grew up!).
One of my favourite things has to be this wall covered with paintings, many of which feature childrens’ depictions of illustrations from well-loved children’s books. (In case you didn’t know, I’m a fan of YA fiction.) Here’s Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are; Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess; Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree; and Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.
You can find out more about Crockett Johnson in Phil Nel's book, Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature. Phil's book was nominated for an Eisner Award (Best Educational/Academic Work) – pretty cool again. I still have a blog post about that book in the back of my head, but I got distracted from that project by a few things last year (like having a baby). (And yes, I am writing all this in the company of said baby at the really great Telus Spark Science Centre surrounded by a thousand children who can’t play outside because it’s minus twenty-two degrees out.)
And there's Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Colours at my house
I like painting skies and suns on the ceiling. (I’m really claustrophobic, so I think it’s really just about creating the illusion that there’s more space over my head.)
Here’s a sun I painted on the ceiling of an apartment I lived in about fifteen years ago (above). The room was already purple. I never would have chosen that colour, but it kind of grew on me. And here’s my own living room ceiling (below). This picture was taken by Rachel Psutka, a interactive reporter at the Regina Leader-Post, during her internship at the Calgary Herald a couple of years ago.
Reading Rallies are reading parties at Calgary Reads schools. This is a joyful time of laughter and fun with dozens of volunteers who join with the young readers in very small groups to share the joy of reading and read stories aloud. A celebrity storyteller joins in the fun by reading a book aloud, demonstrating how fun reading really can be. Every child attending the event gets a book bag filled with goodies and several new books, often the first book some of these children have ever owned.