Charles B. Stubbs, Design Department
The project I proposed last fall was to research the children’s book market and to write and illustrate a book that would teach family values to young children. I proposed to make a copy or partially finished copy of the book including illustrations and to prepare the copy for publication approval. Currently, all my proposed goals have been reached. However, this has not occurred without revision and change along the road of research and discovery.
I began my research as outlined, working with Richard Hull of the Design department and Charles Stubbs of the State Board of Education. With my father’s help, I was able to set up an interview with the children or East Sandy elementary school. Along with the first grade teachers, my father and I talked with the kids about families and their comprehension or views about families. It did not take long to realize that I was pursuing the wrong course. The information I was seeking for my book was abstract and the children were unfortunately dealing more with concrete information. I quickly realized that I was not educated to deal with children intimately on my proposed project.
Consequently, I decided to take a less intimate approach. Instead of trying to teach abstract family values to minds still learning the alphabet, I decided to write a different book that could still be successful. After some more work with Richard, I was able to come up with another idea. This time I decided to write a book using rhymes, sayings, and jump rope songs that most young children are readily familiar with. I made a collection of such and with the research assembled, I chose five that could be illustrated creatively as well as be used to teach American history to the kids. The book starts with America in the age of the dinosaurs and ends with Americans landing on the moon. Each of the five finished pages in the mocked up book includes first the fun rhyme, then the illustration centered around the rhyme, and finally, a small piece of text relating the rhyme and the illustration to American history. The book is titled Brief Twists in Time and, in my opinion, accomplishes the purpose of helping children learn. The book does this in a manner that is fun for children of such a young age – something which I could not have done had I chosen to continue writing on family values.
Working with a graphic designer, I finished the book and prepared to send it to a publisher. We chose to send to Harriet Barton at Harper Collins. Harriet is the creative director for their children’s publications. Sending to Harriet was perhaps a poor choice on my part since she publishes books that are mainly more conservatively illustrated than I am capable of producing. I realize now that I spent the majority of my time researching and producing the book, a decision that left me little or no time to research the publishing of children’s books.
And that is where the project stands. The book is complete and valid. I use the word valid because instead of teaching impossible abstracts to children, I have learned to teach children in a manner that is enjoyable, informative, and understandable. I feel the final project is much more successful than the originally proposed idea. Once again, my thanks for your help in the whole process. Producing the research was time consuming and costly. The scholarship greatly offset the cost and made it possible to complete the finished book. Hopefully, at some future date, I will find a publisher for the project.