Franklin third-graders' artworks inspired by Caldecott Award-winning books by Sue Loughlin Tribune-Star March 25, 2022
Franklin Elementary third-grader Ricky Neidhamer drew inspiration for his artwork from a book about a man who took care of Aleppo’s abandoned cats in the midst of the Syrian civil war.
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza His page of inspiration: Franklin Elementary School third-grader Ricky Neidhamer finds the page in the book, ““The Cat Man of Aleppo,” that inspired him to create a ceramic sculpture of a white dove on Thursday in the school’s library as part of the “Caldecott Art Show.”
JOSEPH C. GARZAThe book, called “The Cat Man of Aleppo” and based on a true story, includes pictures of doves flying in a beautiful blue sky. That prompted Neidhamer to make a ceramic sculpture featuring a white dove with wings spread wide in flight.
He chose the flying dove for his art because, “It’s pretty,” he explained.
Now, that art — and those of all Franklin third-graders — are on display in the school library as part of the “Caldecott Art Show.”
The project received a grant from the Vigo County Education Foundation and is a collaboration between media specialist Amber Wigington and art teacher Jana Weeks. The grant allowed Wigington to purchase a number of Caldecott award-winning books, while Weeks was able to purchase additional glazes, which can be expensive.
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Franklin Elementary School art teacher Jana Weeks.
JOSEPH C. GARZAWigington describes to children what it means to win a Caldecott award as each book is read to the classes, and then the children have an opportunity to create a favorite character from the book; the children model the clay into their artistic pieces, which are fired in a kiln. Then, they apply a glaze and write an artist’s statement.
“They get the whole feeling of being a professional artist,” Weeks said. “This is a sensational project. It inspires them.”
It’s the fourth year for the program, and it creates special memories for the children. “They are very proud of their work,” Wigington said.
The Caldecott awards honor artists of the most distinguished American picture books for children.
Another student, Elexcia Flowers, chose to make a ceramic piece of a frog in lake. The inspiration was a picture book called “Tuesday,” in which frogs rise on their lily pads, float through the air, and explore the nearby houses while their inhabitants sleep, according to one description. The book also featured floating pigs.
“My favorite animal is a frog and I thought it would be challenging for me to make,” Flowers said.
Third-grader Mason Tingley captured a night sky full of colorful stars in his artwork based on the book, “Many Moons,” about a princess who becomes ill, and only one thing will make her better: the moon.
He chose the subject from a page in the book because, “It looks beautiful,” Tingley said.
Addyson Steele chose the book “Finders Keepers,” and her sculpture depicts two dogs who decided to share a bone after they originally had fought over it.
“We got to shape the clay however we wanted” and get creative with details, Steele said. “After we saw the results, I really loved it.”
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Jane Nichols, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation.
JOSEPH C. GARZAJane Nichols, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation, said of the program, “I love the collaborative effort between the art teacher and media specialist. I love how they are bringing beautiful artwork and illustrations into the students’ lives and letting them create,” and at the same time, encouraging the joy of reading.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.
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