I visited Washington D.C. to promote Soldier Song with author, Debbie Levy. We began the book tour with a school visit at Mt. Rainier Elementary set up by An Open Book Foundation. An Open Book schedules author and illustrator visits in underserved schools around the Washington D.C. area and purchases a book for each child to take home with them.
Then Debbie and I showed the 5th graders Soldier Song. Soldier Song is a timely, important book that tells the story of a divided America that finds common ground through music during the Civil War. Debbie began with a history lesson slide show on the Civil War, which included sound clips of bugles and the popular song of its day, Home Sweet Home. Then I joined in with a short art lesson. I talked about the three artistic elements that went into developing the book: symbolism, warm and cool colors, and emotion, giving examples of each in a slide show. After that, I drew for the students, calling on suggestions from the crowd for symbols that represent “Home.” Once the symbolic picture was completed, Debbie and I answered questions about the book.
After that, Debbie read from I Dissent to the 6th graders and gave an inspiring lesson on Ruth Ginsburg.
The next day, we made three more stops in Virginia, promoting just Soldier Song. We began at Belle View Elementary, presenting for 200 students, grade 3-5. Then we stopped by Alexandria Country Day School for 70 students, and completed the tour at Congressional School of Virginia for 70 students. The students at all three schools were engaged and asked good questions.
We ended the day with a quick visit to Politics and Prose and a celebratory dinner with children’s book writers from around the D.C. area. Washington has a truly vibrant and eclectic writer community!
Soldier Song received a merit from the 3×3 International Illustration Show. Five images from the book will be printed in the annual. The 80 page picture book will be out February 7th of 2017.