A Thousand Words
Guest post by Chika Nishina
Most of us have had the pleasure to visit the world of picture books in our daily lives and already know that a picture (book) is worth a thousand words. They capture our hearts with amazing illustrations and push a myriad of physiological buttons with their words. They make us cry, laugh, remember, and forget.
Listening to Yolanda Scott via Skype during the first half of the SCBWI Japan Picture Book Day opened our eyes to the million more magical metaphors and messages hidden in the books we love to read and, for some of us, to create. An Editorial Director at Charlesbridge, Ms. Scott introduced the Whole Book Approach to sharing, thinking about, learning through, and falling in love with picture books.
As we learned about picture-book terminology and compared and contrasted visual elements of picture books, we were able to interact with them in a more meaningful way. The small-group workshop that followed gave us each a chance to discuss what we learned and come to a better understanding of picture books. Authors, illustrators, aspiring writers, and enthused teachers alike were able to share their learning and make connections with books and each other.
Refreshed after lunch in historic Motomachi, our creative caravan glided back into the Pauli Building Loft of Yokohama International School for the the second half of Picture Book Day. We encountered an inspiring presentation by author-illustrator Satoshi Kitamura.
Mr. Kitamura gently lead us through a creative journey that included kamishibai, crazy hairstyles, the conceptual possibilities of a simple line, and a hands-on, indoor version of cave murals!
At the end of the workshop, I felt happy and full of energy. I thought of all the books I had read in the past and wondered what I had missed. I was eager to return to my shelves of picture books and reread my old favorites with new “lenses.” I was also armed with a list of "must have" books. In addition to my picture book shopping list, I had three new words added to my bucket list—write a book. Just three words. But for a newbie like me, they are worth a thousand!
Ivechika Nishina teaches second grade at an international school in Yokohama. She enjoys a good story almost as much as she enjoys a bag of tortilla chips. She shares stories—but not the chips—with her two daughters and all of her students through read-alouds.