Writers, artists share passion for ‘kid lit’ with community

Writing for children is serious business. The young readers may be small, but the impact that words and images have on them can be immense.

That’s why the Patch Library hosted an author- illustrator day Sept. 24, an event where budding writers and artists could learn how to draw, create a character and develop a story line, from German and American authors and illustrators from Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern and Berlin.

The event — a collaboration between Stuttgart Army spouse and illustrator, Kirsten Carlson, and Tracie Miller, the Patch librarian — helped to launch the library’s new and expanded programming.

Carlson is the illustrator coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an international non-profit organization that serves as a consolidated voice for professional writers and illustrators.  Working with Miller, Carlson recruited other SCBWI members to offer insight, inspiration and guidance.

Children and adults filled the library’s special events room for five interactive sessions taught by Carlson, Daniel Jennewien, Jen Blom, Juliane Kayser and Angela Cerrito.

Carlson started the day with a session called Listen and Draw. “All drawings start with simple shapes,” she told the participants.  Carlson demonstrated how to draw an Adelie penguin from “Sea Secrets,” a book written by Mary Cerullo and Beth Simmons, and illustrated by Carlson. “The body of the penguin is a squished football — a deflated football squeezed together,” she said.  

Participants got to take home a book on how to draw and will have an opportunity to submit their artwork to the Long Term Ecological Research website. 

Cerrito, a young-adult fiction author from Kaiserslautern, led a session on creating characters.  Cerrito shared how she integrated real-world stories from neighbors and friends to develop character traits and personalities for characters in her recently published book, “The End of the Line.” “It’s important to make characters real, [to] let them grow and change … that’s what makes them exciting,” she said.

Librarian Miller was thrilled with the success of the event and looked forward to seeing new faces at the library as new programs are launched. “It’s not uncommon for 500 movies and TV shows to be checked out on a weekend. We want the community to know the library is more than just a place to check out movies,” she said.

A sampling of upcoming events and activities at the Patch Library will include how to conduct genealogy research, tips on using the library’s fiction database for research and book reviews, themed book displays and Foreign Film Sunday, a once-a-month opportunity to watch films in their native languages with English subtitles.

“Of course, we will always have our traditional story time and book club, but we want to attract more members of the community to visit us,” Miller said.

For more information on upcoming library programs, call 430-5232/civ. 0711-680-5232.