An Interview with Patricia Storms
Teachers and students who have participated in the Write to Give (W2G) program know first-hand the thrill of seeing their own work develop into a unique and captivating story. This year, another exciting term has begun for W2G. Each school has been given a certain part of the book – the beginning, middle and end – and students have already begun outlining their portion of the story. At the end of the project, the student’s collaborative work is stitched together and published into one storybook. The proceeds from the book sales go toward helping World Teacher Aid improve education in the developing world.
Award-winning Illustrator and author Patricia Storms spoke to participating classrooms during the week of W2G’s launch, telling the children about her own background as a writer and providing writing tips and advice. Her passion and experience makes her an ideal inspiration to encourage children to draw and create their own characters and stories. Patricia shared how she started drawing her own illustrations as a young child, a talent and favorite pastime that eventually turned into a career in both illustration and writing. At just 12 years old, her first cartoon was published in a Toronto newspaper. She went on to become an accomplished illustrator, her work being published in several other publications such as Readers Digest, The National Post and The London Times (to name a few). In addition to writing and illustrating her own children’s books, she had worked with Scholastic Canada and Owl Kids Books Canada.
Patricia encouraged this year’s W2G participants to write about what excites and inspires them, whether nature, animals, adventure or robots, and to think about the kinds of books they enjoy reading. She talked about the three key components necessary for a story to be interesting: the characters, the setting and the action that takes place. She explained how writing is a process, and that similar to playing a sport or a musical instrument, it takes time, practice and work to become better and get it right. This process often happens best when the writer is relaxed and is observing the world around them, having a conversation or simply day dreaming after a long walk. She also gave some helpful advice on creating visually interesting illustrations. Showing the children a copy of one of her famous books: ‘The Pirate and the Penguin’, she pointed out how penguins are most certainly not purple as featured in this book, but by exaggerating their features and traits, the characters stand out and become visually interesting to the reader. Patricia suggests giving characters lots of life through various illustration techniques such as different pens and colors, as long as the characters stay consistent throughout the story. Patricia’s parting advice to the W2G young writers: “The important thing is to have fun!”
W2G not only empowers and challenges young children in their reading and writing skills, providing an incredible interactive learning experience for classrooms, it allows them to participate in ‘giving back’ to students and teachers in Developing Nations while learning about African Culture. What an amazing experience, and an honor for these young student writers to become published authors, receive an official W2G certificate during the annual Write to Give Day and know they are making a difference in the world!
If you are a teacher interested in participating or want to know more about Write to Give please visit www.writetogive.com