Draw-ing Children into Reading: Art as a Doorway to Literature

Hannah E. Harrison @ Hardesty Regional Library on Nov. 3 for "Books To Treasure" 

It's a truth universally forgotten by adults that learning how to read is hard. Because it's easy for us to do NOW, we don't remember how hard it was to learn THEN.

In fact, learning to read is the hardest cognitive task (or, rather, a complex, interconnected web of many different tasks) we ask kids to do - in a relatively short amount of time.

Drawing, on the other hand, is usually much easier. At the very least, the visual task of looking at art and pictures is a far easier and initially more pleasurable task for children's growing brains than the arduous slog of learning that sometimes "a" sounds like "apple" and sometimes it sounds like "ape" - and sometimes like nothing at all, as in "reading"!

The gateway to reading for many children is artwork. They will start out only looking at pictures in books, but eventually, they will start recognizing and paying attention to the words. But the PICTURES are what literally draw them into reading.

That's the idea behind the Books To Treasure program, now in its 15th year, sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust through a grant by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. We want to use the power of artwork in children's literature to bring kids into reading. As part of Books To Treasure this year, the award-winning illustrator Hannah E. Harrison will be giving a free public presentation about her art and creative process on Friday, November 3 at 7 p.m. at the Hardesty Regional Library in Connor's Cove.

Additionally, every second-grader in Tulsa County will receive a free copy of the book "Extraordinary Jane," written and illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison.

Harrison has a great story to tell to inspire children to draw and write: she won the "Young Author Book Award" at her school in both second and third grades, and when she was a high school senior, she was honored with a Boston Globe Scholastic Art Award for her portfolio of artwork.

Today, Harrison calls Oklahoma home and continues to work on new books. In addition to "Extraordinary Jane," she is the illustrator of "Remy and Lulu" and the author and illustrator of "Bernice Gets Carried Away" and "My Friend Maggie." She has an upcoming book, "Friends Stick Together," that follows a refined rhinoceros through his tricky school day.

Books To Tresaure 2017, Featuring Hannah E. Harrison

Friday, November 3

7 p.m.

Hardesty Regional Library Connor's Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St.

Find out more here: http://kids.tulsalibrary.org/btt.php

Book signing to follow presentation. Books available for sale.

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