Circleville City Elementary School students were treated to a visit by children’s book illustrators, Jeanette and Christopher Canyon, on March 17, 2016. The Canyons lives together began at Columbus College of Art and Design, where the couple met as students and where Christopher now teaches part-time. Having been a kindergarten teacher for many years, Jeanette found that she could use her creative talents in other ways and not leave the comfort of her home studio in Columbus. She left the teaching profession ten years ago and now creates illustrations mostly through the use of polymer clay, a moldable plastic. CES students were shown a video of how Jeanette uses a pasta machine to create different color combinations and shapes with her clay. Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef required a lot of research before the illustrating could begin by Jeanette, and what better place to do the research than to visit a coral reef firsthand. With a waterproof camera in hand Jeanette swam underwater with scuba gear and snapped photos of plant and animal life that could be found among the coral. City Beats and Over in the Jungle are the other books that Jeanette has illustrated.
Christopher Canyon has been an illustrator for 25 years. He is probably best known for his illustrations that accompany several books that are adaptations of songwriter John Denver’s songs. Christopher taught himself to play the guitar when he was young and has put that talent to use in his school visits. During the Canyon’s visit the students were invited to sing along while Christopher played the song “Take Me Home Country Roads”. He stressed to the students the importance of keeping a journal to jot down their ideas and to sketch illustrations.
Several follow-up activities to the author visit are planned. Students in grades K-5 will have a bookmark competition, and two winners will be selected from each grade level. The winners will be awarded one of the books illustrated by either Jeanette or Christopher Canyon. Andi Hoskins, CES art specialist, will provide each student with an accordion book to illustrate a grade appropriate themed book during art class. Tami Petty, CES music specialist, has scheduled a fourth grade concert highlighting sheet music that was adapted into some of the books that Christopher Canyon illustrated. This cross curricular event was made possible through funding by Circleville City School Foundation and the coordination of CES media specialist, Tammera Laughlin. CCSF looks forward to furthering our partnership for future author visits under Mrs. Laughlin’s direction.