Bk: Talking Walls

The Power of Mandela

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Bk: After Gandhi, Bk: Talking Walls, Race & Culture | Comments Off on The Power of Mandela

The Power of Mandela

 illustration from After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance   by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O”Brien   “1962. Cape Town, South Africa Robben Island, a wild, rocky outpost seven miles off the coast, was a place of banishment. Nelson Mandela arrived there in the dark belly of a boat, chained to three other men. ‘This is the island! Here you will die!’ white prison guards yelled at the four men as they stepped off the boat. They commanded them to jog between lines of armed guards to the prison gatehouse. Mandela knew this moment was...

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Featuring Difference

Posted by on May 24, 2009 in Bk: Africa is Not a Country , Bk: Talking Walls, Bk: Welcoming Babies, Bk: Who Belongs Here, Diverse & Global Books, Korean Books & Culture, Race & Culture | Comments Off on Featuring Difference

Featuring Difference

In April, Margy Burns Knight and I spend six days in Philadelphia-area schools, presenting on the five books she wrote and I illustrated: the two Talking Walls titles; Who Belongs Here: An American Story; Welcoming Babies; and Africa Is Not A Country. As all these books concern the diversity of human experience – in culture, language, race, religion, etc. – Margy and I use every opportunity to address the topic of difference in a positive light. We often begin our talks with information about ourselves as children. Some students in these Philadelphia suburban schools can see...

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2. Doing the Research

Posted by on Dec 6, 2008 in Bk: Talking Walls, Diverse & Global Books, Race & Culture | Comments Off on 2. Doing the Research

2. Doing the Research

When I talk to students about the process of creating Talking Walls, I explain that in addition to all the research that author Margy Burns Knight had to do to write the stories, I as the illustrator had to do visual research. I had to make sure that the walls I painted looked like the actual walls. And, I tell them, I even had to do “face research.” I studied many, many photographs and did a lot of sketches to make an accurate representation of the Great Wall of China. Different sections were built with different materials, and the topography of the land affected the design of...

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Diversity in Action is … 1. Knowing What I Don’t Know

Posted by on Dec 4, 2008 in Bk: Talking Walls, Diverse & Global Books, Race & Culture | Comments Off on Diversity in Action is … 1. Knowing What I Don’t Know

Diversity in Action is …                1. Knowing What I Don’t Know

In 1991, I began working on illustrations for a book called Talking Walls. Author Margy Burns Knight, publisher-editor (and later co-author) Mark Melnicove, and I formed a collaborative creative team which eventually produced five children’s nonfiction picture books, all of which are still in print. All of our titles explore human difference through the lens of what we have in common: walls, immigration stories, baby welcoming rituals, the daily lives of children. The process of creating the books has provided an intensive laboratory for examining how to approach...

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