Yesterday, we shared with you the artwork children's book author and illustrator Henry Cole created for The Art of Read Every Day, our new project that celebrates reading through art. All week long on social, we'll be highlighting the many resources (video, discussion guides, and more) that accompany Henry's artwork.
Today, we have a special addition to that list—we sat down with Henry to ask him about his career, his time spent as a teacher, and what inspires him to draw. Here are five questions with Henry Cole.
1. You have written and/or illustrated over 100 children's books. What is it you love most about writing for children?
If you've ever seen a kid lost in a book you've worked on, you know how rewarding it is.
2. You're a former teacher! Can you tell us a little bit about your experience teaching and working with children, and whether or not it influenced you to write for this audience?
Yes, I enjoyed teaching science and math for about 17 years. My goal was to make kids WANT to be at school, or at least not want to leave science class. I guess maybe being able to draw helped, also antics and acting out things, too.
If you're writing or drawing for kids, it helps to know the audience; being in the classroom with kids for years and years helped me a lot with that.
3. Who inspired you most to pursue a career in the arts? Did you have a favorite teacher or someone who encouraged you to keep drawing?
I had lots of favorite teachers: may I thank dorothy patterson, evelyn holder collier, and barb thompson right here and now?!? My favorite teachers taught me in third grade and 9th grade English.
4. In school you studied forestry, not art, and you say that being outside was a big part of your childhood. How has your background in science and your love for nature influenced you as an artist?
It distresses me that kids don't spend more time being outside these days, exploring and being creative. If you know it better, you can draw it better... I studied forestry (ornithology, aquatic entomology, dendrology, ichthyology, all the -ologies...) and it helped my ability at depicting nature in stories.
5. Your poster of the child reading with a monkey, cat, dog, bird, and mouse represents what "Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life." means to you. Can you explain a little bit about how you got to this finished product?
Books are about communicating, seeing and understanding different sides of things...