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Illustrator Inspires Creativity at Joe Michell School

November 12, 2019 - Livermore, CA- Hands waved eagerly in the air as the students of Joe Michell K-8 school hoped to be selected to have their favorite animal drawn by children’s book illustrator, Christian Robinson. Those hands quickly turned to enthusiastic applause as the students marveled at the large-eyed cat, long-bodied dog, and spotted giraffe Robinson drew with skill and ease.

Christian Robinson, a graduate of California Institute of the Arts, is an acclaimed illustrator of 14 children’s books, including Gaston by Kelly di Puchhio, and the New York Times bestseller Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, which won the Newbery Medal as well as a Caldecott Honor.

Robinson engaged students with an interactive presentation, sharing personal stories of being raised by his grandmother, how his interest in illustration began, and how he pursued an education that supported and developed his creative dreams. Students asked questions about Mr. Robinson’s inspiration and creative process for book illustration and learned that it includes ample planning with mulit-media storyboards and influence from the author’s written word.

“What I loved most about Mr. Robinson’s presentation was how he reminded students that his creative process involved many mistakes and imperfections, and how with persistence and practice, he was able to turn his passion into a career,” shared Laura Lembo, principal of Joe Michell.

Robinson’s November 6th visit to Joe Michell School was arranged through an enduring community partnership between Joe Michell library specialist, Kathy Hart, and Towne Center Books owner, Judy Wheeler. This connection enabled students to pre-order copies of books illustrated by Robinson and have them autographed for
personal keepsakes. “We are so fortunate to have community members that see the value in our students’ exposure to writers and illustrators. These experiences open their minds to creative possibilities,” expressed Hart.

Christian Robinson Student holding book Mrs. Montano's 1st grade class with Robinson