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Hawley Loves To Read Week Culminates With Visit From Author Amy Guglielmo



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Hawley Elementary School finished off their “Hawley Loves to Read Week” with a visit from author, artist, and educator Amy Guglielmo on Friday, May 31.

Each grade got to take a break from their classes and visit Guglielmo in the school’s multipurpose room throughout the day. Students sat together on the floor, eagerly listening to Guglielmo as she read and acted out passages from one of her books and talked about what drives her as an author and artist.

Guglielmo said that she believes stories are how people connect with others and that “everyone has a story to tell.” She encouraged students to find their “spark” — something that inspires and brings them joy more than anything else — and to share it with everyone.

“I love art and books. It’s my spark; it’s the thing that brings me joy. And it’s the reason I make books, because my work combines that love of art and reading,” Guglielmo said.

Guglielmo primarily writes children’s books on artists and creative trailblazers, from Disney artist Mary Blair to actress and comedian Lucille Ball. Guglielmo’s writing, paired with the colorful illustrations made by her collaborators, makes the stories of iconic and influential artists such as Salvador Dalí and Paul Cézanne accessible for children all over the world.

She has also collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the “What the Artist Saw” series, which focuses on the creative process and inspirations behind artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, and more.

While Guglielmo said that it takes a lot of work and research to make these books, she also said that it was worth it because she loves working with people and it makes her happy.

“Art is a practice. Writing is a practice. It’s no different than going to dance practice or soccer practice. With any practice, you have to keep working toward what you love. So I still keep working,” Guglielmo said.

The event came about when Hawley librarian Erika Carlson was researching authors for the school’s annual author visit at the beginning of the school year. She remembered that both she and Hawley art teacher Jennifer Giddings use Guglielmo’s book “Pocket Full of Colors” in their own ways at school. Carlson figured that it would be a great fit, and reached out to Guglielmo to see if she did school visits.

To celebrate her visiting Hawley, each grade worked on their own art project based on different creatives that Guglielmo has written about under the guidance of Giddings.

Kindergartners based their project on the work of Keith Haring. Students traced the outlines of each other’s bodies and then drew lines, shapes, and patterns to fill them in with color. For their project, first graders made sunflowers based on the work of Van Gogh. Giddings painted a vase as seen in Van Gogh’s Sunflowers series and filled in the vase with all of the students’ sunflowers.

Second graders were inspired by the work of Cézanne and worked with light and shade to draw fruits such as oranges, pears, and apples. The third graders made flowers out of paper tissue to help create a portrait of Kahlo.

Fourth graders drew self-portraits and got to choose a fun hair color to reflect the classic image of I Love Lucy, according to Giddings.

Each of these projects line the hallways of Hawley, so students and faculty alike could take a look at them until the end of the school year. Giddings said that the students were just as excited for these art projects as she was, and that all of them were just happy to work together.

“The kids were so excited to make all this stuff,” Giddings said. “I think they especially enjoyed getting to work with their friends from other classes who they don’t typically get a chance to see when they come to their regular class. So the way that we did it actually worked out really well, and I would do it again.”

All of the students worked together during the visit to put together a mural of the classic Disney ride “It’s a Small World” designed by Blair. After Guglielmo finished her presentation, the students gathered around tables to design and decorate their own shapes. When put together, all of the shapes form a mural of the iconic ride hanging outside of Hawley’s multipurpose room.

Students, staff, and faculty were also encouraged to dress like an artist that day to show their appreciation to Guglielmo for visiting them. Even Hawley Principal Christopher Moretti joined in on the fun, wearing a white shirt with splattered paint all over it.

“It’s amazing that the school embraces art through events like this,” Guglielmo said. “And it’s always so fun to combine art and literature, because every kid gets to participate. It’s just so special.”

Reporter Jenna Visca can be reached at jenna@thebee.com.

Author and artist Amy Guglielmo visited Hawley Elementary School on Friday, May 31 as a bookend to Hawley Loves to Read Week. Each grade had a chance to stop by the school’s multipurpose room, where they sat together on the floor as Guglielmo read and acted out passages from one of her books. The first group that visited her were the kindergartners, joined by their teachers alongside Hawley’s principal, Christopher Moretti. —Bee Photos, Visca
Kindergartners lined up to add in their artwork to the mural outside of Hawley’s multipurpose room. Teachers watched on, ready to help students hang their artwork at a moment’s notice. When put together, the pieces create a mural of the “It’s a Small World” ride designed by artist Mary Blair, who Guglielmo wrote about in her book Pocket Full of Colors. The project was a combination of the creative efforts from all the students who visited Guglielmo, and is set to stay up until the end of the school year.
Each grade worked on their own art project based on different artists Guglielmo has written about to celebrate her visiting Hawley. Second graders based their project, on display at the left, on the work of artist Paul Cézanne and worked with light and shade to make fruit. Meanwhile, the first graders made sunflowers for their project based on the work of artist Vincent van Gogh, which is on display at the right.
For their project, third graders made paper tissue flowers to put together for a portrait of artist Frida Kahlo.
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