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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Books

While on vacation, I read the book Columbine, which is about the school shooting in Colorado. I'm interested in psychology, schools and kids. A depressing and heart wrenching read, but a thoroughly comprehensive look at the psychology of the kids, how the school and community responded and how the survivors dealt with the tragedy. It makes you think about how you would respond in a similar situation. The book was written by Dave Cullen who has extensively reported and studied the kids' lives through hundreds of hours of interviews, eyewitness accounts, diaries, school assignments, videos, the "basement tapes", and police accounts. The book talks about the myths and the stories that have surrounded the tragedy (the "trench coat mafia", the myth that the kids were continually bullied before the shooting, the Cassie Bernall story, etc). One of the most fascinating and intense seminars I went to at the National Art Education Conference (many years ago.. I think it was the one in Chicago) was a seminar given by the art teacher and some students who went to Columbine. They showed artwork that had been made in response and talked about their experiences with healing the community.  After that gripping and haunting read, I purchased a few easy to read art books to look at this summer.

When I got home, I bought two books that I had been wanting to read.  I got a gift certificate from a student for Barnes and Noble.  How fun!   I bought "I love Kawaii" and "Collage Workbook"


From the first book, I learned that "kawaii" basically is a Japanese word for anything cute!  It refers to commercial artwork (stickers, clothing, toys, games) and even some contemporary art (Takashi Murakami, Pip & Pop and Yoshitomo Nara).  Hello Kitty is probably the most famous "kawaii" art.  And I do LOVE Hello Kitty!!  

The Collage Workbook is one of the most interesting collage how-to books I have seen lately.  I LOVE this artist's style and I'm especially excited to see that he lives in Madison, WI (where I live).  Maybe someday I can meet him or invite him to our classroom.  He is known for his "collage-a-day" series, in which he... wait for it... creates a collage each day.  He posts these collages on his blog:  and each are for sale (hint hint, Andrew) via his blog.  He includes 50 activities to spark your imagination and prompt you to make a collage.  After looking at his book I just want to immediately grab a scissors and glue.  His artwork reminds me of Robert Rauschenberg or Hannah Hoch...

Are you interested in doing some of your own collage work this summer? Summer is a perfect time for us teachers to play around with art of our own. I have been going through my huge stash of collage supplies and have put together some supply kits to sell on Etsy. I realized I have WAY too much stuff and I could put together 100 kits and still have barely made a dent in my stash. (School is no different... we have several boxes of collage papers and magazines.) Would you like any of these kits for yourself? Check out my shop and for being a reader of my blog, I am offering a 15% off of everything coupon code: Just type in SummerFun when you check out for 15% off.

1 comment:

Ms. Kristen-Crayon said...

Thanks for the reading inspiration! I'm going to purchase Columbine and very tempted to snap up the other two... I DO love kawaii and a collage a day sounds equally as healthy as an apple a day... especially during the summer.


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