April 13, 2015

Illustrator Scott Nash drops by Windham Primary School - By Michelle Libby

Author and Illustrator Scott Nash flashed pictures of a cut out Flat Stanley on an airplane and at the Oscars with Clint Eastwood while kindergarteners and first graders listened to him speak about drawing and writing. 
Scott has illustrated 45 titles, including “Flat Stanley” and has written two novels. Scott draws every day and pays attention to his craft, which is what makes him better. His illustrations range from silly cows mowing lawns in bright colors to pen and ink drawing of blue jays dressed as pirates for his middle grade novel, “The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate”. 

Scott was invited to the school to help celebrate Mary Sanborn, a former teacher at the school who passed away. Her family donated the money to have Nash speak and to purchase $1,200 worth of books for the Adopt-a-Book program. The Adopt-a-Book program started when the school opened because there was no budget to put books on the shelves, said Linda Peterson, retired librarian. 

Marcia Steenstra, Sanborn’s twin sister, attended the presentation along with close to 25 other members of the family. Retired teachers were also invited. “She taught here for lots of years. Reading and literacy was one of her loves. She loved the idea of creative writing for children. It’s a nice tribute to her.” 

Librarian at WPS Kim Allen contacted Scott after the Sanborn family offered to fund it. 

He spoke to the children about thinking outside what’s easy. In his book “Cows Going Past” the author asked for a black cow in a green field. Scott drew a cow mowing the lawn. The audience giggled and his point was made. “It suddenly becomes interesting,” he told them. 

Matching the illustrations to the book is a lot of fun, Scott said. 

“He gives them drawing tricks,” said Nash’s wife Nancy. “Kids get so frustrated that he gives them tricks to get them more comfortable with drawing. Keep it loose is one of his tricks.” 

Scott showed the crowd how to draw faces from a baby to an 80-year-old man with just a few tweaks.
“I draw to inspire writing and I use writing to inspire drawing,” Scott said. 

The Adopt-a-Book program is always looking for donations. There is a formal application online through the www.rsu14.org website under Windham Primary School. 

Scott is currently at work on a book using children’s verse at his home on Peak’s Island.  

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