"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wherein we Skype with Debbie Ridpath Ohi and our library pals

Yesterday we had a Skype visit with Debbie Ridpath Ohi. It was fabulous. Debbie was energetic and personable, and shared valuable advice about writing and art with the students. 
What made the visit doubly fabulous was the fact that we were also connecting with our Library Pals in Minnesota. 

Prior to the visit
We read I'm Bored! written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. We then watched a short clip of her creating a potato illustration for the book. We also explored her website to learn a bit about her and finished up by brainstorming questions. I couldn't resist showing the students some of Debbie's found objects doodles.

During the visit
As the students entered the library, Debbie was on the screen drawing at her easel. This made the transition quite easy as seventy-five students quietly found a seat so as to not disturb the process. Debbie read I'm Bored interactively - with the students in both schools playing the part of the potato. It was an energetic and personality-infused reading. After reading the book, Debbie showed the students how she creates her illustrations and ideas for making found objects art. She did this while answering questions and talking about her background and her philosophy. Debbie was not trained as an artist, so her message about being passionate about a thing and then doing it until you get good was effective and enlightening for the students who absolutely loved the drawings in I'm Bored.

After the visit
The students wrote down additional questions. These questions can often be more interesting as they have been sparked by a connection the student has made with the author or illustrator.

"If you had gone to art school, what difference would we see?"

"What is your favorite/least favorite thing about illustrating?"

"Did boredom as a kid inspire your illustrations for the story?"

"Do you base your character on real people?"

"What do you do when you are not writing?

What a great visit it was! I know my students will look at and read these books differently because of this connection they now have with Debbie.

We are looking forward to this new book!


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post, Jennifer! And I'd be delighted to answer your students' additional questions -- I will mail them my answers along with one of the doodles I did during our Skype session. Thanks again for having me as a guest!

  2. Oh my gosh, I just watched the video -- THANK YOU SO MUCH for putting that together!!

    1. Absolutely! Feel free to link to the blog and take any quotes.