John Ferguson of Austintown, an illustrator, and Julie Goulis of Vermillion, a writer, spent the day Feb. 4 at Howland Glen Primary School allowing more than 300 students in kindergarten to second grades to take part in their own writing and drawing activities. The program showed how a book is created and how students can create adventures by using their imagination.
Freguson and Goulis have written and illustrated three children's books in four years and are currently working on a fourth. The writer-illustrator duo speaks to students, teachers and librarians throughout the area.
"It's great to hear that what we show and talk about sparks an interest in getting the students to read and write," he said.
The theme for Right to Read Week at the school this year was imagination, according to Amy Mark, elementary librarian.
"The students listened and asked questions of the authors who explained how they use their imagination to create their stories and pictures," Mark said.
Bryce Davis, 7, said he also likes to write stories.
"We could use our imagination and draw what we wanted for our book covers," Bryce said.
Several of the children went in front of the group during the presentation and displayed their own drawings for book covers.
"An event like this helps promote and interest in reading," said school principal Gary Gawdyda.
The title of the next book, "NoIKnow" is based on a phrase commonly used by Ferguson's son, Jacob. The new book will involve a spider making a web and is his effort at writing more than just drawing the illustrations, he said.
"When I am writing I think of different ideas in my mind as I put together a story," Goulis said.
It takes about one year to complete the writing, drawing, printing and shipping process of a book, she said.
The authors have written ''The Things a String Can Be," "The Topsy Turvy Towel" and "Something Shiny, Something Round" published through Bubblegum Books. The books are geared to ages 3 to 7 with imaginative themes and activity guides older children can also enjoy.
The school purchased Ferguson and Goulis' books for the library in addition to other books given by the Warren Junior Women's League GFWC, according the Mark. Arrangements were made for students and teachers to receive autographed books from the two authors.