By Eli Keith, Beth Anderson, Kira Frazee, John Giannini, Kayla Havert, Mariah Lipscomb, Stephanie Martens, Katie Molina, Juliette Sanusi, Kendall Wilkinson
Faculty Mentor: Professor Melissa Wells
At the beginning of the 2021 Spring semester, we decided as students in EDUC311 that we wanted to author and illustrate a book featured at the Fredericksburg StoryWalk on the River Heritage Trail. Though COVID-19 was a barrier to the way this had been done for this course in the past, we took a series of steps to accomplish what we needed to in order to produce our book, “Alex’s Day on the Rappahannock.” In one of the first weeks of the course we met with the Outdoor Recreational Supervisor for Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation, and Events, Callie Brown, to discuss what the book would need to look like in terms of length, content, page dimensions, and time frame for finishing. Once that information was known, we spent several weeks researching children’s literature and the Virginia Standards of Learning (VSOL’s) to decide what the book would be about. Callie had mentioned that river safety was a topic that is always important to teach children, so our aim was also to incorporate that if possible. Once we decided what to teach with the book, we delegated duties so that each of the ten students in our class took care of two of the pages. Everyone spent time planning the writing and illustrations for their pages, and this culminated in in-class illustration work. Eric Carle, a well-known children’s book author, uses a collage style for all of his illustrations that we emulated for our book. We spent three class periods painting, cutting, and pasting together illustrations, which were later scanned in order to preserve the artwork for the StoryWalk. Finally, once all of the pages were completed and ordered, we edited and revised the book as a class to make sure everything was exactly as we wanted it. Steps: brainstorming, research, delegation of duties (writing), painting day, cutting/pasting day, revising and editing, finished product!