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Harrison Pupils Treated To Visit From Children's Book Author

Daniel Kirk and the students after they created their "Library Mouse" masks. Photo Credit: Contributed
Daniel Kirk treated the Harrison elementary students with lessons on developing ideas and images for books. Photo Credit: Contributed

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Students of the four Harrison Central School District elementary schools were treated to a visit from children’s picture book author and illustrator Daniel Kirk.

The students enjoyed a day of drawing, writing, and music with the renowned children’s picture book author and illustrator. Kirk visited with students ranging from kindergartners to third graders and explored how writers develop ideas and images for books. The author’s visit was made possible through a grant from the school district's Elementary Enrichment Committee and was moderated by Harrison’s elementary school library specialists Deborah Goldstein, Elizabeth Heller, Thomasine Mastrantoni, and Mark Sandor.

Kirk’s lessons carried over into other disciplines such as art and music. Preston art teacher Melissa Sgrulletta’s first graders created "Library Mouse" masks of Sam, while the second and third graders studied the architectural lines and shapes of various kinds of homes throughout the world. Then students created their own dream houses like Kirk’s characters Sam and Sarah in "Library Mouse Home Sweet Home."

A Midwesterner at heart, Daniel Kirk grew up in Columbus, Ohio where he began drawing at an early age. As he said in an interview with his two characters Chuck and T-Bone for his website, “Even when I was very young, I loved to draw, paint and play with modeling clay. I didn’t really feel complete without a pencil in my hand and a piece of paper to draw on.”

In his visit with the elementary school students, Kirk focused on drawing from one’s own imagination and explained how he drew inspiration from authors such as Dr. Suess, whose penchant for drawing enveloped the uniqueness of characters and stories that had really not been seen before. After college, Kirk felt the pull of New York City and moved to follow his dream. His illustrations appeared on the covers of Newsweek, Business Week, Sports Illustrated and New York Magazine to name a few.

After marrying and having children, Kirk felt he wanted to create children’s picture books. His works evolved into a compilation of the outrageous characters he preferred from the likes of Seuss, Sendak, and Dahl and were merged with the dainty characters his young daughter preferred.

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