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International awarding-winning illustrator and author visits students at Cottage Grove Elementary

Illustrator and author Sophie Blackall visits Cottage Grove Elementary

On Friday, Oct. 5, Caldecott award-winning Australian illustrator and author Sophie Blackall, visited third and fourth grade students at Cottage Grove Elementary School. Blackall told her story about why she became an illustrator, showed some of her illustrations and read her most recent book, “Hello Lighthouse.”

While Blackall read her book to students, she pointed out her drawings within the book. She explained details in the pictures, why she included them and how they help make the story come to life.

Blackall told students how the classic book “Winne the Pooh” impacted her as a child and how it inspired her to become an illustrator. She shared some research she did on A. A. Milne, the author of “Winne the Pooh,” and that Winne was a real bear from Canada, named after the city of Winnipeg. She was so moved by the real-life story of Winnie, that she illustrated the book “Finding Winnie” by Canadian author Lindsay Mattick.

Students then asked Blackall questions about her life in Australia, what her favorite books are, what she likes about being an illustrator and if she is currently writing any books. Students then participated in an activity to create what they thought an alien would look like. Students offered suggestions on facial features and Blackall incorporated them into her drawing.

Blackall has illustrated more than 30 children’s books and has authored five of her own books. She is currently on tour across the U.S. and only visited one school in Minnesota; Cottage Grove Elementary School.