Liz Starin is both an author and an illustrator, and St. Anne’s-Belfield School students have had so much fun learning about her and sharing her work during an author visit thanks to the Virginia Festival of the Book. Students loved all of Liz’s books – but Splashdance, which Liz both wrote and illustrated, was so beloved that it inspired a set of watercolor imitations from first grade (check them out in the slideshow above!). Liz came to speak with us last Friday and students in grades K-3 had the pleasure of learning about Liz, her books, and her art.
Liz started by reading Splashdance with the group – complete with the best funny voices! Students knew the book so well that they helped her finish sentences. After finishing the story, she shared pictures of her studio and her favorite art tools. Students were so inspired to learn that she uses watercolors and crayons just like they do.
Liz shared that she gets inspiration for her stories in many places – from her imagination, personal experiences, and from history. For example, Splashdance was inspired by segregation in public pools. The pools were fun, cool, and a perfect place to splash – but only white swimmers got to enjoy them. Famous moments from this era in history inspired the text and illustrations from Splashdance, and the story brings up a great conversation about equality, tolerance, and kindness. I love when a picture book isn’t “just” a picture book!
At the end of her presentation, Liz created a custom illustration just for us – with the help of her audience! She took live suggestions from students to make a special version of Ursula from the book, ready to make a splash. Check out the timelapse video below to see her in action.
Thank you so much, Liz, for coming to spend the afternoon with us! We loved learning about you, your books, and your life as an author and illustrator. Learn more about Liz Starin and her work here.