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Free Workshops Give Elementary and Middle School Students an Opportunity to Explore Writing and Illustrating

Posted By: Gail Norris

April 5, 2016

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From illustrating and writing to creating memorable characters and building stories with LEGOs®, the Gaithersburg Book Festival has a workshop that will appeal to every elementary and middle schooler. Offered for free and led by writing and graphics professionals from around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the children’s writing workshops take place on Saturday, May 21, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of City Hall (31 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877).


The workshops include:
Build a Story with LEGOs! (Age: Elementary School)

Presented by Erin Sowa from LEGO Education

LEGO Education StoryStarter is a hands-on learning tool that enhances reading, writing, speaking and listening skills by using LEGO bricks from the LEGO Education StoryStarters set. Participants will receive a workshop kit to take home!


Quickfire! Drawing Game Show (Ages: Elementary – Middle School)

Featuring Dave Roman, graphic novelist and author of the Astronaut Academy series

A fast-paced game show where kids of all ages are paired off with (or against) professional illustrators in a series of fun-filled drawing challenges. Audience members provide suggestions for totally improvised, epic drawings!


Creating a Picture Book, Step by Step (Ages: Elementary – Middle School)

Presented by illustrator Kristen Egan and author Harold “Corky” Logsdon

Experience the exciting path from how ideas – like a walk down an isolated lane in a marsh – can be turned into a piece of literary art in the form of a children’s picture book. From writing to drawing, the author and illustrator bring their book “Marsh Mellow” to life. Artist Kristen Egan directs the children as they draw a blue heron in the marsh setting. Author Harold “Corky” Logsdon guides participants as they answer the question “When I grow up I …” and add the written response to their own drawing.


Great Comics for Kids (Ages: Elementary – Middle School)

Presented by Matthew Winner, elementary librarian, co-founder and content director of All The Wonders, a children’s literature website, host of the Let’s Get Busy podcast

Can’t stop reading graphic novels? Check out some outstanding, recently published graphic novels and learn about Maryland’s graphic novel book award. Participants can also explore the different elements found on a page of a comic and create a one-page comic with help from special guest Dave Roman!


Book Dummies: What They Are and How To Make Them (Ages: Elementary – Middle School)

Presented by author/illustrator Timothy Young

Book dummies are books that are mocked up in order to show an editor, agent or publisher what it might look like when finished. Book dummies can be very rough or look almost exactly like a published book. Timothy Young will show samples of some dummies (including pop-up books!) and share some tricks to make your own. Participants will take away their very own book dummies.


How to Write a Really Boring Book (Ages: Elementary School)

Presented by author Laura Gehl

What are the elements of a “really boring book” and how can you avoid accidentally writing one? Participants will learn about plotting, pacing, humor, and how to sneak in a little bit of educational value without taking away from the pleasure a reader experiences. The workshop will be highly interactive and include elements of improvisational drama to help generate not-boring ideas.


Drawing Dragons and Monsters (Ages: Elementary – Middle School)

Presented by author/illustrator Steve Light

Light will give a drawing demo and guide participants step-by-step through creating their own dragons and monsters.


Creating a Memorable Character: The Truth Is in the Details (Grades 6-8)

Presented by author Carol Westreich Solomon

Make your characters memorable by giving them more than just names, ages and hair color. Through a guided prompt, Solomon will help participants invent details that create dimension in their characters.


No pre-registration is required for these free workshops; participants should just plan to show up at the time their preferred workshop is scheduled to start. Workshops are generally limited to 20 participants, but individual presenters can expand the workshop at their discretion.


For more information about the workshops, the presenters and the schedule, including additional workshops geared for adult writers, please visit the Workshop page of the GBF website.

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The Gaithersburg Book Festival is one of the nation's premier literary events, featuring talks and signings by some of the world's top authors, writing workshops, children's activities and performances, literary exhibitors, book sales, music, food, and fun for everyone!
Starts: 05/21/2016 10:00
Duration: 6 hours:
Gaithersburg City Hall, 31 S. Summit Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD
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