“Shake it up high. Shake it down low,” said picture book illustrator, Scott Nash as the families in the audience shook out their hands, “How does that feel? Loose? Tingly?” Nash was showing those that gathered at the Raising Readers Presents event at the Children’s Museum of Maine how he loosens up his hands to get ready to draw. And draw he did.
First Nash drew Damselfly Dilly from his picture book The Bugliest Bug, a book that has appeared in two different Raising Readers anthologies for Maine’s five-year-olds. Then Nash drew a grinning T-Rex from another anthology story, Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp. Nash’s attentive audience reminded Nash to draw in the dinosaur teeth and one child announced that the teeth looked just like ‘w’s. Many at the event knew these picture books illustrated by Scott Nash and also his intrepid crocodile characters from Snow Day and Rainy Day (which have also appeared in past five-year-old anthologies).
Beside Scott Nash on the Raising Readers stage was pediatrician Dr. Brian Youth from Maine Medical Partners in Westbrook, who like the kids, is a fan of Scott Nash’s books. Not only has Dr. Youth handed out Raising Readers books to his young patients for over a decade, but he has also served on the Raising Readers book selection committee for more than 8 of those years. Currently, Dr. Youth also serves as a clinical advisor to the program.
Dr. Youth welcomed families to the event and talked about what a pleasure it was to hand a child a book in his office and to talk with parents about the importance of reading aloud.
“Reading to our children,” Dr. Youth said, “builds healthy brains by introducing new words, images, and experiences. Children who are read to often pick up reading more quickly when they enter school and do better in school overall.”
A two-year-old from the audience declared again and again to Dr. Youth that, “I like books!” Other children demonstrated their love of books by excitedly turning the pages of Raising Readers books as they waited for the program to start. Dr. Youth also shared his personal favorite picture books, The Little Engine That Could and Seven Silly Eaters.
When Dr. Youth introduced Scott Nash, one girl could not clap with the others (as she had recently fallen out of a tree she had climbed). Nash declared it the best possible way to break an arm (if one had to break an arm) and encouraged her to climb her next tree as soon as her arm healed. The girl did shake her other hand to get her hand ready for drawing, though, and after just one wing was drawn on the paper, she shouted out, “Damselfly Dilly!” Nash asked her how she possibly guessed that Dilly was the subject of the drawing. Her father responded that The Bugliest Bug was her favorite book at bedtime.
Here’s to books at bedtime for us all (and a little drawing and tree climbing when we can fit it in)!
Don’t miss the final event in our Raising Readers Presents series!
August 17th, 6:00 & 7:00 pm
Children’s Discovery Museum – 171 Capitol Street, Augusta
Featuring: picture book author and illustrator, Melissa Sweet and her book, Baby Bear’s Big Dreams.