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Author & Illustrator Bethan Woollvin Hosts Workshop for Grade 3

Author & Illustrator Bethan Woollvin Hosts Workshop for Grade 3
Tanya Olander

Waking up at the crack of dawn to share her studio in the UK with our Grade 3 students, celebrated author and illustrator Bethan Woollvin recently made an online visit to each of their classrooms to host an exciting draw-along workshop!

As part of their current SuperUnit, “Kaleidoscope” Grade 3 is focusing on understanding others. Fairy tales can be a great source of learning about varied perspectives, and author and illustrator Ms. Bethan Woollvin, (pictured above) who has turned classics like Little Red Riding Hood on their head, inspired our Grade 3 students to look at things in new ways.

Empowering Twists on Classic Stories 

With their bold art, and simple yet meaningful stories, Ms. Woollvin’s books are unique, says ES Librarian and organizer of the visit, Mr. John McRobbie. In Woollvin’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, “Little Red,” the young girl who meets a wolf on the way to her grandmother’s house is the hero of her own story. Unlike the traditional version, Little Red does not need anyone to rescue her. 

Jayden, Grade 3, enjoys a copy of “Little Red” in the library. “I like how scary the wolf is,” he says.

That’s the kind of inspiring new perspectives that Ms. Woollvin brings to life in her books - and brought to our Grade 3 students as she read aloud from “Hansel and Gretel,” another classic she’s reimagined.

A Unique View Into an Artist’s Studio

But more than inspiring through her marvelous storytelling, Ms. Woollvin broadcast from her iPad to show students, live onscreen, how she illustrated “Hansel and Gretel” and how they could do it, too! 

Students listen intently as Ms. Woollvin reads “Hansel & Gretel” aloud directly from her home studio in the UK.

Seamlessly Ms. Woollvin went between the draw-along and giving students a virtual real-time visit to her workspace - the home studio where she creates her bold illustrations - proving that amazing can art come from ordinary places. 

The Power of Author Visits

Days after the virtual author visit, students are still talking about their draw-along, giddy that they were able to recreate the work of a world-famous illustrator. “That's what we want - kids excited about reading and learning,” says Mr. McRobbie. “Our library is a treasure trove, and Ms. Woollvin’s visit added to its magic. Reading is, after all, not just about words; it's about understanding different perspectives, and in our library we are fortunate to have books in many languages, celebrating our diverse community. 

A new take on old stories is a fascinating way to understand diverse perspectives. Here, Mr. McRobbie reads Ms. Woollvin's debut book, “Little Red,” for a Grade 3 class.

In a nutshell, Bethan Woollvin's visit to SSIS was more than just an author talking about her books. It was an inspiring journey into the world of fairytales, showing students that stories can be told in many ways and from many perspectives. It was a reminder that creativity is all around us, waiting to be developed.

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