DFWChild / Articles / Education / Extracurricular / Get BooksmART with the DMA

Get BooksmART with the DMA

Parents who resolved to pursue more interesting, educational and just plain fun activities in the New Year will find it easy to keep their resolutions with the Dallas Museum of Art’s BooksmART series for kids and parents. Formerly known as Arts & Letters Live Jr., the BooksmART series presents award-winning authors and illustrators for both the young and the young at heart, beginning this month and running through June.

Lest the whole thing sound too stuffy to be much fun, consider this: authors include best-selling Eoin Colfer (the Artemis Fowl series), who rather mysteriously requested a smoke machine for his presentation; Patricia MacLachlan (the beloved Sarah, Plain and Tall); and a participative session for parents and young artists ages 5 and up with Mo Willems (The Pigeon Wants … books). Topping off the season are two free Young Writers Workshops for teens.

Airman with Eoin Colfer
3pm Sun., Jan. 20
St. Mark’s School of Texas Decherd Performance Hall, 10600 Preston Road

Parents and young fans alike will want to hear Eoin (pronounce it “Owen”) Colfer, who describes his best-selling Artemis Fowl series as “Die Hard with fairies.” The first of the Artemis Fowl volumes, published in 2001, chronicles the adventures of the anti-hero and boy genius and was one of the most eagerly awaited children’s books ever published. All five sequels shot to #1 and spent close to 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The seventh Artemis Fowl book will be published in summer 2008.

Colfer’s latest novel, Airman (2008), is set in the 1890s on a sovereign island off the coast of Ireland and combines his great loves of classic adventure stories and science fiction. DMA staffers were abuzz in preparation for Colfer’s BooksmART presentation, for which he mysteriously requested a smoke machine.

Trouble with Gary D. Schmidt
3pm Sun., Feb. 24
Horchow Auditorium, Dallas Museum of Art

Acclaimed author Gary Schmidt won both the Newbery Honor and the Michael L. Printz Honor for his novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. Booklist gave it a starred review and called it “a powerful tale of friendship and coming-of-age, adding a lyrical sense of the coastal landscape. … (a) haunting combination of fact and fiction.” His most recent book, The Wednesday Wars, is a witty, complex novel about a seventh-grade boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967-‘68 school year, some of them inspired from Schmidt’s own life. The Wednesday Wars is on the Texas Library Association 2008-2009 Lone Star Reading List.

At BooksmART, Schmidt will discuss these books as well as his forthcoming novel, Trouble, a probing story of social change.

The Creative Process with Patricia MacLachlan
3pm Sun., March 30
Horchow Auditorium, Dallas Museum of Art

Set on the prairie during the 19th century, Patricia MacLachlan’s classic Sarah, Plain and Tall is told from the perspective of a young girl who describes how a mail-order bride came to live with her, her brother and her widowed father. The book — written in MacLachlan’s characteristic gentle, quietly touching and humorous style — was praised by Booklist as “a near-perfect miniature novel.” School Library Journal included it on their list of “100 Books That Shaped the Century.” It was also the recipient of the 1986 Newbery Medal and was adapted into a television film starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken.

MacLachlan has taken the characters from Sarah, Plain and Tall and explored them in a popular and critically acclaimed series of books. The story completes its circle with one of her latest novels, Grandfather’s Dance, a poetic celebration of the enduring spirit of family. She will share insights into her creative process with BooksmART audiences and focus on her more recent books, including Edward’s Eyes.

Learn to Draw with Mo Willems
2pm Sun., April 6
Horchow Auditorium, Dallas Museum of Art
In conjunction with the opening festivities for the Center for Creative Connections

Hailed as the “Dr. Spock and Robin Williams of the lap-sit crowd” by Booklist, Caldecott Medal winner and two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Mo Willems is all that and more. This prolific picture book author and illustrator continually delights, teaches and entertains all ages. Through his imaginative use of words and illustrations resembling individual cartoon frames, Willems creates appealing characters in situations that resonate with universal themes, from Knuffle Bunny and Elephant and Piggie to the persnickety Pigeon.

Willems’ latest tale, Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (2007), rocketed to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and sees the return of Knuffle Bunny and his trusty friend Trixie. Willems is currently working on a new Pigeon story. At this BooksmART event for ages 5 and up, he’ll share a peek at the new story, discuss his creative process and teach kids how to draw the Pigeon.

Shattering the Conventional Novel with Brian Selznick
3pm Sun., June 8
Horchow Auditorium, Dallas Museum of Art

Brian Selznick intended to become a set designer for the theater, but following graduation from college he took a job at a children’s book store. After spending three years selling books and creating window displays, he was inspired to create children’s books of his own. His most recent book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, shatters the conventional novel form and creates an entirely new reading experience.

Combining elements of the picture book, graphic novel and silent film, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a 550-page “novel in words and pictures.” “Families are enjoying reading this one together,” notes DMA Arts & Letter Live Producer Carolyn Bess. The Invention of Hugo Cabret combines Selznick’s exquisite artwork, rendered in pencil and bordered in black, with his masterful storytelling. The result is an intricate, tender and spellbinding mystery filled with magic for readers of all ages. The Invention of Hugo Cabret has been named to the 2008 Texas Bluebonnet List.

Young Writers Workshops
Write to Be Heard: The Power of the Spoken Word
Free Workshops Led by Will Richey
1-3pm Sat., April 5 – J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St.
1-3pm Sat., April 12 – Dallas Museum of Art

Will Richey, an award-winning performance poet, event host and creative arts director, creates spoken word pieces that cross cultures, creeds and races, earning him spots on the same billing with Maya Angelou and Erykah Badu. His inspiring approach will help lead young people to find their own voice, talk to the page and write to be heard.

Hear the young writers and spoken word artists premiere their insightful creations as part of Fresh Ink (the DMA’s series of new works presented by acclaimed and emerging writers) on Fri., April 18 at 7pm. (Also on that evening’s program are poet Robert Hass and spoken word artist Will Richey.)