Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

Author! Author!

Lower School students met local children’s author/illustrator Deborah Freedman and learned about her writing and design process – which included fun hands-on research with splash marks.

Students in PreKindergarten through Grade 3 have been reading Freedman’s books in their library classes and learning drawing and illustration techniques in their art classes.

“I guess you could say that I’ve been a writer since I was a kid,” said Freedman, a Hamden resident. “I used to like to make up stories about my stuffed animals.”

With published books such as “By Mouse & Frog” and “Blue Chicken,” Freedman is still telling stories through animal characters. She advised students that the feelings her characters express are real and that her own emotions give her ideas for her books.

“Ideas are all around us,” she maintained.

Something as mundane as taking a walk, which she said she does along Whitney Avenue, often passing by Hamden Hall, can spark an idea.

“If I’m taking a walk and an idea flies by, I catch it,” said Freedman, gesturing an air catch with her hand. “I collect ideas and I never go anywhere without paper and pencil.”

For her vibrant illustrations, Freedman performs online photo research and often creates her characters out of clay. After drawing out the scene for each page, she then paints it. Students were intrigued by the technique she uses to make splash marks – whether it be splashes from raindrops or when a liquid spills from a glass.

Freedman demonstrated using a toothbrush and a straw the effect that both can make on paper when dipped in paint and either splattered or blown.

“I pay attention to everything,” she said, “and I ask a lot of questions.”

Freedman’s visit was coordinated by Hamden Hall’s Head Librarian, Kathy McNeiece, and Librarian Pamela Wilonski. The author said she was impressed with the coordinated student art work that was on display in the library. 

Hamden Hall Country Day School

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Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.