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Drawing creativity out of the Olive Owls

Arlington Heights, Olive Elementary, IL – Children’s Author/Illustrator David Biedrzycki walked into Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School last month with the intention of inspiring creativity and excitement.

He did just that and more as excitement for creativity continued well after he left, especially with a particular second grade owl.

“He inspired me to be an author and illustrator,” second grader Sianna said, “and I’m starting to write my own stories.”

Inspired by Biedrzycki’s Me and My Dragon books, Sianna wrote and illustrated her own Me and My Dragon this one titled Thanksgiving Dinner.

“She drew the dragon so well, continued with the same humor as Biedrzycki, and really used a lot of creativity,” Olive’s LMC Director Nancy Brown said.

Brown heard from Biedrzycki that he was planning to visit schools in Illinois and she jumped on the opportunity to host a visit with him. According to Brown, the students were excited as well because they were familiar with Biedrzycki’s book Bear Alert, even voting on it as their most liked children’s book from the 2016 Illinois Monarch Book Award list.

“His message to the students was that he wanted them to love being creative,” Brown said. “He wanted them to feel like anyone can create.”

Biedrzycki met with the entire school in the morning, showing off ways to generate inspiration for stories. He just got back from a trip to Africa and was inspired by the elephants there. As the student body remained glued to Biedrzycki, he showed the students how to bring that idea to life. He shared a picture that he had drawn of a matriarch elephant uprooting a tree that he plans to use as a book character.

“Story ideas are everywhere,” Biedryzcki said. “Keep your eyes open and if something catches your interest, write it down in a journal. You never know how an idea or character will inspire you.”

Biedryzcki then ventured to Mrs. Mueller’s second grade class and shared a book with them that has yet to be released. Sianna was just one of the second graders in Mrs. Mueller’s class, and she may be well on her way to a brand new career.

Adam Harris