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From Louisville to Lynchburg!

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe

Last week I got to spend time in Louisville, KY, then lead Ohio students on tours of Jamestown and finish with a trip to talk to teachers in Lynchburg, VA. That’s a lot of mileage for history education!

My trip to Louisville, KY, began with cheese grits and “spiced berry pie” at the painted eatery shown above: Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, a beautiful burst of quirky local color. It was like eating in the middle of Mardi Gras! My host, Malana Salyer from the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, was right on with this breakfast choice!

I did two things for the McConnell Center in Louisville: speak directly to teachers in their outreach program (I was the wrapup to a year of study about the Civil War, so we brainstormed some cartoons and tried to analyze what they had learned) and visit several of those teachers’ schools to talk to students. I do a lot of these Author’s Purpose talks in the spring; what makes each one interesting to me is the character of each different school building and the ideas from the different students. In Louisville I did three sessions at the Brown School, a beautiful downtown school that teaches all grades, K-12! It was fascinating to see all the ages mixing when the day ended. (The auditorium also had some beautiful 1950s tile walls that must have been hand-glued because there were four different creme colors of tile in no noticeable pattern; so I linked that tile to one of my cartoons about Roman mosaic art!)

After two days in Louisville, I flew back to Williamsburg for a 12-hour day of guiding three charter buses of middle schoolers through Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. Then Thursday was six hours of driving so I could talk to teachers in Lynchburg, VA, about how to use comix in the classroom. Once I get my audience to agree on the terms of comix, I test those terms. I had fun showing the Lynchburg teachers a page from a beautiful comic called “Meridian,” about a girl with powers. No word balloons on the page I show, but a lot of cursive writing in boxes — just like the writing in journals that many teachers have their fourth- and fifth-graders do!

The teacher training was at Amazement Square, a fantastic children’s museum right on the James River at the edge of Lynchburg’s downtown. For the past four years I have drawn an educational comic strip for the museum — one created to fill the gap after Chester the Crab ended as a newspaper feature! (The Lynchburg News & Advance was the first paper beyond the Daily Press to run the Chester comic, and when those 5 years of stories ended, they wanted to keep providing material for their younger readers; the newspaper approached the museum, and the museum called me) The strip features bug characters that were designed before I came along. It’s been fun to bring personality to beautiful characters that had been used in limited ways before I got ahold of them. The Lynchburg teachers seemed psyched for Year Five of The Adventures of Scorpy Bug. You can see examples of Scorpy’s stories at:

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 10:46 am and is filed under Author's Purpose, Historical Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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