Welcome to summer everyone! In celebration of all that is sunny and beautiful about this planet of ours, we are taking a moment at Picture It Picture Books to celebrate a wonderful new organization called SoDoCa. SoDoCa stands for “social donor campaign” and, as the organization’s website says, they curate and publish stories about personal experiences that inspire good, where each story harnesses social media to promote a charitable cause, and in so doing, affects positive change, galvanizes volunteerism, and raises money for charity.
After each story is published, SoDoCa commences a social media campaign to draw attention to each story. At the same time, they secure a sponsor for each story that will make a donation directly to the cause chosen by the story’s author. That gift will correspond to the “social media footprint” (read: number of Facebook Likes and Tweets) each story achieves.
The more sharing, the bigger the difference SoDoCa can make.
We are proud to say that Picture It Picture Books is sponsoring the first story on the SoDoCa website. Please take a minute to read Aislinn’s story. Aislinn is a little girl who suffers from a rare disease called CHF, and sharing her SoDoCa story supports the ARPKD/CHF Alliance, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected with Aislinn’s disease.
Thanks everyone for their support of this great cause!
xo Alicia & Leanne
We spent some time on TED this past weekend, a non-profit devoted to spreading awesome ideas. We were looking for inspiration from their repertoire of filmed talks by the ultimate go-getters: people who are wise, successful, centred and creative. Our favourite talk was given by JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame, who had a lot to say about the benefits of “failure” and imagination. Needless to say, we were hooked! Enjoy : )
xo Alicia & Leanne
A friend of Picture It Picture Books recently shared a CNN article about Sweety High with us, and, after reading it ourselves, we just had to pass it on to you. Although our books are aimed for the younger set, we are huge fans of anything that encourages creativity, which is Sweety High‘s mission.
The Sweety High site is an online hub for tween and teen girls to share their artistic talents with a community of like-minded, creative girls. You can upload writing, music, video footage, visual art – anything that showcases your gifts. Other sweeties can support you by giving away their virtual hearts and win real-life prizes by doing so. (Think spending the day with your favourite singer). There are sweety talent contests and spaces to write encouraging comments to other sweeties.
For girls who feel shy about performing in public, Sweety High is the perfect creative outlet. There are tight cyber-bullying controls on the site, and there are no boys allowed, so girls can unabashedly shine.
We wish we were young enough to join Sweety High! But we’ll have to accept that we’re in our thirties and just spread the word about this awesome idea!
Happy Wednesday to all those sweeties out there : )
xo Alicia & Leanne
Amanda White is the perfect artist to round out week three of our three-part series on artists your children should know. We love her for many reasons, but here are just a few:
1) She is Toronto-based!;
2) She’s all about exploring the link between man-made things (like cities) and the natural world; and
3) Her current projects help humans communicate with plants and animals!
Best of all, her work is super kid-friendly and out-of-the-box. Amanda’s projects make you think of the world we saunter through each day in a completely different way, which is just the kind of thing we love to see. Take Tell the Birds, for example. This interactive project gives regular folk like us the opportunity to talk to the birds in our neighbourhood: since birds can see a wider range of the UV spectrum than humans, there is special paint that can be used for birds’ eyes only (humans can’t see it). By going online, you can submit a sign to the project, and Amanda and her partner, Lydia Burggraaf, will make your sign using the special UV paint. They’ll send it to you in the mail so you can post it on your lawn (or wherever you like) and literally tell it to the birds!
This is just one awesome example of Amanda’s work. There’s also FARMY (tiny toy parachute troopers made by copying children’s toys are composed of clay, seed and compost and then dropped around the city) and EAT WORDS, which uses food patterns to communicate with crows in Chatham, Ontario.
Amanda’s drawings and paintings can also be viewed online – don’t forget to check out Circles and Animal Skins, gorgeous ink renditions of botanical and zoological forms re-imagined as “amorphous shapes”.
Let us know what you and your kids think of Amanda’s work by posting a comment – or, better yet, tell it to the birds!
xo Alicia & Leanne
Well, it’s still dull and grey outside, which means it’s still a great time to settle down with your kids and introduce them to artists they haven’t yet met. We’ve just come back from a brave journey – through a small blizzard – to the McGregor Park Library, to do our presentation on Captain Zane for 20 awesome, imaginative little people. We’re now eating coconut milk ice cream and drinking peppermint tea while we check out work by one of our favourite artists, Kiki Smith.
Kiki was born in Germany, but grew up in New Jersey. She is known most widely for her sculptures, but also creates art in many different forms of media, including prints. One thing we love most about her work is that it is accessible to all; Kiki has prided herself on making her work relevant to many different people since she grew up as a learning disabled child.
On that note, she has done lots of work with fairy tales, creating images that are inspired by fairy tales themselves. Little Red Riding Hood is one of her favourites. Kiki does creative things like re-imagining the little girl heroine and the big bad wolf as partners, rather than enemies, in her lithograph, Companions (2001). Pieces like these are great talking points to use with your children in order to explore the different ways we can look at fairy tales and their meanings.
MOMA has an incredible, in-depth online gallery that focuses on Kik’s work. (The Feminine Contexts section of the gallery is particularly focused on Little Red Riding Hood.) Spend the afternoon perusing the gallery with your kids and discuss anything interesting that they touch on. Enjoy!
xo Alicia & Leanne
It’s freezing out, and we are looking for ways to brighten up in this dull, grey, Toronto winter. One thing we’ve been doing is curling up on the couch and cozying up to one of our favourite Christmas presents: Learning To Love You More, an art book by Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July that documents the results of an online project the two artists created in 2002.
But, before we sing the project’s praises, let us officially introduce you to our three-part blog series: “Artists Your Children Should Know”. Every week for three weeks, we’ll feature a different artist that you can explore with your children. After all, why not introduce your children to work by artists who are anything but mainstream? We have a feeling that you’ll both be inspired!
Back to Learning To Love You More. The idea was simple: Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher posted assignments online and asked people around the world to complete them and send their work in so it could be posted on the project website. Assignment examples include lots of kid-friendly things like, “Take a picture of strangers holding hands“, “Write your life story in less than a day“, “Photograph a significant outfit“, “Make an encouraging banner“, “Take a picture of the sun” and “Braid someone’s hair“.
Although the project no longer accepts submissions, all of the assignments and some of the results can be found here. (Also, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has acquired the website for archiving purposes). Our assignment for you? Do some of the assignments as a family and then compare your work to the archived results. Watch your inspiration and creativity flourish. Repeat as needed : )
You can also research other work by Miranda July on her website. She is a truly original performance artist, writer, visual artist, dancer, actress and film director, so there’s lots of cool art to read about and share with your children so you can beat the winter blues together.
Stay tuned for next week’s look at another awesome artist! In the meantime, stay warm and cozy!
xo Alicia and Leanne
Howdy all! We are so excited to be back in action in 2012! After a little bit of a hiatus, the team here at Picture It is looking forward to a brand new year of children’s creativity. Our plans for 2012 include making sure Picture It Picture Books are available far and wide, doing a presentation of our awesome book, Captain Zane, at the Toronto Public Library on January 28, and celebrating all things creative for children.
On that note, just because the kids are back to school today, it doesn’t mean that all the fun has to end. One of the best ways to foster creativity in your children is to expose them to different forms of creative expression. Beat the winter blues by enrolling your budding stars in dance or acting classes. Our favourite? Melissa Altro’s Voice Pro Studio is offering a children’s voice acting class right here in Toronto! Melissa has over 16 years of professional voice recording experience (she plays Muffy the Mouse on Arthur!). Your kids will have a rad time as Melissa coaches them through the basics of cartoon voice acting in a real voice recording studio. This workshop starts on January 18, so sign up today!
Happy creating! xo Alicia & Leanne
It’s taken us a long time to get here, but we finally have a snazzy website to go with our snazzy products! We hope you enjoy our new look.
Teachers, don’t forget to check out and print out our new lesson plans. Our new store offers 3 books for $20! What a great deal! Check out our gallery and find children’s art as well as behind the scenes shots of our business.
Feel free to leave us your coments and thoughts, we’re dying to know what you think!