After the Lower School read Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, they had the opportunity to meet and learn from the book's illustrator, Gordon C. James, who received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. These are just a few of the numerous awards book has received.
Mr. James spoke to students about his early days as a young boy who was enthusiastic about drawing—his classmates loved his superheroes—and described what a career in illustration looks like, from greeting cards to books to teaching college students. He highlighted how technology has changed the artistic process—he doesn't need paper to draw thanks to computers—and explained that teams of people, including editors, art directors, illustrators, authors, and publishers, collaborate to create a finished product. Mr. Gordon reminded students that sometimes every aspect of a project may not go as planned. Rather than get upset, he advised that frustrating moments are an opportunity to communicate with your team. When students asked about awards, Mr. Gordon said, "You get the satisfaction of a job well done and the respect of your peers." After reading the Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut to students, Mr. Gordon even illustrated a few students from the audience! It was an engaging day that sparked imagination and interest and fueled students' love of reading and their appreciation of the visual elements that bring books to life.