Reading Cloud
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Reading Cloud
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Visiting Illustrator Emma Shaw-Smith July 2017

Did you know that art and writing go hand in hand?


Often in books, the words are written first, and the artist will then plan illustrations to go with the writing.


I am always telling you to put lots of descriptive words and phrases into your writing, to help the reader to see and feel what you do. Illustrations also help these descriptions come alive.


On Wednesday, 28th June,  Emma Shaw-Smith, a children’s book illustrator, came in to spend a day running art projects with the children in years 4 and 6, who were looking at 'Stories From Other Cultures’.


Here she is with some examples of her fantastic work and photos of the afternoon she spent with Year 6:





Some weeks ago, Year 6 were practising descriptive writing in  writing tuition, to prepare for an assessment on Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. For those of you who don’t know the story, Ali Baba, who was very poor, discovered a cave, where forty thieves had stored stolen treasure, jewels and valuables!

I was so impressed with their descriptions of rich, exotic jewels, glistening coins and exquisite fabrics, that I thought it would be great to invite Miss Emma in, to help the pupils create some art work to go with their great sentences.


We even played some Arabic music in class, whilst we were working, for inspiration!

See the display board outside the tutors’ classroom for examples of their writing and art work.






Before that, Miss Emma worked with 5 writers in Year 4 to create some Arabic-style stained glass window decorations. Do you like them?



She then talked to the whole of year 4 about how she thought up the illustrations for one of her books, ‘No Dinner For Anansi’ and later worked with 8 children from the year group, asking them to create an animal character . There were some really brilliant ideas and all the pupils enjoyed her visit.



Orgest and Layla from 4D, Angelo and Natalie from 4S, Zoya and Tiana from 4N and Zane and Teddy from 4H.



Miss Emma was very impressed with all the pupils she met, and she had a great day.

She has sent a message to all the children she worked with:



'Dear Horsenden students,

It was so inspiring coming to visit the talented students in years 4 and 6 in June. You are all so welcoming, well-behaved and inquiring.

Mrs Collins year 4 English group showed me what colourful Islamic stained glass windows you could create, and your designs glowed like jewels in the classroom.

Year 4 came heroically to the rescue during the reading of my book "No Dinner for Anansi" by holding up the original paintings for the book, page by page, to make one long story. You asked many thoughtful and clever questions and were a delight to talk to.

The talented Year 4 Art Group used your imagination to develop wonderful Animal Characters for stories that you want to write. Large Lions, Fairy Bears, Patterned Lions, Perfect Polar bears, Embellished Elephants, Sinuous Swans, Bouncing Bunnies and Dashing Dolphins, to mention a few. You were so engrossed in your drawing that you had to be encouraged to go for lunch!

Mrs Collins Year 6 English class had written beautiful, imaginative passages about walking into Ali Baba's treasure cave. You used jewels, pearls, gold, silver, glitter and shimmering techniques to illustrate your own visions of the treasure-filled cave. You explored the materials very creatively and were very inspiring to teach.

It was lovely to meet you and your teachers and I look forward to hearing more about your projects.

Best wishes,

Emma Shaw-Smith'


Next time you read a book, really look at the illustrations carefully. They help to express the words to the reader, and are often the result of hours, days, weeks and even months of hard work and research by the illustrator. 


So you see, art and writing do go hand in hand!


 Mrs. Collins


  • Horsenden Primary School
  • Horsenden Lane North
  • Greenford
  • Middlesex
  • UB6 0PB
  • United Kingdom
  • Tel: 020 8422 5985
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