The Make-A-Book Project and author-in-residence program school photographs. Pictured here are all four of the aerial-view school photos. Kids standing in the shape of a bicycle, worm, butterfly and cupcake.
Sorting the illustrations
Sorting the illustrations. I can get over 1000 drawings.

Choosing drawings for the new book

After working with the elementary students for 6 days, I got approximately 1000 drawings to choose from. So, being more of the right-brained-artistic type, it is a major organizational challenge — I’ve never used so many folders, stickies, paper clips, dividers and color markers.

Here you see that I have laid the book out on the floor with my tentative favorites in place. Also pictured are dozens of folders. First I organize the pictures alphabetically by grade and teacher, since some kids will draw 10 pictures. As I progress, choosing pictures becomes harder, and I need to be more creative, such as combining two student drawings into one. I will also reorganize the piles by page number or subject matter. And constantly I am subdividing the pictures into favorites, seconds (maybes), thirds (probably-nots), miscellaneous, unknown and more…

It seems every time I look, I see the pictures in a new way, and am impressed by the creativity and humor of the young students.

Update: Ms. Nagan, the art teacher, gathered some of her best illustrators for the STEM school’s application hour, to help me fill the missing pages. The book is looking fantastic thanks to the student’s overwhelming enthusiasm — and I mean overwhelming.

I also scouted the rooftop for the class photo. It took less than 5 seconds for the kids to scream: “Scott Stoll is on the roof.” I think elementary students are a lot like prairie dogs.

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More stories about the making of this book

Colorful Gummi worm cupcakes being served on a silver platter.

Gummi Worm Cupcakes

Here’s a very strange coincidence. Guess what!? “Dirt cupcakes” with grass and a gummi worm on top. Bizarre!

A aerial view of my message. It could read "We ♥ worms" or "We heart worms" or "We love worms."

We ❤ Worms

School playground photo of “We ❤ worms”. I’m very surprised this picture turned out so great! Another one of my personal favorites. And a giant framed photo will soon be hanging in the school office until the end of times.

Illustration ideas by subject

Thinking outside the words

I continue to learn how to work with the various ways kids learn and create. Some students prefer to illustrate an actual sentence from the book, which requires a more literal interpretation; while other students prefer a more conceptual approach.

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