One of the best things about what I do is meeting and connecting with kids of all ages and sharing my love for books and art with them.
I love visiting schools, libraries, book stores, and other venues. Depending on the time frame of the visit, I read from my books, talk about how the book was created (sometimes showing original art), and usually do an activity with the children. Activities may range from a participatory drawing game for the group as a whole, to a hands-on art and writing project that focuses on the individual child.
I’ve held workshops for small groups (10-25 children) to large scale presentations in an auditorium or library for an entire school.
A sample activity for a smaller group might be the Draw A Monster Game, based on the book, Hush Little Monster, found in the Fun section of this site. I have students choose colored cards with descriptive words which they then use to create their own monster. I bring a variety of art tools and collage materials which they can use to decorate their unique monster. Then they fill out a Monster Fact Sheet about their monster (e.g. What is their monster’s name? Where do they live? What is their deep, dark secret?) and introduce their monster to the class. The results of the game are always different, creative, and fun. I’m always so impressed by what they come up with!
I can always tailor the activity to which book(s) you would like the feature during the visit.
To schedule a visit please contact me to discuss details, such as size of group, time frame, and budget.
I look forward to working with you and meeting your wonderful students!
A Few Testimonials:
Ms Iwai and Mr Markell provided our K to 2 students with a wonderfully engaging visit focused around their most recent book, Hush Little Monster. They described the inspiration for the story, how it changed from a Halloween to a bedtime book, and kindly answered all kinds of questions from our students, even the first-grader who asked Mr Markell how he used meta-cognition in his writing!
Ms Iwai did a drawing activity that had students eager to contribute, and of course prompted the inevitable question “how did you get to be such a good draw-er?” The finished drawings were displayed in our main hallway and our students spent many moments studying and discussing them.
We really enjoyed their visit and would be happy to have them visit again!
-Betsy McLoughlin, Spaulding School Librarian
Melissa Iwai has been visiting my first grade classroom for a couple of years now. The children are always excited when she visits and get a lot out of the experience. Melissa has a great rapport with the children.
-Alexis McClelland-1st Grade teacher, P.S. 142
Melissa Iwai is a tremendously talented illustrator who brings her gifts into the classroom through interesting hands-on projects with elementary school children who are drawn to her gentle kind manner.
-Susie Mee- Learning Leaders/Authors Read Aloud
Melissa was a delight! She visited our school, Xavier College Preparatory, and was a huge hit with our students. She demonstrated her working process-from the beginning preparatory sketches, on to painting demonstrations of finished pieces. Her charm, wit, and informative insider tips were of great aid to our dedicated students. The two day event culminated with a month long gallery exhibition of her repertoire of works. Informative, fun, and cupcakes too!
-Marc Leone, Art Teacher/Xavier College Preparatory