Lead Children’s Librarian
Englewood Public Library
If ever there was a program inspired by the books and images of Ezra Jack Keats, Snapshot Stories conceived of by librarian Kimberly Powers of the Englewood Public Library in Colorado, is it! This was a bookmaking project in which the children would make every component of their books, from the paper, to the paper decorations, to the photographs and the stories.
Prior to the paper making workshop the participating children were given disposable cameras to photograph aspects of their lives they wanted to document in their books. Timing was of the essence since the photographs needed to be on hand once the paper was ready for the books to be assembled! And the camera’s were rushed to the developer for just that reason.
With twenty-seven children, and their accompanying adults, Ms. Powers and her team orchestrated an ambitious two part workshop in which the kids learned six different ways to make and decorate their own paper. This included creating six stations at which children created paper from pulp, marbleized with shaving cream and oil and assembled collages. Making paper is time consuming and managing that many children proved to be a great challenge!
Ms. Powers and her team met the challenge brilliantly, drying, flattening and sorting the paper so each child’s creations were ready for their finishing touches. And finally, they made sure each child’s photographs were there on time to be affixed to the pages of the book assembled by each child. The result was a magnificent array of kid made books, each celebrating the life of the young author. Said one of Ms. Powers staff, “Keats was all about art and community and family. I think he would be proud of what we accomplished!” We agree.