Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Judging Day for the Morgan Book Project

Wow! This past Friday I had the privilege of being a judge for the Morgan Library Museum’s program for children, the Morgan Book Project. Nine judges reviewed a selection of amazing books created by children from 3rd to 8th grades.

Teachers learned the process first and the kids were treated to a gallery tour and an opportunity to see the Morgan’s collection of illuminated manuscripts for inspiration. Back in the classroom, the teachers helped the kids to fabricate the accordion books. The kids wrote their own stories and then illustrated them using paint they created from scratch! Yep, they took raw materials like saffron (for yellow), and cochineal insects (reddish pigment), ground the material up using a mortar and pestle, added a binder and voila! Paint. They were even given 22k gold leaf to use on archival paper. This is serious business! The stories ranged from the anecdotal to full out fantasy. A day with a stomach bug, the birth of hamsters, Dad as a medieval knight, Native American influenced stories, and a magic turtle were some of the themes. They were funny and moving, and the artwork was awesome. As judges we were given guidelines but it was so hard to choose. Well done guys, beautiful work!

Here’s more info on the program:

The Project: In this free program, every year teachers from New York City public schools participate in a four-day Summer Institute for Teachers, developed by the Morgan in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, and focused on the integration of book arts into the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subject, as well as The New York City Department of Education Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Through the following fall and winter, these teachers lead their students in the writing, illustration, and binding of manuscript books. They submitted their students' four best projects to a jury. At the end of March, the winning books are featured in a one-day installation at the Morgan, while the students whose books were selected receive an award in the presence of their families, school teachers, and principals in the Gilder Lehrman Hall.

For additional information on the The Morgan Book Project, please visit www.themorgan.org/education/BookProject.asp