Ralph Masiello school visit

Rockstar Ralph Masiello’s School Visit

Our 2nd grade teacher said that Ralph Masiello was, hands down, the best author illustrator school visit she had ever seen. I think the kids in her classroom would agree. Ralph kept the kids in her classroom riveted, clinging to his every word, and he had some wonderful advice to impart.

He started off by talking about his childhood and how his Kindergarten teacher predicted that he would be an artist one day.

“No way,” said Ralph. “I want to be a scientist!”

When he got older and took science classes, his notes revealed the artist inside. Instead of notes composed of words, Ralph’s notes were doodles and drawings. One of teachers took note and introduced him to the art department. The rest, is history.

Ralph went on to graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design. One of his professors was Chris Van Allsburg whose wonderful picture books include Jumanji, Two Bad Ants and, his most famous perhaps, The Polar Express.


Ralph Masiello School Visit

Ralph talks to the kids about the importance of revisions and rough drafts. Did you know that Chris Van Allsburg rewrote The Polar Express more than 200 times?!! The kids were duly impressed!

Ralph also talked about the importance of the cover and why it can’t be boring. He had a real life case study for this. Do you see the two covers for The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Ralph?

The boring font bothered Ralph so much that he spent years lobbying for a recover redo which the publisher initially wasn’t too enthusiastic about. The book, after all, was selling well. But Ralph persisted and a new cover with a FUN font was published. And guess what? Book sales went crazy!

Ralph Masiello new cover

Ralph is known for his drawing books and they are wonderful! Here he teaches the class how to draw a dinosaur.

Ralph Masiello’s Dinosaur Drawing Book

There’s a fun surprise in many of Ralph’s illustrations for Jerry Pallotta’s books. Can you see how Jerry hid his name in the tree?

Ralph Masiello author visit

Here’s another drawing lesson on how to draw a bug. Ralph is quite expert at that.

Ralph Masiello’s Bug Drawing Book

My son’s favorite Ralph Masiello book is this one:

Ralph Masiello’s Dragon Drawing Book

We get to see the actual art work for one of Ralph’s books.

Ralph Masiello, new cover

Ralph Masiello’s Fairy Drawing Book

Ralph Masiello school visit

Ralph used skulls to help him illustrate two books for Jerry. Can you guess which ones?

Here are more books by Jerry Pallotta and Ralph Masiello:


If you ever get a chance to meet Ralph Masiello, I’d highly recomment it. Have you read or drawn from any of his books? Which one is your favorite?

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Ralph Masiello school visit

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. No, this illustrator is not familiar with me, but his work looks like fun. Smarty’s school has an Author week every year where they get to meet some very well known children’s authors. Last year they had Elisa Kleven and a couple of others. I love having an opportunity to buy a great book autographed by its author!
    Natalie recently posted…Getting Your Children to Write–an Advent JournalMy Profile

  2. I don’t think I have read any of his books, but I think I need to!
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  3. Thanks for the wonderful review of my school visit! Every day, as I sit at my drawing table, I wonder how kids will feel about what I do. The greatest gift of doing these books comes from my visits to schools where I see all the wide eyed and smiling faces of the kids that have seen and used my books. I cannot think of a better way to live my life than sharing my passion for my job with children.

    • Hi Ralph,
      I can tell how much you care about kids getting something from your visits! They loved having you visit!! Thanks so also spreading the message about working hard, reading and the importance of editing as part of the writing process! Such great stuff to impart to the kids and they really do take what you say to heart!

      My son loves your Dragon drawing book! I love that your books help make every child successful at art! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you in person at some point! We are so lucky that you live nearby!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Special Needs Resources for ParentsMy Profile

  4. Ann

    He is so talented! My daughter couldn’t stop talking about his visit to out school. We got several of his books and love them!
    Ann recently posted…Peppermint SticksMy Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      I wish my son had seen him but his year, 2nd grade, they saw a different author. My son loves to draw too so he would have loved to see Ralph Masiello. We’ll try to catch one of his book signings and I’ll show my son the videos. My son loves the Dragon book he did!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Top 10 Crocodile Books for KidsMy Profile

  5. Wow. I’m not familiar. So glad you wrote this piece. Thanks for that! Also, I didn’t know that the cover has to be interesting. As I read that, I was thinking about books I buy or pick out from the library. Do I look at the cover? I must.

    I have to pay more attention.
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  6. I have always chosen books by their covers. I know that’s not right, but it cannot help it. I love that Ralph persisted and got the cover he wanted. It definitely makes a difference!
    Bekki recently posted…Thanksgiving WeekMy Profile

  7. Judy Charlotte

    I’ve read his books. He’s really great.
    Judy Charlotte recently posted…My journeyMy Profile

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