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 is known for his drawing books and they are wonderful! Here he teaches the class how to draw a dinosaur.
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?
Here’s another drawing lesson on how to draw a bug. Ralph is quite expert at that.
My son’s favorite Ralph Masiello book is this one:
We get to see the actual art work for one of Ralph’s books.
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?
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.