Sketch by Dana Sullivan
Author and Illustrator Jesse Joshua Watson shared about Writing for Change in his breakout session. He gave us some ideas on how to use books as tools for change as he shared how he used his book HOPE FOR HAITI to help after the earthquake in Haiti.
Here are some notes from that session:
HOPE FOR HAITI came out 9 months to the day after the earthquake in. It was born from inspiration- he wanted to do something about the situation. He found the idea for the book from looking at a photograph of a Haitian child playing soccer in the midst of a tent city/mass grave.
"Look at things like a kid (and not a grownup), because kids have the magic ability to rise up out of horrible situations and be resilient."
What can I do to help in times of need/crisis as an illustrator/author?
"All I have is "A pen and a paintbrush" when the world needs me."
There is truth in the saying "the pen is mightier than the sword". The movement of ideas changes things more than anything else throughout history.
Books are one of the remaining permanent things, and can continue to share things long after the coverage of an event takes place (media changes their focus from one event to another so quickly, but books endure).
What connections can I make with the resources that I have?
You have to get actively involved, be persistent, and ASK!
We Give Books through Penguin & The Pearson Foundation is a way for kids to connect with other kids to help and make change. We Give Books allows children to read a book online for free & then that book is donated to the children (you can choose from several organizations).
You can find out more about Jesse, and his work, on his website (he also has a links page with some resources for finding ways to help make change).