By JEN CARDINES
A picture’s worth a thousand words, and local author and illustrator Bill Thomson offers hundreds of pictures in his children’s books.
The Southington artist paid a visit to Hatton Elementary School on Monday, Oct. 24 to give presentations on how he became a professional artist, his creative process, and the story behind his trilogy: “Chalk,” “Fossil,” and “The Typewriter.”
The entire event was sponsored by the Hatton School PTO, with support from Principal Robert Garry. PTO cultural arts chair and fourth grade teacher Rachael Evenski was a key player in the organization of “Chalk Day” where students and faculty got the chance to interact with Thomson.
The artist’s presentation focused on the wordless trilogy, where all three books contain only graphics.
“The book trilogy applies imagination to different elementary school subjects and is intended to be a teaching tool that promotes discussion,” he said. “Since the books have no words, the story is told strictly through my illustrations and requires the reader’s participation.”
After the presentations, students created class murals with chalk on the playground blacktop in honor of the book, “Chalk,” while some classes went on to pursue writing activities to coincide with the murals.
The playground blacktop was sectioned off for all students at Hatton to draw with chalk and create their own masterpieces. Principal Garry even went out and decorated a block that read “Hatton Heroes we got this.”
Rain fell over Southington the night before Thomson’s visit, but it cleared up in time for the young artists to make a statement on the pavement. Thomson said, “Some of the children excitedly told me that they drew the sun and then the sun suddenly came out.”
Students had the opportunity to purchase the author’s books, and he spent the better part of his day signing and drawing in them.
Thomson visits many elementary schools to educate and inspire young readers, but he is particularly fond of Hatton. All three of his sons attended the school, and when his youngest son was leaving, he donated one of the original paintings from “Chalk” that hangs in the office.
“The one constant is the warmth and enthusiasm of both the faculty and the kids,” said the artist.
An exhibition of the original artwork from his latest book, “The Typewriter,” will be at the Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA) center, Dec. 1 to Dec. 31. A kids’ event will be on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Photos by JEN CARDINES and ROBERT GARRY