South Orangetown Central School District

Award-winning author and illustrator Matt Tavares gave second-graders a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a book during his visit to William O. Schaefer Elementary School yesterday.

Mr. Tavares walked students through the process of drafting stories, sketching illustrations and working with an editor to make his work better. “I need to read through my editor’s comments and not take them personally,” he explained. “Sometimes, we go back and forth a bunch of times. A book starts with an idea I had, but most of my writing process is rewriting.”

Students had an opportunity to learn about the author’s illustration process, too. They discovered that his paintings begin as a series of drafts, sometimes based on photographs he carefully plans to capture a character’s movement. Then, Mr. Tavares matches his illustrations with his writing to see how they work together. “In a picture book or graphic novel, you read the words, but you also read the pictures,” he noted. “You don’t need to write details that are in the illustration.”

Mr. Tavares’s talk was sponsored by SOCES PTA. “We always try to do an author visit per grade during the year,” explained SOCES PTA Assemblies Chair Kelli Cozza. “Matt Tavares is perfect because he’s produced a wide range of books, many with local settings,” added SOCES PTA Vice President (WOS) Alyssa Moloney.

“This is an amazing opportunity to have an up-close, hands-on opportunity to meet a published author and illustrator with a focus on nonfiction,” said WOS Library Media Specialist Patty Eyer. “It’s Annual Media Literacy Week, so it’s a great tie-in and it gets kids excited about reading and writing.

Mr. Tavares’s newest book, Lighter Than Air, was selected for the Society of Illustrators exhibit of the best children’s books of the year, The Original Art 2018. More photos on Facebook!

Author/illustrator Matt Tavares does demo at WOS