This is the season to take a sketchpad or journal outside, walk a trail or just lie in the grass. Watching. Writing. Drawing.
That’s what Lulu Delacre did before writing ¡Olinguato De la A al la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado (Unveiling the Cloud Forest) . She traveled high up in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador to find the elusive little mammal, the olinguito. Lulu’s book was inspired by a Washington Post article about the discovery of the olinguito . Her journey to the cloud forest of Ecuador resulted in a fascinating, elegant bilingual book filled with a whole alphabet of wildlife – and many ideas to spark summer writing and drawing.
1. Look at a newspaper and find an article that inspires you to write a short story or a poem. Illustrate your story.
2. During your own walk outside, try to find something that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Take the first five words on your list and write a story using all the words. It might be a very silly story!
3. If you are in a place where you can pick up leaves or twigs from the ground, bring some back to use in your illustrations. Lulu used real leaves to get the texture just right for the background in these pictures (now on display at Strathmore Mansion in Rockville, Maryland.
4. Find the zoologist hiding on every page of ¡Olinguito! Go to the library or use the Internet to find other people who work with animals. Choose one and write a paragraph about what that person does. Maybe you can even interview someone who works in your community.
Need more ideas? Here’s the Lee and Low Teacher’s Guide for ¡Olinguito!
You never know where an outdoor adventure could lead on paper and in your heart. Lulu says she “came back from my trip amazed at the interconnectedness among all the life-forms in the cloud forest, and with a deep respect for what these rich places mean to humans and the earth.”