Kellie Diguangco and I met in the shop a few years ago. She was making adorable things and raising 4 boys, and I was instantly charmed by her Texan accent. Fast forward a few years, and Kellie’s becoming a bigger part of the programming around here. We just launched an amazing Book Club For Kids, while she also ran her own pilot program for #getoutandread all over Vancouver this summer. I thought you might enjoy learning a little more about Kellie and the new roster of classes she brings to the shop this fall.

Kellie! Why don’t you tell our readers a little more about who you are and what you do?

I usually mention I am mom first but that often blurs with educator because for me they are one in the same. I have been working in the community as an artist, educator and literacy advocate for the last 12 years. I started sharing my love of reading here on Instagram about the same time I got approval for placing a Little Free Library on Granville Island. Over the summer I created an exciting grass roots reading program called Get Out and Read  where kids earn badges by reading and participate in a city wide scavenger hunt. I also started a Book Club aimed at kids to help foster the love of reading right here at Collage Collage. Both programs have been something I had been dreaming of creating and it was exciting to see them come to life and have the community respond so well to them.

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You’re a respected and well followed book lover and reader. Can you tell us which book you have the earliest memory of loving?

I posted recently that I didn’t grow up around a lot of books, I was read to for sure and I loved stories. The small school I attended actually didn’t even have a library and we never took trips to our local one. The lack of access to books may have helped foster my love for reading. However, the first book I can remember falling in love with is called Good-bye Ruby Red, a story about a little girl who is home sick in bed, and her mother gives her crayons and paper to keep her company. She draws a little girl, Ruby Red, who comes to life and is quite naughty. I searched out a copy and I love having it as an adult, I realize now it has a bit of edge to it. I think speaks to my imagination, it has a Jon Klassen feel where it leaves the imagination open when the story ends.

 

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You’re bringing your love of reading to several programs at the shop this Fall. Can you tell us what you’re looking forward to teaching the most?

In education they say you “learn to read” from ages 4 to 8 and after you “read to learn”. The thrill of helping foster a love for reading is to me, the best possible good I can put into the community. From years of experience, I have found that all children do not arrive at the same milestones at the same time. This is the beautiful part about books -more than learning to decode and recognize site words – the love and passion FOR reading. A love for reading is much more important than the achievement of reading levels because with one the other can follow. Quality books make all the difference, which is why I have always been attracted to Collage Collage. Beautiful, intriguing picture books ignite the imagination and they make you curious about life. Those are the keys to building a lifelong passion of learing: love, imagination and curiosity. There are a lot of options out there that provide tutorial style classes to teach reading. I strongly believe reading and art are connected, this is why picture books are a staple in education.  I have taken my years of experience teaching art and literacy and merged both forms to create classes that I believe will inspire a lifelong love for learning and reading.

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One last question; Who’s inspiring you most these days?
Children are always my biggest source of inspiration but I recently received a copy of Oliver Jeffers new picture book Child Of Books and it speaks wonders to my feelings about reading and books. I am also very excited about the new books Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett are working on about shapes. I can’t leave without mentioning our local and very beloved author/illustrator Julie Morstad and the arrival of her new book Today.

Watch for more blog posts, classes and book picks from Kellie right here on our blog.

 

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Some artists have an incredible way of capturing the essence of childhood, I find this is especially endearing in children’s books. The way a child stands, or the excitement and delight in play, Cale Atkinson is one of those artists.

The first time I picked up a copy of To The Sea, I was hooked. The dark colours set the tone for a moody picture book, a hint of sadness, yet offset with beautiful bright orange. Set in a rainy city by the sea, here in Vancouver we know a lot about rain. A little boy named Tim befriends a whale who is lost and struggling to be seen. Tim can relate to Sam, the whale, and together they devise a plan to get Sam back to the sea.

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Cale’s recent book, Explorers In The Wild, captures a different look. A book about an unforeseen friendship between a boy and a bear. This time his book is set in bright lush forest. Sound familiar?

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Cale grew up running through some of the same forests you may have gotten out and explored. You will fall in love with the beauty and familiarity of his books, the playfulness in his characters and the way he helps children navigate feelings of being misunderstood, sadness, wonder and friendship.

You can come out and meet him in person this Saturday June 25th from 12- 2 p.m.
Hear him read Explorers Of The Wild, and make a craft.

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You can also see Cale’s other work here , including another of our favourites, If I had a Gryphon.

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Also, if you love a good end page, Cale has some of the best.

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See you Saturday!

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Here’s to the Dads today. We hope that you’re enjoying the hats, ties, pennants and cards we’ve made you. They’re just a small token of how much we love you. Here’s to the Dads who lift us up, who drive us to be our best, who set the standard high, who inspire change, who love with their whole hearts, who make us who we are. I’m looking at you, Cino – and thankful for that guy in the picture there, who lifts us all up, builds us shelter, and keeps us safe and loved each and every day.

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In honor of today, I wanted to share my friend Lauren’s beautiful film about her Dad. Lauren is a talented film maker and blogger, and when she makes things about her family, its just the best stuff around. Go ahead, give it a look – and then call dad! He should be back from golf by now.

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One of the most amazing aspects of opening this space for me was the opportunity to introduce families to contemporary art in an approachable and authentic way. This weekend we have a wonderful event celebrating artist Cindy Mochizuki’s recent project with Access Gallery. Join us from 2-4pm this Saturday for a free crafting event, book launch, and a chance to meet Cindy herself. More about the project here;

“When we are bored, the landscape appears barren, empty. But it is precisely this arid space in which the imagination can run wild, and produce whole populations of teeming, whimsical, creaturely life. Things on the Shoreline is a collaborative project initiated by Access Gallery, visual artist Cindy Mochizuki, and the students of Lord Strathcona Elementary School and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. A guest artist at both schools, Cindy led making and storytelling workshops, working closely with grade four and five students. The starting point of these workshops was the visualization of an empty seashore and, working with ink, salt, and words, together they slowly drew out the myriad possibilities that had been waiting to emerge on the blank page. The results of the workshops—a raucous population of whimsical inky creaturely Things and the invented environments in which they live—is the focus of the exhibition at Access Gallery which runs from February 12 – April 16, 2016. This project culminates in the launch of a limited-edition, hard-bound children’s storybook, authored and illustrated by Mochizuki. The launch will be held at Collage Collage on Saturday April 16, 2016 from 2-4 PM and features a reading by the author as well as light refreshment*.”

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We are so excited to begin our brand NEW session of interactive and exploratory music classes with Little Mountain Music Club this week! We’ve added two new weekend classes that are perfect for families with mulit-age siblings and of course another babies class (especially geared towards the littlest of music makers).  This session we’ll be jamming with drums, egg shakers, parachutes, and more! Check out collagecollage.ca to register on line for this 6 week session.

SUNDAYS

9:00-9:45 | Ages 0-2

10:00-10:45 | Ages 0-5

MONDAYS

9:15-10:00 | Ages 0-2

10:00-10:45 | Ages 2-4

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