I came across a new book, recommended to me by my friends at Books Forward. It’s called Welcome to Monsterville, and it’s illustrations of various monsters with an accompanying poem. If I stopped here, you might be left wondering how I am tying this in to anchored in education. Great question. Now let me tell you the back story.
This book came about when the late illustrator Michael Rothenburg began using art therapy to help him through various challenges. He would then send them to his friend and accomplished poet Laura Shovan who would write a poem to go with the illustration. When these two friends started this, it wasn’t for the purposes of a book. It was to cope with things life was throwing at them. One of those things was the Covid19 pandemic.
It was only later when they realized the message they could get out by publishing these works. Welcome to Monsterville reminds us as educators that sometimes we need to value process over product. It also has huge implications as an SEL teaching tool, which is just one area that I was fortunate enough to speak about with my guest today, Laura Shovan.
Laura Shovan is a novelist, educator, and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. Her work appears in journals and anthologies for children and adults. Laura’s award-winning middle grade novels include The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, Takedown, and the Sydney Taylor Notable A Place at the Table, written with Saadia Faruqi. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (BFA Dramatic Writing) and Montclair State University (Master of Arts, Teaching), Laura is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council. She also teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her latest book is Welcome to Monsterville.