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Literature Guide heading

For Run Away Home
By Patricia C. McKissack


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picture bookActivities

Story Book Illustrators

One way to make the story Run Away Home by Patricia McKissack come alive for students is to ask them to pretend that it is their job to make a jacket cover illustration for the story. This activity also allows the story to be visible in the classroom when their finished work is displayed. Often children are asked to “draw” a picture of a story and all they have at their disposal is a box of crayons. Artwork becomes so much more interesting and alive if the teacher provides a variety of art materials to choose from instead of just crayons.

The students will each create a work of art using many different types of materials to depict an event or character(s) from the story Run Away Home.

What You Will Need:

  • Poster Board
  • Pencils
  • Glue
  • Twigs and leaves
  • Paints, Watercolors, & Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Artist’s Charcoal
  • Colored Tissue Paper & Yarn
  • Cotton & Construction Paper
  • Fabric Scraps & Wallpaper Samples
  • Chalk & Steel Wool

What To Do:
Teachers can help children think about the story by asking questions such as:

  • What would be the most appropriate material for you to use for your illustration?
  • Are you thinking about using just one or two materials or are you thinking about making a collage with many materials?
  • What colors do you see when you think of this story?
  • How will you portray the main character? How old is he or she? What does he or she wear?
  • Where does the story take place? When? How could you show this in your picture?

After the illustrations have all been created, the teacher should honor each child’s work. When the students show their work to the class, teachers might encourage them to talk about their choices by asking questions such as:

  • Why did you choose to illustrate this scene or characters?
  • Why did you choose those particular materials?
  • How did you make that part of your picture?
  • Did you discover anything in making this illustration?
  • How does this help us see the book?

By asking questions and discussing what the students were thinking, the students are encouraged to think about what they have done and appreciate their own work and the work of others. Also, the teacher gains valuable insight into their thinking.

Another idea to consider when having students illustrate a book is to have them work collaboratively on a mural. The teacher may assist the students in the planning and organization of the mural. Murals may be organized around events in a story or around students’ favorite characters. An easier form of mural is when children’s artwork is cut and pasted to a background.

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Comments: L. Perrenoud at
Page Last Updated October 20, 2003