Friday, December 19, 2014

Part 2: April's Book Review Series!

As promised, here is another book review!

We have 4 more days left for you to shop at our Holiday Art and Gift Sale. I wanted to tell you about the three other books we have at our gift show (I also always love a good excuse to read!)

An illustration from A Visit with Aunt Mary
First is A Visit with Aunt Mary written and illustrated by Beverly Kemp of Manor, TX. A quick read; this book contains one-page vignettes, each being a short glimpse into the life of the artist as a child spending time in the country with her Aunt Mary. Each story is based on an illustration. These full color prints of paintings tell a story of their own with their expansive perspective and minute details. This is a fun book for an adult who wants to relive tales from the old days, or could be shared with a child. A game could be made of picking out the details from the stories in each painting.

An illustration from Dear Sleep
Next is Dear Sleep, written and illustrated by Nicole Cortichiato of Austin, TX.  In 10 short illustrated pages Nicole opens your eyes to the life of a person with narcolepsy, showing both how her diagnosis has challenged her but also inspired her.  This set is for the dreamer in your life and is a BOGO deal! You get a small book as well as larger blank journal, with space to keep your own dream journal and let your own dreams inspire you!

A poem from Under the Silence is Me, laid over Kimberley's artwork
Last, but not least, is Under the Silence is Me- How it Feels to be Nonverbal written and illustrated by Kimberly Ruth Dixon of Round Rock, TX. Kimberly is a young woman who cannot express herself verbally. She uses facilitated communication to let her voice be heard through her poetry accompanied by her artwork. Kimberly’s poems range on topics from friendship, to anger, to spirituality, and to nature. She is an observant woman with much to say, and the book is a thought-provoking read.

With all of these books being priced in the $10-20 range, this is a great opportunity for the readers on your shopping list to enjoy colorful illustrations and words of beauty and wisdom by these three Texas artists!

Happy holidays, y'all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

VSA Texas Unsung Hero of the Week: Elizabeth "Libby" Geisinger!

Hello Friends,

I am going to celebrate our first unsung VSA Texas hero, Elizabeth “Libby” Geisinger, 2014 Girl Scout Gold Award recipient. Two years ago Libby asked for my advice on her plan to create a series of murals for the portable classrooms at Rosedale School, a campus in Austin that exclusively serves students with multiple disabilities. She presented me with a wonderfully ambitious plan. However, a bond election eliminated the portables at Rosedale, so Libby brainstormed ideas of how to combine her commitment to creating a multi-sensory experience for students at Rosedale with a limited amount of available wall space. Her solution? Build a large, portable, interactive, sensory wooden cube (station) that represents the four seasons.

Libby in the midst of building!
 With help from friends, Libby built and painted the cube and attached items such as pom-poms, pop tops, stars, and multiple plastic animals to complete the sensory experience. The scenes include a water environment, a meadow, a farm, and outer space. Libby reports, “With the use of this portable, sensory mural box, the students can become more independent and enhance their senses. The teachers can create lesson plans that incorporate the sensory station such as telling a story or focusing on helping a student in specific areas that that student needs, such as identifying key items on the station. This station will serve the current community at Rosedale and the future generations to come.” Along with this station, Libby created a Pinterest board on “Adaptive Learning” that instructs how to create other sensory enriched situations and environments for students with disabilities.
The finished product!
Interacting with the sensory station!
Brava Libby for your vision, your tenacity, your dedication, your hard work and your 2014 Girl Scout Gold Award!  The world is a better place because of young women like you.  

Stay tuned for our next VSA Texas unsung hero.  It just may be you!  Until then, enjoy your holiday, whichever you celebrate, and make your resolutions for the new year. 

Find Libby's Pinterest here: