Community

Jan Brett to share creative inspiration with local families

Jan Brett's Tiger SlippersLos Altos-based Linden Tree Books is hosting prolific children’s book author and illustrator Jan Brett for a family-friendly event 5 p.m. Sunday at the Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto .

Brett will be sharing her new book “The Tale of the Tiger Slippers” (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 2019) , which reimagines a folktale originally born in Baghdad in a lavish style inspired by Mughal court painting. In addition to sharing her latest work, Brett is known for hands-on sharing with young audiences, including demonstrating how she creates an illustration and giving advice on how to take a nascent love for drawing and let it bloom.
The Town Crier interviewed Brett in advance of her arrival. She explained that visiting with young people around the U.S. has given her a reassuring sense that books still have a thriving place in the digital age.

“It is very inspiring to see these young people who love books,” she said. “Parents are in such an unusual situation because they want to prepare their children for the future and want them to be comfortable with technology, but we don’t want to lose our grip on all the wonderful venues books have taken us through in our lives.”

She likes to give children “a drawing lesson” that goes beyond technique to talk about accessing the creative force that humans natively harbor.
“It’s something that comes from within, so I want to make sure that they know that they’ve got that inside them,” Brett said.
Children often bring pictures and stories to share with Brett and she said that she is most gripped not by those with technical proficiency but rather “the ones that are interested in creating a world.”

Engaging with the art of hands-on creation and world building is “a very exhilarating experience and it makes for a full life,” she said. Creating a troupe of characters that you love and finding a way to “make that border of real and not real porous and be able to live in that world that you’re creating,” she noted, was the way to go from a technically acute draftsman to a true storyteller.

“Anyone can learn to draw, do this step and do that step and you can have a pretty decent tiger,” Brett said.

For tickets to the free event, visit lindentreebooks.com.

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