Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Letter to a New-Found Hero

Today I discovered a website that will greatly enrich my experience in English 295. It's even going to enrich my life. demonstrates everything we're learning about the evolution of the consumption of books, and it particularly addresses how we create based on our interactions with text. In a very brief nutshell, the Picture Book Report is a collaborative effort of fifteen illustrators to craft artwork as a response to their favorite works of literature and then share them online. Meg Hunt, the leader of the effort, calls the project, "an extended love-song to books."

When I saw that one illustrator, Israel Sanchez, had crafted art for Where the Red Fern Grows, I felt as though I had struck gold. When I saw that the art was beautiful, I was overjoyed. This is exactly what I have been looking for.

I'm sure I will have many posts that result from this wonderful discovery. Below is an e-mail I sent to Meg Hunt. I will soon contact Israel Sanchez to ask his permission to share some of his work directly on my blog. Until then, I encourage you to visit his page on the Picture Book Report website.


I am an undergraduate in the English Teaching program at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and I am currently enrolled in a class called Writing about Literature in the Digital Age. The basic premise of the class is that we live in an age when literature is consumed, reacted to, and shared in new and ever-evolving formats. Your picture book project is fascinating, beautiful, and reflective of our heightened ability to share our creativity (which is inspired by the literary creativity of others) through digital media.

At the beginning of the term, my professor asked each student in the class to pick a work of literature to consume (study), create (inspire us to craft substantial "scholarship" on the piece, including blogs or other creative venues), and connect (share our ideas and creations with others and encourage feedback). My choice was a childhood favorite, Where the Red Fern Grows. Needless to say, when I discovered Mr.Sanchez's magnificent artwork, I felt as though I had struck gold. Your entire project addresses how the experience of literature can be expressed through formats other than the traditional scholarly essay and enriched by digital collaboration. I will be contacting Mr. Sanchez myself to thank him for his art and to ask his permission to share it through my own blog.

Thank you,

Amy Whitaker


  1. Amy, I couldn't be happier with what you found or how you've acted on it. I do hope Mr. Sanchez will let you post some of his illustrations on your blog, but even if not, that's great that you have reached out to him and also to Meg at What a cool site! I'd like to hear how new or different illustrations of a given book cause you to think differently about the text they illustrate. Why don't you answer this with respect to the Sanchez illustrations of Red Fern? That would be a great way of demonstrating how new media "read" (or give a new lens to) literary texts. What would your own experience of Red Fern be like if you responded to it through attempts at illustrating it? I'd love to hear your further thoughts. Great work at trying to connect with two people outside our class in a relevant way!

  2. Thanks for letting us know about this site. I found some stuff about my book too.