DMA art brightens children’s book


Olivia Wright

O. Wright

Everyone has unique talents, and all of those talents can be used to make a change in the world. The A.P. Digital Media Arts students of Kelly Shields are getting to experience this first-hand, and share their talents with children from the other side of the world, all through simply creating childrens books.

This past summer, Shields had the opportunity to travel to the Japanese city of Minamata for the Fulbright Japan Teacher Exchange. While she was there, she was told about the water-pollution problem in their city and the effects it has on all of the inhabitants. She was introduced to the Minamata Children’s book competition that the city library holds every year, challenging people to create children’s books that teach about environmental topics. She then decided that her students would participate in this competition.

shields3“My goal since returning from Japan has been to nurture the hearts of my students and help them realize that they have the capacity to make a change…I have worked to develop a curriculum that helps my students use their creativity and the power of media and art to create positive change in the world.” Shields says.

The 18 students were split into groups to create and illustrate 7 stories, which were then passed on to the Senior AP Literature classes to help with editing, and the Yearbook staff to help with layout.

shields2The books were then sent out to Advanced English students in Japan, to translate into Japanese. “We try to have conversations with them whenever we can and keep in contact. They’ll send us questions about our stories and illustrations… it’s been a really cool kind of foreign-exchange program, even though we’ve never left. But we hope to one day meet our Japanese friends in person.” says Senior DMA student, Jeffrey Martin.

The high school is providing all the funds not only for shipping, but for the final products of the stories to be published and distributed throughout the elementary schools of Kings, personally by the students who created them.

shields1“Finally, we are investigating the option to sell hard-bound copies as a fundraiser to help aid students living on Oshina Island affected by Typhoon Wipha….We continue to look for ways we can help from the other side of the world.”

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