Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Buildings Through Our Eyes

Click the picture to see inside
Buildings Through Our Eyes is a work of collaboration inspired by Isabel Hill’s Building Stories and Urban Animals. Guided by the author herself and encouraged by their teacher and Behind the Book staff (the organization behind this project), the young readers, a group of second graders from CS21 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, became writers and photographers on their own terms. They brought the neighborhood’ buildings to life in Buildings Through Our Eyes, the most creative form of a reading experience that comes alive.

Over a four-week period, they read Building Stories and Urban Animals; learned the names and functions of the basic elements of a building as well as the stories behind them. Then, with the author Isabel Hill, they walked through their school’s neighborhood in Brooklyn, exploring the architectural richness of the familiar streets. Familiar, yet so much to see, so much to discover, so much to wonder about.

They looked up high above them at brackets and medallions; their hands touched reliefs and stoops to study the materials. They took photographs of the elements that interested them most and wrote down what they saw, what they learned. One student told about a stoop that reminded him of the one at his grandmother’s house; another found a relief that looked like someone’s spine. They were photographers in their own right, writers in their own way.

We congratulate everyone who worked hard in creating this wonderful book - our own Isabel Hill; Behind the Book; the children’s second grade teacher; and the children themselves, authors-photographers, for their collaboration and their sparkling curiosity.

About Behind the Book: Behind the Book's mission is to motivate young people to become engaged readers by connecting them to contemporary writers and illustrators. They bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills, and create a community of life-long readers and writers. Visit their website, www.behindthebook.org 

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