Children’s book author/illustrator visits Epiphany School

Gripping a Sharpee in his right hand, children’s book author/illustrator David LaRochelle carefully wrote the numbers 1-10 on a giant piece of paper mounted on an easel in the classroom as Epiphany Catholic School sixth-graders filed in.

David LaRochelle, an accomplished children’s book author/illustrator, flips through some of the 198 rejection letters he has received from publishers over the years. “If I had given up after getting a rejection letter I never would have had 30 books published,” LaRochelle said, encouraging students to pursue their dreams. Photo by Sue Austreng

David LaRochelle, an accomplished children’s book author/illustrator, flips through some of the 198 rejection letters he has received from publishers over the years. “If I had given up after getting a rejection letter I never would have had 30 books published,” LaRochelle said, encouraging students to pursue their dreams. Photo by Sue Austreng

Students guessed that he would use the numbers to tell a story about counting or math or numbers. But no, he used the numbers to tell the story about “why you should never, ever, ever, ever give a book to a monkey.”

Enhancing each number the one became the monkey reading a book, the two became the monkey throwing the book out the window, the three became a boy yelling when the book hit him, the four became the kite the boy released when he was hit and so on, and so on.

LaRochelle, former Morris Bye Elementary School teacher who is now the author and/or illustrator of 30 books for young people, visited each grade level during his March 22 visit to Epiphany.

While there, he demonstrated to the students what it takes to write a story and draw the pictures for it and described the process – a process which often includes some setbacks and often requires a great deal of patience.

The early steps of creating a story, LaRochelle told them, includes some doodling, some imagining, some writing, some “sloppy copies,” some changes, some more changes and some more changes before submitting the story to a publisher.

And then the waiting begins.

And during the waiting, there may be some rejection. And after each rejection, there may be some more rejection.

“But don’t give up,” LaRochelle said after telling the students he has received more than 198 rejection letters since he began writing and illustrating children’s books.

“If I had given up after getting a rejection letter I never would have had 30 books published.”

LaRochelle urged them to pursue their dreams.

After his presentation, LaRochelle answered students’ questions and then encouraged them to write stories, to draw pictures, to use their imaginations and to never give up.

To learn more about LaRochelle, visit www.davidlarochelle.net.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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