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Author brings inspiring message during Children’s Book Week

POSTED: December 1, 2013 9:18 p.m.
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Author Phyllis Tildes offers story time with SEHS pre-K and other students and shares the book “Counting on Calico,” which teaches young children to count.

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Author and illustrator Phyllis Limbacher Tildes encouraged students of all ages to pursue their dreams during her recent visit to South Effingham High School.


The South Effingham High School media center teamed with the early childhood, business, art, pre-kindergarten and special learning classrooms to sponsor Tildes’ visit as part of Children’s Book Week. She shared with about 200 SEHS students her life experiences as an artist and illustrator.


Tildes was a designer for Hallmark and an assistant art director at Dartmouth College, along with running her own graphic design company. She has 18 published children’s books, covering subjects ranging from pets and wildlife to ethnic stories and childhood experiences.


In her presentations, Tildes demonstrated how her graphic arts and writing background laid the foundation for her to use her skills to create children’s books. Writing children’s books was a life dream, and Tildes told students that, as with any life goal, achieving that goal requires “talent, perseverance and a certain amount of luck.”


Tildes discussed various art techniques and mediums, how to write with an understanding of the cognitive development of growing children, and the business requirements of writing, preparing a manuscript for publication and the publishing process. In a story time for the pre-K and other students, she read her books, “Counting on Calico,” “Animals in Black and White” and “EyeGuess,” challenging their minds with counting and guessing games in her stories.


Afterward, using crayons, Tildes drew a character from one of her books, “Calico’s Curious Kittens,” and let the class choose a name for the kitten for a class mascot. “Whiskers” won the final vote.


Concluding her visit, Tildes met with the lunchtime Stomping ‘Stangs Book Club groups of about 40 members. Students were able to ask Tildes questions about getting a book published and examine her drawings and publishing materials up-close. She shared a handout entitled, “What’s Your Story? Tips and Tales about Children’s Book Publishing.”


“I learned that there are many experiences and chances to have your book published,” said SEHS art student Sean Edenfield, “but most important, you have to stay passionate about your dream.”

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