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Graphic Novelist Delights Bedford Village Elementary School Students

students raise hands during author presentation

“How are you so good at drawing?” a student called out in awe.

He and his peers at Bedford Village Elementary School were watching author Jason Patterson draw characters from the graphic novel series Blue, Barry and Pancakes that Patterson writes with his friend Dan Abdo.

After reading students the second book in the series, "Blue, Barry and Pancakes Escape from Balloonia" — which included a lot of sound effects from a very excited audience — Patterson taught students how to draw the main characters.

“I love to draw pictures and share stories,” he said. He told the students that he and Abdo have been best friends since high school and that there might be someone sitting in the room with them right then with whom they would work closely in the future.

As he drew the characters, he noted how they were mostly a series of shapes that anyone could draw.

“After you make a drawing, you get to make your characters talk,” he said, drawing a speech bubble above Blue. “I think it’s such a cool magic trick.”

After the reading and the drawing tutorial, students had an opportunity to ask some questions. A few wondered about specific plot points and color choices, while another thought about pancakes.

“Why is Pancakes named Pancakes?” he asked.

“Well, I love pancakes and I think it’s a really fun word to say,” Patterson said with a smile.

The final student question was a perfect segue into the last part of the author visit.

“Are you going to let us buy some of the books?”

At that point, students had the opportunity to purchase Patterson’s books and have it autographed — or have him sign their book from home. As they waited in line to have their books signed, the excitement was palpable, and students were eager to talk about the books.

“My brother read 'Blue, Barry & Pancakes Enter the Underground Throwdown' to me,” said kindergartner Barrett Ahrens. “I like their adventure to the jungle!”

Other students were all about the book that had just been read to them.

“I really like 'Blue, Barry and Pancakes Escape from Balloonia' because it has King Kong made out of balloons in it,” said first grader Emilio Vargas.

“My favorite part is when they met the Balloonians!” kindergartner Ethan Kramer chimed in.

“I liked it when they went inside King Kong!” kindergartner Hudson Bergin added.

One thing was for sure: the author visit had students excited about reading!

author Jason Patterson autographs a student's book