Students at Strafford Elementary sailed the seas and learned some important lessons as Author Isaiah "Izzy B" Basye visited the school on Nov. 8. He and illustrator Ben Askew were there talking about their latest book, "The Mighty McKraken." This fun story introduces kids to concepts such as please and thank you, sharing, and treating others with respect.
Most authors read their books in a library for a few classes and then move on. But for Izzy B and Askew, that was not enough. The two held assemblies for the elementary school classes where they introduced themselves, read the story using props and group participation and gave a speech inspiring the students that they could be creative too, all while the two dressed up as pirates in a packed gym of happy, eager students.
"I met Izzy at a librarian conference last year," explained Melissa Morris, Strafford Elementary Library Media Specialist. "I knew he was the one, the one that Strafford Elementary needed to see." From there, Morris went through the steps, and before long, the two parties had scheduled a time for Izzy to visit.
Izzy lives in Joplin as a full-time children's book author and illustrator with works including "A Tighty-Whitie Wind," "Count Spatula," and most recently, "When I Caught You," which is up for the Show Me Readers Award this year.
Askew resides in Carthage with works including writing and illustrating "Capitan Blunder Might Live Forever." Illustration works include "This Monkey Lost A Banana" and the upcoming "Professor Nincompoop." "The Mighty McKraken" is the first book the two have worked on together, but they are friends and have worked on other projects together. Most recently, on a YouTube channel called "Sketch with Fetch," a puppet show that helps teach kids to draw.
The assemblies were full of laughter, rubber chickens, and confetti. The students were also given free life advice. Before performing "The Mighty McKracken," Izzy told the students a story about how when he was in second grade, his teacher, Ms. Carter, noticed his writing talent, encouraged him, and helped out.
“She taught me ‘If you want to accomplish your dreams,’ whatever you want to do because you can do it, ‘you have to put in extra time,’” said Izzy. Surprisingly, his second-grade teacher ended up being his third-grade teacher as well. At that time, she gave Izzy another vital lesson he never forgot.
“She let me work on my book on a Saturday,” explained Izzy. “Now let me tell you, when I was a kid, you did not mess with Saturdays because that was the only time we watched cartoons. She then taught me another valuable lesson: “If you want to accomplish your dreams or goals, sometimes you have to give up things you love to do.”
The works of Izzy B are available on his website, www.izzybbooks.com.
To check out the works of Ben Askew, visit his website, www.benaskewbooks.com.
Currently, the two are visiting schools around Missouri and Arkansas; if schools would like Izzy to visit, they can fill out a form on the website.
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