Glenn Martin James is an author and illustrator who visits schools and nurseries, colleges, and works in the community.
He works closely with teachers to shape a days visit, and aims to work with the whole school. Glenn’s methods differ according to the age of the children he is working with:
“Lottie and Mr Columbine” The accent is on fun and empowerment for the youngest children, with his much loved “Lottie and Mr Columbine” stories, giving them fun and entertaining sessions which have magical and light-hearted stories, but which aim to explore a theme and build up their curiosity and confidence along the way. He is a master of silly voices and character performance and switches with ease between the character of bumbling and forgetful Mr Columbine, Bluff cousin Jez, or the duchess voice of Lady Silvershade. This has the children laughing heartily along with the stories and he accompanies the tales with his colourful madcap cartoon illustrations. He also provides the children with colouring sheets devoted to the stories and encourages them to draw, to colour and to make up tales of their own. These are his sessions for children of preschool ages, reception, and up to the age of seven. From seven upwards, there are his “To Be Continued Tales”, stories which can be more adventurous and quite a bit scarier. Glenn’s method is to start with an everyday situation or setting and to build up to a point of real dramatic tension… and then he pauses and says to the children, “Okay, this is where YOU come in….”
This provides a dramatic jumping off point for the children’s imagination and they pick up the challenge and continue the story on from where Glenn left off.
This is a tremendously well received and successful method, an empowering and encouraging way of persuading all children, from reluctant readers to the enthusiastic bookworms, to really express themselves. Children respond with tremendous gusto to this challenge and really let their imaginations go to town.
This approach applies equally well to literary sessions and historical themes, and Glenn has used it with great success up and down the country.
Glenn is an empathic and reassuring presence in the classroom, who does his utmost to inspire, and he works with as many children on a one-to-one basis. He has been complimented that he instinctively understands how to let the confident ones forge ahead, while supporting and encouraging the less confidence to express themselves without doing so obviously.
He will work with every class during a day’s visit to a school, and goes on from the literary aspects of the session to draw with the children, and encourage them to produce illustrations keyed to their creations. He brings a portfolio of enormous variety and detailed work to display where the children can inspect it across the day, and answers the children’s questions the artwork, however detailed they may be! He speaks to as many children as he is able personally and is a positive and encouraging role model.
He aims to develop an ongoing and positive relationship with schools, visiting across a year at periodic intervals, and build a good working relationship with staff and children alike.