The Amazing MaryAnn Kohl

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MaryAnn Kohl, author and art teacher extraordinaire, has been bringing art to children for 25 years through her wonderful books (and longer as a teacher). I asked her about her most recent book, Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Style of the Great American Masters, and how she comes up with interesting, kid-friendly art projects.

*** Note: Readers will have a chance to win a signed copy of MaryAnn's Great American Artists for Kids at the end of this interview.***

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JEAN: First, will you tell us a bit about your background teaching elementary school kids?

MARYANN: Since I was a very little girl, I have wanted to be an elementary teacher. My dream came true in 1972 when I was hired to teach kindergarten in a fabulous federal project called "Follow Through" in Ferndale, Washington with children from the Lummi Nation. The program was much like Head Start but was implemented specifically in the primary grades. Our goal was to take language-disadvantaged children who were behind in grade level and fill their lives with literacy and art and science and math, and speed them and inspire them to reach grade level by grade three. We were more than successful!

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The 70's was a great time to teach: so much was left to each of us individually to discover and implement. My creativity blossomed as did my enthusiasm. I loved my little kids and gave them the best I could, trying to meet the needs of each child, taking them from where they were to where they could go. Standards and tests were not part of the 70's. Individualized teaching was the height. Open kindergarten classrooms exploded with gardens and blocks and easels and sand and water tables and healthy snacks and book corners with pillows. Primary grades were filled with individualized reading and writing. It was very exciting, and a great time to teach. 

The highlight of my teaching years was when Follow Through hired – are you ready for this?- Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle to come to our program and train us in literacy and the arts for two solid weeks. It was absolute unequivocal heaven. Much of what inspires me today came from that period of time with those magical men, Bill Martin especially. Throughout my teaching years, one thing I have found is that whenever kids are involved with art, they are quiet and happy and on task. I decided that I would try to include art in as much of my teaching as possible. From there, I have lived a life inspired by children and their art. 

Other: I have taught kindergarten, grade two for most of my years, grade one, and grade six. I've also taught college level courses in ECE like ECE Art and ECE Reading Readiness. I currently have a busy schedule of workshops around the country. I'd love to come to your town!

JEAN: I'd love it if you came to Asheville! How do I get you here?!

I love your latest book, Great American Artists for Kids! What inspired the concept?

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MARYANN: Along the line I discovered that kids like to know details about the great masters of art just as they do about dinosaurs or cats or rocks or soccer players. They absorb details! The best part for the kids about the great masters is that they can "BE" masters too, trying out the styles and techniques of the various artists. Kids take art very seriously when they are learning about a great master and really get into their own expression and exploration. After the success of Discovering Great Artists, I began to notice how many great artists are from the US and decided to write a book based on a selection of these amazing artists. My secondary goal was to produce this book out in color and show many children's artworks as well as that of the famous artists. 

JEAN: Can you tell us about the process of putting together a book like this? — How you came up with the projects and how you test them with kids, etc?

MARYANN: The way I work is to begin to look through huge art books, and in this case, books about American artists. As I look at their work, I am constantly thinking "How would this style or technique work for children?" When a particular artist inspired me as "good for kids", I made a note to include that artist and continued collecting those that would work best for children.

Once I had about 200 favorites, I started sorting and choosing the ones to go in the book by these standards:

  1. Art style (try to get a variety including paint, crayon, sculpture, clay, collage, mobile, photography, etc.)
  2. Include a balance of male and female
  3. Include different nationalities — Hispanic, Native American, African American, etc.
  4. Cover movements and eras, from early America to the Present. This is a very difficult process, but exciting.

When all the sorting and choosing is done, and it is mind boggling!!, there should be a fairly equal number of projects in five chapters. Then I go back and write the projects and biographies. Next, I test the projects with real live kids. From there, I choose kids' works to go in the book, with their permission. When it's all over, I have a gigantic picnic with the kids to thank them for becoming professional illustrators! Can you spell p-r-o-u-d?

JEAN: I bet! Okay, my next question is what are your favorite activities in the book?

MARYANN: My favorite art projects from Great American Artists for Kids seem to change the more I explore them with children. One day I'm crazy about staining paper with tissue like Diebenkorn page 76, and the next day I can't get enough of making edgy reliefs with colored paper like Biederman page 60. I find that the kids are particularly inspired by anything with colored chalk, or by 3-D sculpture. They love the Chihuly "ping pong ball" gardens on page 121, and Calder wire stabiles on page 58. The all time favorite project for kids is anything with dough or clay. Yet, as soon as I said that, I was thinking how much they love setting up surreal scenes that they personally pose in wearing costumes while someone takes a picture (see Skoglund page 103).

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If kids were to vote today, they would say Hooray for the Sandy Skoglund Surreal Scene on page 103. Tomorrow? I'll let you know!

JEAN: Do you have any new books in the works?

MARYANN: I publish my own books for my company Bright Ring Publishing, and I also write books for Gryphon House. Recently I turned in the final manuscript for a new book to Gryphon House called Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff. It's very cool because the organization is 52 weeks of art, 5 days a week, using some ordinary household material like cotton balls or junk mail. The five projects each week use that one material all week long, from an easy project on Monday to a very fancy challenging project on Friday.

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JEAN: You’ve been doing this your whole life — what keeps you motivated and interested?

MARYANN: I was a stay-at-home former teacher and mom when I wrote and published my first book. My kids were very little, just starting school, so it was a perfect time for me to begin my writing career. When I think of the impact of my books on the lives of individual children, I am humbled and awed. Since 1985 I have been bringing art to children, to perhaps millions of children. Sometimes I cannot believe how lucky I am.

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JEAN: Anything else you’d like to add?

MARYANN: My goal is to inspire children to create with materials in their own way, to value their own creative process, indeed, often more than the finished product. I would like to see much less "craft activities" (which I call "crafties") with kids, and much more true art. What I mean by "crafties" are the artsy cutesy projects that follow a step by step direction, often have pre-cut pieces for the child to use, and end up looking much like the adult's sample. Crafties are fun now and then, but the majority of art experiences should not follow an adult sample. Certainly an adult can help the child get started, but then stay out of the way and let the child discover art in his own way. No samples to copy!!

One last thing: The best thing you can do, and the easiest, is to provide a stack of blank paper and a box of crayons on a daily basis. Though simple and ordinary, the possibilities are also endless and exciting and open to the child.

JEAN: Thank you MaryAnn! Thank you for sharing yourself with us here today and thank you (SO MUCH!) for your wonderful books that make art accessible for so many! We are the lucky ones.

JeansPics_10-2009_Pic0819 Readers who leave a comment to this interview by Friday, November 13th at 12 midnight EST will be entered into a random drawing for a signed copy of MaryAnn's book, Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of the Great American Masters.


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  • Reply
    elizabeth
    November 9, 2009 at 7:11 am

    What a great interview! I totally agree with the idea of providing blank paper and crayons daily. I would add to that scissors and glue! My daughter doesn’t go a day without cutting and glueing paper – I love the creativity of simple things like that.

  • Reply
    deb
    November 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Great interview! I live with 2 budding artists – 4 1/2 yo and 6yo girls. I decided long ago to give them free access to art supplies – the only 2 things they have to ask for are paint and glitter so i can at least prepare an area. otherwise they use recyclables, every medium of creating from paint to markers to collage and sculpting (my 6yo can turn a piece of paper into an amazing scuplture!). I just happened to get MA Kohl’s Collage and Paper book this week.

  • Reply
    Becky
    November 9, 2009 at 7:51 am

    So inspiring – MaryAnn Kohl, the interview, the book, and your blog!!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Betsy
    November 9, 2009 at 8:04 am

    When I started my career as a preschool teacher, a lot of the “art” was what MaryAnn calls crafties. We have come a long way since then, valuing process over product and allowing children to explore art materials freely. Thank you for this wonderful interview–I can’t wait for MaryAnn’s “Art with Anything” book to be published!

  • Reply
    Misty Koger
    November 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for this inspiring interview!! I’ve already been inspired by MaryAnn’s ideas, and I can’t wait to read more of this book!

  • Reply
    Tamrah T.
    November 9, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Art is definitely everywhere! I can’t think of a better reason to get children involved in the process of discovery. I think sometimes we don’t see enough of that happening in today’s society. Thanks for sharing your interview today.

  • Reply
    Kate C.
    November 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I’m very excited about the Art with Anything book. Sounds wonderful! I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    November 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Great interview, and we always have stacks of plain paper and crayons around. My kids go through it like wildfire.

  • Reply
    Aly
    November 9, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Fabulous interview, and the book sounds like a lot of fun, too.

  • Reply
    Thien-Kim
    November 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for a great interview! I’m struggling with my preschooler about creativity right now. She wants everything to look exactly how she wants in her head but currently is unable to execute it. Duh, she’s 4! LOL. This book would be a great resource for us.

  • Reply
    myboysteacher
    November 9, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Wow! Thanks for providing this interview, we love everything Mary Ann Kohl!
    Would LOVE to win that book!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    November 9, 2009 at 10:03 am

    This book looks wonderful. My little artist is 3 years old now. Art was always my favorite in school and I’d love to get into writing as my little ones go off to school. Enjoyed this interview, thanks.

  • Reply
    Shannon
    November 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

    What a wonderful interview, the book looks amazing, I know my 3 kiddos would love to try some of the projects!

  • Reply
    michaela
    November 9, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Loved this, and would love the book – my 3.5-year-old would really enjoy the projects.

  • Reply
    jill
    November 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I introduced Mary Ann Kohl’s books to my children’s daycare curriculum specialist. I’m overjoyed they are getting a quality art education now!

  • Reply
    Holly
    November 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    What an absolutely inspiring interview. I especially appreciate the comments about children doing art instead of “crafties”. I am going to look up these books at the library right now.

  • Reply
    Ann Dilcher
    November 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Super – I am about to order this book…if I don’t win it. Well I may order it anyway and give as a present if I win a second copy. Thanks for the interview.

  • Reply
    Kerstin
    November 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Oh I love Mary Ann’s books. I use them with my daughter and we have loved the projects. I really need to get a copy of this new book.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I did the crafties too in my teaching days! And they are fun to do — good for kids to learn how to follow step-by-step directions. But the best thing is offering true art for kids, lots and lots of it. Crafties are still fun to do once in awhile though.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I think the book is due out in late May. I will let you know when I find out.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Oh my gosh. thank you.

  • Reply
    Emily
    November 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I love everything about MaryAnn’s books, and the newest one sounds great!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 9, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Jean: How to bring me to Ashville? Do you have an organization called “Childcare Resource and Referral”? They often sponsor my visits and invite all the local teachers and childcare providers. But really, any group who wants a full day workshop and will handle the registration and so forth can do this. We would have so much fun!! Doing hands-on art is the BEST!

  • Reply
    Kate
    November 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    What an amazing interview! We are huge MaryAnn Kohl fans. I love that I always have just as much fun with the projects as my boys do.

  • Reply
    jennifer...
    November 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    What an inspiration the two of you are for me.
    I cannot wait to see the book, and put it to good use with both of my boys. I have a ten year old and a four year old. Is there an age range the book is geared to?
    Thank You.

  • Reply
    Kate
    November 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Would LOVE a copy of this book — I am not very artistic myself, so our projects tend to be more “crafties” than art, but I would love for my children to have more true art exposure. And my son salvages EVERYTHING from our recycle bin for projects of his own, so he would LOVE “52 Weeks of Fun…” Thanks for the inspiration, both of you!

  • Reply
    RhubarbSky
    November 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    So inspiring. I love MaryAnn Kohl’s work.
    How fabulous!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 9, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I’m MaryAnn’s daughter Hannah, now 33 and living in NYC. Growing up doing art daily (and I mean daily!) has truly defined my life and the life of my sister Megan. My mom was always putting new combinations of things in front of us and asking us to dive in. There is nothing that I look at now without seeing the possibilities for creation or transformation. These early art skills not only translated into artistic ability as an adult, but the ability to see the process involved in a finished product and to find my own way of getting there.
    Here’s one of my favorite memories from our 3-project-a-day years:
    I remember wanting to bake a cake. We were out of cake mix, but instead of giving up or running to the store, my mom revealed that I could bake my own cake “from scratch” – all I needed were the right ingredients. She asked what I thought was in a cake… I was about four, so I said, “Flour, sugar, raisins, water, and cinnamon.” She didn’t bat an eye or tell me I was lacking ingredients, she just set out the ingredients and said, “Let’s see if this makes a cake.” She let me choose how much of each ingredient to add, then helped me put my cake in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, I had some very fancy hardtack, which I ate proudly, but a little skeptically. My mom stepped in and said, “What should we try next?” We kept trying different combinations – and she kept introducing new ingredients and telling me what they could do – and eventually, I had a funny little cake that was actually CAKEY! We served it to my dad when he came home from work and even though it didn’t taste like Betty Crocker, it tasted good to me.
    Almost 30 years later, I know those early experiences with trial and error (and trial and success!) have helped to define who I am today. I don’t believe in failure… I just know that sometimes success is one more ingredient away. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me that and for making it so fun! And thanks to all the readers who are bringing art into their own children’s lives. What a lucky group of kids!

  • Reply
    Peggy Knock
    November 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Hi MaryAnn
    I teach right across from the Missouri Botanical Garden and we have some CaHuli art in the garden he was here a few years ago.I really am looking forward to seeing this book it sounds great. My preschoolers go to the art museum once a month and I would love to prepare them by making open ended art in similar styls to artists they may see in the museum.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    November 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I am a huge fan of Mary Ann Kohl’s books. I teach preschool & also operate an art group in my area, and I always recommend her to parents & other teachers. I was hooked after I got First Art! and now I am slowly building my collection (6 books & counting!)

  • Reply
    molly
    November 9, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Jean thank you for this interview. I feel like I just want to give MaryAnn Kohl a huge hug for all that she has done! Can’t wait to see this book.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    November 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for this interview–we have the MaryAnn Kohl books pretty much permanently checked out from the library, and many of the activities work for all four of my kids, age 7 to 18 months. We’ve especially liked the storybook- and artist-inspired books lately and so are looking forward to this new book–putting in a request at the library tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Parents' Ideas
    November 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Having read this amazing interview, I could not but regret that we do not live in the US. So many opportunities to develop art in children. So many great personalities helping them to support and manifest the desire for creation in them and not by imposing stereotypes but by awakening what is already inborn in them!
    Dear Mrs. Kokl, I feel so much respect for you for what you are doing through your life!
    Dear Jean! Thank you again for publishing such an interesting interview, the interview which causes one to look even deeper into art in everyday life. There are so many handy ideas already in this interview. I can only guess what great things the book is carrying. May I ask you: how do you find people for your interviews?
    Anastasia

  • Reply
    Jennifer in Long Beach
    November 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    So excited to hear there is another MaryAnn Kohl book to add to our collection!

  • Reply
    Alex
    November 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you so much for the chance to win such an exciting book! I am asking for some of her books for the holidays.

  • Reply
    violingirl
    November 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you for the interview! It’s because of MaryAnn Kohl’s books that we have most of our art supplies out on open shelves to use whenever my boys wish.
    I love her books. :)

  • Reply
    Jill
    November 9, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    First I went to my library’s website and requested a few titles by Ms. Kohl now I am coming back to say that I so appreciated the interview! What a fantastic resource her books are. I have used her Scribble Art ideas with my daughter and want to explore her other titles. Thank you for inspiring us through your work to create wonderful opportunities for our kids. We have an art cabinet that my daughter has free access to and I want to encourage her to try different approaches – even with the same familiar materials. With gratitude!

  • Reply
    Elise
    November 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    What a gift MaryAnn has been to so many families all over the world. I live in Australia and have several of MaryAnn’s books.
    I am particulalry excited about the two books mentioned here and will be keeping an eye out for her newest book.
    Thank you for this uplifting and truly inspiring interview.

  • Reply
    Kandyce
    November 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I love this interview. I have used Mary Ann Kohl’s books in my homeschooling for years. We are a very art centered family. Ms. Kohl’s books are the perfect balance of activity and education – education on artist, technique, tools, mediums… They are the next best thing to that inspiring art teacher. I owe her so much thanks and in this month of thankfulness, I am thankful for her.

  • Reply
    Erin
    November 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Wonderful interview with a fascinating author! I grew up with Scribble Cookies and just love her work!

  • Reply
    mrspilkington
    November 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for this interview! Ms.Kohl has been an inspiration at home since my daughter was born, and in my work with children — no matter what I’m teaching, the principles in her books are helpful. So much creative and critical thinking is done through art, and her commitment to encouraging children to explore and take risks is priceless.

  • Reply
    Julie
    November 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I love doing art daily. My two year old loves “being” artists. She’s been Matisse already and is about to become Hans Hofmann next week.
    You can see the Matisse lesson here http://theadventuresofbear.blogspot.com/2009/11/open-ended-art-matisse.html
    and the hans Hofmann teaching material here:
    http://theadventuresofbear.blogspot.com/2009/11/art-appreciation-hans-hofmann.html
    I used Mary Ann Kohl’s books for a lot of my inspiration when I taught third grade art.

  • Reply
    Meagan Grant
    November 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    What an inspirational article, thank you so much. Thank the stars there are still people like MaryAnn and parents like us to keep her passion alive.

  • Reply
    Christine B
    November 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Oh, I am so totally inspired now! What an excellent interview. I’d love to win a copy of the book to help me help my talented sixth-grade daughter expand her art-making skills, and also to use with my 4yr old daughter and 2yr old son. Can you believe that in the sixth grade, a child in our county cannot select a full-year art class as an elective?? One nine-week ‘exploratory’ class is it! It’s a tragedy.
    And Jean, I have been reading your blog for a while, and I just want to let you know I think you are terrific! :)

  • Reply
    Christine B
    November 9, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Aw, what a sweet and heartfelt tribute to your mom! Lucky you, to have had such a wonderful experience growing up! I hope I am providing the same to my kids. :)

  • Reply
    Amy
    November 9, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Great interview. I would love to see the book and use it with our boys (9, 7 and 3) because I sometimes find it hard to get them interested in art projects.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Enjoyed the interview and can’t wait to get the book! I would love to try the activities with my students.

  • Reply
    Molly
    November 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    How inspiring! I love MaryAnn Kohl!!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 9, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I love doing art projects with my 3 year old. Her books have great ideas. I would love to add another to my library.

  • Reply
    JulieB
    November 9, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    How inspiring to read! I would love to win a copy to do these projects with my kids.

  • Reply
    Diana (Ladybug Limited)
    November 9, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Such a timely interview as I was just given a copy of Preschool Art! (Her books have been on my wishlist forever…) Sounds like I’ll be adding “Art with Anything” to the list when it comes out :)
    Such gems for supplementing our kiddos’ lacking art education at school :(

  • Reply
    Jenny Rebecca
    November 10, 2009 at 12:57 am

    What a wonderful interview, the book sounds fantastic!!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 10, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Hug hug. HUG.

  • Reply
    kelli
    November 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Wow! I’m off to find some of MaryAnn Kohl’s books!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

    :o)

  • Reply
    MaryAnn Kohl
    November 10, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Hannah!! I remember that cake! Our days were fun, weren’t they? And now you write musical theatre on Broadway. Makes one wonder about the seeds of creativity.

  • Reply
    toasted
    November 10, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I would love to get a copy of this book. I especially love that it includes techniques for achieving the style of different artists. I’m an Australian so would love it myself as well – for discovering new American artists, especially such a broad range. What an inspiring interview! I’m gonna pull out my Hundterwasser book and show it to my 3yr-old now and see what happens.

  • Reply
    Zoe
    November 10, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Oh yes, what a wonderful interview. I really think she’s right when she says ” I would like to see much less “craft activities” (which I call “crafties”) with kids, and much more true art” – I know I’m “guilty” of doing the former when I’d rather try to be enabling the latter.
    I’m in the UK, so if the giveaway doesn’t stretch this far, don’t worry (although I’d LOVE to win the book).

  • Reply
    Amber Lee
    November 10, 2009 at 3:52 am

    She sounds amazing. I would love this book, and I would love it if our teachers could go back to having some more freedom. I had a teacher in the forth grade who incorperated art into almost everything we did and she was a big part of making me who I am now.

  • Reply
    Erica
    November 10, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I’m so excited that you got to interview MaryAnn Kohl– she’s such an inspiration around your house and mine!

  • Reply
    Allison
    November 10, 2009 at 10:36 am

    What a wonderful interview. It seems Ms. Kohl has an excellent reputation and I look forward to discovering why since I have never read any of the books (wouldn’t be the 1st time this fantastic blog has turned me onto something new!). Thanks, Jean, for sharing and thank you, MaryAnn, for making the time to share!!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    November 10, 2009 at 6:21 am

    MaryAnn – I contacted them yesterday after reading your comment. While they said they’d LOVE to bring you to Asheville, they also said their budget is practically nil right now. :(

  • Reply
    Jenny
    November 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I love her books and projects!

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Wow,what an inspiration!!!Thank you!

  • Reply
    KatieK
    November 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Such a fantastic interview. I love MaryAnn Kohl’s books and have been using them with my 3 year old daughter (and now my 9 month old wants to participate too!).
    Ms. Kohl, your books are such an incredible teaching tool, filled with fun and exciting projects for children and adults. (Sometimes I get more into the art than my daughter!) As a stay-at-home mother, I am always looking for activities, and your books are my number one go-to resource. I have had such a wonderful time with your books and my daughter and her friends that I think I want to be an art teacher to little ones when my girls are in school. Any tips? I love art (I was an art history major in college) but am not an “artist.”
    Jean, I love this blog and have been reading it daily since I discovered it not too long ago. Like MaryAnn Kohl’s books, this blog helps me to stay excited and creative on a daily basis.
    So thank you!

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle
    November 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    A woman after my own heart…thanks Jean and Mary Ann for this interview. Your approach echoes everything I believe and try to implement in my classes for tots and preschoolers as well as when I pop in to volunteer in my 2nd and 5th grader’s elementary school classes.

  • Reply
    Marion Brown
    November 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I am a grandma and cannot wait to share this book with my daughter and grandchildren! Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Barbara Zaborowski
    November 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    MaryAnn Kohl is one of my heroes! Thank you so much (to Jean AND to MaryAnn)for the interview.
    Another blog that some of you may be interested in is:
    http://www.filthwizardry.blogspot.com
    It was passed on to me by a friend of my daughter’s. The friend is now teaching art using recyclables (through SCRAP in Portland, OR)

  • Reply
    susan
    November 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Mary Ann Kohl is a treasure. Her books have inspired hours of art for my son. Thank you for featuring her!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    November 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks so much – we will definitely look for this book!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    November 10, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I went to art college, but since recently discovering several of MaryAnn’s books, I have enjoyed creating with my three young daughters in a whole new way. Her Science Art book is part of our homeschooling library and I’ve wanted to add the rest of her books! We also love this blog for inspiration for our daily art sessions. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Barb
    November 10, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    I love all of MaryAnn’s books. My son and I have made many, many projects from her books. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Barb

  • Reply
    Betsy
    November 11, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Yes, Mary Ann, that’s true! In fact, next week we will be making dream catchers, which require a lot of concentration and direction-following!

  • Reply
    Monique
    November 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    We are currently borrowing ‘Discovering Great Artists’ from the library and we love it! My 5-year-old daughter has seen Degas sculpture in Boston and NYC (and as a dancer herself she is a big fan of ‘The Dancer’, Marie), so we started with a Degas project. I loved art history in college and this book excites me, I LOVE it! I look forward to ‘Great American Artists’. I also love the idea of ’52 weeks of fun’ using the same materials for a week, that is a brilliant idea.
    Love this blog!!!

  • Reply
    Vera
    November 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Beautiful!

  • Reply
    denice
    November 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Great interview! We own Discovering Great Artists and are excited to add more of MaryAnn’s books to our library. We (Me with kids 11, 8, 7, 5, and 2) make art a big part of most days. It’s easy to fall into the “crafties”, however, and I appreciate the inspiration to keep it simple and more free.

  • Reply
    One Hook Wonder
    November 12, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I’d love to win a copy! We recently purchased two of Mary Ann’s books and I can’t wait to use them with my littles. :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    November 13, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I just love the Mary Ann Kohl books! Last year and this I’ve been volunteering at my son’s preschool classes — doing projects from her Discovering Great Artists. Last month we did Calder Standing Mobiles. They were a huge hit. I think some of the kids spent the better part of an hour, sticking wire into styrofoam and bending it. Blissfully happy. (No, you don’t see that kind of utter immersion with Crafties). Little did I know that just over the Pass there was a Calder exhibit opening in Seattle. My friend called to tell me how much her daughter had enjoyed the project and asked if I had chosen Calder becuase of the exhibit. I said no — but we’d been planning on going to Seattle that coming weekend, so I worked in a visit to the museum with my five year old. His eyes got So Big when he saw the huge Calder mobiles. I’d say he was a bit awed. And, in the back, they were playing a movie of Calder’s Circus — which is great. Calder’s got a shock of white hair, but he’s made this whole circus and he’s sitting on the floor playing with it — like a big kid. Toby was glued to the screen and laughed at all the funny bits. Later we passed by a room of modern art and one canvas caught my eye. I brought Toby over and asked him, Toby — who do you think might have made that? He studied it, and answered with confidence, “Jackson Pollack” (Yup.) We had done Pollack Action Paintings at the end of last year — and I guess they made a lasting impression.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art author
    May 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Come and visit my new blog: http://maryannfkohl.typepad.com/blog/

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