Creative Family Living Make Learning Fun

Meeting MaryAnn Kohl

17-MaryAnn_Kohl I had the pleasure of meeting MaryAnn Kohl last month at an early childhood education conference. I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the two of us together — I even had my camera and everything. Guess I was having too much fun.

MaryAnn first came on my radar almost six years ago when Maia was a baby and I was starting to think about children's art. Her book First Art introduced me to the joys of art with toddlers. I've learned so much over the years from her many books, fun activities, positive attitude, and her sheer contagious enthusiasm for children's art.

When I started blogging, I got up the gumption to reach out and ask for an interview. That first lovely interview was followed by another and then another. She is always generous about sharing her self, her knowledge, and her love of children's art. But while we've corresponded by e-mail and talked on the phone, I wasn't sure if or when we would meet in person since we live on opposite sides of the country.

So when she told me she'd be presenting at an early childhood education conference only an hour away from where I live and asked me to join her for the day, I jumped at the opportunity.

We talked, wandered the conference halls, hung out at her book signing table and ate lunch together, she packed me a bag of art supplies left over from her presentation (I love free art supplies!), and we sat in on a presentation by author/illustrator Denise Fleming. It was lovely to spend time with MaryAnn in person.

And as I work on my book, I am just amazed that she's done this 23 times and counting! That she has written 23 books sharing her knowledge and love of children's art with countless children, parents, and teachers all over the country and the world. So while I call MaryAnn my friend, she is also my personal hero.


  • Reply
    The Orchard
    August 24, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Wow! I didn’t realize that there were 23 books! I have 3 of them and love them all. I will have to check out some of her other ones soon.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Jaime Guthals
    August 24, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I used to work with Mary Ann’s daughter and the entire family is amazingly fun and creative! I wanted Mary Ann to adopt me! So glad you had a chance to meet her in person.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 11:07 am

    What a wonderful opportunity! Isn’t the internet amazing, how you can be influenced by someone and have chances to communicate on a real level? Very cool!

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    August 24, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I still marvel at the fact that this blog has enabled us to be friends and colleagues without ever having met in person! (although I’m still holding out for a coffee date when you venture to DC for a field trip…and we’ll invite Molly too!) :)

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    August 24, 2011 at 11:41 am

    @Jaime Guthals, I would love to adopt you. Can you give me some grandkids while we’re at it? :-) And talk about fun, Jaime, you are at the top of the list.
    Jean *The Artful Parent* and I had a really REALLY nice day together in Tennessee at the conference hosted by ETSU. [Maybe I can adopt Jean too!? Grandkids included. Sounds like a plan.] Jean and I are different ages (obviously), and as such, I see her beginning her author-life much like I did, juggling kids and writing time, and I was just so happy to sit with her and share our dreams, experiences, hopes, fears, and joys. I was so tired that day and Jean didn’t even seem to mind how foggy I was. What a lovely person.
    Like Jennifer says, the Internet is amazing because it brought us together. I treasure my new found friendship with Jean, and look forward to being a part of her author-life as she grows and grows and grows!!!!
    Jean, thank you for your kind warm and caring words. Soon you’ll be interviewed on people’s blogs, be doing book signings, speaking at conferences… and I’ll be able to say “I knew her when…”

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I’m so star struck right now. I have (and use daily) each if her books. You are so very blessed to talk with her! My children adore their art time at home and I put her open ended art ideas to work at Montessori School. Lucky ducky!!
    Hello, MaryAnn! And thanks :)

  • Reply
    August 25, 2011 at 2:44 am

    One of the things I really love about your blog Jean is that, in addition to your daily inspiration and art ideas for kids and links to other amazing people like Mary-Ann, you’ve created a community of like-minded but geographically-spread (I’m in Australia) art mummies (parents). We get the benefit of your advice and ideas as well the comments and contributions of everyone else – what a legacy!

  • Reply
    Christie-Childhood 101
    August 25, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Wow, that would have been so exciting. MaryAnn is such an inspiration to so many :)

  • Reply
    August 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    It is so awesome to meet your hero!

  • Reply
    dundee writer
    August 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Jean, I have you to thank for turning me on to MaryAnn’s books a couple of years ago. And it’s been awhile since I’ve visited, so belated congrats on your own book news! Can’t wait for it!

  • Reply
    Elise @ Inspiration Surrounds Creativty Abounds
    August 26, 2011 at 3:23 am

    What a wonderful opportunity for you. I would have been giddy with excitement.

  • Reply
    Rachelle | TinkerLab
    August 27, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Lucky you, Jean! As you know, I’m also a huge MaryAnn Kohl fan. While I’m an art educator by trade, I didn’t work with young children before having my own, and MaryAnn’s books helped me figure out where to begin with my almost one year old. MaryAnn is a treasure…and you are too!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    September 4, 2011 at 1:35 am

    You guys!!!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    i love her book “first art”, although i have and have worked through a few of her other books when my oldest child was younger. it was a great beginning.

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