In addition to explaining his process for illustrating picture books, Hays treated local elementary students to a very animated reading of Abiyoyo, a storysong by folk artist Pete Seeger and Hays’ first picture book.
More than 200 students from 12 area Christian schools visited campus to celebrate their achievements and expand their passion for writing and reading.
The morning opened with a time of worship in the Ozinga Chapel, led by alumnus Vinnie Adams ’10. Afterward, the children, accompanied by Trinity student volunteers, were divided into groups and attended three sessions, including the presentation by Hays, small group discussions, and improv performances.
The event is sponsored by Trinity’s education department, and 30 student leaders participate.
Jenna Rae Reidenga ’12 of Thornton, Illinois, a secondary education major, has helped out with the festival for three years by participating in the Trinity improv team FTW (For The Win). She has been the co-leader of this group for three years and said the festival is one of the group’s favorite events.
“The students are always so enthusiastic, and their writing is hilarious and phenomenal,” said Reidenga. “They are such a sweet group of kids, and we love spending the day with them. It’s fun to be goofy, but our hope is that through our small performance, the students will be encouraged to see the big picture—to write creatively and to write often.”
Danielle DeVries ’13 of St. John, Indiana, an elementary education major, led a group of third graders from all different schools. One of her students had his book chosen to be acted out. “He said he felt so cool to see his story being performed,” said DeVries. “He felt like a true author.”
DeVries said the children were obviously proud of their books. “Overall, it was just a fabulous day full of students worshipping God together through their gift of writing.”
Schools represented by Young Authors
Calvin Christian, South Holland, Illinois
Chicago West Side Christian, Chicago, Illinois
Christ the King, Chicago, Illinois
Crown Point Christian, St. John, Indiana
DeMotte Christian, DeMotte, Indiana
Elim Christian Services, Palos Heights, Illinois
Highland Christian, Highland, Indiana
Lansing Christian, Lansing, Illinois
Roseland Christian, Chicago, Illinois
Southwest Chicago Christian, Oak Lawn, Illinois
Southwest Chicago Christian, Tinley Park, Illinois
Timothy Christian, Elmhurst, Illinois
About Michael Hays
Hays has produced many picture books with various authors. He has worked with illustrator Judy MacDonald to create the art for Steven and Deborah Layne’s book W is for Windy City, A Chicago Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press 2010). He speaks and leads workshops for children at hundreds of schools throughout the Chicagoland area and has taught children’s book illustration at Columbia College.
To learn more, visit www.michaelhays.com.