2016 continued to open new doors for me, as I got to help out on an incredible project for the KCK Public Library for their Stories on the Bus series. Normally, the KCKPL has a teacher or librarian read a book to students while they ride the bus, but this day was different. Matt de la Peña, 2016 Newberry Award winning author's book Last Stop on Market Street is a children's book about an boy and his grandma's trip riding a bus through their city one rainy afternoon. They interact with the different characters who get on the bus at each stop, as Nana provides prospective to her wide-eyed grandson, CJ. So for this 'Story on the Bus', KCKPL's Outreach Librarian, Louisa Whitfield-Smith, had the idea to turn Matt's book into an interactive story, adding real live actors playing the various parts of the book as Matt read it to students from KCK's Quindaro Elementary. Very meta. It worked perfectly. We didn't give the students any warning. They had no idea this was taking place. And capturing their reactions was a lot of fun.
On top of all this was animating the book's brilliant illustrations by Christian Robinson. J.R. Caines our 3rd Camera Operator, is by trade, a graphics artist. He was able to scan the book's pages and cutout the individual pieces so that I could animate the book, adding rain to the scenes, or butterflies fluttering in the old woman's jar, or the dragon on the side of the bus breathing fire. It was a great experience to say the least.
We ended the day with a party at the library and got some great reactions from the kids, their parents and more perspective on the day from Carol Levers the Director of Libraries, Whitfield-Smith, and la Peña. Thank you to Eric Smith for the opportunity to work on this. If you need a good story this year, have a look and see how this day came together...watch below!