Here Comes Ingo by Odeta Xheka


10 Reasons "Here Comes Ingo" Would Be Ideal For Your School or Library.


1: Children's Art is Important

“Here Comes Ingo” is my first picture book, but my interest in Art for Children is long lasting. I'm a strong believer in teaching the arts from an early age in order to:


  • Increase self-confidence and self-understanding
  • Enhance communication skills
  • Nurture critical thinking


Although my primary body of work is comprised of abstract art (mixed media, oil on canvas, & prints) and multi-layered collage, I have also thought long and hard about the best ways to surround children with art that speaks to them in a meaningful way.


Here Comes Ingo,” winner of many prestigious awards, is the next step in my effort to incorporate open-ended creative experiences into early childhood development. I think of this picture book as a sort of performance art, meant to break down the wall between the storyteller and the reader by getting them involved. Children are expert readers of pictures; for them, no words are necessary. In this sense, the book fits neatly within the larger body of my work since it is meant to provoke a desire to impose a story upon an image.

2: I’m a mom too

As the mother of two grade-school children with a wide range of interests, I’m comfortable around young children and at ease with making “Here Comes Ingo” come alive in a relatable way while holding a class's attention.

3: Educators make the best classroom presenters

Most authors aren't teachers. While they may pick up on techniques with practice, they are not trained in managing a crowd of fidgety young students. Here's where my master's degree in education from Columbia University and years of teaching college freshmen, (young and fidgety in their own way), come to the rescue! My presentation includes:


  • A lively Q&A time
  • A popular demo of how a photomontage is made
  • Student-centered classroom activities ensuring that students achieve a deep understanding of the content.
  • Opportunities to apply their knowledge in practical and imaginative ways culled from sources such as:
    • Magic Lantern Art (UK-based, one-of-a-kind art awards supporter educational charity)
    • Edutopia (George Lucas Educational Foundation)
    • ARTSEDGE (the educational media arm of the Kennedy Center).

4: “Here Comes Ingo” is a Wordless Wonder


“Here Comes Ingo” is not only a collection of beautiful collages that speak about kindness and inclusion; it also allows for educational interaction including role-play, and helps develop children’s skills including:


  • Communication
  • Visual observation
  • Critical thinking
  • Confidence


Ideal for preschool, kindergarten, and grade school children, this book will prove a precious resource for teachers who are seeking out fresh inspiration for art projects and creative writing while teaching their students valuable lessons about:


  • Comprehension: what do you think is happening?
  • Predicting: what do you think will happen next?
  • Inferring: what makes you think that?
  • Reasoning: what do you think that happened?
  • Sequencing: what happened first? next? last?


Doodle Academy, Buggy and Buddy and The Primary Art Class are some of the inspirations in viewing “Here Comes Ingo” as the type of educational tool that can be used to teach students about setting, structure, flow, and attention to detail.

5: Interactive, Creative Class Activities

Wordless picture books such as “Here Comes Ingo" can be tricky.


  • Will your students struggle to get a grip on the open-ended nature of the book?
  • Will they embrace new creative challenges?

Take it from The Picture Book Review who writes, “Her illustrations inspire my children and have my boys asking where the scissors are so that they can go and create their own collages. There’s an honesty and rawness about the images that makes my kids say, ‘I want to create, too.’”


Each illustration is a carefully orchestrated arrangement of animals, insects, and birds in order to produce a final image that brings to mind Matisse’s adage that a paper collage is “a painting made with scissors.”


During each speaking engagement, I will engage students by:


  1. Introducing students to a brief history of collage. I will provide appropriate examples and will ask students to come up with their own ideas.


  1. Inviting students to observe how I go about creating book illustrations, starting from a blank page and adding layers upon layers of cut outs from magazines. Students will be encouraged to offer their suggestions as to which color, shape, or cut out I should use next.


  1. Presenting students with a complete Art-Supply List for Budding Artists and will distribute art materials for each group/table, as well as one double-page from “Here Comes Ingo.”


  1. Instructing students to use the book page (front & back) as the initial stage upon which to reenact scenes from their imagination by drawing, painting, glueing, and doodling ON the page. Working in small groups will make them understand that in order to complete their artwork they need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly and be tolerant of each others' differences.


  1. Observing and taking notes on how students in each group:
    1. Break through shyness
    2. Play their way through group rivalry
    3. Express and understand negotiation
    4. Cooperate without power struggle
    5. Empower themselves and respect diversity


  1. Encouraging each group to present the final collage to the class having, hopefully, instilled a sense of pride on the self-directed (art) project.

6: Process Art vs. Craft Projects


Craft projects generally involve children following directions to reproduce an adult’s idea and require no original thinking. Crafts are meant to be useful, practical, or educational.


Art, on the other hand, particularly Process Art, allows children to experiment with their own ideas. By working with art materials and no preconceived outcome, children are encouraged to:


  • Think openly
  • Create new meaning
  • Be more tolerant of others’ differences
  • Have the courage to take creative risks

7: Build a continued relationship with the author


Even though my book presentation or class visit has obvious time limits, I take the time to engage with students and educators long after “Here Comes Ingo” has left the classroom. Follow-up materials as well as post-event correspondence extend the impact of my visit.


One of my most precious possessions is a Thank You Notes book given to me by Brooklyn School of Inquiry second graders who loved the book and all the activities they participated in during the class event. Not only did they enjoy the opportunity to engage with the book in a direct way, but they also loved drawing their own "book covers" during the next day.

8: Exploring the natural world vs. the world on a screen

Yes, open-ended creative experiences are a great way to help children reach their early childhood developmental milestones, but there is a big difference between believing in the benefits of art and having the guts to present a wordless picture book to 5-8 year olds who are in love with Pokemon, Minecraft, and Fortnite! I’ve done it and lived to tell the tale! (Hint, they loved “Here Comes Ingo” almost as much as they loved their own art illustrations made ON the page.)


9: Inviting a top children's book author to your classroom is surprisingly affordable

It shouldn't break your budget to give your students the opportunity to meet a children’s book author. Please reach out if you are interested in welcoming Ingo remotely into your classroom via Skype, Viber, etc.


My fee is $150 for a one-hour book presentation with additional $65 for the "class-immersion package.”


This specially prepared package includes various art materials (coloring set, glitter, stickers, peel & stick), original “Here Comes Ingo” book page illustrations (exact number of pages depending on number of students), sticker pack, and a gift of 4x6 framed picture featuring Ingo for each student to take home.


For funding opportunities, please look into:

VOYA Unsung Heroes

American Library Association

10: Because I reached out

How many other author/illustrators have sent you an email? It’s my honor and pleasure to personally reach out to schools, libraries, and kid-friendly venues because I believe in “Here Comes Ingo” as a wonderful creative tool available to use in myriad ways as I mention in this interview.


Are you ready to plan your author visit? Contact me today! I can’t wait to hear from you!

_____



1 Artist

Here Comes Ingo is my first picture book but my interest in Art for Children is long lasting. I'm a strong beleiver in teaching the arts in order to increase self-confidence and self-understanding which in turn help enhance communication skills and critical thinking. Although my primary body of work is comprised of Abstract Art (mixed media, oil on canvas & prints) and multi-layered (figurative, abstract & biomorphic) CollageI have also thought long and hard about best ways to surround children with art that speaks to them in a direct and meaningful way. Here Comes Ingo, winner of many presitigious awards, comes as the next step in my efforts to incorporate open ended creative experiences in ealy childhood development. I think of this picture book as a sort of performance art meant to break down the wall between the expert storyteller and the kids by getting them involved because children are expert readers of pictures and no words are necessary. In this sense, the book fits neatly within the larger body of my work since it is meant to provoke a desire to impose a story upon the image.

2 Mom

As mom to two grade-school children with a wide range of interests I am comfortable around young children and at ease in making Here Comes Ingo come alive in a relatable way while holding a class's attention very effectively.

3 Educator

Most authors aren't teachers. While they may pick up techniques with practice, they are not actually trained in crowd control which makes for a difficult situation when fidgety, young students are involved. Here's when my master's degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as years of teaching college freshmen (young and fidgety in their own way) come to the rescue. It doesn't hurt that my presentation includes a lively Q&A time, a (popular) demo of how a photomontage is made and a student-centered classroom activity ensuring that students achieve a deep understanding of the content through opportunities to apply the newly presented information in practical and imaginative ways culled from sources as diverse as the Magic Lantern Art (UK-based, one-of-a-kind art awards supporter educational charity), Edutopia (George Lucas Educational Foundation) and ARTSEDGE (the educational media arm of the Kennedy Center).

4 Wordless Wonder

This book is not only a collection of beautiful collages that speak about kindness, inclusion and unprejudiced mindset because the world needs more empathetic, understanding and tolerant children. It allows for fun and educational interaction including role-play and helps develop skills including communication, visual observation, critical thinking and confidence. Doodle Academy, Buggy and Buddy and The Primary Art Class are some of the inspirations in viewing Here Comes Ingo as the type of educational tool that can be used to teach young students about setting, structure flow and attention to detail. Ideal for kindergarten and grade school children, this book may prove a precious help for teachers who seek out opportunities for art projects, creative writing and other education avenues that grip young readers' imagination while teaching them valuable lessons about comprehension (what do you think is happening?), predicting (what do you think will happen next?), inferring (what makes you think that?), reasoning (what do you think that happened?) and sequencing (what happened first? next? last?).

5 Class Activity: A Painting Made With Scissors

Wordless picture books such as Here Comes Ingo are tricky at times. Would your students struggle to get to grips with the open-end nature of the book? Would they embrace its creative challenges? Take it from The Picture Book Review who writes: Xheka says on the back of her book that, “this wordless picture book familiarizes children with figurative art collage.” And her book definitely does that. Her illustrations inspire my children and have my boys asking where the scissors are so that they can go and create their own collages. There’s an honesty and rawness about the images that makes my kids say, “I want to create, too.” Each illustration is a carefully orchestrated arrangement of various cut outs of animal, insects and birds in order to produce a final image that is as unexpected as it is imbued in suggestive possibilities much to the tune of Matisse’s adage that a paper collage is “a painting made with scissors”.

  1. I will introduce students to a short history of collage and various purposes it can be used for. I will provide appropriate examples and will ask students to come up with their own ideas.
  2. I will invite students to observe how I go about creating book illustrations starting from the blank page and adding layers upon layers of cut outs from magazines. Students will be encouraged to offer their suggestions as to which color, shape, cut out I should use next.
  3. I will present students with a complete Art-Supply List for Budding Artists and will distribute art materials for each group/table as well as one double-page from Here Comes Ingo.
  4. I will instruct students to use the book page (front & back) as the initial stage upon which to reenact scenes from their imagination by drawing, painting, glueing, sticking and doodling ON the page. Working in small groups will make them understand that in order to complete their artwork they need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly and be tolerant of each others' differences.
  5. I will observe and take notes how students on each group (1)break through shyness (2) play their way through group rivalry (3)express and understand negotiation (4)cooperate without power struggle (5) empower themselves and respect diversity
  6. I will encourage each group to present the final collage to the class having, hopefully, instilled a sense of pride on the self-directed (art) project.

6 Process Art versus Art&Crafts as time-filler

Crafts involve children following directions to reproduce an adult’s idea and require no original thinking. They are meant to be useful, practical or educational. Arts, on the other hand, especially Process Art allows children to experiment with their own ideas and art materials with no known outcome in order to help them think openly, create new meaning, be more tolerant of others’ differences and have the courage to take creative risks.

7 Follow up opportunity

Even though my book presentation/class visit has obvious time limits, I take the time to engage with the students long after Here Comes Ingo has left their classroom. Follow-up materials as well as post-event correspondence extend the impact of my visit. As a matter of fact, one of my most precious possessions is a Thank You Notes book given to me by Brooklyn School of Inquiry second graders who loved the book and all the activities they partecipated in during the class event. Not only did they enjoy the opportunity to engage with the book in a direct way but they also loved drawing their own "book covers" during choice time the next day.

8 Natural World vs. Pokemon and Fortnite

Yes, sure, open-end creative experiences are a great way to help children reach their early childhood developmental milestones...but there is a big difference between having absolute certainty that art is a way to encourage reflection, innovation& creativity and having the guts to present a wordless picture book (quelle horreur) to 5-8 year olds in love with Pokemon, Minecraft and Fortnite. I did it and I survived to tell the story. Hint, they loved Here Comes Ingo almost as much as they loved their own art illustrations made ON the page.

9 Affordable

Ever seen an author charging $1500- $2500 for their full-day visit? What school has that money? It shouldn't break your budget to give your students an opportunity to meet the author. Please reach out is you are interested in welcoming Ingo remotely into your classroom via Skype, Viber, etc. My fee is $150 for a one-hour book presentation with additional $65 "class-immersion package" purchase. This especially prepared package includes various art materials (coloring set, glitter, stickers, peel&stick), original Here Comes Ingo book page illustrations (exact number of pages depending on number of students), sticker pack and a gift of 4x6 framed picture featuring Ingo for each student to take home.

For funding opportunities look into:

VOYA Unsung Heroes

American Library Association

10 Because I reached out

How many other author/illustrators have sent you an email? I personally reach out to schools, libraries and kid frindly venues because I believe in the worthiness of Here Comes Ingo as a wonderful creative tool available to use in myriad ways as I mention in this interview.