In her most recent book, Bossy Flossy, award-winning author and illustrator Paulette Bogan tells the story of Flossy, the bossiest girl around. However, one day she meets another boy in her class, Edward, who is just as bossy as she is. Will they find a way to get along?
Following , the third- and fourth-grade students in Ms. Gulnick’s class at PS 154 in Harlem, learned how to peacefully solve conflicts in their day-to-day lives.
The class was thrilled to receive their own copies of the book and were immediately attracted to the heartfelt and relatable story.
In preparation for Paulette’s author visit, the students read the story and came up with questions about writing, illustration, and Bossy Flossy for Paulette. The visit started with several rounds of interactive drawing. Together they created characters, each featuring three different animals. Using the art they drew, Paulette told the students that drawing is another way to tell a story. Then she read the book and discussed different ways they can solve disagreements. The students were highly engaged during the visit and shared their own experiences dealing with someone as bossy as Flossy or Edward.
Behind the Book invited Story Pirates, an education organization that turns kids’ original stories into shows, to conduct a workshop on character development. Using their imaginations, students were encouraged to create wild characters and to think deeply about what made their characters special.
The students then wrote their own stories about a conflict that they experienced and how they handled it. Jason, one of the students, created a superhero character who guards the school by solving conflicts and disagreements. Jason named him Super Schoolman.
Once they completed their first drafts, Behind the Book volunteer writing coaches helped the students add details to their stories as well as encouraged them to use more creative expressions in their storytelling.
Behind the Book’s Teaching Artist, Candice Humphries, taught an art workshop where students created string puppets based on their main characters and then acted out their stories for their classmates. They talked about why the solutions in their stories were the most effective way to deal with their conflicts. Some students went on to share real-life experience using the puppets they had just made.
At the end of the program, every student had created their own story and a puppet of their main character. As in all BtB programs, they also received their own autographed copy of Bossy Flossy with a portrait of Flossy drawn by Paulette.
The students had the opportunity to connect with a great author, learn about what inspires her and her process of writing and illustrating a book from the first idea to the published story. Moreover, they learned effective strategies for conflict resolution that come in very handy in their daily lives.
This blog was written by Xiting Zhai, a Behind the Book Intern