Who’s Behind the Book?

Our partner, author and illustrator Patricia Keeler, wrote this post about a Behind the Book program at PS46 in Brooklyn. We’re sharing what was originally published on drawntopicturebooks.blogspot.com. All photos below are also courtesy of Patricia Keeler – thanks Patricia!


It’s a good thing Myra Hernandez started her life journey in the mountains of Peru working withimg2 a witch doctor, because it takes a kind of magic to put free books in the hands of hundreds of kids below the poverty line.

Last week Myra and I walked into the classroom and every child was holding Julio Leitao’s and my book DRUMBEAT IN OUR FEET! I’ve done school talks before, but seeing that each child was gifted their own book, made the visit unique.

Myra and I helped the students make a water circle where we stepped into a puddle of river water and called out to our ancestors. We painted a dot on every child’s wrist in memory of a lost relative. The children acted out a tale from the life of Nzinga, a famous African queen.


Next week Myra and I are returning to the classroom for a Draw-A-Thon. We are sketching side by side two different images. The children are guessing from our drawings:

  1. Which elephant is from Africa? I am sketching an African elephant. Myra is sketching an Asian elephant. (Hint: The little ears are a giveaway.)


2. How many types of instruments below are made from gourds?


3. Which animal is a REAL African animal? (Hint: A trick question, but can you name this unique animal?)

1. Number 1 is an African elephant

2. Three instruments are made from gourds – shaker, xylophone, and a stringed instrument called a kora or lute

3. Both 1 and 2 are animals found in Africa; animal number 2 is an opaki, a member of the giraffe family

You don’t need to be published to help out in New York Public Schools with BEHIND THE BOOK. Volunteers are needed for research or writing or art coaches. Here is a link for more information on BEHIND THE BOOK. www.behindthebook.org

And if you do a picture book presentation or volunteer, Myra might take you out to lunch!

Website: www.patriciakeeler-author-illustrator.com
Facebook:  PatriciaKeelerBooks
Twitter: @patriciakeeler
Instagram: @patriciakeeler

2 thoughts on “Who’s Behind the Book?

  1. Mrs. Yaskara Ramirez

    Myra, you know my door is always open for you!
    Patricia, it was such a pleasure to have you in our classroom! We can’t wait for your next visit 🙂

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