If you are a parent, you know that messaging from an adult can go only so far.
In other words, kids love to watch what other kids are doing in order to understand what the socially acceptable norms are. Yes, we all know about peer pressure.
But can peer pressure be a good thing?
YES is the answer, as Karen Bossick from Eye on Sun Valley reports in this article about Alexander Guylay who is on a mission to help other kids eat healthy fruits and veggies.
Student Hits the Big Time in Augmented Reality With Rainbow Book
STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK
Alexander Guylay just turned 13. But he just illustrated his first children’s book.
And he made Mom’s dream come true in the process.
Alexander’s book, “Give It a Go: Eat a Rainbow,” is undergoing beta testing. He started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to publish several thousand copies, and he hopes to have the book out in May.
“I learned a lot,” said the seventh-grader. “Kids catch any mistakes you make so I had to learn to make the freckles on my character’s face the same on each drawing so it wouldn’t throw them off.”
The book had been a dream of Alexander’s mother—Kathryn Kemp Guylay—for several years. She has gone into the classrooms teaching kids about the value of eating “go food” that gives them energy and about eating a wide array of fruits and vegetables the color of a rainbow as part of a program she started called Nurture.
But Kathryn knew she had to have something to leave with the kids to remind them of what they’d learned long after they’d stopped sampling red, yellow, orange, purple and white carrots the color of a rainbow.
It was Alexander who propelled that dream to reality.
He suggested that they use a character similar to Flat Stanley, a book character that kids photograph on their travels. They then send the photos broadcasting where Stanley’s been to friends via Instagram. Why not create a cutout that kids can photograph next to healthy food? They can send the photo to friends and build a case that kids eat more than French fries.
Alexander suggested calling the character Blake and having him go on a magical journey with a leprechaun to find a rainbow in a pot of food.
Alexander’s art teacher Cara Frost noted that kids are into augmented reality, which involves pairing drawings with photographs.
So Alexander’s mother gathered pictures of fruits and vegetables from Shutterstock that were so luscious-looking that they make viewers’ mouth water.
“When I worked with kids in Chicago, a lot had never seen a carrot or cauliflower or kale so I thought it was important to depict realistic fruits and vegetables, rather than illustrations,” said Kathryn, who plans to present the book at the Book Expo of America in Chicago—the largest book convention in the United States– next month.
For his part, Alexander drew Blake poised on a head of cauliflower and running through a field of blueberries.
“Why do I feel so slow when other kids can go go go? “Blake asks at the beginning of the book.
“Want more energy? Follow me” says a leprechaun.
The hardest part was getting a leprechaun that didn’t look scary or creepy, Alexander said.
Alexander draws and doodles every day. He has his heart set on becoming a digital cartoonist.
“One thing I learned from this was to simmer down the design so Blake didn’t look so detailed,” he said. “Comic book characters are really very simple—they don’t have a lot of detail because kids are more likely to identify with them if there’s something left to the imagination.”
Kathryn Guylay says she hopes to sell copies of the book, laid out by Colleen Quindlen, at events the Wood River Farmers Market. The book would also be useful for schools, afterschool programs, and summer camps.
“It’s just a dream come true, and it’s so cool that here you have a kid doing this for other kids,” she said. “Alexander is realizing his dream at the same time he helped his Mom realize hers.”
Read on to hear about the SEQUEL to the Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow book and receive some free downloadable resources.
Alexander and his mom needed to take it a step further when kids started to ask: “can I eat a rainbow in the form of skittles and lucky charms?”. YIKES.
So the sequel, Where Does a Rainbow Grow, was born.
This book teaches kids that a healthy rainbow comes from Mother Earth in the form of plants. Specifically, Blake (our character from Book One) learns that a healthy rainbow comes from farms.
The sequel features our new character, Sammy the bunny. Kids absolutely love Sammy, and have been reported wanting to “hug Sammy the whole book through!”.
Read on for more images from the book as well as free resources.
Want a list of fruits and veggies by color? Get your download (freebie) here.
More free resources are available at Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow.