David Weisner, three-time Caldecott Medal-winner for his picture books, inspired kindergartners at Penn Charter, who asked him questions like, "What kind of paint do you use?" and "Where do you get your inspiration?"

David Wiesner, children’s book author and illustrator and a three-time Caldecott Medal-winner, on Feb. 16 shared his books, discussed his art and talked about his writing with groups of Lower School students at Penn Charter. In addition to winning the Caldecott Medal for “Tuesday” (1992), “The Three Pigs” (2002) and “Flotsam” (2007), Wiesner also received two Caldecott Honors for “Free Fall” and “Sector 7.”

Wiesner, visiting Penn Charter as the Trask Library Author-in-Residence, spoke to younger students about persistence and practice.

“Whenever you write something, draw something, it’s not always perfect,” he said. “You often have to work at it. The more you do something, the better you get.”

And if it’s something you enjoy, he added, “it’s not a burden at all.”

Telling of his early love for drawing and painting, he shared pieces of his artwork from kindergarten and fourth grade – dinosaur drawings preserved by his parents, each one dated as his dad had suggested he do.

“If you like to draw, if you like to create, keep doing it,” he encouraged students, “because I never stopped.”

With older groups of students, Wiesner focused on his artistic process and the materials he uses. In his latest book, “Art & Max,”

he pays homage to Giorgio Morandi, Salvador Dali, Georges Seurat, Jackson Pollack – and Looney Toons.

When imagining the story, he thought, “What if the characters themselves use the paint?”

“That’s often what I do – start with a visual and come up with the story behind it,” he said.

And so he wrote the story of two lizards, one a painter, and the other who longs to be one.

Wiesner grew up in New Jersey and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He and his family now live in the Philadelphia area. He visited Penn Charter as part of the school’s Distinguished Speaker series.


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