I had never heard of a book bento till I visited Lynne Smolinski’s grade six class at John W. Gunn Middle School this week. They had just finished reading my novel Lost on the Prairie and had created a book bento for it.
A bento is a Japanese lunch box with different compartments.
A book bento looks much the same except instead of food portions arranged artistically it takes tangible objects that connect to a book and arranges them artistically. It’s become quite a popular thing to do. Check out this Instagram page of book bentos.
I loved the book bento Lynne’s class had come up with for Lost on the Prairie. She said it had taken the class a fair bit of discussion to decide which were the best objects to use to convey the main ideas and message of my book.
They chose the novel Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling which my hero Peter takes on his trip and uses as a touchstone for his own adventures.
They also used a train and a horse because Peter’s adventure begins when he is riding in a box car with his family’s horses and it becomes detached from the rest of the train.
They used the magnifying glass to represent the things Peter discovers about the world and himself during the book.
Is that brilliant or what?
The class also reimagined parts of my book as a movie or video game and created artwork for that!
This young artist envisioned the roller coaster accident in my novel.
Look at this dramatic image of the scene where my hero nearly drowns
Here’s a video game called Find Your Way Out of Sica Hollow a haunted forest in my book
This young artist brought to life the copperhead snake Peter finds in his railcar.
It is so amazing for me to see how my readers imagine my characters and scenes from my book and use their artistic gifts to recreate them.
I also paid a visit to Wayne Paton’s grade six class at John W. Gunn and his students had all kinds of great questions about my book. Wayne sent me a lovely note later thanking me for coming in and talking to the students in the two classes.
He said how much the children had enjoyed reading Lost on the Prairie. He loved watching how genuinely interested and engaged they were with my presentation about the book.
I so appreciate the fact that Wayne and Lynne read my book to their students and guided their learning about it in such creative ways.
Getting a book published was certainly a dream come true for me but having the opportunity to meet its readers like I did at John W. Gunn Middle School this week is every bit as rewarding.
Thanks a million, Wayne and Lynne for reading my book to your classes and inviting me to visit with your students.