Children's author Barney Saltzberg made not one, but two presentations, at Winfree Bryant Middle School on Tuesday morning.
The first presentation was made to Winfree Bryant students in the auditorium and was followed by a smaller presentation for Sam Houston Elementary first graders in the library. Saltzberg, of Los Angeles, California, has traveled around the world to promote his over 30 children's books.
Saltzberg told the students that his love of illustrating and telling stories stemmed back to his childhood. His mother, a painter, encouraged his artwork by giving him his first sketchbook, which he said allowed him to "develop my imagination."
"Art is everywhere if you pay attention. It is how you see things," he explained, showing a funny photo of a face he made from a banana and raisins on the slideshow.
Two people who inspired him in his career are John Lennon, of The Beatles, and William Steig, who at the age of 87 developed the picture book-turned-movie "Shrek."
His professional work is also heavily inspired by his family. He wrote the book "The Soccer Mom from Outer Space" about his wife and "Arlo Needs Glasses" about his Goldendoodle, Arlo.
He developed the concept for the book after realizing that Arlo was "the only dog" he had ever seen that couldn't catch a ball. Saltzberg determined in the book that if Arlo had glasses, he would be able to see to catch the ball.
He also shared photos from his travels during the presentation, including a recent trip to India and to the White House, where he read on the lawn with seven other authors.
"If there is something that you want to do - go for it. If someone said, 'I want to walk on the ceiling' I would say 'Wear a helmet. Figure out a way to do it,'" he said.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.