The Day I Became A Bird by Ingrid Chabbert, Guridi


Ahh! First love.

Ingrid Chabbert tells a sweet story of a boy who falls in love with a girl called Sylvia, a girl who loves birds. ‘The Day I Became A Bird’ captures the simple purity of unabashed puppy love. The story is so charming and innocent, that it is almost uncomfortable to sully it with an adult’s point of view.

“When I look at her, I forget everything else.” Raúl Nieto Guridi’s minimalist sketches evocatively focus on the two young ‘uns, while the out-lying blankness allows for endless stories and fantasies to be imagined in. The detailed sketches of Sylvia’s birds, as well as the science of building a bird costume add layers to fuel a young reader’s imagination.

The arrangement of the text and the illustrations isn’t parallel. Almost like a film, on a single page, two different segments of the narrative are offered, until the inherent suspense of a love-story is dismantled piece by puzzle piece.

Love, friendship and acceptance is often a difficult prospect in school (okay, okay, and otherwise too). This book considers the hurdles but moves sweetly beyond to the things that are important.


Do you have a fun story of childhood love? Share in the comments below.

Writer at Art1st


Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco




Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco is a sensitive book that talks about the importance of the role a teacher plays in a child’s life. How being a good teacher does not only entail having the knowledge of once subject but the ability to guide and unfold the abilities of a child rather than trying to mould her/him.

This is an excellent book about an elementary school principal who takes the time to help a troubled child. It addresses racism, bullying and teasing, and it’s also great for bird lovers.Though the story touches upon the issues of  bullying and the harm that it does, but it  highlights another very important factor, the conditions that cause a child to become a bully in the first place. Mr. Lincoln’s Way draws the connection between what a child learns at home and what he does at school. The story encourages us to ask whether it is really the child’s fault that he is a bully.

Polacco’s illustrations add to the story as she has meticulously detailed her story with people of all ethnicities, which makes the story relatable to all. She has marvelously captured different emotions, moods and gestures through her watercolour and pencil illustrations.

Read the book to find out how Mr. Lincoln helps “Mean Gene” become his true self “Eugene Esterhause”.



Artist Mentor

Training in Art Education at Shiv Nadar School, Delhi

On March 28, 2014, Art1st initiated a 3-day training workshop for art teachers at the Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon. The workshop rolled out with a warm-up session involving a collective doodling exercise by way of identifying of forms within a massive squiggle. The most stirring narrative which was woven was that of a mythical being with an inverted eye which had ingested a bird and displayed a dinosaur egg as its headgear. This exercise opened up the eyes of the mind to a whirlwind of possibilities thereby liberating the teachers from airtight opinions and judgments in and around the ‘arty’ turf. 

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In other words, in a world becoming more and more organised around discipline and normal functioning have put the demands of confirming to the normative very high and this demand of confirmation is what these exercises challenge. They are not merely about thinking ‘out of the box’ or utilising perceptual capacities to full, they are geared more at expanding the horizons of perception and finding inner meanings to what bare eyes see. 

This is exactly what one saw in the next session with ink blot test spanning across the session. In the first segment, respondents came up with nuanced inferences. The most striking amongst them was that of Cinderella with her flowing gown, hurrying down the palace with her slippers tossed on both sides. The other conspicuous rendition was the tale of the two ducks which was seen as two sides of the same coin. This implementation brought to the fore many a dream-like fabrication and the undefined possibilities of giving meaning and expression to that which ‘we see’.

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It was well received that a stimulus could generate myriad responses in the mind of an individual. The conjectures were left open-ended with no fixed parameters judging accuracy. In the group activity involving the ink blot test, interesting deductions were made, of which the ladybird under the hawk’s gaze drew great applause. It was novel in the way simple forms told the most uninhibited stories. The core spirit of the workshop lay in giving teachers the space to bear their minds open to the child’s receptive capabilities. 

The message of the workshop was simple, or so it seems. It wanted to convey the fact that the same impressions, figures or virtually any aspect of visual world can be differently perceived by different people and therein lay immense potentials of plural interpretations and critical engagements. It further opens up the possibilities of unleashing the creativity hidden deep within everyone, repressed sometimes by fears of getting identified as the odd one out.