My Favorite Teacher

So Scholastic approached me awhile back to do an illustration for their “My Favorite Teacher” campaign, and this is what I came up with.



Even though I am basically as busy as a human can possibly be without dying, I forewent sleep for this one. Partly because of Ms. Faunce, my high school freshman English teacher, who told me I could be a wordsmith, and partly because it was so cool that a big publisher wanted my art. (I mean, obviously Penguin and Random House have both wanted my art in the past, but they’ve always wanted it with my words attached. I love writing, but the illustrator in me was very flattered that somebody in New York thought I could do art that stood on its own in august company without having my words along to do the heavy lifting, if that makes any sense at all.) (Also, they paid quite well.)

Since it’s not out in the wild yet, they asked me to put this paragraph with it when I post it:

Created as part of Scholastic Reading Club’s year-long celebration of teachers. Teachers change the lives of their students every day. Sometimes a small moment has a huge impact on a child’s future. Other times it’s the year-long influence in a classroom that can change the course of a student’s entire life. Scholastic Reading Club is celebrating favorite teachers this year and will be interviewing students, parents, authors, illustrators, and celebrities about teachers who impacted their lives. If you’d like to share your own memories, you can email them to: judy.newman (at)

(E-mail altered so as to save the poor person on the other end from spambots)

Anyway, I thought that was pretty neat. And now, back to drawing ALL THE HAMSTERS FOREVER…

6 thoughts on “My Favorite Teacher

  1. Mean Waffle says:

    Love two things about that illustration. One is the expressions, which really tell a story. The other is the idea of books as treasure in a dragon’s hoard. Wonderful.

    Also congratulations on a nicely paying gig.

  2. Wolf Lahti says:

    Like most kids, I had good teachers and bad, but the one who most positively affected the rest of my life was Mrs Ford (fifth grade, Hoover elementary in Lincoln Park, Michigan).

    She read aloud to the class—which seemed kind of patronizing for us mature fifth-graders [cough]—but it was the first real inkling I had that books could be entertaining as well as educational. Consequently, I started reading on my own—voraciously—and have never stopped. (Seriously, I have more books in my house than some bookstores I’ve been in.) I certainly would never have become a professional writer without that nudge.

  3. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    x A good teacher is a treasure. Sadly the field is overloaded with boring ed-school drones who are neither Teachers (who can inspire you with a hunger to learn almost anything) or Scholars (who may, if you are lucky, be able to inspire you to love the subject they love).

    I fondly remember Mr. Wilhelm (6th grade, Roxboro Elementary, Cleveland Heights Ohio), who instead of teaching the same, deadly dull, “earth science” segments that all the previous teachers had, kept a closet full of wires and pulleys, and knife switches, and flashlight bulb sockets, and batteries …. and let us play with them, while occasionally explaining. He also read to us from THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY, when we had been exceptionally well behaved. Anything he took seriously, like grammar, was obviously worth taking seriously, even if it bored the piss out of me.

    And then there’s Mr. Ricard (University School, Hunting Valley, Ohio) who taught class called Mediaeval Mind, which was his excuse to teach Chaucer, and who argued (in another class) that THE MERCHANT OF VENICE was a subversive tragedy with Shylock as the hero/victim.

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