When author and illustrator George O’Connor visited with our 4th Graders to talk about his beloved Olympians graphic novel series, he already had several fans in the audience, many who had read the entire 12-book collection. Our students shared George’s passion for mythology, “stories a culture invents to explain the world around them,” as well as the belief that his 7:30 PM childhood bedtime was “way too early!” He explained to the class that, while bored in bed as a little kid, he used to make shadow puppets on his bedroom wall. “I was telling stories, even before I knew how to write,” he shared. He talked about how he continued using pictures to tell stories, and that he was caught drawing scenes of “musclemen fighting monsters” in the back of his favorite teacher’s classroom when, instead of telling him to stop, she encouraged him to draw the figures from Greek mythology they were studying in class. From Hestia, the first Olympian to Dionysus, the last Olympian, he never stopped drawing gods and goddesses, and has just released the first book in his Asgardians Norse mythology series, which will cover the exploits of Odin, Loki, Thor, and more.

George encouraged our aspiring artists and storytellers to draw quickly and without fear of messing up and shared one “Big Important Message: To remember, no one is perfect and no one will ever do anything perfect, and that’s awesome. Whatever it is you like to do, don’t worry about making mistakes, embrace them. That way, you can grow up still doing what you love to do now.” In one class period, George also — somehow! — managed to talk about all 13 of his mythology books. He had our students laughing so much during his visit that it created a buzz around the Learning Commons and some more faculty, staff, and students gathered around to enjoy George’s funny and faithful retellings of humankind’s original superheroes.