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Written by Denise Gary
Photographs © Bruce Matsunaga
It is impossible to describe the joy of watching author/illustrator Steven Riley bring smiles and laughter to the children he entertains through his hilarious storytelling performances. Adults are equally amused by the innate comedic talents of this skilled performer. The generous author of the Ty Cooney National Wonder Series is dedicated to supporting Kids Need to Read and regularly presents programs for children at our various events. Thus, he traveled to Phoenix Comicon to provide two programs for young convention attendees on behalf of our foundation.
On Saturday afternoon, Steven had several of us laughing so hard, we had to wipe tears from our eyes during his retelling of a highly dramatic bear encounter in Yosemite National Park. The entire audience was swept up by his irresistible antics.
Engaging children in the audience is an integral part of Steven’s programs.
Few can resist the charm of this author’s animated storytelling style.
On Sunday, Steven took the kids through several goofy skits designed to teach them how to create stories.
He started by presenting original Ty Cooney drawings to several lucky kids. It was such a pleasure to watch each of their faces light up when presented with their artwork.
The talented artist rendered a superhero caricature of a young audience member, who could not have been more pleased with his treasure.
All of Steven’s skits involve kids recruited from the audience, including this sketch about “The Plot Machine.”
The lesson about plots was followed by defining “setting” through the use of “fearsome” Ninja warriors. It was truly delightful to watch the children perform in these slapstick plays.
The kids then worked together to create several silly characters. By the end of it all, the kids had the knowledge and inspiration they needed to put together their own imaginative stories.
Steven generously donated $70 to Kids Need to Read, raised from a portion of the sales of his Ty Cooney books during the convention.
Not only that, the fearless performer gamely sang “Geeks of America” during the Kids Need to Read Geek Prom on Saturday evening.
All of us at KNTR are so grateful to the multi-talented Steven Riley for “inspiring imagination” in the children attending our events! (We request an encore of the Fairy Dance, please!)
- Denise Gary on August 6th, 2010 3:18 pm
Agreed, Don! Glad to hear his books are appreciated in your library.
- Denise Gary on August 6th, 2010 3:18 pm
Mark Wayne Adams on
August 7th, 2010 1:57 pm
I’ve know Steve for over 20 years, and he continues to inspire me. As a fellow children’s book illustrator, he and I have hand many opportunities to work together. You many not know that In 2008 Steve Riley and I illustrated Derek Sabori’s book “Lu and the Earth Bug Crew, Zap the Energy Spikes.” This book not only showcases the author’s writing, but also Steve beautiful illustrations.
I’m looking forward to Steve’s upcoming Ty Cooney release about the Grand Canyon! He and I were able to travel there for a week to research the story. Steve draws his inspiration from the National Parks natural beauty. What a wonderful series of children’s books he has created.
If you have not seen Steve’s presentation, please take the opportunity! Adults and children are entertained by his talent and energy.