We are featuring a new author and illustrator in an Inspirations kit, James Yang. Stop by the Children’s Services Desk and pick up a bag while supplies last!

James Yang is a Korean American artist who wrote and illustrated books including Joey And Jet, Joey And Jet In Space, Puzzlehead and the award-winning Stop! Bot!. He has also created animation, subway posters and illustrations for magazines. 

If you look at images from his books, you can see how he uses simple shapes to make pictures. For example, Jet the dog’s head is one big oval, and his body is another oval. 

Putting familiar shapes together to make pictures made me think of tangrams, a traditional kind of puzzle from China. These kits contain a tangram puzzle to cut out and several activities. 

There is also a blank puzzle you can use to make your own jigsaw puzzle. You could also take it apart to create your own Puzzle Head character; I included some colorful background paper, shapes and scrap paper. If you want to do both, try tracing a puzzle piece shape onto the scrap paper or using a spare puzzle piece if you have one.

Want to explore more?

  • What’s that gold medal? Learn about the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, given to the authors and illustrators of books for beginning readers!
  • Some of the tangram pictures in the kits came from Bedtime Math, which provides quirky math problems for kids to solve every day. Check out their website or one of their books.
  • Download Stykz for free (some of you have used it in Studio 300 programs in the past) and try creating your own animation! You can also use the free programming language Scratch to experiment with animation (as well as video games and other creative projects).