TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison

John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison on This Is a School

In this post, we feature educator and debut author John Schu, and illustrator Veronica Miller Jamison, whose previous book A Computer Called Katherine, written by Suzanne Slade, was named an Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). You can hear them speak about their new picture book, This Is a School, and try their “invitation to imagine” activities. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

This Is a School

John Schu, the cover of This Is a School, and Veronica Miller Jamison
  • Written by John Schu and illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison
  • Published by Candlewick Press
  • Release date: March 29, 2022

A school isn’t just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping, and for community. It is a place of hope and healing, even when that community can’t be together in the same room. In his debut picture book, John Schu, a librarian and former ambassador of school libraries for Scholastic, crafts a loving letter to schools, and Veronica Miller Jamison extends the words in joyful illustrations. A moving celebration of school and all it may signify: work and play, creativity and trust, and a supportive community that extends beyond walls

An interior image from This Is a School showing a busy school yard, with children and grown-ups working in a garden, collecting leaves, painting colorful flowers on the doors, trimming bushes, and resting, while the text reads, "This is a community, transforming."

An interior spread from This Is a School. On the left-hand page, a group of students eagerly raise their hands, while one boy looks anxious and unsure. On the right-hand page, the boy who was anxious is seen in three spot images, learning with teachers and friends.

Explore This Is a School

Listen to John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison talking with TeachingBooks about creating This Is a School. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.

Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activities contributed by John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison.

Imagination Activities with John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison

When you close your eyes and think about your school, what do you see inside your mind? What do you feel and see inside your heart? What do you hear? What do you smell? What is your favorite room inside your school? Is there a place where you feel joy? Is there a spot where you feel warmth? If you built your own school, what would be the most important thing inside it? Imagine! — John Schu

Do you ever worry about doing things perfectly? I worry about it all the time. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that not everything I make needs to be perfect, and sometimes, it’s more interesting if it’s not! So here’s something you can try to have a little bit more fun: draw a picture with your opposite hand! If you’re left-handed, grab some pencils and crayons and draw a picture of your favorite things with your right hand. If you’re right-handed (like me), use your left hand. It may feel a little silly, and it might make you laugh, but it’s a great way to have a little fun while challenging yourself. And if your picture comes out looking a little strange, that’s okay! The stranger, the better! —Veronica Miller Jamison

Finish This Sentence . . . with John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy John Schu and Veronica Miller Jamison’s responses.

“A surprising thing that helps me work is…”

A surprising thing that helps me work is instrumental music! I find it very, very hard to work in silence. My brain needs a little help processing information and turning it into pictures, so when I work, I listen to instrumental music—usually hip-hop or R&B—to help maintain my focus and work a little more effortlessly. When I put on my headphones and start painting, the hours seem to fly by! And when I’m done for the day, I’m always amazed by the amount of work I was able to do with the help of some tunes.—Veronica Miller Jamison

A surprising thing that helps me work is music. I create a playlist for every story I write. Not only do I listen to the playlist when I’m writing, I listen to it during the walk I always take right before I sit down to write. Walking and music usually help me focus. — John Schu

“You may not know that I can…”

You may not know that I can do cartwheels and pirouettes! I’ve been dancing as a hobby since I was a teenager, and it’s one of my favorite activities. I’ve taken all sorts of dance classes, including jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and West African dance. I also just started taking gymnastics classes as a grown-up, and my cartwheels have gotten pretty good! —Veronica Miller Jamison

“A favorite question from a young reader was…”

A favorite question from a young reader was, “Mr. Schu, do you adore the sunset?” I responded with, “Yes, I adore watching the sun set over the ocean or behind a building or over a big city.” I’ll ask you the same question, dear reader, do you adore the sunset? — John Schu

More Connections to Jon Schu, Veronica Miller Jamison, and This Is a School

Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of John Schu, Veronica Miller Jamison, and Candlewick Press and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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