R. W. ALLEY is the author and illustrator of many children’s books. For more than 20 years, he has been the illustrator of the revived Paddington Bear series, across multiple formats. Other recent work includes There’s a Princess in the Palace: Five Classic Tales Retold, and Mitchell on the Moon. He received a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day. Books he has illustrated have been selected by Junior Library Guild and included in lists such as ALA Notable Books for Children, Bank Street Best Book of the Year, Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, among others.

Bob’s Breezy Valley at Work series launched with Firefighters to the Rescue!, a funny and informative picture book all about firefighters that features lively animal characters, a rollicking story, and detail-packed illustrations. Hospital Heroes Save the Day! will be available in October.

Bob lives in Rhode Island with his wife, author Zoë B. Alley.


About the Visit

Below is a list of Bob’s presentation offerings, which can be formatted for school, library, professional or other community venues. The hosting venue will be asked to provide a whiteboard, large drawing pad, and PowerPoint setup depending on which presentation is selected.

Most presentations include a student drawing component that gives children permission to follow their own drawing instincts by demonstrating how drawings (and stories) are developed with lots of starting and stopping and reworking and not trying – or expecting – to get everything ‘right’ on the first pass.

FIREFIGHTERS TO THE RESCUE!: Creating an Anthropomorphic World  New! (Grade K-3): We’ll look at creating individuals and their world by having the students pick which animals they might be and where those “people” might live. I’ll do some drawing to demonstrate possibilities and problem solve while the students do their own drawing. By session’s end, the students will have a created their own worlds and a jumping off place for finding their own stories.

FIREFIGHTERS TO THE RESCUE!: The Firefighters’ World  New!  (Grades K-3 with their grown-ups): We’ll explore procedures and equipment through photographs. We’ll talk about Fire Safety, and I’ll do some drawing to present details. The students will have the option of drawing along to create their own Fire Departments. By session’s end, the students will have a clear understanding of how a Fire Department works and how important Fire Safety is.

PADDINGTON STATION (Grade K-3): We’ll read the initial Paddington Picture Book. Then, we’ll do some drawings of the bear and his world. We’ll also explore some of the sticky situations that a bear might get into. By session’s end, the students should have their own version of Paddington to hang on their wall and a new Paddington adventure to work out.

PADDINGTON’S STORY (Grades 3 up & Adults): I’ll present the factual history of Michael Bond’s creation of Paddington. We’ll go all the way back to the author’s childhood and the effects of living through WW2 London. I’ll discuss why Paddington has remained relevant over the years and how, now more than ever, his optimistic and generous worldview is a welcome thing amid the smash-bang that makes up a lot of entertainment aimed at children. 

ANNABELLE, CLARK, GRETCHEN and MITCHELL: Getting a Story Started (Grades K-3): We’ll explore the ideas of “What If?” and “And Then…” as ways to create stories to share. Together, we’ll create a simple story. I’ll do some drawings to demonstrate possibilities and problem solve while the students do their own drawing. By session’s end, the students will have tools to create and choose their own adventures.

THERE’S A WOLF AT THE DOOR & THERE’S A PRINCESS AT THE PALACE: Presenting a Story in the Graphic Panel Format (All Grades): We’ll explore how to balance pictures and words. How to pace a tale so that it is clear, but also surprising. How to use color or a lack of color to advantage. Finally, we’ll explore how to create a satisfying story arc that employs all (or as much as possible) of the devices and possibilities of this ancient (think cave paintings) and modern storytelling option.


Coming soon!
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