tophat Claire Hartfield

Claire Hartfield

Claire Hartfield is a native and lifelong resident of Chicago, Illinois. She attended the public schools of Chicago, received her B.A. from Yale University, and her law degree from The University of Chicago.

Claire’s first children’s book, Me and Uncle Romie, was published in December 2002. It was chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by Smithsonian Magazine, is a Junior Library Guild Choice, and is one of New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing. Though the story is fiction, it is based on the life of renowned African-American collage artist, Romare Bearnden.

Claire loves doing Author Visits because she gets to involve students in hands-on storytelling through art. One of Claire’s popular school programs includes a reading of her book and a collage project. The program begins with a short discussion of the art of Romare Bearden and what storytelling collage is. This is followed by a reading of the book, focusing on how the experiences of the main character, a child named James, are captured in collage painting. Claire then works with the children to help them create their own collage books about an experience from their own lives. Claire tailors the detail level of the program to the age of the students, keeping it very simple for preschoolers through second grade, and engaging older children in more detailed bookmaking. Her experience has been that children at any elementary grade level get a tremendous amount from this program. Claire also has a program on the writing process, focusing on development of ideas for character, setting and plot. She is happy to develop a program to address a topic of particular interest to you. Please ask!

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