By Emanuel Pena
As part of an initiative by the Fort Smith School District to welcome diverse guest speakers to schools, Fairview Elementary School students received a visit from children’s book author and illustrator David Catrow Oct. 2.
As a writer and illustrator, Catrow has published over 70 self-illustrated books for children, with several making the New York Times bestseller list, created visuals for animated films and created a syndicated cartoon that appears in hundreds of newspapers. Throughout his talk, Catrow displayed copies of two of his most popular illustrated books, "Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” and “Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon.”
The mission of Catrow’s talk was to influence students to learn from their mistakes and discover opportunities in adversity. Self-expression was a main point of Catrow’s lecture. For the students, Catrow was a motivational speaker who has made it his priority to inspire others, especially young people, to be artists.
The role of the artist, Catrow said, is “to give you my perspective… to communicate with others… and to recognize in others what we see in ourselves.”
While students listened to Catrow, the artist casually drew a dozen pictures, ranging from humans to cats, evoking memories from his own childhood in order to inspire students to record their own thoughts.
Speaking with teachers after the lecture, Catrow said, “We all make mistakes. Some hide the mistakes or learn from them… It’s how we discover opportunity.”