Perhaps we should have called this book “Outta Space” because that’s what it is all about! Miss Mort’s Y2 class at Higher Openshaw Community School have come up with a science fiction storybook that sends a team of brave astronauts on a mission to fix mankind’s chronic space shortage . . . by vacuuming up a precious cargo of the stuff which outer space is made of!
We had some serious brainstorming sessions to generate lots of ideas about how different aspects of life and the environment would be affected if all the space disappeared: no spaces between words, no parking spaces, no personal space! What about wildlife? What would towns and cities look like?
Children also spent time roleplaying scenarios aboard the spaceship and back on Earth, using mini whiteboards and markers to make their own speech bubbles and dialogue. This story would have a journey/return structure, a knowing narrator voice, and plenty of quips between the main characters: Astrogirl, Astroboy, Astrodog & the Queen, of course!
The class were inspired by the work of illustrator Anna Llenas, having recently admired one of her gorgeous collage-style picturebooks, so we decided that the artwork for our book would feature cool cardboard bits and cut-out elements. The team set to work designing rocket components, aliens and asteroids. They also used ink and watercolours to create crowded scenes of people, birds and sea life that would be relayed to the space crew on their cardboard computer screens as they sped to the rescue . . .
All these elements were photoshopped and layered together back at base, and arranged into the series of stunning spreads that make up S P A C E. Only one book to go and it will be Mission Complete!