Arts & entertainment

‘Creativity is a superpower’

Captain Underpants author comes to historic Elitch Theatre

Posted 9/20/17

Dav Pilkey knows firsthand how hard it can be to stay focused in school.

When he was in the second grade, he remembers being labeled all kinds of things including a troublemaker, and the kid with ADHD.

When he became too disruptive, his …

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Arts & entertainment

‘Creativity is a superpower’

Captain Underpants author comes to historic Elitch Theatre

Posted

Dav Pilkey knows firsthand how hard it can be to stay focused in school.

When he was in the second grade, he remembers being labeled all kinds of things including a troublemaker, and the kid with ADHD.

When he became too disruptive, his teachers would send him out into the hallway. And that’s when he would draw.

“I didn’t want to be known as the trouble kid,” he said. “I wanted to be known as an artist and storyteller.”

Now, as the author of the Captain Underpants and Dog Man series, the former of which has more than 80 million copies in print worldwide, in 25 languages, he’s proven the power of creativity.

And he wants to spread the word.

“Creativity really is like a superpower,” Pilkey said. “Everyone likes superheroes, but no one can fly. Through imagination and creativity, we can be superheroes. This is how we can save the world.”

To promote children’s literacy, and in partnership with Second Star to the Right Children’s Books, an independent children’s and young adult bookstore in Denver, Pilkey will host a special talk and book signing at 3 p.m. on Sept. 24 the historic Elitch Theatre.

We spoke with Pilkey about the event, the importance of reading for fun, and teaching through drawing.

What audiences can expect

I usually start out with a PowerPoint presentation where I talk about my childhood, a love of cartoons, and my struggles as a second grader. I had a lot of labels as kid, and was very discouraged. Fortunately, I had lots of support at home. My mom always encouraged me to look at the bright side, and turn challenges to great things.

Then I switch it up, do some drawings, answer some questions, and give away prizes.

It’s all followed by a signing.

The fun of meeting fans

It’s always fun to meet them, shake their hands, and talk to them one-on-one.

A lot of kids who come are interested in becoming artists — they bring comics they made, stories they’ve written, and drawings they made. One time a kid brought a giant portfolio of artwork, and it was great to see the progress he made.

If they ask for advice, I tell them about the wonderful opportunities with Scholastic publishing and other options out there.

I love my readers — they have so much enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter how tired I am when I step on stage, I get so much energy from them.

On celebrating the release of ‘Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties’ and the 20th anniversary of Captain Underpants

I really want kids to feel free to be creative. For George and Harold, who make the Captain Underpants and Dog Man comics, the older they get, the more they improve. And that’s reflected in the comics.

Their themes are improving — they’re reading classic literature in school, like Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck, and taking these themes to inspire brand-new stories.

I like exploring idea of growing up through their art, and seeing what inspires them as they get as older. It’s good for kids to see that it’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you improve.

The importance of reading for fun

So many studies have shown the importance of getting kids to read just for fun. If you make it a habit, you’ll do better in school, and have better social skills. Plus, kids will have more empathy — it will make them kinder.

If you want to do better in school, and be better person, it all boils to reading for fun.

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