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Hampton students step up, provide artwork for educator's new book

| Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 9:01 p.m.
Hampton High School juniors Emily Hoover and Nicole Perrone sit with high school enrichment facilitator Scott Stickney. The girls illustrated a book written by Stickney. The book is titled “Camp Birchbark… 1963: The Adirondack Adventures of a Talented Troop of Teens.”
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Hampton High School juniors Emily Hoover and Nicole Perrone sit with high school enrichment facilitator Scott Stickney. The girls illustrated a book written by Stickney. The book is titled “Camp Birchbark… 1963: The Adirondack Adventures of a Talented Troop of Teens.”

When Hampton High School enrichment facilitator Scott Stickney needed illustrations for a self-published book he was working on, he knew just where to turn for the talent.

He recruited Hampton High School art students Nicole Perrone and Emily Hoover to make his story come alive.

“I knew I couldn't do much more than stick figures on my own, and I knew I wanted original art,” he said.

Stickney had to write a book as part of a capstone course for his graduate program in gifted education through the University of Buffalo in New York. The book focuses on theories of gifted education and debunking the myths related to gifted students.

Called “Camp Birchbark … 1963: The Adirondack Adventures of a Talented Troupe of Teens,” the book follows a quartet of “misfits” through their adventures at summer camp.

The story follows Jake, an 11-year-old who's gifted at almost everything, as he tries to deal with the sudden death of his father. His mother sends him to Camp Birchbark in the Adirondacks, where he is grouped with fellow misfits and gifted children Penny, Ty and Quinn. They use their individual strengths to participate in camp competitions throughout the summer.

“As the summer goes on, they realize they all have strengths that will work well for the various competitions done as a team throughout the summer,” Stickney said.

Stickney wrote the book for children ages 6 to 12 but used high-level language, did not provide a glossary or reference in the back and referenced Shakespeare on the title page of every chapter. He wants children reading the book to use their 21st-century skills and look up any information with which they are not familiar or want to know more about.

“I built the book as a self-discovery book,” he said.

Stickney, who has four children ages 12, 10, 8 and 5, started the book in August and finished it in December. That's where Hampton High School juniors Hoover and Perrone came in.

The book needed illustrations, so Stickney asked their art teacher, Karen Vachon-Thaner, if she had any students interested in illustrating the book for him. Hoover and Perrone stepped up for the task.

He gave the girls a list of his ideas for what scenes needed to be illustrated and guided them to the style he was seeking, but other than that, he left them alone, he said. The girls researched the simplistic style of artists Eric Sloane and Garth Williams to get ideas.

“It's not something we're used to doing. We're used to using more detail, so it was a challenge for us,” Perrone said.

Stickney left some of his characters' physical descriptions purposefully vague, so it was up to Perrone and Hoover to fill in the blanks. That was what they had the most fun with, Perrone said.

“We wanted them to really represent this group of misfits,” she said.

Hoover said one of the greatest challenges of the project was finding time around school, work and extracurriculars to brainstorm and illustrate.

“We had to find time to get together because we had to physically do this together,” Hoover said.

Being published has not gone to either girl's head, but, Perrone said, she definitely will be using that claim to fame on her art portfolio.

“It's neat to be able to say that we're published illustrators,” she said.

The 112-page book can be purchased online for $10 at lulu.com/shop/scott-stickney/camp-birchbark1963/paperback/product-22010798.html.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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