Johnson, a 16-year La Cañada Flintridge resident, told a story about her horrible third grade teacher Mrs. Pettigrew and drew a caricature on which she later added a moustache, goatee and a hairy wart. The students laughed, then groaned when Johnson told them she had drawn on a real picture of the teacher ... and forgotten to take it home from school.
Although she described her presentation as "a lounge act for the elementary school set," Johnson vividly explained to them how her real-life experiences inspired her later illustrations in books. Holding a picture of herself as a 6-year-old girl dressed in a homemade tutu and a picture she drew for a book called "All Tutus Should Be Pink," she told the class, "You see, they're not exactly the same. But I remembered how it felt when I got my first tutu and that feeling is what I drew."
Jeri Chase Ferris brought the students a completely different experience. The author of nonfiction books told the story of Biddy Mason, a former slave who walked from Mississippi to Los Angeles and later became a wealthy landowner. Her slide show of pictures the Mississippi River that Mason had to cross and early pictures of Los Angeles drew gasps from the sixth graders in Bob Gifford's class.