Urban Gateways Teaching Artists Collaborate on New Children’s Book: JITTERBUGS!

We’d like to introduce you to Margot Toppen and Karen Light, two of our teaching artists, also the author and illustrator of a new children’s book: Jitterbugs!

We love this project, not only because it’s wonderful to see talented artists collaborating in such innovative ways, but also because this book offers an exciting kind of arts education opportunity. Margot, the author, is a dancer and dance teaching artist; Karen, the illustrator, is a visual artist who has taught in many schools through Urban Gateways. The book is all about dancing – specifically, the Lindy Hop in the 1930s. It involves rhythmic undertones, opportunities for students to dance along (as you can see in the video below), and a creative glimpse at American history through dance. Not to mention that it does all this through adorable “Jitterbug” characters representing famed Lindy Hoppers Big Bea and Shorty George.

Margot came up with this story because she frequently teaches students at an age when the girls are taller than the boys; she started sharing the tale of Shorty George and Big Bea as a way to guide students through the awkwardness when they first get up to dance, and to inspire them to believe that anyone can be a dancer.

Hear what Margot, Karen, and a group of very enthused students have to say about Jitterbugs:

We are so excited about the learning avenues that this book opens to students. How can you help?

You can support Jitterbugs to help Margot and Karen publish the first copies of their wonderful story!

Bonus: A donation of $25 or more will get you a signed copy of the book. Extra bonus: Higher level donors have the opportunity to designate schools and libraries as recipients of books, and at the highest donation level, you get to designate a school or library to receive an artist workshop.

Check out their Indiegogo campaign below:

Did we mention that it’s National Dance Week? Yet another reason to support the work of these wonderful artists and educators.

Follow Jitterbugs on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the project and to watch the donation ticker!