Storybook series express art and creativity

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Author > Part time Taos resident Angela Spady has been an art educator for 15 years. The third book in the series will be released in July.

By Gina Velasquez

Now that summer is approaching and the school year is about to end, kids tend to turn off their brain and lose their creativity. Author Angela Spady has created a series of storybooks with creative themes that keep kids imaginations roaring throughout the year.
The part-time Taos resident has publishes two books of the series “Channing O’Banning and the Rainforest Rescue” and “Channing O’Banning and the Turquoise Trail” are available through Amazon. The third book in the series, “Channing O’Banning and the Tickled Pink Pencil Problem” is available for preorder through Amazon.com or channingobanning.com and will be out in July.
Spady is an art educator and says she is passionate about kids using art to process the world around them. The lead character of the story, Channing O’Banning, does just that as she carries a colored pencil in her ponytail, along with a sketchpad, in case a creative moment occurs in her world and she learns valuable lessons of life along the way.
According to Spady’s website (channingobanning.com), she has been featured on PBS for her teaching techniques. She has also spoken at many schools around the country to emphasize art in the classroom. The website contains resources teachers can use to introduce art into their classrooms and activities for students. Colored pencils, coloring sheets and gummy turtles are available for the children — just what the character has in the books.
O’Banning is a feisty fourth-grader who’s family travels to different locations and she learns about the area and culture she is in. The rain forest in South America and the culture of the American Southwest are the locales in the first two books.
“Channing O’Banning takes her exploration and imagination to the next level, thanks to some locally inspired themes,” according to the press release announcing the second book.
“Our trip out west was one of the best vacations ever. From looking at dinosaurs, to digging in a turquoise mine, New Mexico was my new favorite place,” the character said.
Spady has been a curriculum author and art instructor at the kindergarten through 12th grade levels for 15 years. She has taught social studies and art education. Over the years, she noticed an alarming trend, of which funding for art initiatives wane and the lack of time to teach art dwindles, childhood stress continues to be at an all-time high, and thought Channing O’Banning could be the perfect inspiration for revamping interest in the arts.
Spady has hopes to provide both teachers and students with the artistic outlets via learning across the curriculum. “I am promoting art education and the stories have curriculum goals,” Spady said. “There are so many distractions for kids to take them away from reading. Kids need an outlet to be creative, which helps them work their any issues they may have.”
The storybook series is geared towards the 5-10-year-old reader, the series not only instills curiosity and a love of reading, learning and creating, but it easily provides teachers and parents with a means to enforce curriculum standards. Whether learning about a new culture, such as Native Americans or the importance of protecting the environment. “The sole purpose is to get people to express themselves,” Spady said.
The title character is named after her own daughter Channing, who is now an adult. “She always had great adventure in her,” Spady said. She lives in Kentucky and splits time in Taos. Her husband, Steve is an emergency room doctor. Spady said she plans to continue the Channing O’Banning series with many more educational travels and adventures.