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Illustrating a Life

November 17, 2021 | Clara Buckley




Illustrations and text by eighth grade students

For our Art Exhibition, we illustrated Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri. The book follows Daniel, a young Iranian boy who had to flee to Oklahoma because his mother became a Christian. From there he had to start over in the United States. Everything Sad is Untrue is told through Daniel’s perspective and patchwork memory as he talks about his personal experience as well as tells stories he has heard throughout his childhood.






We began this project as soon as we returned from our summer break. When we returned, each of us chose a part of the book’s storyline to illustrate and out of this, three stories would be drawn per person. Our next step was to go back into the book, reread the scenes, write what the emotions were, and how we could express that in our drawings. From there we sketched multiple ideas on how to draw the scenes with different types of media of our choosing. Each person then picked the sketch that we liked best and started our final piece for that sketch. We did this for each of our three scenes with the media we chose.







We learned many skills throughout this project, for example learning different types of media such as charcoal, watercolor, color pencil, collage, digital, and acrylic paint. As well as turning the book’s story into visual pieces of art with the help of this media. We learned skills about composition, color and illustration so we were prepared to jump right into this project. We visualized the events and stories within the book, bringing to life the tales of Daniel Nayeri.







Clara Buckley

Preschool Art Specialist; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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