Every time I get a hankering to redecorate a corner of my house, I stumble over a book motif I can’t part with.

Books are everywhere in this place! Old books, mostly. With gorgeous golden lettering on the spines and cloth covers, embossed illustrations, and classic titles. 

I bring this up because I’m pulling out my fall decor. I have to find clever ways to intersperse little golden brown and russet faux leaves between the stacked collections of random book titles on display.

And pumpkins. Mustn’t forget pumpkins.

I dare not remove too many of these beautiful antique tomes from the decor scheme, since my cats are so inspired by them. It may be why they think as Sir Walter Scott considered . . .

sir walter cat quote

I agree.

I believe literacy is much to blame for all the mysterious whatevers passing through Emma and Copperfield’s mind. They spend a great deal of time with me. Reading.

So, when I wanted to come up with an idea to encourage literacy in all ages, I sought the perfect mascot to wrap a reading platform around. My own David Copperfield (so named for his color and a favored character in the Charles Dickens’ novel).

c7

live life  quote

When I took on the 7th grade homeroom and middle school English department in a private Christian school during my tenure there in the late 1990’s, I used this line from the first page on The Pickwick Papers to set a high goal for our literacy and literary adventures planned for that year. I put it in big letters on the wall and introduced my students to the delightful Mr. Pickwick in the novel that made Charles Dickens a household name:

After the periodical publication of The Pickwick Papers in 1837, Charles Dickens settled securely into the annuls of literature as a premier author, storyteller, and wordsmith. He is one of my favorite writers, using the richness of the English language in all its loquacious glory, to weave complex and compelling stories through unforgettable characters. Like Mr. Samuel Pickwick. He is an unlikely late middle-aged hero of great girth and greater heart. His thirst for life and love of learning compels him to set out with three companions on a series of hilarious sporting and travel adventures. Through it all he is a character of integrity and generosity, leaving a mark of kindness and well being wherever he trod–even in the perils of a debtors prison. Being a literate, God-fearing, and well read man, his lifetime of reading and principles served him well in dark places. 

PERFECT!

Only our Mr. Pickwick will have initials echoing Pageant Wagon: Mr. P. W. Pickwick.

But–how about a illustration of this character? Well, I could have asked our Fable Springs Parables illustrator, Noah Berge, to bring him to life. However, I wanted her to focus on the illustrations she is currently in production with for Bugaboo-Bee’s Bop.

bugaboo white

So, I asked her talented younger sister, Dana Berge, if she would like to try her hand at it. She responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Dana is a gifted 13 year old artist in her own right, always looking for an adventure. As a homeschooled farm girl, she is growing her creative skills with an eye on a career in interior design.

Dana Berge-swing

Her playful imagery and outside-the-box approach to artistic interpretation is inviting. I was first struck by her potential when I watched her experiment with articulated cartoon creations she was toying with, to make a stop motion animation. 

Dana Berge horses-full view

I loved the free flow of her pen in crafting her animal characters, and was amazed at the intricate work of producing movement with whimsy using simple drawings, scant color, markers on copy paper, and tiny brads to the purpose. 

When Dana presented me with the finished product, I was thrilled to see how well she captured my precise vision for the character!

Dana Berge-Pickwick Cat

The campaign involves a FREE PRINTABLE bookmark that encourages the reader to take Mr. Pickwick on their reading adventures in literacy and literature. He’ll hold your page, sitting atop your book like royalty. 

literacy, Pageant Wagon Publishing, Mr. Pickwick Bookmark

Because reading sets you apart as one worthy to lead. The Literacy Cat is king! Click To Tweet

Are you reading some good books of late? Take Mr. Pickwick with you. Take a photo of him sitting on the throne of a book. And tell the world by posting it to your social media–with a link back to Pageant Wagon Publishing, of course!

Dana Berge-Nicolas Nickleby-Pickwick

As you finish your book, jot the title of it on the back of the bookmark–then start another read with Mr. Pickwick! He’ll purr with delight!

Between Dana’s literary adventures–you can see above she’s put Mr. Pickwick to work already in another novel by Charles Dickens–she’s soaking up inspiration for her art by connecting with God’s creation masterpieces in nature. On her farm she enjoys climbing trees and caring for a brood of ducks. Currently, she’s working in watercolors, markers, and ink with a leaning towards neon colors–especially peach. Which may explain her enthusiasm for working on Mr. Pickwick, of so many peach and marmalade tones. 

Dana Berge-ducks

I’m keeping Dana in mind for a couple of other illustration jobs down the line as she continues to grow her skills. I am a teacher at heart and love to mentor people into their potential. Dana is off to a great start with her God, love of art, and love of literature. Soaking in inspiration and pouring it out in a created thing is what artists do. In her nurturing homeschool setting, Dana’s thoughtful, yet whimsical approach to her art will grow into a blessing of a career someday.

Beginning with Mr. Pickwick.

So, here’s what you can do to make the most use of Mr. Pickwick as you read–and encourage literacy and reading of quality literature in your network of influence.

Are you a teacher looking for ways to engage your students to read more books? Click To Tweet

For the classroom teacher:

  • Print out and help your students cut and paste their own bookmark.

  • Use it in their weekly reading of books and keep a record of completed books on the back of the bookmark.

  • Post photos of students with the books on your school bulletin board. Do not post to social media without written permission from your student’s family.

  • Share the link to the Mr. P.W. Pickwick Literacy Cat Bookmark to your network of teachers and contacts to encourage them to use it, too!

  • Share your Pickwick Literacy Cat related activities with Pageant Wagon Publishing via email–put PICKWICK LITERACY CAT in the subject line. Let me know he’s making reading furry fun for all!

Let’s do all we can to make reading and literature a “purrrrfectly” delightful part of everyday–so we can be deep and mysterious thinkers and ruminators like Sir Walter’s Scott’s cats.

Do you homeschool? Click To Tweet

Here’s a great way to keep a record of your family reading adventures: 

  • Use Mr. Pickwick to keep your place in the many books you read!

  • Jot down a record of your finished book titles on the back of the bookmark!

  • Snap photos of you, your book, and Mr. Pickwick sitting atop holding your spot in the many strange and unusual places you find space to read–literacy can happen anywhere!

  • Post your Mr. Pickwick bookmark photos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media sites!

  • Share your love of books and literacy with others using your reading adventures with Mr. Pickwick!

  • Link to www.pageantwagonpublishing.com and help spread the word to encourage Family Literacy and life transforming words with the world!

Want to know WHY literacy and quality literature is such a passion of mine–the undergirding of why I do what I do? Visit my other blog at The Writer’s Reverie for the answer to the questions: Are You a Literacy Cat?

Let’s all be Pickwickians together with good books–especially those from Pageant Wagon Publishing!

Kathryn Ross, Pageant Wagon Publishing

Sharing Free Printable: Mr. Pickwick the Literacy Cat this week with:

Literacy Musing Mondays

The Book Nook @ Create With Joy!

Not Just Homemaking Party at Hope in Every Season

Whole-Hearted Wednesday

A  Little R&R Wednesday

Thursday’s Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner

Fellowship Friday at Christian Mommy Blogger

Beverly’s Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound

Keep all good things and beauty in your life!

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.