Johnson, Heather [faculty advisor, Department of Writing & Rhetoric]




children’s book, ballet, art


My book is entitled Delilah Discovers Degas, about a girl named Delilah who is very passionate about ballet dancing. When Delilah discovers the impressionist painter, Degas, his paintings serve to fuel her imagination as she goes about her daily activities before ballet class. The paintings of adult ballerinas, which I’ve incorporated into the book, represent her dream of one day becoming a professional ballerina. My target audience is 4-6 year old children.

I am studying both English and Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Rhode Island. My academic efforts culminated in creating a children’s book as my senior honors project for several reasons. First, I am well practiced in academic writing, but until this project had never written a work of fiction. The project has allowed me to write creatively in a genre that I could only study in the form of an honors project.

Second, I chose to include illustration as part of my project because I’ve always been interested in analyzing and producing visual rhetoric in my Writing classes. I dedicated more time to cartooning and drawing when I was younger, so illustrating has been one of the more challenging, but rewarding, aspects of the project.

The process of making a children’s book required that I consider rhetorical concepts. I learned to balance different elements that are in conversation with one another, including my writing, my illustrations, and Degas’ paintings. The placement of words and images on each page was carefully thought out in regards to arrangement, style, and genre. Each page is considered in terms of the style of the book as a whole and as a logical connection between proceeding pages.

One of my main goals is to have a concrete and professional product by the end of the semester. As a result, I will be donating several copies of my book to various public libraries throughout Rhode Island.