Started by a Teacher in Iowa – Inspired by Children’s Book, THE DOT
by NY Times Best-Selling Peter H. Reynolds – Dot Day Has Grown into an International Movement to Celebrate Creativity & Courage

International Dot Day Logo

On September 15th, over a million children and adults around the globe will celebrate International Dot Day – a grassroots “creativity & courage” movement, which has generated support around the globe, from participants in all 50 U.S. states, on all seven continents, in 75 countries, and even on the International Space Station.  Inspired by Boston-area author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ classic “storybook for all ages” The Dot, International Dot Day inspires young and old to embrace the power of personal creativity to change the world.

“It’s so exciting to see The Dot trigger this kind of worldwide movement – especially in schools where creativity is too often squeezed out of the schedule,” said Peter H. Reynolds, creative education champion and New York Times #1 best-selling author/illustrator of books about creativity and learning, including The North Star, The Museum, and his Creatrilogy series (The Dot, Ish and Sky Color). “Teachers know that it’s a great way to start off the school year and invite students to experience the incredible power of creativity – to discover, to express themselves, to problem-solve, to invent, to change the world in positive ways.”

Peter H. Reynolds' The Dot
THE DOT by Peter H. Reynolds is the winner of the Irma S. and James H. Black Honor for Excellence in Children’s Literature, as well as The Christopher Award.

Published by Candlewick Press, The Dot is the story of a perceptive and caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw by encouraging her to trust in her own abilities and to be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery and self-expression, The Dot has been translated into many languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and even Braille. The animated film version, produced by Reynolds’ digital storytelling and educational media development firm FableVision and co-producer Scholastic, earned the Carnegie Medal of Excellence.

Dot Day began four years ago when Iowa teacher Terry Shay celebrated The Dot’s “birthday” with his class on September 15th, because the original publishing date of The Dot is September 15, 2003.  Shay, a public school teacher for over two decades, notes: “In The Dot, the teacher’s invitation to be creative becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage for the student, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing. Every great teacher works for those transformational moments.”

International Dot Day has garnered attention in schools, libraries, and communities around the globe. Official registrations to participate in the event reached 17,500 in 2011 – and in 2012 soared past the 850,000 mark.  Dot Day celebrations now take many forms; from art workshops where students make dots and sign them to animating dot-inspired art/stories on the computer, from weeklong school-wide celebrations to a yearlong theme for a school district.   Spearheaded by elementary school teacher librarian Matthew Winner in Ellicott City, MD, there is also an official Skype in the Classroom project underway to “connect the dots” between classrooms around the globe using Skype’s live streaming platform.

Earlier this year, a copy of The Dot book was even rocketed into space by Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield, serving as Commander aboard the International Space Station.  Reynolds explains, “Commander Hadfield snapped a few photos of The Dot book floating in the cupola of the space station.  On the last day of his recent Boston visit, he handed me my book, which he had signed, noting that this copy…had made 2,500 trips around the big blue dot – planet Earth.”

Photo of The Dot Book in Outer Space
Stellar Celebration: THE DOT by Peter H. Reynolds floats in the cupola of the International Space Station – Photo by ISS Commander Col. Chris Hadfield.

This well-traveled copy of The Dot has recently returned to Earth and will be on display at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA on the actual Dot Day date of Sunday, September 15th.  Reynolds is being honored with a day long, museum-wide celebration.  Reynolds will be presenting at 1 p.m., followed by a book signing of his many books that celebrate creativity.  Additional activities include story readings, screenings of the animated film versions of Reynolds’ books The Dot, Ish and Sky Color, and hands-on dot-making in the art studio.

The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity (ReynoldsTLC.org), Reynolds’ non-profit educational R&D and teacher retreat center, has taken on the program support for the worldwide Dot Day event.  The organization has built and managed The Dot Club website, which provides free registration for the event, along with a free downloadable Dot Day Educator’s Handbook, multi-lingual posters, and an official participation certificate.

Educational organizations around the globe have embraced the Dot Day movement, including National Art Education Association, Association of International Schools in Africa, Japan Art Education Association, Arts|Learning, Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, Computer-Using Educators (CUE), National Writing Project and Reading Is Fundamental.

International Dot Day partners include FableVision Studios, FableVision Learning, Candlewick Press, Discovery Educator Network, Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter, NYSCATE, colAR – Puteko Ltd., MassCUE, Kids Talk Radio Los Angeles, as well as Skype in the Classroom, and the million people around the world making their mark on September 15th.


About Peter H. Reynolds

Peter H. Reynolds
Peter H. Reynolds. Photo credit: Gretje Ferguson

Peter H. Reynolds is a NY Times best-selling author and illustrator, creativity advocate, and founder of FableVision Studios, an award-winning educational multimedia development company producing for leading children’s media organizations such as PBS KIDS, Scholastic and Jim Henson Company, as well as FableVision Learning, a K12 educational media and technology publisher based in Dedham, MA. Peter regularly presents and keynotes around the globe, championing “off the path” learning and everyday creativity, and inspiring children and “grown up” children to lead successful and meaningful lives. Peter also founded The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity, a non-profit that encourages creativity and innovation in teaching and learning through the development of new tools and media, as well as professional development for educators and school administrators.

Reynolds’ string of honors includes a Doctorate of Humane Letters from his undergraduate alma mater, Fitchburg State University, the 2012 Champion of Arts Education Advocacy Award and the AEP 2013 Visionary Award for his work to “encourage people of all ages to discover their talents, strengths and voice – and to be brave enough to use those gifts to make their mark on the world in a positive way.”

Peter’s book The Dot was named as one of the top 15 “Greatest Books for Kids” of all time by Scholastic Parent & Child magazine – alongside Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Published in over 20 languages, Peter’s books – including The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, Rose’s Garden, I’m Here, So Few of Me and The North Star – inspire children and “grown up children” with his messages about authentic learning, creativity, bravery, empathy and courageous self-expression. Peter also illustrated the best-selling Someday by Alison McGhee, and the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald, which has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

CreatrilogyReynolds’ book Sky Color (Candlewick) is the third and final book in his Creatrilogy series, which includes The Dot and Ish.  To celebrate The Dot’s 10th anniversary, Candlewick Press has released a special The Dot: Make Your Mark! Kit, which includes a hardcover edition of The Dot, a set of watercolor pencils and Reynolds’ personal favorite, The Blank Book.  As Reynolds notes, “Blank books are symbols of what each of us is capable of creating, contributing and sharing. They symbolize that each of us has an important story to tell and that the best chapters are unwritten and just waiting to unfold.”

About The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity

Founded by internationally acclaimed authors/educators/creativity champions Peter and Paul Reynolds, The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity works with like-minded partners to develop and evaluate new media, tools, and initiatives that foster and scale authentic, engaged learning. The Reynolds Center also offers workshops, retreats and professional development programs to nurture innovation and creativity in educators, school leaders, and their students.

Dot Day Collage


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