In 2021, while our touring was paused, Green Thumb commissioned 16 artists to create pages for a calendar inspired by past Green Thumb elementary school productions. The finished calendar was delivered free-of-charge to elementary school educators as a way to say thank you for all of their hard work during this challenging time.
Illustration inspired by: Hilary’s Birthday by Joe Wiesenfeld
Artist: Annie Wilkinson
Annie Wilkinson is a Vancouver-based children’s book illustrator, mom, and musician.
Hilary’s Birthday by Joe Wiesenfeld – Premiered 1979
Hilary’s Birthday was one of the first plays in the country to address divorce in a play for young audiences. The play focuses on 10-year-old Hilary’s experiences and encourages young audiences to understand that the separation of parents is not through any fault of the child.
Illustration inspired by: New Canadian Kid by Dennis Foon based on a concept by Jane Howard Baker
Artist: Helena Alonso
Helena Alonso, or Malenita Alonso as we know her artistically, is a Colombian illustrator/cartoonist who lives in Vancouver, BC. She studied Visual Arts at the National University of San Juan (Argentina) and Graphic Novels and Comics at Langara College (Vancouver). Malenita is a very versatile artist who loves to mix digital tools and mix media. She likes to create fantastic worlds, where colour plays an important role in the message.
New Canadian Kid by Dennis Foon based on a concept by Jane Howard Baker – Premiered 1981
Nick has just arrived in Canada and has to learn a new language, new customs, and how to navigate fitting in at a new school and in a new country, while remaining true to who he is. This Green Thumb classic encourages young people to celebrate each other’s differences and welcome students who have come to Canada from other countries and cultures.
Illustration inspired by: Not So Dumb by John Lazarus
Artist: Hayley Lowe
Hayley is a Port Moody-based artist and works as a children’s book illustrator. Hayley enjoys exploring a range of media but is particularly drawn to pencil, charcoal, gouache and a sprinkle of digital magic. For more about Hayley visit www.hayleylowe.com
Not So Dumb by John Lazarus – Premiered 1984
Binnie and Rocky have a tough time with their school work and keeping track of the order of the alphabet. Meanwhile, Victor, the studious day monitor in their class, can’t seem to get through a recess without somebody picking on him. Not So Dumb is a reminder that we often have more in common with each other than we think, and that everyone can shine when given the opportunity to do so.
Illustration inspired by: Night Light by John Lazarus
Artist: Divya George
Divya is an illustrator who loves drawing creatures and creating characters. She has an MA in Illustration and has illustrated a range of projects including books, posters, office walls, and children’s apparel. www.divyageorge.com
Night Light by John Lazarus - Premiered 1986
There is a monster in Tara’s dresser! Her big brother Victor says it’s just socks and pajamas, but Tara knows better. Victor wants to help his little sister feel brave, but he’s got trouble of his own - namely Farley, the school bully. This hilarious and poignant show shines a light on family relationships, childhood fears, and overcoming differences.
Illustration inspired by: Land of Trash by Ian Tamblyn
Artist: Lydia Beauregard
Lydia Beauregard is a freelance visual artist and muralist. She believes art to be a constant tool for personal evolution, and in turn hopes to evoke feelings of love, hope, and freedom in her audience. She makes an effort to balance imagination and reality by drawing vague representations of her subjects, and using juxtaposition to express and convey a range of emotions.
Her hope is to collaborate whenever possible, and build community through public art.
Land of Trash by Ian Tamblyn – Premiered 1989
Nuke and Stryder live in the future on the streets of an earth affected by climate change. Surrounded by a toxic waste dump, the kids come across an old man, Carson, who remembers the old world and the environment that once existed. Together, Nuke, Stryder, and Carson work to protect a greenhouse full of organisms in order to save and recreate the greenery that once was.
Illustration inspired by: Showdown by Jamie Norris
Artist: Miran McDaniel
Miran is a working artist in the Vancouver animation industry. When she isn’t chasing her two kids around, she is thinking of cute things she could be drawing next!
Showdown by Jamie Norris – Premiered 1994
Rex and Becky have been friends forever. Enter Marshall, a happy-go-lucky kid who just wants to have friends and to fit in at his new school. But Marshall’s high marks make him a threat to all-star student Becky, and cause a rift in her friendship with Rex, who’s just happy to have a new buddy to play hockey with. Showdown is about being happy with who you are, about competition and cooperation, and about being true to your friends.
Illustration inspired by: Peacemaker by David Holman
Artist: Roz MacLean
Roz MacLean is an award-winning artist, author / illustrator, and educator located on the traditional territory of the K’ómoks Nation on Vancouver Island. In addition to writing and illustrating children’s books, she relates to social issues, community connection and the natural world through her art and teaching practice.
Peacemaker by David Holman – Premiered 1995
Peacemaker, a play for kindergarten to grade 3, features characters from two neighbouring towns that do not get along. One town is preparing for a carnival, and Simp has agreed to juggle – but he doesn’t know how! One day while practicing with his friend Franny, the juggling balls go over the wall. On the other side, Bluey finds the balls and returns them to Simp and also teaches him to juggle. A friendship is born as everyone realizes they have more in common than they originally thought.
Illustration inspired by: The Beauty Machine by Robert Bellefuile
Artist: Grae Salisbury
Grae Salisbury is a queer illustrator currently living and working on Lekwungen & W̱SÁNEĆ territories.
Grae studied studio art and arts-based social change theories and practices in university, and enjoys exploring queerness, beauty, and tenderness in their illustrations. To explore more of Grae’s art work visit their website: graesalisburystudios.com
The Beauty Machine by Robert Bellefuile – Premiered 1997
A photographer comes to town with a “Beauty Machine” that promises to make anyone who enters his photo booth contraption into the most beautiful person in the world. Once townspeople pass through the machine they all have extremely similar appearances and style. Chaos ensues, along with the realization that our uniqueness is what makes us beautiful.
Illustration inspired by: Derwent is Different by Jamie Norris
Artist: Jessica Hickman
Jessica is a visual and theatre artist located on the traditional territory of the Esquimalt Nation. She loves to create whimsical creatures using digital illustration, mixed-media, puppetry, sculpture, and mask. Find out more at jessicahickman.net/mixedmediamonsters
Derwent is Different by Jamie Norris – Premiered 2001
Ramona has been Derwent’s best friend for years, but as they have grown older Ramona has decided that Derwent is “too weird”. In an effort to win her back, Derwent creates a video diary that chronicles the trials he has endured in grade 4 from the class bully. Derwent is Different follows the struggle of an imaginative young boy as he deals with the pressure to conform.
Illustration inspired by: The Invisible Girl by Michele Riml
Artist: Jeanie Yumo Mao
Jeanie Yumo Mao is a Chinese-Canadian illustrator based in Vancouver. She enjoys drawing all things round and colourful and playing with narrative in her work.
The Invisible Girl by Michele Riml – Premiered 2004
Ali and her friends belong to the coolest group in their grade. They sometimes tease or ignore the “unpopular” kids in their class, including shy Dolores. But Ali has heard Dolores’s amazing singing voice, and nominates her for the solo in the school concert. Now all of Ali’s friends are giving her the cold shoulder and she’s becoming almost as invisible as Dolores. The Invisible Girl looks at friendship, cliques, and standing up for what’s right even when it’s hard.
Illustration inspired by: Tree Boy by Michele Riml
Artist: Damian John
Damian John is a First Nations Tl’azt’en artist who lives in the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa, Colville, Sinixt, and Okanagan peoples. He uses his art to help connect us to land, culture, beauty, and each other. Sna chile’ya.
Tree Boy by Michele Riml – Premiered 2007
When Avery uncovers a plot by his father to cut down his favourite tree, he enlists his best friend to live with him in his treehouse to protest. But after a heated debate, Avery questions if he has the guts to be an Enviro-Man or is he merely, as his sister calls him, a Tree Boy. Tree Boy is about family, friendship, facing your fears, and sticking up for your beliefs.
Illustration inspired by: Wired by Betty Quan
Artist: Valerie Thai
Based in Vancouver, Valerie Thai specializes in art direction, print design, and illustration for non-profits, art organizations and social causes. Prior to creating her own company, Cabin + Cub Design, she was the award-winning head designer and art director at Adbusters Magazine for five years running. She currently is the art director at This Magazine.
Wired by Betty Quan – Premiered 2009
Damien has moved to a new school and is having a hard time making friends. He transforms into a “cooler” version of himself through online role-playing games and social media. When Damien has a seemingly innocent run-in with a girl at school, he finds himself in the crosshairs of a cyber-bullying campaign.
Wired looks at who we are online and the effects that can have in real life.
Illustration inspired by: 500 Words by Jamie Norris
Artist: Jay Havens
Jay Havens is a multi-disciplinary, 2Spirit Artist of Haudenosaunee and Scottish Canadian ancestry and a proud citizen of the Mohawk Nation from Grand River Territory. For nearly 20 years Havens has worked across Turtle Island (North America) and around the globe on projects for stage, public installation, and exhibition. His practice embraces re-learning the ways of onkwehonwe (original people) and un-learning ways which go against natural cycles as a lifelong adventure and continuous challenge. Jay is currently living on unceded Stz’uminus lands in the province of British Columbia. www.jayhavens.me
500 Words by Jamie Norris – Premiered 2011
Lance’s teacher has assigned him a reading buddy, Sylvia. Sylvia is a daydreamer but now that she’s in grade three, she’s finding it harder to hide that she never really learned how to read. All Lance wants to do when they are together is write for the story contest. But Lance can’t think of a story until Sylvia imagines a whole world for him of magic, heroes, and adventure. Learning together, the unlikely pair create a magical story neither could have on their own.
Illustration inspired by: People Like Vince by C.E. Gatchalian
Artist: Yaimel López
Yaimel López, based in Vancouver, is a Cuban graphic artist specialized in drawing and print media. His professional work also includes editorial design, motion graphics, and branding.
People Like Vince by C.E. Gatchalian – Premiered 2012
Myrtle is having a hard time making friends at her new school. Then her Uncle Vince shows up in town and she finally feels like she has someone who understands her. But sometimes Uncle Vince’s behaviour confuses her and even causes the other kids at school to make fun of her. When Uncle Vince suddenly stops coming to see her, Myrtle learns how to accept his lifelong struggle with mental illness. People Like Vince is written specifically so younger children can understand and relate to the complexities of mental illness that those around them may live with.
Illustration inspired by: Celestial Being by Dave Deveau
Artist: Chhaya Naran
Chhaya Naran is an artist who lives and works on unceded Coast Salish territory. Their work includes animation, illustration, zines, and quilting, and is influenced by their love of food and fantasy.
Celestial Being by Dave Deveau – Premiered 2012
Celeste is an autistic nine-year-old with a big imagination and a deep love for outer space. Searching for a place where she feels she can belong, Celeste starts building a rocket ship out of objects from around her house so that she can blast off to “Celestia”, a planet where everyone sees the world the way she does. When Celeste meets Martin, her adventure takes a new turn. Celestial Being explores the different pathways to friendship, and the importance of welcoming a wide range of human experiences.
Illustration inspired by: What If by Katey Hoffman
Artist: Natoya Ellis
Natoya Ellis is a Jamaican-Canadian, multi-disciplinary artist living in the Fraser Valley. Natoya is completing her bachelor of fine arts undergraduate degree at the University of the Fraser Valley.
What If by Katey Hoffman – Premiered 2018
While most kids can’t wait for recess so they can hit the playground, anxious Nicky would rather spend her time safely hidden away in the school’s sick room with her Big Book of Birds. But when Milo comes barreling into her life, Nicky’s peace and quiet turns to chaos! At first these polar opposites’ worlds collide, but as time goes on cautious Nicky and adventurous Milo both come to discover they may have more to learn from each other than they think.