Community Corner

The Community Corner is a place where we highlight people and their work in and around the Blue School community. New features available on Thursdays!




15,768,000 minutes, that’s one way to measure three years. Three years is about how long it took for Randall de Sève’s latest book to go from a concept to landing on bookshelves.

For those who don’t know her; this is Randall’s second year at Blue School. Her first year was spent teaching the Parent Caregiver Two’s class. This year, she is working in the Admissions office as the newly minted Early Childhood Education and Outreach Specialist. Zola’s Elephant is also Randall’s 6th published book!

When asked about the writing process, Randall shared, “Every book is different, and every story is different.”

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For her part, the writing of the story takes about a year. Illustrations [by Pamela Zagarenski] took about another year to complete and the last year was mostly logistical, marketing and release promotion.

Zola’s Elephant, dedicated to both her daughter and her daughter’s friend, is inspired somewhat by their real life relationship. The inception of the book idea was truly a family affair. An off the cuff comment from Randall’s husband about a large box being moved in by their neighbors spurned a very special story. The title character, Zola, is thought to have a pet Elephant.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but there is also a profound message us grown-ups can take from Zola’s Elephant as well. As Randall describes the parallel narratives, she says, “Our internal dialogues sometimes mislead us, and cause us to make mistakes in life.”

 Illustration: Pamela Zagarenski,  Zola’s Elephant

Illustration: Pamela Zagarenski, Zola’s Elephant

Randall is so excited to share both the story and the illustrations with children. There is a ‘beautiful confluence’ from which children can create their own stories.

Check out Zola’s Elephant, it will be available in the Blue School Library. Be sure to head over to Randall’s site to see more of her work and book events. http://www.randalldeseve.com/

Thank you Randall!

By Sherika C.

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Caroline McAuliffe


Both tucked away and in plain sight. The 6th Floor Art Studio is a dreamy space filled with abundant sunlight, trinkets, posters, and materials curated by Caroline.

Hopefully you had a chance to see her piece on display at Governor’s Island during the All School picnic.

For those who don’t know her; let me introduce Caroline McAuliffe. Caroline is a Primary Studio Art Specialist here and textile artist. She is in her 5th year and has a special appreciation for the growth of the Art program. Caroline had the unique opportunity to mold and inform the direction of the early STEAM curriculum. On top of that, she has supported a plethora of Blue School events and art auction projects with aesthetic input.

It goes without saying that Caroline is deeply passionate about her work with the students.

“For me as a teacher, I want to really impress on them [students] that Art is great and frankly second to being kind and safe.” Studio Art class isn't just about the finished pieces created but the ideating. As she sees it, students are learning crucial skills like “giving critical feedback with kindness, and how to support a friend.”

Recently, students from 1st through 5th grade all drew the same 4 plants as a part of a still life project. All of the drawings were vastly different. In part, the variations are due to the age and motor skills of the students but also as Caroline puts it “This is their brains on paper, this is how they see and we all have different perspectives in thought and in practice.” This is one of several creative processes she will lead her students through this school year.

Outside of her classroom work, Caroline is making and displaying her own art. Her work was on display at the Governor’s Island Art Fair, and she is gearing up for a group show about contemporary textiles at Montclair Art Museum opening in February 2019.

To check out some of Caroline’s textile work and learn more about upcoming exhibitions visit her website: http://www.carolinemcauliffe.com/

Lastly, leaving you with quote from Caroline to her students that can apply to all of us; “If you have any more to give, either in acceptance, forgiveness, or lending a hand, do it.”

Thanks Caroline!

By Sherika C.