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Petr Sis at ISP: Sparking imaginations across the campus 

  • News
  • Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School, Upper School

Petr Sis, the internationally acclaimed Czech author, illustrator, graphic artist, and storyteller, left a lasting impression on our entire school community during his three-day visit in September 2022. This extraordinary event, funded by the generosity of our donors, is part of the ISP Distinguished Speaker Series, which brings world-renowned speakers to ISP. The speakers may include local and world leaders, Pulitzer Prize winners, best-selling authors, explorers and celebrated personalities from around the world, who can offer profound insights and inspiration.

“One of the benefits of being part of a world class school is not only the things we do inside of the classroom, but the things that are available to us outside of the classroom.”

Dr. Chip Kimball, ISP Director

Inspiration across the Ages

With the incredible scope of Petr’s books, he captivated the imaginations and interests of our entire school community, from the youngest learners in ECF, who were charmed by his playful demeanour and engaging stories, to our Middle and Upper Schoolers who were fascinated by his stories of the Velvet Revolution and loved hearing about this journey as a world-famous illustrator.

ECF 3/4: Ballerinas, Tigers, and Firetrucks!

With our youngest students, Petr re-told the stories he wrote for his children when they were little.  Tales of ballerinas, tigers, and firetrucks came to life in the classrooms as Petr drew characters for the children and delighted them with demonstrations of ballet and wild tiger growls.

ECF 5 and Grade 1: Drawing Together

With our ECF 5 and first graders, Petr doodled alongside the children, unlocking their creativity and enthusiasm. Children were captivated by Petr’s quick lines and expressive figures and were eager to express and share their own artistic representations.

Grade 2 & 3: Ice Cream Time!

Grade 2 and 3’s were thrilled by Petr’s visit, and especially loved his topic of choice: Ice Cream! Petr shared his classic story “Ice Cream Sunday” with students, and together they explored his imagery. Students came to this session with sketchbooks and were inspired by Petr’s illustrations to create their own drawings.

Grade 4 and 5: Changemaker Stories

Petr, a mesmerizing storyteller, shared the powerful story of his latest book, ‘Nicky & Vera.’  “Nicky” Winton helped rescue hundreds of children in 1939 by transporting them from Prague to London. Vera Gissingova was one of these children. This story came to light 50 years after the fact, thanks to Mrs. Winton discovering the documentation of these efforts and the BBC’s effort to bring this important story to life.

Middle School Learners: Change and Significance

To Middle School students, Petr talked about ‘Change and Significance’. He explained his most famous book, ‘The Walland recalled his personal journey growing up in Prague. Petr’s presentation captivated our students with stories about what life was like in Prague behind the iron curtain of the Soviet Union and showed how imagination can bring color and life to an otherwise dull experience.

Upper School Learners: Change and Power

With our Upper School students, Petr explored his technique as an artist and discussed the role of symbolism and expression throughout his illustrations. He compelled our students to think deeply about issues of power and change and the conflict between oppression and freedom, themes that are woven throughout many of Petr’s books.

In addition to inspiring our students and teachers with his incredible talent, enthusiasm, and warm personality, Petr held events for our parents and the wider community.  His visit culminated with a fabulous all-community screening of his film, Dreams of Stray Cats, an event enjoyed by all. 

The profound impact of Petr’s visit resonated with students of all ages, inspiring a deep appreciation for storytelling, artistry, and the power of imagination.