BYU Radio’s Worlds Awaiting Features Melissa Sweet and Kerry Soper

Illustrator Melissa Sweet and BYU Professor Kerry Soper (Comparative Arts & Letters) discuss the power of illustrations and visual formats on BYU Radio’s Worlds Awaiting.

PROVO, Utah (May 25, 2019)—In a world dominated by screens and smartphones, many people are losing sight of how literature can have an impact in the lives of children. In BYU Radio’s Worlds Awaiting, children’s literature expert Rachel Wadham encourages the rising generation to explore the world around them through books. An Education and Juvenile Literature Librarian at the BYU Library, Wadham and guests discuss topics that affect children and those who care about them.

In a recent episode, illustrator and author Melissa Sweet described her creative process in making art. Sweet is known for her mixed media illustrations in children’s books such as Balloons over Broadway and Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White. In the episode, she shared her view of the importance of the artistic process. Sweet noted how the time and effort put into making a piece is equally important as the finished product itself. To Sweet, deciding how she makes the art is just as fun as seeing the end result of her efforts.

Wadham also spoke with BYU Professor Kerry Soper, who studies comics and visual literacy. Soper and Wadham discussed how visual media can send messages that change children’s worldviews, citing examples such as Disney’s softened fairytales. Soper explained how these versions promote a sheltered, suburban worldview by removing the cautionary morals that came with the dark originals of tales like The Little Mermaid.

Soper concluded by noting the importance of teaching children to think critically. Rather than artificially shelter them from all media, Soper suggested that parents watch and discuss visual media with their children. By doing so, both parents and children are more likely to learn the critical thinking skills they need to confront a world full of media and their accompanying messages.

Come hear Rachel Wadham and other guests every Saturday morning on BYU Radio. Listen live or visit to find more “Worlds Awaiting” discovery!

—Jensyn Eubank (English ’20)