Ross School - Senior Project 2008-09

Student: Arlis Andon

Mentor: Jennifer Cross

Title:  Our Room

Description: I have written and illustrated a children's book for my Senior Project. The narrative is written from the perspective of a room in the house my great grandfather built. It is based on truth and borrows the idea "if only these walls could talk”.  The story begins in 1927 and ends in 2008 when we moved. Our Room follows five generations of one family through their activities and growth. A few historical references create a time frame. Using popular music and games of the period, I tried to invoke a vintage atmosphere. These observations are made by the room, demonstrating that it has its own character and personal tastes. The house was sold in 2008, so we no longer live there. This story is meaningful to our family, and the generations to come. Hopefully you will enjoy it too.


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When looking at former students of Ross School and viewing their projects you get an idea of how seriously each student takes their project. It's a chance to taste what its like to be a professional in any area of your choice. It's an opportunity to showcase your talents at performing or any of the arts, or explore any area of study that you are interested and  curious about.  When I first came to Ross as a junior and was introduced to the senior project, I wanted to incorporate my interest in cars and my artistic ability. I came up with the idea of designing my own super car.  It was about two weeks into senior year, after meetings with the senior project team, that we finally came to the conclusion that designing a car was far too ambitious than I expected it to be. So then we started to brainstorm about what I could possibly do that would put my artistic talent to use. The idea of making writing and illustrating a story about my family was appealing.  Originally the story was going to be in comic book form, which I realized after experimenting, was not a style well suited for the historic atmosphere of the story. Eventually the book evolved into a graphic novel which then turned into the a children's book.

Last fall my mother sold the house that my great, great grandfather built. It was sad as it had been in our family for 5 generations. Missing the house dearly and being effected heavily by moving out of the house that I've known all my life. With Mark Frankel's and my mom's help, I decided to make my book about the house. This way my family and I would have something to remember it by in the future. The story takes place in the living room, as if the walls could talk about what it had seen over the years. The room narrates all the different time periods and introduces family members in each generation to the reader in a historic context. I also incorporated the music that was popular in each time period. I wanted my book to be more than a regular story... something that can be used almost as a educational tool for young kids. The story doesn't go into detail about the historical events that happened, so as to not loose the audience which is ranged from 8-10 year olds but to makes mention of events and when they happened so kids will get an idea of what was going on in each time period. For example: In 1938, when the hurricane hit, the whole house was under water. In that picture, I added an atom bomb to illustrate when it was developed. There are references to WW11 and the political unrest in Vietnam, as well as medical discoveries and the popular clothes and habits of culture. 

Works Consulted

"1920s Jazz Age." Jazz - 09 Feb. 2009 <>.

"America's Best History - U.S. Timeline 1920-1929." America's Best History - From Sea to Shining Sea. 09 Feb. 2009 <>.

"Billboard top hits of the SIXTIES." The World of Xerraire. 09 Feb. 2009 <>.

Geiser, David. "Meeting with David Geiser." Personal interview. Jan. 09.

Gerstein, Mordicai. The man who walked between the towers. Bookfield, Connecticut: Roaring Brook Press, 2008.

Shange, Ntozake. Ellington was not a street. New york: Simon & Schuster, 07.

Van Allsburg, Chris. Probuditi. New York: Jacket art, 07.

Community Member (Details)

January 2, 2009

Outside Consultant

Helpful/good ideas on different types of perspective

Showed me his comic book art critiqued my shadowing and shading

Showed me cross shading method

Jan 16, 2009

David Geiser was surprised and loved my work.

Quote “I feel this is professional enough to be looked at by real publishers”