• What is The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?
• A Guide to Progressive Stories
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Cheat Sheet of Settings, Characters, and Plot Lines
• The Progressive Stories Game
• The History of The Exquisite Corpse Art Form and How It Is Played
• Creating Your Own Exquisite Corpse Adventure
• Parent Tips for Encouraging Reading and Literacy Development
• About Us

What is The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?

by Mary Brigid Barrett

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a buoyant, spontaneous experiment; a progressive story game just like the one many families play on road trips, at camps, at parties, at home when there is a power outage. And just like in those games, characters spontaneously erupt out of one’s imagination; plots lines tumble forth, some realized, some lost; and we are often poised at the edge of a cliff with no logical solution in sight! 

Children of all ages have played progressive story games for centuries, mainly because we all seek entertainment to appease the boredom of a long trip; warm a cool night by the fire; lighten the seemingly endless hours of dark winter. 

John Cole at the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress wanted to come up with a reading outreach project for the new Read.gov LOC website and he asked me to join his talented staff on a brainstorming session. Rather than inviting one children’s author to write an episodic story to be published electronically, I thought it might be more interesting to assemble a “motley crew” of children’s book authors and illustrators to play the progressive story game that young people and adults play at home and social events, and have played for centuries!  It goes by many names—Cliffhangers, Consequences, The Exquisite Corpse, etc.  It is the game where one person begins a story, stops at a cliffhanging moment, and the next person picks it up and continues, and so on, until everyone in the group has the opportunity to contribute.

Progressive story games, like The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, can be played as an oral storytelling tradition, or in a written form, or even in a visual form as a drawing game. However the game is played out, its trademark elements are spontaneity, humor, bigger-than-life characters, and wild and wily plot threads, some of which inevitably remain unresolved! 

I wanted to bring together a wide variety of writers and illustrators to play this story game—because the companion educational resources that the NCBLA is co-creating and coordinating with a number of its education and literacy partners, can then encompass all kinds of reading suggestions and writing activities. And the story itself would then be much more vibrant and entertaining!

Members of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure “motley crew” are, in reality, some of the most gifted artists and storytellers in our nation, award-winners all—M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate Di Camillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Jack Gantos, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Lemony Snicket, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Dusen.

In order to try and retain the spontaneity of the original game, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure contributing authors had only a couple of days to brainstorm and then write their individual episodes. Each episode was then lightly edited and sent back to the author for a quick rewrite. 

Even more fascinating, the illustrators operated in something of a blind, just like the Surrealists did when playing the visual version of The Exquisite Corpse! Each illustrator read the current episode, as well as the previous episodes, but they did not see the illustration that their colleagues have created for the previous episodes!

This amazing team of writers and illustrators imade an extraordinary gift, donating their time and talent, working on extremely tight deadlines. Why did they do this?  Because they know that reading hilarious stories on the Internet—and even more, reading great books––can be just as much fun as playing baseball, going to the movies, watching TV. They know that riveting stories offer a healthy escape where kids can get lost in whole new worlds.  They believe what the NCBLA believes—that all young people must have equal access to exciting and interesting books and information sources that invite them to dream and give them the tools to achieve their dreams. And like the NCBLA they love the Library of Congress and the Library of Congress’ web site and want kids to know it and love it, too! 

Originally published on the Library of Congress’ Read.gov website, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is now available from Candlewick Press in hardcover, paperback, and audio formats.  

This companion education resource center includes activities, discussion questions, and art appreciation ideas, as well as a “read more about it” annotated bibliography for each and every episode.

So please join us as the Exquisite Corpse Adventure game is played out by some of the most remarkable storytellers in our nation. We invite you all to play the game yourself––at home, at camp, at school, in the library, in the car, Sunday morning munching on French toast, Friday night instead of watching boring TV––even as Dr. Seuss would advise,  “in a box with a fox!"  Tell, read, write, and share stories everywhere!

Click here to order The Exquisite Corpse Adventure from the bookseller of your choice.

For the latest Exquisite Corpse Adventure updates, news, and items of interest please check the NCBLA's news blog at: thencbla.blogspot.com

© 2011 Mary Brigid Barrett

A Guide to Progressive Stories

by Mary Brigid Barrett

Progressive stories have been around as long as men, women, and children have been able to talk.  Imagine an ancient tribe of people sharing experiences at the end of a long day of fishing, each person’s catch growing bigger, each account of an individual’s struggle to catch that fish growing more dramatic, one story building on the other around the campfire as stars erupt in the night sky.  Imagine an eye witness sharing the details of an animal attack of his or her friend, and that story expanding, becoming more exaggerated as it is spread throughout the village.  Imagine the neighborhood gossips cackling over the long line of suitors courting the rich widow in town, the intimate details growing in inverse proportion to the actual knowledge of the gossips.  The foundations of progressive stories and progressive story games are well rooted in the behavior of imperfect human beings and in the vast panoply of human emotions— pride false and true; jealousy and envy; love and passion; anger; and the always present need to laugh, to find escape, entertainment, and objectivity in humor.

The major element that distinguishes progressive stories and progressive story games is that progressive stories and games are group activities.  One person begins the game or story and it is taken up and/or added to by the next person in the group. This most simple version can be played in an oral story tradition or, as in The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, it can take a written form.

The basic game can be changed by limiting the story to a certain theme or genre—ghost or horror stories, wacky humorous adventures, fairy tale and fantasy, detective and mystery “who dunnits,” murder mysteries, etc.  Contemporary progressive story games for children also include the game of “Telephone” and a menu of alphabet games such as “I’m Going on Picnic” and “A My Name is Alice and I come from Alabama.”

A simple visual version of the game is to take a piece of paper and fold it width-wise into five equal sections. Only one section of the five should be seen at any given time.  The first player draws the head of a person or animal, then folds the paper so that only the next section down is visible and the section with the head drawing is hidden within the folds. The next player draws the neck and shoulders; the next draws the torso; next the hips and upper legs, and finally the last player draws the lower legs and feet, all without viewing the drawings done previously. The climax of the game, at the end, is when the paper is unfolded in front of game participants revealing all parts of the group drawing as a composite “Exquisite Corpse!”

The most up-to-date versions of progressive story games take place on the Internet, as we are doing with The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. But we encourage you to play any of the versions of this game with the young people in your life, live and in person. Activities and time spent together take on deeper meaning when your child or teen looks into another human face, not an electronic screen. Your kids need the warmth of human touch, they need to hear your voice, and they need to be able to remember how you smell— the fragrance of your shampoo, aftershave, or perfume, or the scent of grass on your skin after a day hiking in the woods.  Plastics and electronics are not the stuff of memories.

I have spent a great deal of time over the last thirty years in schools working with many different kinds of young people. When I have asked kids to tell or write or draw their favorite family memories, the days they most often share are not birthdays or holidays. The times they remember best are days spent on the beach and on camping trips, walks in the park, hours spent traveling with parents in cars and trains and planes, and days of power outages—all situations without televisions, computers, radio, or cell phones.  They love these situations because adults are forced to forget about work and spend time with them, hours and hours of time talking, telling stories, playing cards and board games, doing puzzles, reading books aloud together,   sharing family memories in the natural warm light of the sun, or in the glimmering haze of candlelight at night.

We hope that you and the young people in your life enjoy The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, a thoroughly modern electronic version of a progressive story game.  We also hope that you do not wait for the next power outage, but instead turn off the electronics in your house now and spend time playing this game, telling stories and sharing memories face to face, crying, laughing, hugging, glorying in the warmth of each others’ company.

© 2009 Mary Brigid Barrett

The Progressive Stories Game

by Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, Dominican University School of Education

The Progressive Stories game engages children in storytelling! This wonderful game can be played by the whole family and is just as much fun with adults as with children This activity is designed to help children (and adults!) think on their feet. This should be a fast-paced activity.

A story, begun by one of the children participating, might be about something that happened to someone. They tell one sentence of the story. The next child continues the story, adding a sentence of their own making. This continues until the child who began the story decides that the story is finished and proclaims “The end.”  The next child could then begin a new story.

This activity is great for children because it teaches them listening skills and helps them create and express their ideas.

There are (of course!) variations of this game. “Fortunately, Unfortunately” is one of these, played in the same way. The first to begin starts with a sentence of the story. The next to go must start their sentence with the word ‘unfortunately” for their part, thinking up something that adds a complication to the story. The next person must start with the word “fortunately”, solving the problem and continuing the story.

© 2009 Marilyn Ludolph

The History of The Exquisite Corpse Art Form and How It Is Played

by Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, Dominican University School of Education

What in the world is an Exquisite Corpse??

Exquisite Corpse was a game invented by writer Andre Breton, leader of Surrealism. (Surrealism was a cultural movement known for the art and writings of its members. Surrealist works offer the element of surprise). It has been reported that Breton said that this game all started in fun, became playful, and eventually enriching. The first sentence created by Surrealists playing this game was, The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine. (The sentence was written in French). And that is how the name of the game, Exquisite Corpse was derived.

How in the world do you play Exquisite Corpse?

The Exquisite Corpse game is similar to a parlour game called Consequences.  

A parlour game is a group game that was played indoors. (The word parlour comes from the French word, parler which means to speak). The parlour was referred to as the formal sitting room in a large house, and would be the living room in a home today. Parlours were popular during the Victorian era (that refers to the time of Queen Victoria of Great Britain’s reign during the late 1800’s). 

The way the game (Exquisite Corpse/Consequences) is played is that players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to hide part of the writing was then pass it to the next player for their contribution.  

The game has also, over time, been referred to as Cliffhangers. A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction that leaves a main character or characters in difficult dilemmas. It is hoped that the audience will continue to read (or watch) to see how the characters resolve the dilemma.

There are variations on the Exquisite Corpse. The game, adapted visually, is called picture consequences, so that instead of sentences, portions of a person were drawn. This produced a product similar to children’s books in which the pages were cut into thirds, the top third of the pages showing the head of a person or animal, the middle third the body, and the bottom third the legs, with children having the ability to “mix and match” by turning the pages. The game has also been played by mailing a drawing or collage, in progressive stages of completion, to players. This is known as the “exquisite corpse by mail” or “mail art.”

The Exquisite Corpse has also taken form in multi-arts performances, in film and in music!

Today, one form of an Exquisite Corpse can be a cumulative tale, a story that is “added upon” as the telling of the story unfolds. These stories are often called “chain tales” because each part of the story is linked to the next. Chain tales are as much games as they are narratives. WHAT happens is not as important as HOW the storyteller enacts it. The initial incident reveals both the central character and the problem, with the next scene building on the previous one, continuing to climax and then unraveling in reverse order or stopping with an abrupt surprise ending.  Chain tales often have repetitive phrases like “Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the Gingerbread man” from “The Gingerbread Boy” and its variants “Johnny Cake”, “The Pancake” and “The Bun.”

© 2009 Marilyn Ludolph

Creating Your Own Exquisite Corpse Story Adventure

by Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, Dominican University School of Education

How to write an Exquisite Corpse: Paper, writing utensils, two or more people

• Gather a group of people and sit in a circle or in a line so that there is an order to go in to pass around a piece of paper.

• Decide who is going to start. The first person to start (Author #1) writes a line (or several) of poetry at the top of the page. There are no guidelines regarding content, unless the group has decided upon a theme. The written form of Exquisite Corpse requires an initial agreement about sentence structure – common form of a sentence created might be:
- article, adjective
- noun
- verb
- article, adjective
- noun

• Author #1 folds back the paper where the line (or lines) is written, making sure that no one can read what has been written when looking at the paper.

• Author #1 passes the paper to Author #2. Author #2 writes another line unaware of what Author #1 has written. Author #2 folds over the section of paper that s(he) wrote on and passes the paper to the next author.

• Each participant takes a turn writing, and then folding the paper, in order to hide what they have written. The paper can be cycled through a second round, if there is space left on the paper.

• When everyone has had a turn (or two), unfold the paper and have someone read the body of work that has been created.


Cullinan, B., & Galda, L. (2006). Literature and the Child. Canada: Thomson Wadsworth.

Dawson, E. (1997.). Is It A Book? | Games | Exquisite | . Retrieved August 9, 2009, from http://www.philobiblon.com/isitabook/games/exquisite.html

Exquisite corpse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved August 9, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exquisite_corpse

© 2009 Marilyn Ludolph

Parent Tips for Encouraging Reading and Literacy Development

by Melanie Walski

Every parent knows the more their child reads the better reader he or she will become. But how do you encourage reading beyond saying, “Read more”? There are, in fact many tricks you can employ to get your child to read more, and they won’t even know what you are up to! 

View reading as an enjoyable activity

Make sure your child hears you say positive things about books and reading. Mention how you can’t wait to read the next chapter in a book you just started. Express interest and excitement about whatever your child is reading, whether it is Wuthering Heights, Twilight, Captain Underpants, or their Science textbook.

Set aside time and space for reading

Families are busy. Having a set time for reading everyday can help reign in some of the chaos and stress of the day. A half an hour before bedtime can work for some families, but anytime you can fit it in is great. 

Build a home library

Building a home library doesn’t have to be expensive. The book club order forms your elementary school child brings home often have great deals, and public libraries often have book sales where great books can be brought for very little. Hit the next yard sale, or try organizing a book swap with friends. Having a variety of reading material available will encourage more reading, as well as rereading when it is part of your home collection.

Value reading in all forms 

This includes the classics but also magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, online blogs, and the backs of cereal boxes. If your child is a reluctant or struggling reader, don’t insist he or she read only grade level books.  Let them choose books that are a little easier or that are a graphic novel. The more of any type of reading they do builds their vocabulary, comprehension, and overall reading skills.

Talk a lot

Talk to your child about what you see around you, an article you read, the latest Xbox game, what’s for dinner, their favorite outfit…anything! The point here is to develop and build vocabulary with your child. When you talk to your child be aware of the kinds of words you use. Don’t opt for the word he or she knows, choose one that is a little beyond his or her. The more your child hears less-common words, the more quickly these words will become part of his or her vocabulary. 

Play with your child

Even if your child is years beyond asking you to play with him or her, take advantage of older kids’ competitiveness and play commercial board games together. There are many games available that build spelling and vocabulary skills. Introduce games like Boggle, Scrabble, Taboo, Jr., Bananagrams, and Pictionary Jr. around age 8, and for the older kids (starting around age 12) check out Blurt, Apples to Apples, Cranium, and Scattergories. And don’t overlook the mighty pencil and paper! Play Hangman, make up some word scrambles, or try that game teachers love. Write down a long word (like dictionary) and see how many smaller words can be made from the letters in that word (dot, ton, yarn, tar, cat). 

Remember, at every age children learn more from what we show them, than what we tell them.  Be the example you want your child to follow. Show interest, value reading, and connect with your child through literature and literacy activities often.

© 2009 Melanie Walski

About Us

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a project of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.  The NCBLA and the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University have created the educational materials related to The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. These include a history of progressive stories, annotated bibliographies, activities, and discussion questions.    


The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance

The NCBLA is a not-for-profit organization founded by award-winning young people’s authors and illustrators who believe that all young people must have equal access to exciting and interesting books and information sources that invite them to dream and give them the tools to achieve their dreams. The NCBLA believes that literacy is essential to the development of responsible citizens in a democracy. With that in mind, the NCBLA has created a dynamic award-winning book and educational website that promote both literacy and historical literacy— Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out and www.ourwhitehouse.org.

The main goal of the NCBLA is to make issues related to young people’s literacy, literature, and libraries a continuing priority on the national agenda. The NCBLA acts as a freelance nonpartisan advocate, creating and developing special projects and events that promote literacy, literature, and libraries and educate the public about practical literacy solutions. For more information about the NCBLA, visit www.thencbla.org/

Mary Brigid Barrett is the founder, president, and executive director of the NCBLA.  She is the instigator and organizer of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and all its appendages and is a member of the writing team for these web pages.

Geri Zabela Eddins is program director, researcher, and writer at the NCBLA. Among her organizational duties for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is that of “schedule keeper,” which provides her and her family the very first glimpse of each and every Exquisite Corpse episode and illustration—truly one of the best job perks ever!  

Eden Edwards is the editor for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. She is a writer and previously worked as an editor at Houghton Mifflin Children’s Publishing Company in Boston.

Elizabeth Rock designed and maintains the ECA pages, in addition to the NCBLA’s main website and www.ourwhitehouse.org, the NCBLA’s companion educational website for our recent award-winning publication Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. The rest of the time, mostly late, late at night, she is an editorial illustrator, whose illustrations have appeared in national newspapers, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and The Toronto Star. She is almost entirely unknown for her unique body of work, a collection which veers between impenetrable allegorical representations of vague concepts, and miniscule, illegible drawings done most commonly on cocktail napkins, paper placemats, and the small, torn-off corners of things.  www.elizabethrock.com/



The Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University

The Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University serves as an examination center, collecting the best in American publishing every year and making it available to librarians, scholars, teachers, and parents. The Butler Center also maintains a permanent collection, including professional materials and historical titles of the canon. The Butler Center celebrates the spaces where books intersect. Impressions are informed by the individual stories, and by the ways they overlap and disagree and chafe and jibe, one with the next. The Curator oversees collections, built around a range of themes and issues, to offer information to, and to provoke curiosity in readers of all ages and the people who serve them. With a breadth of perspective, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, the School of Education, and the Rebecca Crown Library at Dominican University work together to support our patrons’ wide variety of interests and needs. The Butler Center commits itself to thought and imagination and wonder, encouraging adults in libraries, classrooms, childcare centers, and homes to engage young people with good books. Dominican University is located in River Forest, Illinois.

Jill Bambenek is the Public Services Librarian in the Rebecca Crown Library at Dominican University.  She has worked as a children’s and a young adult librarian and reads teen novels every chance she gets.  She used to have a Dorothy Hamill haircut and still dreams of landing a triple axel.

Denise R. Beckom is currently a Middle School Reading Teacher at May Community Academy in Chicago. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Dominican. Denise holds master degrees in Reading from Dominican and Curriculum and Instruction from National Lewis University. She has been the recipient of two Chicago Foundation for Education (CFE) grants for Picture This and Clues You Can Use, with a thematic focus on the instruction of reading strategies to struggling adolescent readers.

Thom Barthelmess, Curator at the Butler Center, is a lecturer in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, specializing in literature for young people, and programs and services in public and school libraries that bring books to life for young people of all ages. He loves to sing, makes a mean chicken pot pie, and came within spitting distance of pursuing a career as a dancer. Thom is also current President of the Association for Library Service to Children, a Division of the American Library Association.

Kristina Fitzgerald: I have been a classroom teacher for five years. My first four years in the classroom were as a general education language arts teachers for 7th and 8th grade students. This year, I moved positions to become the reading interventionist within my building. I am currently responsible for helping 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who have not reached grade level standards on the ISAT. I love my new position, which is being a reading teacher all day! I have been preparing for my reading position by being a graduate student at Dominican University, where I am studying for a Masters of Arts in Education as a Reading Specialist.  My graduation date is summer of 2010! When I am not working full time or attending graduate classes, all my free time is spent with my three year old son, Connor, who is the highlight of my life.

Kimberly Gow, a National Board Certified teacher, is currently providing Reading and Writing instruction to upper grade students in the Chicago Public Schools system. Kimberly holds a B.A. in English and an MAED from Dominican University, as well as a Reading Specialist certificate in the state of Illinois. Her latest endeavor is teaching as an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education at Dominican University where she utilizes her passion, knowledge, and experience in Reading to teach and mentor developing teachers and future Reading Specialists. Aside from her dedication to reading, Kimberly also has a passion for dancing! She has spent the last four years developing and implementing a Ballroom Dancing program for middle school students, not only to teach them coordination and dance, but also to help students develop confidence and self-esteem, as well as build relationships through communication, teamwork, and respect.

Janice M. Del Negro, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, where she teaches children’s literature, young adult literature, storytelling, and foundations of library and information science. When she was a girl growing up in the Bronx, she found her way into the folk and fairy tale section of the public library and has lived there ever since. Her first picture book, Lucy Dove (1998) won the Anne Izard Storytelling Award; her second picture book, Willa and the Wind (2005), was an ALA Notable Book. Del Negro’s latest book, a collection of supernatural tales for young adults entitled Passion and Poison, was released in 2007. Professor Del Negro happily serves on the planning board for the Butler Children’s Literature Center.

Don Hamerly developed his love of language and irony in the creole lowlands of his native Southeast Texas before expatriating to the Midwest and Dominican, where he is assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and Director of the School Library Media Program. Seeking the lyrical in the mundane, Don has skipped and drummed his way for twenty years among learners and library goers, uttering joyous praise for knowing.

Michael Leonard is a former public library children's and humanities librarian. He recently retired as a full time instructor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. He is continuing on as an adjunct faculty member teaching, Materials for Children, Storytelling, Services for Children and YA and Reference in the Humanities. Michael's love of poetry got him appointed as a judge on the 2009 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award committee. His favorite food is Pasta Bolognese from which he is continuously fighting against an expanding waistline. The waistline continues to expand once a year as he boards luxurious cruise ships that take him to many ports of call, where even more luscious foods seem to be awaiting his arrival.

Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, after 35 years of service in public education as a teacher and administrator (elementary and middle school principal), has become an assistant professor at Dominican University. Most recently, she was appointed Assistant Dean in the School of Education. Marilyn’s passion, besides teaching, is her family –– her grown-up children and a new grandson, Noah! Long an advocate of literacy, Marilyn works with graduate students who are seeking a Reading Teacher Endorsement or a Reading Specialist Certification. Representing the School of Education as a partner with the Graduate School of Library Information Science and the Rebecca Crown Library on the planning board of Butler Center for Children’s Literature at Dominican University, Marilyn is gratified to have the opportunity to collaborate with her students to create activities and generate information in conjunction with The Exquisite Corpse Adventure.

Vicki Rakowski is a student in Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Liz Skrodzki most closely identifies with highly moral Nancy, who is "valiant." Liz is adamant about correct grammar yet returns again and again to the EC line "detrain before de train demolishes." She once directed a children's theater, did Public Relations for professional theater and, as a veteran teacher, spent the last decade in middle schools. When she completes her Reading Endorsement at Dominican she will have more time to learn the art of storytelling!

Meg Sullivan is an English teacher at Addison Trail High School in Addison, Illinois and has a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and an M.A.T from Dominican University. Meg is currently completing her reading endorsement in the School of Education at Dominican University.

Sarah Taylor is currently teaching special education in a sixth grade classroom at Blackhawk Middle School in Bensenville, Illinois. She is currently working on getting her Master of Arts in Education as a Reading Specialist. In what free time remains, she enjoys coaching her 7th or 8th grade girls’ basketball team (depending on the year), spending as much time as humanly possible playing with her nephew, and curling up on the couch with a good book and her cats.

Raynell Walls is currently serving as a (K - 8) Literacy Coach at Alessandro Volta Elementary School in Chicago. She is a National Board Certified Teacher (in Early Adolescent-English Language Arts) and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Dominican. Raynell holds a master’s degree in Reading from Dominican and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Northeastern Illinois University. In 2008, Raynell received the Chicago Public School DRIVE (Delivering Results Through Innovative and Visionary Education) award, the highest recognition given in the Chicago Public School system.

Melanie Walski taught in the primary grades for nine years in Los Angeles before returning to the Chicago area to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education with a Reading Specialist Certification.  She worked in the fashion and costume industries before realizing they were far too dull compared to the chaotic joy of a classroom full of second-graders.  She is Mom to an adorable 4-year-old son and a deceptively cute but ferocious 14-year-old cat.




The Center for the Book

The Center for the Book
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20540-4920
Phone: 202-707-5221/fax: 202-707-0269

Congress established the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress by statute in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. Through the years the center’s mission has expanded to include literacy and library promotion and encouraging the historical study of books, reading, and the printed word. The center’s audience always has included readers and potential readers of all ages.

The Center’s most recent project is the dynamic new website www.read.gov, which is designed to pull together all of the Library’s literary-promotion programs into a single, accessible platform for readers of all ages. The serial story-telling journey, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, is only one of the many extraordinary features appearing on www.read.gov. Other attractions include online access to classic books and storybooks, teaching resources for educators and parents, lists of recommended reading, and information about literacy events.

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: 202-707-5000

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. As the largest library in the world, the Library’s collections boast millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts. The Library's mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. Many of the Library's rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library's website, http://www.loc.gov/, and via interactive exhibitions on myLOC.gov.


The NCBLA would like to thank not only our partners at the Library of Congress and the Butler Center, but also the talented employees at Candlewick Press who have graciously donated their time and technical expertise to scan many of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure illustrations. Thank You!