Literary murals creating a positive stir at Mundelein High

  • Mundelein High School English teacher Ryan Buck stands near the entrance to his classroom, where vinyl murals reproducing book jackets now decorate the walls. The murals have generated a buzz over social media.

      Mundelein High School English teacher Ryan Buck stands near the entrance to his classroom, where vinyl murals reproducing book jackets now decorate the walls. The murals have generated a buzz over social media. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Vinyl murals reproducing book jackets have been added to the English department hallway inside Mundelein High School. "So many kids who have been turned on by these books are going to see it and say, 'I read that one. That book was awesome,'" said English teacher Mike Dayton.

      Vinyl murals reproducing book jackets have been added to the English department hallway inside Mundelein High School. "So many kids who have been turned on by these books are going to see it and say, 'I read that one. That book was awesome,'" said English teacher Mike Dayton. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • "Wuthering Heights" is one of the book murals adorning the hallway of the English department at Mundelein High School. "This project is a great way to motivate students to read more and to begin conversations about their reading, even in the hallways," Mundelein High spokesman Ron Girard said.

      "Wuthering Heights" is one of the book murals adorning the hallway of the English department at Mundelein High School. "This project is a great way to motivate students to read more and to begin conversations about their reading, even in the hallways," Mundelein High spokesman Ron Girard said. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • A mural depicting the cover of the book "October Mourning" adorns the wall outside English teacher Mike Dayton's classroom at Mundelein High School.

      A mural depicting the cover of the book "October Mourning" adorns the wall outside English teacher Mike Dayton's classroom at Mundelein High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

New, literary-themed murals that decorate Mundelein High School's English department hallway are creating a social media stir.

Added during winter break, the six murals run from floor to ceiling outside the classrooms of English teachers Ryan Buck, Mike Dayton and Mark Landuyt. Professionally printed on adhesive vinyl sheets, they reproduce the covers of books treasured by each teacher.

For example, the two murals outside Buck's classroom feature "All American Boys" by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely and "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.

"These are two books that I would choose as my favorites," said Buck, who developed the project after seeing a similar effort online. "But they're also books that students really enjoy."

The other featured books are "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte; "Beartown" by Fredrik Backman; "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro; and "October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard" by Leslea Newman.

Mundelein High students return from winter break Tuesday. But the murals already have attracted attention on Facebook and other social media sites.

School spokesman Ron Girard's recent Facebook post about the murals had drawn about 3,500 overwhelmingly positive reactions as of Monday afternoon. More than 3,400 people have shared the post and more than 600 have commented on it -- far more than any prior Facebook post on the school's official page.

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"I was amazed at the responses," Girard said. "Many comments are from teachers and administrators from all over the country wanting to copy the idea."

A staffer at Mundelein's Carmel Catholic High School wrote: "This is awesome! Well done MHS!"

A teacher in Minnesota commented: "I would be elated to have my classroom and hallway painted like this."

The project even grabbed "All American Boys" co-author Jason Reynolds' attention. He tweeted Girard's photo of the mural depicting his book and commented "Whoaaaaa!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Dayton, who chose "Wuthering Heights" and "October Mourning" for his murals, is excited to see how students respond.

"So many kids who have been turned on by these books are going to see it and say, 'I read that one. That book was awesome,'" he said.

The murals together cost about $2,400. A Wisconsin-based company, Visual Image Photography, manufactured and installed them.

Girard and the teachers hope more will be added to the hallway.

"This project is a great way to motivate students to read more and to begin conversations about their reading, even in the hallways," Girard said.

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