Children’s Authors And Illustrators To Visit Newtown, May 17-18; Free Public Programs May 18


Children's Book Week will be celebrated with special events this year, including the opportunity for residents to meet a number of children's authors and illustrators. One-hour drawing sessions with Paul Meisel, Bruce Degen, Jennifer Thermes and Ross MacDonald will be offered on May 18 at Newtown Middle School. 

During Children’s Book Week, May 13-19, authors will visit schools on Friday, May 17, and give a “Turning the Page, New Stories for Newtown” presentation at Newtown Middle School for residents on Saturday, May 18.

C.H. Booth Library’s Children’s Librarian Alana Bennison said she first heard from Robin Adelson, the executive director for the Children’s Book Council, Inc, in January. Ms Adelson told Ms Bennison that she had been approached by author Tony DiTerlizzi, who created The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black, and he wanted to bring authors to Newtown for Children’s Book Week.

Soon 18 of Mr DiTerlizzi’s “very best friends” in the children’s book business were signed up to visit Newtown, according to Ms Bennison.

Some of the responding authors were unable to make it to Newtown for the Friday schools visit, so Ms Bennison suggested holding a community event on Saturday, May 18. Some authors will be available for one of the two days, while others will be participating both days.

Along with Mr DiTerlizzi, authors set to visit Newtown are Peter Brown, Michael Buckley, Bryan Collier, Neil Gaiman, Robin Glasser, Jeff Kinney, Barbara McClintock, Natalie Merchant, Jane O’Connor, Christopher Paolini, Ridley Pearson, Jerry Pinkney, Judy Schachner, Jon Scieszka, Brian Selznick, David Shannon, R.L. Stine, Mo Willems, Dan Yacarrino, and Jane Yolen.

The Saturday, May 18, community event will run from 10:30 am until 4 pm, with author presentations held in the NMS auditorium. A meet and greet will also be held, in the school’s cafeteria.

While Ms Bennison said tickets for the individual panel presentations are free, she also said they are limited. The free tickets for the panel presentations are being made available at the C.H. Booth Library’s Children’s Department for Newtown residents only.

The meet and greet in the NMS cafeteria will be open without tickets, but the panel discussions will not be open to people without tickets.

The meet and greet will include a rotation of authors, who will be available to sign books, and drawing lessons with visiting illustrators Paul Meisel, Bruce Degen, and Jennifer Thermes.

“It’s a rare gift. It’s a rare opportunity,” said Ms Bennison, “for these people all to be in one place that’s not a book expo or a library ALA conference.”

Along with the visiting authors and illustrators, moderators for the panels on Saturday will be Mr Degen, Mr DiTerlizzi, Mr MacDonald, Ms Thermes, and Ross MacDonald.

Each author is donating his or her time, said Ms Bennison, and the sponsoring publishers are donating books.

The event is co-sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and the Barnard Foundation grant given to the C.H. Booth Library’s Books Heal Hearts fund.


Saturday Schedule Announced

C.H. Booth Library has announced the schedule for the May 18 event at Newtown Middle School.

The following panel discussions will take place in the auditorium: 

*10:30 am, “Reimagined Fairy Tales” with Barbara McClintock and Jerry Pinkney;

*Noon, “A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words,” with Peter Brown, Dan Yaccarino, and Bryan Collier;

*1 pm, “Books to Movies,” with Tony DiTerlizzi, Chris Paolini and Brian Selznick;

*2 pm, “Iconic Characters,” with Jane O’Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser, and Judy Schachner; and

*3 pm, “Scary Stories” with R.L. Stine and Michael Buckley.

The first program will run 90 minutes; all others are scheduled to last one hour.

Drawing with the illustrators, each to last one hour, will include the following: “Draw From A Live Model,” noon, with Paul Meisel; “Creating Mixed-Up Charaters,” 1 pm, with Bruce Degen; “Scribble A Scene,” 2 pm, with Jennifer Thermes; and “Draw Funny,” with Ross MacDonald, at 3 pm.

Drawing activities and book signings will take place in the cafeteria.

Free ticket are available at the children’s circulation desk for the author presentations.  No tickets are required for the drawing workshops.  Publishers are donating a limited number of books to give away, but residents are welcome to bring a favorite title for signing.

For additional information contact the Booth Library Children’s Department at 203-426-3851.

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