Category: Events (Page 1 of 2)

Isn’t There Supposed to be a Mad Scientist in This Story?!

Original to the Clarion-Ledger 

WFES062252111-2What is there to do when a picture book has been canceled? Pencil is the narrator and director in this story. The crayons are getting ready to act out their parts. Frankencrayon is sent to page 22 to make his grand entrance. He is, as his name suggests, a crayon towering over the rest, a mix of green, orange, and purple broken crayons held together by masking tape.

When the lights go out, there is a horrible screeching noise. And worse yet, when the lights come on, there is a terrible scribble all the way across the page! As Teal crayon says, “A scribble can ruin a picture book!”

The mystery scribble just keeps getting bigger and bigger…where could it be coming from?

The pencil (director of the story) gets a notice that the picture book has been canceled.

1. No one likes the scribble thing.

2. The characters are gone.

3. Isn’t there supposed to be a mad scientist in this story?

But the pencil forgets to tell Frankencrayon that the picture book has been canceled, and on page 22, Frankencrayon makes his grand entrance onto the page with the scribble! But the lights are off, and where has everyone gone, and most of all, WHO IS SCRIBBLING IN THIS BOOK??

Frankencrayon is clever, funny, and teaches kids to make a creation out of what other people might perceive as a mess. Bring the kids to meet the author and illustrator, Michael Hall, and join us for a FRANKENCRAYON story time on Thursday, January 28th, at 3:00 p.m. at Lemuria Bookstore.

Call 601-366-7619 with questions.

Author Q&A with Ed Tarkington

Original to the Clarion-Ledger. By Jana Hoops.

JacketNashville English teacher and wrestling coach Ed Tarkington releases his debut novel this month, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” after taking a circuitous route to add the title of “novelist” to his career accomplishments.

A distant cousin to Booth Tarkington, a best-selling literary novelist through the first half of the 20th century, the contemporary Tarkington says the memory of “Cousin Booth’s success left my father under the delusion that writing was a practical career choice. So I was never properly discouraged.”

Along the way, he earned a BA from Furman University, an MA from the University of Virginia and PhD from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Florida State.

Tarkington’s formative years in Virginia shaped his early memories.

“I was born in Lynchburg, Virginia — not Lynchburg, Tennessee, the home of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, but, rather, of Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour. I grew up on the other side of town among the hypocrites and the sinners, also known as Presbyterians and Episcopalians.”

His career path to becoming a published author did not have a smooth start, he admits.

“Like a lot of young would-be writers, I floundered for a while,” he said. “I spent one year on a residential framing crew and the next teaching English at a small school in North Carolina, which I loved, but I wasn’t getting much writing done. I went to grad school at the University of Virginia to study literary theory, but scholarly life didn’t agree with me, so I ran off to Colorado to play at being Jack Kerouac. Eventually, I went back to school, enrolling in the Graduate Creative Writing program at Florida State.

“I fell in love, got married, started a family, and migrated to Nashville, where I now live, teaching and coaching, watching my little girls grow.”

A frequent contributor to, Tarkington’s articles, essays and stories have appeared in Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Post Road, the Pittsburgh Quarterly, the Southeast Review and elsewhere.

How did you become interested in language and writing?

I had many wonderful teachers growing up, but, eventually, in high school, I had two who really influenced me in a transformative way: a really ambitious and successful theater director named Jim Ackley, and Patty Worsham, my AP English teacher, who is still pretty much my hero. Patty taught me to love Shakespeare and Yeats. She also encouraged me to write and helped me discover contemporary writers like John Irving, who, being both a writer and a wrestler, really inspired me. Jim made us all feel like we were good enough to be professionals; our advanced acting class wrote a play our senior year, and that experience made me think, “man, you can do this.”

Please tell me about the kinds of works you’ve had published in other media.

When I was in graduate school, I spent a lot of time writing stories and sending them out to little journals, with little success. I took a brief stab at freelance magazine writing and flopped royally. So I decided to stick to teaching and novel writing and just hope for the best.

About a year after I moved to Nashville, Margaret Renkl, who is a really brilliant writer and editor here, had been hired by Humanities Tennessee to start up an online publication supporting Tennessee authors and book culture. Margaret was looking for contributors to the website, which they decided to call Chapter 16, because Tennessee was the 16th state to join the Union. Margaret asked me if I wanted to write essays and reviews for the website, and informed me that she would be paying for content. “Free book and a check?” I thought. “I’m in!”

I had no idea at the time that Chapter 16 would introduce me to this thriving literary community in Nashville revolving around Humanities Tennessee, the Southern Festival of Books, the Nashville Public Library and eventually, Parnassus Books. I got to connect with a lot of other writers and also get a byline in a number of different regional publications.

Is “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” your first novel? Tell me briefly about the story line.

“Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is my publishing debut, but not my first novel. I wrote another before, which was sort of a Cormac McCarthy, Robert Stone-type, a Southwestern noir. I worked on that book for seven years and had great hopes for it, but it didn’t sell.

By that time, I had been teaching high school and coaching for about four years. My life had gotten pretty tame; I had a hard time seeing my way back into the kind of world I’d spent the previous decade thinking and writing about. So I went back to my central Virginia childhood, drawing on memories and stories I’d collected over the years.

The narrator, Rocky, is a kid growing up in the small town South. He has an older half-brother, Paul, who is kind of the classic rebel-without-a-cause. Young Rocky idolizes Paul but doesn’t really grasp how troubled he is until Paul pulls a very cruel and vengeful stunt to lash out at their father and then disappears. Rocky’s childhood becomes defined by the absence of his beloved brother and by his involvement with Leigh Bowman, Paul’s ex-girlfriend, and with his new neighbors, who have an older daughter who sort of seduces young Rocky. Years after Paul’s disappearance, a grisly double-murder forces Rocky into a reckoning with the past and the present.

What inspired you to create this story? Is any of it influenced by any real-life occurrences in your life?

The primary relationship in the novel is between Rocky, the narrator, and his older half-brother, Paul. I don’t have a brother, but I do have a much older half-sister whose life has been utterly thwarted by mental illness. The pain and confusion I have always felt about what my half-sister’s illness did to her has haunted me for as long as I can remember. But I didn’t want to write a memoir or attempt in any way to “tell the truth;” I have neither the courage nor the authority to do so. So I turned my half-sister into a brother — Paul — and invented a narrator who is both at once the better and the worst parts of myself. I wanted to duplicate the feeling of growing up in the small-town South of the late ’70s and early ’80s, in a family that was both typical and strange, as most families tend to be below the surface.

The title of the book, according to the story, is a nod to Neil Young’s 1970 song of the same name. Was the story inspired in any way by the song, or was there any other connection?

When I first started imagining the characters and their personalities, I was listening to this music to help me find the mood and sensibility I was going for, and I just pictured Paul as a guy who idolized Neil Young. As I imagined him, Paul dealt with the pain of his dysfunctional childhood by identifying with Neil Young — or his idea, constructed from his music and his image, of what Neil Young was like.

As for the title — it just came sort of serendipitously. I was struggling to figure out what to call the book. Then one day I was driving to work listening to After the Gold Rush and “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” came on, and I just thought, “Eureka! That’s it.” I hope if Neil ever hears about this novelist stealing his song title, he will take it as the gesture of admiration it’s meant to be.

How would you describe your writing?

My favorite writers are the ones whose styles are very fluent and inviting. I work hard to make the language both pleasing and natural — lyrical, but also accessible.

As a high school English teacher, class sponsor, literary magazine sponsor and wresting coach — not to mention a husband and father — how do you have time to fit writing into your busy schedule?

Early to bed, early to rise. And I mean early.

What approach do you take in teaching your students to write? What do you encourage them to do or not do?

I try to train my students to write as if they’re writing for a general audience instead of for a teacher. I want them to think about what it takes to catch and hold someone’s interest in the Information Age, when there are so many forms of content competing for our attention.


Author Ed Tarkington (Photo: Glen Rose/Special to The Clarion-Ledger)

Do you have other works already planned — or that you hope to be planned — for future release? In what genre?

I am hard at work on another novel. I expect to have a draft finished by the end of the year. While it is very different from “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” it’s written with the same kind of style and sensibility and will hopefully appeal to the same audience.



Ed Tarkington will sign copies of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” at 5 p.m. Thursday at Lemuria Books in Jackson.

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2015, I’d like to kiss you on the mouth.

dbdb37f2-a00d-4114-b5d6-1e42a0bc65cfThis year was a doozy. I consumed everything from nonfiction about animal consciousness to the modern classic Fates and Furies by Lemuria’s new best friend, Lauren Groff. I can’t even get into the second paragraph without telling you that The Godfather was hands down my favorite read of the year. You can read my blog about it here. I had the chance to sit down and talk to Garth Risk Hallberg about his meteoric rise in the literary world. Jon Meacham made me cry.

I personally made the move from the hub that is Lemuria’s front desk to the quieter fiction room, where I now am elbows deep in the mechanics of our First Editions Club; and am coincidentally even more in love with fiction than I was before. My TBR pile has skyrocketed from about 10 books to roughly 30 on my bedside table. It’s getting out of control and I love it.

[Sidebar: This year, I fell even more in love with graphic novelsNimona surprised us all by making one of the short-lists for the National Book Award, and we were so pleased to see it get the recognition that it deserves. Go Noelle Stevenson! You rule!]

As a bookstore, we were able to be on the forefront of some of the most influential books of 2015 (see: Between the World and Me– when we passed that advance reader copy around, the rumblings were already beginning). Literary giants Salman Rushdie, John Irving, and Harper Lee put out new/very, very old works to (mostly) thunderous applause, and debut novelists absolutely stunned and shook up the book world. (My Sunshine Away, anyone? I have never seen the entire staff band behind a book like that before. We were/are obsessed.) Kent Haruf’s last book was published; it was perfect, and our hearts ache in his absence.

We marched through another Christmas, wrapping and reading and recommending and eating enough cookies to make us sick. We hired fresh new faces, we said goodbye to old friends, we cleaned up scraggly, hairy sections of the store and made them shiny and new. We had the privilege of having a hand in Mississippi’s first ever book festival. We heaved in the GIANT new Annie Leibovitz book, and spent a few days putting off work so that we could all flip through it. In short, this year has been anything but uneventful; it’s been an adventure. So here’s to 2016 absolutely knocking 2015 out of the park.

Read on, guys.



Why Maude Schuyler Clay’s ‘Mississippi History’ is Breathtaking

Jacket (1)Maude Schuyler Clay has a new photography book. On a whim, I decided to flip through its pages because I do love a good coffee table book. Looking at these photos, I felt goose bumps; as someone who appreciates art, and the intricacies that are often involved in the history of art, this collection of photographs feels both intimate and timeless. And as there has been a bent and focus on the Delta recently (Richard Grant’s Dispatches of Pluto, an incredible outsider’s view of Mississippi), the sense of place in these photos counterbalanced Grant’s book and is clearly an insider’s view of Mississippi.

At first, I did not know that these people, or subjects of the photographs, were Clay’s own family and friends. But every time I would see a character’s name appear in a different photograph, in a different time, in a different location, I felt a jolt of recognition, a connection with that person who I had also seen several pages back.

What I love about this collection is that it is not chronological. Pictures of her children at twelve appear before pictures of her children when they are toddlers. And because of this repetition, the people in these photographs aren’t just subjects, but characters, part of a story. Clay could have easily called this book “My Mississippi History.” But it wouldn’t have retained the same mysteriousness; it was only after reading the closing words at the end of the book that I learned these people were her own children and family—after all, there are pictures of them in the bathtub, and on Christmas morning. Where else would the photographer be on Christmas morning than at home with her family?

The ambiguity with which the photographs are arranged and presented allows the viewers to place themselves in that moment, to recognize a piece of themselves in Mississippi History. The photographs were taken over the past three decades, so I also loved guessing when the photographs were shot. Some are clearly recent; “Mr. Biggers” has Apple earbuds in his ears as he stands with fresh greens in his hand. Some are unmistakably from the 70s. My favorite picture is of “Anna as Heidi.” All of the photographs are gorgeously artistic and intimate. The majority of these photos are of children, especially Clay’s own children in different stages of their lives, so the photographs have a very evident “mother’s eye-view” in them, a look at what a real Mississippi mother truly sees.

Today, anyone can take a picture on Instagram, put a fancy filter on it and call themselves a “photographer.” Clay shows that she is a genius in the art of photography, and has been using light and shadows in nature to create those illusive filters we place on photographs today.

Flipping through the pages of Mississippi History feels like flipping through a good friend’s photo album. It is the perfect gift for that person who loves to take pictures of their children, and also perfect for anyone who has grown up here in the Magnolia State.


Join us on Thursday, December 17 at 5:00 for a signing event for Mississippi History! 

Gifting the Perfect Book: Bakers With Hearts as Soft as Melted Butter

If you haven’t already heard us talking about Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories, then please sit down and let me talk to you about the best cookbook of the season.


Grandbaby Cakes gives a nod to heirloom recipe books of yore, but maintains a fresh, accessible, and enormously aesthetically pleasing feel. Jocelyn Delk Adams began the Grandbaby Cakes blog a few years back, and the mini-bio on her “about me” page bears repeating:

 “I created Grandbaby Cakes, a blog inspired by my grandmother, to display classic desserts and modern trends while showcasing the pastry and sweets field in an accessible way. I hope to inspire a new generation of bakers and dessert enthusiasts to learn baking skills and not feel guilty about enjoying dessert. At an early age, I loved visiting Mississippi to watch my grandmother, or “big mama” Maggie as my family affectionately calls her, bake. Big mama bakes cakes that literally have her neighbors lined up around the block waiting for a taste. She not only invents (yes, she developed all of her own recipes) the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth desserts I’ve ever tasted, but she also infuses them with so much love.”

Pulling from the recipes passed down from her grandmother to her mother and finally to her, Adams has put together a heartwarming, mouth-watering cookbook of deserts. Before she arrived for her signing a month or two back, a few of us here at Lemuria took the cookbook home; determined to have a few recipes available for tasting during the event. Every single desert was amazing. Here’s a preview of what we brought to the signing:

Cornmeal Pound Cake (with honey-butter glaze)

 Zucchini Cupcakes (with lemon-cinnamon buttercream)

Coffe-Toffee Pumpkin Cupcakes

We all pigged out hard, and while we munched, we spoke with Jocelyn and Jocelyn’s mother who was touring with her. These two women were so down-to-earth and happy to discuss recipes and baking techniques, and were so complimentary of our humble cake offerings. When Jocelyn heard that I had hand mixed (with a spoon, not a hand mixer) everything in the recipe I contributed, she ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the cake enough to make me feel like a master baker– and that’s just the way she is. A woman who puts you at your ease, who works hard, compliments hard work, and means it. 2014

Jocelyn (second from left) with the women of her family

It must seem strange to talk more about the author of a cookbook than the recipes themselves (which can stand alone without any of my help- they are phenomenal), but Adams’s thoughtful and kind personality shows through every inch of Grandbaby Cakes. Here is the book you need to put into the hands of any cook you know; from novices to experts in the kitchen, Grandbaby Cakes is the perfect gift this holiday season.

And just remember, a little extra salt from getting misty-eyed while reading about Adams’s family memories will only make your Snickerdoodle Gooey Cake sweeter.


“If this glorious book doesn’t make you want to drop everything you’re doing and go bake a cake right now, then I don’t know what will. Jocelyn’s spectacular cake creations are positively bursting with beauty, color, flavor, and fun. Make no mistake about it: this book will ignite the baking passion within you!” —Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks

In ‘Free State,’ notions of equality emerge from behind a black mask

Tom Piazza will be at the Eudora Welty House TONIGHT at 5:00 to sign and read from “A Free State”.

By Jim Ewing. Special to The Clarion-Ledger

WFES062284129-2Tom Piazza’s “Free State” offers a fascinating study on the nature of freedom in the guise of a thought-provoking novel.

Set in the years before the Civil War, “Free State” focuses on the chance coming together of a black man, who calls himself Henry Sims, and a white man, who calls himself James Douglass. Both are assumed names by characters seeking freedom and a new identity from the lives they were born into and their grim pasts.

Douglass is of Irish descent, the youngest son of a Pennsylvania farmer who chafed under the grueling chores of farm life and the physical abuse of his father and older brothers. He seeks freedom by joining a traveling circus and becomes enthralled by the burgeoning fad of minstrelsy — traveling troupes of musicians who adopt a grotesque rendition of Old South plantation life by performing in black face, or covering their faces with burnt cork. He rises in his musical ability and forms his own minstrel group in Philadelphia, Penn., a free state, which in America, it turns out, is not so free.

But it’s all theater, a masquerade, set for public consumption amidst an imagined tapestry of faux aristocratic plantation owners bemused by the “jollity” of enslaved blacks happily entertaining for their masters. Only the beauty of the music is real.

Why minstrelsy? “The practice of ‘blacking up’ had spread … to feed a hunger that had gone unrecognized until then,” Douglass reminisces. “ In it, we — everyone, it seemed— encountered a freedom that could be found there and there only. As if day-to-day life were a dull slog under gray skies, and the minstrels launched one into the empyrean blue.”

“When I first heard the minstrels,” he recalls, “…I felt as if I had been freed from a life of oppressive servitude.”

Thus, a white man finds freedom by impersonating a black slave.

Douglass’ façade meets horrific reality when he meets Sims, a runaway slave from Virginia, seeking to escape his master father and a slave hunter, Tull Burton, he has hired to track him down. Burton is evil incarnate, a fascinating study of the devil in human flesh, who delights in the torture of those he seeks. Like the society that imposes slavery and inequality even under the guise of democracy and commitment to human freedom, he is unrelenting and devoted to his cause of using the law to brutally enforce the codes of human bondage.

The story itself is absorbing as Douglass and Sims forge a tenuous bond and adopt a rational solution to both of their problems. Sims and Douglass attempt to pursue their love of music while supporting themselves in a world that twists notions of life and livelihood along the lines of race.

Their solution — for Sims, a black man, to assume black face in order to evade laws barring black people from public performance — exposes the theater of the absurd that was the antebellum South. In it, a white man could find freedom only by pretending to black; a black man could only find freedom by masking that he was black by pretending to be black.

The truth of this preposterous state of “freedom” finds echoes today as American society still struggles with issues of race and equality. The true face behind the mask is that the world limits freedom and equality no matter how devoted and pure one’s intention and desires may be, and that we all play out our roles in often absurd conditions to pursue a free state.

It’s an absorbing tale and a parable that exposes the incongruities of living in a democracy still colored by inequality.


Jim Ewing, a former writer and editor at The Clarion-Ledger, is the author of seven books including Redefining Manhood: A Guide for Men and Those Who Love Them, now in bookstores.

Devotion by Adam Makos

Adam Makos will be here TONIGHT at 5:00! We love this book so much that we’ve chosen it as our December pick for First Editions Club.

Let me start this blog off by saying this….

I don’t read non-fiction. Pretty much….never. Not at all. I can not sit down and read fact after fact about a topic; it just can’t hold my attention the way a fictional story can. I don’t like this, because I want to be able to learn about different things and I obviously have books at my fingertips to do so by working at Lemuria; but, non-fiction is just not my “go to”.

With all that being said…..Let me tell you about this non-fiction book that changed everything.

WFES804176583-2I’ve always been interested in World War I and World War II and the time period around those years. To be honest, I’ve just always been interested in the history of different wars (obviously more interested in those in which the U.S. were involved). I like watching movies based around war and there are times when I will watch documentaries as well. But, reading a history book wasn’t something I enjoyed.

However, I really feel as if Devotion has changed my outlook on reading about history. Devotion is an incredible story from military journalist, Adam Makos. As it’s stated on the cover, it’s “An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship and Sacrifice” between two Navy carrier pilots during the Korean war. One of which is a white New-Englander who comes from a country club background (Tom Hudner), while the other pilot is a share-cropper’s son from Mississippi (Jesse Brown) who became the first African-American Naval pilot. Basically, Jesse was fighting for a country that sometimes wouldn’t even serve him in a restaurant. However, he found much more than just a job in the Navy; he found men that stood by his side no matter what.


Lieutenant Tom Hudner

Makos goes way beyond just slapping down facts on a piece of paper, he takes you into the intense lives of both Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown during their time in the Korean War by offering you a novel-like feel. He interviewed so many military veterans and used all of that information to make the stories flow together as one- so much so that it feels like you’re reading a novel rather than sectioned off facts about the war.

From what I understand, the Korean War is the Forgotten War, but Makos takes you right into the battlefield; from the Marines on the ground in trenches to Jesse and Tom overhead in their planes. I was definitely taken into the harsh conditions (temperatures as low as -35 degrees) when the Marines were near Chosin Resevoir; and there were moments when I felt like I was in the plane with Jesse or Tom trying to make split-second decisions. Makos included maps to help show the locations of each event, letters, and photos taken during this time as well as before (photos of marines and pilots with their wives, parents, siblings, etc). Having photos and being able to put faces on to the people being described made me become so involved in the story, that there were a few times while I was reading that I became slightly emotional.

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, first African-American Naval Aviator

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, first African-American Naval Aviator

Makos made me look at non-fiction in a whole new way. I was given facts and I was given true stories …and it was beautiful. This book was such a great way to take a look at history and to teach myself more about sacrifice, war, and one’s devotion to friendship. I feel like I’m going to have to keep sticking my nose in our history section from now on to see if I can learn a few more things.

Young adult writer extravaganza TONIGHT!

Join us for a young adult writers night TONIGHT at 5pm with authors Marie Marquardt and Shalanda Stanley.

Marquardt, author of “Dream Things True,” is a professor in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta,  is an immigration activist. Stanley, author of “Drowning is Inevitable,” is a professor in the school of education at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

WFES250070456-2“Dream Things True” has been publicized as a “Romeo and Juliet” novel. While it is a modern-day love story between two teenagers in the South, there is so much more involved. Evan is the nephew of a Georgia state senator. His whole life has been handed to him on a silver platter: he’s white, privileged, and set to go to any college he wants. In the same town lives Alma, a bright and hardworking girl who has lived her entire life in the U.S., but since she was born in Mexico, she is an undocumented immigrant and her chances of going to college are slim. As Alma’s family members are deported one-by-one, and she falls in love, how can she tell the truth about her life to Evan?

With fast-paced action, this book feels so real because Marquardt has worked with volunteers who run El Refugio, a nonprofit that offers temporary lodging and support to the loved ones of detained immigrants. Over 10 years of listening to stories from immigrants has culminated in this debut novel.  “Dream Things True” looks at the sanctity of all human life and shows that for each immigrant, there is hope that dreams are possible.

WFES553508284-2“Drowning Is Inevitable” is a Southern-gothic tale that focuses on four teenagers who live in small St. Francisville, Louisiana, where everyone knows everyone. Olivia, 17, is constantly living in the shadow of her mother’s bleak past, and even her grandmother calls her by her mother’s name: Lillian. When Olivia and her friends find themselves in a heap of trouble, they make a run for New Orleans, where they seek to hide out.

The landscape of “Drowning is Inevitable,” a teenage coming-of-age novel, is one of the present-day South. Stanley creates characters that could be your neighbors, who grapple with real-world pressures at home and among friends. This is a novel that has great depth and heartbreak, and the actual journey of the four friends mimics the journey each of them must go through within themselves.

Original to the Clarion-Ledger 

Clara Martin works for Lemuria Books.

Children’s Books: ‘Vanishing Island’ author to visit

Original to the Clarion-Ledger

51OE5HRFxuL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_A Jackson native who now lives in Memphis, Barry Wolverton will be visiting Lemuria Books on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. to sign his newest book for young readers, “The Vanishing Island.

The protagonist is Bren Owen of the “dirtiest, noisiest, smelliest city in all of Britannia.” “Bren was what they called spindly— tall for his age, but unsteady, like a chair you might be afraid to sit on. He had been born in Map because he had no choice in the matter.”

It is 1599 and the Age of Discovery in Europe. Bren would rather be out on a ship exploring the world, but on the day he tries to surreptitiously board a ship as a stowaway, an explosion foils his plans, and he is sent to work at McNally’s Map Emporium, owned by the one and only map mogul, Rand McNally. It is there, as Bren tends to sick and dying sailors, that one of these sea dogs gives him a strange coin with indecipherable characters. This coin sends Bren on a quest that will take him far beyond the confines of Map and toward the Vanishing Island.

Spanning East and West culture and folklore, “The Vanishing Island” is perfect for fans of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” This book should be next on your child’s to-read list.


harry-potter-illustrated-scholastic“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition” by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay

At the start of 2015, a few gorgeously intricate illustrations featuring characters from the Harry Potter series were released online. Further research showed that Jim Kay, an illustrator who won the Kate Greenaway medal for his illustrations in “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness in 2012, would be creating a series of illustrations for the first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (or in the UK, “The Philosopher’s Stone”.)

Kay’s illustrations are sheer magic. The colors are dynamic and the detail is so incredible that one could spend hours looking at all the illustrations in the book. With all of the Harry Potter books and movies, it didn’t seem possible that a tried and true classic could be made fresh, but Kay makes the wizarding world a reality. As Halloween draws near, perhaps one of the best scenes in all of children’s literature comes from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It is after Harry and Ron have saved Hermione’s life from the troll on Halloween night. As Rowling writes, “from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their (Harry and Ron’s) friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a 12-foot mountain troll is one of them.”

Clara Martin works for Lemuria Books.

Meet Barry Wolverton

5 p.m. Oct. 28 at Lemuria Books.

Happy Halloween

Join us for a Harry Potter Trivia Night at 5 p.m. Friday. All ages are welcome, and the best costume will win a prize! For details, call (601) 366-7619 for more information.

Little Elliot, BIG PARTY!

LittleElliot_mirrorIf you haven’t met the cutest polka-dotted elephant in children’s literature, now is the perfect time to do so.

Children will identify with Little Elliot, an elephant of small stature, because while he may be small, his worth is no less just because of his size. In Little Elliot, Big City, Elliot feels unnoticed in a large and overwhelming New York City, where he is too short to reach the bakery counter, and so he is not able to buy a cupcake. Once he meets Mouse, his luck changes because with friends, anything is possible!

Little Elliot’s adventures continue in the most recent installment, Little Elliot, Big Family, a perfect story for the upcoming holiday season. When Mouse goes off to a family reunion, Little Elliot wonders who his family is.

Illustrated in warm reds and yellows, Little Elliot, Big Family, is a heartwarming story of finding family in all shapes and sizes. Author and illustrator Mike Curato is a name to watch. According to Publishers Weekly, he is “a terrific emerging talent, with gorgeously rendered images that bring to mind the moodiness of Chris Van Allsburg and the sweetness of William Joyce.”

Bring the whole family and meet Curato and Little Elliot at Lemuria Books TODAY at 4:30 p.m. Popsicles from Deep South Pops!

Original to the Clarion Ledger.

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