Tag: Oz Events

Author Q & A with Rosemary Wells

Interview with Rosemary Wells by Clara Martin.

In the world of children’s books, there is a duo named Max and Ruby. They are bunny siblings: Ruby is the older sister who is very bossy, and Max is her little brother who is always up to mischief. The Max & Ruby series spans over forty books and now have their own television show on Nick Jr.

rosemary wellsTheir creator, Rosemary Wells, has been writing and illustrating books for over 45 years. She began working in publishing as a book designer for seven years. All through her writing and illustrating career, from her picture books to her young adult novels, Rosemary Wells advocates for children’s literacy wherever she goes. Born in New York City and raised in rural New Jersey, she now resides in Connecticut.

Lemuria Books is thrilled to welcome ROSEMARY WELLS, the author of MAX & RUBY for a story time and signing on MONDAY, OCTOBER 2ND from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. This story time is free and open to the public!

A presentation given by Rosemary Wells that is geared towards adults & educators will run from 5 pm to 6 pm, and a RSVP is necessary. To RSVP, please call Lemuria Books at 601-366-7619.

In an interview below, Rosemary Wells talks about her own characters, her illustration process, and the importance of reading books aloud to children.

What drew you to stories about toddlers and young children?

I can’t really tell you why. Perhaps because I had young children around me, and still do. I find them hilarious. My own childhood–I was as a tomboy, a very dedicated artist, and utterly non-compliant with what I didn’t like in school–also added to this. It always does in authors. We go back over our own lives and see, in the new lives around us, many of the same traits and predicaments.

However, I have also written 4 books for middle grade readers and 7 novels for YA!

Tell me a little bit about Max & Ruby (and your other characters).

What I really love is the sibling dynamic. It is so real. Max and Ruby are my own two children. This is how they constantly behaved with each other when they thought I wasn’t present or listening to them. Ruby never stopped guiding Max in all the ways of the world that Max had to learn. Max never took anything she said seriously. Never listened to a single word she said. This is a story dynamic which never ran out on me. It is a universal sister/brother routine in all countries in the world. That’s the reason the parents aren’t in the stories. None of the funny stuff would happy with Mom or Dad there. So where are they? In the next room, listening!

felix stands tallMy equally favorite character is Yoko. My next book is another Felix and Fiona melodrama friendship book from Candlewick. And next year, I have a book from Macmillan that introduces new characters, Kit and Kaboodle, twin pussycats and their little nemesis, Spinka, the mouse.

Why are you drawn to drawing animals to represent your children?

I draw animals better. People love animals, particularly young ones. That’s why we take stuffed animals too bed—not so much stuffed people!

Children depicted in illustration cannot do what animals can do on a page. Nor do they engender as much humor or sympathy unless drawn by Garth Williams! Kids are more serious to draw and elicit more reader questioning.

Can you tell me about your illustration style & process?

I wish I could answer this better. I draw. I’ve put in my 30,000 hours! I use mostly watercolor but have branched out to pastel. I copy. What I can’t draw well, I copy out of books. When I need inspiration, I look to the great illustrators and commercial artists of the early twentieth century. Trademarks, advertising, etc.  I encourage all my young artists in my workshops to concentrate, copy, and revise. Revise everything, because each time you do it again, the work gets better.

What do you love about writing and illustrating books for children?

It has endless possibilities. It’s what I do really well. It has been and continues to be a very successful career for me. I never tire of it because each book I do is alive. When they stop being alive, then I will stop. Not until then.

What were some books that made an impact on you as a child, and what do you hope your books do for children today?

We had very few books in the 1940s and 50s compared to today. Robert Lawson, Beatrix Potter, Garth Williams, who else? I don’t know. I copied them all. Lavishly illustrated fairy tales. We read them again and again. As a writer, I think that made me realize I better write books to be read over and over.

This is why I know for a fact, that although I had a golden childhood, safe from want, harm, and discord, that my great escape was books. No matter where we are on life’s scale, we need escape. Kids eat it up and they get it best from books. (worst, I have to add from video games, which are toxic and free of any moral compass or other good outcome.)

We need to read real books (not tablets) to our babies, starting very early in the first year of life.

The one great privilege that fortunate, advanced kids have over the less the fortunate is reading-aloud parents and regular visits to the library.

So, if we read to our children twenty minutes every day, they will listen to us, learn from their many books more than we can ever imagine.

When they reach kindergarten, no matter how underserved their childhoods, those children who are read to all the time will be the level equal of any privileged child in their school. They will be prepared to learn and advance in school. If you read every day aloud, you can almost guarantee your child’s bright future.

There are very recent live MRI scans of children’s brains while being read to. The critical development of the brain takes place in the first five years of life and apparently nothing stimulates it into permanent growth like read aloud stories in the parents’ voices. This treasure of childhood, reading aloud requires only a library card.

Books taught me to think in ways neither my parents not my teachers ever taught me. This is why it is so important that we encourage the next generation to be readers. We are in a national crisis in our country today. My two cents is this: We don’t need any more followers in America today. We need leaders. Real leaders are critical thinkers. They become critical thinkers from reading everything, things they agree with and things they don’t. Our kids need this cognitive training in order to become good citizens. Good citizens are independent. Good leaders understand the difference between facts/science and made up fairy tales that are narrow opinions and lead nowhere. If our country as we know and love it is to survive, the leaders of our next generation need generosity of spirit. While very young, the leaders of tomorrow have to learn to be patient, inclusive of those unlike them, kind to the less fortunate, courteous, curious, and able to dream a better world for all of us, not just for self.

Much of this comes from good parenting and educating. The rest comes from books.

Meet Rosemary Wells at Lemuria Books on Monday, October 2nd!

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Story Time & Signing

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Rosemary Wells Presentation on Literacy*

*Adults Only, Please RSVP at 601-366-7619


2015 Children’s Book Week at Lemuria


Children’s Book Week, administered by Every Child a Reader, is a celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Established in 1919, it is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Each year, book-inspired events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes–wherever young readers and books connect!

For more details, visit www.bookweekonline.com/official.

Here is the schedule for Children’s Book Week taking place in Jackson at Lemuria Bookstore from MAY 4 – MAY 10!

Monday May 4

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Story time at 3:30 P.M.

Join us in OZ for after school cupcakes with sprinkles, story time reading Uni the Unicorn, making unicorn horns, and face painting!

Tuesday May 5

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Story times at 11 A.M. and 3:30 P.M.

Stop by for story time with Pink Crayon and coloring fun! Turn in this coloring sheet from May 4 – May 10 to help decorate our store front window.

Throughout the week there will be a BIG coloring page from The Day the Crayons Quit that you are welcome to stop and help color in.

Wednesday May 6

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

Story times at 11 A.M. and 3:30 P.M.

Come dressed as your FAVORITE fairytale character as we read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Is your favorite character Jack and the Beanstalk? Little Red Riding Hood? Rapunzel? The Frog Prince? Any and all fairytale and book characters are welcome.

Thursday May 7

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Happening all day long at Lemuria. Find one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets hidden around the store for a chance to win prizes.*

*Prizes include candy.

Fondren’s First Thursday (5 P.M. onward)

Then head over to Fondren First Thursday to the Lemuria tent. Katie Hathcock of Music for Aardvarks, Jackson will be playing some cool PETE THE CAT tunes. Join us for a game of “pin the white shoe on Pete the Cat” and face painting!

Friday May 8

Peter Rabbit Costume Story time at  9 A.M. at the Mississippi Children’s Museum and 11 A.M. at Lemuria!!

Hop on over to Mr. McGregor’s garden for a PETER RABBIT story time. Make sure to bring your camera to snap a picture of him (with your child) before he hops away!


Witches, wizards, werewolves and animagus alike, join us for an afternoon of Harry Potter Trivia, butterbeer, and other magical treats. Don’t forget to wear your house scarf or witch’s hat.

Saturday May 9

Join us for story time with Alice in Wonderland at 11 A.M.

The Children’s Book Council is the anchor sponsor of Children’s Book Week.


Augusta Scattergood at Lemuria April 16!!

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

Augusta Scattergood will be at Lemuria signing her newest book for middle-grade students on Thursday, April 16 at 4 PM!

What a fabulous book! It takes place in Destiny, Florida, 1974, but the story transcends time and place and will feel relevant for young readers today. There’s piano playing, baseball cards, and a girl who doesn’t want to go to dance class. At it’s heart, this book is about a boy who has been afraid to wish for much his whole life, and once he does, he realizes that maybe Destiny isn’t a place you can escape.

From the best-selling author of Glory Be, a National Public Radio Backseat Book Club pick, comes another story from the South, this time taking place in 1974. Theo, (short for Thelonious Monk Thomas), has just had his life uprooted. His uncle Raymond takes him away from the Kentucky farm where he lives with grandparents and drags him off to live in Destiny, where the welcome sign says, “Welcome to Destiny, Florida, the Town Time Forgot.” Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War Vet and a grump, is none-too-happy that he’s been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of his long-lost nephew.

Theo and Uncle Raymond stay at Miss Sister Grandersole’s Rest Easy Rooming House and Dance Academy in a room above the tap studio where there is a grand piano, bigger than any piano Theo’s ever seen. Theo loves to play the piano—in fact, he lives and breathes music. That, and baseball. In 1974, Hank Aaron has passed Babe Ruth in the number of home runs hit. Theo finds a friend in Anabel Johnson who loves baseball just as much as he does. The mayor’s daughter, Anabel is always coming up with excuses to miss her tap dancing classes and enlists Theo’s help on an extra-credit project to prove the Atlanta Braves stayed in Destiny in their off season. Between piano lessons from Miss Sister and working on the “Baseball Players in Destiny” project with Anabel, Destiny starts to feel like home for Theo. Only problem is, Uncle Raymond doesn’t allow Theo near the piano, and is more concerned with how to get them out of Destiny just when Theo wants to stay there. In one of the best lines of the book, Miss Sister tells Theo, “That’s what happens. You start off dreaming one thing about your life. But you have to be ready for what turns up.” Will Theo make it to Destiny Day, the 100th anniversary of the town’s existence, or will he be whisked away once more?

Destiny, it seems, has a hold on a person, whether they want to stay or not.

Children’s Author Events April 7 & April 8

This week is a big week for children’s events at Lemuria Bookstore! Stop by to meet the authors and hear them read from their books.

HESTER BASS will be here on Tuesday April 7 at 3:30 p.m.

Hester Bass  photoHester Bass is the author of the picture-book biography The Secret World of Walter Anderson, which won an Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and a SIBA award, and is illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Her newest picture-book is Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama and is also illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Formerly residing in Huntsville, Alabama, she now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her biography (and Lewis’ illustrations) on Mississippi artist Walter Anderson capture the spirit of the Mississippi coast and the artist’s life. Bass writes, “Art was an adventure, and Walter Anderson was an explorer, first class.”
Lewis’s watercolors pay homage from one watercolorist to another. Likewise, the medium of watercolor is useful in depicting the peaceful integration in Huntsville, Alabama in 1963. The book is
illustrated in a combination of muted grays, browns, whites, and bright blues, and there is a beautifully illustrated scene with children releasing colorful balloons in the air. Lewis’ illustrations and Bass’ writing introduce children to interesting people and history in the South.

walter anderson pb9780763669195


J.A. WHITE will be here Wednesday April 8 at 4:30 p.m.

thickety jacketJA White Author Photothickety 2 jacket

J.A. White is the author of The Thickety series. For fans of Neil Gaiman, The Thickety series feels like a modern-day tale from the Brothers Grimm. J.A. White’s first book, The Thickety: A Path Begins, was chosen as Publisher’s Weekly Best book and was on several “Best Summer Reading for Kids” lists including Washington Post’s Summer Book Club and Huffington Post’s “Summer Reading List for Kids.” Discover the second installment in this hit-series with The Thickety: The Whispering Trees. Kara and Taff have ridden into the Thickety with no hope of returning to the village. What’s beyond the Thickety? Join J.A. White on April 8 at Lemuria to find out!


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