Children’s author, illustrator to visit library, schools

By: Mary Beth Almond | Farmington Press | Published March 5, 2013

FARMINGTON — After visiting with students in various Farmington Public Schools elementary schools, award-winning children’s picture book author and illustrator Janet Stevens will visit the Farmington Community Library.

Stevens will speak to children and adults at 7 p.m. March 13 at the Farmington Branch Library, 23500 Liberty St., in Farmington. During the visit, Stevens plans to describe the process of making a book from concept to finished art. She’ll explain where ideas come from, preview current projects, and hopefully inspire those who attend. If time allows, Stevens will also use audience participation to create a book character and its story.

Farmington Branch children’s librarian Maria Showich-Gallup, who coordinated the event, said the visit is a great way for children and adults to actually interact with an author and illustrator up close.

“They can learn about the writing process, and they get a chance to meet somebody who wrote a book that they may love, and those opportunities don’t come around often,” she said.

Although Stevens’ books are created for children, Showich-Gallup said they are well-loved by readers of all ages who appreciate clever stories and expressive illustrations — especially of animals.

Showich-Gallup admitted that one of her favorite children’s books is “The Little Red Pen,” which Stevens illustrated and co-authored with her sister, Susan Stevens Crummel.

Another one of Stevens’ books, “Tops and Bottom,” is listed as a recommend read for those in the library’s Curious Kids group — a pre-reading program designed for newborns to 5 year olds and their families.

“Janet Stevens’ book ‘Tops and Bottoms’ is one of our all-time favorite picture books (here at the library). It tells a lot about gardening and how vegetables grow, but it’s also very fun and lighthearted. It has very broad appeal,” said Laura Scott, head of Children’s Services for the Main Library.

Yet another Stevens’ book, “Cook-a-Doodle-Doo!,” is featured in the library’s 101 Picture Books for Preschoolers list.

“Her books are fun, funny and informative, and they’ve always been very popular at both of our branches,” Scott said.

The free event is for all ages, with no registration required. This program is funded by an endowment in memory of Barbara Novatis and her husband, John, who library officials say believed in the power of author programs to support reading, writing, illustrating and learning.

For more information, call (248) 553-0300, ext. 220.