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“Arthur” author celebrates summer reading

Friday, August 24, 2018

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Sophia Pasquale, along with Anthony Pasquale and Sienna Pasquale, attended the summer reading program breakfast on July 27 at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Stephanie and Stephen Williams signed a thank you card for Marc Brown at the summer reading programs annual breakfast.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Author and illustrator Marc Brown quickly sketched his famous character, Arthur, for the crowd gathered at Stambaugh auditorium.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Author and illustrator Marc Brown sketched his first version of his now famous character, Arthur, on July 27.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Author and illustrator Marc Brown delivered a speech at the summer reading program's annual breakfast on July 27 at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Lynn Hines and Jayda Ward attended the Discover Reading breakfast on July 27 at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The library provided free breakfast for children who completed the summer reading program and their families at Stambaugh Auditorium.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Dakota and Donald Kasner showed off the medals they recieved for finishing the summer reading program.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Author Marc Brown finished his presentation by reading "Wild About Books" to the crowd gathered.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.More than 600 people attended the summer reading program breakfast on July 26 featuring author Marc Brown.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy.com

“It’s a big responsibility, but its like connecting with friends.”

This is what Marc Brown, author and illustrator of the “Arthur” books, said it felt like to give a talk to a group of children who grew up with Arthur as a house hold name.

“He has been a part of so many families lives and things that have happened on Arthur have reflected in their lives. It’s just an amazing thing for me,” Brown said.

On July 27, Brown gave a talk as part of the Summer Discovery reading program put on by the Mahoning County libraries.

Children who completed the summer reading program by July 22 and submitted the results were invited to join the author for a free breakfast at Stambaugh Auditorium.

“I think programs like this get kids and families excited about books,” Brown said. “We can’t get enough of that.”

The event was by invitation only and to gain an entrance children had to read 30 books and earn eight badges by doing a varying number of activities based on their age group.

“It gets them off the electronics, heightens their reading levels and really keeps them busy,” said Stephanie Kasner, who attended the event with her two children Dakota and Donald.

Though the Kasner’s have done summer reading for years, this is the first time they have attended the breakfast.

Dakota said her favorite books to read over the summer were the Nancy Drew series, and that she loved going to the library with her mom.

“We would go almost every day, it was so, so, so much fun,” she said.

Dakota’s brother Donald said his favorite was “Big Brain Games.”

“We really like the program, its very nice and we had a lot of fun,” Stephanie said. “It’s something we can all go do together.”

The goal of the program, according to Janet Loew, the library marketing director, is to encourage children to be excited about literature and continue to study in the summer months.

The event hosted more than 600 people. Children who attended the event were given first place medals and a pair of glasses that look like Arthur’s.

After the breakfast, Brown was introduced to the crowd. He discussed his life both before and after writing Arthur, and what the process has been like for him.

“I love my job,” Brown said. “I get to write stories, and draw pictures and work with kids. You guys are my boss.”

Brown said that the inspiration for the books came to him when one of his sons asked for a bed time story about a “weird animal.”

This, Brown said, started his path into writing and illustrating “Arthur,” which today is the longest running children’s animated television series.

“PBS came to me and wanted to use TV to make kids want to read and go to the library,” He said about starting the animated show.

He also discussed meeting with five U.S. presidents, Vladamir Putin, the president of Russia, and other famous people including Fred Rogers and Whoopi Goldburg.

The key to his success, Brown said, was that the first thing he had to do as a children’s author is to respect them and understand the importance his work.

“I appreciate what I do so much,” Brown said, “I am so grateful for the job that they have given me. It’s their support and interest in what I do and write that has given me my work which I love.”

Brown wrapped up the presentation by reading “Wild About Books,” a book by Judy Sierra that Brown illustrated, to the crowd.

The library also offered a book signing with Brown and had “Arthur” books available for sale through out the event.