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Fairfield Children's Book Conference Features Tony Abbott, Rosemary Wells

Trumbull resident and children's author Tony Abbott, center, will be among the panelists at a children's book conference at Fairfield Public Library in December. His latest adventure series, is "The Copernicus Legacy." Photo Credit: Tony Abbott/Facebook
Greenwich resident and children's book author/illustrator Rosemary Wells, shown talking to schoolchildren about her beloved characters, Max & Ruby, will participate in a conference in December at the Fairfield Public Library. Photo Credit: Rosemary Wells/Facebook

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Lots of Fairfield grown-ups love books written for little ones and dream of writing or illustrating their own someday, say librarians.

But what does it take for unpublished authors -- however spectacular their story ideas are -- to actually write, sell and promote their brainchildren?

That’s what the people participating in the Fairfield Public Library’s day-long conference hope to learn from Connecticut authors, illustrators, editors and agents.

“People always dream about writing a children’s book,” says librarian Karen Ronald, “this event offers a wonderful opportunity to be inspired by some of the best children’s authors and illustrators in our area.”

The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at the Main Library, 1080 Old Post Road.

Patricia Reilly Giff, a Weston author and Newbury Honor winner known for her Polk Street School series, as well as “Nory Ryan’s Song” and “Pictures of Hollis Woods,” will open the conference with a talk titled: “Writing from the Heart.

Conference-goers may then choose between attending a picture book or a middle grade panel discussion.

The theme of the picture book panel is “32 Pages to Paint a Story with Words and Pictures."

On the panel will be authors and illustrators Deborah Freedman, Karlin Gray, Susan Hood, Tracy Newman, Anne Rockwell, Lizzy Rockwell and Jennifer Thermes.

The theme for the middle grade panel is “There is No Such Thing as Stuck in the Middle: The Power of the Middle Grade Novel.”

Panelists are authors Tony Abbott, a Trumbull resident known for his latest adventure series, "The Copernicus Legacy;" Nora Raleigh Baskin (Weston), Elise Broach (Easton), Anne Haywood Leal (Waterford), Michaela MacColl (Fairfield County), Christine Pakkala (Cloverdale) and Susan Ross.

A lunch break is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m.

During that time, staff members will talk about their favorite children’s books and how they select them for the library.

In the afternoon, children’s book publisher and editor Christy Ottaviano will take participants behind the scenes for the release of the book “Masterpiece.” 

Author and illustrator Rosemary Wells (Greenwich) and her daughter, agent Victoria Wells Arms, will talk about “45 Years in Children’s Books and Another 25 from the Next Generation.”

Wells is best known for the "Max & Ruby" series, which follows the adventures of sibling bunnies, curious Max and his bossy older sister, Ruby.

Connie Rockman, children’s literary specialist and storyteller, will give the closing address, “Passages of Hope.”

A closing meet-and-greet is set for 4-5:30 p.m. Attendees can mingle with the presenters as well as buy books and have them signed.

The library’s community partner, the Fairfield University Bookstore, will be selling books at the library throughout the day.

The conference, like other library programs, is free but space is limited so registration is required.

To register, or for more information about this and other programs, click here, or call 203-256-3160.

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