NB Book Design Exhibit hosts local authors

Sackville families take part in event sponsored by Mount Allison University

The New Brunswick Book Design Exhibit continues to attract people to the R.P. Bell Library, most recently with a reading of children’s books. The event, held midmorning on Saturday, March 17, was very well attended and hosted a total of five local authors.

Laura Landon, the head of access services, introduced the exhibit and the authors. “I hope one day, you’ll come back as Mt. A students,” she said to the children with a smile.

Odette Barr, Beth Weatherbee and Colleen Landry of Tantramar were the first group to read. These authors are responsible for writing and illustrating the Camelia Airheart books, which detail the adventures of a lovable Canada goose. The authors were clearly very passionate about their work. “We love to read and we love to write,” said Barr. The authors instructed the children near the front to participate in Camelia’s actions, which made many older audience members crack up. “All three of us are teachers! Can you tell?” Barr joked with the children.

Brigitte Marsden, author of Kit and the Calico Cat, gave the second reading. When asked by one of the children if the stories were true, Marsden explained that the stories, which reflect her own experiences of moving to Canada from the U.K. as a child, were “kind of true.” The book deals with subjects such as bullying, culture shock and acceptance.

The third and final reading was from Paul McAllister, who read his book There and Back Again: A Herman Tale. It portrays a monster named Herman who learns to adapt to the situations he is placed in instead of giving up. Like Marsden, McAllister used many of his own experiences as inspiration for the stories. He moved to Toronto to pursue acting, where he worked a few jobs, including working as a knight at Medieval Times. However, he eventually returned home to New Brunswick, just as Herman returned to his home after his adventure. “I left Toronto, and [agreed] that it was fun,” he said. “But it was time to come home.”

Beyond writing his own children’s books, McAllister spearheaded a publishing firm Monster House, named after Herman. “It’s amazing how many illustrators and authors are in this province,” said McAllister. “The industry is really getting going.” McAllister plans on writing and publishing one of his monster stories every year and hopes to inspire new generations to read and write.

This event is an example of the connection of both the community and the University. “It had a very warm friendly atmosphere,” said one attendee. Children had the opportunity to interact with some of their favorite local authors, and families left smiling.

Max Chapman