Wow, what a morning!
Authors and illustrators, and kids galore, joined supporters of Island Readers & Writers at IRW’s annual meeting Aug. 9. But “meeting” hardly begins to describe these fun few hours.
Our generous hosts — Tom and Annie Flournoy — provided the perfect venue at their home on Duck Cove in Tremont. Under the big tent there, award-winning children’s author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen (a longtime friend of IRW) regaled us with tales from his book tour for “The Circus Ship,” which was inspired by a real wreck off the coast of Maine. Chris traveled with IRW to many Maine islands for “The Circus Ship,” and met a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the schoolchildren, teachers and other community members. But, he said, he was the real beneficiary of those trips.
Also on hand was another award-winning writer and illustrator of children’s books, no other than Rebekah Raye herself, who brought her sketchbook and charcoal and paints. When Chris Van Dusen told a funny story, she was there. When Michelle Finn talked about her new job leading IRW programs in Washington County, then got us all to find a word that best describes IRW, Rebekah was there too. And when the children went outside to learn about being a tree with Linda Uberseder, she was there again, sketchbook in hand.
Then, after all that, following an update about what IRW has done and is planning, she brought us four sketches created that very morning inspired by what she observed. Those charming pieces of original art were then auctioned, with the proceeds going to Island Readers & Writers.
It’s been an exciting year for us, and this was both a celebration of what we’ve accomplished and a launching pad for what we have planned. Most of all, it was a big “thank you” to everyone who helped get us to this point.
Behind us are another stellar Big Read in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts; an innovative and successful Friends Over Books program led by Diana Hambleton; the annual 7th-Grade Island-wide Read with Newbury Medal winner Lois Lowry; and participation in Vanderbilt University’s Aspirnaut program.
Ahead of us is our expansion into Washington County and the launching of our Literary Links to Science program, plus author visits to schools … and much more.
We do all of this for the children of Maine. But we couldn’t do it without you. Our annual meeting was the perfect showcase of that.