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MCS, Madison Public Library sponsor author Marc Brown

MADISON – Madison students, particularly second- and third-graders met, and questioned Marc Brown, author of popular children’s books, including the “Arthur” series. The interactive sessions were the vision of the Blast-Off Book Festival.

This festival originated in 2004 with an annual event in Blount County. To offer sessions here, Madison Friends of the Library and Huntsville Library Foundation collaborated with Madison City Schools.

During the Blast-Off Book Festival, young students of varying ages are brought together to hear and interact with professional authors for inspiration and motivation in their personal reading and writing journeys, Madison Branch Manager Sarah Sledge said.

“Bringing this type of event to Madison became a long-term dream for the library as we strive to be active and contributing partners with our community,” Sledge said.

Madison Friends of the Library and Huntsville Library Foundation gave needed support for library officials to approach MCS with a proposal to work together for local families.

Melissa Mims, MCS Coordinator of Elementary Instruction, and her team were equally motivated to secure the event.

Young patrons consistently check out Brown’s work. “‘Arthur’ picture books, ‘Arthur’s Pet Business’ and ‘Arthur’s Fire Drill’ are especially popular,” Children’s Services Librarian Eileen Drummond said.

“Through combined efforts of the four groups, author Marc Brown was featured at Madison Public Library on March 7 and at Bob Jones High School on March 8 for all second- and third-graders in our public school system,” Sledge said.

“Our goal is to gradually continue to grow and add to the book festival until we are serving students at all three school levels in the city and eventually throughout the county,” Sledge said. City of Madison and MCS are long-term partners of Huntsville-Madison County Public Library and the Madison branch.

Sledge overheard children’s compliments for Brown’s writing, with comments such as, “These are some of my favorite books!” and “My mommy loves the Arthur books because she grew up reading and watching ‘Arthur.'”

“Marc Brown creates characters that kids can relate to because Arthur and his friends do the same kinds of things that they themselves do — from writing valentines, having a new baby sister, getting a dog or watching too much TV,” Sledge said. “The main message of Arthur is ‘Believe in yourself,’ which comes straight from the lyrics of the Arthur television show theme.”

At his session at Bob Jones, Brown told the youngsters, “I have the best job in the world. I work for you guys. You are my boss.”

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