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Sixth annual Book Fair will feature ten author/illustrators (Released: 10/28/97)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. — Award-winning author Joseph Bruchac grew up with his grandparents in Greenfield Center, New York, despite his parents' home being less than half mile away. His grandfather, who is of Native American descent, hid his origins because of the prejudice against Indians his family and many other native families in the Northeast experienced.

Despite this start, Bruchac rediscovered his roots and went on to write more than fifty books for adults and children. Many of his works draw on the Abenaki Indian culture that is part of his heritage.

Bruchac will be one of ten prominent children's book authors and illustrators featured at the 1997 Connecticut Book Fair.

The fair, to be held Nov. 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Connecticut's Bishop Center, began in 1992 as an annual event to spur children and their parents to explore and expand their imaginations through the world of books.

"We have to encourage children to read at an early age," says Suzanne Staubach, manager of the general book division for the UConn Co-op, who is also co-chair of the fair. "If we don’t, we are not going to have a nation of readers and that would be detrimental to our culture. There are a lot of parents who do not read to their kids because they don’t think it is important or they just don't have the time to do it. So kids wind up playing video games or watching television, which is at the expense of books."

Each year the fair introduces children to both newly published and established authors and illustrators of classic and contemporary children’s books.

There will be autograph sessions and many of the authors and illustrators will also give short presentations.

Children’s authors usually receive many letters from kids, Staubach says, "so here is a chance for the authors to meet some of them. By interacting with the authors, it might inspire some of the children to become writers as well," she says.

Other authors and illustrators featured at the Book Fair will include: Tomie dePaola, a MERIDEN native, who has more than five million copies of his books in print in more than 15 countries; and Steven Kellogg of SANDY HOOK, whose picture books have their roots in feelings and images from his childhood.

Children attending the fair will also have an opportunity to have their photos taken with

storybook characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, and to attend puppetry workshops and storytelling sessions. Proceeds from the sale of books at the fair support the Northeast Children’s Literature Collections, held in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn. The collections include more than 14,000 classic and modern children’s books and a growing archive of original art and manuscript materials from contemporary authors and illustrators.

In conjunction with the fair, the Dodd Center and the School of Education will host the first annual Connecticut Book Fair Teacher’s Conference on Nov. 14. The conference will be an occasion for primary school teachers to meet with children’s authors and illustrators.