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Meet the Writers Behind Children's Books

Local authors Katie Davis, Léna Roy and Judy Blundell are among 60 authors and illustrators will read from or sign their latest books at Sunnyside next Saturday.

Next weekend, children will have a chance to meet their favorite authors at the 15th annual Celebrate Children's Book Day, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 at  estate in Tarrytown from noon to 6 p.m.

The activity-packed program includes readings, demonstrations, magic tricks, costumed book characters wandering about, roaming artist Dikki Ellis, live music and, of course, thousands of books for sale and signing by their authors and illustrators. Food will be available all afternoon and musical entertainment will be provided from 4:30 to 5:20 p.m.

Katonah resident and notable author Judy Blundell says it's one of her favorite events of the year.

"I get to sit at a table outdoors at a historic site on a beautiful early fall day, meeting people who care about reading and books," she said. "It is truly a wonderful, fun, joyous day."

She'll wear two hats: as Jude Watson, author of books in the 39 Clues series, and Judy Blundell, YA novelist.  Her novel, STRINGS ATTACHED, has just been published in paperback, and she said the event is a terrific way to talk to her readers one-on-one, and for kids to meet literary professionals up close.

"Just roaming around the tables gives you the unique opportunity to talk to award-winning, bestselling, quality children's book writers," Blundell said.

Katie Davis, a Bedford Hills resident, will be represented at the show by written by Jerry Davis and illustrated by Katie. She's also working on a new venture. "I am about to launch a web seminar series for anyone interested in the craft and business of children's books, called Ask the Expert, with guests such as Curtis Brown literary agent Elizabeth Harding, and editor Emma Dryden," she said.

Tarrytown resident Nick Bruel will read from his newest book Bad Kitty For President which came out in January and was published in paperback this month.

"I think the plot is pretty timely," Bruel said."What happens is described when Kitty decides to run for president of The Neighborhood Cat Club but has to endure the exact same process as our country's own general election—I use it to introduce a whole vocabulary about the general election such as 'primaries,' 'nominees,' 'absentee ballots,' and even 'PACs' and "SuperPACs,' to young readers."

Ossining author Susanna Reich will return to read from her newest book Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat.

"I was a lifelong Julia Child fan," said Reich, "and I was thrilled to meet her when I created the flower arrangements for her 80th birthday party in New York City."

"Later, I became a children's book author," she continued, "and for years I wanted to write a book about her. I found out she was a cat lover who got her first cat, Minette, when she and her husband lived in Paris. Julia fed Minette leftovers (lucky cat), and in return Minette brought Julia fresh-caught mice! Julia wrote about Minette in her letters and memoirs, and now children can get to know Julia through this funny and very tasty story, exquisitely illustrated by New York Times bestselling illustrator Amy Bates."

The afternoon schedule for book reading follows:

  • 12-2:30. Alan Richardson and Karen Tack (at Courtyard)
  • 12:15-12:45. Nick Bruel (at Literary Tree)
  • 12:30-1. Artie Bennett (at Apple Orchard)
  • 1-1:30. Jerry Craft (at Literary Tree)
  • 1:15-1:45. Susanna Reich (at Apple Orchard)
  • 1:45-2:15. Alan Katz (at Literary Tree)
  • 2-2:30. Sudipta Bardham-Quallen (at Apple Orchard)
  • 2:30-3. Roni Schotter (at Literary Tree)
  • 2:45-3:15. Charise Mericle Harper (at Apple Orchard)
  • 3:15-3:45. Gloria Pinkney (at Literary Tree)

New book show participants include Sudipta Bardham-Quallen, illustrator of Half-Pint Pete the Pirate, Artie Bennett, author of Poopendous!, and Kristi Cook, author of Mirage. Kate Feiffer, author of No Go Sleep! will autograph her book.

Westchester County authors and illustrators from 16 towns and villages are taking part in the program: 

  1. Bedford Hills: Katie Davis, Jerry Davis
  2. Chappaqua: Matt Van Fleet, Jean Van Leeuwen, Barbara Dee, Mara Van Fleet
  3. Cortlandt Manor: Mayma Raphael, Helen Pashley
  4. Croton: Gloria Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney
  5. Goldens Bridge: Nora Raleigh Baskin
  6. Hartsdale: Eric Velasquez
  7. Hastings on Hudson: Alyssa Capucilli, Ed Young, Roni Schotter, Dan Greenburg, J.C. Greenburg
  8. Irvington: Peter Sis, Alan Richardson
  9. Katonah: Judy Blundell,
  10. Mamaroneck: Charise Mericle Harper
  11. Ossining: Susanna Reich, Gary Golio
  12. Scarsdale: Bernard Most
  13. Tarrytown: Nick Bruel
  14. White Plains: Howard Fine
  15. Yonkers­:  James Howe
  16. Yorktown: Marisabina Russo 

Click here for a site map and a complete list of authors and illustrators with the time and location for their book sales and signing.

Entertainment at the fair will be provided by Carole Demas of Irvington and Paula Janis, the creators and hosts of the legendary children’s television show, The Magic Garden, celebrating more than 40 years in show business.  

The non-profit Historic Hudson Valley (HHV) owns and operates Sunnyside, the homestead of Washington Irving, the great American writer whose famous works include short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Costumed characters Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Bunnicula, Biscuit, and Franklin the Turtle, will greet kids and picnic food from Irvington-based Geordane’s will be available for purchase. The one-day program is produced by Susan Brandes and Beth Vetare-Civitello.

Tours of Washington Irving's cottage, an added incentive, will be available beginning at noon (no additional fee involved).

The hours are noon to 6 p.m. with last admission at 5 p.m. Admission cost is $14 for adults; $12 for seniors; $8 for children 3 to 17; and free for children under 3 and Historic Hudson Valley members. Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased by calling 914-631-8200 or online at www.hudsonvalley.org. Washington Irving’s Sunnyside is at West Sunnyside Lane in Tarrytown, about one mile south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, off Route 9 (Broadway).

With additional reporting by Lisa Buchman.

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