WILSON, N.C. — The Barton College Friends of Hackney Library will welcome Rosemary Wells, renowned children’s author and illustrator, for its annual signature spring program on Tuesday, March 26. This year’s program, sponsored in part by BB&T, will be unique, featuring two distinct events for two different audiences.
Because of Rosemary Wells’ particular appeal for children, the first event, “Storytime with Rosemary Wells,” is specifically intended for the children in the community and will be held from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. in Hackney Library prior to the adults’ reception, book signing, and dinner. The second event will be the signature dinner program beginning with a wine reception and book signing at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. in Hardy Alumni Hall. Reservations are required for the evening event. Copies of Wells’ books will be available for purchase at the wine reception. Tickets for the dinner event are $35 per person, with reservations accepted through March 19. Members of the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library may reserve tickets for $30 per person. Table reservations must be for a total of eight persons. Please contact Luann Clark at 399-6329 for reservations or additional information.
During the “Storytime with Rosemary Wells,” the author will read/present one of her latest books, “Max and Ruby’s Treasure Hunt,” to the children present. Attendance is free at the “Storytime” event; however, children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian (and adults must have a child with them to gain admittance). At the “Storytime” event, copies of Wells’ books will be available for the children or their parent/guardian to purchase, and the author will be available to sign books for the children as well.
Wells’ career as a multi-award winning author and illustrator spans over 40 years and more than 150 books, so naming her best-loved characters is an almost impossible feat, but certainly the list would include bunny Max and his bossy older sister Ruby; Yoko, the Japanese kitten; and Noisy Nora the mouse, among many others. Several characters reappear in various series, including the Max and Ruby series, the Yoko and Friends School Days series, the Voyage to the Bunny Planet series, and others. Among numerous other awards, many of Wells’ books have received the American Library Association’s (ALA) Notable Book citations or American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists” citations, or have been named among School Library Journal’s best books of the year.
In addition to her self-illustrated books, Wells has authored books illustrated by others, including the series illustrated by collaborator Susan Jeffers about the beloved McDuff, the West Highland terrier inspired by Wells’ own pet, and “Wingwalker,” a book for slightly older readers that was illustrated by Brian Selznick. Conversely, she has illustrated a number of books written by other notable children’s authors, including Paula Fox, Robert W. Service, and Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. She has also adapted and illustrated classic folktales in picture book form.
Although she is perhaps best known for her toddler board books and children’s picture books, Wells has also written and won acclaim for several young adult novels. In addition, she has ventured into nonfiction books for children and young adults, including several biographies of historical as well as contemporary women, among others. Wells’ picture books for children often include anthropomorphic animals as characters.
Born in New York City but raised on the New Jersey shore, Wells began drawing at the age of two. As she says on her web site, “Very early on I knew I would be an artist one day. Drawing and painting was what I loved to do best in the world. Not until I was in my twenties did I think I would be a writer too.”
Entering the Boston Museum School to study art at the age of 19, Wells’ academic pursuit was soon exchanged for marriage to Tom Wells and the professional role of art editor and designer with textbook publisher Allyn and Bacon in Boston. Later, moving to New York City, she began work with the children’s books division of Macmillan.
Wells recently completed two more children’s books: “Following Grandfather,” a story about Jenny, a young mouse who is grieving over the death of her beloved Grandfather (written by Wells and illustrated by Christopher Denise, it was published in September 2012); and “Ivy Takes Care” (written by Wells and illustrated by Jim LaMarche; it is slated for release in February 2013).
She also is a passionate advocate of literacy programs, supporting the “Twenty Minutes a Day” campaign, which advocates parents’ reading to their children 20 minutes each day.
Wells currently resides in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.