RUMFORD – First-graders Avery Sevigny and Madison Russell were among scores of children and parents listening to Camden author Chris Van Dusen describe the book-writing process downstairs, while 4-year-old Jake Zane picked out a colorful book upstairs at a book fair.

This is Literacy Week at Rumford Elementary School. Children and their parents are learning all kinds of things about books, then having a chance to add to their collections.

In the past, Pri ncipal Anne Chamberlin said, the Parent-Teacher Organization, with the help of Hannaford, has sponsored a poet and a children’s author.

This year’s special guest, Van Dusen, is both a children’s author and an illustrator.

His latest book, “If I Built A Car,” is a homage to Dr. Seuss, one of his favorite authors. The fantastical car imagined by the little boy in the book is written in rhyme, similar to how Dr. Seuss wrote his books.

Van Dusen said first drafts, or book covers, are hardly ever accepted by the publisher the first time. Instead, it often takes several drafts or illustration ideas before acceptance.

During the workshops he conducted with youngsters Wednesday, he showed pupils three covers that had been rejected by publishers, then asked them to comment on them.

He will conduct similar workshops with the remaining K-5 pupils at Rumford Elementary School on Thursday.

Van Dusen began writing children’s books in 2000 with his series on Mr. Magee. Before that, he was and still is, an illustrator. He provides drawings for other writers, as well as for businesses. Among them is the autumn cover of the L.L. Bean catalog and posters for the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He also created the new Maine lobster registration plate.

The in-house author is one of the activities planned during Literacy Week for youngsters. Chamberlin said a book fair was held Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, youngsters may bring in gently used books and swap them for a different book.


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