Thursday, March 18, 2010

D.W. Visits Exeter-Milligan Elementary Students

Exeter-Milligan elementary students got a special treat Tuesday afternoon. They had a visit from the real “D.W.”. Who is D.W. you ask? Why everyone knows Dora Winifred Read, don’t they?

Well, for those of you who aren’t familiar with D.W., she is the annoying younger sister of Arthur of the Arthur series of books and star of the PBS series.

Kim Marc, is the real D.W., and the real younger sister of Marc Brown the author and illustrator of the long running Arthur series. Currently she lives in Litchfield, Neb. And visits schools around the country sharing with students the process that her brother, Marc, goes through when he writes an Author book.

Kim brought a lot of humor to her presentation asking the students, “You guys didn’t think I was going to show up with pink fuzzy ears?” She exemplified so many of the characteristics and even the intonations of D.W. as written by her brother Marc.

Kim explained how Marc Brown wrote the first Arthur book when he was working as an illustrator. His oldest son begged for a nightly bedtime store and Arthur the Aardvark was born. His son asked for the Arthur story over and over and eventually Marc made it into a book for his children and mentioned it to the publisher he worked with. Since then he has written well over 100 books about Arthur and his sister D.W.

About twenty years ago the Arthur series came to PBS. Brown overseas the series on PBS and one of his sons works as a producer on the series.

Exeter-Milligan students got the opportunity to ask Brown questions about Marc and the writing process. She also shared quite a few pictures of Marc, their family and his home. When showing his beautiful home in Martha’s Vineyard she reminded the students, “you don’t have to be a sports hero to have a nice beautiful home.”

Brown also shared some of the secret games that are present in the Arthur books. She explained how that Marc includes each of his children’s names hidden in the pictures of his books and one special book that includes all of the names of his nieces and nephews.

Kim explained that it takes Marc about two weeks to write a story. He does about 30 rewrites on each story to get it just right before moving on to the illustration. Illustrating is where Brown started and still enjoys the most. In addition to the Arthur series he continues to illustrate books including a Dinosaurs series with his wife as the author. The Dinosaurs series was designed to help children get through difficult situations like divorce.

The students enjoyed having Kim read them a D.W. book, D.W., The Picky Eater and also learning the eight steps drawing Arthur. All of the students got in line and Brown stamped autographs in the Arthur books students brought or on a piece of paper. Before the students left, Arthur himself made an appearance and took pictures with the students.

The program was put together by Librarian Jeretta Tauriella. When she found out that Brown was available to come to the students she booked her noting that “It is not too often you can find someone who is inexpensive who will come to a little town.”

The funding for the program came from the Book Fair fund and Tauriella thought it was “something that would help the kids related back to books.”

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