The kids and parents in Kelly March's (back, left) "Woolly Book Worms" club got some special treats for their last meeting Saturday: a scrumptious peanut butter pie, a delectable white cake with strawberries (both pictured below), and a visit from nearby children's author Peggy Thomas (second from right in the back).
Also included were some parent-friendly and kid-friendly beverages to wash the sweets down.
Thomas is the author of 14 books for children and young adults, including "Joshua the Giant Frog," which is a folkloric tale of the Erie Canal.
In spite of the fact that her mother, Margery Facklam, is also a children's author (her works include "Creepy, Crawly Caterpillars" and "The Big Bug Book"), writing was not Thomas' childhood ambition. Her father was a high school science teacher, and for a while it looked like she was going to follow in his footsteps and become a scientist. When it came time to go off to college, this became her focus.
Well, "focus" might not be exactly the right word...
"I kind of jumped around a lot in college," Thomas said.
After having explored different science programs, she ended up topping off her academic career with a master's degree in anthropology. But she gained something from her college experience that was arguably more valuable than a degree: her vocation.
"I learned from my mother that writing was a good, valuable thing as a kid," she explained. "And in college I realized that if I became a writer, I wouldn't have to be tied to just one thing. I could explore all these different subjects I was interested in."
Thomas' other works include juvenile nonfiction books on the subjects of forensic anthropology, animals, nature and New York State, as well as a picture book about President George Washington's life as a farmer in Mt. Vernon.
Her visit to the library was very informal. She sat down with the kids, let them ask questions, and talked about the steps involved in the writing process as well as the roles of the people involved -- including the illustrator, the editor and the copy editor.
She also showed everyone the "print run" of one of her mother's books, just to give an idea of the complexities of the book-publishing process.
Thomas lives in Middleport, which is about 2 hours and 45 minutes away from Batavia. For more information on her and the books she has written, vist her website at www.peggythomaswrites.com.
March would like to start Woolly Book Worms again in September. To learn more about this program, please contact the library at 343-9550, ext. 4.