In honor of the 35th anniversary of the children’s book series Arthur, author Marc Brown launched his nationwide tour last month with a visit to Heritage Elementary in Highland Village.
“I just really wanted some time with the kids,” said Brown as he signed hundreds of books inside the Heritage library just prior to addressing the student body.
Brown pointed out the unique hospitality and quality of Texas schools. “The librarians are great and the children are the most well behaved children in all states that I visit.”
Arthur is a story of an aardvark that models good social behavior, having begun as a bedtime story to Brown’s son.
“I had just lost my teaching job. I liked to tell stories, draw, and work with kids,” said Brown, who had studied to be a painter in art school.
Creating a book series was something that was a natural fit since Brown had begun illustrating textbooks after college, before beginning a teaching career, and still thinks of himself as an illustrator. He still does all of his own illustrations.
“I want to get kids excited about writing and illustrating their own stories. I remember when I used to get in trouble at school for daydreaming and now (laughing) I think, gee, that’s what my job is,” said Brown.
Heritage Principal Belinda Nikkel and Librarian Janelle Dennis played an integral part in securing Marc Brown’s visit to Heritage. Dennis stated that she often displays the Arthur series in the library, “They are always all checked out.” In addition, she is pleased with the decision of flexible scheduling for the students’ library visits. “I have not only seen our circulation increase, but I’ve seen the kids become more independent. They come more often, because they want to, not because they have to.”
Following his 35th anniversary tour, Brown has planned a book tour for Arthur Turns Green, a new escapade that raises awareness of the environment.
Arthur even has his own Facebook page for fans that want to keep up with what he is doing each day.