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Red Wing author Jacqueline West will autograph her books at the Anderson Center book fair on Saturday.

Civil War group camping out at book fair

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Special attractions both old and new - a Civil War encampment and innovative colored bubbles called Zubbles - have been added to the schedule for the 11th annual Celebration of Minnesota Children's Authors and Illustrators on Sept. 11 at the Anderson Center at Tower View.

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A combination family book fair and and interactive party for kids, the event will run from noon to 5 p.m. It is free and open to everyone. Joining the Anderson Center in presenting the book festival are Red Balloon Book Shop of St. Paul and the Red Wing Public Library.

As always, the celebration will feature nearly 20 authors and illustrators, many of them award-winning writers/artists with national reputations.

Visitors will be able to purchase books then bring them to the authors to be autographed.

"One of the beautiful things about this event," Anderson Center Director Robert Hedin said, "is that kids can actually meet the authors. It's really a treat for them to find out that authors are very much alive."

Among featured authors for the first time will be Jacqueline West of Red Wing, whose first book - "The Books of Elsewhere, Volume One: The Shadows" - and a poetry book, "Cherma," were published earlier this year. She is scheduled to read from her work at 3:30 p.m. in the main house.

Other authors at the event will include John Coy, who has done school residencies locally, along with Rick Allen, Emilie Buchwald, Marsha Chall, Rick Chrustowski, Debra Frasier, Michael Hall, Barbara Joosse, Susan Runholt, Joyce Sidman, Lauren Stringer, Sharon Werner/Sara Forss, Mike Wohnoutka, and Barbara Joosse, whose "Papa Do You Love Me?" has sold more than 1 million copies and been translated into 15 languages.

Also appearing will be Tim Kehoe, who in addition to being an author also is the developer of award-winning products including Zubbles, the world's first colored bubbles. They received Popular Science's Grand Prize for Innovation, and he has appeared on Discovery Channel, NBC, CBS and National Public Radio.

Two other participating writers, Patricia Bauer and David Geister, will appear in their Civil War era costumes, Hedin said. A teacher, Bauer is a seasonal costumed interpreter of historic Fort Snelling and author of "B is for Battle: A Civil War Alphabet." Her husband's work also is historically oriented.

Their appearance is especially appropriate this year, Hedin said, because the Anderson Center has added a visit from the Second Minnesota Battery of Light Artillery. The Civil War re-enactors will set up an encampment on the upper lawn for the afternoon, and will shoot off a cannon at 3 and 4:30 p.m.

Other features of the afternoon:

• Readings by authors in the main house and the lower level classrooms.

• Slide shows and talks by illustrators in the lower level gallery.

• Activities for children featuring aMaze, ArtReach, Fairview Foundation, Friends of the Library, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Picture Window Books, Red Wing Arts Association, Sister Cities Commission, Science Outside the Box, book marbling, face painting, puppet-making and stilt walking.

• Balloon Man David Olson, Tom Fletcher and his World of Marbles, storytelling at the top of the tower, songs and stories with Jack Pearson.

• Visits from Beatrix Potter (Lois Burnes), Maud Hart Lovelace and Ronald McDonald.

• A selection of children's books in Spanish presented in cooperation with Hispanic Outreach of Goodhue County.

• An exhibit of rare manuscripts and illustrations from the Kerland Collection.

The celebration typically draws 1,000 to 1,200 people, Hedin said. Librarians, teachers and families come from a five-state area, joining grade school and middle school children on the grounds.

"The event is designed to promote family reading and literacy," he said. It becomes more challenging each year, Hedin noted, because of the number of small arts organizations - many of them focused on arts education - that have shut down due to the recession.

The Anderson Center is on Highway 61 at Highway 19 in west Red Wing. For information, go online to www.andersoncenter.org.

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