Community Library hosts author Denise Fleming
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Caldecott Honor-winning Ohio children’s author and illustrator Denise Fleming was in Sunbury recently, thanks to funding provided in part through an Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA Grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio.
While Community Library hosted Fleming’s Big Walnut visit, the event was held across the street in the Sunbury United Methodist Church’s multipurpose room.
During daytime sessions with Big Walnut district elementary students, and an evening presentation, Fleming shared her book The First Day of Winter. There was also audience participation, and Fleming demonstrated how she creates art for her titles.
“In total we saw daytime attendance, including morning and afternoon school group sessions, over 800 people,” said Community Library Children’s Services Director Fonda Kendrick. “After over a year in the making, it was really fun to see everything come together, and even better to watch the kids having a great time during Denise’s presentation.”
Fleming, who goes out about 10 times each year for events, said she had a great time interacting with both the children and adults.
“I enjoyed the kids’ reaction to things,” Fleming said. “They get so wound up and enthusiastic. Their teachers prepared them really well.”
Fleming said she does not often do school assemblies; she does more presentations at universities and early childhood conferences where she works with teachers on ways of teaching.
Fleming attended the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she studied Illustration. After working in the commercial art field and free-lancing as an artist and illustrator, at age 40 she decided to pursue her dream — she wrote, illustrated, and published her first children’s book.
Fleming’s 21st book will be published soon, and all of her works are still in print.
Community Library Director Chauncey Montgomery said he is pleased that a partnership with the Delaware County District Library, the Big Walnut Local School District and Sunbury United Methodist Church made Fleming’s visit possible.
“To me, I couldn’t think of a better partnership,” Montgomery said. “Combining Fleming’s visit with the Delaware Library, we coordinated the Big Walnut visit, the school district bused the kids over, and the Methodist Church provided the space we needed.
“The students were all really attentive,” Montgomery added. “They were really well behaved and seemed into what Denise was presenting. Hopefully they were all inspired.”