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Author Barbara Bologna
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Author Maggie Lyons
BY COLLETTE CAPRARA
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
This month, middle-grades readers will have an opportunity to meet and greet two local authors as area libraries host a series of book signings.
Participants can learn how the idea for a book comes about, how a story develops, and unanticipated developments that may come in the course of creation. Both authors have tailored their tales for young readers with fast-paced action, exciting plot twists and turns, themes that will resonate with their imaginations and experiences, and dash of humor.
This Saturday at Central Rappahannock Regional Library headquarters, Maggie Lyons will be presenting two books: "Vin and the Dorky Duet" and "Dewi and the Seeds of Doom." The first novel weaves the tale of a trumpet-playing seventh-grader, Vin, and his quixotic quest to accomplish a seemingly impossible task posed by his sister. She promises that his success would be rewarded with a soccer jersey autographed by his favorite star player. Along the way, he encounters a series of hurdles and challenges--ranging from exploding fish tanks and magnetic compost heaps to a man-eating bubble bath. Though his calculated plots and plans backfire, Vin's mission climaxes with an unpredictable happy ending.
Far from the familiar cafeteria and halls of middle school, Lyons next takes her readers to the fantastic, magical world of Dewi the Dragon. Being a kindly Welsh dragon, Dewi is accustomed to doing a good deed daily, but he is called to accomplish the feat of his lifetime when he discovers the plot of an evil baron to control the world by permeating farmland with genetically modified corn.
With vividly detailed scenarios, Lyons keeps readers on the edge of their seats in a tale of adventure peppered with unexpected puns and crafty and clever characters.
Lyons says she hopes that her books will spark interest and enthusiasm among even reluctant readers.
"Children won't read books that are boring, so I try to end every chapter with something of a cliffhanger that will propel them to read on. Twists and turns don't bother kids at all, they thrive on them," she said. "And it's so important for them to enjoy reading, because literacy will be the foundation of their quality of life."
Throughout the month, Barbara Bologna will continue a series of presentations of her newly released, "Bullied Over Sandman's Falls," with book signings at the Salem Church and Snow libraries.
In a setting based on her experience of a fishing expedition, Bologna's plot features a timely-yet-timeless tale of a youth's travails and ultimate victory over mean-spirited taunting. As the story unfolds, persistent bullying by an older cousin escalates to a life-threatening situation, in which the protagonist, Pete, risks his own life to save his little sister who is trapped in a river's current and headed toward a waterfall.
"Even though kids today have video games and movies filled with superheroes and magic, our children still have to deal with the real 'monsters' that confront them in their everyday lives," said Bologna. "In learning to how deal with bullying they are learning lessons about self-control and confronting challenges that will stay with them through their lives."
Collette Caprara is a local writer