This old farm: Award-winning illustrator to read at MDI preserve

BAR HARBOR — Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall, whose books include “Hello Lighthouse” and “Finding Winnie” by Lindsay Mattick among others, will celebrate the release of her new picture book,

“Farmhouse” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Stone Barn Farm Preserve in Bar Harbor. The event will be co-hosted by Island Readers & Writers and Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

An Australian illustrator, Blackall lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Shew has illustrated more than 50 books for children that include Annie Barrows’ “Ivy & Bean” series that was recently adapted for Netflix. She also runs Milkwood, a retreat for writers and illustrators, in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

“Farmhouse” follows the daily lives of 12 children born and raised in a farmhouse. Released Sept. 13, the story is based on a real house from which Blackall salvaged artifacts such as wallpaper and fabric to create her collage illustrations.

Much like Blackall’s farmhouse, Stone Barn Farm Preserve’s 19th-century buildings are rich in stories. At the corner of Bar Harbor’s Crooked Road and Norway Drive, the historic property’s structures are undergoing renovation and preservation.

At the Sept. 25 event, Blackall will read her latest book and discuss its creation and her life as an author and illustrator.  A Maine Coast Heritage Trust representative also will be on hand to speak about the ongoing work at Stone Barn Farm Preserve. Copies of “Farmhouse” will be available for purchase and signing, with proceeds benefiting IRW and MCHT’s programs.

This event is free and open to the public and will be held outdoors. In the event of rain, the public should check for an updated location at No restroom facilities are available at Stone Barn Farm Preserve at this time.

Island Readers and Writers is a nonprofit headquartered in Southwest Harbor. Its mission is to inspire a love of reading and learning in children living on Maine’s coastal islands and in rural Washington County. Since its founding in 2006, IRW has worked to bring award-winning authors and illustrators to classrooms for programs designed to stretch imaginations, encourage curiosity, develop creative and reflective thinking skills, and expand perspectives through hands-on learning in natural history, science, literature, writing, and art. To date, IRW has distributed more than 26,000 books to Maine children.

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