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Friday, August 26, 2011

Anne Ylvisaker - and Katherine Harrigan

On August 18, 2011 I was in the audience at a local book store as Anne Ylvisaker and Katherine Harrigan each spoke about their newest book. Both authors have Iowa connections. Anne lived in Cedar Rapids for four years and now lives in Monterey, California, while Katherine lives and works in Fayette, Iowa.
Katherine is the author of the popular Ida B. and a more recent novel True (Sort of).  Both are great reads.

Anne is the author of Dear Papa, and Little Klein - both published by Candlewick in 2007. Her most recent book is The Luck of the Buttons, a story set in Iowa in 1929. I had previously targeted this book to be the subject of one of my early 2012 columns for Library Sparks. I was so pleased that Anne would be nearby and I would be able to hear her speak about the book. I gathered a lot of notes for my article.

Back home I began to research for information about Anne and her books and writing. I love to find connections to people whatever they might be. With Anne I was delighted to learn that her first novel was started in a class being taught by my friend Judy Delton, who wrote the series about Angel (she was a spunky heroine) and the PeeWee Scout books - to name but a few. Judy died on the last day of 2001 -- it seems like yesterday. I spoke to her on the phone and wrote letters (back when it was letters rather than e-mails) much more than I saw her in person. But I miss her and am very jealous that Anne was a good face-to-face friend with Judy.
The picture of Judy Delton is from the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota where she had donated many of her manuscripts. The Special Collections at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa houses the Sharron L. McElmeel Collection which includes much of my research documents, including my correspondence with Judy, news clippings, and photographs.
Another connection I was able to make with Anne is that I found out that her first favorite book was Pickle Chiffon Pie by Jolly Roger Bradfield. I seldom come across someone who knows about that book. It is a long ago classic -- but still one of my first favorites as well. In my collection of original art work are three small colored sketches by Roger Bradfield. They are treasured.  These are images from the book.  If you want the recipe for the pickle chiffon pie you can find it in my book Authors in the Pantry or you can e-mail me.

I don't know why such connections delight me so but they do -- so I picked up the phone and called Anne just to tell her.  I assume that she thought  I was a little weird (or maybe a lot weird).  I won't mention these connections in my Library Sparks article but there will be a lot of other information that you can read about Anne's The Luck of the Buttons in the January 2012 issue.

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