Author William Lach to speak at Northshire Bookstore on Rockwell books for children

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MANCHESTER — Author Will Lach is an expert when it comes to engaging children with famous artwork, as the author of a number of illustrated books about art and culture for children.

Lach has most recently penned two children's book focusing on works by Vermont's own Norman Rockwell, titled "Norman Rockwell's A Day in the Life of a Girl," and "Norman Rockwell's A Day in the Life of a Boy." On Saturday, Oct 14, the author will be at Manchester's Northshire Bookstore to share his most recent work with local children.

"I've done a bunch of books about art for kids, and with Rockwell it seems natural for kids to appreciate his work," said Lach. "I came across `A Day in the Life of a Boy,' and `A Day in the Life of a Girl,' and I just thought that every kid should see them. He makes his work really relatable."

The books highlight childhood's everyday pleasures, the theme in Rockwell's famous work from which the stories were derived, and augments the artists images with a rhythmic text perfect for reading aloud.

At the back of each book is a short biography of Rockwell himself, as well as notes from the original models for Rockwell's works Chuck Marsh and Mary Whalen Leonard (Leonard now resides in nearby Arlington.)

"I've seen videos of them online and had read about them, so I thought if the models are still alive why not talk to them," said Lach. "They can talk to the kids about what a day in the life was really like for them. Each of the books has a section in the back where the models talk about their experiences, and what it was like to work with this great artist."

Intriguingly, only one of these famous works remains in circulation, with "A Day in the Life of a Boy," disappearing years ago.

"It went missing a long time ago, some people say Rockwell sold it at an auction and it disappeared," said Lach, noting that the images in his "A Day in the Life of a Boy," are of a lower quality than its corresponding book for girls because of this. "Somebody out there, I bet in New England -- maybe even in Vermont, has it on their wall somewhere."

Lach is hoping that the publication of his books will spur a search for the missing work, which he hopes to use in a new edition of "A Day in the Life of a Boy" if found.

"This has happened before; he was so prolific and he gave a lot of work away, so they're dispersed pretty widely," said Lach. "If someone can find the missing Rockwell, we'd love to do a new book with sharper images."

Still, the search for the missing Rockwell is only one fun aspect of Lach's upcoming visit to Manchester. During his reading at the Northshire Bookstore Lach will welcome audience participation, and later lead an art project where kids will illustrate a day in their own lives. A question and answer session for all participants will follow.

"Rockwell worked in Arlington for many years, and many of his paintings were done in Arlington. The Northshire Bookstore is really the premiere bookstore in Southern Vermont; I would almost say all of Vermont," said Lach. "It's going to be a really fun event."

Rockwell's favorite treat will also be served, with options available for those with less of a sweet-tooth.

"One of the models said that after every session he would serve everybody Coca-Cola; he loved Coca-Cola," said Lach. "We'll be serving that, with apple cider available as well."

The opportunity to work so closely with Rockwell's work and history has been an immensely enjoyable endeavor according to the author.

"I've always really loved Rockwell, so this was a really great experience," said Lach. "It was great to meet the Rockwell family, and to get to know the models too. It's been a really fun project."

Lach will be presenting a reading of his new books at the Northshire Bookstore on Saturday, October 14 at 11 a.m.

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.


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