Children’s author and illustrator Sandra Dutton will read from and sign copies of “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” Saturday, Sept. 11 at Owl & Turtle Bookshop, 32 Washington St. in the Knox Mill complex, from 10 a.m. to noon.

In “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth,” Dutton’s the sixth book, 10-year-old Mary Mae loves to sing hymns with her Granny, go to Sunday School and learn about trilobites. She has lots of questions about how the earth looked millions of years ago. Trouble is, Mary Mae’s mother thinks it is wrong to believe the world is that old. Mama believes God created it 6,000 years ago and she believes that nobody should teach Mary Mae otherwise.

When Mary Mae starts taking her questions to church, asking how God created the earth in six days or how eight people could take care of animals on an ark, Mama puts her foot down and insists on home schooling. Mary Mae must decide where her loyalties lie: with science and her teacher Miss Sizemore; with God and Mama; or somewhere in the middle.

Dutton grew up the daughter of Sunday school teachers in Ohio. She was as curious about the book of Genesis as she was about the fossils in her backyard. She said she wants children to see that even when everyone thinks they are wrong – and Mary Mae doesn’t seem to have anyone in her corner at home and in church except Granny – that “it’s okay to voice your objections and be true to yourself, to listen to that little voice that says, Hey, wait a minute. How can this be true? or What do I really believe?”

Dutton has an bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a doctorate in rhetoric and composition, and she taught English at the University of Louisville and New York Institute of Technology. She was the founder, in 1982, publisher and editor of her own literary magazine, River City Review, in Louisville, Ky. Her musical, “Just a Matter of Time,” was produced as an Equity Showcase at the Sage Theatre, Times Square, New York City. She is the mother of two grown sons and lives with her husband in Maine.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.