Van Dusen heads to the Fox Islands

Nov 05, 2012

Award-winning author Chris Van Dusen of Camden will work with students in Vinalhaven and North Haven schools in coming days. Courtesy of Island Readers & Writers, Van Dusen will visit the school on Vinalhaven Wednesday, Nov. 7; and Norht Haven Community School Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Van Dusen is back on bookshelves with “If I Built A House,” the much-anticipated follow-up to the E. B. White Award-winning “If I Built a Car.”

“We look forward to the visit,” said Vinalhaven school superintendent Bruce Mailloux. “Having  a person come out and visit with our students makes them realize you don’t have to be from a long way away to be a successful author.”

Van Dusen, who was born in Portland, is the Maine author of 14 books including the Lupine Award-winning “The Circus Ship.”

“Chris’s new book is great fun and we can’t wait to see what the kids on Vinalhaven come up with in response to it,” said Jan Coates, executive director of Island Readers & Writers.

IRW is a nonprofit based on Mount Desert Island devoted to inspiring a passion for reading and learning among children living on Maine’s coastal islands. Van Dusen first worked with IRW after the 2005 release of “If I Built A Car.”

“IRW comes up with some really great ideas,” said Chris. “What’s the oldest house in your town and what sets it apart? and things like that. I’m looking forward to seeing what the kids come up with.”

During these school visits, young readers will let their imaginations soar while choosing what they would put in their very own dream houses. What will it be — a swimming pool, spaceport, dance studio or time travel portal? Teachers and adult volunteers won’t be left out, as they work with the kids on elements of design, math, technology and engineering to get ready for Van Dusen’s visits. While he is on-island, Van Dusen will read from and sign copies of “If I Built A House,” which will be provided to all students courtesy of IRW.

Van Dusen visits a lot of schools, but said visits with IRW are especially special.

“They know you made the trip out there, and sometimes it’s not an easy trip ... the reaction you get from the school kids on the islands, that keeps me going back,” he said.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or

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