Library, IRW host children book author, illustrator 

Chris Van Dusen

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — The theme of this year’s Maine Libraries and Gulf of Maine Research Institute partnership is “Oceans of Possibilities.” In that spirit, the Southwest Harbor Library has invited beloved Maine author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen to read and discuss three of his ocean-centric books at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16.  

Before making children’s books, Van Dusen worked as a freelance illustrator specializing in art for kids. 

“One day I started thinking about drawing a picture of a boat stuck high up in a tree. I thought that would be a really funny and intriguing illustration. At the same time, a refrain kept running through my head, ‘Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee/ Hopped in the car and drove down to the sea.’ The combination of these two things eventually became my first book, ‘Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee,’ which was published in 2000. I’ve been busy writing and illustrating children’s books ever since,” Van Dusen said. 

Van Dusen is the author and illustrator of several picture books, including the popular Mercy Watson series. His book, “If I Built a Car,” won the 2006 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award presented by The Association of Booksellers for Children. He and his family live in Camden. 

This free event will be both in person and online. To register, go to, email [email protected] or call (207)244-7065. 

Van Dusen will also be the guest of Island Readers & Writers on Aug. 16 at the park adjacent to the Seaside United Church of Christ in Northeast Harbor from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a book sale, book signing and author talks.

IRW will have bags of Van Dusen’s books for sale, with proceeds going to benefit IRW’s programming. Van Dusen is a longstanding partner and supporter of IRW, and launched his picture book, “Circus Ship,” with the organization in 2009, touring 11 islands. Van Dusen will give author talks at 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.


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