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TSB author Dorie McCullough Lawson and her delightful children’s book TEX were featured at Bradford Brinton’s 132nd Birthday Celebration at the Bradford Brinton Memorial & Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, on June 26, 2012. Dorie’s son Luke, the inspiration behind the TEX character, took part in the festivities.

“It was wonderful to visit with Dorie and Tim [Dorie’s husband T Allen Lawson, the renowned landscape painter], and see how much Luke ‘Tex’ had grown!” said Barbara Schuster, Associate Curator of the museum.

The Bradford Brinton Memorial & Museum allows you to experience the lifestyle of a 1920s and 30s gentleman’s working ranch. Guided tours of the Main Ranch House are available, and the property features regular art exhibitions and an exclusive Native American Collection.

The Ranch House on the Quarter Circle A Ranch, on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1892 by William Moncreiffe, renovated and enlarged by Bradford Brinton in 1927-28, and opened to the public as a memorial to Western art and history through Helen Brinton’s will in 1961. The Brintons’ collection, on display in its original setting, includes splendid artwork by Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, Edward Borein, Frank Tenney Johnson, Hans Kleiber & Bill Gollings and many others.

Copies of TEX by Dorie McCullough Lawson are available at the museum gift shop, and signed copies are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly said about TEX:

Certain childhood dreams are elemental—growing up to be a firefighter, a ballerina, or a cowboy—and adult author Lawson, in her first children’s book, taps into that third option with a photographic ode to a boy’s imagined life on the ranch. Lawson begins by introducing readers to Luke (her son), who first appears in grayscale photos. “He lives in a house near the ocean…. But Luke imagines he is… Tex.” Color photographs, on the right side of each spread, portray Tex as one serious cowpoke, wearing a jean shirt, boots, and a black brimmed hat against an expansive landscape of mountains and “wide open spaces.” Spare prose plays into the taciturn image of a cowboy on the job (“All day long Tex works hard. He rides. He irrigates. He checks fence”), and even with her son in the starring role, Lawson avoids both cutesiness and the feel of a vanity project, focusing on the simple pleasures of hard work and a job well done. The seriousness with which the book takes Tex’s role on the ranch validates children’s dreams and ambitions. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF TEX, SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR, TODAY!

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Everyone is gearing up for the biggest weekend in holiday shopping! Beginning with “Black Friday” (the notorious day after Thanksgiving that can make-or-break a retailer’s year), great sales and special events often extend into Saturday and Sunday, ensuring that visiting families and kids home from school have somewhere to go (and some way to spend their money!)

Two Trafalgar Square Books authors are doing their share by participating in special book signing events this Saturday, November 26–the “day after” Black Friday. Check it out:

ON THE EAST COAST

Dorie McCullough Lawson, wife of painter T. Allen Lawson and daughter of historian David McCullough, is reading her fabulous new children’s book TEX, discussing the story behind it, and signing books at Bunch of Grapes, 44 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. She will be upstairs in Kid’s Corner beginning at 10:30 am.

TEX is the perfect picture book for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, with wonderful color photographs, a story about imagination, work ethic, and the beauty of the American West, and a main character who goes to sleep at the end (very important!) Watch the video of one little boy “reading” TEX by clicking HERE.

AND OUT WEST

Kayla Starnes, the writer and photographer behind the new USTRC-endorsed book TEAM ROPING 101 will be signing books at the Hastings in the Texas horse-capital of Stephenville, 2900 West Washington Street, #10, from 3 to 6 pm.

TEAM ROPING 101 is all you need to know to get started in the hottest new sport for those who like riding horses, going out with the family, and winning great cash prizes. Endorsed by the USTRC and featuring tips from champion ropers Speed Williams and Rickey Green, as well as training tips and a foreword from Stephenville celebrity horseman Clinton Anderson, Kayla’s book is a surefire way to rope up some fun.

Don’t miss these two great opportunities to get terrific holiday gifts, personalized by the author!

Both TEX and TEAM ROPING 101 are also available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

The Trafalgar Square Books Crew says HAPPY THANKSGIVING with 15% off your online order at HorseandRiderBooks.com! Just enter the coupon code THANKS15 at checkout (sale runs through 12-2-2011 and cannot be combined with other offers).

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This past weekend the Library of Congress celebrated the “joys of reading aloud” on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The 2011 National Book Festival featured over 100 of today’s most influential authors, including Toni Morrison, Russell Banks, Sherman Alexie, Garrison Keillor, and two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian David McCullough, among many others. TSB author Dorie McCullough Lawson was featured in the Children’s Pavilion, where she spoke and signed copies of her wonderful new children’s book, TEX.

Although just out, TEX has already won the hearts of reviewers with its vivid color-block design and authentic photographs of the American West. You can order a copy of TEX for your favorite little cowboy or cowgirl at the TSB bookstore (its available NOW!), where shipping in the US is always FREE.

While at the National Book Festival, Dorie sat down with the LOC and shared a little about her writing process, as well as her advice for passing on a love of books and reading to young children:

LOC: What sparked your imagination for your book – TEX?

DL: I have always been captivated by children of a certain age, usually from about 3 to 5, who in their pretend play become totally transported and transformed by the power of their imaginations. They become what they imagine. The little cowboy, Tex, was photographically interesting and a character simply waiting for a book.

LOC: What challenges do you face in your writing process? How do you overcome them?

DL: I have to hear a book in my head before I can write and sometimes I have trouble hearing it. If I’m not hearing it, then time is really the only thing that helps me with that challenge. Ideas (and I have many of them) usually have to stew and settle, get disrupted, and then stew again before I am ready to write.

LOC: What tips or advice can you share with young students who hope to start writing?

DL: Write about something that matters to you. If you are writing about a subject you don’t know much about, learn about it, study it, look at it until you care about it. You can’t write about anything if it doesn’t matter to you, so make it matter.

LOC: Can you suggest a fun writing topic to get them started?

DL: When I was working on my book Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to their Children (Doubleday, 2003) I realized that many of the best letters were written when a parent was very angry or very sad – when emotions were running high. I would suggest writing a letter to someone about a subject that makes you spitting mad!

LOC: What is your list of favorite children or teen books?

DL:

  • Harry the Dirty Dog, Gene Zion
  • Huge Harold, Bill Peet
  • The Amazing Bone, William Steig
  • James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, James Herriot
  • Old Yeller, Fred Gipson
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George – Speare
  • Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
  • Carry On Mr. Bowditch, Jena Lee Latham
  • The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, Farley Mowat
  • Light in the Forest, Conrad Richter

LOC: How do you decide on themes for your books?

DL: I have written a non-fiction book, a novel and TEX is my first children’s book. Although the three books are of different genres, I would say in each case, the themes have been arrived at by the characters. I don’t choose themes, the characters choose them for me.

LOC: How important is research in the development of your books? Can you explain that process as well?

DL: Research is always very important! Authenticity is essential. Authenticity requires knowledge and knowledge is arrived at by research. I consider research to come in all shapes and sizes – everything from digging in archives to simply soaking it up. In the case of TEX, research came in the form of spending years in the West – in towns, on ranches, with animals and with cowboys. The photographs had to be authentic and the language had to fit with the subject and the character.

LOC: What is your advice to parents for passing the joys of reading on to their children?

DL: Talk about what you, yourself are reading. Be sure your children see you reading for pleasure and by that I mean reading books – not newspapers or magazine, not online, not on an e-reader – BOOKS!

Don’t give up reading aloud when your children are proficient readers themselves! We are always reading a family book. Every night for about a half an hour our whole family sits together in the living room to listen while my husband or I read aloud a chapter or two to the family. Sometimes the older kids protest and sometimes the younger kids don’t understand everything that is happening in the book, but they all hear it. With a family book always in the mix, no matter what is going on we all have something in common and that something is a book.

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