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Meet the Author: Hester Bass

Threats, intimidation, and violence kept segregation in place. Bravery, determination, and perseverance broke through the barrier to let integration triumph. A new children's picture book, Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama, brings Huntsville's story to life. You can meet author Hester Bass and learn more about her work on Sunday, February 1, at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Downtown Huntsville Library, 915 Monroe St.

Books will be available for sale and signing. Admission is free.

Hester also will talk about her work at the Bailey Cove Library, 1409 Weatherly Plaza, on Sunday, February 8, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. for an SCBWI Southern Breeze Schmooze, which is open to the public. Then she will sign books at the Bridge Street Barnes & Noble starting at 4 p.m.

A former Huntsville resident, Hester discovered the story of our community’s integration through two historic markers commemorating the desegregation of a public school and a private school during the same week in September 1963. That story stirred her imagination. She had to know more.

So, she researched the time period. She pored over documents in the Special Collections department of the downtown Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. She talked to some of the people who marched – and sat – for an integrated Huntsville.

And then she wrote. The result was published by Candlewick Press on January 27.

Seeds of Freedom is a Junior Library Guild selection and a Winter 2015 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. It's already getting great reviews.

"Unflinchingly honest and jubilantly hopeful, this is nonfiction storytelling at its best." - Starred review, Publishers Weekly 

"The use of present tense gives a great sense of immediacy to the text as it transports readers into the past to watch events unfold. A valuable introduction to the civil rights period." - Starred review, Booklist 

Hester is also the author of two other children’s books: The Secret World of Walter Anderson, winner of the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award and SIBA Book Award, and So Many Houses. The Secret World of Walter Anderson was chosen to represent the state of Alabama at the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

A picture book is a collaboration between author and illustrator. For Seeds of Freedom, Hester teamed up again with acclaimed illustrator E.B. Lewis, who worked with her on The Secret World of Walter Anderson. Earl Bradley Lewis has illustrated 65 books for children, including Nikki Grimes’ Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, the 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner; Alice Schertle’s Down the Road, an American Library Association Notable Book; Tolowa M. Mollel’s My Rows and Piles of Coins, an ALA Notable Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; Garvin Curtis's Bat Boy and His Violin, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and Jacqueline Woodson’s The Other Side, a 2002 Notable Book for the Language Arts.

For more information on Hester’s library visit, please call 256.532.2362. For more information about the author and the illustrator, visit their websites, http://hesterbass.com and http://eblewis.com/.