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'Redwall' series author visits
La Verne bookstore
Posted Nov. 11, 2007

Author of the “Redwall” series, Brian Jacques, stopped by La Verne on his last U.S. tour.

Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop hosted the book signing and meet and greet at the La Verne community center on Saturday.

Brian Jacques, author of "Redwall" is on his last U.S. tour.

"He's been writing this series for over 20 years," Andrea Vuleta, manager of Mrs. Nelson's said.

"'Redwall' is the first one. I really like it; it's sort of an epic series, it has a lot of action," she said.

"It's the kind of book that has a subtle social commentary, grand adventure and a lot of kids relate to."

"I wrote the first book for the children of the Royal School of the Blind in Liverpool, England,” Jacques said.

Jacques’ first book was not published and promoted by a large publishing house, but rather passed along through word of mouth.

His books are now published in more than 20 languages of which he says he speaks two.

"I only speak two languages; English and rubbish," Jacques said.
His books are loved not only by children, but by adults as well.

"They have crossed the great divide," Jacques said.

His books are also known for their ability to help children enjoy reading.
Jacques said that a librarian in Texas told a story of a young boy who came to her with a book report assignment. 

He did not like reading and said he wanted a book with only 100 pages.

She handed him a Jacques book and told him he had to stop at page 100. 

The librarian knew she had him and that he would not be able to stop reading.

"I have countless letters from grateful parents," Jacques said.

He said that he knows of people with dyslexia learning how to read because of his books.

"It's nice to know that somewhere along the way I have touched people," he said.

At Saturday's event just about every age group was present; from adults to children to parents whose children are reading the books they read as children.

"It’s nice when they come along and say 'Hi Mr. Jacques' and now they bring their own little ones," Jacques said.

Jacques had nothing but good things to say about his readers.

"The kids who read my books are good kids.  There don't seem to be any brats or bullies," he said.

In the line waiting to hear Jacques speak and have a book signed was Anita Ziesmann, a 13-year-old Goddard Middle School student.

"Brian Jacques is one of my favorite authors," Ziesmann said. "I have always liked fantasy."

After they waited in line, Jacques' readers were ushered into a hall in the community center to hear him speak.

Jacques gave the history behind writing "Redwall" and the importance of imagination.

"I had to write for the imagination of blind children," Jacques said.
"You must have a very good imagination if you want to be a writer. You can be an author if you learn to paint pictures with words."

Jacques addressed the audience regarding imagination.

"God gave each of us an imagination and you are free to use it whenever you like," he said.

"Redwall" and all of the books in the series are filled with characters who are animals.

Ziesmann said that one of her favorite characters is a squirrel who is also a warrior maiden.

In regards to using animals in his books Jacques said, "Animals are better people than people."

Nicole Bolten, an employee at Mrs. Nelsons said she enjoys the books.
Her favorite character is named Matthias.

"He's one of those underdogs and he's a complete klutz like me," Bolton said.

"It kind of gives you hope for the klutzes of the world."

Jacques’ tales of mice and moles and foxes and squirrels filled with battles and war cries touch people of all ages in many parts of the world.

"These books are the children of my imagination and I love them all equally," Jacques said.

Susan Acker can be reached at sacker@ulv.edu.