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Bangor Book Festival: Ellen Booraem

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Editor's Note: In celebration of the upcoming Bangor Book Festival, The Maine Edge will be featuring various works and authors leading up to the Festival on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

BROOKLIN - Imagine being an overweight, bullied, middle-schooler who discovers that your imaginary friend is real. That's the premises behind Ellen Booraem's "Small Persons With Wings," a fantasy novel that will soon be available through Scholastic.

"In my book, there's this kid living a normal life and a fairy appears and disrupts her life. She then discovers her family has a century-old relationship with these creatures, small persons with wings, and there's a ring that her family has that these small persons want back," explained Booraem.

The Brooklin, Maine-based author admits this "not-so imaginary fairy" was created during an online forum she joined in 2003 that would often discuss Harry Potter.

"The first version I had of this overdressed fairy was of her lying disheveled in a chandelier in a pub with pink slippers and bourbon. And everything else came from that," Booraem said. "Before I knew it, she was overweight and had a grandfather with a drinking problem. I had no intention of making it a book about obesity."

Besides tackling such subjects as obesity and bullying, Booraem hopes "Small Persons With Wings" will entertain and encourage kids to dive into reading.

"My goal is to have kids reading under the covers at night with flashlight," she said. "I run into kids who say they want to write but that they don't read. They read books in class, but not for pleasure."

And that's hard for Booraem to hear, especially since her previous job as a writer and managing editor of the Ellsworth American depended on readers.

"I keep saying to these kids, 'there's a whole world open to you with books that you're not allowing yourself to enjoy.' I worry not reading is going to change how we think as a species. If you're presented with only video, your ability to imagine and form pictures in your head will be affected," said Booraem.

"Small Persons With Wings" was released in January 2010 and has received rave reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. To learn more about Ellen Booream and her work, log onto or visit her at this year's Bangor Book Festival scheduled for Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 in downtown Bangor.

Last modified on Monday, 12 December 2011 10:02


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