EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Every day, children ask East Brunswick Public Library staff where they can find the Arthur series of children's books. March 1 was different--they had the opportunity to meet. Marc Brown, the author and illustrator who created Arthur.

The event was sponsored by the East Brunswick Public Library Foundation to celebrate Read Across America Month, a nationwide initiative to promote childhood literacy.

"Marc Brown is an American treasure.  He made such a wonderful impression on the children and adults who were at the event," said East Brunswick Public Library Foundation President Tracy L. Fink.   The Foundation is committed to raising funds in order to continue to provide quality programs that enhance our community."

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Over two hundred people--ranging from children to grandparents--came to the library that afternoon to learn more about Arthur. Brown initially created the character in a bedtime story he was telling his son.

"He wanted a story about a weird animal, and I chose an aardvark," Brown told the audience. "They are very underserved in children's literature."

Arthur first debuted in the 1976 children's book Arthur's Nose. The character was extremely popular, appearing in over a hundred different books by brown. Arthur books have sold over 65 million copies in the United States alone and have been on the New York Times Bestseller list. An animated television series debuted on PBS in 1996, winning several Emmys and The George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.

"I would have never imagined it would turn into a book series and television show all over the world," he added.

Throughout the program, Brown shared about his career and personal life and explained how they had impacted Arthur.

"I think the best things that happen are from real life," Brown said. In his presentation, he shared how the real-life experiences of him and his children became plots for Arthur to explore. Even the characters are based on Brown's friends, family, and people he has met in real life.

Following the program, Brown signed books and posed for pictures.

Information about the East Brunswick Public Library Foundation can be found online at www.ebplfoundation.org. A calendar of upcoming events at East Brunswick Public Library can be found online at www.ebpl.org.