The write stuff; Shrewsbury children's author takes part in Friends of the Worcester Public Library's 50th anniversary celebration.


Byline: Nancy Sheehan April is the coolest month for one local writer. It's been that way since she was born ... in the month of April. Her parents named her after her birth month, and it's been a charm ever since. But April Jones Prince of Shrewsbury feels lucky for many other reasons as well. She has written four children's books and is working on several others. She still has a day job - at Studio Goodwin Sturges in Boston, where she is an agent representing children's book illustrators. But she has been able to pare it down to part time, a move that makes way for her most important job: caring for her toddler son, Charlie. "It's amazing to be able to do all these things I want and then still be home with Charlie," Prince, 31, said. "It's very difficult to juggle it all, but at the same time I have to keep reminding myself that I'm so lucky." Her main literary focus is writing about history for young people. She says she likes to take fascinating people or "nuggets" from history and weave them into stories that are engaging to children. That child-friendly historical bent has resulted in "Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing," a book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the pachyderms PT Barnum used to test its strength; a biography, "Who Was Mark Twain?"; and "Meet Our Flag, Old Glory" about the meaning behind the stars and stripes. Her latest book, "What Do Wheels Do All Day?" (Houghton Mifflin Co.) is a bit of a departure that features a very short, rhyming text that gives a rhythmic sense of wheels going around. Her involvement with it came about through her day job. Illustrator Giles Laroche is represented by Studio Goodwin Sturges, and it was he who came up with the concept. "Our agency reps about 40 children's book illustrators," Prince said. "And sometimes things come in where it's, like, `Giles wants to do a book about wheels.' So instead of me writing a book about wheels and thinking, `Who should illustrate this?', it was the other way around." Prince wouldn't do a book on wheels for just anyone, but she felt Laroche's art was more than worthy of her words. In fact, the simple text in large type forms a framework for Laroche's lively, highly detailed bas-relief cut-paper collages. Prince will bring some of Laroche's original artwork to the Worcester Public Library for a program she will conduct there tomorrow morning. The program is part of the Friends of the Worcester Public Library's 50th anniversary celebration. Prince will do a...

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