The Journey Continues….

A lot has happened along my life-long  journey with Charlie on the M.T.A. Did He Ever Return? since the book’s publication in July.  Little did I realize how many doors and windows would open in the quest to get the book into the hands of readers.

Caitlin Marquis, Illustrator and Julia M. O’Brien-Merrill, author at Maine Historical Society with display of M.T.A. ephemera in case

The event with illustrator Caitlin Marquis at the Maine Historical Society in November was a huge success, with the bookshop there selling out of the books! Now that the Walter and Laura O’Brien Collection is safely in the Brown Research Library, I hope that inquiring minds about the historical, social, and political lives of my parents and other progressives in the forties and fifties will find some interesting primary sources.

As I begin to get my feet wet as an author, I have enjoyed reading the book and having discussions with students at a few schools in Maine including:

  •  In a first grade classroom at Coffin School in Brunswick as a “Celebrity Author-Reader” reading a copy of the book I had donated to the school library in memory of my dear friend and mentor Beth Bartlett for many years when I taught English as a Second Language in the Brunswick Schools.
  • In a fourth grade classroom at Great Salt Bay School in Damariscotta where the students formed a human timeline of the history of the MTA song and its history.

  • In a second grade classroom at the Howard C. Reiche School in Portland in my childhood neighborhood. Mr. Reiche was the principal when I attended Portland High School (1965-1968). It was a delight and thrill to share the book with the very curious  young students. According to their teacher, Kristen Fox, a student even brought in a CharlieCard the following day.
    “My students enjoyed and learned a lot from Julia’s visit to our classroom.  They loved meeting an author, and they were intrigued by
    the story of Julia’s father.  They sang the M.T.A. folk song and passed around an authentic Charlie card.  Julia easily connected with the children, and was able to effectively communicate this rich and complicated story while keeping the students engaged.
    Kristen Fox, 2nd grade teacher
    Howard C. Reiche Community School
    Portland, Maine

Stay tuned for more book events in Maine and Boston.


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