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Holyoke librarian sees his first book published

Date: 7/3/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE — Jason Lefebvre spends much of his day as a children's librarian around picture books and now one of those books will be his own.

Lefebvre, who has worked at the Holyoke Public Library since 2005, recently received copies of his first picture book, "Too Much Glue," which will officially be released in September by Flash Light Press. The book is featured prominently in the publisher's fall catalog.

According to the catalog, the story of a boy who likes using too much glue in school art classes "is based on a myth perpetuated by preschool teachers worldwide that too much glue never dries."

"This myth was created for the good of humankind and to prevent children from gluing themselves to their desks," the description continued.

Lefebvre explained to Reminder Publications, the book represents the culmination of an ambition.

He started working with children as a pre-school aide in 1998 and thought about writing a picture book at that time. Twelve years ago, he said he became "more serious" about writing and he completed the book's text in 2006.

Flash Light Press accepted the book in 2009 and Lefebvre learned in May 2012 the book was going into production.

"It was a long process but it was worth it," he said.

He explained that writing a picture book for children was "a real learning process." There is a very specific spacing to a picture book, Lefebvre said.

"You have to think about action words and how they work on a page," he said.

A picture book is 32 pages in length and 28 of those are the actual story, he said of the format. Some authors actually draw storyboards to make sure the text is coordinated with the illustration, but Lefebvre said he made those notes in his head.

He said he submitted the text and the editor decided who would illustrate the story. In this case, Lefebvre was teamed with an artistic newcomer to picture books, Zac Retz.

Lefebvre called the illustrations "amazing" and said, "I was really, really lucky."

He explained there was no real collaboration with Retz, who worked with the book's editor on the illustrations.

Lefebvre said one of the advantages of going with a small press is an author receives "a ton of attention."

He has other manuscripts he would like to have published and is considering hiring an author's agent. He is also hoping to attend the Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature.

He is currently considering illustrating one of his own manuscripts, but he admitted with a smile he is in "no way a professional illustrator."

Lefebvre said he is looking forward to the book's availability as he gave away all of the copies the publisher sent him to family and friends. Naturally he intends to make sure the library has a copy.

In the meantime, Lefebvre said the publication of "Too Much Glue" is a dream come true."