Alumnus Matt Tavares, children's book author-illustrator, gives talk

The art department presents a slide talk by Matt Tavares, a member of the class of 1997 and the author-illustrator of the children’s book Zachary’s Ball, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Room 104, Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell Street. The talk is open to the public at no cost.

Tavares adapted his senior thesis at Bates into Zachary’s Ball, whose black and white drawings and simple text portray a young boy’s fantasy life at Fenway Park. The book was published in 2000 by the Candlewick Press, which has since published a new edition of the 1823 poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with illustrations by Tavares. He has a third, all-original book on the way.

“In this age of Astroturf and retractable dome stadiums, I wanted to create a story that portrayed baseball in a simple, timeless way — a child going to an old-time ballpark with his fielder’s mitt, hoping to catch a foul ball, or maybe even see his hero hit a home run,” Tavares says of his first book.

The Boston Globe used the book in a campaign to encourage children to read more.

In the book, according to Kirkus Reviews, “the mystique of our national pastime is artfully captured through the eyes of a child in this sports story with a feel-good ending.”

“I’ve never been anyplace more magical than Fenway Park,” says Tavares, who spent much of his childhood hoping to become a baseball player. He lives with his wife in Ogunquit.

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