HEIDELBERG, Germany - Army Europe Libraries continues its "Conversations" series in July with Judy Sierra, best-selling and beloved children\'s book author of Wild About Books and The Sleepy Little Alphabet.

Sierra will visit eight garrison libraries across the region to engage with children and their families with readings from her work, discussions, and writing workshops. Sierra's tour, supported by Installation Management Command-Europe Family and Moral, Welfare and Recreation, begins July 12 at the U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg, Germany Library and concludes July 22 on USAG Brussels, Belgium. The events are free and open to U.S. servicemembers and their families.

Christina Kruger, a librarian at the European Regional Library Support Center in Heidelberg, oversees the Conversations series.

"We are excited to host a well known children's book author," said Kruger. "This is a great opportunity for families to come and have fun and learn more about writing."

As a child, Sierra showed an interest in poetry, folklore, and theater; these would later be important in shaping her books. After college she worked with her husband on children's theater, and their shadow puppet production of the Chinese story Monkey King was featured at the Smithsonian. Many of Sierra's books begin with folklore and folktales. Her interest in folktales from around the world eventually led her to a Ph.D. from the Folklore and Mythology Program at UCLA in 1993. Her first book, published in 1988 titled The Elephants Wrestling Match, is a retelling of a folktale from Cameroon.

Sierra has written or contributed to over 40 books of fiction and non-fiction. In 2005 she was given a Notable Book citation by the American Library Association and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award from the Association of Booksellers for Children for her book Wild About Books. The story follows a bookmobile that accidently drives into a zoo, although the animals soon become wild about the books. Told in Dr. Seuss-like rhyme, the book was praised by critics. Kirkus Reviews called the book "a rollicking, loving tribute to Dr. Suess" and a "storytime spectacular." Publisher's Weekly wrote that Sierra's book was "cleverly rhymed" and "packed with funny flourishes."

The garrison libraries will also be in the middle of its summer reading program during Sierra's tour. "The timing is great," said Kruger. "We planned to have a children's author to coincide with our Summer Reading Program." Stacy Graham, the regional librarian, noted, "a focus of these visits is to give families activities to do together especially during times of deployment." This year's theme is "Voyage to Book Island" and libraries at all garrisons are celebrating with programs and events to encourage children and their caregivers to read and frequent the library over the summer.

Sierra's reading for children begins at each location at 5:45 p.m. with a second reading and discussion for families at 7 p.m.

Places and dates of events are:
USAG Heidelberg Library, Monday, July 12;
USAG Baumholder Library, Tuesday, July 13;
USAG Kaiserslautern Library, Wednesday, July 14;
USAG Stuttgart Library, Thursday, July 15;
USAG Hohenfels Library, Monday, July 19;
USAG Grafenwoehr Library, Tuesday, July 20;
USAG Schweinfurt Library, Wednesday, July 21;
USAG Brussels Library, Thursday, July 22.

For more information, visit the Army Europe Libraries Web site at www.library.eur.army.mil/conversations. For more information about the Conversations series, people may call DSN 370-6678 or commercial 06221-57-6678.