Maine Author/Illustrator Matt Tavares Visits Phippsburg Elementary

For Immediate Release: February 28, 2020
Media Contact: Lindsey Goudreau at 207-443-8330 or

Bath, ME (February 28, 2020) – Inviting Maine authors to share their writing process and personal stories with students has become a beloved tradition at Phippsburg Elementary School (PES); this year they were joined by children’s book author-illustrator Matt Tavares.

Tavares grew up surrounded by books and reading. For his senior project at Bates College he wrote and illustrated a story which, three years later, would become his first published picture book: Zachary’s Ball, about a boy who caught a magic foul ball at a Boston Red Sox Game. Zachary’s Ball went on to win a Massachusetts Book Award Honor and was named one of Yankee Magazine's 40 Classic New England Children's Books.

Tavares has since gone on to illustrate nineteen more books, nine of which he also wrote, and recently began experimenting with a new medium: graphic novels. Attentive students in the PES library watched Tavares share his drawing technique: first roughing in the shape of a character using simple shapes, then filling in the details.

“I’ve started using more and more digital techniques,” he shared. “A Ben of All Trades (a biography of Benjamin Franklin’s boyhood written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Tavares) was all digitally illustrated. I started with a pencil drawing and finished it on the computer.”

PES Principal Sandra Gorsuch-Plummer hopes that learning from Tavares has encouraged her students’ love of writing. She explained that one of the curricula her staff look at when choosing an author is whether their stories are interesting to all grade levels. 

“During our school assembly he talked to the kids about wanting to combine his love of baseball and writing and drawing,” she said. “They can definitely make the connection to his artwork.”

Although visiting authors spend most of their day with students, staff are invited to join them for lunch. 

“It’s just as much fun for us adults,” said Gorsuch-Plummer. “We got to connect with him as well.” 

Funding for the annual author visit is provided by the PES PTA. 

Matt Tavares: Learn more about children’s book author-illustrator Matt Tavares: