, Salem, MA

November 1, 2013

Ipswich librarian writes children's book

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Laurie Collins, a children’s librarian at Ipswich Public Library, has read to families at around 50 pajama drives over the years.

“Pajama drives get people’s attention,” Collins said.

These events are organized each fall by Cradles to Crayons, an agency in Brighton that distributes a variety of donations to children in need.

But as much as Collins loves the program, she has never been satisfied with the books she’s found to read, none of which address the needy families she is trying to help.

“It’s hard for children who aren’t in need to understand that,” she said.

So, Collins wrote “The Pajamas of My Dreams,” which features illustrations by Margie Florini, an artist she has known since both attended Beverly High School.

“The book is a celebration of everything children can be,” Collins said. “On different pages, they dream of what they’ll be when they grow up. But the very last child can only dream of being safe and warm at night.”

This example tells children who have never known want that some children can only wish for basic security. And children in need learn that they are not alone.

“It’s from two perspectives,” Collins said.

Collins will read her book at a pajama drive this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Beverly Public Library on Essex Street, where her grandmother used to work as a reference librarian.

“Books were pretty sacred to us growing up,” Collins said.

Children are invited to wear pajamas and slippers to the event and to bring pajamas to donate.

The event will include an activity organized by Florini, in which children make a cut-paper collage, the same method used to illustrate the book.

“Margie calls it a dream page,” Collins said. “They make a paper-doll image of themselves and decorate a bedroom.

Collins will also host drives at Barnes & Noble in Peabody (behind the Northshore Mall) on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m., and at the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m.

“November is family literacy month,” Collins said.