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Published: Sunday, March 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Popular children's author Blue Balliett will speak Saturday at the Woodstock Public Library as part of a second annual "Open Book" program.

The award winning author of "Chasing Vermeer," "The Wright 3," and "The Calder Game," Balliett will speak about her new book, "Hold Fast. Refreshments and book signings will follow the presentation. 

The event takes place at 10 a.m. at the library, 414 W. Judd St., Woodstock, through a partnership between the library and the Woodstock Fine Arts Association. It is free, but registration for families and children ages 8 and older is required.

Arlene Lynes, owner of Read Between the Lynes in Woodstock, was instrumental in bring Balliett to Woodstock, and will provide books for purchase.

"As Jaci's Cookies are helping with the refreshments, we have decorated her window in a 'paint the town Blue' mode," said Kris Hall of the Woodstock Fine Arts Association. 

With a magical name that kids remember, Blue Balliett (pronounced like ballet) writes books that combine some element of art with a mystery. She then lets the children characters of the books, as well as the kids reading them, solve the puzzle.

Her first book, "Chasing Vermeer" was referred to as "the Da Vinci Code for kids." "The Wright Three" takes place at the Frank Lloyd Wright House, while "The Calder Game" begins with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to see the Calder mobiles. 

Balliett was raised in New York City, where she visited all of the art museums as a child. Because she took public transportation, she has said she felt every bus or train was filled with some mystery. She majored in art history at Brown University and began her author career in Chicago, where she taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School.

With clues hidden in the text, the chapter illustrations and cover drawings by illustrator Brett Helquist, the books provide puzzles to solve.

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