By Cree Lahti
The Linwood Community Library at Snowshoe will celebrate the 148th birthday of beloved author Beatrix Potter with a tea party on Friday, July 25, at 10 a.m.
There will be veggies, cupcakes and a special appearance by Beatrix Potter herself. Proper tea party attire is encouraged but not required. Beatrix Potter will be portrayed by Maria McKelvey of Mingo. Call the library at 304-572-BOOK for more information.
Potter is best known for her children’s books, especially those about Peter Rabbit and his friends. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published in 1902 and has never been out of print since. It has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and has been reprinted into 35 different languages. It was expanded from an illustrated letter Potter sent to an ill friend.
Potter was always interested in drawing and capturing the natural world of plants and animals, including scientific illustrations and loved being outdoors. She bought 15 farms throughout her lifetime and said she was happiest when she was with her farm animals. She took an active part in caring for the farms, helping with hay-making and looking for lost sheep. Hill Top Farm in the Lake District of England was her favorite and where much of the inspiration for her children’s book illustrations came from. According to her wishes the farm has been preserved and receives thousands of visitors each year.
Maria McKelvey, who portrays Potter, is an award winning writer, educator, actress, singer and musician. She uses her many talents to create exciting and innovative storytelling, dramatic and musical programs, sometimes using her mountain dulcimer, folk harp or menagerie of hand puppets to enhance the performance for her audiences.
McKelvey performs living history presentations as Beatrix Potter and Louisa May Alcott. In June and July 2014 Maria attended the 16th International Study Conference of the Beatrix Potter Society in Birnam, Scotland, followed by the Post Conference Holiday Tour of Beatrix Potter homes in the Lake District of England. McKelvey is a member of The Beatrix Potter Society, the Louisa May Alcott Society, the West Virginia Humanities Council and WV Writers, Inc.