30 Years and 39 Books for Melvin and Tate

Artist signing for an artist. That's Suzanne Tate signing one of her books for mystery author Joseph Terrell. Artists James Melvin is on the left side of the photo.
Artist signing for an artist. That’s Suzanne Tate signing one of her books for mystery author Joseph Terrell. Artists James Melvin is on the left side of the photo.
Tate’s Nature Series Celebrates 30 Years Between James Melvin and Suzanne Tate

Suzanne Tate and James Melvin have been working together on Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series of children’s books for 30 years. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, and tonight their collaboration was celebrated at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery

Part of the first First Friday Celebration of the year, Suzanne and James also included the release of their latest book, Merr-Lee Monarch, A Tale of a Big Trip in their evening.

James Melvin is an amazing artist in his own right—a man of remarkable talent and vision that seems comfortable working in a wide variety of medians. In this book that talent seems to leap off the pages in depictions of butterflies and gardens that are rich in color and captivating in their complexity.

The story itself is one of Suzanne’s more adventurous.

She remarked in an interview that a friend who lived in South Nags Head had monarch butterflies that returned every year. As she investigated she found that this particular swarm of butterflies migrates between the mountains of Mexico and the Outer Banks very year.

As is always the case with her books, it is scientifically accurate, although of course, written for children between the ages of 3-7/

Children will certainly enjoy the story and identify with Merri-Lee or her brother, Monty. Adults may very well find the pictures fascinating in their complexity and use of color.

As First Fridays go, this was a wonderful way to begin the annual celebration of downtown Manteo. The weather was beautifully spring-like. We’ll have a pretty strong front drop temperatures by 25 degrees or so on Saturday, but the evening celebration did manage to sneak some good weather in.

The next First Friday will be May 4. For anyone on the Outer Banks at that time, it should be on the to do list.

Spring Weather Welcomes Outer Banks Spring Events

Time to Get Outside and Enjoy the Outer Banks
Cover of one of the 36 books Suzanne Tate and James Melvin have created.
Cover of one of the 36 books Suzanne Tate and James Melvin have created.

It seems as though spring was never going to come to the Outer Banks. Sure the official first day of spring was 10 or 11 days ago, but there wasn’t much about it that suggested spring.

But the sun has been out for the past few days, daytime temperatures have climbed into the upper 60s and lower 70s and the breezes have been from the south. That’s spring on the Outer Banks.

Just in time for Easter, too.

For anyone thinking about sunrise services, it will be chilly but Easter Sunday is looking like a perfect spring day.

It looks as though all of the Easter Egg hunts are on Saturday this year. Check out Kitty Hawk Kites, the Elizabethan Gardens and the Roanoke Island Aquarium if there are young ones who want to see how many eggs they can find.

As the days get longer we start to get more happenings on the Outer Banks.

There are two event that are occurring in Manteo that we think are worth checking out.

The Bayard Wooten photography exhibit is on display now through May 31. We’re giving this one our strongest recommendation. It’s not a large exhibit but really worth checking out.

Bayard Wooten was a woman photographer capturing images between 1905 and the late 1930s. Her ability to capture the emotional content of the people she photographed is mesmerizing.

Born in New Bern, she was a true pioneer in her field—both as a woman when women were not accepted in what was seen as a man’s profession and artistically as an artist.

The other exhibit worth checking out will be at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery—the old Dare County Courthouse beginning Friday, April 6.

Author Suzanne Tate and Artist James Melvin have been cooperating on Tate’s nature Series of children’s books for 30 years. The Arts Council will have on display some of the original artwork that was used in the books as well as some commentary from the creative team.

Suzanne and James will be on hand for the April 6 Manteo First Friday celebration.