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Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews Return with New Children’s Book

Emma walton hamilton and julie andrews

The mother-daughter duo delights readers with their 35th book, Waiting in the Wings

Emma walton hamilton and julie andrews
Emma Walton Hamilton and her mother, Julie Andrews, with a copy of their latest children’s book, Waiting in the Wings.

Renowned author and Lichtenstein Center faculty member Emma Walton Hamilton and her legendary mother, Julie Andrews, have joined creative forces once again on their latest children’s book, Waiting in the Wings (Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers).

The story follows the adventures of a duck family drawn to the magic of the theater, and is based on a true event.

Waiting in the Wings tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Puddleduck, a duck pair searching for the perfect place to nest. They find a planter beside a seaside theater to build a home, and while Mrs. P warms the eggs, Mr. P sneaks inside to watch rehearsals, captivated by the music, lights and costumes. He performs songs and dances for Mrs. P, and when the chicks begin hatching by the roadside, Mr. P’s theater skills come to the rescue.

The book was inspired by a true event, explained Walton Hamilton, who is co-founder (along with her husband, Stephen Hamilton) of Bay Street Theater, a professional theater in Sag Harbor, New York.

“One spring, a pair of ducks made their nest in a flower box in the theater courtyard. When the ducklings hatched, we were startled to see them almost immediately tumble out of the flower box and follow their mother out of the courtyard toward the road,” she said. “The entire theater company jumped into action, fanning out to create a human barricade around the duck family, protecting them from traffic and other dangers as they paraded down the wharf, jumped into the water, and paddled off toward the sunset to a round of applause from the crowd. That story stayed with us, and when mom and I were brainstorming ideas for a new picture book it felt like the right moment to tell this story.”

The story is the 35th book for the prolific duo. Seven of their books have been on the New York Times best-seller list, including the #1 bestselling series The Very Fairy Princess.

Emma walton hamiltonWalton Hamilton also serves as director of the annual Southampton Children’s Lit Conference. This summer marks the 48th conference, which takes place each July during the larger Southampton Writers Conference. This year’s conference is July 10 through July 14.

The conference features world-renowned authors, illustrators and editors, who offer inspiration and guidance through workshops, lectures, group discussions and presentations.

Writing workshops are offered each morning during the conference and are capped at 12 students per workshop to ensure individualized mentorship opportunities. The remaining hours are devoted to electives — lectures, remains, and panel discussions featuring faculty members, visiting authors, editors, publishers and agents, along with social gatherings including open-mic nights, author receptions, and meals “under the tent.”

“We are proud that a number of Children’s Lit Conference alums have gone on to achieve success in the publishing industry,” said Walton Hamilton. “Notable alums include New York Times bestselling author Susan Verde (I Am Human, The Water Princess, etc.), Isabelle Marinov (Boy Underground, Leo & the Octopus, etc.), Erica Lewis (Game of Shadows), Christine Kendall (Riding Chance), and J.M. Farkas (Be Brave: An Unlikely Manual for Erasing Heartbreak), among many others.”

Walton Hamilton is also the author of a recent anthology of poetry, Door to Door (Andrews McMeel Publishing), a sonnet comprised of 49 poems, exploring life in all of its phases.

— Beth Squire

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