In the name of a famous Gloucester children’s author, two students and two teachers will receive full scholarships in a reading program for the next school year.

Through a chain of coincidences, the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage Committee is offering full Wilson Reading Program scholarships for Cape Ann teachers and students for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Burton was the founder of the textile collective Folly Cove Designers and was a well-known illustrator and children’s author, penning the classics “The Little House” and “Katy and the Big Snow” among others. The committee’s mission is to preserve her legacy through art and literacy initiatives.

When a Burton relative donated seed money to develop a scholarship to help students who struggle with reading, committee member Robin Carlo realized the money would only go only go so far. 

So Carlo, who uses the Wilson Reading Program to help students who have difficulty reading or spelling achieve success, talked to program founder Barbara Wilson about the group’s goals.

Carlo said it is through the generosity of private donors and Wilson and her company that the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage Committee is offering the scholarships.

Two students will receive $6,000 tutoring scholarships. Selected students will receive one-on-one tutoring in the Wilson Reading Program for two 90-minute sessions each week. Students must be in grade 4 or above, be of average or above average intelligence, have excellent school attendance records, and difficulty with reading or spelling.

Two teachers will receive full $3,000 tuition scholarships for the Wilson Reading System Introductory and Level 1 certification courses. The practicum requirement of the course will be held at the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage on the grounds of the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan St.

The Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage was designated a historic building by the Gloucester Historical Society and reconstruction was funded by a Gloucester Community Preservation Act grant.

More information or a student or teacher application is available by contacting Carlo at or visiting Applications are due by July 31.

Medieval armor with Pettibone

Hammond Castle Museum will present an interactive demonstration on the history of medieval arms and armor on Wednesday, July 17, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with John Pettibone, former curator and executive director of Hammond Museum.

Pettibone spent many years studying the ancient arts of medieval combat and warfare, and examples of armor will be shown. Guests will have the opportunity to try on various pieces of the armor. Pettibone will show a Norman helmet, a tournament helmet used in sports, a helmet from the era of Joan of Arc as well as examples worn by the samurai in Japan. Other pieces will be presented and discussed, including a quilted arming cap, war hammer, mail and plate gauntlets, Maile coif, arm defense, breastplate, heraldic shield, face mask (mempo) from Japan, pole arms, horse armor, and swords.

He will answer questions about the weight of armor, its durability, and why medieval knights had at least three different types of armor. Guests will have the opportunity to try on or touch replicas of medieval armor from Europe and Asia as well as a take a guided tour of the medieval aspects of the museum.

Tickets are $20 per person and $10 for children ages 6 to 12. For more details or tickets, visit

Celestial painting for teens

ArtHaven and the Sawyer Free Library are inviting local teens to join them on Thursday, July 18, from 3 to 7 p.m. to create their most magical space scene and most intense galaxy vision all the while hanging with friends and making art. This free event takes place at ArtHaven at 180B Main St., Gloucester, where 12- to 18-year-olds will create space-themed art inspired by the titles from the library’s Teen Summer Reading Program. Space is limited, and reservations are required. Visit to register for the free program.

Songwriter opens music series 

Beginning Saturday, July 20, Marblehead Little Theatre will host its Summer of Music including concerts featuring rising stars and open mic nights.

The first concert — next Saturday, July 20, at 8 p.m. — features Ethan Lally, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Gloucester.

Lally began releasing music under his own name in 2016 and has released three albums since, on which he plays most of the instruments. For this concert, he will be joined by Mitch Dion on drums and Derek Dupuis on bass. 

Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for adults and can be purchased online at or at the door.

The shows, produced by Craig VanRemoortel of Marblehead, take place at the Firehouse Theatre at 12 School St. in Marblehead.  

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