detail from one section of the new Burlington mural

detail from one section of the new Burlington mural

Press release from April 20, 2017

“The seamless way you blended local sights & behaviors with both beloved book characters & those from your own imagination is a testament to your powers of observation, sense of humor, talent, hard work, & dedication to your art.”
— from KH on Facebook, April 11, 2017

Children's Book Week event features local artist Kristin Richland

Burlington, Vermont – April 20, 2017:  Phoenix Books Burlington will celebrate the official ribbon cutting for a mural by local artist Kristin Richland on Thursday, May 4th at 7pm. Richland has brought beloved book characters to the walls of the bookstore's children's section, and will be present at the reception featuring light fare from City Market. The event is part of the bookstore's celebration of Children's Book Week, and children's book lovers of all ages are welcome.

The mural incorporates the bridge by the Champlain Mill in Winooski, Burlington’s City Hall Park, Church Street Marketplace and Edmunds School, with the final wall depicting a night-time view of Camel’s Hump. There are over thirty storybook characters mixed in with several of Kristin Richland's own animal people. The piece is inspired by Bemelman's Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, NYC, where the characters of Ludwig Bemelman (creator of the Madeline series) take over the walls.

"Kristin Richland has been a friend of the store for many years, and her distinct style and fanciful animals are a perfect match for this vision," says Mike DeSanto, co-owner of Phoenix Books. "I can't think of a better time than Children's Book Week to share her creation with our customers and to celebrate our extensive children's book collection."

"When Mike called me, out of the blue, to ask how I would describe my work, I blurted out 'Well, most people say I should be illustrating children's books.' And that's how I found out he was searching for an artist to paint a mural in the children's section of the Burlington store," says Richland. "It is a treat working with Phoenix. Their Essex store is my usual destination, so this project has given me a chance to know the Burlington store much better. I love listening to the staff talk to customers about books. Thanks to them, my ‘to read’ list has grown considerably!" During the ribbon cutting, Richland will have scaffolding in position and may climb up to demonstrate some work during the event if time and space allow.

Richland will continue to be a presence at Phoenix Books Burlington in the future. She will be painting a phoenix above the store's book receiving counter. The image will follow the design of the store logo, but Richland will introduce more color and rendering.

Kristin Richland is a painter living in Underhill, VT. She holds a BFA in painting from the Maine College of Art, where she also fell in love with experimental drawing techniques, printmaking and sculpture. Animal imagery is a constant theme through her work. Her paintings of creatures and critters are the work of an active imagination, the one you wish you never lost when you grew up.

Children's Book Week is an annual, national celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes -- wherever young readers and books connect! Children's Book Week is administered by Every Child A Reader, a 501(c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. The Children's Book Council, the national non-profit trade association for children's book publishers, is an anchor sponsor.

The event is free and open to all. Phoenix Books Burlington is located at 191 Bank Street in Burlington, Vermont. For more information, please call 802-448-3350 or visit

About Phoenix Books:
Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability, and is a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Phoenix Books Essex, Phoenix Books Burlington, Phoenix Books Rutland and Phoenix Books Misty Valley are Vermont-owned, independent bookstores.  Our Essex location also houses a gallery and cafe. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies. Seven Days readers voted Phoenix Books the "Best Bookstore" for the newspaper's 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Daysie Awards, and Rutland Herald readers voted Phoenix Books the 'Best Local Bookstore' for the newspaper's 2016Best of the Best awards.