Celebrate Michigan: Book Beat December News and Events

Sat., Dec. 5th: Debut Children’s Picture Books … Created in Michigan

mi-1013-GreetingsFromMichiganBook Beat and the Oak Park Public Library present three new books by Michigan authors and illustrators at the Oak Park Public Library on 14200 Oak Park Blvd on Saturday December 5 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm.

This event brings together author James Tobin and illustrator David Coverly for Sue MacDonald Had a Book, author John Perry with his book The Book That Eats People, and Philip Christian Stead, author and illustrator of Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast.

suemacdonREVIEW: “When asked about the inspiration for his first children’s book, Ann Arbor author Jim Tobin tells a story parents everywhere will recognize immediately: Settling his kids into bed with those consistent rituals all the experts recommend, he would sing them a song to send them off to the land of Nod. And in an excellent example of consistency having an effect, his youngest latched onto one in particular as her preferred soundtrack, requesting a seemingly endless loop.

“I got so sick of ‘Old MacDonald,'” Tobin laughed. “It was like, ‘How many verses are we gonna do?’ But eventually, some part of my brain said, ‘You know, it’s amazing nobody ever put the vowels in place of the e-i-e-i-o….'”

Well, we can’t say that anymore. -Source: the Ann Arbor News; Kid’s Songs Driving you Nuts?

Illustrator Dave Coverly is also a nationally syndicate cartoonist well known for his panel cartoon “Speed Bump,” that appears in more than two hundred newspapers, including The Washington Coat, The Chicago Tribune, and Parade magazine.  Coverly has won several Reuben Award’s for his artwork.  This is his first children’s book.

creamtunINTERVIEW: What a pleasure to leave the solitude of the studio and connect with real, live, human beings via the Internet. My name is Philip Stead. I live in Ann Arbor, MI, though much of the work from my first book, Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast (Roaring Brook Press, Fall 2009), was created while living in Brooklyn, NY. Like many artists, I’ve fled the city to make room for those better equipped to manage the ballooning rent prices.

I feel very fortunate to work with Roaring Brook Press. My experience with Roaring Brook has been one that most artists only dream of these days. My early book dummy was approved by a single editor. I was then left almost completely alone for the eighteen months it took to create Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast. In my opinion, the chance that a piece of artwork has of retaining its integrity diminishes with each set of hands that touch it.

Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast is based on a strange but true Stead-family story. In the mid-1950s, in a fit of rage, my Grandpa Jack buried his least favorite meal (creamed tuna fish and peas on toast) in the yard, even carving a headstone for the vile dish. All of the characters in the book are my real family members—my Grandpa Jack and Grandma Jane and their five children. Source: Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

bookeatsppl2

“This is a cautionary tale about a voracious book that may eat an unfortunate equally voracious and naive reader.  The Book That Eats People by John Perry chronicles the horrific history of a book that, as the title says, eats people. This is that book.  The book warns you not to read, as it’s a particularly nasty-tempted book. If you do, you’ll learn the fate of poor Sammy Ruskin, who was devoured by the pages, and the book’s other two (so far) victims.

Who wouldn’t want to read this book with that cover?  Despite the multiple warnings, read this book.  Kids will love the silly tale of a vicious book that eats people, including a library night guard, and the subsequent attempts to reform it of its cannibal ways.  Adults will appreciate the cleverness, like when the book devours Sammy Ruskin, it’s then entitled “Whatever Happened to Sammy Ruskin?”  It’ll have you both laughing aloud as you read the book how tries to hide its true identity as people-eating book, with a nice safe cover.  You can guess how that turns out.   Gulp.”  Source: Bri Meets Books


Sun., Dec. 6th: Three Authors of Young Adult Fiction with Michigan Connections: Helen Frost, Pearl North, and Amy Huntley at the Baldwin Public Library

michblue2Book Beat and the Baldwin Public Library are pleased to bring three authors of young adult and children’s fiction together for an event at the Baldwin Public Library on Sunday, December 6, 2009 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Helen Frost, Pearl North, and Amy Huntley are three talented authors with unique literary voices and strong female characters.  This free afternoon event is an exciting chance to meet and listen to both veteran story-tellers and a promising newcomers in the world of young adult fiction.

crossingstonesHelen Frost is the 2008 winner of Michigan’s Mitten Award for her children’s novel Diamond Willow and also the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for verse. Her latest book, Crossing Stones, is also a novel told in verse written for young adult readers and is set in rural Michigan in 1917. 

It’s 1917–Muriel Jorgensen is not happy that all the boys she knows are heading overseas to fight in the war we now call World War I. Her teacher and her mother think she should be careful in expressing her opinions, and even her best friend Emma doesn’t share her belief that women should have the right to vote.

In poems spoken in the voices of Muriel, Emma, and Muriel’s brother Ollie, CROSSING STONES takes us through nine months in the lives of two families living on opposite sides of Crabapple Creek in rural Michigan as the war, the women’s suffrage movement, and the flu epidemic alter the lives of the characters and the history of the world. (from the author’s website, 12 and up.)

Crossing Stones has received positive starred reviews from Horn Book, Kirkus and Booklist and would be an excellent choice for young readers interested in historical fiction and lovers of poetry from any age.

“With care and precision, Frost deftly turns plainspoken conversations and the internal monologues of her characters into stunning poems that combine to present three unique and thoughtful perspectives on war, family, love and loss. Heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful, this is one to savor. “Kirkus starred review.

libyrinthLibyrinth by Pearl North is a fantasy novel for teens that takes place in a vast library realm.  This is the debut novel by Pearl North, pen name for fantasy author Anne Harris who lives in the Detroit metro area.

For as long as she can remember, Haly has heard the voices of the books.  Growing up in the Libyrinth, a library so large that people sometimes get lost in it and never come out, she has been surrounded by words and stories her entire life.  When the Libyrinth’s mortal enemies, the illiterate Singers, discover her unique ability, they are determined to use her to destroy her home forever.  In order to save all that she loves, Haly must learn to think and dream like a Singer. (From the author’s website, Ages 13 and up.)

Everafter is the first YA novel by East Lansing, Michigan author Amy Huntley and is a stirring and imaginative glimpse into the afterlife.  Huntley is a high school teacher and her impressive debut includes realistic look at high school life and a surreal take on death.  theeverafter

Madison Stanton doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this—she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience—and sometimes even change—moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister’s wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life—and death (From the publisher’s website, Ages 12 and up.)

“…Madison is an engaging protagonist, and the author builds a strong sense of tension; much of her story works well as slice-of-life realism. Huntley is an author worth watching.”  From Publisher’s Weekly.

The authors will speak and also autograph their books which will be available for purchase at the event.  The Baldwin Public Library is located at 300 West Merrill Street Birmingham, MI 48009, Phone# 248.647.1700.


We appreciate your support for our events and the talented authors connected to our state.  Please send on our newsletter to anyone you think might be interested. To reserve any copies or for more information please call Book Beat (248)-968-1190.


Wed., Jan. 20, 2010: Book Beat Reading Group Meeting

The Book Beat reading group will meet Wednesday, Jan., 2oth at 7 PM at the Goldfish Teahouse in Royal Oak. We will be discussing The Land of Green Plums by  the 2009 Nobel Laureate in literature  Herta Müller.


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