A Phenom of Authors

Elizabeth Bluemle - August 12, 2016

What a day! It began with one of our favorite kinds of events and ended with a friendly invasion of visiting authors.
Our morning kicked off with the charming Liz Starin and her musician husband, Avi, who came to the Flying Pig to celebrate Liz’s picture book Splashdance, “a social justice tale of interspecies water ballet.”* (*That fabulous one-line description came from one of the bookstores Liz visited.) It’s about a polar bear who adores synchronized swimming and looks forward to the annual competition — only to find out that the pool has a strict “No Bears” policy. When her (human) swimming partner, Marco, proves himself to be a fickle friend who immediately chooses a new partner, Ursula is crushed — until she meets an enthusiastic and resourceful group of animals at the local pond, who hatch a bold plan. The book is exuberant, joyful, and sly, hitting all the right notes for its young readers.

Liz Starin reads

Liz and Avi enjoying listeners’ rapt attention.

Music has a way of warming up a crowd, so Avi’s songs (all water-themed, of course) got the kids comfortable, singing and giggling, before Liz’s reading. Singalong story times have a special place in our hearts, as do visits from illustrators, who share the magical art of drawing with audiences.
After reading Splashdance to the children, Liz showed them how she creates a character like Ursula, inviting them to suggest a costume for her happy bear. Below, you’ll see the fruits of their labors.
Liz Starin Draws

Liz contemplates Ursula’s form.

Liz Starin Draws 2

Liz adds some water ballet flourish.

Liz Starin Signs Books

Liz Starin signs stock after her reading.

It was such a fun morning!
It seemed that barely had we ushered the last wee person out the door when a phalanx of children’s book authors descended upon the bookstore in a happy (and hot, yesterday was so hot!) cloud. In Vermont for an agency retreat, these folks were exploring the area and came for a visit. It was a joy to see old friends like Jo Knowles, Cindy Faughnan, Tim Wynne-Jones, and Colleen Venable, new friends like Will Alexander and Ellen Oh, and to meet so many fabulous writers and illustrators like Kate Milford, Stephanie Yue, Sara Ryan, Stephanie Ruble, Dan Poblocki, Suzanne Gates, Fran Wilde, Tiffany Schmidt, and Rachel Grinti. Rumor has it that more agency mates, including Laura Wiess, Anna Zabo, Theodora Goss, Lucy Bellwood, Christina Leicht, and Ruth Vincent will visit the bookstore on Saturday, when Kara LaReau comes to read from The Infamous Ratsos at 10 a.m.

Barry Goldblatt, do you know where your authors are?

The collective noun for so much talent in one place is a “phenom.” Use at your discretion.
Days like these bring so much joy and delight to a bookseller’s heart. I was giddy with it. Thanks, Liz, and thanks, BG authors, for making our day so crazy-fun!

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