Friday, May 17, 2013

Children's Book People Know How to Have Fun, Part 2

Coe's Bar

Arthur Geisert and assistant

Fun for writers (part 1) is meeting the readers of our books. Fun for writers (part 2) is going to book parties--our own and those of other writers.  Last Saturday was that wonderful kind of book-party fun. 

The book party for Arthur Geisart's new Thunderstorm  (Enchanted Lion Books) was held at Coe's Bar in Bernard, Iowa.  Arthur also opened his studio/residence for us to tour. (He lives in a remodeled bank, sleeps in the vault.)

Coe's Bar was busy selling copies of Arthur's book, and selling beer, burgers and fries to book lovers from all over Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.  The place was standing room only. Arthur was busy signing from noon until 4:00 p.m. Many writers and illustrators were in attendance as well as various stripes of book readers, book lovers and book sellers. Ahead of me in the signing line was MaryAnn Peters, owner of the wonderful NewBo Books in Cedar Rapids.

It was energizing to see such widespread and genuine excitement about a children's book.  Arthur Geisert's publisher Claudia Zoe Bedrick of Enchanted Lion Books came to celebrate this new release. A producer from NPR was on the scene interviewing attendees. (I think the program will be aired on an up-coming "Week-end Edition.")

I was able to pick up a copy of the 2013 Enchanted Lion Books catalog and am eager to get my hands on some of these quirky, heartfelt, and remarkable books.  Claudia Zoe Bedrick writes at the front of the catalog:  "We seek out books that spark curiosity, wonder and astonishment; books that ask and explore, while affirming the creative force of the imagination and of life.  We are always creating the future. Life is always in the making. To open up this idea for children is to give them an infinite sense of hope and possibility. It is to nourish their capacity to act and to dream." Indeed!

cinnamon roll nearly as big as a tractor tire
And speaking of nourishment...I also was able to share a farm-house sized cinnamon roll with Jeni Reeves and Bonnie Geisert while we chatted about writing, our particular projects, and our lives. I've known and enjoyed Jeni for a number of years, just met Bonnie that Saturday; but it seemed as if we had been eating cinnamon rolls together in Bernard for decades. 

I love the communities of children's book people and how they intertwine--Brooklyn, New York--Bernard, Iowa; Galena, Illinois--Mount Vernon, Iowa; a story of a thunderstorm in the country conceived and made by an artist from a city; tractors and publishers catalogs; cinnamon rolls and books that "nourish our capacity to act and dream."

Thanks Arthur Geisert and Claudia Zoe Bedrick for a great book and a great party! 


  1. Now THAT was quite a book signing! Thanks for sharing your afternoon, Jackie. I'll have a look at Enchanted Lion, for sure.

  2. It was really a great afternoon, Claudia. Makes me want to have a book party in a place like Coe's.