Three Caldecott winners to be feted at Kerrytown BookFest breakfast

aliceIt looks like everyone who’s is interested in or collects children’s picture books is making their way to the Kerrytown BookFest which has an amazing opportunity to have breakfast with three Caldecott-Award-Winning authors on Sunday September 7 at 9.a.m. when the BookFest celebrates the three Caldecott Medalists attending the BookFest this year.  The Caldecott Medal, given annually since 1937 by the American Library Association (ALA) to the “most distinguished American picture book for children”, was awarded to BookFest participants Brian Floca (Locomotive, 2014); Christopher Rashka (The Hello, Goodbye Window, 2006, and A Ball for Daisy, 2012); and Erin Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee, 2011).  Past winners of the award include Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), Maurice Sendak, and Chris Van Allsburg.
The breakfast takes place at Zingerman’s Events on 4th, 410 North 4th Avenue, Ann Arbor.  Starting at 9 a.m., the ticketed breakfast will be hosted by children’s author and illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw, and table hosts/hostesses include Deborah L. Diesen, Brian Floca, Matt Faulkner, Matthew Phelan, Christopher Rashka, Kris Remnar, Nancy Shaw, and Erin & Philip Stead.
This is a ticketed event benefitting the bookfest.  The $30.00 tickets (limited to 60 guests) are available on Event Brite
Questions about the event can be directed to Robin Agnew, or 734-769-1114.  
The Kerrytown BookFest takes place at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, Sunday, September 7, from 11-5 and features more than 40 authors and illustrators along with a literary marketplace of 100 vendors. For more information visit

New York mystery author to serve as first writer-in-residence at Kerrytown BookFest

omara3Award-winning writer Tim O’Mara, author of two novels published by Minotaur books, with a forthcoming title in 2015, will serve as the 2014 Kerrytown BookFest writer-in-residence and evaluate manuscripts the day of the Bookfest, Sunday, September 7.

Robin Agnew, co-owner of Aunt Agatha’s mystery book store and president of the Kerrytown BookFest said O’Mara requests an advance submission of the first 20 pages, and he will provide a

20 minute, one-on-one critique, the day of the BookFest. Only 15 manuscripts are being accepted for review.

To submit your pages contact Robin Agnew, 734-769-1114 or at, to schedule an appointment with O’Mara.

“This is a unique opportunity to talk with a published author and see what advice he has from the real world of publishing.”

The cost is sliding scale; free to those who cannot afford to pay, or a donation in any amount to the Kerrytown BookFest. 

 O’Mara, Kerrytown BookFest’s first writer=in-residence, has been teaching math and special education in the New York City public schools since 1987. He has written several short stories, and his second Raymond Donne mystery, “Crooked Numbers” (Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press), hit bookstores October 15, 2013. O’Mara’s top-selling debut mystery, “Sacrifice Fly” (Minotaur, October 16, 2012), was nominated for the 2013 “Best First Novel” Barry Award.

For the past 13 years, he has hosted and co-produced a bi-weekly reading series of poetry and prose in New York’s East Village with We Three Productions.  For more information on O’Mara visit his website.

omara 5He lives with his family in Manhattan, where he currently teaches in a public middle school, and is a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and several teacher unions. O’Mara’s third Raymond Donne mystery, “Dead Red”, will be released by St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books in early 2015.

The annual BookFest is celebrating books and authors, but also the “Art of the Book” at its 12th annual BookFest Sunday, September 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in downtown Ann Arbor.

More than 40 authors and book illustrators will participate in panel discussions and demonstrations throughout the day including the 2011, 2012 and 2014 Caldecott award-winning children’s book illustrators Erin Stead (“A Sick Day for Amos McGee”, 2011), Chris Raschka, (“Hello, Goodbye Window” (2006) and “A Ball for Daisy”, 2013,) and Brian Floca (“Locomotive”, 2014) who will be part of a panel discussion on the “Art of Illustration”.

As always, Agnew said there will be an exciting panel of mystery writers conducting the session The Art of Suspense”. Panel participants are Loren D. Estleman (“Don’t Look for Me”); Michael Harvey (“The Innocence Game”); Theresa Schwegel (“The Good Boy”) and Elizabeth Heiter (“Hunted”; moderated byDetroit Noir”editor Eric Olsen.

Kerrytown BookFest announces its 2014 author and illustrator lineup

raschka ballThe 2014 Kerrytown BookFest will celebrate books and authors, but also the “Art of the Book” at its 12th annual BookFest Sunday, September 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in downtown Ann Arbor.

Robin Agnew, BookFest President and co-owner of Aunt Agatha’s mystery bookstore, said each year the BookFest highlights a specific theme and the Art of the Book “is a perfect fit for this year’s event.”

“The heavens aligned this year and we were able to land the three Caldecott award-winners as headliners, along with a graphic novel artist and writer with three Eisner nominations” she said.

More than 40 authors and book illustrators will participate in panel discussions and demonstrations throughout the day including the 2011, 2012 and 2014 Caldecott award-winning children’s book illustrators Erin Stead (“A Sick Day for Amos McGee”), Chris Raschka, (“Hello, Goodbye Window” (2006) and “A Ball for Daisy”) and Brian Floca (“Locomotive”) who will be part of a panel discussion on the “Art of Illustration”.

Stead lives in Ann Arbor and Raschka once lived in Ann Arbor and played the viola in the Symphony Orchestra before pursuing his illustration career. The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association to the illustrator of the most distinguished children’s book. Floca and Raschka also were the authors of their Caldecott books while Philip Stead, the spouse of Erin, authored her award-wining book.

steadOther specific art of the book themes include a cutting-edge program on “The Art of the Graphic Novel” featuring Jim Ottoviani, Dave Coverly, Matt Faulkner (all from the Ann Arbor area) paired with Matt Phelan of Philadelphia who illustrated “Bluffton”, a 2014 Michigan Notable award-winning book and nominated for three Eisner Awards.

In addition, Charles Belfoure author of the “Paris Architect” will be interviewed by local architect Dan Whisler in a session titled “The Art of Architecture”.

Other panels include the art of Historical Romance, Biography, Memoir, Suspense, Mystery and a look at Detroit through the eyes of a French photographer and the son of a labor leader.

There will also be numerous hands-on activities for children and adults involving the art of the book. Participants will be able to do letterpress book markers and assemble accordion-style books among other book making activities.

flocaAgnew said more than 100 vendors also will be on site selling books and book-related and paper items.

“Each year we are able to produce a varied one-day BookFest with authors representing differing genres and interests,” Agnew said.

“It has become an early fall tradition for entire families,” she said. She also said the BookFest has added two new events for authors and attendees.

For the first time an award-winning New York author will review manuscripts for aspiring authors and conduct a one-on-one 20 minute critique. Tim O’Mara, a mystery writer from New York City who won a Barry Award for best first novel, will review up to 15 manuscripts for free (donations to the Kerrytown BookFest will be accepted.) The first 15 manuscripts received will be reviewed. Send submissions (not more than 20 pages) to Robin Agnew at or by calling 734-769-1114 to schedule an appointment.

In addition, a special author breakfast featuring the three Caldecott winners and several other published children’s authors and illustrators (Matt Phelan, Nancy Shaw, Deborah Diesen, Ruth McNally Barshaw, Philip Stead, Matt Faulkner, Kris Remnar and Shanda Trent will be held 9 a.m., September 7 at Zingerman’s Event space on Fourth St.  Only 60 guests will be seated and registration for $30 is available at

Major sponsors for the BookFest are: Crazy Wisdom Book Store and Tea Room, Kerrytown Market and Shops, and The Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Agnew said the BookFest is planned and executed by and all-volunteer staff.

“We’ve kept overhead to a minimum and I am very proud of that,” she said.

For a complete schedule and a list of authors and presenters visit

Exhibitors can also register online.



Finalists for the 2014 Kerrytown BookFest book cover contest selected

holling paddle to the sea

Ann Arbor – For the first time, high school students from across the state participated in the Kerrytown BookFest Book Cover Contest.  The contest asks students to re-design a cover for an existing book.  This year’s selection was the children’s classic, Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling.

Students from Crystal Westfield’s graphic design classes at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and Keith Rayner’s classes at Lakeview High School in St. Clair Shores contributed work, as did art students from Elizabeth Miller-Wallau’s class in East Grand Rapids.

More than 80 entries were discussed by the judging panel of Caldecott Medalist Christopher Raschka (A Ball for Daisy); children’s author Nancy Shaw (Sheep in a Jeep); and artist Cecily Donnelly.   The judges selected eight finalists, representing all three participating schools.

The first, second and third place winners will be announced at a reception at the Ann Arbor District Library, 343 5th Avenue, on Friday, September 5 at 7 p.m.   Judges Nancy Shaw and Cecily Donnelly will make the announcement and award cash prizes to the students.

All the work submitted will be on display in the library exhibit space from September 5 – through October 13.  The complete submission of covers can be seen here.

The eight finalists are (the numbers correspond to the display on flickr):

David Bullard, Pioneer High School (#8)

Dara Flaws, Pioneer High School (#17)

James Sazyc, Pioneer High School (#2)

Nikita Torielian, Pioneer High School (#36)

Candice Kim, Pioneer High School (#4)

Mariah Rossi, East Grand Rapids (#54)

Hana Christofferson, East Grand Rapids (#56)

Mia Frank, Lakeview High School (#73)

Holling (1900-1973) grew up in Leslie, Michigan before setting out for Chicago and California and becoming a noted author and illustrator of children’s books. His 1942 book Paddle-to-the Sea was awarded a Caldecott Honor which is presented to the best illustrated children’s book of the year. Holling authored and or illustrated more than 20 children’s books including two books which won the Newbery Prize given to books for young adults.

After graduation Holling attended the Art Institute of Chicago and also worked on the popular exhibit “Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo” at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Later, he worked on war-training films for Disney and was responsible for the design of Indian Village in Disneyland. He also illustrated a Suinday comic strip “The World Museum” which included a diorama that children could cut and paste together.

Paddle-to-the-Sea is about a canoe that travels from Lake Superior to the ocean exploring five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

The Leslie Area Historical Museum holds a collection of his art, artifacts from his life and a couple unusual childhood drawings which were sketched on the back wall of his bedroom closet. Read more about Holling on a fan blog here.


Nicola Rooney named the 2014 Community Book Award Winner

Nicola Rooney named the 2014 Community Book Award Winner by the Kerrytown BookFest

February 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Castanier or Robin Agnew

Nicola RooneyAnn Arbor, Mich. – The Kerrytown BookFest has named Nicola Rooney, owner of Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, as the winner of the 2014 Community Book Award.  The award is annually awarded to the person in the Greater Ann Arbor area who helps create and retain “a vital book culture,” said Robin Agnew, president of the BookFest and owner of Aunt Agatha’s Bookshop.

“Rooney was recognized for her commitment as a bookseller for more than 20 years in Ann Arbor.  Her store is a big reason, even with the closing of stores like Borders, that the area has remained a city with an active book culture, and one with a busy and varied schedule of visiting authors from every part of the literary universe,” Agnew said. Nicola’s hosted or sponsored over 200 events in 2013.

Agnew said Rooney has made a long-time and serious commitment to the Ann Arbor Community, serving schools at bookfairs, providing books for library events in the area, serving on the board the Ann Arbor Book Festival, functioning as a vital sponsor and partner of the Kerrytown BookFest, as well as serving on the board of Washtenaw Literacy for 10 years.  Her store also hosts book clubs, writer’s groups and Master Gardeners’ lectures.

“Rooney feels bookstores are a vital part of any community and has made Nicola’s a comfortable gathering place,” said Agnew, who also owns another local bookstore,  Aunt Agatha’s Bookshop.  “I can’t imagine the Ann Arbor literary universe without Nicola’s enthusiasm for books and writers,” she said.

The Kerrytown BookFest will honor Rooney the day of the BookFest Sunday, September 7 at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market as a kickoff to the 12th annual day-long celebration of books which features more than 40 authors and illustrators and 100 exhibitors and book sellers.  She will receive a hand-made framed certificate and will be part of a bookseller’s panel along with some of her staff. Nicola Rooney joins the ranks of Ann Arbor librarian Josie Parker, bookseller Jay Platt, author Loren D. Estleman, BookFest founders Tom and Cindy Hollander, and others as the winner of the award which celebrates a significant contribution to the book community in Ann Arbor.