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If You [Heart] Your Indie Bookstores...

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Josie Leavitt, co-owner of Shelburne's Flying Pig Bookstore, emailed me about a Valentine's Day event called Kids Heart Authors. It's happening at indie booksellers all over New England, and the press release says it was inspired by "a Twitter message from Newton, MA resident and author Mitali Perkins. 'IDEA,' she tweeted. 'Indies partner with authors for a ‘give a signed book’ day, all Kid/YA authors in area show up at stores to sign one afternoon.'"

And so it came to pass. From 10 a.m. to noon this February 14, bookstores will host local authors and — the plan presumably is — sell a lot of signed books.

At the Flying Pig, the author-guests will be Elizabeth Bluemle (co-owner of the store and author of a picture book called Dogs on the Bed); Tanya Lee Stone (who's written a slew of books for kids and teens, including a picture book about Alexander Calder); Kate Messner (author of a Quadricentennial-related YA novel called Champlain and the Silent One — and, yes, she's married to the weather man); and Shannon Gilligan and R. A. Montgomery of the much-loved Choose Your Own Adventure series (based in Vermont, in case you didn't know).

Bear Pond Books in Montpelier and Brown Dog Books in Hinesburg are also participating, so check the event website for their rosters of authors.

While the point of events like this may be to keep kids reading, some of these authors write "young adult" books that are great reads for adults, too-- for instance, Chris Tebbetts' saucy online romantic comedy M or F? (He lives in Hinesburg and will be there Saturday.)

And check out this book — not by a Vermonter, but spotlighted on Bear Pond's website. It's a dystopian tale about an America where resources are running out and have to be distributed via a gladiatorial-type competition. (Why don't publishing companies put out fiction in this vein for an adult market? For whatever reason, the catalogues of YA fiction we get here at the paper are always way better reading than the adult publishing rosters full of knock-off Oprah books. I've got a hunch about how YA fiction is the future of fiction generally, because it doesn't bother with all the annoying little genre niches and the bogus literary/non-literary distinction, but I'm not gonna bore you with it.)

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