Amos Library Hosts Youth Book Festival

Mindy McGinnisset

Mindy McGinnisset

Will Hillenbrand

SIDNEY — The community is invited to come and meet two award winning authors on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Community Room at the Amos Memorial Public Library. Children’s book author & illustrator, Will Hillenbrand will be doing a presentation and book signing at 11 a.m., followed by Young Adult author, Mindy McGinnis at 12:30 p.m.

Hillenbrand grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his family owned a barbershop. Each summer, he would walk to the shop and deliver his dad’s hot lunch. Then he would take a break and listen to the conversations. Many customers told “big fish” stories laced with humor and exaggeration. Will enjoyed drawing those stories at the kitchen table when he returned home. Later he went to art school, and after taking a class in picture book art, he decided to try illustrating children’s literature. After more than 70 books, Hillenbrand still feels lucky to do what he loves. He lives with his wife, Jane, and son Ian in Terrace Park, Ohio.

In Hillenbrand’s most recent picture book, “Santa’s Story,” Santa is ready to leave on Christmas Eve, but he can’t find the reindeer anywhere. Dasher is busy dashing, Donner is dozing, and Cupid is crooning. It isn’t until Santa remembers their annual tradition—reading a Christmas story together—that the reindeer are ready. Reindeer merriment abounds in this charming yuletide tale about honoring the celebration of holiday customs with those you love.

McGinnis, a ninth-generation farmer, attributes much of her character to growing up on an Ohio farm, learning the value of physical labor, and the harshness of the natural world early in life. Much of her writing reflects small-town living and aspects of rural poverty. A former school librarian, McGinnis still lives and works in her hometown, and is dedicated to making herself available to financially disadvantaged school districts and communities.

In her most recent novel, “Heroine,” McGinnis lays bare an honest exploration of the opioid crisis through the eyes of one girl. Mickey Catalan’s life has been littered with struggles—from the scars that tell of past injuries, to her parents’ divorce, to the daily complexity of finding the right words to fit in socially. Mickey is no stranger to pain, emotional or physical. When a car crash sidelines her months before softball season, Mickey has to find a way to hold on to her spot as a catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get back there. The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good. With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill — Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue. But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control. “Heroine” is a visceral and necessary story about addiction, family friendship, and hope.

Copies of books from both authors will be available for purchase. The program is free and lunch will be served as long as supplies last.

“We are so excited to bring these two talented, popular youth authors to our library. Their speaker fees were generously provided by our 2018 Match Day funds. They will each talk about their experiences as authors, answer questions and Will might even do some drawing,” said Rikki Unterbrink, Youth Services director.

The Amos Memorial Public Library is located at 230 E. North St., Sidney. For information call 937-492-8354.

Mindy McGinnisset McGinnisset

Will Hillenbrand Hillenbrand