- Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine
Popular Young Adult Author Celebrated by the Napa County Reads Program
The Napa County Reads Committee invites the community to a special presentation celebrating this year’s book selection, “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein. The event on November 28, 2017 is free and open to the public. Children will kick-off the celebration with an exciting scavenger hunt around the Napa County Library, including the newly refurbished children’s library. Youth that complete the scavenger hunt will get a prize from the library, and the chance to win books by the author. Beginning at 6:45 p.m., Grabenstein will share a fun and interactive presentation that will leave children and adults eager to do more writing (and reading) on their own.
“Kids in Napa are crazy about the “Mr. Lemoncello” book series,” says Naomi Chamblin, owner of local bookstore Napa Bookmine. Meeting your favorite author and hearing about why they love to write is a great way to develop young readers into young writers.
Elementary and Middle school students around Napa County are reading “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” in the fall in preparation for this event. The community is invited to join local students in reading the book as a community-wide “Book Club.” Napa County Reads is a coalition of educators and community members dedicated to improving the reading experiences of students throughout Napa County with an emphasis on middle schools.
In addition to the evening celebration with the author on November 28, the next day Wednesday, November 29 children age 7 and up are invited to create their own personalized game inspired by the book in the Community Meeting Room of the Napa County Library. The program is free and all materials needed for the craft will be provided. For anyone who enjoyed the book, the TV movie “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” began airing on Nickelodeon in October.
Danis Kreimeier, Napa County Library Director of Library Services and Community Outreach, commented on the Library’s participation in the Napa County Reads program. “Sparking a child’s imagination through reading is another opportunity for learning and growth. Napa County Reads aligns with the Napa County Library’s mission to give our community’s younger populations that chance to experience the pleasure of reading, explore ideas, and pursue knowledge.”
The young adult novel “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” is part “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” part “A Night in the Museum,” and a whole lot of fun. The story revolves around an eccentric inventor of video and board games who returns to his hometown to build a library the likes of which has never been seen, and he brings with him the most spectacular puzzler of them all. The hero of the story, Seventh grader Kyle Keeley, wants more than anything to be the winner but learns he will need all of his “smarts” to do it. For young people reading the book, many classic works of literature are introduced through the magical library, while the excitement of games and competition speeds the story along at a thrilling pace.
Dr. Barbara Nemko, Napa County Superintendent of Schools, enjoys seeing the students’ excitement with the Napa County Reads program. “The anticipation for students of knowing they will get to meet the author of the book they are reading is thrilling. Coming together with other students, online and in person, from around Napa County to talk about the book they have shared is also part of the fun. Mr. Grabenstein’s presentation will have students on their feet and ready to run home and write down their favorite story idea that very night.”
The award-winning writer Grabenstein writes fast-paced and fun page-turners for children and adults. In addition to the “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” series, Chris Grabenstein is the author of the New York Times bestsellers “Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel,” and “The Island of Dr. Libris.” He is also the co-author (with James Patterson) of the bestsellers “I Funny,” “House of Robots”, “Treasure Hunters,” “Jacky Ha-Ha”, “Word Of Mouse,” and other titles.
Grabenstein’s path to becoming an author took some unusual turns. He studied communications and theater at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, then moved to New York City with six suitcases, a typewriter, and very little money. For five years, he performed with some of the New York’s top improvisational comedy troupes, including working with Bruce Willis and the late Robin Williams. Grabenstein also wrote for Jim Henson’s Muppets. In 1986, he co-wrote a TV movie called “The Christmas Gift.” It starred John Denver and can still be seen almost every year during the holidays. Grabenstein also spent close to twenty years writing radio and television commercials for Burger King, Seven Up, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dr Pepper, and many others. His first boss was a very talented advertising writer named James Patterson who would go on to become an acclaimed author. Now Patterson and Grabenstein have co-written numerous books together. Grabenstein and his wife J.J. live in New York City.
For more information about the Napa County Reads program visit napacoe.org/napa-county-reads or contact Katie Stavas, Napa County Office of Education, 707-253-6999.
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