Drawn Together

Christmas came early to Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in La Verne, Calif., with a visit from Bob Shea, author-illustrator of Dinosaur vs. Santa (Disney-Hyperion), where he demonstrated his artistic technique to some very eager little onlookers. Shea has a tour schedule rivaling that of Kris Kringle himself: on the road since September 8, he’ll have made some 20 appearances across the country when he finishes up on November 29, and he’s already got a 2013 date on his schedule, at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival in Fort Myers. He does, however, seem to have December 24 off, unlike a certain jolly, bearded fellow we know.

Hungry for More

There’s no sense trying to read on an empty stomach, so it’s only fitting that when Todd Parr was asked to join the kickoff event for the inaugural read-a-thon at Edison Elementary School in San Francisco, there was macaroni and cheese involved. Parr did a reading and presentation of The Thankful Book (Little, Brown) for 500 students, then helped prepare Annie’s Homegrown Mac and Cheese, served on placemats created by Parr; books were provided by Books Inc. of Alameda, Calif. Edison Elementary won a $4,000 grant from Annie’s to start its own edible schoolyard garden – yet another reason for the school to be thankful.

Crossing Party Lines

Currently on tour on the West Coast, Matthew Reinhart has been popping up at venues all over California, including the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Authors Feast and Trade Show in Long Beach, and (pictured) at Once Upon a Time in Montrose, Calif. He’s showing off his latest creation, Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up (Scholastic), which features pop-ups, pull tabs, and other interactive elements – including working lightsabers. No word on whether weapons were deployed in front of the standing-room-only crowd, but we suspect not – the Storm Troopers from the 501st look awfully cozy with that Rebel Alliance member

Cultural Exchange

Debut novelist Benjamin Martin got into character at the launch event for Samurai Awakening (Tuttle), held at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix, Ariz. The author, a Phoenix native who has been living and teaching in Japan since 2008, has written the first in a projected trilogy about an American exchange student who, through mystical intervention, is tapped to become a protector of Japan. While in the U.S., Martin also made appearances at several Phoenix-area middle and high schools. The second book in the series, tentatively titled Revenge of the Akuma Clan, is scheduled for release in fall 2013.

Redeeming Qualities

Margaret Stohl (center) and Kami Garcia launched the finale in their Beautiful Creatures series, Beautiful Redemption (Little, Brown), at the Barnes & Noble The Grove in Los Angeles on October 23. Author Katie Alender (the Bad Girls Don’t Die series, Hyperion) moderated the event, which included a signing and discussion – and featured a pair of surprise guests. Alden Ehrenreich (r.) stars as Ethan in the upcoming Beautiful Creatures film, and Rachel Brosnahan (l.) plays Genevieve. The movie, which is based on the first book in the series, hits theaters February 13.