Local authors at Buckeye Book Fair
Lisa Amstutz will be signing books Saturday at the Buckeye Book Fair.
DGKN archive photo by Randy Fath
Peter Dunn, founder of P. Graham Dunn and author of “Unlikely Entrepreneur: From China to Amish Country” is listed as one of the area authors at this year’s Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster.
By JACQUI L. HERSHBERGER
Connecting kids with nature is local author Lisa J. Am-stutz’s mission, and her book, “Mammal Mania” (Chicago Review Press), released in April, is one more way she hopes to accomplish that.
Amstutz will be at the Buckeye Book Fair 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Greystone Event Center, 50 Riffel Road, Wooster. Admission is $2. Face coverings and social distancing are encouraged. The event requests no strollers, and no books brought from home.
Peter Dunn, founder of P. Graham Dunn who wrote “Unlikely Entrepreneur: From China to Amish Country,” is among other local writers listed on the book fair’s website. Books will be available for sale, and can be autographed on site by the authors.
Amstutz has written over 150 books for the educational and trade markets.
“Mammal Mania,” available for $16.99, is part of the Young Naturalists Series. Other recent books include “Amazing Amphibians” (Chicago Review Press, 2020), and “Plants Fight Back” (Sourcebooks, 2020).
“Mammal Mania explores what makes mammals unique, as well as their anatomy, behavior, and conservation needs,” Amstutz said. “It’s especially good for home-schoolers and for helping kids think about the outdoors. It’s written for 2nd-4th graders, ages 7-12, and it could be used with younger children if a parent reads and helps with the projects.”
Each chapter of “Mammal Mania” has three suggested hands-on activities, such as how to build a squirrel feeder, write a putrid poem, or make an animal tracking station.
“Mammal Mania” is based on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) model.
Amstutz says she got her love of science from her father. “However, I never thought about being a writer until much later in life,” she said.
Amstutz went on to get degrees in Biology and Ecology. As a young mother homeschooling her children, she thought about writing for a long time before giving it a shot.
“Finally, I decided it was now or never,” Amstutz said. She began writing for some magazines and newspapers, and then co-wrote her first book, “Local Choices,” with Karen Geiser.
“After that, I wanted to write a book for kids about local foods, and I stumbled upon SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I joined a class on children’s writing and discovered the educational market,” Amstutz said.
While working on some of her own trade market stories, she found work writing non-fiction children’s books in various series focused on science. She also worked in editing for clients and publishing houses, along with website design and mentorships. Then, in 2015 she signed on with a literary agent and soon after had two trade books published: “Applesauce Day” (2017) and “Finding a Dove for Gramps” (2018). In January, she became an Associate Literary Agent at Storm Literary Agency.
The pandemic has made marketing more difficult, so Amstutz is looking forward to the in-person book fair.
“It’s a challenge to launch a book and rely on virtual events when you can’t connect with people in person,” she said.
“Our society is getting more and more disconnected from nature. I hope my books can be a bridge to get kids excited about being outside and learning about the natural world,” Amstutz said.