dancing bear

Outdoor Book Events


With the release of my new picture book THE MUKLUK BALL, I have been doing a large variety of events around the Midwest since mid-summer, including outdoor events. As we know, the Midwest region offers a wide degree of temperatures. One of my first events this summer was at Target Field Stadium in Minneapolis–in which, I read my book to families in 95 degrees F. Later in December, I read my book to families at the Holidazzle event in Loring Park (near downtown Minneapolis) in only 27 degrees.

If you're doing an event outside when it is hot, it is important to wear sunscreen, drink lots of water, and pace yourself during time there. When it’s cold be sure to wear fingerless gloves so you can turn the pages of the book. Keep your presentation short so the audience doesn’t have to sit too long. Pen and cameras can freeze in cold temperatures too and you may have to warm them up before you can sign books or take photos. The Norwegians have a saying, “"Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær / There no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” In other words, prepare yourself, wear extra layers and good boots. “TIP: Weather, like most things in life, is as bad as you make it to be. Change your mind-set, buy a proper jacket and do not let the weather stop you. You will feel as happy as a Norwegian.” (source)

I hope to see you at my next event!

The Mukluk Ball Dance Party

The Book Launch Party on November 17th, 2018 at The Red Balloon Bookshop for THE MUKLUK BALL, by Katharine Johnson and illustrated by Alicia Schwab 2018 Minnesota Historical Society Press. It was not only a success but a blast as well. The kids had a lot of fun. Katharine read the book to them and Alicia danced The Twist with Angela, sales associates. What a ball!  We look forward to doing more events together.

Dance Like Nobody Is Watching


On October 27th, 2018 Katharine Johnson, her husband Dale and I drove up to Ely from their home near Duluth, MN. We went to our picture book launch for THE MUKLUK BALL at Steger Mukuluks in Ely.

After a warm welcome we held our book event and had so much fun. Katharine read the story to the children and I got the kids to dance!

In the book, during the Mukluk Ball, Karhu the bear and Millie the do-si-do champion made up a new dance called The Bear Hug Twist. I showed the kids some dance moves and then I had them make up three dance moves to combine into our very own Bear Hug Twist. We twizzled and hopped, some in shoes and others in boots. The kids were great and now they are ready to dance with Karhu the bear.

The Mukluk Store is featured in THE MUKLUK BALL, Karhu the bear wants his own pair of Mukluks to wear to the Mukluk Ball. Karhu picks blueberries and sells them with bear hugs at the blueberry festival to earn money for his new boots. We were astounded by our own good fortune. Steger's was very generous and gave Katharine and I each a pair of boots! I have never had such nice, comfortable boots. And they were very supportive of our book. What a wonderful way to begin the long cold season with beautiful, warm mukluks!

Kid Tested. Kid Approved.

Today, Katharine Johnson and I signed our book, THE MUKLUK BALL. We sold out of books before the morning was over at the @MNHSPress booth during the MEA Convention #meamn18 for Minnesota teachers. educationminnesota.org 

It has been such a blast working with Katharine and the Minnesota Historical Society Press on this book launch. Pre-order your copy here!

We got to meet and greet lots of great teachers today. Minnesota has many wonderful teachers and they are part of what makes this state a nice place to live. Thank you teachers for all your hard work and sharing THE MUKLUK BALL with your students!

Pioneer Press Article — The Mukluk Ball

link to article

New books provide teachable moments for young readers – and fun! 

by Mary Ann Grossmann

PICTURE BOOKS

“The Mukluk Ball” by Katharine Johnson, illustrated by Alicia Schwab (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95.) Put this “up north” picture book at the top of your Christmas gift list. It is one of the most joyful tales (tails?) of the season. Karhu, the bear, tells his owl friend Zazaa that this is the year he’s going to the Mukluk Ball, Finn Town’s liveliest winter event. But he has to earn money to buy mukluks, so he picks blueberries and sells them at the Blueberry Festival. It’s $2 “for a PAW-ful” that comes with a real bear hug.
Karhu laces up his mukluks and learns to dance; Millie twirls him in a polka; Mary Ann the librarian shows him the boogie-woogie, and Inga the folksinger teaches him the chachacha. But Karhu has a problem. The ball is in January and he can’t stay awake. So he takes a nap snug in his den until Zazaa wakes him to go to the ball, where the Finn Hall band plays and Karhu “twirled and whirled, twizzled and spun” until he fell asleep on Inga’s shoulder. It takes the Shagawa Square Dancers to take him to their bus and then he is pulled home on a dog sled.
Back home, Karhu snored and dreamed of dancing. His toes tapped in time to the music of the Mukluk Ball.
Author Johnson says she  wears mukluks all winter in Cloquet. Illustrator Schwab, who lives in Minneapolis, calls this a super fun project for which “I danced and listened to a lot of music to fall into the rhythm of the book’s illustrations.” Her colorful, muscular pictures leave no doubt this is a northern Minnesota story, from the log cabin-style buildings to Karhu’s den (with a round window), rabbits tobogganing, and happy dogs pulling the sleeping bear on the sled. Even the endpapers are covered with colorful floral designs and different pairs of mukluks. There’s lots of hugging and happiness in this book that will make readers of all ages smile.
Johnson and Schwab will launch their book at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Red Balloon Bookshop, 891 Grand Ave., St. Paul.