Local authors, moms to host book tour promoting children’s literacy across Summit County

Local authors Lisa Spaulding, from left, Claudine Norden and Lisa Blake pose with children for a photo at an author event at Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco earlier this year.
Photo from Claudine Norden

Three local moms are coming together to share their passion projects on a children’s book tour around Summit County.

Lisa Blake, Claudine Norden and Lisa Spaulding have all written children’s books with a tie to animals, and the trio is hoping to promote children’s literacy and interact with local families on an upcoming book tour.

The first stop of the tour will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, at Wild and Free in Dillon to celebrate the start of elementary school in Summit School District. A second stop is planned at 3:30 p.m. the following Wednesday, Sept. 1, at Next Page Books & Nosh. Any businesses interested in having the tour add a stop can email Blake at

The tour stops will be interactive, as each author will do a reading of their book followed by an audience Q&A. There will also be coloring pages, stickers and bookmarks available for kids as well as free books from Next Page.

The authors wanted to start the tour to celebrate the return to school and to promote children’s literacy. Norden said reading literacy and social emotional skills are “the building blocks of a successful learner.”

“It’s really a community approach to get our kids reading because that sets the foundation for them to be just good learners,” Norden said.

Blake said she reads three or four books a night with her first grader.

“It’s kind of that proud-parent moment when your kid picks up a book and starts forming sentences and sharing a story with you, so I just thought let’s promote that countywide, and celebrate back to school and reading, and children’s literacy and come together and share our books,” Blake said. “I just think it’ll be a really fun way to get kids excited about reading in the new school year.”

Author Lisa Blake holds her pug Mojo and a copy of “How to Love Your Pug,” the first in a series on how to love pets.
Photo from Lisa Blake

Blake’s book “How to Love Your Pug” came out in February after she and her son came up with the idea together during quarantine. The 32-page picture book outlines 10 rules on loving your pug, inspired by Blake’s own pug, Mojo.

Blake is working on a second book in the series called “How to Love Your Rescue Pup,” talking about different breeds of rescues and how they can have varying needs and require “different types of love.”

“I love that the three of us, we all have very separate storylines and characters, but we share that common thread or theme around animals and love and compassion,” Blake said.

Norden has written two books as a part of “The Quigley Collection”: “Quigley the Quiet Hedgehog” and “Quigley Goes to Gymnastics.” She said the books show how Quigley goes about life in an extroverted world as an introverted, quiet character.

Spaulding is the author of the “From Alone to a Home Collection,” which highlights true stories about families adopting pets from the Summit County Animal Shelter, where Spaulding works. The first book in the series was about her own dog’s adoption story, and Spaulding donates a portion of her book’s proceeds back to the shelter.

In addition to the short chapter books, Spaulding created accompanying coloring books with an abridged version of the story. She said working with kids and school groups at the animal shelter inspired her to write the book.

“One of the best parts of my job is connecting with the kids, and so what better way than to write a book for them to read,” Spaulding said.

The authors also like to talk to kids about what it was like writing and publishing a book, something Norden said the kids love to ask questions about.

“I was just really proud of the fact that I saw that dream all the way through the end,” Spaulding said. “I like to just tell people, ‘Hey, if you have an idea, you can see it through, and it’s really awesome to do that.'”

The authors all agreed they are most looking forward to interacting with kids and hearing what their questions and takeaways are from the books.

“Some of the things that they come up with after we read to them are just so cool and just the way that they relate it back to their personal lives,” Spaulding said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing their eyes light up and to hearing all the funny questions,” Blake added, “because that’s my favorite part at the end of the storytime: When I ask if anyone has questions, all the hands go up.”

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