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Press release from Rumson School District

Amy Marie StadelmannIn an effort to get kids reading this summer, the Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip RV will visit Deane-Porter Elementary and Forrestdale Schools on Wednesday, May 4. From 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., students and families will have the opportunity to participate in their very own “pop-up” reading festival, meet some of their favorite authors and illustrators, and engage in fun reading activities.

Scheduled to make the trip to Rumson this Wednesday are six authors and illustrators of popular titles and series from Scholastic, the major publisher of books and educational materials for children and young adults. They are Max Brallier (who, under the pen name Jack Chabert, writes the Eerie Elementary series), Gavin Brown, Kristin Earhart (the Misty Inn series), Dan Poblocki (the Mysterious Four series and other spooky novels), Amy Marie Stadelmann (the Olive & Beatrix series), and Judy Blundell (who, as Jude Watson, has authored several popular Star Wars titles for  tween and teen readers).

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rbpl-garden-siteTrustees of the library say local taxpayers would still have to foot the cost of the borough facility on West Front Street, above, with access to fewer resources from Monmouth County. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03The question pops up periodically, and did so several times last year in a user survey: would Red Bankers be better off if their library was part of the Monmouth County library system?

According to the Red Bank Public Library’s trustees, the answer is “no,” and it’s not a close call.

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AudreyVernickChildren’s book author Audrey Vernick (above) helps River Road Books celebrate Independent Bookstore Day Saturday afternoon, two days after Aaron Zwas (below) shows us how to ‘Transition to Independence.’

Aaron ZwasIn case you haven’t marked your calendar accordingly, this Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day — a day when we toast the success and spirit of your friendly neighborhood (non-chain, mom and/or pop) purveyor of dreams for lovers of the printed page.

Here on the Greater Red Bank Green, it’s a role that’s been filled for the past decade by River Road Books, the Fair Haven corner shop that’s taken the lead among area booksellers when it comes to meet-and-greet opportunities with authors of all persuasions. And the store has a spring bounty lined up in coming weeks.

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Amie Valpone returns Monday to Red Bank’s Front St. Trattoria, where she once waited tables, to promote “Eating Clean,” her memoir and cookbook. (Click to enlarge)


Valpone_EatingCleanAmie Valpone was a healthy woman in her early 20’s when a cascade of ailments began, taking her to the brink of death.

Battling numerous diseases and beyond the help of conventional medicine, Valpone said she spent most of the following decade curing herself through better eating — and clearing her body of toxins.

Now 33, she’s chronicled her journey in a new book, titled “Eating Clean,” which tells the the story of “how food saved my life,” Valpone told PieHole last week. Read More »


deb smith 033016 3Deborah Smith, author of “The Jersey Shore Cookbook,” outside Ama in Sea Bright last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


morsels mediumThe flavors of the Jersey shore really burst into fullness in the summer, helping to draw millions of visitors to our sun-splashed sands.

Somehow, though, it seems no one had thought to ask the most iconic beachfront restaurants for their top recipes, with the idea of sharing them in book form.

It took a Jersey Girl from Red Bank with an insatiable palate to finally tie it all together.  Read More »


Jersey Shore CookbookFrom guided tours of the great restaurants, landmark buildings and vivid VIPs in our local communities, to the resting places of the most storied European monarchs, the month of April is a Book Fair of opportunity for anyone interested in a cracking-good nonfiction read — and the days and nights ahead offer readers numerous opportunities to meet and chat with the people who bring you the books, at locations all around the greater Green.

It’s a slate of events that kicks off this Thursday, April 7, in the surprising setting of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante — a venue that comes into sharper focus with the revelation that the 6 p.m. event is a cocktail-hour reception for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond. Author (and founder of Jerseybites.com) Deborah Smith will be on hand to sign preview copies of the soon-to-be-released volume, a collection of recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants and eateries (Ama included). Also featured is an insider’s guide to navigating the local foodscape, as well as “the effects of Superstorm Sandy on nearly every establishment in the book and what it took to come back after the devastation.” Attendees at the two-hour reception will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, a demo by Ama Executive Chef Charles Lesbirel, plus a $15 gift card — and tickets ($50 per person; $75 per couple) can be reserved at (732)530-9760.

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Laura McCulloughBrookdale professor and poet Laura McCullough advises aspiring authors on getting published in the first in a new series of seminars presented by Project Write Now.

While it wasn’t the sort of Grand Opening extravaganza that’s usually accompanied by rented spotlights, a DJ booth and an air-powered dancing “Tube Dude,” the recent relocation of Project Write Now to a larger studio space in Red Bank back in December made a decidedly civilized splash of its own.

All over town, a collection of local people — including Mayor Pasquale Menna, who artfully ambushed a lunchtime crowd at Robinson’s Ale House with a reading from Rudyard Kipling — took part in a promotion that found them sharing favorite poems and inspirational words with their community neighbors.

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Gary Cooper carLate Hollywood legend Gary Cooper possessed a certain ‘Enduring Style,’ the title of a new book co-authored by his daughter, who visits Red Bank on Saturday.

Enduring StyleComedians of the era suggested that his entire vocabulary consisted of the words “yup” and “nope.” There was always something of the Montana-born cowboy in his characters, whether he was playing a professor (Ball of Fire), Lewis Carroll’s White Knight (Alice in Wonderland), or Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees. 

But Gary Cooper could also rock a premiere-party tux, a day-at-the-races houndstooth blazer, or an anyone-for-tennis ensemble of casual cool. The golden-age Hollywood legend’s sense of Enduring Style is the subject of a book co-authored by his daughter, Maria Cooper Janis, and the centerpiece of an event dubbed”Oscar Saturday” at Garmany of Red Bank.

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BerenstainsIt’s a special performance keyed to young audiences with Autism Spectrum Disorder when the Count Basie Theatre hosts the Berenstain Bears Thursday afternoon. 

It’s being described by the Count Basie Theatre as “sensory-friendly… a judgment-free, comfortable environment for families who would otherwise be reluctant to attend a live theatre performance.”

It’s a very special Thursday matinee of The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters the Musical — and when the touring production based on the beloved children’s book characters of Stan and Jan Berenstain rolls into Red Bank on Thursday, it will represent the first in a projected series of events benefitting POAC Autism Services in its mission to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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yarrott benzThe public is welcome as author Yarrott Benz inaugurates the spring Visiting Writers series at Brookdale Community College with a Tuesday night discussion of his moving memoir, ‘The Bone Bridge.’

bone bridgeThe story of the brothers Benz may in fact be “the only case like it in history.” Diagnosed back in the 1970’s with aplastic anemia — a life-threatening condition in which the bone marrow doesn’t produce the platelets needed for blood to clot normally — Charley Benz became bound to the person who was identified as the sole compatible donor: his younger brother Yarrott.

Thus began a tale of experimental procedures, complex emotions, soul-searching and self-sacrifice that has only recently been revealed to the world at large, in the acclaimed memoir The Bone Bridge: A Brother’s Story.

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MTPL LIonsPress release from the Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library

On Wednesday, March 2, the Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library will team up with the Middletown Lions Club to host Read Across America Day: A Celebration of the Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss at Middletown Public Library. Going on between 4 to 7 pm, the free event is open to kids of all ages.

Children and their parents are encouraged to attend this fun, lively and interactive local event in Read Across America Day, an annual nationwide initiative that encourages the love of reading, and that pays tribute to the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The event will feature musical entertainment by Disc Jockey Steve Munger of No Limit Entertainment; balloon designing by Rick Jones of White Knight Balloons; face-painting by Christine Conrad of Middletown High School South; button-making; snacks, beverages and dessert cake; free souvenirs; and facilitated group reading circles.

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evelyn-leavensThe late Red Bank artist Evelyn Leavens (above) is among the creative people showcased in ‘New Jersey Artists Through Time,’ a new book by Middletown-based author and artist Tova Navarra that inaugurates a series of events at Red Bank Public Library.

NJ Artists Thru TimeA quick flip through the newly published New Jersey Artists Through Time reveals a number of creative people whose lives and work were well known here on the Greater Red Bank Green. There’s the late lifelong Red Banker Evelyn Leavens, profiled here a few years back; Jim Gary, legendary maker of dinosaurs from repurposed auto parts; Mike Quon, painter of stylized local landmarks; plus Riccardo Berlingeri, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Judy Martin, Bob Mataranglo, and George Tice.

They’re all there, sharing space with the likes of superstar sculptor George Segal, celebrated printmaker Jabob Landau, and Emmy-winning courtroom artist Ida Libby Dengrove, in the first such study to come along in over 50 years. The books is just the latest of more than 30 published titles for its Middletown-based author — artist, photographer, educator, journalist, former Asbury Park Press art critic and registered nurse Tova Navarra — and the subject of the first in a new series of free ‘Author Talks’ events at Red Bank Public Library, this Wednesday.

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leighton lib 110915 2leighton lib 110915 1Kate Triggiano, who had a custom-built “little library” built and installed outside her Red Bank home for neighborhood kids last October, plans a book labeling party Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The aim of the event, to be held at Kitch Organic restaurant at 75 Leighton Avenue, is to apply labels to dozens of books donated to the library’s wish list on Amazon, Triggiano said. Participants are asked to bring scissors; kids are welcome if  they’re old enough to help.

Why label? “Because we respect the kids and trust them,” said Triggiano. “Because they cost nice people money. And because we don’t want someone taking them and selling them.”

Dubbed the Little Library on Leighton, the mahogany receptacle, built by custom woodworker David Halbout of Middletown, is in front of Triggiano’s home at 22 Leighton, and features children’s and young-adult literature.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


pam-jenoffPress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

Novelist Pam Jenoff served as Vice Consul for the US State Department in Krakow, Poland and is an expert on Poland and the Holocaust.  On the morning of Sunday, February 28, Pam Jenoff speaks at Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson about the role her State Department experiences played in shaping many of her novels.

Jenoff’s internationally best-selling debut novel The Kommandant’s Girl was based on actual events and was cited by Publisher’s weekly for its “luminous simplicity….”and hailed as “a breathtaking debut. “  This poignant Holocaust story – a suspenseful “page-turner” – is on the reading list of several area Book Clubs.  Jenoff’s talk will be followed by book sales and author signings.

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rbpl 1 032714Through his foundation, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner below, has pledged $50,000 to the library that bears his family’s name. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

(Press release from the Red Bank Public Library)

michael eisnerThe Eisner Memorial Red Bank Public Library started 2016 with a nice surprise: a letter notifying Director Elizabeth McDermott of a five-year, $50,000 donation to the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library from the Eisner Foundation.

This is the largest donation yet received by the library foundation, with $10,000 being donated annually for five years.

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