Writer and Evanston resident Sarah Aronson and Curt’s Café, 2922 Central St., will join forces to celebrate the release of the author’s third book for young people, “Believe,” with a welcome-to-readers-and-writers fundraising event for Curt’s at the Café, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Sept. 15.
Acclaimed independent bookstore The Book Stall will be on hand with books for sale, and local writers will read from their work – published and works-in-progress. Youth and kids are especially invited; Ms. Aronson says they are welcome to read from their work, too.
Ms. Aronson and her family moved to Evanston about a year ago from New Hampshire, where she had lived for 16 years. She worked there as a physical therapist before beginning her writing career. When the calling to write for young people hit her, she went back to school to earn an MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Writing for Children and Young Adults program. In Hanover, Ms. Aronson also ran all the education programs at her synagogue.
The author’s ties to Evanston go way back: Her grandfather was a friend of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue’s founding rabbi, David S. Polish. When Ms. Aronson and her husband, Michael, executive director of research safety at Northwestern University, learned they were moving to Evanston, Ms. Aronson called Beth Emet and, she says, talked for three hours with Executive Director Bekki Harris Kaplan.
With that connection and Ms. Aronson’s enthusiasm for helping others, the family fit right in. Her youngest son, Elliot Schwarz, a student at Evanston Township High School, participated in the Sankofa journey undertaken by 38 teenagers mostly from Beth Emet and Second Baptist Church. Ms. Aronson met with Susan Trieschmann and Lori Dube (executive director and director of community relations, respectively) of Evanston non-profit Curt’s Café, where she came to volunteer regularly, working with the youth employees on using writing to their benefit.
“I really believe in the diversity of voices,” says Ms. Aronson. Through established online writing school writers.com (“the first writing school on the Internet,” according to their website), she says, she teaches “cost-effective, cheap cleasses for working men and women who want to write for kids and teens.” And, she says, “My students teach me more than I teach them.”
“Believe,” published this month by Lerner Publishing Group’s Carolrhoda Books, is the first of the author’s books to be released while she has lived in Evanston.
“Believe” is a thought-provoking piece of young adult fiction, the story of an American teenager who, when she was small, miraculously – the word used by those who hold her up as proof for their faith – survived the bombing in Israel that killed her newspaper reporter mother and her father, and who despises the celebrity her survival has bestowed on her.
It follows YA “Head Case” (2007, Roaring Book Press) and middle grade (8 and up) “Beyond Lucky” (Dial, June 2011). Ms. Aronson says she likes to write about “regular people who are heroes and heroes who … are just regular people.”
Curt’s has held book-signings before, as well as other events that bring people who care about people to the venue. Some of the coffee shop’s workers are involved in the events, and have been working on a Curt’s newsletter (“Works on Progress”) containing their own writing, says Ms. Trieschmann
The Sept. 15 launch party for “Believe” at Curt’s Café will feature food, a raffle with multiple prizes and author readings by a lineup that so far includes Laura Ruby, Rachel Wilson, Brenda Ferber, Jenny Meyerhoff, Carol Brendler, Ken Krimstein and Ilene Cooper.
Ms. Aronson says she wants teens to come and read their work as well – those who are interested, she says, should contact her through her website at saraharonson.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If that does not happen, she says, teens should bring their writing to the party.
This is a joint effort, Ms. Aronson says, to “celebrate the process of writing. It happens at all levels.”