Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, 688 Abbott Road, South Buffalo, will host author Chera Thompson for a book-signing event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 18. Thompson and NF Johnson are co-authors of “A Time to Wander.”

Based on true experiences, the book is written in a he said, she said format, revealing the radically different personalities of the two main characters. The centerpiece of the novel is an 800-mile hitchhiking adventure in the middle of winter from Ohio to Minnesota. The trip is harrowing at times, comical during others and poignant as each ride brings stories and events that teach the main characters about themselves and each other. An email exchange between former college lovers take them back to their college years at Kent State during the 1970s. The Vietnam War is raging and anti-war rallies hit the breaking point. It was a time of bell bottoms, vinyl, incense, free love and travel by thumb.

Thompson attended Kent State and has BS/Journalism from Ohio University and a MS/Adult Education from State University New York at Buffalo. She held careers in travel and teaching. Her fiction has been published in the Los Angeles Review and was selected as a finalist in the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Contest. Other publication credits include Let’s Have Fun Vol. 2, Queen City Flash, and Have a NYC 3. Most recently her non-fiction pieces were published in Pamela Des Barres’s Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin’ Memoir. 

For more information on Dog Ears Bookstore, please visit dogearsbookstore.org, call 823-2665 or follow on Facebook for frequent updates.

A Parent/Grandparent-Child Play Group for children approximately 18 months to 3.5 years is coming to Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo, this summer.

This fun and interactive group will meet upstairs at Dog Ears Bookstore on five Saturdays. Facilitated by Maureen McDonnell, a New York State licensed speech pathologist, this play group focuses on early language skills through socialization, songs, stories, play and movement with a loved one. Each class is theme based and includes circle time, gross motor activities, free play, songs, finger plays, crafts and a snack. Children must be accompanied by a parent, grandparent or caregiver.

The group will meet from 9:30 to 11 a.m. July 13, 20 and 27, and Aug. 3 and 17. The cost is $75 per child, with a discount offered for siblings. Space is limited so reserve your spot today by calling Maureen at 713-6195.

Once again this summer, Dog Ears Bookstore will be offering free Summer Reading and Writing Camps for children ages 7 to 13. The nonprofit community bookstore is located at 688 Abbott Road in South Buffalo.

Camps are open to children of all reading and writing levels and will consist of an activity each morning such as music, sports, animals, drama, literature, arts, community awareness and more. After a break for lunch (pack your own or buy lunch at the Dog Ears Café; students will remain at Dog Ears for lunch), children will break into small groups to reflect upon, write about and share thoughts on their morning experiences and achievements. 

The camps for 12- and 13-year-old students are geared toward a reading and writing workshop. These camps will help build reading and writing skills, as well as comprehensive skills that target the needs for each specific grade level. Throughout these programs the children will learn helpful tips, skills and strategies that will carry across all subject areas and transition into the New York State Common Core curriculum. Supplies and portfolios for writing will be provided.

The summer reading camps are funded by grants through the Erie County Youth Bureau and South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon and will be facilitated by state-certified teachers. For any additional information regarding the camps, please contact Tom McDonnell at tom@enlightenthedog.org. Registration forms must be completed at Dog Ears Bookstore. Registrations will be accepted beginning Wednesday, June 5. Students must commit to attending all five days of the camp.

The following dates are for Councilman Scanlon-funded camps. Children must live in 14220, 14210 or 14206 to participate during these weeks:
• July 8-12 for children ages 9, 10 and 11.
• July 15-19 for children ages 7 and 8.
• July 22-26 for children ages 12 and 13.

The following dates are for Erie County Youth Services-funded camps. Children can live anywhere in Erie County:
• July 29 – Aug. 2 for children ages 9, 10 and 11.
• Aug. 5-9 for children ages 12 and 13.
• Aug. 12-16 for children ages 7 and 8.

Each camp is limited to 20 children per session and spots will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Children must be registered at Dog Ears Bookstore by their own parent or guardian. For more information, please visit dogearsbookstore.org or call 823-2665.

Years in the making, a children’s book written by Tom McDonnell, executive director of Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, will be officially released during an event at the South Buffalo bookstore from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

“Monster in the Morning,” illustrated by Hamburg resident Robert A. Wright and published by RPSS Publishing, will be available for $16.95 (plus tax) in hardcover and just $10.95 for the softcover version.

“Monster in the Morning is about the hectic morning routine in every house in America,” said McDonnell, a West Seneca resident. “It is my childhood recollection of how mornings in our house worked before mom had her favorite drink (coffee). This wild tale is inspired by the most wonderful women in my life, and a green bathrobe where money grew and Kleenex just magically appeared. The illustrations genuinely make the story come to life!”

McDonnell will do readings of the book at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. during the May 4 event.

For more information on the nonprofit community bookstore, located at 688 Abbott Road, please visit dogearsbookstore.org.

We would like to thank Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Erie County for their ongoing support of the arts in WNY, including programs offered here at Dog Ears Bookstore. Please know that your support is greatly appreciated!

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