Looking for a new, fun bedtime story for your children, while supporting a local author?
By Rachel Kytonen
Stop by Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge this Saturday, Aug. 13, and hear from Lindsay Johnson as she reads from her new children’s book, “Ten Moonstruck Piglets.” Johnson will be at Scout & Morgan from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will also sign copies of her new book.
“I read that when spring piglets witness their first full moon, they are mesmerized by the sight,” Johnson explained. “Thus be-dazzled, the foolish wee ones focus all their energy on breaking out of their pens in order to frolic in the moonlight. For a picture book author, that’s a story begging to be written. Because it seemed suited for a very young audience, children who would be read to rather than read it for themselves, I chose to tell the tale in rhyming verse. Also, I felt free to use more elevated language. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it allows an author to focus on the sounds of words and to create more arresting imagery. It doesn’t matter if pre-schoolers understand every word the first time through—remember, books for this crowd are meant to be read over and over—they pick up meanings with repetition; the rhythm encourages memorization; and the rhyming, musical sound of the words instills a love of beautiful language.”
Johnson said like most parents, when her children came along, she found herself immersed again in the pleasurable world of children’s literature.
“What a thrill to discover that all the old classics were still there, and countless new authors and books had arrived on the scene,” Johnson said. “I soon decided that I wanted to be part of it. Because writing for children is such a specialized field—and truly much more difficult than most people imagine, if it’s done well—I headed back to college to learn from the experts. I took classes, attended writers’ conferences, joined writers’ groups and wrote, wrote, wrote, until I felt confident enough to start submitting my work—first to children’s magazines, then to book publishers.”
Johnson is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction for adults (with a focus on memoir) at Hamline University in St . Paul.
“I’ve loved books all my life and imagined myself writing them even before I knew how to write,” Johnson said. “In elementary school I started writing poems and stories, but in my later teenage and young adult years, I became self-conscious about sharing them, unless it was for an assignment. In college I studied English literature (for the joy of it) and journalism (for a job). For a number of years I did corporate, newspaper, and freelance writing of all sorts, but I was always doing more creative work on the side, just for myself.”
Johnson is originally from Minneapolis, but has spent most of her life in Cambridge. She went through the Cambridge-Isanti school system and married local businessman Neil Johnson. They have adult twin daughters and nine grandchildren. The dedication in “Ten Moonstruck Piglets” is for them: to Neil for inventing the great Mama Piggy game, and to all the little piglets who have enjoyed playing it.
Her published books for children include “A Week With Zeke & Zack,” an early reader; “Hurricane Henrietta,” a picture book; “Soul Moon Soup,” a novel in verse; and “Worlds Apart,” a novel. Also, others are forthcoming. She enjoys making author visits to schools, libraries, and bookstores, as well as teaching writing workshops.
Scout & Morgan Books, located at 114 Buchanan St. North, Cambridge, can be reached at 763-689-2474.