Community Creativity

American Girl “SPARK!” Debuts In Madtown

Written and Photographed by Rachel Werner

Hoping to ignite the creative energy of young readers and artists, American Girl editor—now author—Andrea Debbink and illustrator Emily Balsley collaborated on “SPARK!”, an activity journal officially released this week during two interactive events in Madison. Debbink thinks introducing the book to its audience in a live setting is beneficial for the children as well as grown-ups because:

  • “It was really important to Emily and me to celebrate the launch of Spark in Madison. We’re both long-time residents and have benefited so much from the support and creativity energy of the community here.”
  • “Since Spark is a children’s book, we want our events to be kid-focused and provide ways for them to interact with the book. The scavenger hunt and popsicle-making demonstration are two main ways we did that at the first launch. After working on this book for so long with other adults, it’s exciting to finally put the book in kids’ hands and hear their reactions to it! For me, that was the highlight of that event.”
  • “As a reader, I love independent bookstores and we’re so fortunate to have a few great indie bookstores in the Madison area. Now as an author, I want to continue to connect with and support local bookstores like Mystery to Me and local businesses like Bloom Bake Shop and Bindery. The community these businesses create is incredible. (Owners) Joanne and Annemarie and their staff have all been wonderful to partner with.”

And if you missed out on this week’s book launch events, be sure to watch for the series Balsley and Debbink will be hosting in conjunction with the Wisconsin Book Festival later this year coordinated via school visits in the Madison area.

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