Mairead Nye, who wrote and published Where's My Football? when she was twelve, returns to her hometown for a special reading at BookBar from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 30. But she's still too young to enjoy one of the spot's best amenities: Happier Hour. On Thursdays, adults get to sip half-priced wines while their kiddos nosh on half-priced meals and listen to stories, many of which are local — like Nye's.
The hip indie bookstore-slash-wine-bar has been in business for two years, and Happier Hour is one of its longest-running programs, usually drawing around fifteen kids every week. Many guests are infants and toddlers, but preschoolers and older children are welcome, too.
“Happier Hour has become something of a community staple,” explains BookBar’s marketing coordinator, Lauren White. By now, most of the faces White sees are familiar ones. That’s because parents appreciate the opportunity to mingle with other adults — and to avoid cooking up a weekday dinner without feeling guilty. The kids’ menu at BookBar includes three scratch-made items: the Roald Dahl (that would be a classic PB&J) and two mini-pizzas — pepperoni (the Berenstain) and mozzarella (the Dr. Seuss). All meals come with fresh fruit and a cookie. “We usually have a great assortment of cookies, petit fours, croissants and brownies in our pastry case,” says White.
BookBar is committed to local authors, and it features one at Happier Hour at least once a month. “When we aren’t hosting a local author, we read books that we find to be engaging and fun, as our staff always tries to make these story times interactive,” White adds. Nye, who moved to California a year after publishing her book in 2010, is trekking to Denver for Thursday’s reading.
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She wrote Where’s My Football? for her football-loving baby brother, Johnny, who was two when the story came out. Nye’s book follows a little boy who loses his football and looks all over the place to find it. It reads like a big game of hide-and-seek, and won three literary awards, including Creative Child Magazine’s Board Book of the Year.
“I noticed a lot of kiddie books had too much story per picture, and I wanted something simple that I could read with [Johnny],” explains Nye. She hasn’t published any other books yet, but a sequel to Where’s My Football? is in the works — and she still has four more years before she even qualifies for an adult beverage at Happier Hour. For more information on Nye and her book, visit the author’s website.
Follow Jamie Siebrase on Twitter.