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The Dr. Audrey Lavin 'Speaking of Books' Author Series

Join us for The Dr. Audrey Lavin Speaking of Books Author Series.

In keeping with our mission to foster community engagement, the Speaking of Books Author Series brings acclaimed writers to Stark County who inspire lively discussion and – at times – challenging conversation while exemplifying literary excellence. Each bestselling author will speak about their book, followed by a wide-ranging question and answer session.

Join the conversation—discover more and register for these free one-of-a-kind evenings before space runs out.

Ford Headshot

Jamie Ford

Speaking of Books Author Series

Tuesday, June 21 | 6:30 pm | Canton Palace Theatre

Jamie Ford joins us to discuss Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, his debut novel that spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list. This historical novel centers around the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to internment camps and depicts the pain and trauma of separation through the friendship of the Chinese-American Henry and his Japanese-American friend Keiko. His second book, Songs of Willow Frost, was also a national bestseller.

From April 26, 2022-July 22, 2022, the Canton Museum of Art will exhibit Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii and Asian Voices from the CMA Collection.

Jamie is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer, Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations.  Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, he now lives in Montana where he’s on a never-ending search for decent dim sum. When not writing or daydreaming, he can be found tweeting @jamieford and on Instagram @jamiefordofficial.

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Previous Speakers

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Nicole Stott

Speaking of Books Author Series

Tuesday, April 5 | 6:30 pm | Canton Palace Theatre

Nicole Stott is a veteran NASA Astronaut, aquanaut, artist, mom, earthling, and now the author of her first book, Back to Earth: What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet - And Our Mission To Protect It.

Nicole has a unique perspective on planet Earth. While most of us have only seen Earth from, well, Earth, Stott has seen it firsthand from outer space – from the International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle. This perspective has given her a poignant viewpoint about the fragility of our planet. In her book, she represents Earth as a spaceship and us as the crew of Spaceship Earth.

Stott urges us all to embark on a new mission: Protecting our one (and only) home – planet Earth. On this mission, she encourages us all, as “crewmates” of Spaceship Earth, to work together to keep our planet’s life support system running smoothly.

Stott’s story is not one of despair. On the contrary, it is a hopeful vision of the future. Stott inspires readers of all backgrounds and beliefs to come together to tackle the planet’s most pressing problems, from water insecurity and pollution to the existential threat of climate change.

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Jason Reynolds

Speaking of Books Author Series

Thursday, February 24 | 6:30 pm | Canton Palace Theatre

Have you ever heard a teen say they hate to read? Jason Reynolds knows a secret— they don’t hate to read; they hate to be bored. He knows that it just takes the right book to discover reading as a portal to a world of adventure.

His work includes Miles Morales: Spider Man, When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys, As Brave As You, and the Track series just to name a few. For some readers, reading Reynolds’ books may be the first time they’ve seen their stories told.

His ability to connect his own experiences with those of his readers has made him a superstar in the world of children’s literature. He’s been a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors.

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Marc Brown

Speaking of Books Author Series

Tuesday, November 16 | 6:30 pm | Canton Palace Theatre

Meet the creator of the most famous A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K in the world, right here in Canton! This bestselling author joins us to talk about his characters, work, behind the scenes fun facts, and more!

He is also the renowned illustrator of Judy Sierra’s Wild About Books and ZooZical but is best known worldwide as the creator of Arthur the Aardvark, the star of many picture books and the five-time Emmy Award-winning TV show, and his many friends. He has been writing about Arthur, D.W., and their friends since the '70s and is beloved around the world.

On his way to becoming a full-time author and illustrator, he worked as a truck driver, short-order cook, television art director, actor, college professor, and freelance illustrator. His big breakthrough came one night when his five-year-old son asked for a bedtime story about a weird animal. Brown came up with Arthur, an aardvark who hated his long nose. In 1976, this story became Arthur's Nose, the first book in the popular series.

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Bittman Headshot

Mark Bittman

Speaking of Books Author Series

Thursday, September 23 | 6:30 pm | Online (Zoom)

Celebrate downtown Canton’s Restaurant Week virtually with author Mark Bittman.

Mark was a food journalist and columnist, opinion columnist, and the lead magazine food writer at the New York Times. He starred in four television series and has made hundreds of television, radio, and podcast appearances, including Jimmy Kimmel Live!, RealTime with Bill Maher, and CBS’s The Dish; plus NPR’s All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Morning Edition.

His book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good teaches us we can live healthier, not just eat healthier, when you eat with eyes wide open. It also encourages us to discover a flexible, ethical way of eating better to improve your health and lose weight by using common sense in the kitchen.

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RL Stine Headshot

RL Stine

Goosebumps and Fear Street Series Author

Thursday, April 8 | 6:30 pm | from home

It’s a Scream Come True! Tune in from under your bed to meet the mastermind behind the bestselling Goosebumps and Fear Street series— RL Stine.
He’s been scaring readers with creepy creations like Slappy the Dummy, Monster Blood, and The Haunted Mask for nearly thirty years.

The Goosebumps series has sold more than 400 million copies in the United States and The Guinness Book of World Records cited Stine as the bestselling series author in history. In 2015, The Goosebumps Movie, starring Jack Black as Stine, was released. It featured forty monsters from the ghoulish books including the diabolical Slappy, and quickly became the #1 film in the United States.

Stine is a three-time winner of the RL Stine Creative Writing Award. The award is given annually to an author named RL Stine. No other writer has been honored with this prestigious award. He’s also a three-time recipient of both the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and the Disney Adventures Kids’ Choice Award.

He also won the Thriller Writers of America Silver Bullet Award in 2007 and the Horror Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

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Read 'Rebound' by Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander

Poet and NYT Bestselling Author

Monday, November 16 | 6:30 pm
LIVE Online

The poet and NYT bestselling author of 32 books writes for children of all ages. He’ll join us to discuss his work, including the highly celebrated The Crossover, The Undefeated, and Rebound.
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Read 'A dirt road to somewhere' by Romona Robinson

Romona Robinson

Emmy Award-Winning Anchor and Author

Thursday, February 20 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Robinson shares her inspirational journey from a poverty-stricken town in Missouri to becoming one of the most respected and admired journalists in northeast Ohio in her memoir A Dirt Road To Somewhere.
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Read 'Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction' by Elizabeth Vargas

Elizabeth Vargas

Emmy Award-winning journalist and Author

Thursday, September 12 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

In her memoir, Between Breaths, Vargas bravely discusses how alcoholism and an anxiety disorder have affected her life and career, and why she chose to publicly share her struggle with the disease and her ongoing recovery.

Presented in partnership with Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery with Support from Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, Comm Quest, Coleman Professional Services, Phoenix Rising, and Kent State University Stark.

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'Beautiful Boy' by David Sheff

David Sheff

Award-Winning Author

Wednesday, October 30 │ 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Take a raw look into the world of addiction, relapse and recovery— through the eyes of a parent watching their child spiral out of control in Beautiful Boy. It is also this year’s One Book, One Community Stark selection.
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Read 'Spaceman : an astronaut's unlikely journey to unlock the secrets of the universe' by Mike Massimino

Mike Massimino

American Astronaut and NYT Bestselling Author

Tuesday, April 2 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Massimino chronicles his journey from a six-foot-three Long Island kid afraid of heights to a two-time veteran of NASA space flights on the final two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. Massimino and his crews traveled faster (Mach 26) and higher (350 miles) than any other astronauts in the 21st century.
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Read 'Behold The Dreamers' by Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue

Bestselling Author and 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award Winner

Thursday, February 7 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Imbolo Mbue is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Behold the Dreamers, which shares the different experiences of two families during the 2008 financial crisis. Her debut novel was the winner of multiple awards, chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection, and named Best Book of the Year by close to a dozen publications.
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Read 'Delicious!' by Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl

Author, Food Critic and Top Chef Master Judge

Thursday, October 25 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Ruth Reichl is one of the most recognizable voices in the culinary world. She’s an American chef, food writer, co-producer of PBS's Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie, culinary editor for the Modern Library, host of PBS's Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth, and was the last editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. She’s delighted readers with bestsellers like Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table and Comfort Me with Apples. She is also Stark County’s One Book, One Community selection for 2018.

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Read 'Learning to Scramble' by Bernie Kosar

Bernie Kosar

Legendary quarterback and author of Learning to Scramble

Wednesday, September 19 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Bernie Kosar earned a Super Bowl ring with the Dallas Cowboys in 1993, after leading the Cleveland Browns to two AFC Championship games. His book is an unvarnished and completely authentic account of an extremely talented man’s ability to not only learn from his mistakes but to evolve and develop new ways of approaching life. It’s a distillation of what can be done with just a little more time and a little more opportunity – all you can accomplish when you learn to scramble.
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Read 'Dreamland' by Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones

Award-Winning Journalist Explores the Opiate Epidemic

Monday, April 2 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed narrative nonfiction books. His most recent book addresses America’s opiate epidemic. He was selected as a 2008 recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot prize and is a 1998 recipient of an Alicia Patterson Fellowship.
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Read Titles by Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber

NYT Bestselling Inspirational Novelist Visits for Valentine’s Day

Wednesday, February 14 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

#1 NYT bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the bestseller list with twelve hitting the #1 spot. She was the inaugural winner of the Quill Award for romance in 2005 and has been awarded both a RITA and a lifetime achievement award by the Romance Writers of America.
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Read 'Thirteen Reasons Why' by Jay Asher

Jay Asher

Author of Netflix Original & NYT Bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why

Tuesday, November 14 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Asher’s debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, became a #1 New York Times bestselling young-adult fiction novel. It won several awards, received five stars from Teen Book Review and in 2017, was released as a successful Netflix original series. He also wrote What Light and co-authored The Future of Us.
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Read 'Rudy: My Story' by Rudy Ruettiger

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger

Inspiration for the 1993 Blockbuster Film RUDY

Tuesday, October 24 | 6:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger defied the odds with 27 seconds of greatness in his story of fierce determination. In 1993, his story was immortalized in the hit movie RUDY. He is now a renowned motivational speaker and focused on strengthening communities by offering scholarships in education, sports and the arts. He is also Stark County’s One Book, One Community selection for 2017.

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eBook     eAudiobook

Read 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein

Garth Stein

Tuesday, April 11 | 6:30–8:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Garth discusses his bestselling book The Art of Racing in the Rain, the writing process, and more. He’s the author of three other novels: including his latest, A Sudden Light. The Art of Racing in the Rain is the contemporary classic narrated by the beloved canine character, Enzo. It's sold 6 million copies, been translated into 35 languages, and spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list.
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Read 'I Almost Forgot About You' by Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan

Wednesday, February 15 | 6:30–8:00 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

#1 New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan fell in love with books as a teenager while working at the local library. She studied journalism at UC Berkeley and screenwriting at Columbia before making her fiction debut with Mama, which won both the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award. She lives in Pasadena, California.
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Read 'Gaining Ground' by Forrest Pritchard

Forrest Pritchard

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 | 6:30–8:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

Forrest Pritchard is a seventh generation farmer and New York Times bestselling author. His book, Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmer's Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm, was named a top read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s The Splendid Table. Forrest is also this Stark County’s One Book, One Community selection for 2016.
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Read 'Thunder Dog' by Michael Hingson

Michael Hingson

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | 6:30–8:30 pm
Canton Palace Theatre

On September 11, 2001, a blind man escaped the World Trade Center by walking down 78 flights of stairs with his guide dog. America fell in love with Michael and his dog Roselle and the special bond that helped them both survive one of the country’s darkest days.

Michael Hingson is now a world renowned speaker, social advocate, and New York Times bestselling author.
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Who is Dr. Audrey Lavin?

This series is named in honor of Dr. Audrey Lavin, our own local “celebrity” author, a globe-trotting academic, a champion of writers, and a tireless supporter of the Library.

She has shown unwavering support for the library mission as a Friends of the Library volunteer and by serving on the Library's foundation for many years. Her commitment to the Library, education, and the art of writing makes her the perfect inspiration for this collection of acclaimed authors.

Dr. Audrey Lavin