The Lima News, Ohio
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "Shirley's Gourmet Popcorn Company" will release a free, original illustrated children's book by Bluffton author Dan Stanowick and award-winning illustrator Jenny Hanf.
"Timothy Troyer Tries Toast" tells the story of a young entrepreneur's efforts to raise funds for his local library by selling toast at the end of his driveway, including several challenges and discoveries along the way.
"When we launched this project, our main goal was to create a book not only that children would enjoy but that also was strongly rooted in our core values," Suter said in a statement. "Readers will recognize that connection through the inventive story and beautifully expressive illustrations."
Free copies of "Timothy Troyer Tries Toast" will be presented to customers during Shirley's annual Customer Appreciation Weekend Nov. 3-5 at all six locations. Additionally, Stanowick and Hanf will sign copies from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Bluffton store and from 1-3 p.m at the Lima location.
According to Suter, Shirley's core value of personal development and fostering internal talent played a key role in commissioning the book's creators.
"We had submissions from authors and illustrators from around the country," Suter said. "The icing on the cake was when we learned that our two finalists were not only local but also had strong connections to Shirley's."
Hanf had worked as a team member at the Findlay franchise location, and Stanowick has been the brand's communications director since 2012.
The project, nearly two years in the making, is part of Shirley's continuing commitment to reading, Suter said.
Since 2014, Shirley's stores have presented more than $35,000 to reading and literacy programs in their communities, and the Shirley's National Reading Month program inspired 3,800 children to log more than 22,000 hours of reading in 2017 alone.
"This outstanding original children's book is yet another way we continue to honor Shirley's legacy of support for reading and literacy," Suter said.