Author Talk

MM: How did you and Bret meet, and how did the conversation about this book begin? KO: Bret and I met through a dear mutual friend of ours. I’m a children’s book author and illustrator, and Bret mentioned that he had always wanted to do a children’s book. Months later, when we discovered he had pancreatic cancer, I remembered his wish. I kept thinking about it, and not long after, I went over to his house and asked Bret if he wanted to collaborate on a picture for his children, Noah (who was 9 at the time) and Sofie (7). The book grew out of that.

MM: How was the art conceptualized and created? KO: Bret told me that every day he would take his children’s hands in his and ask, “What will your beautiful hands do today?” The question sparked the realization that little hands can do so many wonderful things. I realized too there could be a wordplay between the tangible and the intangible, and that this concept could be introduced to children in the illustrations as well. While kids can contribute their physical painted handprints, there is this sudden understanding that their hands could make something even more.

MM: Whose hands were used? KO: The handprints in the illustrations belong to Bret’s family — Noah, Sofie, his wife Deborah’s, his own, and mine. The rainbow at the end of the book shows the handprints of over 100 dear family members and friends.

MM: What do you hope children (and adults) take away from Beautiful Hands? KO: This book is symbolic; it’s about the vision. It’s a call to action to reach high, and to use our hands to do something positive, loving and inspirational for each other, our families and our community. I like how Bret said it best: “My hope is that this story empowers love, creativity, compassion, and a connection to you and yours, in the fulfilling and remarkable way it has for me.”

Local Page Turners

Beautiful Hands by Kathryn Otoshi (Novato) and Bret Baumgarten, Blue Dot Press, $17.99. Inspired by the question “What will your beautiful hands do today?” this dazzling, uplifting book captures the immense creative power each of us holds. Playful text complements the colorful illustrations designed from the fingerprints and handprints of Otoshi and Baumgarten’s friends and family members. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera September 12, 4 p.m.

The Love Fix: Repair and Restore Your Relationship Right Now by Dr. Tara Fields (Mill Valley), William Morrow & Company, $16.99. Drawing on more than 28 years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist, Fields sheds eye-opening light on five common conflict patterns between couples and reveals three invaluable steps for truly resolving those seemingly endless arguments. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera September 15, 7 p.m.

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore (S.F.), William Morrow & Company, $26.99. In the follow-up to A Dirty Job, the souls of the dead are being stolen, and it’s up to Charlie Asher to find them. With help from a most peculiar search party, Charlie must scour San Francisco to retrieve the missing souls. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera September 18, 7 p.m.

The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship by Marilyn Yalom (Palo Alto) with Theresa Donovan Brown (Woodside), Harper Perennial, $15.99. The Social Sex takes readers on a historical journey through the evolving landscapes of female friendship. The dynamics of female friendship are largely socially constructed, yet the underlying bonds may be innate. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera September 26, 4 p.m.

The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness by Steve DeAngelo (Oakland), North Atlantic Books, $18.95. In a thorough explanation of his pro-legalization stance, DeAngelo shares his unique perspective as the founder of the famed cannabis dispensary Harborside Health Center. The Cannabis Manifesto offers keen insight into the healing properties of this plant and the damaging societal effects of its prohibition. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera September 27, 4 p.m.

Book picks by Book Passage Director of Conferences Kathryn Petrocelli.