Independent Bookstore Day celebrated at Seymour store

Readers and several authors recently gathered to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at The Magic of Books Bookstore in downtown Seymour.

There were sidewalk chalk competitions, cupcakes, games, prizes, a writing class and book signings.

Also, if customers came downtown and shopped at any of the downtown businesses that day and brought a receipt back to the bookstore, they were entered into a special prize drawing.

“We love all of our downtown family, so this is our way of trying to support all of them,” bookstore owner Jenna Martinez said. “It was supposed to rain, but it turned out to be a beautiful day.”

Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April.

One of the local authors at Seymour’s event was Scott Davis, who signed copies of his book, “The Adventures of Bob the Bat.”

“It’s a tale that is loosely based on the adventures of bats that would come into the house we used to have over on North Walnut Street,” Davis said. “I wrote the book 20 years ago, and I couldn’t find a publisher. Then as self-publishing became easier and you didn’t have to rely on a big publisher, I thought about digging it out and trying to find the old manuscript.”

Davis said that was about the same time they were moving to a new place and their daughter, Heather Lewis, found the manuscript but didn’t tell him.

“Our daughter got in touch with our pastor, Larry Arrowood, with Woodsong Publishing and got the book published, but I knew nothing about it until last Christmas when she gave it to me as a gift,” Davis said. “Our pastor’s grandson, Matthew Arrowood, did the cover design, and then a local Seymour High School student, Eliza Wilson, did all of the illustrations, so everything about the book is from Seymour.”

He said it’s probably the best Christmas present he has ever received, and he’s working on a follow-up book as Bob’s adventures continue. Davis’ current book is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and

Seymour-Jackson Elementary School student Lilly Shoenthal, 10, attended the event with her dad, Marcus Shoenthal, to get a copy of Davis’ book.

“My teacher, Mrs. Lewis, told our class that her dad wrote the book, so I came down here to get one,” Lilly said. “It’s about a bat that travels.”

Other authors at the event were Judy McKain, Candra Kylar, Daniel Humphreys and Beth Nicholson. Their books are available through

Kylar, who lives in Greenwood, showed up with some of her books and also led a creative writing class that afternoon in the community green space that features a mural of John Mellencamp across from the bookstore.

Several readers were at the event to talk to her and get their books signed. One of those people was Brownstown resident Jeannette Sitterding.

“I got two books of hers today, ‘A Tale of Two Courts: An Abigail Everlaine Mystery,’ from her series, and then I got her new one, ‘Just One Day,’ and she signed them for me,” Sitterding said. “I’m 73 years old and love to read, and I like mysteries, love stories and a variety of books, not just one certain kind. I’ve also read books by local writer John Pesta.”

Sitterding said there have been times when she has stayed up most of the night to finish a good book and paid for it the next day, but it was worth it.

Humphreys, who lives in Columbus, and his kids, Carleigh and Jackson, were at the event with his books. He writes about the post-apocalypse with zombie characters and also urban fantasy that feature monsters and wizards.

McKain lives in Freetown and has penned some children’s books. Her most recent book, “A Dad’s Final Duty,” is about her late husband’s journey with cancer.

The youngest author at the event was Nicholson, 10, who wrote a children’s book with her mother, Holly Nicholson. Beth was at the bookstore event with her aunt, Vickie Barnes of Seymour.

Beth and Holly both live in Salem, where Beth is homeschooled. Holly couldn’t be at the bookstore event because she works in the lab at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour on the weekends, Barnes said.

“The book is called ‘Miss Peep,’ and it’s a true story about our duck, who got pecked by some chickens when her head got stuck in the coop and we brought her inside for two weeks and took care of her,” Beth said. “We thought she was going to die, but she made it and she won grand champion, champion and first place when we took her to the fair.”

Beth said her mom is really good at drawing, but they decided to use real pictures of their duck for the book so kids could see it. They started writing the book last year when Beth was 9.

“While she was in the house, we would put her in the bathtub and let her swim, but she wasn’t growing,” Beth said. “She started growing when we put a mirror in front of her, so she thought there was another duck there.”

Brothers Ollie and Silas Robinson were drawing in the sidewalk chalk competition in front of the bookstore. They were there with their mom, Stephanie Robinson of Seymour and her friend, Cricket Ware, who lives in Scottsburg.

Ware said she loves to read horror and thrillers and thinks Stephen King and Dean Koontz are her favorites.

Ollie said he likes to read SpongeBob SquarePants books, and Silas prefers reading about The Avengers.

Sallie Nicholson of Seymour, who also was at the event, said she enjoys reading historical fiction, some romance and a little bit of everything. She was there with her dad, Mayor Matt Nicholson, in support of the bookstore.

Coming up next month, British fantasy romance author Kristy Nicolle will be doing a book signing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 4 at 1852 Cafe, 123 W. Second St., Seymour, in conjunction with The Magic of Books Bookstore. A dinner also will take place beginning at 7 p.m. This will be Nicolle’s first book signing in the United States.