Children’s author excites hundreds of fans at Stambaugh breakfast

By Justin Dennis


Laura Numeroff said she feels it was important her parents read to her at a young age.

“For me, it excited me. Other stories got my imagination going,” she told The Vindicator. “When I was 8 years old, I knew I wanted to write children’s books.”

Numeroff grew up to publish the classic children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” in 1985, which led to more than a dozen other books in the “If You Give” series, a cartoon now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and nearly 400 young fans who lined up to meet the celebrated author Friday morning at Stambaugh Auditorium.

Numeroff was the featured author during the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County’s Summer Discovery Author Breakfast. Last year, the breakfast hosted Marc Brown, author of the “Arthur” the aardvark series.

Aimee Fifarek, the library’s executive director, said the breakfast is the culmination of the library’s summer reading program.

“We work to keep the kids reading over the summer so their minds are still engaged and refreshed for when school starts in the fall,” she said. “This is the big reward they get for investing all that time.”

Ziva Samora, 9, couldn’t contain her excitement as she clutched one of Numeroff’s books, waiting for the author to take the stage and share stories and pictures from her life and career. Coloring nearby was Ziva’s sister, 6-year-old Priya.

Their mother Megan, a language arts teacher, said Ziva knew enough about Numeroff to complete a school project on the author.

“I love to read, so I’m hoping to pass that onto them. We read a lot of stories,” she said. “I can remember reading [“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”] in third grade myself.”

Willow Shank, 9, said her favorite book is Numeroff’s “If You Give a Pig a Party” because she enjoyed spotting the illustrated animals during the hide-and-seek portion of the story. Like in many families, Willow’s mother Aimee said Numeroff’s stories are a tradition.

“I think you create a love of learning if you start [reading to them] when they’re little. They’re exposed to more vocabulary. They find the library fun. My kids tell me they want to sleep in the library,” Aimee laughed.