Author: Mark Swacha
This past weekend I spent Saturday afternoon at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center on Delaware Ave., to cover a book launch event for the second installment of the international book series for kids called The Adventures of Seymour & Hau: Ireland.
To be honest, I haven’t been to many book launches so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But, whatever expectations I did have were exceeded upon walking in the door. Melanie Morse and Thomas McDade, the authors of this book series, had set up a fun, interactive atmosphere that had kids playing games, handling maps and learning about a crazy Irish sport called hurling. It was clear the kids loved it, as they rushed from station to station. The parents joined in the fun, tasting homemade Irish foods like “bangers & mash” and “mushy peas”. This was not a quiet, passive literary event, and upon speaking with Morse and McDade, I could see why.
Our books are rooted in the idea that travel is the enemy to bigotry.
The authors are excited and passionate about their series. One of the things that struck me about this pair is their world view. The authors, both driven by their love of kids and travel, were happy to share their thoughts. McDade said, “Our books are rooted in the idea that travel is the enemy to bigotry, and The Adventures of Seymour & Hau aims to take kids on wild adventures while planting the seeds of curiosity about people and places beyond their horizon.” Morse added, “We love the idea of putting a bit of the wider world into the hands of these little global citizens, and to support their understanding that while circumstances may be different, we are all very much alike.”
The book series, targeting readers from 5-10 years old, started two years ago with the release of The Adventures of Seymour & Hau. The sequel saw the Seymour and Hau traveling to Morocco. This newest release features their travels to Ireland to watch their beloved sport of hurling. Set in County Galway, Seymour, his mega-galactic pal Hau, and their new friend Ciarán, (Galway’s top kid hurler), hope the luck of the Irish is on their side as they make their way though an ocean of clues to locate a missing hurley before the big game starts!
Morse is a former elementary school teacher, which was evident upon seeing all the activities that had kids running from station to station and actively learning about Ireland. I spoke with one parent that said she had learned about Seymour & Hau from a school program at her daughter’s school and that she loved the Morocco book so much, “we had to come down and get the Ireland one!”
McDade, a commercial director, and Morse, seem compelled to tell stories, as their day job is running their commercial story-telling production company called Honey + Punch located in a building they are renovating at 1148 Michigan Avenue.
The third Seymour & Hau book is already underway with hopes for a June release!