It’s not often that a press release from Riverside, CA catches my attention. But in the case of Southern California native Mark Cloud, a government affairs manager for Southern California Edison (a large energy provider), I was more than happy to read about his latest accomplishment, which was the release of a children’s book about Buffalo. Now, how (and why) did a guy who was born and raised in Riverside, California come to write a children’s book about Buffalo? Well, according to Cloud, upon visiting this city a couple of times, he was so captivated with the environs that he decided to put a pen to paper to spell out exactly how he felt.
“I had never seen anything quite like Buffalo,” said Cloud, who flew in from California to visit his brother Sam, an associate medical director at Erie County Medical Center, and sister Emily, who at the time was studying mathematics at the State University College at Buffalo.
What might be even more random than Cloud writing, illustrating, and publishing his book titled “Hello Buffalo!” was the circumstances that led him to visit the city in the first place. Both of his siblings found their way to Buffalo, years earlier, independent of each other, and each fell in love with a Buffalonian and stayed. With such strong familial ties already in place, Cloud set out to learn about the city that had managed to lure his brother and sister from across the country. Was it something in the water? In the air?
It’s funny, maybe it was something in the air after all. “I tell people that in Buffalo you can smell Cheerios in the air,” a reference to the city’s General Mills production plant. “I’m not sure there’s anything better than that.”
According to Cloud, one of the reasons that he is so fond of Buffalo is the commonality that he has found with his hometown, including its history and culture.
“Interestingly, Buffalo has a lot in common with my hometown,” continued Cloud, who was born and raised in Riverside, California, part of the region’s Inland Empire. Cloud also mentioned the predominately middle class and largely blue collar nature of the cities.
“Hello Buffalo!” is Cloud’s second children’s book, which he released under the publishing moniker “Chachabacha Books” (Chachabacha is a playful word that Cloud loved to say when he was little). His first book, about Riverside, he co-wrote with his wife. The experience paved the way for his homage to Buffalo, which features visits to local landmarks, including Shea’s Theater, the City Hall building, the Buffalo Zoo, Shark Girl, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House.
Ultimately, more than anything else, Cloud mentioned that his goal for the children’s book is to shine a light on a city that has served as such inspiration for his two siblings, which is how he came to be such an ardent fan himself.
“I just want people to know how special Buffalo is.”
Cloud is already planning his return trip to Buffalo this coming July.