In Marin / READING LIST
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
MM: Whose hands were used? KO:
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 ques-
tion sparked the realization that little
hands can do so many wonderful
things. I realized too there could be
a wordplay bet ween 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.
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.” CALIN VAN PARIS
Author Talk Beautiful Hands by Kathryn Otoshi (Novato)
and Bret Baumgarten, Blue Dot Press, $17.99.
Inspired by the question “What will your beau-
tiful 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 argu-
ments. 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 con-
structed, 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 dispen-
sary 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.
Local Page Turners
Book picks by Book Passage Director of Conferences Kathryn Petrocelli.
We sat down with Novato’s Kathryn Otoshi
to discuss her new book with the late Bret
Baumgarten, Beautiful Hands.