Gail Carson Levine launches Ogre Enchanted at Byrd’s Books!

Please join us for a very special launch of Gail Carson Levine’s Ogre Enchanted on Tuesday October 16th at 5:00pm. To save a book for signing, please click HERE.

About the book:

Set in the world of the Newbery Honor-winning Ella Enchanted, this tale by beloved author Gail Carson Levine stars a clever heroine who is determined to defy expectations—and outwit a fairy’s curse.

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre!

Stuck in this new and confusing form, Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.

“Longtime fans and new readers alike will devour this.”–Kirkus Reviews

About the author: 

Gail Carson Levine’s first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine’s other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The WishThe Two Princesses of BamarreA Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

Book signing with Anne O’Brien Carelli

We welcome Anne O’Brien Carelli to Byrd’s Books for a signing and discussion of her new book, Skylark and Wallcreeper on Saturday October 20th at 1:00pm. To pre-order a book for signing, click HERE.

About the book:

Carelli alternates contemporary and historical fiction in this novel about 12-year-old Lily and her 80-year-old, French-born maternal grandmother, Collette. The contemporary story, told by Lily, takes place in New York City over nine days in fall 2012, during Hurricane Sandy. The historical narrative offers a third-person retelling of Collette’s undertakings as a 12-year-old member of the French Resistance during WWII, lasting from winter through late summer 1944 in the South of France. Lily and Collette have always been close, and when Sandy forces evacuation of the Queens nursing home where Collette lives, Lily is by her side, helping to move and resettle residents. (Lily’s anxious mother, stuck in Manhattan, communicates worriedly via cellphone.) Interspersed with the sometimes frightening challenges of the relocation are stories of Collette’s dangerous wartime work with another young woman. When Lily loses Collette’s antique fountain pen, mysteriously precious to her grandmother, she embarks on a hunt for a replacement, which serendipitously takes Lily on an adventure in which she learns the details of her grandmother’s wartime history. While the novel doesn’t quite succeed in building suspense, and the heartwarming ending strains credibility, Carelli realistically depicts the warm, complex relationships between daughter, mother, and grandmother. Ages 8–12.

About the author:

Anne O’Brien Carelli is the author of adult nonfiction and the picture book Amina’s New Friends. She has always been fascinated by the French Resistance, and studied history at Case Western Reserve University. For her PhD, Anne researched psychology of the gifted. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Anne lives in the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York. This is her debut middle grade novel.

Review quotes:

Kirkus: “A quick-moving two-in-one success.”
“The wholesome contemporary survival tale combines surprisingly well with a spy thriller packed with invisible ink, an exploding cigarette case, and all kinds of secret gadgets.”
Publishers Weekly: Skylark and Wallcreeper takes 12-year-old Lily “on an adventure in which she learns the details of her grandmother’s wartime history”
“Realistically depicts the warm, complex relationships between daughter, mother, and grandmother.”
The Pirate Tree:

The Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain on Wednesday October 24th at 7pm

Join us for a very special author event with Robert McWilliams as he discusses his new book, The Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain: A Walk from Cape Wrath to the Solway Firth.

To save a spot, or buy the book, click HERE.

About the book;

From Cape Wrath in the lonely northwest to a muddy estuary overlooking England, The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain takes the reader on a walk across Scotland. For Rob McWilliams-Scots-born but exiled since childhood-the walk is an obstinate ambition, and the start of a new direction in life.

McWilliams crosses wild and beautiful landscapes, meets an ever-changing cast of companions, and passes through communities from remote hamlets to the smiling, but rough-edged, city of Glasgow. Around every corner, he explores Scotland’s turbulent history and unique cultural and natural heritage, from the Gaelic language, to the fearsome Highland midge, and how the Stone of Destiny-an ancient coronation symbol – could now reside in an unassuming Glasgow pub.

Struggling with terrain, injury, atrocious weather, and above all his own fragile confidence, McWilliams weaves into his narrative the threads of his life that led to the journey, and discovers that the rewards of adventure are rarely those that were anticipated.

The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain informs and entertains. As well as a ben or a castle, there is usually a joke just around the next turn in the trail.

About the author: 

Robert McWilliams was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but moved with his journalist father’s job to the south of England at the age of three. Rob graduated from Wadham College, Oxford, with a BA Hons. in Modern History. After university, he worked as a tour guide and English teacher in France and Spain, before joining Reuters news agency in London. Rob spent 16 years at Reuters as a business manager in Hong Kong, Japan, the US, Venezuela and Brazil.

For nearly 20 years, Rob has lived in Connecticut with his wife and daughters, and is now a US citizen. Tired of corporate life, he quit his job to fulfill a stubborn ambition to walk the length of Scotland. He has contributed the Taking a Hike column to local newspapers every month for five years. Taking a Hike placed second in the general column category of the 2017 Connecticut Press Club awards. Rob has also written for A.T. Journeys, the official magazine of the Appalachian Trail, and The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain is his first book.

Rob enjoys hiking, and travel off the beaten track. He does consulting work on information privacy, and volunteers with the Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Trail and other outdoor causes.

1000 Books to Read Before You Die- with wine!

Join us for a festive evening of wine and apps with author James Mustich as we celebrate the release of his book, 1000 Books to Read Before You Die. Book presentation and discussion, casual conversation and a book signing. This is the PERFECT holiday or birthday gift for someone else….or just for yourself!

There is no charge, but registration is suggested- to save a spot or reserve a book click HERE. (Yes, we will serve non- alcoholic beverages).

About the book:

The ultimate book for book lovers: the 1,000 must-read books across genres and eras, each accompanied by a thought-provoking short essay on why the book is so essential. Encompassing fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die moves across cultures and through time to present an eclectic collection of titles, each described with the special enthusiasm readers summon when recommending a book to a friend.

“As the owner of a 90-year-old bookselling institution, I am not easily fazed by 1,000 books, but Mustich’s literary bucket list stopped me in my tracks. His expansive scope is coupled with a delightful wit and a perfect eye for the surprise detail. Never again will you have to wonder what to read next. A book you’ll cherish for a lifetime!” 
–Nancy Bass Wyden, Proprietor, Strand Book Store
“If you’ve ever doubted that books were the greatest invention of all time, and that they carry within them our collective memories and dreams, as well as any semblance of intelligence we have as a species, pick up James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die and start reading.” 
–Ken Burns 

About the author: 

James Mustich began his career in bookselling at an independent book store in Briarcliff Manor, New York, in the early 1980s. In 1986, he co-founded the acclaimed book catalog, A Common Reader, and was for two decades its guiding force. He subsequently has worked as an editorial and product development executive in the publishing industry. He lives with his wife, Margot, in Connecticut.

Terranexus with David K. Leff

Join us Friday November 30th at 7:00pm for an evening that reminds us how important spending time with nature is for all of us on Earth. David returns to Byrd’s Books and will read from and discuss his latest book, Terranexus: Connection and Meaning in Ordinary Places. This book is the latest in the Little Bound Book series from Midpoint Trade Books.

About the book:

Connect with ordinary places close to home. Discover inspiration and beauty nearby through the art of deep travel. Intrigue and wonder beckon just beyond your doorstep.

Reading David’s beautifully written essay will make you realize that the wonders of nature lie right beyond your doorstep. So grab your kids, turn off your cell phones, and enjoy them. 
-Gina McCarthy, former U. S. EPA Administrator
Leff has given us a permission slip and a directive: go forth and see. Travel local, travel deep. See the beauty in ‘hard-used places.’ Canoe polluted and pillaged rivers. Everything ordinary is beautiful. Go forth and make your own terranexus, your own ‘profound connection’ to your home ground. Celebrate your place in earth–there is no other like it.
-Howard Mansfield, author of Dwelling in Possibility

About the author:

David K. Leff is an essayist, Pushcart Prize nominated poet and former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He is the author of five nonfiction books, three volumes of poetry and a novel in verse. In 2016-2017 the National Park Service appointed him poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail (NET). David’s journals, correspondence, and other papers are archived at the University of Massachusetts Libraries in Amherst. He is the town historian and town meeting moderator of Canton, Connecticut where he also served 26 years as a volunteer firefighter.

Writing Workshops

Writing Workshops at Byrd’s Books

We have two to choose from: Sundays with Judith Marks-White or Tuesdays with Linda Chiara!

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS from 3:30-5:30pm: This workshop is with Judith Mark-White. This is a very casual, all-skills-level prompt-writing workshop that is a lot of fun for all. Monthly on Sunday afternoons at 3:30, the group gathers to write from a choice of provided prompts, shares their work and their feedback. This workshop is a great way to break a writer’s block, jump-start your writing or see if writing is something you would like to try. All skill levels are welcome, please bring something to write or type on. Each session is $15.00, with a minimum of 6 participants. Dates: September 16th, October14th, November 4th, and December 12th. See Judith’s bio below. To sign up click HERE, or call the store (203) 730-2973.

TUESDAY EVENINGS from 6-7:30: This workshop is with Linda Chiara and is structured so the participants each bring a body of work in progress- three typed, double-spaced sheets to share with the rest of the group (6 copies). Each person reads their work and discussion follows. The intention of this workshop is to improve and refine work headed to publication. Further instruction is available with Linda, privately. Each session is $15.00, with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 participants. Dates: September 18th, October 2nd and 23rd, November TBA, December 4th and 18th. To sign up, click HERE, or call the store (203) 730-2973.


Judith Marks-White     

Addicted to black and white composition notebooks, Judith Marks-White began writing as soon as she could hold a pen in her hand.   Prior to becoming an independent free-lance writer, she was employed at Time Inc.Time-Life Books.   Her work soon evolved into humorous writing when, in 1985, she joined the staff of the Westport News in Connecticut where her column. The Light Touch (now under the heading: In Other Words) has appeared for the past twenty-eight years.  It here that her humorous and reflective voice takes hold as she views life through her own “funny glasses.’  Her articles and feature stories have appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the country.

Ms. Marks-White has been involved in the design and instruction of creative writing programs in Connecticut, and has taught writing for many years. She was an adjunct Professor of English/Writing at Norwalk Community College for many years where she won Teacher of the Year Award for 2005 “for imparting wisdom with contagious enthusiasm” and where she continues to teach a course in the Art and Marketing of Humor Writing.

Ms. Marks-White is the recipient of numerous writing awards from the Connecticut Press Club, Matrix: Women in Communications, and the New England Press Association (NEPA).  She received a first place award for Best Humorous Personal Column from the National Federation of Press Women and continues to receive award recognition for her columns from the Connecticut Press Club.   In March of 2003, she was honored as one of the Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen Outstanding Women in Connecticut celebrating her achievement and dedication to public service through the art of column writing.  She considers her awards special as it emphasizes her love of the satirical essay as she entertains her audience with her take on the human condition and the small foibles we all experience in our daily lives.  She continues to carry the theme of humor into her novels.  

            In November 2009, ELLE magazine featured Bachelor Degree as a Reader’s Prize Book

Ms. Marks-White along with authors, Judith Viorst and Colette Dowling was a keynote speaker for “Perspectives: A Woman’s Viewpoint” sponsored by the Westport Young Woman’s League and Redbook magazine. Her talk: “Help, I’m Turning into my Mother” is just one of the humorous topics on which she has spoken to many groups and organizations.   She is a member of The National Federation of Press Women, Pen America, National Association of Pen Women, The Connecticut Press Association and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Among her many published works include her speech: “The Marketing and Writing of Humor” which appeared in Press Women Magazine.  Her feature articles and humorous essays have appeared in many magazines, newspapers and anthologies.  She lectures widely on the subject of humor and how it impacts the lives of women today.

Ms. Marks-White turned her attention to novel writing.  Seducing Harry was her debut novel.  Her second novel, is Bachelor Degree. Both are published by Random House/Ballantine.  She is presently working on her third novel.

Ms. Marks-White is a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul Books and other anthologies.  Her latest essay: Ghosts of Husbands Past is included in the Anthology: Wedding Cake for Breakfast.  Each story addresses the first year of marriage as seen through the eyes of 23-authors.

(203) 247-0373 (203) 227-7761,,

TESTIMONIAL: “Judith Marks-White is an excellent and supportive writing workshop leader. She is very helpful in suggesting everything from major changes in your manuscript to interesting venues for its publication. In our workshops, she used writing prompts, giving us one long prompt (from a list she creates for each session) and one very brief one (from visual cues, in this case, reproductions of New Yorker covers from the 1920s on). Then everyone reads what he or she has written, and praise and criticism are offered by all participants, including Judith. She specializes in producing an egoless, conflict-free, and cooperative atmosphere that is generous both to emerging and to experienced writers.” ~ Wendy Wipprecht


Linda Chiara

I am an award-winning columnist and seasoned freelance writer with over 25 years experience in both fiction and nonfiction, including short stories, essays, humor, how-to’s, and parenting issues. I also write for children ranging in age from five through teens.

My work for adults has appeared in Readers’ Digest, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Woman’s World, Ladies Home Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Christian Home and School and Baby TalkIn addition I write frequently for parenting magazines around the nation, including Connecticut County Kids, Connecticut Parent, Pittsburgh Parent, Atlanta Parent, L A Parent, Chicago Parent, etc.

My true passion, however, is writing for children. My essays for middle school children have been in Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love and Friendship and  Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Growing Up: Stories about Growing UpMeeting Challenges, and Learning from Life.

Oddey the Owl is my first children’s book and tells the true story of Oddey, a special needs owl, who was found on a barn floor after being tossed out of his nest by his siblings. Oddey was not like any other barn owl. Other owls catch mice for dinner. Oddey was afraid of mice! He was also afraid of the dark, so he had to sleep with a night light on!

Other stories and articles of mine have appeared in Boys’ Life and for many state standardized testing books, including Measuring Up to the New York State Learning Standards, Measuring Up to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, among others.

Another passion of mine is helping aspiring writers see their own work get published. To that end, I teach private classes, one-on-one sessions and through my local continuing education program.


I’ve been a professional writer and editor for the past twenty years, published in newspapers and magazines including the New York Times and the New Republic. I can tell you that I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of support and feedback from Linda’s group. I first showed up in November 2016 with a few pages of a novel I had just started writing. Despite my professional experience, novel writing was new territory for me, and I was unsure of myself. Linda and the other members of the group were so encouraging that I kept going. I’m on the verge of completing a draft of that novel, and the support of the Writers Group has been instrumental in that effort. I’ve even begun meeting on my own with a couple other writers to whom I was introduced  through Linda’s group. Every week that Linda’s group doesn’t meet, we gather in a small meeting room we reserve at the library to chart each other’s progress.

There’s always a waiting list for the Writers Group. That’s because Linda has created an environment where writers of all skill levels–from those who’ve never written creatively before, to those of us who’ve been widely published–can feel comfortable, yet also come away with ideas for how to improve. Some people, like me, return month after month. Others come and go as their schedules and desires permit. Linda possesses the rare ability to meet each of us where we are at–and on the fly, because, given the format of the group, she has to react to each participant’s writing on the spot. People have shown up with rhyming love poetry, western-themed fantasy novels, family memoirs, comic pieces, murder mysteries, and short stories about domestic violence. Linda takes all comers, and offers feedback that is free of judgment and often accompanied by a dose of humor. She only seeks to help the writer effectively achieve whatever he/she is trying to do. 

The written worksheets that Linda hands out at the beginning of every class–each a warm essay she has written for the group that is chockfull of piquant insights–could at this point comprise a small book of their own. I’ve seen other writers, many of them novices when they joined the group, flourish under Linda’s tutelage. She has personally reached out to me between group meetings more than once to offer encouragement and advice…” ~Sarah Courteau 


Please call the store if you have questions or would like to sign up (203) 730-2973






Story Time for little ones Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Story TimeByrd’s Books host a Story Time for little ones at 10 on Wednesday mornings. No registration is required. For weather or holiday cancelations, please check the website and/or our Facebook page.