Winthrop author, Ralph Tufo, held a book signing and reading of his newly published fictional children’s book, “Seemore the Seagull,” on August 15, at the EB Newton School and Cultural Center. Illustrated by Amanda Grafe, with photographs by Steve Levin, the book tells the story of Seemore, a seagull that lives on Revere Beach, and loves to fly.
Seemore is an observant opportunist with an appetite for seafood and half-eaten meals from Kelly’s Roast Beef. He encourages children to share, and teaches them cooperation while building a sand castle.
“Seemore is sad that people can’t get along,” explained Tufo, who hopes that the book will teach children to respect people’s differences. “There is a bit of ignorance that gets fostered and passed on to the next generation. Prejudice festers when kids get wrong information from the beginning, and it gets reinforced.”
Tufo was inspired to write “Seemore the Seagull” during a walk along Revere Beach, when he stopped at Kelly’s Roast Beef, and locked eyes with a seagull that was standing on the cement wall.
“I am watching him like I am a bird watcher; but he is watching me like he is a people watcher,” Tufo chuckled. “What does he think about me and human behavior?”
“Seemore the Seagull,” for children ages three-ten, was written and illustrated three months later.
One of Tufo’s favorite images is of Seemore standing in a plate of French fries, with a tomato from a hamburger hanging out of his beak. A coloring page was made from Grafe’s drawing for families to enjoy at the book signing event. Children also wrote their own stories and illustrations while using Levin’s photographs as inspiration. Tufo — who wore a captain’s hat and spoke like a pirate — performed an original sea shanty about Seemore.
“One grandmother bought the book for her grandson, and now he says, ‘I want to go to Kelly’s and see the seagulls,’” said Tufo about positive comments that he has received from readers. “Somebody told me that she read the story to her kids while camping.”
Tufo is a retired Winthrop Public Schools teacher and professor at North Shore Community College. He has written several short plays, three full-length musicals, and over 50 songs. Tufo is a member of Zydeco band, the Squeezebox Stompers, and plays the accordion, piano, and Angelo concertina.
“Everybody has memories of encountering seagulls, and them staring at you,” said Tufo, who grew up in Lynn, and remembers riding the Cyclone and bumper cars at Revere Beach. “They’re funny.”
Visit www.SqueezeboxStompers.com to listen to Tufo’s sea chanty. “Seemore the Seagull” is available for purchase online at www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesAndNoble.com, and www.LearningRockPress.com. The book is also for sale at Simon’s Winthrop Book Store, Robin’s Nest, and The Book Depot. Contact Ralph Tufo to request book signings and readings at [email protected]