Winthrop author, Ralph Tufo, held a book signing and reading of his newly published fictional childrenâ€™s book, â€œSeemore the Seagull,â€ 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 Kellyâ€™s Roast Beef. He encourages children to share, and teaches them cooperation while building a sand castle.
â€œSeemore is sad that people canâ€™t get along,â€ explained Tufo, who hopes that the book will teach children to respect peopleâ€™s differences. â€œThere 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.â€
Tufo was inspired to write â€œSeemore the Seagullâ€ during a walk along Revere Beach, when he stopped at Kellyâ€™s Roast Beef, and locked eyes with a seagull that was standing on the cement wall.
â€œI am watching him like I am a bird watcher; but he is watching me like he is a people watcher,â€ Tufo chuckled. â€œWhat does he think about me and human behavior?â€
â€œSeemore the Seagull,â€ for children ages three-ten, was written and illustrated three months later.
One of Tufoâ€™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 Grafeâ€™s drawing for families to enjoy at the book signing event. Children also wrote their own stories and illustrations while using Levinâ€™s photographs as inspiration. Tufo — who wore a captainâ€™s hat and spoke like a pirate — performed an original sea shanty about Seemore.
â€œOne grandmother bought the book for her grandson, and now he says, â€˜I want to go to Kellyâ€™s and see the seagulls,â€™â€ said Tufo about positive comments that he has received from readers. â€œSomebody told me that she read the story to her kids while camping.â€
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.
â€œEverybody has memories of encountering seagulls, and them staring at you,â€ said Tufo, who grew up in Lynn, and remembers riding the Cyclone and bumper cars at Revere Beach. â€œTheyâ€™re funny.â€
Visit www.SqueezeboxStompers.com to listen to Tufoâ€™s sea chanty. â€œSeemore the Seagullâ€ is available for purchase online at www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesAndNoble.com, and www.LearningRockPress.com. The book is also for sale at Simonâ€™s Winthrop Book Store, Robinâ€™s Nest, and The Book Depot. Contact Ralph Tufo to request book signings and readings at RalphTufo@gmail.com.
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