Updated: Jan 10, 2022
By Michael Heath / selfpublishingUS.com
Amy Badger Whittemore grew up in two wonderful places and, in gratitude, felt a need to share these locales through her two children’s books, Goodnight Tuscaloosa and Goodnight Martha’s Vineyard. Pleasantly illustrated by water-colorist Kathryn Gage, the author purposely takes a detour around the events and places that make these two places famous and instead shines a light on the hidden gems treasured by the locals.
The author grew up in Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama and the nation’s most storied college football program (sorry, Notre Dame fans). This little city of 100,000 residents tops several favorable lists, including Most Livable City in America. Goodnight Tuscaloosa pays tribute to many fun locations there, including the Children’s Museum that uses a hands-on approach to learning, and the Bama Belle river cruiser. Tuscaloosa’s favorite Mexican food stop, Taco Casa, is added to the pages, as is the Summer Snow ice cream shop. And what city would be memorable without terrific outdoor destinations? The Denny Chimes, Amphitheater, Sokol Park and River Walk all made it into the book.
Every year during Whittemore’s childhood, her college professor parents took the family on a three-day road trip to Martha’s Vineyard to spend the entire summer. While living there for the season, the future author came to learn about the interesting, lesser known places and happenings, ultimately sharing them in her book. Featured is her favorite doughnut shop Backdoor Doughnuts and the great Larsen’s Fish Market known for, among other things -- you guessed it -- New England clam chowder. Included are the annual Chilmark 5K Road Race and the Agricultural Society Fair (known colloquially as the Tisbury Fair, which has been ongoing for 159 years). Now a lawyer with her own family, Whittemore is unable to take long blocks of time off to stay on the island. Occasional visits and fond memories serve now as her connection to summers past.
Some of the venues featured in her books sell them, in addition to their own products. Although both titles started as passion projects, Whittemore used a successful social media campaign to promote the books and is starting to realize a profit. Purchases can be made by going to www.goodnight-tuscaloosa.com, or by contacting the author through the Goodnight-Tuscaloosa Facebook page. Whittemore is often asked to write more children’s books using her very endearing approach. Unfortunately, she says she does not have plans for any similar projects. Let’s hope that one day she changes her mind.