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Meet the author—Find out more about Jeannie Kirchen’s book at her April 19 book signing or online at whybarrybearskippedhisbath.tateauthor.com.
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Children’s book author holding signing event

Eric Quade ~ Editor~ 4/16/2014

North Phoenix author Jeannie Kirchen will be having a pre-release book signing on April 19, 9 a.m. to noon, at Cave Creek’s Saddle Creek Coffee Co. on Tatum Boulevard.
Her first book, “Why Barry Bear Skipped His Bath,” will otherwise be available beginning on June 10.
Originally from Michigan, Kirchen said that she’s been writing since the age of 10 and always dreamed of being a published author. At 19 she wrote her first children’s story, but she said she didn’t do much with it afterward. Then as part of a writers’ group in Michigan, Kirchen had her first published works—three poems and two stories—placed in an anthology.
The Barry Bear story, however, will be Kirchen’s first stand-alone book, and it was a project that had been in the making for quite awhile with joys and heartbreaks along the way.
“I wrote it about 10 years ago for a college class I was taking, and thought about doing something with it but wasn’t really sure,” she said. “And then 5 years later, I decided to go for it and try to get published.”
Kirchen found her match in Tate Publishing, but then tragedy struck her family.
“They liked the story and wanted to publish it, but my husband got taken ill, so I kind of put it on hold,” she said.
Kirchen’s husband died in 2011.
She credited her faith in Christianity, though, for eventually giving her book project another shot.
“Last year, I felt impressed by God to continue to pursue this book,” she said. “The publishing company still had it and [was] more than happy to continue my dream with me.”
As the title suggests, Kirchen’s book is about bath time for a family of bear cubs. Benny and Bobby Bear, like good little bear cubs, climb into a tub filled with bubbles to take a bath after a bit of coaxing. Barry, on the other hand, reluctantly gets in—only to sneak out after Mama Bear leaves the room. The book, geared toward kids ages 4-8, goes on to tell readers what happens when Barry decides to skip his bath.
Aside from the question posed by the book’s title, one might wonder why the author chose to write about bears in the first place. Kirchen said that the answer was quite simple.
“I always liked little bear stories, and I used to collect teddy bears,” said Kirchen, adding that her late husband had been fond of contributing to that menagerie of stuffed and ceramic bears.
The author said that she always considered her simple writing style to fit well with children’s books and had never imagined writing a novel. Lo and behold, though, a writing class inspired idea is now leading her in a very different direction for her next project in terms of both target audience and theme.
“It’s going to be an end-times novel, and I’m probably about 10 chapters in,” said Kirchen about her work-in-progress.
The north Phoenix author, who lives near Cave Creek, said that “Why Barry Bear Skipped His Bath” will be available at bookstores like Barnes & Noble and online.