Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Happy Holidays!

"God bless us, everyone!" exclaimed Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens', A Christmas Carol.

And so we extend our heart-felt gratitude to the many friends and neighbors of Anthony Torrone who raised money to pay for his first print run of Anthony's Prayers: Thank You Father for Everlasting,

to the businesses in Anthony's neighborhood who sold hundreds of copies: Frank's Market, The Bitter End Coffeehouse, Nawara Brothers, Carol's Hair, The Other Way Ministries, and Servant's Community Church (see right side bar for contact information and directions),

to Schuler Books and Music for hosting Anthony's book signing and for selling hundreds of copies of his books and donating their commission back to Anthony's Trust.

Thank you. You have helped make a very special man's dream come true. And what better gift at Christmas.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2012.

~Charles Honey, Laura Hughes, Ken Postema, Pat Shellenbarger, Lance Wynn

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More books available

Pick up from Great Lakes Bindery
Packing boxes for local deliveries
Several stores in Grand Rapids have again been stocked with copies of Anthony's book hot off the presses at Color House Graphics. The first printing sold out quickly. On Wednesday, we delivered more copies to the Schuler's Books & Music stores on 28th Street, Alpine Avenue and Fountain Street downtown, as well as to Frank's Market, The Bitter End coffeehouse and Nawara Brothers hardware on West Fulton Street. More copies will be ready soon if those sell out, so keep checking here for updates.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Anthony is Front Page News!

Published author. Sell out at a recent book signing. And now: front page of The Grand Rapids Press.

Congratulations, Anthony!

You can read Tom Rademacher's Mlive story here. And see more photos by Press photographer Rex Larsen and others here.

Books are available on the West Side at Frank's Market, The Bitter End Coffeehouse, Carol's Hair, Nawara Brothers, and The Other Way Ministries. (See the side panel for directions.)

Books will be available at three local Schuler Books and Music stores mid-week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book-signing packs Alpine Schuler's

Today was a remarkable testament to how many people Anthony's sweet spirit has touched over the years. Dozens of friends lined up in Schuler Books & Music on Alpine Avenue NW to get autographed copies of his book. The store sold out of more than 100 copies. Another batch will be printed ASAP to meet demand and shipped to stores by mid-week.

Many were current or former neighbors who held fond memories of Anthony. One was a young woman who met him when she worked as a school safety. Another was a childhood playmate. Another was a neighbor whose bottles and cans Anthony faithfully collects and redeems.

"This is his dream," said Marianne Mallekoote, who met him in a Bible study about 10 years ago. "He'd call us every day: 'I want my book published!' He's wonderful. We love him to pieces."

Some dabbed tears as they watched Anthony sign copy after copy in his careful, painstaking script.

"This has meant so much to him, and to all of us," said Linda Mroz, whose children once played with Anthony. "It's just been a joy."

So far more than 300 copies of "Anthony's Prayers" have been sold with very little publicity. A story on his book by Tom Rademacher is due out any day in The Grand Rapid Press, which should generate even more interest.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Anthony signs books at The Bitter End.

Book release gathers friends together

Long-cherished friends of Anthony came to his book-release party today, turning The Bitter End coffeehouse into a cozy scene of warmth and love. Anthony busily signed copies of "Anthony's Prayers" at a front table while far-flung friends and neighbors from the West Fulton business district chatted and took pictures. His de facto extended family, Dick and Helen Ter Maat of Grand Rapids and the DeVree family of Jenison, beamed to see Anthony's dream finally fulfilled.
"He's a blessing," said Belva De Vree, whose late husband, Ed, befriended Anthony 40 years ago when he offered him a mint in church.
Also there were Belva's son Mike and daughter Sue, her daughters Esther, Jacki and Jodie, and grandson Alden, who was fascinated by all the clicking cameras.
When someone congratulated Anthony on the book's release, he said, "That's better than what we hear on the news. We need happiness."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Anthony's Prayers bless West Side neighbors

Word got around fast among Anthony's West Side neighbors about his new book after its release this week. Frank's Market sold out of a dozen copies on the first day. Copies also sold out quickly at Carol's Hair, 853 W. Fulton, whose proprietors, Carol Sobieranski and Phyllis Wilson, and many of their customers have known Anthony for years. His friends at The Bitter End Coffeehouse and Nawara Brothers Appliance also set out copies, as did The Other Way Ministries.

One longtime neighbor, Alice Worth, bought three copies for herself and for her children, who played with Anthony growing up. Anthony still shovels her walk, takes out her garbage and does other chores for her.

"He is the angel in the neighborhood," Mrs. Worth said. "He brings joy and goodwill to everyone."

Anthony's in the News

The Grand Rapids Press columnist, Tom Rademacher, wrote a beautiful article about Anthony Torrone and his newly published book: Anthony's Prayers: Thank You Father for Everlasting.

You can read the Mlive article here.

You can see more photos taken by Rex Larsen and others here.

We hope you can join us at Schuler Books and Music on Alpine Ave, Saturday, December 3 from noon to 1:00 pm. for Anthony's book signing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anthony's dream rolls off the press

Tuesday Anthony saw his longheld dream of a prayer book take shape before his eyes. He went to Color House Graphics in Grand Rapids to see the cover being printed. Press operator Craig Banning fired up the computer, and after a moment the iGenIV printer began spitting out copies. Anthony watched with a delighted and peaceful look on his face. Color House President Ken Postema put a copy in his hands. "I appreciate it," Anthony said.
Press columnist Tom Rademacher interviewed Anthony for an upcoming story in The Grand Rapids Press while photographer Rex Larsen snapped pictures. The words tumbled out of Anthony as he told of his long-ago difficult times, of the good care his late mother, Nellie, provided for him, and of seeing his prayer book finally come to life after years of hoping. "This is exciting," Anthony said. "It's better than what you see on the TV."
Later, he said he never doubted his prayers for publication would be answered. "God never breaks his promises," he said.

Anthony's Books Are Printed!

This video by Laura Hughes, Anthony's publisher, conveys some sense of the wonder and excitement he felt as he watched the cover of his book being published. It was a magical moment culminating the wonderful process of bringing his dream to life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Anthony Receives Books

Lance Wynn and I delivered the first copies of Anthony's book to him today. A broad smile spread across his face as he sat and leafed through a hardback copy. We were gratified at how pleased he was to finally see his prayer book in print, a dream he has entertained for at least a few years. Next week, Anthony will receive the first printing of the softcover copies when he visits Color House Graphics. In the next week or so, we plan on having a book release party at the Bitter End coffeehouse on West Fulton Street in Anthony's neighborhood. We'll let you know the date and time later. On Saturday, Dec. 3, Anthony will sign copies of his book at the Schuler Books Alpine Avenue store from noon to 1 p.m.
--Pat Shellenbarger

Friday, November 11, 2011

How it began

This began as Anthony Torrone's dream. For years, when I would see him on the street in his Grand Rapids neighborhood, he would talk about his dream of having his prayer book published. That seemed unlikely. No one ever taught Anthony to read or write, but he didn't let that small detail dissuade him. Neither was he discouraged by his developmental disability.
Anthony sat down one day and began writing about all that for which he is thankful. His words,   unburdened by punctuation and proper spelling, express a pure faith in his Heavenly Father and an optimism about the richness of his life.
I had known Anthony for years and had written about him a few times in The Grand Rapids Press, because of his extraordinary talent for building things from Legos and his phenomenal memory. Still, the idea of this man, now 56, publishing a book of prayers seemed unlikely.
Then last Christmas Day my friend, Charley Honey, wrote a piece in The Press about Anthony and his dream of having his book published. Laura Hughes, owner of Freeze Frame Publishing, read the piece and offered to publish Anthony's book.
Suddenly Anthony's dream became a possibility. Over the coming months, Laura, Charley, Lance Wynn and I began working with Anthony, distilling excerpts from his hand-written manuscript, matching them with photos and assembling them in book form.
There is much more to tell, and in later posts we will, about how Anthony's many friends helped move his book from dream to reality. For now, let's just say that in a few days "Anthony's Prayers; Thank You Father for Everlasting" will be published.
- Pat Shellenbarger