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