b'have a close community and I re-ally explored that with A Perfect Mistake, she says, adding, Im interested to see what my neigh-bors think.The values of Maplewood and South Orange heavily influenced Conklins determination to write and promote stories that reflect the diversity of the world around her. Definitely these towns have reinforced my desire to write as responsibly and as inclusively as possible,shesays,notingthat historically,therehasnotbeen much diversity in childrens lit-erature.Itsaresponsibilityall childrens authors haveto show the world accurately to childrenAt the South Orange Public Library, Melanie and give them the opportunity toConklin talked about writing her latest book, A learn about other people. That isPerfect Mistake.definitely something that is influencednone of us are going to make perfect by this town. And it helps that Southchoices our whole lives, says Conklin, Orange and Maplewood are havens foradding Thats normal. And there are literaturehounds,withMaplewoodsways to make amends when those mo-busyWordsbookstorethatConklinments happen.partners with for all her local events. Its a moving story of an often poi-APerfectMistakeisaparticularlygnant,confusingtimeineveryones personal story for Conklin. Both herlives.Conklin,whodescribesherself husbandandhersonhaveADHD,as having been a shy and anxious kid, and she was all too familiar with navi- lovestorevisitthosedayswithher gating the school systems and life incharacters. There is something unique Enjoy our general alongside people with ADHD,aboutthattime,shesays.Youare Outdoor noting that she grew to really under- starting to grow up. The veil on reality stand how different their experienceis just starting to be pulled back. Youve BEER GARDEN! is, and how challenging it can be tobeeninthiscocoonofchildhood navigate a world that expects you to allwhere you dont even have to contem-think and act the same one way.plate things going on in the world, you The Latest At SJG Its an unfortunate fact that individ- can just rely on your parents, your view ualswithADHDreceivemorenega- can remain very small and just focused xOysterfest is Back tive feedback than positive feedback aton yourself. But as you get older, that September 17! See the school, which can often manifest itselfveil gets pulled back I think thats ad on page 35.in working extra hard to avoid messingwhat I am fascinated withthat mo-xLobster Rolls are here! up or making mistakes. In this story,ment of life when your world expands. xSeasonal Beers on tap. thats kind of the whole root of it, sheBecause then you have to decide what says. Here is a kid who because of theyour place is in it.way his brain works, he is very sensitiveFor literature lovers both local and Your Choice! to the idea of messing up or makingfar away, Conklins middle grade stories Dine with us indoors fireside a mistake. And then maybe he makesare a heartfelt reminder of those special Authentic Irish Cuisine, Irish Coffee,or in our outdoor tent.a really big one. And then what hap- wonder years, when theres a mix of Fine Wines and Irish Whiskey pens? The protagonist, Max, cant re- wonder and innocence but then also worthy of Celtic Kings member what happens the night he wastruth and reality starting to come in, M ay your thirst for life never run dryin the woods with his friends, when onesays Conklin. Its that magical time in of them was injured severely enough toeveryones childhood when life is both 167 Maplewood Avenue be hospitalized. Forced to reckon withawkward and carefree, and the world Maplewood Village 973-378-2222 the truth, the mystery of what occurredis just starting to expand into the great unfolds as Max becomes determined tounknown. ST. JAMESS GATE APPAREL AND GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE take responsibility for his mistake. It isSaraCourtneyisawriterlivingin stjamesgatemaplewood.com a coming of age story that readers of allMaplewood. She wore braces all through ages can relate tothat realization thatjunior high and high school.20/ matters magazine / school 2022'