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Shell Factory hosts authors, anti-bullying events

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Oct 21, 2020

From left, Richard Farsi, Stephanie Seeley and Deborah Farsi sit at a table with Richard’s books and CDs at a local authors event at the Shell Factory on Saturday. CHUCK BALLARO


Inside the Shell Factory store, a group of local authors spread out to introduce customers to their work, from children’s books to tales of the zombie apocalypse.

Meanwhile, at the Nature Park, children were learning about the importance of treating others with respect and not bullying those who might not look or think the same way you do.

The Shell Factory & Nature Park held two events on Saturday, a meet-and-greet with local authors and a CrocaGator National Bullying Prevention Month event to encourage children to speak up, reach out, and be a friend.

“We’re having kids sign an anti-bullying pledge and to memorize the phrase ‘I am against bullying,'” said Virginia Lesko, marketing director for Kenny Rager’s poems, which makes the CrocaGator books, including “You’re a Bullied CrocaGator,” which Rager read to the kids throughout the day.

The kids got to do coloring, play with chalk on the sidewalk, recite the anti-bullying pledge, were given an orange bracelet with a message, and also got to see some of the animals at the nature park, including a skunk and a rabbit.

“We also encourage people to fill their ‘positive bucket’ and give compliments to their friends because saying things to hurt their feelings puts rocks in the negative bucket and leaves people feeling sad,” Lesko said.

Children learned a lot from the event. Julia Johns, 11, said she learned to stand up against bullying.

“I learned to be friends with people who are bullied. I’ve been bullied and had people say mean things. There’s a big difference between kidding and bullying,” Julia said. “You have to talk to the person, and if that doesn’t help, you go to a grown-up.”

Inside, Rager was talking with people about his CrocaGator storybooks and reading them his stories, of which there are several. They teach kids about relationships, acceptance, stepchildren and bullying.

“The Shell Factory carries my books, so I help by showing up for their authors day and we decided to dovetail that into their bullying event at the Nature Park,” Rager said.

For other authors, like Richard Farsi, it was a chance to get his work known to other shoppers. He has written two books about zombies (one that is about to be released), one of which has been made into a movie.

“I was a musician and music writer and accidentally wrote a book. I’ve always been around zombie and apocalypse movies, I wrote some notes for years and it became a book and then a movie,” Farsi said. “Some songs from the soundtrack were performed by our band, White Crow.”