Best selling author visits bookstore

Photo Courtesy of Words Bookstore
Book author and comedy writer Bess Kalb during her reading and book signing at Words bookstore.

Bess Kalb is an Emmy Award-nominated writer for the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” television show and a journalist with The New Yorker magazine.

She’s also the author of the best seller “Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True Story.”

She recently was at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, reading from her new children’s book, “Buffalo Fluffalo.”

“It was a real homecoming,” she said. “It was such a wonderful group of people. Two friends from high school were there. I had a dear friend from camp there. It was very sweet. I’m very grateful to Words for having me.”

Though Kalb grew up in New York, her father grew up in Maplewood. On her way to the event, she passed the house he grew up in. Her grandparents, who are in their 90s, were at the event supporting Kalb.

“The book is dedicated in part to my dad,” she said.

Kalb loved the way her father read children’s books to her when she was little.

“He did outrageous accents and funny voices,” she said. “I was confused when a teacher read in monotone.”

When reading to children on her national book tour, Kalb says she’s pretty much her father’s daughter.

“You want to hold a kid’s attention,” she said. “You have to give a hundred percent. I try to connect with every kid, as a mom of two young children.”

“Buffalo Fluffalo” is a picture book about emotions and empathy.

“I’m a comedy writer first,” said Kalb. “This is a book that kids love hearing. Silly characters, openly about empathy and being kind to people. They don’t have to act tough when they are scared; community will love them no matter what. It’s okay to be vulnerable.”

Kalb said she wrote the book for her oldest child—who was her only child at the time. “It was just a personal story from a mom to a child. It’s silly and rhymes and makes kids laugh.”

The first time she read the book to her son, he said, “Again.”

“That’s the best review I got,” Kalb said.

Artist Erin Krann made the characters in woodcut prints.

“Much of the success is due to Erin,” said Kalb. “She is extremely talented. She took months to hand carve each of the characters. It adds a real richness and depth to the art. This is not digital art. It’s art you’d hang up in a kid’s room.”

Kalb, who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, said that being a mom, and a writer, are the two things she always wanted to do.

“I definitely struggle trying to be best at both things,” she said. “My kids will always win out. They know they will. They came with me to a reading in New Providence.”

She studied political science at Brown University, and says she’s inspired by her family.

“My parents, my children, my husband—that’s the only opinion of me that matters.”

To learn more about Bess Kalb, visit: