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Obama Picks Minn. Authors On Small Business Saturday

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – President Obama was on a mission Saturday. After just 20 minutes, the first family left a privately-owned Washington D.C. bookstore with a stash of nearly two dozen books.

Among them, three were penned by Minnesota authors: Kate DiCamillo’s “Floyd and Ulysses,” Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and “Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus.

Preus, who lives in Duluth, was at a remote cabin in northern Minnesota over the weekend. She found about the famous purchase in a text message from her son.

“I completely missed it!” Preus said via Skype. “It just said ‘Obama bought your book,’ and I was like ‘What?!’”

She’s unclear if the book is intended as a gift or will be donated, but she’s hoping the president’s daughters – Sasha and Malia – will get the chance to read it.

During the retail holiday known as Small Business Saturday, shopping local is encouraged. But reading local is always popular in this state.

According to Collette Morgan, co-founder of children’s bookstore Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis’ Linden Hills neighborhood, local authors consistently top the store’s best seller’s list.

“I think Minnesota has a wealth of fantastic authors. It seems they’re very well-connected between themselves, too,” Morgan said.

When asked about the reason behind the success, no one knew the secret. Perhaps our weather has something to do with it.

“Maybe it’s the terrible winters. Authors have more time to stay inside and think about things,” she said.

Preus seemed to agree with the theory, saying she couldn’t concentrate on writing if sunshine and the ocean were outside her window.

“We can kind of hole up and, you know, work away in the dark hours of the winter,” Preus said.

Regardless of the reason, or season, readers keep picking up locally-written stories.

“The beauty of our Minnesota authors is that even though … we’re buying children’s books, they’re so appropriate for adults because they’re well-written,” Morgan said.

DiCamillo will be visiting the Wild Rumpus on Sunday, Dec. 8. She’ll be talking about her books starting at 1 p.m.

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