Breaking News
More () »

Portland children's authors form quite a bunch with banana books: 'What are the odds?'

Three authors from the Portland metro area each wrote or illustrated a book with a banana theme and are supporting each other's efforts.

PORTLAND, Ore. — People write books about all sorts of things. In the Portland metro area, one topic seems to be very appealing among children's authors: bananas.

Three local authors, recently and randomly, drew inspiration from bananas, each writing or illustrating a book featuring the yellow fruit. The women behind these books have also formed a special bond.

“Everyone just wants to support each other and have us all grow and succeed together,” said Carrie Tillotson, who wrote “Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book.”

Tillotson spent 13 years as a biostatistician before leaving that career to follow her dream of becoming an author.

“One day I realized there's nothing stopping me but me, so I should start!” said Tillotson, whose second book, “B is for Bananas: A Going Bananas Alphabet Book," comes out in April. 

Credit: KGW
Authors Kate Baerube (left), Zoey Abbott (middle) and Carrie Tillotson (right).

And then there's “Second Banana” — not trying to rank the books here, that's actually the title. Kate Baerube did the book’s illustrations.

“The book's message is, with help from your friends, you can find a solution to any situation,” said Baerube. “It's full of hilarious puns — the writer, Blair Thornburg, did an excellent job.”

“Which is the most appealing?” giggled Zoey Abbott, who wrote and illustrated "Banana." It's Abbot’s eighth book and came out in March. She drew her initial inspiration for the book from the streets of Portland and a guy having some fun on his lunch break.

“He started to mime with the banana, pretended it was a leash and then he pretended it was a phone and then he pretended it was a guitar,” said Abbott. “I thought that was hilarious and so I started writing this book about a magical banana.”

Peel back the book's simple theme and readers will find a much deeper message in "Banana."

Credit: KGW

“Zoey's book is definitely sort of a metaphor for parents being distracted on our phones,” said Baerube. “I think also when you have a real book in your hand you're not distracted, you know there's no other distractions, it's just a book.”

Just a magical thing, ripe for the picking.

“My favorite thing is when I hear that a parent says, ‘Oh [my kids] have asked me to read this book over and over and over again!’” said Baerube.

The three authors have teamed up for several reading events including some held at Green Bean Books in Northeast Portland. 

While most authors don't usually promote their books together, this group enjoys celebrating the fruits of their labor together.

“Isn't it a million times more fun to do it together as a bunch?” quipped Abbott.

Before You Leave, Check This Out