Haley’s announces publication of three Big Al children’s books by Christine Noyes

  • Christine Noyes with "Big Al " books display. —Submitted photo

  • —Submitted photoChristine Noyes with Big Al Noyes —Submitted photo

Published: 10/4/2019 9:40:23 PM
Modified: 10/4/2019 9:40:11 PM

ATHOL — Haley’s announces publication of the Big Al series of children’s books by Christine Noyes of Orange.

“A Big Al Bear Hug,” “Big Al Cleans the Park,” and “A Big Al Coloring Book” lead off the series intended for young children but likely to amuse readers of any age, according to the publisher.

Book signing event today

The author will read one of the stories and autograph books at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, in Trailhead, 1 South Main St., at the intersections of North and South Main streets.

Noyes conceived of the series to honor her late husband, Al Noyes, with whom she operated Grrr Gear, a full service family outdoor store in Orange, until his death in early 2018. She closed the business in 2019 and embarked on the Big Al series to honor her late spouse.

“When I first started writing,” Noyes said, “I didn’t intend to show them to anyone. Grieving for Al, I would wake up at two in the morning and turn on the light. I started writing on my android phone.”

Each Big Al book features a wise bear in the likeness of Al Noyes with themes dear to the heart of the late outdoorsman. The author personifies animals and introduces child characters to interact with them.

Although educated neither as an artist, graphic designer, nor writer, Chris Noyes grew up in Shrewsbury with a professional artist mom who, she said, influenced her creative abilities. “I taught myself several computer graphics programs,” Noyes said. “I drew the pages first by hand and then translated them to the computer. I wrote the verse to go with each drawing and decided on a Big Al ‘thought of the day’ for each book.”

When she first began writing by android phone, Noyes said, she decided to share what she wrote with her sister-in-law Mary Johnson and her sister Paula Francis, both of whom encouraged her to consider finding a publisher.

“I brainstormed ideas with them,” Noyes said, “and when I closed the business, I began to think it might be possible for me to make the books a reality.

“I’ve been back and forth,” she added, “about whether Al would want me to do the books. Although I think he might be embarrassed to be the center of attention, it’s a way to keep him close and my way to spend every day with him after our marriage of almost 30 years.”

Noyes and the publisher are at work on “The Case of the Missing Cooler,” next in the Big Al series with the likelihood of more on the way.

Big Al books are available online at bearhugbooks.net and other online vendors, at Haley’s in Athol, and at the Petersham Country Store.

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