Arts & Entertainment

South Orange Author Writes Books to Read to Dogs

912f1d4a30a07fedcec4_banjo_book_art.jpg
Brett Banjo uses his artwork to illustrate his book.
912f1d4a30a07fedcec4_banjo_book_art.jpg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Brett Banjo never had a dog growing up because his mother was allergic to them.

Now he writes books for them.

“Everything all day is a story to me,” Banjo said, but the inspiration for his books is fable and folklore. Though he writes children’s books as well, Banjo has gained some attention for his book “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.” Written in sing-song verse, it is the original book for dogs. 

Sign Up for E-News

Banjo, now a dog owner, said he believes his book promotes language recognition in dogs and provides pets and their owners the opportunity to relax at the end of a long day. 

Banjo was the youngest of five children by nearly nine years and spent his childhood creating his own toys and games out of his siblings’ hand-me-downs. A self-professed “daydreamer,” he uses the creative mind he developed as a kid to write and illustrate his books.

The idea to write books for dogs came from his cousin, who makes and sells dog biscuits. Though an engineer by trade, Banjo’s creative streak could not be denied. “I like the wordsmithing,” Banjo said. “It’s what I do. I’m going to write anyway.”

It takes him about two or three months to put one of his books together, from the words to his distinctive mixed media illustrations. You will not see any bright cartoons gracing the pages of “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.”

“You don’t have to do art the same way as everyone else,” he said, “I do what is naturally there.  I don’t plan so much. I don’t force.” The pages of Banjo’s books are instead decorated with photos of objects he finds – from crayons and hair to tennis balls and glass. 

What has not come as naturally to Banjo is marketing his books. While he has received positive reactions from readers, pet stores have not been as responsive to Banjo’s books.  He plans to go door-to-door to promote his book.

No matter what, though, Banjo plans to keep on writing. He has invested years in his books because he loves them.  According to Banjo, “Writing is what helped keep me sane” while working toward his master’s degree in engineering. 

He fosters this same silliness and creativity in his own family. “What I need is a happy environment,” Banjo said.

Banjo’s books, including his books written for children, are available at his website, banjopress.com and on Amazon.

Morgan Tornetta is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 15, 2018

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b20a8250917845925251_mini_magick20180715-93558-18g5bx1

Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

Caldwell University Alumni Theater, Caldwell

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_7611ce284a8c86d65b64_37d34f9a-c5cd-4fb1-8bf8-b5b7319cb94e

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair in Paterson

Education

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018

** TUESDAY RALLY IS CANCELLED **

We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

3rd Annual Newark International Film Festival Accepting Submissions

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Three days filled with celebrity guests and showcases from both local and international filmmakers are coming to the city in September.

The third annual Newark International Film Festival will return Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 9, 2018. The festival has grown each year since it was first created, with the city last year hosting 10,000 attendees seeing films across ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Union Police Pursuit Ends in Crash in Irvington

NEWARK, NJ – Union police were involved in an early morning vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash and serious injuries to two juveniles in Irvington on Monday.

According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is in the early stages of investigating the police pursuit that has resulted in two juveniles sustaining serious ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

July 16, 2018

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.