WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Public Library enjoyed a visit from children’s author Mike Malbrough on Aug. 15 as he read his debut book, Marigold Bakes a Cake, to the children in attendance.

“He agreed to do it for free because it gives him exposure as an author and illustrator,” said librarian Faith Boyle. “We booked it for the end of our summer reading program as an extra event.”

The library does not have guest authors very often, but when it does, Boyle said it usually costs a considerable amount.

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“He agreed to do it for free because he lives in Orange,” said Boyle.

Malbrough’s book, which hit shelves in July, tells the story of a cat that wants some alone time to bake a cake, but keeps getting interrupted by bird neighbors. The cat ultimately becomes so frustrated that he leaves the house to take a walk.

In the cat’s absence, the birds attempt to bake his cake, but they do not fully succeed. In the end, their baking skills improve with help from Marigold.

“The moral of the story is that when you’re too particular about things and they don’t go your way, it’s okay just to take a walk…or keep calm and eat cake,” said Malbrough. “I have a cat named Agnes and she doesn’t like me. The only time she likes me is at four in the morning and says, ‘Come watch me eat food.’ Agnes doesn’t like me, but I like cats, and so I wrote this book to fulfill my dream of having a cat who can bake.”

After the reading, Malbrough explained to the children the jobs of an editor and an art director, and how a book is published. The event concluded with an arts-and-crafts session that including making paper cakes.

Malbrough is also the director of ORNG Ink (OutReaching to the Next Generation), a youth-led and user-driven art and design studio where high school students could gain arts and entrepreneurial skills leading to employment opportunities. For more information on ORNG Ink and Malbrough, visit orngink.com and mikemalbrough.com.

This article was written by Joshua Baker, a student intern from West Orange High School.