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Local musician debuts third kids' book, What's the Opposite of Pizza?

Obstacle Course

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You've seen Thomas Berkau in bands like Sweatlands and Vanity Plates, but did you know he started a publishing company with his sister and that he's also authored and illustrated three kids' books? Woah, right?

The third book, dropped this month, is called What's the Opposite of Pizza? and is a "philosophical primer" for kids (and, OK, adults). Wanna know what else? Berkau dishes all the deets for us here in his own words. Here goes:

So who is your partner on this? My parter is Matthew Nelson-Love. We've been good friends for like 12 years. We played in a band called Yardwork for a few years until he moved to New York and got married. Back in the mid-aughts we used to do these really crazy flyers for bands that would take us the better part of a month. We would both conceptualize the image, he would draw it, then I would color them digitally. They're fully nuts.

When did the idea spark? Throughout the course of our relationship Matt had pitched some kids' book ideas to me before but nothing really grabbed me. (They would all start off as these beautiful, classic-sounding stories then end up being about arms dealing or something). About a year ago he hit me with one that he knew I'd like, and that idea became this book. He asked me if I wanted to do a book with a trendy food in its title that not so secretly introduces philosophical concepts to six year olds and slowly dismantles the concepts of duality. I said yes. We spent many, many hours on the phone building the idea of this book: What we wanted to say, how we wanted to say it, and who we were saying it to. A lot of ideas in this book came from philosophical concepts that most people learn in the first year of college, so naturally it spawned some really stupid discussions about how dumb and important philosophy is; most often, it would just turn into a three-hour discussion about a bike, Jason Molina, or which one of our moms is cooler.

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What's the book about? In essence, this book is a "philosophical primer" for kids. The concepts in this book all kind of point in the same direction, whether it's lifted from Zeno or just something we thought of while goofing off. We want kids to realize that no one out there has all the answers and that is truly a wonderful thing. This book is less of a narrative than it is an obstacle course for the curious.

Who did you publish through? We published it through Cricket Vision Press, a publishing company I started with my sister. We've published two books, ABC Charlotte and 123 Charlotte, over the last five years, What's the Opposite of Pizza? will be our third.

Where is it available for purchase and how much is it? Right now you can preorder the book through cricketvisionpress.com or whatstheoppositeofpizza.com.

Soon we hope to have it at all the local bookstores in and around Charleston. It's $17.99.

Want to snag one for a Christmas gift? Catch the What's the Opposite of Pizza? guys at the Holy City Vintage Market at The Royal American on Sun. Dec. 16, 11-4 p.m.

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