Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog

Book Cover: My Mean MomMarilyn Bode attributes her complete recovery from polio in 1952 partly to her "mean" mom's rigorous administration of a physical therapy regimen that included twice-daily hot baths. Those baths weren't easy for her mom, Vivian Lawson, to arrange in a farmhouse that relied on an outhouse and had no running water.

With help from friends and relatives, Bode has turned her family history into a poignant, self-published children's book, My Mean Mom. It includes an informative historical afterward and includes a page of activities children can do to further their understanding of this era of our country's medical history. Tune in to The Studio with Cheryl this week: you'll be inspired to record your own family's stories!

Marketing Consultant Susan Salzman Raab will reveal "New Rules of Media Engagement" on Saturday, June 1st at the Coralville, Iowa Public Library during a conference sponsored by the Iowa chapter of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for its Published and Listed (PAL) members. During this "Wave of Inspiration," two Iowa children's authors will also speak. Jacqueline Briggs Martin will discuss research techniques and Gary Metivier will provide time management strategies. 

Corey Morrow in Tea Shop 


Corey Morrow's Earth & Water Tea Lounge & Pottery Shop celebrates one year of business in Fairfield, Iowa on Friday, May 24th, 2013.

During this episode of The Studio with Cheryl, this young entrepreneur reflects on what it took to launch the business voted as Winner, Best Coffee or Tea Shop in The Iowa Source 2013 Regional Restaurant Survey.

For details on the Tea Shop's birthday celebrations and on the strategies Corey uses to run a successful new business, tune in to The Studio this week.


Get ready, Jefferson County, Iowa! Behind the scenes many of your friends and neighbors are working with businesses, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, health service providers, and other entities to help you enhance the quality and length of your life. The crest of the Blue Zones wave will hit the county this autumn, but change is already in the works. To guide their efforts, organizers are harnessing nine powerful principles observed in communties with the world's longest lived people. Soon many opportunities will emerge for you to learn about and consider trying activities aligned with these principles. Want to know what to expect? Tune in! Ken Daley and Julie Howland Stephens reveal Blue Zones plans on The Studio with Cheryl.

Elsie's AfghanDiana Star Helmer switched to epublishing after traditionally publishing 43 nonfiction books and the popular picture book, The Cat Who Came for Tacos. Her ebook novel for middle-grade students, Elsie's Afghan, highlights the transformative power of a shy girl's love for the afghan hound she knitted. On The Studio with Cheryl, Diana discusses why, despite her love of printed pages, she embraced new technology. She also reveals tidbits about her creative process and how she and her husband, fellow writer Tom Owens, facilitate each other's writing.

Diana's book, Belles of the Ballpark, about the All American Girls Baseball League, was named to the New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age list. She and Tom had seven of their coauthored books about Women's National Basketball Association teams published in one year. That same year Diana had an eighth book, American Woman Suffragists, published, as well.

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    Apr 29
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African American Museum of Iowa: Happy 20th Birthday!

Lynn Koos & Jeni Reeves at Museum ExhibitAfrican American Museum of Iowa: Happy 20th Birthday! This Cedar Rapids museum is hosting lots of great events this week. Don't miss out on all the fun! For details on all the birthday celebrations, tune in to Cheryl's second chat with curator Lynn Koos. High-lights include Free Friday on May 3rd and a Saturday birthday party (also free) on May 4th with 20 different hands-on children's activities. Other plans include a formal dinner Thursday, May 2nd, and a mixer Friday night. Lynn explains the museum's mission and details its history, as well. Be sure to tune in! Lynn is pictured here (left) with Iowa artist Jeni Reeves (right) at the museum's colorful textile exhibit. Visit the museum soon!

Francis Thicke's five year term on the The National Organic Standards Board started on January 24th, 2013, but his dedication to organic farming began over 30 years ago. He and his wife Susan operate a 160-head, certified organic dairy on 450 acres in Fairfield. Francis previously served as a National Program Leader for Soil Science at the USDA Cooperative Extension Service, and he's been active in many environmental organizations. The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service named him the 2012 Farmer of the Year. 

At 3 PM on Saturday, April 27th in the Cambridge Room of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, Francis will participate in a free readers theater production of Farmscape: The Changing Rural Environment. This play was written by students in Mary Swander's Iowa State MFA writing class. Mary is Iowa's poet laureate, and she'll facilitate audience discussion after the performance. She'll also present a free keynote talk, "Celebrating Local Community," at 7:30 PM at the Fairfield Public Library. Both these free events are part of the EcoFairfield Festival.

To learn more about organic standards, rural issues, Farmscape, and Francis Thicke, tune in to this episode of The Studio with Cheryl.

Author Linda EgenesTo celebrate National Library Week (April 14th-20th), the Fairfield Public Library is hosting the First Annual Local Authors Exhibition. On Monday through Thursday, from 7 - 9 PM, goups of local authors will speak at the library. An authors' open mic event will be held at the library on Saturday from 1 - 4 PM. All five events are free and open to the public. Books sales will be held on site.

Poets kick off the exhibition Monday, April 15th with Freddie Fonseca as facilitator. Tuesday, April 16th will feature kids' writers under the direction of children's librarian Jessi May. Wednesday, April 17th nonfiction author Linda Egenes will host the Health & Fitness panel, with Mayor Ed Malloy making a special appearance. Thursday, April 18th Diane Denbaum will lead the Dating & Relationships panel. Saurday's Open Mic will be hosted by the founder of the Annual Local Author's Exhibition, Slobodan Dumuzliski. To learn more about what local authors are up to, tune in to The Studio with Cheryl this week. Linda Egenes and Slobodan Dumuzliski are lively guests!


Why do athletes learn to play the violin? Has the Mozart Effect been verified by science? Can Tai Chi improve pianists' performance?

Violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub and pianist Eugene Gaub answer questions about classical music that you never thought to ask.

They also play and discuss bits of three vastly different Brahams' sonatas.

Tune in for a lively, informative hour of The Studio with host Cheryl Fusco Johnson.  

Ayiti Book Cover


Prolific author Roxane Gay visits Iowa City April 2nd - 7th as a Writer-in-Residence for this year's Mission Creek Festival. She has two books coming out in 2014. Her fiction and essays appear in dozens of national magazines and in her previously-published book Ayiti.

She's co-editor of Pank Magazine, essays editor of The Rumpus, and she teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. She'll appear at Prairie Lights Tuesday, April 2nd alongside author John D'Agata. On this episode of "The Studio" Roxane reads one of her stories; Joe Tiefenthaler announces Mission Creek's amazingly full literary lineup; and Sarah Dodson, Executive Editor of Make Literary Productions, reveals the backstory behind the founding of Make: A Literary Magazine. Tune in!

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