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Among President Obama's purchases at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington when he visited two weeks ago to celebrate Small Business Saturday was a children's book by a Suttons Bay, Michigan, author/illustrator.

The president, accompanied by teenaged daughters Malia and Sasha, bought the children's book "Nuts to You" by Lynne Rae Perkins, as well as 16 other books, including Evan Osnos' "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China," and the classic Joseph Conrad novel "Heart of Darkness."

"I was totally surprised," said Perkins, who won a prestigious Newbury Medal for her earlier book, "Criss Cross." "I got an email from a woman I know who's an editor — not my editor but someone I've met a number of times. I was very happy."

"Nuts to You" (Greenwillow Books) shows the lengths two squirrels will go to help save a friend from a hawk, sort of a squirrel version of "The Incredible Journey." It features black and white illustrations by the author on each page.

"The book is for kids aged 8 to 11 years old who are reading by themselves, but it's also a good read-aloud book, and I think adults enjoy it as well," Perkins said. "Parts of it go completely over the heads of children."

Perkins moved to Michigan from Pittsburgh in 1987 with her husband, Bill, a native Michiganian. They have two children: Lucy, 23, and Frank, 21.

"Nuts to You" is available in most Detroit-area bookstores. One store, The Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield in Oak Park, sold out of its copies but expects to have more early next week.

swhitall@detroitnews.com

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