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President Doti to be featured at Children’s Book Festival

September 20, 2010

"A Christmas Adventure in Little Italy," written by President Jim Doti and illustrated by Lisa Mertins.

Chapman University President Jim Doti will read and sign his just-published children’s book at the annual Orange County Children’s Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 3, at Orange Coast College. He is scheduled to do a live reading of A Christmas Adventure in Little Italy, a holiday reminiscence from his childhood in Chicago, at 10:15 a.m. on the Main Stage, and will sign books afterward in the Chapman University booth at the festival.   Admission to the OC Children’s Book Festival is free.  The festival site, Orange Coast College, is located on Fairview Road between Adams Ave. and Merrimac Way in Costa Mesa.  For more information on the festival, including a complete schedule of author and celebrity appearances, visit

A Christmas Adventure in Little Italy grew out of a short holiday story that Doti wrote for Orange Coast magazine.  Chris Anderson, who was then the publisher of the Orange County Register, read the story, called Doti and told him he should turn it into a children’s book.  When Doti replied that he couldn’t draw, the publisher recommended Lisa Mertins, an illustrator at the Register.  The result is a warm and nostalgic book brimming with beautifully detailed illustrations.   A Christmas Adventure is the story of little Jimmy, his Nonna (grandmother), his beloved dog Blackie, and what happened to them the day before Christmas about fifty years ago in the bustling “Little Italy” neighborhood of Chicago.  Of course, “a boy and his dog” stories are always enjoyable – but this one has an added surprise:  a recipe so you can make your own biscotti (Italian cookies) just like Jimmy’s Nonna Irena used to make. More information about the book:

And Nonna's recipe is in the book!

Jim Doti, Ph.D., has been president of Chapman University in Orange since 1991.  He is the youngest grandson of Irena Doti, who emigrated with her husband and children from Brienza, Italy to make a new home in Chicago’s Little Italy.  He earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago and taught economics at Chapman, launching the highly regarded Chapman University Economic Forecast, before becoming the university’s 12th president.  In addition to writing, Doti is an accomplished mountain climber (he has summitted Mts. Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Elbrus and several more of the highest peaks in the world) and marathon runner (he has completed the Boston Marathon five times).  A Christmas Adventure in Little Italy is his first children’s book.  He takes particular pride in baking the best biscotti in all of Orange County.

The 2010 Orange County Children’s Book Festival will take place Sunday, October 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Orange Coast College.  More than 80 popular authors, illustrators, and celebrity guests (including actress Holly Robinson Peete and all-boy band The Lost Boys) are scheduled to appear at the festival, a free community event that celebrates the joy of books and the love of reading.

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