Former Encinitas resident publishes children’s book

Author Adam Palladino and his wife LisaMarie at their wedding.
Author Adam Palladino and his wife LisaMarie at their wedding.
(Don’t Stop The Music)

Adam Palladino will sign and discuss “Terror in GuacamoleVille” at Barnes & Noble on July 15


In his 11th grade English class at La Costa Canyon High School, Adam Palladino received a writing assignment.

The teenager responded by penning a pun-filled whimsical tale populated by such capricious characters as Squishy Squash and Sour Stringbean.

Nearly two decades later, Palladino’s 30-page story, “Terror in GuacamoleVille”, has been released as a children’s book by Dorrance Publishing Co. of Pittsburgh, Penn.

Palladino, an educator who now lives in New York, is scheduled to return to his hometown of Encinitas on July 15 for a book signing, reading and talk at the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Front cover of “Terror in GuacamoleVille”
Front cover of “Terror in GuacamoleVille”
(Courtesy of Adam Palladino)

The event is set for 11 a.m. in the store at 1040 N. El Camino Real.

Having grown up in Encinitas, Palladino frequented the Encinitas shop, he said. The Barnes & Noble chain is selling “Terror in GuacamoleVille” through its internet site.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” Palladino said. “Barnes & Noble is my happy place. To have my book sold online by my favorite store is amazing.”

The volume, which is accompanied by vivid illustrations, relates the story of how on “Januberry 13, 1998,” GuacamoleVille was pummeled by a storm of Spicy Verde Doritos.

On Sour Stringbean’s radio program, Squishy tells how he miraculously survived the destructive hail of chips with some luck and help.

“When I started writing the book, I was really in the mindset of kind of just writing something that would be fun, that would be humorous,” recalled Palladino. “But at the time, I didn’t realize it was going to have an educational purpose behind it.

“At that time, I was big into radio shows and I was big into movies and I love food. I was like, how can I take these three components and implement them into the story?.

“During class, we had time to plan it and I started scripting out the characters. I started scripting out what I wanted the message to be and it just flowed very organically.”

While his parents and family liked the book and encouraged Palladino to market it, he put it aside while pursuing his education and career.

After graduating from the University of San Diego in 2009, Palladino continued his schooling to obtain a teaching credential and master’s degree.

Through some connections, he applied for and was accepted for a teaching job at the acclaimed Birch Wathen Lenox School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.

Palladino attained his doctorate in education several years ago and now is an assistance professor of sociology at the Galen College of Nursing, where he teaches sociology and cultural diversity.

He lives in Middletown, N.Y., with his wife, LisaMarie, whom Palladino credited with encouraging him to dig out “Terror in Guacamoleville” and see if he could get it published.

“So I did some edits to it, and looking at it from a teacher’s perspective, I was able to see a lot of the beneficial elements to it, especially the message and lessons that can be taught by simply just reading the book,” he said.

Palladino copyrighted the book and was surprised when it quickly caught the attention of a publisher

Though he initially projected it as appealing to ages 5 to 7, he believes the book has much wider applications. He also is planning a series, stemming from his initial success.

Teachers can use the book to educate their pupils about elements of storytelling, including character development, the use of humor and puns, and the incorporation of a message, Palladino said.

“The message in the book is that we are always experiencing some sort of hardship throughout our life,” he said. “But, regardless of that hardship we can overcome it.

“We can overcome it by having our friends, having our colleagues or our spouses working together to figure out a solution to overcome those hardships or challenges we may face.

“What motivated that aspect of it is that when I was growing up I experienced a lot of bullying so that one of the hardships that I kept in mind as I was writing it. I thought to myself, ‘How can I take my personal experience and embed it in a book, but in a child-friendly way?”

“That was really the whole message behind it — overcoming scary situations and situations that helped motivate that message (were from) my experience growing up of being bullied.”