A book for dealing with cravings that everyone has daily

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Author and illustrator Robb Johnston asks kids at the L’Anse Public Library about healthy and unhealthy things to feed their “Crave,” the creature that embodies their cravings in his new book, “Craves.”

L’ANSE — Students and adults in Baraga County had the opportunity to learn about cravings of all kinds from Robb Johnston, who read his newest book, “Craves.” The book explains how everyone gets cravings for different things and depicts them as a little creature that follows each person around. Johnston says you can feed your cravings as much as you want, but at the end of the book, Craves that grow too large lead their people around instead of following them.

“It’s simple but it’s genius,” Michael Gaunt said.

Gaunt is a crisis unit manager with Dial Help and attended Tuesday night’s public presentation. He said that CRAVES doesn’t just teach kids about healthy eating habits, it can be used to explain addiction to children who have been exposed to drug abuse.

“The younger you go the harder it is to have a conversation,” Gaunt said.

Jennifer Martinac of L’Anse brought Lex, 5, and Allison, 3, to the library to hear Johnston’s presentation and get their own free copy of “Craves,” thanks to event sponsors Baraga County Communities That Care (BCCTC), Baraga County Memorial Hospital, Portage Health Auxiliary/Guilded Rose Gift Shop, Superior Health Foundation and the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative. Lex said that he craves cookies, and Johnston said he does, too.

Johnston also talked to the group of about 30, which contained as many adults as children, about what it takes to write, illustrate and publish a children’s book.

“Nobody gets it right in their first draft,” he said.

Johnston has written three children’s books now. He said it took him ten seconds to get the idea for “Craves,” but two and a half years to write and illustrate it.

“I knew I wanted to write a book about making healthy choices,” he said.

As a part of his presentation, Johnston walked the group through how to draw their own Crave.

“There’s no wrong way to draw a Crave,” Johnston said.

Johnston has self-published three books so far, available on his website robbnjohnston.com.

“I have a billion ideas for other books,” Johnston said.

He hopes to use the tree from his first book, The Woodcutter and the Most Beautiful Tree, again in another book. His second book, “Lelani and the Plastic Kingdom,” is about marine plastic pollution.

On Tuesday morning, Johnston presented to 2nd-4th graders in L’Anse and did the same for Baraga in the afternoon.

“It was wonderful to see that much interaction,” said Carrie Rich, the BCCTC coordinator, who spent the day with Johnston.

Johnston is originally from Rockford and now lives in Ann Arbor. He asked to see waterfalls and was surprised by how many he was able to see in the hours between presentations.