Books from local authors cover variety of topics

The Mountain View Public Library now has a “Local Author” shelf upstairs at the end of the fiction aisle. This week I’ll spotlight some homegrown talent, two local authors who have written compelling books on quite different subjects.


Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious exercise – bedtime.

Mimi Sommers, who has worked for more than a decade for John B. McBirney, D.D.S., in Los Altos, recently released her first children’s book, “Relax-a-bye Baby” (Angus MaGregor Books, 2014), based on her son E.J.’s nightly trouble falling asleep. Sommers wrote that her son, 6 at the time, experienced nightmares that caused him to dread bedtime.


From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just seemed to stick – the adventures of a mischievous witch, Frazzle, and her sidekick, the trusty cat Twitch.

A decade passed, but the story kept knocking around Hurwick’s mind. Her children grew up, she moved to Los Gatos, but Frazzle kept flying.


A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventure overseas. Living in opulence in China while surrounded by poverty, she was forced to evacuate in a rush as the Communists took over. Then in the early 1950s, she moved to London, enjoying celebrity-studded receptions, including tea at Buckingham Palace.

Virgilia, who settled in Los Altos Hills in 1959, left a collection of letters in the family’s Menlo Park home when she died at 95 in 2004. Her daughter, Palo Alto writer Christine Witzel, used the letters to chronicle the fascinating journeys of her mother in “She Also Served: Letters from a Navy Wife.”


Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summaries of their books, a sentence or two about themselves and details on where the books may be purchased. Email information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos