Marc Crail tells ‘Tales Out of School’


Marc Robertson was going to Australia, not Walnut Creek. The 22-year-old, a fresh graduate from Kent State University in the turbulent Class of 1970, was excited about a pending job offer to teach in New South Wales the following spring. Late in the summer, however, he received a call about a replacement job in Holmes County.

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Marc Robertson is the alter ego of Marc Crail, author of the heartwarming and award-winning ‘Tales Out of School‘, the first of three autobiographical novels about a rural educator. Marc’s temporary job offer is the result of a car accident that will keep the regular sixth grade teacher out until at least Christmas. Having no other prospects until his trip to Australia, Marc accepts.

He thinks he’s on the right track when he goes to get his class ready for back to school when he realizes he’s forgotten the key the principal gave him. No problem; there’s a window that’s ajar, and he can squeeze through. Or not. The comical episode involves a swaggering policeman who appears later in the book in an even funnier situation.

Marc’s innovative teaching methods engage students and impress parents and principal, with some successes and failures. He becomes a member of the small community and discovers his Mennonite and Amish neighbors. There is a heartbreaking tragedy and several alarming scenes of the power of nature.

“Tales Out of School” (229 pages, softcover) costs $14.95 at online retailers. Marc Crail is also the author of “More Tales Out of School” and “Super Tales Out of School” and says he is working on “Tales After School”. He attended the University of Akron, served as superintendent and superintendent in Stark and Cuyahoga counties, and lives in Mount Dora, Florida.

“Cleveland and the Civil War”

Much of Ohio’s social and political role in the days leading up to the Civil War is well known, with the abolitionist activities of former Akron and Hudson resident John Brown, the important rescue of Oberlin-Wellington in 1858 of escaped slave and down state Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” written in Cincinnati. W. Dennis Keating’s “Cleveland and the Civil War” focuses on part of the city.

Camp Cleveland opened in July 1862 in what is now Tremont and would house and train 15,230 men by the end of the war. It also had a hospital that treated over 3,000 sick and wounded soldiers. Charitable societies were organized to collect supplies and food, and later to build a soldiers’ house.

Among individual military units, the Cleveland Grays had already existed for decades, having their own armory downtown. Keating reports on Ohio Volunteer Infantry units, including the 23rd, which produced William McKinley and Rutherford B. Hayes, and their actions during the war.

Keating reports on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train as it stopped in Cleveland, where the president’s casket was taken to the public square for a day of viewing. Also listed are various relevant locations, such as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

“Cleveland and the Civil War” (144 pages, softcover) costs $21.99 from Arcadia Publishing. W. Dennis Keating has taught at Levin College of Urban Affairs and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. He is also the author of “A Brief History of Tremont: Cleveland’s Neighborhood on a Hill”.


Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Rex Kruger, owner of custom furniture company Rex Kruger Fabrication, signs “Everyday Woodworking: A Beginner’s Guide to Woodcrafting with 12 Hand Tools,” 1 p.m. Sunday.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Libraries: In honor of Deaf History Month, authors Katie Booth (“The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power and Alexander Graham Bell’s Quest to End Deafness”) and Brenda Jo Brueggemann (“Women and Deafness” and the next “Posting Mabel: an epistolary biography by Mabel Hubbard Bell”) read and discuss their work during a Zoom event at 7 p.m. Monday, featuring sign language interpretation and a Q&A. .org.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma Heights Branch, 6206 Pearl Road): Laura Peskin presents the story of her three-volume series “Deep Cover Cuyahoga County,” 7-8:30 p.m. Monday. Sign up at

Maltz Performing Arts Center (1855 Ansel Road, Cleveland): The William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage series continues with Carmen Maria Machado (“Her Body and Other Parties”) and Rumaan Alam (“Leave the World Behind”, 2020 National Book Award finalist) , 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. In-person tickets are $30; virtual tickets are $15. Go to

Cuyahoga County Public Library: William Maz talks about his first historical thriller “The Bucharest File,” set in 1989 Romania, during a Zoom event from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday (originally scheduled for Tuesday). From 2-3 p.m. Thursday, South African author Damon Galgut, talks about the family drama “The Promise,” which won the 2021 Booker Prize. Subscribe at

Morley Library (184 Phelps St., Painesville): Historian Frank Monastra talks about “Tommy’s Place: Welcome to the Famous Mounds Club,” about 1920s Cleveland boxer and bootlegger Tommy McGinty, whose Willoughby gambling club was the site of a notorious robbery in 1947, 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Register at

Mandel Jewish Community Center: The Cleveland Jewish Book Festival continues with Dan Epstein, author (with Ron Blomberg) of “The Captain & Me: On and Off the Field with Thurman Munson,” about Blomberg’s friendship with Akron native Munson, Yankees catcher, in a 7:30-8:30 p.m. event on Tuesday. Register at

Hudson Library and Historical Society: Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg discusses her book ‘Own It: The Secret to Life’ with Kent State University Fashion and Merchandising Director Louise Valentine at the Kent State University School of Fashion at an event Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Register at

Mimi Ohio Theater (1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland): Playhouse Square’s author series continues Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Mimi Ohio Theater (moved from the State Theater) with Anne Lamott, who will talk about her work, including “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” and the new “Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage.” Tickets start at $39. At 8 p.m. Friday, Alton Brown (“I’m Just Here For The Food”) presents “Beyond the Eats” tickets start at $10. Go to

Wadsworth Public Library (132 Broad St.): Marty Gitlin, author of “The Ultimate Cleveland Indians Time Machine Book” and other sports and pop culture books, presents “A Cleveland Baseball Celebration” from 7-9 p.m. Thursday.

Kent State University Student Center (1075 Risman Drive): As part of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Centennial Lecture Series, American Poet Laureate Joy Harjo reads “An American Sunrise,” 7-9 p.m. Thursday; from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Harjo will answer questions and discuss how it works. Admission is $25; register at

Supper Club Music Box (1148 Main Avenue, Cleveland): The Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties series continues with Rick Porrello, author of “To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia,” 7 p.m. Thursday. Dinner is $20; the conference is free. Go to

Cleveland Public Library: Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater’s first black principal dancer and author of “Life in Motion: An Improbable Ballerina” and “Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy,” appears in a Zoom event at 12 p.m. Saturday. Register at

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Maple Valley Branch, 1187 Copley Road): Marty Gitlin hosts “The Ultimate Cleveland Baseball Presentation,” 2-3 p.m. Saturday. Register at

Email information about local books and event notices at least two weeks in advance to [email protected] and [email protected] Barbara McIntyre tweets at @BarbaraMcI.

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