Guest Blog – Local Author Alissa Cottrill with ‘A is for Appleton’

We welcome guest blog appearances from all walks of life. We are happy to feature artists, adventurers, writers, and anyone with a story to tell!

This week we are excited to give the spot light to Alissa Cottrill! The author who created a fun local themed children’s book titled ‘A is for Appleton’! We were happy to support this project with some fun photos! Read on for insight on the origins of this local project!

Heads-Up: Alissa will have a booth at tomorrows [May 19th] indoor farmers market Downtown Appleton! You can also reach out to purchase a book through email =



A is for Appleton made its first debut as a gift for my sister-in-law, Katie, and my, then soon-to-be, sweet nephew, Archer. The content of the book came from her love of all things local. As I was creating the gift I imagined her reading to her new babe telling him all about the ABCs, their wonderful community, and her experiences had. After the original was gifted, my family encouraged me to publish the book. Two years of debating and lots of internal pep talks later, I took the first step.

When starting out I had zero exposure. It was intimidating and exhilarating at the same time. I began to contact the local businesses to ask their permission and to share my book project with them. With my husband and son in tow, we visited many of the places throughout the book and we took pictures – lots of them! It was a great time spent engaging with and supporting our community. The conversations had and the family time spent out and about are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything. Next came the search for a printing company, book layout, page design, business set-up, and a bunch of other legal requirements I never would have known how to navigate through without the assistance and support of so many. One of the very best perks of this book project was the time spent with my sister, Gayle Cottrill. She, patiently, walked me through InDesign and Photoshop (neither of which I had ever used!), she was a sounding board for pretty much every decision, and she let me hang out at her kitchen table – a lot. In my opinion, these moments had already made this project a success.

Which brings me to now, with the published work in hand and excitement for phase two: Sharing! I’ve just begun and already know it’s going to be even better than imagined. My first customer interaction, at the downtown indoor farm market, was incredible. As he began to page through he shared a few stories of how he could relate to the images. My favorite was him recalling walking to school, as a young boy, and being able to stop at the previous Manderfield’s location along the way. It brought back his memories of picking out a cookie or doughnut before school and, as we talked, I realized this conversation was exactly the type of positive interaction I hoped this book would create. I’m looking forward to others I will be able to meet and talk with but I am also excited for the community support that A is for Appleton has imbedded throughout its pages.

Interaction is a powerful thing and, when it happens to take place in our immediate surroundings, with those who are part of our same community bubble, it can create positive waves from one to another. I hope A is for Appleton can encourage us to continue to support, talk with, and experience our days with those we live among. Please enjoy and after reading, take it to the next level and attempt the Appleton scavenger challenge: Can you visit each local place, from A to Z?

Happy exploring,
Alissa Williams