Hackensack featured in children's story

Author Norrie Thomas was frequent visitor in the past.

Author Norrie A. Thomas based her children's story "The Hackensack Cafe Adventures" in Hackensack thanks to inspiration from her time visiting the community. Contributed (November 2021)

Norrie A. Thomas, of Plymouth, and Meghan Syndergaard, of Mound, have published a children’s story about a small town in Minnesota, friends and its famous donut shop, with illustrations and characters.

Called "The Hackensack Café Adventures," it is the first in a series, prompted by stories Thomas told to her grandchildren, which all three embellished together. The story is centered around a local restaurant, The Hackensack Café (in north central Minnesota, not in New Jersey) and its owners.

The choice to base "The Hackensack Cafe Adventures" in Hackensack was inspired by time spent in Hackensack when Thomas was younger. After telling her grandchildren about the town, they incorporated it into the stories and playtime they created together.

Children's story "The Hackensack Cafe Adventures", by author Norrie A. Thomas.


“'The Hackensack Café Adventures' came out of teaching the Greek alphabet to my grandchildren,” said Thomas.

The story involves a family using the alphabet at their "diner" as a code for baking. From that point, they added a mystery and illustrations and, of course, a dog.

“We feel like we know the characters very well at this point,” Thomas said. “They feel alive to us. We talk about the next books and how the story will continue.”

Syndergaard, a professional graphic designer, always wanted to do illustration, and was excited to be given the opportunity.

“The character illustrations were inspired by the whole team. The character of Mayor Rainbow is very much based on Norrie," she said.

"The Hackensack Café Adventures" is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book formats.

Thomas earned a PhD in pharmacy administration from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. She was a pioneer of the pharmacy benefits field and founding member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. Thomas also published a fictional murder mystery entitled "Murder Under the Oak," which was set in England, and a memoir of her experiences as a woman executive advancing in the evolving pharmacy benefits industry.

Syndergaard graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing from the University of Colorado at Denver. With aspirations of becoming a children’s book illustrator, she decided to go back to school a few years later and get a degree in graphic design. She enjoys painting, gardening and spending time with her family and she is excited to get to work on the next book in the "Hackensack Café Adventures" series.


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