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Clarion Native Launching Children’s Book on Growing Up in Small-Town, Blue-Collar America

Saturday, May 15, 2021 @ 12:05 PM

Posted by Aly Delp

imgonline-com-ua-FrameBlurred-7b9YNSjS4tllCLARION, Pa. – Pam Selker Rak, Pittsburgh-based poet and president of marketing firm, CommuniTech, LLC, is announcing the launch of her children’s book, “Sassafras Tea,” a story-poem recounting fond memories of growing-up in Clarion.

The book centers on the importance of family and the father/daughter bond. Rak says the tagline of the book, “The Simplest Pleasures Are Our Greatest Treasures,” occurred to her during the COVID-19 lockdowns, as did her decision to turn her poetry into children’s books.

“COVID-19 was transformational for all of us,” Rak said.

“It gave me more time to appreciate things that we too often take for granted – like family and community. I reflected on the simpler times of my own life. This book is the story of how my dad introduced me to the art of brewing sassafras tea from the bark he cut in the woods behind his old homestead. As a child, I was fascinated that my dad could turn a tree into tea! It’s these kinds of experiences that came into sharp focus for me.”

“In our era of texting, gaming, and social media, it’s important for children to know that the simplest pleasures are often the best ones.”

But “Sassafras Tea” is much more than just a story of brewing tea; it’s about the Clarion community itself, the importance of public libraries, and how the foundation gained there chartered the course for Rak’s future and work ethic as a writer, poet, and marketer.

“My story-poems are about growing up in a simple, blue-collar family. My father was a machinist for over 35 years. He made a good living, and we could afford simple vacations and simple experiences; as it turns out, that’s all we ever needed.”

While Rak’s book is dedicated to her family, it’s also dedicated to her former hometown – teachers, neighbors, friends, relatives, the library, and the community itself.

“There is no other place I’d have rather grown-up, which is why all of my books will be centered on that town and on those experiences. I hope they help, in some small way, to bring awareness to the beauty and magic of Clarion, and the importance of all of America’s small towns and working-class families. A portion of each of my books’ proceeds will be donated to a nonprofit benefitting the Clarion community. The proceeds of the first book, “Sassafras Tea,” will be donated to the Clarion Free Library.”

“Sassafras Tea” was professionally illustrated by Pittsburgh-based artist, Jeanine Murch. A second book, “Christmas Treedition,” is in progress, illustrated by Pittsburgh-based artist, Susan Vincent. It will be launched in October of 2021 with events planned in conjunction with the 68th Annual Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion, from October 2 to October 10.

“Sassafras Tea” is a 20-page, 8 ½ x 8 ½” picture book that retails for $19.99 for the hardback edition, $9.99 for the paperback version on and $2.99 for the eBook version, also on Bulk orders of the hardback edition are also available on at 55% off the retail price. To order the hardback, visit To order the paperback or eBook, visit

Launch & Book Signing Party:

A book launch and signing event will be held on Saturday, June 19, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Memorial Park Gazebo in Clarion.

Michelle’s Café will be on-hand to serve sassafras tea and assorted pastries. Book readings will be conducted by Clarion resident, Kiera Vinson, a senior at Lycoming College, studying Musical Theater Arts, and C-93 FM will broadcast live from the event.

The event is open to the public.

“Sassafras Tea” can be purchased at the event; the author will be on-hand to sign copies.

To learn more, please contact 412-972-0355 or email

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