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New book takes kids on unique tour of Buffalo – from A to Z

Explore and discover Buffalo like never before with the new children's book “Buffalo From A to Z: Come Take a Tour With Me.”

The book’s star and tour guide is a young buffalo named Bob Uffalo, who takes kids on an excursion to iconic, fun, historic and cultural destinations throughout the city, from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the Buffalo Zoo.

The aim is to introduce children to the different sites and to get them more interested in seeing them, said Bill Jankowski, the book’s illustrator, who created Bob Uffalo.

“We just wanted to come up with a cute little character,” Jankowski said.

The Buffalo Heritage Press released the book Sunday at an event in Parkside Candies, 3208 Main St., which is listed among the city's attractions.

Nate and Paula Charvella brought their three children to the event: Cora, 3; Vincent, 5; and 8-year-old Mila, who picked out her favorite picture.

“That one,” she said as she pointed to “Shark Girl.”

Little Elliot Paone is pictured in the book with the letters E and V, said his mother, Melissa.

“I’m sitting on letters,” he said.

When Elliot first saw himself in the book, his first thought was “cool,” he said.

His mom took pictures for the book, including the EV one located in the back of the book, said Melissa.

Another photographer featured in the book is David Phillips, who took an aerial drone picture of a performance of “Much Ado About Nothing” at Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

“I think it’s great for children,” Phillips said of the book. “And if they live out of town like my (four) grandkids do, they’ll say, ‘I’m a-coming to Buffalo.' ”

A desire to celebrate Buffalo tourism with youngsters through reading and to encourage them to stay in Buffalo inspired authors Brigette Atlas-Callahan and Kristin Madej-Warham – both teachers in the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District – to do the book.

“We love Buffalo, and we wanted our students to know everything there is to explore in Buffalo. There are so many things to see and do that we wanted to make sure that children across our city – and other cities – know how amazing Buffalo is,” Atlas-Callahan said.

The two friends are reading specialists, who work with kindergarten through fifth-grade students, some of whom are pictured on the back of the book in a selfie, Atlas-Callahan added.

The women are Buffalo natives who came up with concept for Bob Uffalo about 15 years ago during their first year of teaching together. About two years ago, the book idea came up.

“The idea started out as something where we wanted kids to know what a great place Buffalo is and develop roots here,” Madej-Warhem said. “So many kids grow up and leave, and we wanted to give them a reason to stay. We know how special this city can be, and we wanted to spread that love throughout the whole city and we did it through real photographs so that even kids who can’t get out and explore could really see the true beauty in Buffalo.”

Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls accepted a $1,500 donation during the event for his Music is Art program that was raised through previous book sales.

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