Watching ‘The Best of the Bonnet’ Roll off the Presses at Friesens!

Last week I had a surreal experience — I witnessed my husband’s book be birthed at Friesens in Altona! This is a rare opportunity, since most authors don’t live within driving distance of the printery. It’s awesome that we have this world-class printery right here in Manitoba — the folks who printed Harry Potter, Barack Obama’s autobiography, and both of Andrew’s books!

Join me as I try to explain what all happened.

First, we arrived at the scheduled time. Andrew’s publisher Turnstone Press arranged all this for us, so all we had to do was show up!  We were enjoying looking around the very interesting lobby of Friesens (peep the very old printing press in the above pic!) It’s like a small museum with old printing presses and signed copies of some of the books they’ve printed like Alex Trebek’s autobiography and many others. This is when CSR Melissa approached. She’s my friend! We used to work together. I was beyond delighted to discover she’s handling Andrew’s book within Friesens — and that this meant she’d tour us around!

She brought us to a room and handed Andrew the cover of his book, fresh off the press. It’s tangible now!

Then she introduced us to Donovan, who walked with us into the back where the printing happens. He explained a lot of the steps and I did not hear it because I was excited to see Melissa.

It’s a massive place! There are all kinds of different very expensive, very precise printing machines at Friesens.

They print books very fast, and very well.

Then, we went to another building. The bindery. And GUESS WHAT THIS IS:

“The Best of the Bonnet” prior to receiving its cover. A naked bonnet, if you will.

Look behind there.


This is the moment we saw the book rolling off the presses. Getting its cover. Coming together as a fully formed book!

We stared here for quite a while. It’s all very amazing and thrilling!

It’s going into a machine that will trim off the excess quite beautifully.

And then into boxes to be shipped to bookstores!


And then we went to Pizza Haven to celebrate, as one does when in Altona.

The Best of the Bonnet (Turnstone Press, 2021) is officially released on December 10, but a little birdie tells me it’s already in stock and available for purchase at McNally Robinson and the MHV in Steinbach!