A boy discovers the mall Santa is an impostor....but don't worry, there's a happy ending that preserves Christmas magic. So why is this Ocean Township author releasing his children's book in May?

Ryan Wetter

Ryan Wetter is a picture book creator who cannot let go of Christmas. His childhood dream (he grew up in Tinton Falls) was to work in the creative department of Santa's workshop but, at age 11, Santa was stolen by an aunt who assumed Ryan 'knew.' So this author now lives with CCN (Chronic Christmas Nostalgia). Symptoms include starting Christmas music months early and creating picture books such as this one.

Ryan is using this newly published book to help with Covid-19 financial relief for servers at some of the restaurants along the Asbury Park boardwalk who have been struggling since they haven't been able to work at the jobs where tip money is what supports their lives.

Why a Christmas tale in May? Well, why not? We are more than likely still going to be dealing with COVID-19 ramifications well into winter, so why not get a little joy of Christmas going now...after all, The Hallmark Channel is running a Christmas movie every Friday night. Besides, who knows what day it even is anymore, never mind what season?!

But even if you don't want to read a Christmas book to your kids now, you could buy it this month (May 2020) to help the servers and save it for a Christmas present. In fact, get a copy for all the little kids you know and stuff it in their Christmas stocking!

Ryan says, "Like Santa, it would be nice for my campaign to give Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park and it's staff a much-needed present: The gift of royalties from my book as they remain unemployed."

Photo from Ryan Wetter

The name of the book is A Shopping Mall Santa and the Curious Kid. So what exactly is this book about?

Meet Chuck, better known as Squid, who began to wonder why Santa was taking public transportation and drinking coffee instead of cocoa.

So Squid travels to the pop-up North Pole to publicly interrogate 'Santa' and finds out this imposter is really a mall employee named Fred James who claims to be Santa's helper. But Squid doesn't think this could be true since Santa's helpers are supposed to be elves.

Then the unexpected happens...a secret so shocking is revealed that it makes Squid's skeptical heart glow like Rudolph's nose. What does Fred whisper? Readers will find out in A Shopping Mall Santa and the Curious Kid.

(Squid, photo from Ryan Wetter)

And the more people who find out this shocking secret by buying the book, the closer Ryan gets to helping servers and bartenders in Asbury Park stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.

All royalties made by the author this month will go to support the staff of Langosta Lounge and its sister restaurants. Why this cause? Well, because when Ryan was younger, he was a server in Asbury Park. After working for various restaurants he found that Marilyn Schlossbach's company, whose flagship restaurant is Longest Lounge on the Asbury Park boardwalk, was his best serving experience.

You can order A Shopping Mall Santa and the Curious Kid BY CLICKING HERE.

After traveling all around the country for the past decade, Ryan now lives back at the Jersey Shore, which he has always considered home. It's where his family has always lived. And Ryan's great grandparents all had restaurants and candy businesses on the Asbury Park boardwalk back in the early to mid-1900s.

CLICK HERE to see a plea that restaurateur Marilynn Schlossbach has put out on behalf of the restaurant industry.

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