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1637 N. Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


Street-Level Youth Media is a non-profit, media arts literacy organization serving Chicago's youth.  We teach audio engineering, mixing, video production, digital photography, online journalism, and more.  If you are between the ages of 12 through 24, all of our programs and services are free.

If you live in Chicago and are between 12 - 24 years old, come take part in one or all of our media arts programs, book a private studio session, use our computer lab or join one of our clubs.  We also host an open-mic on the first Friday of each month.  

The Bookstore Cat

Mild Sauce

A Youth-Run Webzine From Chicago.

The Bookstore Cat



The Bookstore Cat by Frita Beauchamp

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender (2)

Beatriz Ledesma and Suzanne Erfurth




Last Friday a bookstore party was held for, The Secret Life of Hodge, the Bookstore Cat, which was released in late January, in Chicago’s downtown Fine Arts Building.

Many people think, The Secret Life of Hodge, the Bookstore Cat, is fictional; everything that occurs in the book is, except for the cat! The author, Suzanne Erfurth, 60, who attended the University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in English, only wrote about Hodge as a stress reliever.

“I would write emails about what would happen if Hodge decided to rewrite a song, or what would Hodges’ view of somebody that annoys me, how he would express it, who would he bite.” Erfurth said.

Although Erfurth only thought close friends and colleagues were only seeing her short stories about Hodge, that wasn’t the case. Erfurth’s friend, Keith, would post her short stories on different social media platforms for Suzanne.

“Keith would post on his Facebook page and I didn’t know this for weeks,” Erfurth continued, ”then it became a blog on his website and I didn’t know about that for months.”

While Suzanne was surprised her stories were being seen by the public and on a variety of social media outlets, she was pleased.

“Finally I just kept doing it and figuring it will keep showing up on the Facebook page and the blog.” Erfurth said.

After a series of short stories and people telling Erfuth she has enough content to write a book and her friend, Beatriz E. Ledesma, volunteering to illustrate, Erfurth decided to create, The Secret Life of Hodge, the Bookstore Cat.

“[Beatriz] came up with these amazing illustrations that were the perfect fit,” Erfurth said, “the merging of them is nice, it’s like my kind of dry sense humor and her beautiful magical realist stuff.”

Argentinian illustrator, Beatriz E. Ledesma, 58, graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a masters in fine art and art therapy, had a great time creating 39 magical-realist watercolor illustrations during her first collaboration.

“I really respect and like Suzanne a lot,” Ledesma said, “I just know her mind and it was just a beautiful collaboration and it was a lot of fun.”

Both Erfurth and Ledesma had a great time creating, The Secret Life of Hodge, the Bookstore Cat, they hoped to not only share their love for Hodge with people, but hope that people have enjoyment.

If interested in reading The Secret Life of Hodge, the Bookstore Cat, contact: