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Kristi Yamaguchi greeted by hundreds of fans in Nisswa

Flanked by her children Emma (left) and Keara Hedican, Kristi Yamaguchi read fro1 / 2
Former olympian Kristi Yamaguchi read her children's book "Dream Big, Little Pig2 / 2

NISSWA — With temperatures soaring into the 80s by midday Thursday, most folks would rather be by the water than crammed inside a bookstore with hundreds of others. 

But some things are worth suffering for. 

That was the case for hundreds of area residents and out of town visitors who showed up Thursday morning at Turtle Town Books in Nisswa to purchase a signed copy of “Dream Big, Little Pig,” an illustrated children’s book written by Olympic figure skater and gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. 

It wasn’t just the book people were waiting for, Yamaguchi stopped into the Nisswa store to read the story of Poppy the skating pig, to her young fans and their parents, who likely remember Yamaguchi from her gold-medal figure skating performance in the 1992 Olympics. 

Yamaguchi attended the event with her own children, Keara and Emma.

Doug Miller, owner of Turtle Town, formerly Rainy Day Books, said the store ordered 500 copies of Yamaguchi’s book in anticipation of the signing event. Miller said that about 150 customers called to put a book on reserve before showing up Thursday. 

Miller said when the book was released earlier this spring, his wife Mary saw Yamaguchi on her book tour on NBC’s “Today Show” and  contacted Yamaguchi’s publicist about having Kristi visit the 

Nisswa store. Yamaguchi and her husband, retired NHL player Bret Hedican, have a vacation home in the Brainerd lakes area and were on vacation for the week, allowing Yamaguchi to make an appearance at the Nisswa bookstore. “It just worked out really nicely,” Miller said. 

Mary Miller said the Turtle Town event ended up with about 350 people in attendance. Parents and grandparents and lots of children packed the store to catch a glimpse of the former Olympian as she read her book from atop a stepstool. 

“We kind of figured it would be a good crowd,” Miller said. “I thought it was a great event, especially for our little bookstore in Nisswa.” 

Miller said Yamaguchi arrived for the event at 10:30 a.m. and stayed at the bookstore until 12:30 talking with fans.  “She seemed really nice,” Miller said. 

Miller said the store still has plenty of copies of “Dream Big, Little Pig” and hope to sell more through the holiday weekend. Proceeds from the books sales will go to help support Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation.

SARAH NELSON may be reached at or 855-5879.