Upcoming Event

Tom Seeman at Harvard Book Store


Animals I Want To See:
A Memoir of Growing Up
in the Projects and Defying the Odds 

in conversation with MIRA BARTÓK


May 29, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes TOM SEEMAN—businessperson who serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston—for a discussion of his new memoir Animals I Want To See: A Memoir of Growing Up in the Projects and Defying the Odds. He will be joined in conversation by MIRA BARTÓK—New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Palace and The Wonderling series.

About Animals I Want to See

On Bronson Street, in the projects of Toledo, Ohio, in a crowded house occupied by a family of fourteen, Tom Seeman starts a very important list. Just as the trash-strewn field in his backyard is home to a treasure-trove of wild animals, Tom’s list, “Animals I Want To See One Day,” is home to dreams of adventure in places far away from the downtrodden neighborhood where he lives. But for all its hardship and crime, Bronson Street is also something of a mythical street, populated by unforgettable people who share food, protect each other, and give surprising gifts of beauty and merriment, proving that the bonds of community and friendship (often across racial and social lines) can bridge any divide and transcend what many of us are taught to believe about each other.

A luminous coming-of-age memoir that shimmers with countless marvels, Animals I Want To See tracks Tom Seeman’s journey from a child janitor with big ambitions to a teenage petty criminal to a student at Yale and Harvard. At once a meditation on finding wonder in unlikely places, an ode to a heroic mother who makes the seemingly impossible possible, and an exploration of what it means to create our own identities, this is a heartwarming, thought-provoking, ultimately uplifting book for all readers.

Praise for Animals I Want to See

“When Tom Seeman told me the story of his childhood, I immediately said that he should write it all down and share it with the world. I am so glad he did. Animals I Want to See is a terrific and moving memoir about dreaming big and making great things happen.” —President Bill Clinton

“Tom Seeman has penned an extraordinarily engaging book about his struggles as a youngster, the many folks who ‘packed his parachute,’ his spiritual journey culminating in finding deep meaning, and the joy he feels in helping others. Read it and be inspired.” —Deepak Chopra, New York Times bestselling author

“Tom Seeman’s Animals I Want To See is the book we need now. Tender, wise, gracefully written, this memoir tells one boy’s life, but it does so much more: it revitalizes a sense of American optimism.… I couldn’t put it down.” —Thomas Christopher Greene, bestselling author of The Headmaster’s Wife

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Mira Bartók
Mira Bartók

Mira Bartók

Mira Bartók is the author/illustrator of The Memory Palace, a New York Times bestselling memoir and winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She has also written and illustrated 32 books for children, including The Wonderling: Songcatcher, published by Candlewick Press and The Wonderling: Singing Tree, forthcoming in 2025. A major motion picture of The Wonderling series is currently in development. 

Mira is also a Fulbright Scholar in Anthropology and Folklore, and a spokesperson for TransCultural Exchange, an international arts organization that seeks to foster greater understanding between world cultures through artistic collaboration. She currently teaches creative writing at the Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop online program. You can find her at www.mirabartok.com. 

Photo Credit: Doug Plavin

Tom Seeman
Tom Seeman

Tom Seeman

Tom Seeman is a businessperson who has owned and led several businesses. He grew up in a family of fourteen on welfare and food stamps in the projects of Toledo, Ohio. He earned his B.A. in Economics from Yale, where he rowed on the crew team and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, before going on to earn his J.D. at Harvard.

Tom currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He funded a scholarship that actively seeks disadvantaged students to attend St. Francis de Sales High School in Toledo—the school that generously gave him a scholarship and that he credits for helping him fulfill his dream of attending a top college. He has worked across the globe, has lived in five countries, and has traveled to over one hundred.

He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, four children, three dogs, and a cat.

Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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