Location: Library Stage

Join us for this special event!

TFS alumnus and author Mitchell Seymour will read from his book, The Ballad of Serial Number 121211.

Mitchell will be joined by TFS alumnus, Lansing Public Library staff, and illustrator Manuel Cord-Cruz.

Autographed books will be for sale.


On December 7th, 1941, "a date which would live in infamy," the world was in flames once again. As the United States became drawn into the war that the rest of the world had been fighting for over 2 years, they began building and training the next generation of modern soldiers. The world's most powerful nations were locked in combat that even reached the U.S. soil. Armies battled in the air, at sea and on land to push back the evil that threatened both Europe and Asia. In the midst of the second world war both men and weapons were improved to fight in the changing world. At this time the United States developed a simple weapon that would indeed help bring the war to a close. The M1 Garand Rifle. The unique design and versatility of this rifle allowed the United States to deploy this weapon into urban, woodland, and rural combat. It was, as General George Patton stated: "the greatest battle implement ever devised." With millions of weapons being manufactured, how many lives can just ONE rifle change?

I was born on September 11th, 1994. The year now is 2018 and is creeping closer now to 2019. From a young age I had always had my head on forward but my mind stayed in the past. I grew up outside of Chicago, IL which by itself is a historical goldmine. As I grew up and reached middle school years I began writing stories about imaginative wars and battles. I created characters that I hoped one day would look to others as I did to history. I have always been interested in the human element of war as it is the most important part. Around 2011 I began devising an idea to create a story that would follow a rifle, instead of the soldiers who used it. With this idea and a massive amount of research I began writing. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2013 right out of high school and I didn’t stop writing for over 6 years. The majority of time was spent on historical accuracy which was of the upmost importance to me.

As I went deeper into characters I again reflected on the idea that the Rifle whom you all know as “121211.” The rifle being a character in the story; a character that was forgotten as humans tend to only recognize and blame an inanimate object when it is most convenient to the situation. 121211 did become a character. My goal was met and I kept the story as close to history as any historical fiction writer would. My dream for the future is my next stories and this one as well will both inspire readers and writers to look beyond the character and into the mind or soul of something else. They may just find something they didn’t know was there. I learned so much about the time period and myself while writing this book that it has inspired me to continue both historical fiction and branch off in a few other directions in the future. I hope everyone who reads this can take something from it and truly gets inside the mind of 121211.