Teachers--Do your students enjoy writing short stories and nonfiction essays? Would your students enjoy receiving a personalized e-mail from one of our OCAI authors or illustrators, receive a free autographed book, AND see a story or essay they have written printed on the Kid Zone pages of OCAI? Then tell them about our 3rd Annual "Fall in Love with Writing" Contest for students of all ages! We will have separate contests for 3rd - 5th grades, 6th - 8th grades, and 9th - 12th grades. For details click on the Kid Zone Page. Good luck everyone!
Win a FREE School Visit with Una Belle Townsend
All you have to do to enter this contest is make a fun activity sheet for her picture book, Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas, and e-mail it to Una Belle with the subject line: "Racecar Driver's Activity Sheet." Your activity sheet can be a: crossword puzzle, word search, coloring page, racing trivia, Christmas trivia, etc. (She will be using the winning activity sheet on her web site and author visits, so be sure it's kid-friendly, related to her book, and clearly typed/drawn/hand-written.) To contact Una Belle, click on her biography page or you can email her at: email@example.com.) Hurry--deadline is December 2 and the school visit will take place before your school's Christmas Break. This offer is for Oklahoma schools only.
Scroll Down to See Winners of our 3rd Annual "Every School's a Winner" Bulletin Board Contest for $250.00 Grants
Oklahoma Children's Author, Gwendolyn Hooks, to Speak at AASL
Are you going to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) in hartford, CT? If so, don't miss Oklahoma author Gwendolyn Hooks' presentation on Friday, November 15 at 8:00, "Celebrating Diversity: The Brown Bookshelf Salutes Great Books for Kids."
Looking to build or expand your collection with multicultural titles for kids? Come celebrate a showcase of great books by African-American children's book creators. Through book talks, trailers and excerpts, children's book authors Gwendolyn Hooks and Kelly Starling-Lyons salute wonderful titles that have been featured on The Brown Bookshelf blog (thebrownbookshelf.com). Kelly Starling-Lyons and Gwendolyn Hooks are both children's book authors.
OCAI Donates Children's Books and Author Visits
to Schools Devastated by Twisters
OCAI is proud to donate the following books and author visits to the schools which were destroyed by the spring twisters. If you or your school would like to help by donating more books, please join our efforts by donating new or nearly-new books to these schools. Be sure to make your donations to the "school library" not to the school, so that the books will be put into the libraries, otherwise, the books will be put into the classrooms rather than the libraries.
Briarwood Elementary School, Moore
Dr. Duck Means Business, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma--Tammi Sauer
The Flimflam Man, Operation Clean Sweep, Twister, Annie Glover is NOT--Darleen Bailey Beard
D-Day American Character--Chris Nick
Summertime, Will Rogers--Mike Wimmer
Grady's in the Silo, Racecare Driver's Night Before Christmas--Una Belle Townsend
Freshwater Feeders--Gwen Hooks
Native American String Figures--David Titus
Buffalo Dreams--Kim Doner
Plaza Towers Elementary, Moore
Native American String Figures, David Titus
Let's Clean Up!; Time for Bed, the Babysitter Said, Peggy Perry Anderson
Mostly Monsterly, Tammi Sauer
The Revenant, Sonia Gensler
Graveyard Girl, Anna Myers
The Flimflam Man, Operation Clean Sweep, Twister, Darleen Bailey Beard
The Lucky Charm, Gwendolyn Hooks
The Oklahoma Landrun, Una Belle Townsend
Summertime, Mike Wimmer
The Pumpkin Mystery, Carol Wallace
Buffalo Dreams, Kim Doner
FREE AUTHOR VISITS to both of these schools donated by:
Darleen Bailey Beard
Una Belle Townsend
Anna Myers Inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame
The Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa, in partnership with The Woody Guthrie Center and the OSU Library, presented The Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, Thursday, November 7, at the OSU-Tulsa auditorium. Inducted into the Hall of Fame was our very own Oklahoma author Anna Myers, author of 19 books for children, who spoke about the power of story and her upcoming book, Tumbleweed Baby, which she laughingly said is her autobiography because her brothers and sisters used to tease that they found her as a baby in a tumbleweed. Also, that evening, the Hall of Fame paid tribute to Woody Guthrie with special guests being scholar/performer Will Kaufman, who brought Woody and his music to life, and Woody’s daughter Nora who asked all the authors in the audience to please carry on the work of her father, speaking out for what they believe in and helping to make the world a better place.
To learn more about this event and other upcoming events honoring Oklahoma writers, likeThe Woody Guthrie Center and The Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers on Facebook.
The Winners of Our 3rd Annual "Every School's a Winner" Bulletin Board Contest:
Thanks to all the schools who entered our contest and the many schools who called from states as far away as New York and North Carolina. We appreciate all our entries and since this is our "Every School's a Winner" Bulletin Board Contest, we are sending every school who entered a free autographed book just for entering. Check back with us at the beginning of each new school year for another great grant which will help bring Oklahoma authors and illustrators to YOUR school no matter what state your school is in!
Jody Davis, Rocky Mountain School, Stilwell, OK, receives $250.00 grant to be used for an author visit with Una Belle Townsend!
Loretta Ross, Tonkawa High School, receives $250.00 grant for an author visit with Sonia Gensler!
Our "Featured Author" Video: David Titus Lawton, Oklahoma
This outstanding picture book won the "OWFI Best Juvenile Award for 2013"-- When two baby elephants escaped from the circus in 1975, it took eighteen days to find them. The authorities searched all over, but they were always one step behind this sneaky pair of fugitives. This colorful picture book follows these giant hide-and-seekers throughout Oklahoma as they evade capture for as long as they can.
My Favorite Childhood Books - an article written by Jenny Thomas
Growing up, I was an avid reader. I read the cereal box at the breakfast table, the encyclopedia set starting with A, and the toothpaste box in the bathroom. I also loved reading children's books that I picked up from our local library. Here are some of my favorite books that I now have read to my children. Some of these books are movies and you can watch them on Direct TV. Bring these books to life by reading them and watching them with the family.
A classic tale by Dr. Seuss that became wildly popular after the movie adaptation, The Lorax offers readers a look at what would happen if all the trees in the world were chopped down. Written from the narrator Once-ler's perspective, this rhyming story discusses how his life of carelessness and selfishness ruined the natural world where the truffula trees once grew. One of the longer books by Dr. Seuss, this story concludes with a lesson for the reader. They have the opportunity to take the last truffula tree seed so they can plant it. This is a powerful metaphor for showing how much good or bad one person can do in the world and how influential we are in the role of nature and other people.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
This book by Crockett Johnson takes creativity to a whole new level. Throughout the book, a small boy named Harold draws his adventures using a fat purple crayon. From the basic wavy line symbolizing water to an entire city neighborhood sketched out, the images drawn on these pages first and foremost explore the ways that illustrators bring a book to life. Secondly, the lesson that any child can create their own story and it can be as imaginative as they want is wonderful for young children. Finally, this book is a powerful motivator for any child who dreams of growing up to be an author or illustrator.
Long before the days when I read Harry Potter or The Hobbit, I was carried away by the grandmother witch of Strega Nona. Written by Tomie dePaola, winner of the Newberry Award, Strega Nona transports readers to a magic village. Everyone in the village including the priest go to Strega Nona for wizened advice as she can do great things with her magical pasta pot. In this tale Big Anthony almost runs the villagers out of town when he decides to not listen to Strega Nona's warnings regarding her magical pot. There are other books in this series that involve Strega Nona including Strega Nona Takes a Vacation, Strega Nona's Magic Lesson's and Strega Nona: Her Story for hardcore Strega Nona fans.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type
Young children read lots of stories about barnyard animals, but this book brings those animals into reality. Farmer Brown's cows, as created by Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin, have a particularly impressive skill—they can type. These animals use this talent to voice their needs and desires. They end up going on strike until they can persuade Farmer Brown, which is a strong lesson for young readers regarding the power of social persuasion. Also in this series is Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack, in which the ducks on the farm join in on the typing adventures.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
By far the most impressive book in my youth was this retake on the classic tale of The Three Little Pigs. Written by Alexander T. Wolf, this version puts a spin on the childhood tale you've heard a million times. Instead of the wolf being the villain, this story supposes that he was indeed a victim. When I first heard this story it made me realize that all stories could be told in different ways, which opened up a world of possibilities in my young imagination.
In The News . . .
Una Belle Townsend--Just in time for Christmas--Una Belle has haiku published in the Scenic Oklahoma 2014 calendar which features beautiful photographs by David Fitzgerald and friends. This calendar, which features her haiku on five different months, is published by Roadrunner Press and is available locally and through Amazon. Don't miss out!
Chris Nick--recently finished a portrait for the state capitol of Pearl Carter Scott who was a young teenage Chickasaw aviator during the late 20s and early 30s. She learned to fly with Wiley Post and was only 13-years old when she got her flying permit. Chris' portrait will be dedicated on Feb. 14. Also, cross your fingers for Chris as the Sandridge Energy is considering sponsoring his original artwork for his picture book, "D-Day", written by Steve Lessman, which is currently on exhibit at the Science Museum OK. If the sponsorship goes through, his art will be on permanent display at the museum.
Gwendolyn Hooks-- will be speaking at the AASL conference November 14th-16th. If you happen to be attending, be sure to look Gwen up and attend her session.
Una Belle Townsend--reports that her latest book "The Great Elephant Escape" has won the "OWFI Best Juvenile Award for 2013."
Tammi Sauer-- Tammi's latest picture books: Thee Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma and Nugget and Fang are receiving rave reviews.She has many more picture books coming out in the near future. Click here to see a listing of her upcoming titles. Click hereto go to her biography page.
Sonia Gensler--has a new young adult (YA) gothic novel,The Dark Between, which is set in England. To read more about Sonia and her spine-tingling book, The Dark Between,click here.
Gwendolyn Hooks--reports that she has a new picture book biography: Vivien Thomas--The Man Who Saved the Blue Babies, which is due to be released in spring 2015. This book tells the story of an African American who without a medical degree or even a college education designed the operation that allows children born with Tetralogy of Sallot (blue babies) to survive. To learn more about Gwendolyn, click here.
A new survey by children's book publisher Scholasticshows major increases in e-book reading among youths, though fully half have yet to try it. And lovers of paperbacks will be glad to hear that print books are still putting up a fight, even among younger children.
Be our guest -- OCAI is a brand new resource for anyone wishing to find information about Oklahoma children's authors and illustrators. Because we are so new, we'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and suggestions -- so please sign our guestbook!
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Welcome to Oklahoma Children's Book Authors & Illustrators (OCAI).
Here you'll find information about some of the most talented people in Oklahoma. Every other month we feature a new author or illustrator in a video with an exclusive interview so you'll get to meet our OCAI authors & illustrators up-close and personal. Each video and interview is archived for easy reference on the author's/illustrator's biography page. We also provide links to contact information, "fun facts", brochures, lesson plans, & much more.
Need a grant? Check out the grant we provide on our grant page as well as both local and national grants. Be sure to send us grants that you know about because if we post a grant you suggest, we'll send you a free autographed book. We also have a "Bimonthly Question" which gives you more chances to win free books. We'd love to hear from you & we hope you'll invite an Oklahoma author or illustrator to your next book-related event!
What's Inside the OCAI Pages . . . "About the Website" explains the Goals, Vision, and Objectives for our website.
"Raving Reviews" is your responses and viewpoints of the OCAI website.
"Meet the Authors/Illustrators" provides a photo montage, a one-page bio, and photos of each author's and illustrator's book covers (all photos can be enlarged for easy viewing). You'll also find a link to each author's and illustrator's personal website, as well as a printable brochure.
"Young Adult Authors" is basically the same as Meet the Authors/Illustrators page but its exclusively designed for those authors that specialize in books aimed toward the Young Adult readers.
"Upcoming Books" provides a quick reference of who has a new book coming out, the title (if known) and the release date.
"Available for Speaking" lists the authors and illustrators who would be happy to visit your school or special event.
"Tips for Planning a Visit" shares easy tips to help you plan, prepare, and promote an author/illustrator visit or event.
"Need Grants or Funding?" is a great place to find the funds you need for your next speaker visit.
"Post a Question" is a bulletin board for you to ask our authors and illustrators questions. We'll send them your questions and then post their answers.
"In the News" has the latest book news. "Book Technology News" is for the high-tech savy viewers.
"Website Links of Interest" provides a listing of publishers, bookstores, schools, and more.
"Teacher Zone" is a great resource for teachers and a fun area for interaction between teachers. "School Listing" is a list of schools in Oklahoma.
"Kid Zone" provides a starting point for kids and young adults who are writing reports on Oklahoma authors and illustrators. They can also find scavenger hunts, puzzles, and links to other places of interest. "Games" is a fun page for kids to learn more about reading, writing, Oklahoma authors and illustrators through fun games.
"Put Yourself on this Site" is a great way for you, your organization, or company to be represented here at Oklahoma Children's Authors and Illustrators. You must meet the simple requirement of being a published author with a mainstream publisher--not a vanity press or a self-publisher AND/OR have several years of experience in visiting schools throughout the U.S. as a speaker and author with books that are recommended by teachers.Simply follow the easy directions on this page.
"Contact Us" is where you can provide OCAI feedback on anything from how much you love our site to how much you'd love to improve our site. We really do appreciate all of your comments and suggestions!
Check out our new section called Book Focus!
OCAI's Web page
Find OCAI on your smartphone. See below for an example and a QR code so you can quickly link to it on your barcode scanner app.