As Children’s Book Week draws to a close, we wanted to highlight some of the incredibly talented children’s book writers and illustrators who have called Ohio home. Although we don’t have room to list everyone here, you may want to check out the Newbery and Caldecott winners and honorees listed below. Some are classic, some are contemporary…all are great.
This week marks the 50th birthday of Ohio University Press. We’d like to congratulate them on reaching this milestone and wish them 50 more great years!
OU Press was a key partner in the very first Ohioana Book Festival, held in 2007. The event was built around their award-winning anthology Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio. Ten of the collection’s twenty authors came to Columbus for a day of panels and readings that set the pattern for each festival that has followed.
The press has also published books by many Ohio authors over the years, including P.L. Gaus (writer of Amish mysteries), Ellen Bromfield Geld (novelist and daughter of Louis Bromfield), Marilou K. Suszko (food writer), Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Associated Press reporter and novelist), and many more.
You can visit OU Press online here. Some of their new and upcoming releases will be featured at this year’s Ohioana Book Festival!
Today we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize in Literature!
Unlike other literature prizes that are awarded for a specific book, the Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded for a body of work. When Morrison won the award in 1993, she had published six novels: The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987) and Jazz (1992). All six books are part of Ohioana’s collection, and some of our copies are signed by the author:
Morrison, who was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, is the last American to win the Literature prize. To learn more about the Nobel Prize, other Literature winners, and Morrison’s award, visit www.nobelprize.org.
Earlier this year we did a special series of blog posts in support of Banned Books Week. From now until December 2 you have a unique opportunity not only to support the freedom to read, but also to score some great holiday gifts in the form of original artwork by children’s book illustrators!
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is holding a holiday auction. Children’s book illustrators who have contributed original artwork include Eric Carle, Judy Schachner (of Skippyjon Jones fame), Tom Angleberger (creator of Origami Yoda), and Ohio’s own Adam Rex. You can head on over to the auction by clicking the image above, and you can learn more about the ABFFE by clicking here.
Today we have a guest post by Ohioana’s executive director, David Weaver, who served as development director for nearly eight years before assuming his new position in September. On the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, David reflects on his memories of that day and on the Ohio connection to one of Kennedy’s trusted advisors and friends.
“Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – an event that no one who was alive and old enough to remember will ever forget. I myself was a sixth-grade student at East Linden Elementary School. I can still vividly remember my teacher, Mrs. Rogers, ashen faced as she told us, “I don’t know quite how to tell you this, but the president has been shot.” Soon we learned that the man everyone knew as JFK was dead. Like all Americans, my family spent the next three days transfixed before the television. I read the special edition of the November 23, 1963 issue of the Columbus Citizen-Journal and put it away as a keepsake that I have to this day.
You may not know this but there was a close Ohio and Ohioana connection within the Kennedy White House. Columbus-born Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., was a noted teacher and historian who had won the Pulitzer Prize and two Ohioana Book Awards by the time he joined the Kennedy administration in 1961. Schlesinger had been a friend of Kennedy’s since they had been classmates at Harvard. He served Kennedy in a number of capacities: speechwriter, historical consultant, adviser. But mainly he was there to document the administration in preparation for the memoir Kennedy planned to write once he left the White House. The assassination, however, changed those plans irrevocably. Schlesinger decided to take the notes he had compiled during the thirty-four months of JFK’s presidency and wrote A Thousand Days. (The title was taken from one of the passages in JFK’s memorable inaugural address). The book, the first by a member of Kennedy’s inner circle, was released in 1965 and won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.
Schlesinger would continue teaching and writing for four more decades. He famously coined the term “imperial presidency” in the title of his book about the Nixon administration and its abuses of power. In 1979, Schlesinger won a second National Book Award for Robert Kennedy and His Times.
In 1992, Schlesinger came to his native Columbus to receive Ohioana’s highest accolade – the Career Medal. At the ceremony Schlesinger admitted that since his family had moved to Iowa when he was only five he did not have many memories of his birthplace. But he spoke of the summers he spent at his grandmother’s farm in Xenia and told the audience, ‘I have always felt an Ohioan in spirit.’
Schlesinger remained active to the end of his life; he was one of the first contributing bloggers when the Huffington Post was launched in 2005, two years before his death at the age of 89. During his long career he produced more than thirty books. A Thousand Days remains probably his most famous work, one that is both a historical record and at the same time a memoir of and a tribute to the friend whose life and presidency were cut tragically short on that sunny day in Dallas.”
Throughout the month of October we’ll be highlighting archival items in the Ohioana Library’s collection–including scrapbooks, postcards, correspondence and other personal papers, photos, and manuscripts. Stop back often to see images of these rare and one-of-a-kind items!
Click here to learn more about archives and archival materials.
Amplify your gift by donating to the Ohioana Library during this special online giving event! For a 24-hour period beginning at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 17, all donations of $20 or more made to the Ohioana Library via The Big Give will be augmented by part of a $1 million bonus pool provided by the Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and community partners. 100% of your donation goes to the Ohioana Library! Click here for more information.
And, as a special “thank you” for donating, you can receive free goodies from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Homage, and Piada! Click here to find out how.
Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us provide activities that connect Ohio writers and readers throughout the state, including the annual Ohioana Book Festival, “On the Road with Ohioana” tours, and much more. THANK YOU in advance!