This afternoon at 3:00 CST I will be the guest of Joy Robertson on Ozarks Live as part of the celebration of National Young Readers Day. The interview will touch on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Literature Award, my career, and some of my work. I doubt we’ll have time for me to read anything but I’ll hold up some recent titles and smile for the camera.
The 2020 version of appearing on TV follows this routine: I’ll be escorted in, they’ll take my temperature, I’ll sit in a waiting room till show time, then be escorted in and out of the studio. It pays to be cautious. Joy herself has had the virus and is happy to get through it and return to work.
To watch the show, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/OzarksLive/
THE HUFFIN PUFF EXPRESS was published 46 years ago in 1974 (five years after my first book for children came out) as one of several of my stories published by Western Publishing in Racine, Wisconsin. It’s one of the books you can hear now on TELL ME A STORY, KOLR10-TV’s podcast in Springfield, Missouri. Go to https://www.ozarksfirst.com/tell-me-a-story/ to find THE HUFFIN PUFF EXPRESS read with gusto by Jeremy Rabe as well as eight other of my books read beautifully by station talents. You’ll also find my first book, THE BOY WITH A DRUM there too.
Deanna Smith Schuler just commented that this is one of her favorites and I admit it’s one of mine too. It gives me satisfaction to see it still has a respectable ranking on Amazon and was reviewed by a reader as recently as July 2019. All the reader reviews but two have been 5 stars except for a 4 from one reader who was cranky about the price of the book and another who said it was her son’s favorite book but gave it a 4 anyway. Others have called it, ” Important healing tool for babies and toddlers,” “One of our favorites not written by Dr. Seuss,” and ” Best train book ever.”
HUFFIN PUFF EXPRESS has come a long way from its original 35 cent price to today’s $17.50. So far it has been a good ride.
As of yesterday nine of my books have been recorded and posted on KOLR10-TV’s “Tell Me a Story” program, which is being produced in partnership with Springfield-Greene County Library District and sponsored by attorney Brad Bradshaw. Titles so far are AFTER DARK, POEMS ABOUT NOCTURNAL ANIMALS; A PLACE TO START A FAMILY; NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T; THE BOY WITH A DRUM; HUFFIN PUFF EXPRESS; THE BOY WHO COUNTED STARS, A PERFECT PLACE FOR A FAMILY; BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS; and WHEN COWS COME HOME. More readings will be added soon.
The KOLR10-TV goal is to provide an online library for children at home during the pandemic and it’s being well received. Yesterday the station’s Dave Bowen told me “response has been pretty amazing. People are staying on repeatedly for stories.”
If you know any families who might be interested in this resource, here’s how to access it. Go to KOLR10-TV at https://www.ozarksfirst.com/community-2/, click on “Living Ozarks,” along the top of the page, and scroll down to “Tell Me A Story.” That takes you straight to the whole menu. Readers so far include Joy Robertson, Tom Trtan, and other talented personalities. I’m happier than I can say to be participating in this way to reach kids at home during a trying time for many.
As the nation scrambles to reach kids isolated at home during the crisis, a number of creative ideas are bubbling up. One going on in Springfield, Missouri is on CBS affiliate station KOLR10-TV in partnership with Springfield Greene-County Library District. On-air Talent from KOLR are reading a series of my books for families at home throughout the region to hear. So far they’ve recorded four titles: WHEN COWS COME HOME, THE BOY WHO COUNTED STARS, and BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS (all from Boyds Mills Press) and A PERFECT PLACE FOR A FAMILY (from Holiday House). Here’s the link. https://www.ozarksfirst.com/tell-me-a-story/
Part of the plan calls for me to go to the station for an interview and to read one of the books myself. Time will tell if that will happen soon or need to be delayed for a while. Whatever happens, I’m thrilled to have this chance to reach a lot of children who may be getting tired of staying in.