Banned Books Week 2013: Dav Pilkey

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captunderpantsOhioan Dav Pilkey appears twice on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009: at #13 for his Captain Underpants series, and again at #47 for The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby. Captain Underpants is also listed at #1 on the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2012.

Pilkey was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio. In elementary school he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia; he first created the Captain Underpants character during “time outs” in the school hallway. Although Pilkey’s teachers throughout elementary and high school discouraged his drawing, one of his college professors saw his work and encouraged him to try writing children’s books. His first book was published in 1987.

Pilkey’s book The Paperboy was a Caldecott Honor book; The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He was recently selected to illustrate a picture book version of “One Today,” a poem written by Richard Blanco and read at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

Banned Books Week 2013: Toni Morrison

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ToniMorrisoncoversOhio native Toni Morrison has three books on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009: #15 The Bluest Eye, #26 Beloved, and #72 Song of Solomon. Beloved is also #10 on the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2012.

Morrison was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. After receiving degrees in English from Howard University and Cornell University, she worked as a university professor and book editor. She began writing fiction as part of an informal group that met to discuss and critique each other’s work. She went to one meeting with a short story about an African American girl who wished for blue eyes; this later became her first novel, The Bluest Eye. To date Morrison has written ten novels as well as children’s books, nonfiction, plays, and a libretto.

The president of the Ohio Board of Education recently criticized The Bluest Eye and questioned its inclusion on the recommended reading list for high school juniors. You can hear Morrison’s response and comments by Ohioana Library Executive Director David Weaver here.

Morrison won the 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon, a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her body of work.

Banned Books Week 2013: Chris Crutcher

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Ohioan Chris Crutcher has three books on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009: #41 Whale Talk, #44 Athletic Shorts, and #85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.

Crutcher was born in Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in a small town in Idaho. After graduating from college, he taught primary and secondary school and spent nearly a decade as the director of an alternative school for at-risk students. He spent the next 30 years working as a child protection advocate and as a child and family therapist. Crutcher’s experience working with at-risk children shows in his books, which tackle difficult subjects with a mixture of gritty realism and sharp humor.

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Banned Books Week 2013: Mildred Taylor

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RollofThunder1-205x300The second Ohio author to appear on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 is Mildred Taylor. Her award-winning book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry appears at #66.

Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, but spent her childhood in Toledo and graduated from college there. After spending two years in the Peace Corps and earning a master’s degree, she began writing. Taylor’s books are based on family stories told during childhood gatherings and therefore strongly reflect her own family history. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was only her second novel. In addition to winning the 1977 Newbery Medal, it was a National Book Award nominee, an ALA Notable Book, and a Kirkus Choice and was listed as a New York Times Book Review Best Children’s Book 1970-1980.

Banned Books Week 2013: R.L. Stine

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FB BBW bannerSeptember 22-28 is Banned Books Week! Celebrate your freedom to read!

Every year the American Library Association collects information on challenged and banned books in schools and libraries across the country. Five Ohio authors appear on the ALA’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009. Two of those authors also appear on the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2012.

Coming in at #94 on the list of “Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009” is the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Stine grew up in Bexley, Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University. He began his career by writing humor books for children and created the humor magazine Bananas. Stine wrote his first horror novel for young people in 1986, and went on to create the Fear Street series in 1989 and Goosebumps in 1992. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, and the Goosebumps series has been translated into 32 languages. Stine created an endowment fund for creative writing in his hometown of Bexley, received the Ohioana Career Award in 1999, and was a featured author at the 2009 Ohioana Book Festival.

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Honoring James Garfield

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Garfield memorial 1 lowresJames Garfield was born in a log cabin in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. After working various jobs to support himself, he graduated from college and worked first as an educator and then as a lawyer. He served in the Ohio Senate from 1859-1861, then served as an officer in the Union army. He was first elected to Congress in 1862, where he served until winning the 1880 presidential election.

However, Garfield’s presidency lasted just 200 days. On July 2, 1881 he was shot twice from behind by Charles J. Guiteau, who had been rejected for a foreign service post. President Garfield died on September 19, 1881 as a result of his wounds.

This invitation to the congressional memorial service for Garfield is part of the Ohioana Library’s Ohio Presidents collection. The recipient is not identified.

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Robert McCloskey and “Lentil”

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McCloskey clipping 1929 OPSRobert McCloskey was born on September 14, 1914 in Hamilton, Ohio. As a child he liked music and electronics; his interest in art surfaced later when he began creating illustrations for his high school yearbook. After studying art in Boston and New York, McCloskey initially struggled to make a living as an artist. After a conversation with a children’s book editor, he returned to Ohio and based his first book, Lentil, on his experiences and observations there. Many of his other books were also based on places where McCloskey lived, including Make Way for Ducklings (set in Boston, where he attended art school) and Blueberries for Sal (set in Maine, where he lived with his family). McCloskey was the first two-time winner of the Caldecott Medal for children’s book illustration, and won two Ohioana Book Awards: in 1949 for Blueberries for Sal and again in 1958 for Time of Wonder.

The newspaper clipping above from The Columbus Citizen describes McCloskey’s visit to the Lazarus book shop in May, 1940 to promote his first book, Lentil. The image shows McCloskey presenting an inscribed copy of the book to Ohioana’s director, Florence Roberts Head. The inscription is shown below–complete with a buckeye!

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The Big Give

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TBG_300x250Amplify 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!

Ohioana on Ohio Memory!

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This page documents the 1943 Annual Meeting and Book Awards. The place card in the upper left corner was handmade.

The Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the completion of its first major collection digitization project! Seven publicity scrapbooks that document the library’s activities from its founding in 1929 through the 1970s have been scanned and are now available for viewing on the Ohio Memory website as the Ohioana Scrapbooks collection.

This project marks the first step in making some of our unique collection items more easily accessible to the public and in further sharing Ohioana’s mission and history. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, ephemera, correspondence, and administrative documents that describe Ohioana’s founding and accomplishments. The majority of these scrapbooks focus on the 1940s and early 1950s; topics include author teas, day trips, county literary news, and extensive coverage of the Ohioana annual meetings and award banquets.

Florence Roberts Head helped Martha Kinney Cooper establish the Ohioana Library and served as its director for more than two decades.

Digitization of the scrapbooks was a joint project between Ohioana and the Ohio Historical Society, with support from the State Library of Ohio and a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act program. We’ll be digitizing additional scrapbooks and other collection items as resources allow!