A conversation with Sophia R. Klein

A Conversation with Sophia R. Klein

Sophia R. Klein

Ohioana is excited to welcome author Sophia R. Klein as part of the Ohioana Book Festival this year. Sophia is our youngest-ever festival author, at just fourteen years old. She was motivated to write and illustrate her book, Turtle Tide, by her love of marine life. Her fascination with the sea began at the age of seven when she watched the Dolphin Tale films and learned the inspirational stories of the dolphins, Winter and Hope. She has since journeyed each summer to Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida to attend camps to learn about marine life and aspires to make working on the preservation of marine life part of her future.

Q: Sophia, there aren’t many people who can say they’ve written and illustrated their own book, especially at the young age of fourteen! How did the book come to be?

Sophia Klein: This originally started from my Gifted English class in 2020. We had a CCP assignment where we had two to three months to come up with a project that would have an end product. I wanted to incorporate my art into the project while still doing something I’ve never accomplished before. That’s when I decided to do a children’s book. I did ten illustrations within the hundred-page book and could have done more, but I was on a timeline. Plus, I love reading all genres of books and wanted to see what I could do when coming up with my own story.

Q: Turtle Tide is an inspirational story about a young sea turtle. How did you come up with the story?

SK: My little brother, who is now eight, was the main inspiration for my book. About seven years ago, my fascination with dolphins and other marine animals began, and after that, my brother fell in love with sea turtles. Green sea turtles were his favorite, ergo Tide the green sea turtle became the main character. Even one of the humans (or “no-fins” as Tide calls them) is named Caleb, after my brother. The book’s events, such as Tide’s rescue or the other turtles he meets later in the story, are based on real life turtles, dolphins, and other resident animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a rescue facility near Tampa Florida, and home of the Dolphin Tale movies. They currently have eleven residential turtles and many of their life stories are incorporated into the character’s life story.

Q: Have you always been an illustrator? Tell us a little about your illustration process.

SK: As long as I could ever remember, I loved drawing and art in any form, my main focus in my own art being marine animals. My process for drawing any animal usually starts with studying an animal’s anatomy and skeletal structure to make any of the animal’s poses and proportions look natural and realistic. Then with Turtle Tide being a children’s book, I sometimes pushed proportions such as turtle shells and eyes to give the characters an animated look. I had limited time for the illustrations, so I would sketch the characters in pencil on paper then scan it into an art program to color in so it could look more professional.

Q: Your biography says you would like to continue to study marine life – do you intend to become a marine biologist? Do you think we will see more adventures of Tide and his friends someday?

SK: I am currently hoping to take on a career as a marine animal veterinarian. I felt that this book would help express my interests in marine biology, as everything (except for talking turtles) is based on fact. At the moment I have no plans for any sequel to Turtle Tide, but I am currently working on a new writing project. This does not mean it’s impossible for me to make a sequel in the future, but it is just not something I am working on at the moment.

Q: What would you say to other kids who might want to write a book someday?

SK: As one of the youngest authors to get to participate in the Ohioana Book Festival, I hope for that to be an inspiration for any young artists and writers that they can express their ideas and stories as well.

Thank you to Sophia R. Klein for this interview. You can buy Sophia’s book, Turtle Tide, at www.bookloft.com . Check out our “Author Content” page for more about Sophia (page coming April 22 at 7pm), and enjoy the rest of the 2021 Ohioana Book Festival, this weekend, April 22 – April 25.

Turtle Tide by Sophia R. Klein

A Visit to Aminah’s World

Stepping into an exhibit of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s work is like visiting a multi-layered landscape of colors and textures. Her art is a combination of 2D and 3D pieces that include paint, writing, textiles and everyday objects such as beads and buttons – sometimes, all of these at once. Robinson was born in 1940 in the community of Poindexter Village, in which she spent the first 17 years of her life and would hold close to her heart forever. She attended the Columbus College of Art and Design, the Ohio State University, Franklin University and Columbus’ Bliss College. She would go on to travel extensively, receive the 2003 Ohioana Career Medal for her paintings, drawings and sculpture and win a MacArthur Award in 2004. Robinson was skilled in creating a visual experience that blends the senses to give the viewer a window into her own personal world.

Aminah Robinson, an artist and 2004 MacArthur Fellows award winner from Columbus, Ohio, poses in her home Thursday Sept.23, 2004. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The Columbus Museum of Art was cherished by Robinson and has long been one of the most avid collectors of her work. When she passed away in 2015, she bequeathed almost her entire estate to the museum, including her house in East Columbus. CMA immediately began efforts to use the new collection to spotlight Robinson’s work in detail. After more than five years of preparation, CMA debuted Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals in November of 2020, the first major exhibit on Robinson since her death. Alongside the exhibit, CMA completed a full renovation of Robinson’s home, preserving and honoring it as a place of creative freedom by adapting it into a fully-functional artist residence where artists can live, study and work. A companion book edited by CMA curator Carole Genshaft was released to accompany the exhibit and includes more than 200 full color illustrations of Aminah’s work and journals, as well as essays by her friends, family and fellow artists. Genshaft will be attending the 2021 Ohioana Book Festival with Raggin’ On; her prior book, Aminah’s World, was a 2019 Ohioana Award finalist.

The inclusion of Aminah’s journals illustrates that she was a master of the literary arts as well as the visual arts. The book, the exhibit, and Aminah’s newly-renovated home (which includes a “Writing Room” on the top floor) serve to celebrate every aspect of her artistry, including her writing. The preservation of Aminah’s estate, the exhibition of her work, and all further projects taken on in relation to Aminah are collectively known as the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Legacy Project (ABLR Legacy Project). These projects represent a monumental amount of effort and care dedicated to helping Aminah’s work find new audiences.

The cover Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals

February 18, 2021, marks what would have been Aminah’s 81st birthday. As she completed travels around the world to Africa, New York City, Sapelo Island, Georgia, Israel and Chile, she carried “the spirit of Home” with her wherever she went and maintained Columbus as her permanent residence. In each new place Aminah visited, she picked up techniques and experiences that would inform and shape her art. Much of her work is in fact based on her experiences in the various neighborhoods of Columbus, lovingly brought to life in murals, quilts and illustrations. “My work and life are about Columbus, Ohio…the community, ancestors, and spirits,” Robinson once told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals is now on exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art until October 3, 2021. To learn more about the exhibit, how to visit CMA during the pandemic, or to schedule a private tour, please visit: https://www.columbusmuseum.org/raggin-on-the-art-of-aminah-brenda-lynn-robinsons-house-and-journals/

For more information on Aminah Robinson herself and the ABLR Legacy Project, please visit the sources below.

http://www.aminahsworld.org/

The first artist resident is set to move into the renovated Aminah Robinson house in summer of 2021.

Ten years ago

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It’s a day of nostalgia for us at Ohioana because ten years ago today, September 15, 2007, the very first Ohioana Book Festival was presented, “A ‘Good Roots’ Celebration,” based on the book edited by Lisa A. Watts and published by Ohio University Press & Swallow Press. Ten contributors to the book, including Lisa, came to Columbus for that inaugural event. Pictured here: (l-r seated) Anthony Doerr, Jill Bialosky, Scott Russell Sanders, Jill Salamon, Lisa A. Watts, Michael Dirda, and Elizabeth Dodd; standing l-r, Dale Keiger, James Toedtman, and Dan Cryer.

The picture was taken in the State Library of Ohio, which has been painted and primed and re-carpeted and improved over the past 10 years.

We couldn’t have done it without our supporters, who came in with gifts so that we could support our authors and have an all-around great celebration. We had a party at the Governor’s Residence afterword — and then we did it all again in  May of 2008 in order to get on track and keep the festival in the spring!

We had a lot to learn but learn we did. No one could’ve predicted then that a decade later the event would draw over 120 authors, 3,000-plus attendees and be the state’s largest celebration of Ohio books and authors.

 

 

 

 

Book Festival 2018

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Even though 2018 seems like it’s far into the future, it’s practically tomorrow when it comes to the Ohioana Book Festival. Yes, we have begun planning for our 2018 event and we are once again reaching out to qualifying authors.

The festival will be held on Saturday April 14, 2018, and we’re returning to the Sheraton Columbus Capitol Square. The 2017 event was great fun for all and we pride ourselves on taking care of our authors and providing a first-class experience for our visitors. It’s a great space for book lovers!

The 2018 application is due by October 31. We look forward to hearing from old friends and new to make the 2018 event the best yet!

Make YOUR voice heard for Ohioana!

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This is not a drill: Ohioana’s operating support has been eliminated from the state budget, or at least the version passed May 2 in the Ohio House of Representatives. I’m sure you’re as surprised and shocked as we are.

Ohioana promotes and celebrates our great state and is one of the nation’s leading literary centers. It directly serves 150,000 Ohioans every year and serves ALL Ohioans as the caretaker of our state’s rich literary heritage.

Eleven Ohio Governors and 34 consecutive General Assemblies since 1949 have recognized the public value of Ohioana’s work by providing it with operating support. This support is even a part of state law under the Ohio Revised Code.

Of course, you already know that Ohioana has value because you love books, reading, and storytelling. Perhaps you were at the 11th annual Ohioana Book Festival on April 8 in Columbus and you had a chance to meet one of 120 authors and attended a festival panel. You read the Ohioana Quarterly for book reviews and articles about literary Ohio. Maybe you follow the Ohioana Awards and cheer for your favorite authors when they are nominated.

So today we’re asking for your help. Will you call your state senator and ask them to restore funding? Here are just a few of the reasons to keep Ohioana, reasons that you can mention when you call:

 

  • The Ohioana Library Association directly serves 150,000 Ohioans each year.
  • It serves ALL Ohioans as the caretaker of our state’s literary heritage.
  • It costs the state a penny-and-half per Ohioan to support Ohioana.
  • Ohioana generates more than $1 for every $1 provided by the State.

Just go to this link and under “Find Your Senator” enter your zip code + 4.

Yes, state revenues are tight. Yes, the state has many priorities. But Ohioana’s history proves it has yielded major dividends for a modest investment. Don’t just take our word for it – ask the eleven Ohio Governors and 34 General Assemblies that have supported us since 1949.
Ohioana has always worked hard to be a good steward of both public and private money. And we have faced shortages before. But removal from the budget could not just hinder our ability to serve the people. It could, if not halted, ultimately jeopardize our very existence. So please help and make your voice heard – it has never been as important before as it is now! Take a moment and call your state senator before May 10.

After all, what is any place without its stories and its storytellers?

 

 

 

One for the record books!

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The 11th annual Ohioana Book Festival is now part of history!

From the people eagerly waiting to get in before the doors opened, the large and enthusiastic crowds at many panel discussions, the huge number of kids and teens in their special spaces, the lines of people waiting to check out at The Book Loft, and the fact that our two food trucks (Sweet T’s and Schmidt’s) sold COMPLETELY out of food before their scheduled end time – all signs point to this being our biggest and best-attended festival ever!

Ohioana’s tagline is “Connecting readers and Ohio writers,” and no event exemplifies that better than the Ohioana Book Festival. We had 120 authors of all genres as well as illustrators, all with an Ohio connection. Either their books were about Ohio or the individuals have called Ohio home at some point.

We love it. And it’s FREE! Always has been, always will be.

Please be on the look-out for next year (which will be here before you know it!) The date is Saturday, April 14, 2018.

 

Ohioana Book Festival

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It’s here! Hope you have time on Saturday to join us for the Ohioana Book Festival! It’s free!

This is the 11th one, and we’re just as thrilled and psyched for this event as we were for the first one in 2007!

(Isn’t the poster fantastic? It’s the creation of Lindsay Ward. She’s going to be at the festival too!)

Come to the Sheraton in downtown Columbus any time from 10:30 in the morning to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. We’ll have 120 authors, foods trucks, activities for kids and teens, and plenty of panel discussions AND OF COURSE BOOKS for sale, courtesy of our on-site vendor, the famous Book Loft of German Village.

See you soon!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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People all over central Ohio are crossing the days off on their calendars and getting their wish list together. But it’s not the first month of winter and the days are getting longer, not shorter. So what are we talking about?

It’s spring in Columbus and that means the Ohioana Book Festival is fast approaching! If you haven’t yet jotted down the date, now’s your chance:

SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We’re back at the Sheraton this year, the one at Capitol Square. There’s parking all over the place, including the garage for the Columbus Commons. In fact, the Sheraton borders the Commons. Easy to find. There’s also parking under the Capitol if you would like to park there. And you might find a spot on the street. It could happen! Most wonderful time of the year, right?

 


So after you get your car parked, be ready for fun! We’ll have food trucks, workshops, stuff just for kids and teens and BOOKS AND AUTHORS!

Our authors are the best and the Ohioana Book Festival is a great place to meet your favorites. You can talk to them and get a signed copy of their books, for one. We also try to seat authors in similar genres together so that you’ll get a chance to talk to more than mystery author (if you like mysteries) or book illustrator (if you like great drawings). Our authors also present during festival so be sure to check the schedule to find who is talking about what – and when and where! The Sheraton’s not that huge, but why risk missing hearing one of your favorites speak?

The Book Festival is also heavy on SHOPPING! That’s right! It’s America’s favorite pastime and makes this event even more like that other most-wonderful-time-of-the-year. Heck, you can even get a huge head start on the one that begins in December by getting waaaaay ahead of the holiday rush.

So don’t forget: SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Happy Birthday to Ohio University Press

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WattsThis 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!