Children's Books

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Tulsa City-County Library CEO Gary Shaffer. He joins us to describe in detail the TCCL's newly renovated Central Library, which will re-open to the public tomorrow morning (October 1st) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. For the past two years or so, the Central Library branch -- which originally opened in 1965 near Fifth and Denver in downtown Tulsa -- has been getting a complete overhaul, both its exterior and interior.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Ariel Waldman, a San Francisco-based writer and science advocate who is a fellow at the Institute for the Future, a National Academy of Sciences committee member, and the founder of Spacehack.org (which is a directory of ways to participate in space exploration). Waldman joins us to talk about her new book: "What's It Like in Space? Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There." It's a fun-to-read collection -- written for parents and kids alike -- that gathers eyewitness stories from dozens of international astronauts.

Today's ST is a replay of a show from two weeks ago, which was preempted by a presidential press conference. For this edition of our program, we check in with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, for a few page-turning gift suggestions. (With the holidays fast upon us, it's entirely worth pointing out that one can never really go wrong with a good book....) A well-known librarian, now retired, who began appearing on our show back when she lived in Tulsa -- in the early 1990s -- Nancy is also a bestselling author, literary critic, and book editor.

On this edition of our show, a conversation with the prolific and bestselling author Sharon Draper, who's the winner of this year's Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature. This prize is awarded each year by the Tulsa Library Trust, and Ms. Draper will formally accept the honor at a presentation and address on Friday the 28th at 7pm. This event happens at the Hardesty Regional Library here in Tulsa, and Ms. Draper will also speak about her life and works, answer questions from the audience, and sign copies of her books.

On this edition of our show, we speak by phone with Fran Stallings, a longtime storyteller who has performed at numerous national and international storytelling festivals, in schools and libraries, and on the radio. Stallings has two new books out, which she tells us about: "How to Fool a Cat: Japanese Folktales for Children" and "The Price of Three Stories: Rare Folktales from Japan." In each of these collections, Stallings has edited and adapted the stories of her friend and collaborator, Hiroko Fujita.

Our guest on ST via telephone is Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer, a bestselling author, critic, editor, and retired librarian (and former citizen of Tulsa) who can also be heard regularly on NPR's Morning Edition. Now that the warm and sunny days of summer have finally arrived, Nancy joins us with a stack of favorites that ought to be perfect for that long trip in the car, endless airplane ride, idle day at the beach, lazy afternoon in the hammock, or all of the above.

On this edition of ST, we welcome James Warhola (born 1955), an American artist and illustrator who's created more than two dozen children's picture books over the years. Warhola briefly worked at Interview magazine in New York City -- which was established and edited by Andy Warhol, his uncle -- before becoming a science fiction illustrator. As such, beginning in the early 1980s, he did the cover art for hundreds of sci-fi books, and he was later an artist and illustrator for Mad magazine.

On this edition on StudioTulsa, we offer an entertaining and wide-ranging chat with Stacy Nyikos, an author, writing teacher, and on-the-go mom who lives in Bixby.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about Reach Out and Read, a long-running nationwide program that, per the "mission" page of its website, "prepares America's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.... The program serves more than 4 million children and their families across the nation, with a special emphasis on serving those in low-income communities.

The Tulsa Library Trust's Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature, inaugurated in 1991, aims to "give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults." Past winners of the Zarrow Award include Jim Murphy, Jacqueline Woodson, Jane Yolen, Gary Paulsen, Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L'Engle, and S.E. Hinton -- and this year, the highly deserving recipient of this award is Jack Gantos.

Our guest on ST today is William Joyce, the well-known children's book author and illustrator, veteran New Yorker magazine cover artist, and all-around creative guru. Joyce's many picture books include "George Shrinks," "Dinosaur Bob," and "Santa Calls" --- and he won three Emmy Awards for his "Rolie Polie Olie" animated TV series.

Hemingway once noted: "There are two kinds of stories. The ones you live and the ones you make up. And nobody knows the difference. And I don't ever tell which is which." Great writers aren't the only ones who feel compelled to tell stories. It's something we all do. We have to. Doing so makes us human; sharing stories makes life easier, richer, more coherent, more meaningful. On this installment of ST, we learn about a story-driven event for the Tulsa community that's happening this weekend.

On today's ST, we offer a thoroughly gosh-wow-how-cool discussion with Stephen Voltz. Along with Fritz Grobe, Voltz is co-founder of the EepyBird Laboratory in Maine --- please see website here --- which is well-known for its experiments with ping pong balls, sticky notes, balloons, soda cans, Ivory soap, and so forth, with many of these experiments becoming viral videos at YouTube and other sites.

Our guest is Michael Smith, a professor of teaching and learning at the Temple University College of Education.

On today's show, we speak by phone with Dav Pilkey, the popular children's book author and illustrator who's probably best known for his "Captain Underpants" series of books. (There are ten books in this series --- Pilkey's now working on the 11th --- as well as a few different spin-off series.) Pilkey tells us about how his career got started, when the "Captain Underpants" character was actually born, and where some of his recurring ideas and themes as a writer and illustrator come from.

On this edition of our show, we chat with Jim Murphy, winner of the 2013 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature, which is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. Murphy will be given this award on Friday the 23rd at 7pm at Gilcrease Museum; he will then offer a 10am reading/talk/signing, on Saturday the 24th, as part of the TCCL's Young People's Creative Writing Contest Awards Presentation, which will happen at the Hardesty Regional Library.

On this edition of our show, we visit with D.J. MacHale, the bestselling YA novelist and veteran TV writer/director. MacHale is probably best known as the author of the ten-volume, YA fantasy book series called "Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure through Time and Space." He's also the author of the "Morpheus Road" trilogy --- you can read all about MacHale's literary output here, by the way --- and he's likewise been successful in the world of children's television.

The Best of ST in 2012: Bob Balaban

Dec 27, 2012

On this "best of" edition of our show, we're listening back to a discussion with the well-known Hollywood actor --- and children's book author --- Bob Balaban. When we spoke with Mr. Balaban by phone, back in early October, he had just put out a book called "The Creature from the Seventh Grade: Boy or Beast" (Penguin Young Readers Group). We spoke with him about this work, and about his efforts as a writer and actor --- and film producer / director / screenwriter --- more generally.

Nancy Pearl's Gift-Giving Book Suggestions

Dec 18, 2012

On this installment of ST, we are discussing great reads for the gift-givng season --- for yourself and/or the avid reader(s) on your holiday shopping list. We check in with Nancy Pearl, a former librarian and bookseller here in Tulsa who's now based in Seattle, and who's well-known for her book-promoting appearances on NPR's Morning Edition as well as her popular series of "Book Lust" volumes (which recommend all sorts of books for a range of different readers).

On this edition of ST, we speak with the multi-faceted, multi-talented Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She's written more than 20 books for children, and her popular adult book of 2005, "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life," was named by Amazon as one of the top ten memoirs of the previous decade. Rosenthal has also created several widely viewed videos (as seen on YouTube and elsewhere) --- among them "The Beckoning of Lovely," "The Money Tree," and "Life Is a Marathon" --- and some of these videos have gone viral online.

He's a familiar and award-winning Hollywood actor, as well as an acclaimed director and producer. He's also (who knew?) a highly successful children's book author. Our guest on ST is Bob Balaban, who tells us about his newest book, "The Creature from the Seventh Grade: Boy or Beast" (Penguin Young Readers Group). In this funny, tween-friendly tale, we meet Charlie Drinkwater, a middle-school kid who's probably among the least popular --- and least noticed --- boys in his class.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with the Brooklyn-based children's and YA author, Jacqueline Woodson, who is the winner of the Tulsa Library Trust's 2012 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature. She's written more than 20 books thus far in her career --- many if not most of them concerning the modern African-American experience, especially from a young person's perspective --- and she's probably best known for "Miracle's Boys," her award-winning YA novel that filmmaker Spike Lee made into a mini-series in 2002.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are joined by Dan Call and David Blakely, two Tulsa-area theatre veterans who are involved with a new musical, "Hank the Cowdog and Monkey Business," which is being presented by Tulsa Repertory Musicals as part of the SummerStage series at the Tulsa PAC. It's a family-friendly show that's been adapted from one the titles in the popular (and long-running) "Hank the Cowdog" series of children's books by John Erickson; it will play in the PAC's Doenges Theater from today (the 21st) through Sunday (the 24th).