Monday, March 6, 2017

Quite an Honor for Me

                                                         Quite an Honor for Me

           On March 3, 2017, I went to Riverside Elem. in El Reno, OK. I planned to read my new book, Scanner, to the students in grades Pre-K through 4. I knew some of the students because I had been a teacher/librarian at the school for many years. My friend and illustrator, David Barrow, was with me. I noticed a few teachers in other grades, as well as a few friends I'd worked with over the years, listening as I read my new book. I was glad to see all of them.
          This is a school that didn't have much of a library when I first started teaching there many years ago. The books had color coded tape on them to distinguish the reading levels. There were no spine labels with the Dewey system on them. I soon discovered that teachers and parents had donated the books, and everyone had guessed at the reading levels. There was no card catalog.
         Many schools across the state as well as the nation had this type of "library". I taught fourth grade at the time, but started writing grants hoping to get some money for improving the library. I don't know how many grants I wrote, but I do remember a few. There were three grants (each for $10,000) that enabled us to buy a computer, a software system, and new books so that we could update our library. We now had a catalog for teachers and students to use, and had a check-out system in place.
         I wrote grants for books given to schools from the American Library Assn. (around $2,000 to $4,000). We were very fortunate to receive grants twice. I wrote many grants for the library when the Oklahoma Career grants existed.  We received many thousands of dollars in books, software, and videos on career topics. We were able to purchase many science and social items (library media) with grant money from Title funds and other grants that I wrote.
        The library also received a grant from the Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom program. Our library continued to improve as the grant money, books, and media increased.

        Each grant made the library a better place, and children began coming to the library more often. That's what we had hoped would happen.

        I tell you this to let you know that when I walked into the Riverside Library on Friday, I saw a beautiful library with many shelves housing many great looking books. It had new furniture and carpet. Mrs. Harmon, who was my assistant, is now in charge of the library, and she's done a marvelous job making the library so inviting to students and teachers.
         On Friday, just as I was to talk about my latest book, Scanner, I was presented with a plaque to go above the entrance to the library.  The plaque reads:

                               Welcome to the UNA BELLE TOWNSEND Honorary Library
           In Recognition of Her Lifelong Commitment to Children and Reading.

         It was an unexpected honor. My goal had been to try to make the Riverside library the best library in the area. I hope it continues to be the best.
        Children and reading will always go hand in hand. I hope that I made a difference whether I was in the classroom, in the library, or working with students who just needed a little more instruction on how to read.
         I want to thank the Riverside School Board, Superintendent Garner, and the faculty and staff for recognizing my efforts to make a difference in a child's life.
        They say it takes a village to raise a child. I was just one in that village helping to teach children how to read, but I loved it.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dogs Who Listen to Children Read

My newest book, Scanner, was recently read by a little girl to a dog who frequently listens to children read.

Dogs who listen to children read are remarkable. I watched a group of children read to four different dogs. The dogs are therapy dogs who, not only listen to children read, but also visit nursing homes and hospitals.

Both the dogs and the children were amazing. The dogs are trained to sit and listen as children read to them. It doesn't matter whether the child is a good reader or not. The dogs don't judge the child's reading ability or the way they pronounce each word.

Children who might not want to read in a regular classroom, eagerly read to the dogs. Many will bring in their favorite books to share with them. If they read slowly, stutter, or mispronounce words, it doesn't matter to the dogs. I also noticed that many children petted or patted the dogs as they read. They seemed to really be bonding as the child read and the dog listened.

It's a great program. I've seen 4-H students working with dogs who listen to children read. Teachers have had dogs in their classrooms working with students. Many shy students will read to an animal when they won't read to anyone else.

I'm glad that Scanner has a purpose and a job at his school.

While at a career event in Dibble, OK, I met another dog who listens to children read in the school system.
Below are some children reading to dogs.

This little dog really seems to be listening to the story.

Two dogs listening to two boys read.

Sometimes it's important to get to know the dog before reading to it.

This dog is checking out the Scanner book. Poor Scanner needs a home.

The librarian in the story is worried about Scanner.

Someone is enjoying the book as she reads.
This little dog likes the story he's hearing from a reader.

This dog is concentrating on the story.

Scanner's made a mess. He just might get in trouble.
A "paws" before reading some more.

Sometimes the best way to read is to get on your knees. The dog seems alert to the situation.

Ready, set, read!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Scanner will be here in February

Scanner the Scottie scoots into town in February. He's sure to be a favorite Valentine book for someone you know. Don't you love his face? David Barrow illustrated the book. Look for Scanner on the Doodle and Peck website.  You can discover all the books published by Doodle and Peck. And, if you sign up for the newsletter, you'll know when Scanner comes to town.
Awwwwwww. Scanner is so cute!

Luksi Creations

I met a new friend at Luksi Creations today. The shop is located at 1909 N. Classen in Oklahoma City, OK, and I enjoyed looking around at all the beautiful blankets, ribbons, jewelry, and, of course, the many colors and sizes of beads that they have at the store. It's open from Monday-Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM, and Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Their phone number is 405 839-8008 and their email is  You can see some of their beautiful work on their Facebook page.

My book, Toby and the Secret Code, is also there. If you need a copy, drop by and purchase one. At the same time, look at all the other lovely items they have to sell.  If you enjoy making jewelry, they have a big supply of beads in all colors.

I'm glad I stopped by and found their shop. You can find it by looking for the big turtle (luksi) on the window in the 1900 block of Classen in Oklahoma City.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Attention librarians

Guess who's coming to libraries in February?       Scanner!   

Scanner is illustrated by David Barrow.

I know Scanner the Scottie will enjoy visiting your libraries.  Hope he visits you soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

                                                       SCBWI Book Blast

         I decided to enter SCBWI's Book Blast. SCBWI stands for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and they have wonderful meetings and conferences. The Book Blast gives everyone a chance to view many new 2016 books that have been published.

        At the moment, there is a contest to get people who stop by and visit your Book Blast and leave a comment. If I get 20 comments within the next few days, I can enter their contest to have SCBWI buy some books to give to libraries. 
       You can help me by looking at my SCBWI Book Blast page. Just look for my book, Toby and the Secret Code, and leave a comment. Thanks.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Audrey Harmon and I at the 2016 Encyclo-Media Ag in the Classroom booth. I was proud to see three of my books on their display table. My Grady's in the Silo, my Oklahoma Land Run, and my Great Elephant Escape are all books used by Ag in the Classroom. If you are a teacher, please check into all the information they have on their website. They have a summer tour for teachers and a summer workshop. All the Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom programs are fantastic and well planned.