Sunday, July 17, 2016

More about Grady's in the Silo

          Grady was a well known cow in the area where I live in Yukon, OK. According to Mrs. Mach, Grady lived to be eighteen. She had about 20 calves because she often had twins. Grady had her own mailbox for many years after the silo incident. She continued to get mail which Mrs. Mach kept for quite a while. Some said that the Yukon Post Office required extra staff when everyone was trying to give solutions to the problem of how to get Grady out of the silo. Big mail bags were delivered to the Mach farm. There was no internet, so many telegrams and letters were sent to the Mach family.
        While most animals have pens behind a house or at least to the side, Grady's pen was in front of the Mach house. She usually attended the State Fair of Oklahoma. People often drove from Oklahoma City to Yukon just to see Grady's pen and mailbox.
        Yukon has a huge Czech Day Parade the first Saturday in October. It's an all day celebration with Czech dances, foods, a craft fair, and the crowning of Czech royalty. Grady was usually in a trailer in the parade. I doubt if she had a kolache to eat, but they sure are good. Yum!
        Grady's story made national magazines, too. A picture of her in the silo was captured from the top of the silo.
        My book won the Oklahoma Center for the Book award, and an International Reading Association/Children's Choice Award, too.
        I was able to find a big Hereford puppet about the time my book, Grady's in the Silo, was published. I found a little cow bell, similar to the one the illustrator, Bob Artley, gave her, and I wrote her name on it. She goes with me every time I visit a school or library. She's usually with me when I sign books, and goes with me to craft shows. She is well loved, hugged, and kissed quite often by students who meet her.
       For author visits, I often bring along posters of various newspaper stories about her. I also have a small barn and silo that I show younger students when I'm telling about Grady the cow. When  students don't know what a silo is, I just show them the one I carry with me.
      Pelican Publishing Co. has a Teacher's Guide of activities for my Grady book.

      Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom also has lessons about Grady.

     Writing stories about animals can be exciting. I happened to find a story that I liked and introduced it to my classes. It was an Oklahoma story that I could tell during the time I taught Oklahoma history to my students. It was also a local story. Students could see where the silo and farm had been located off of I-40. It was a story that needed to be put down on paper.
     It was fun to write, and I was excited to see the book in print. If you are planning to write a picture book, don't forget to get it critiqued, re-write or edit when necessary, and then send it out. You never know what picture book I'll hear about and pick up to read. It might be yours!


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