Press Release

April 20, 2001

Children's Authors to Discuss Their Books at Main Library in May

The joy of sharing books is a gift you can give children from the time they are born. Chanting nursery rhymes, singing songs, and reading stories not only comforts and entertains even the youngest child, it enriches them. Ensuring that children read good books involves the same principle as teaching them other skills when they're young. It gives them a chance to pick up the skill with flair while experiencing enjoyment that will never leave them.

To encourage and foster children to read, the Main Library, 800 Vine Street, will host three popular children's authors on May 1, 8 and 10. After each author discusses his or her work, each one will take questions from the audience, and then follow with a book signing:

IRENE SMALLS, for Grades 3-5, will appear on Tuesday, May 1, 9:45 & 10:45 a.m.

"As a former Miss Black New York State, Young Ambassador to Europe, and a student activist, I have had lots of jobs, ranging from model, actress, and radio reporter to running my own business, establishing a networking group for business professionals, and working in government," says Irene Smalls. "But the job I really like is writing children's books. I write very simple stories about my children, my childhood. I grew up in Harlem in the 1950's. Back then, Harlem was a small, southern black community that just happened to be in the North. The dialect, the foods, the mores and values were Southern. Harlem was a ghetto of softness and strength, a community of open doors and open hearts that loved its children."

Irene Smalls' first children's book, Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel, was inspired by her fond memories of Harlem. Her second book, Jonathan and His Mommy, is a love song for her son. Louise's Gift tells the story of how an unappreciated gift changes a young girl's view of herself. Irene Jennie and the Christmas Masquerade: The Johnkankus is the tale of a slave girl's Christmas. Because You're Lucky is a simple story of how families can change and grow in ways that they are lucky to discover.

Irene Smalls graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Black Studies and from New York University with an M.B.A. in Marketing and Behavioral science. She lives in Boston with her three children: Dawn, Kevin Logan, and Jonathan.

FLOYD COOPER, for Grades K-2, will appear on Tuesday, May 8, 9:15 & 10:45 a.m., and 12:15 p.m.

Illustrator Floyd Cooper, featured during the 1996 Literary Adventure and at WordPlay Saturday, designed the 1995 NOVELLO poster, "Books Are Only Half the Story at the Library." He is a NOVELLO favorite, having been featured in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Cooper began his career in advertising, working with a greeting card company in Missouri. In 1984 he moved to New Jersey and discovered the world of children's book illustrating. His first picture book, Grandpa's Face (written by Eloise Greenfield), captivated reviewers, and his next book, Laura Charlotte (written by Kathryn Galbraith), solidified his reputation. Both books were named Best Books of the Year by School Library Journal.

Some of his recent titles are: Pulling the Lion's Tail (1995), Satchmo's Blues (1995), Jaguarundi (Virginia Hamilton, author. 1994), Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes (Floyd Cooper also author, 1994), Meet Danitra Brown (Niki Grimes, author) and Papa Tells Chita a Story (Elizabeth Howard, author, 1995). Other well-known books he has illustrated are: Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea: Poems, Be Good to Eddie Lee, The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars (a twelfth-century tale from Japan), and From Miss Ida's Porch.

Floyd Cooper says, "My personal goal is to take the reader on a journey into the story, to get a sense of the smells, the atmosphere, and the emotions conveyed by the characters."

MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX, for Grades 5-8, will appear on Thursday, May 10, 9:15 & 10:45 a.m., and 12:15 p.m.

Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm outside Washington Courthouse, Ohio, and graduated from Miami University at Ohio with a bachelor's degree in History, English/Creative Writing, and English/Journalism. She has worked as a copy editor for the Ft. Wayne, Indiana Journal Gazette, as a reporter for The Indianapolis News, and as a community college instructor in Danville, Illinois. She now lives in Ohio with her husband Doug and children, Meredith and Connor.

Some of her books include Among the Hidden (1998), Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey (1996), Just Ella (1999), Running Out of Time (1995), and Turnabout 2000 (2000).


The author appearances are sponsored by the Library Programs Fund. Copies of their books will be available for purchase through the Library friends' Shop. For additional information, call 369-6970.


Interpreter available upon request for the hearing impaired. Please call 513-369-6944 [TDD 513-369-6946] at least one week before program.

Information about events at the Main Library and 41 branch libraries is available on the Internet site: www.CincinnatiLibrary.org