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Friday, March 11, 2016

Growing A Reader with Debbie Ridpath Ohi, author & illustrator of Where Are My Books?

Growing A Reader
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

While I was growing up, my father took the whole family to the public library a couple of times a month and we kids each came home with a stack of books. My parents let me choose any type of book that I wanted to read, and it was only years later that I truly appreciated what a gift this was. I joined the Library Club in grade school. Some thought the Library Club was for geeky nerds but we in the Library Club knew that WE were the cool ones, the elite. After all, we got to process the new books and sign them out BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. 

My sixth grade teacher read aloud to my class every day from a book called Calico Captive, by Elizabeth George Spears. On the first day, I remember that none of us in the class were particularly thrilled. We were too old to be read to, after all! But as our teacher kept reading a chapter a day, I got totally sucked into the story, couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. About two-thirds of the way through, I realized that HOLD ON, I didn’t HAVE to wait! And I took the book out of the library to read ahead. I went on to read other books by the same author, and never again underestimated the power of a good read aloud.

As a teen, I fell in love with science fiction and horror. Two of my favorite authors were Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, and I desperately wanted their autographs for my collection. I looked up their addresses in the giant Who’s Who book at our local library, and sent them letters along with self-addressed stamped envelopes. I was totally THRILLED when they wrote back to me. Stephen King’s was a hand-typed letter with a typo fixed with correction fluid (!). It was first time I had ever been in direct contact with authors, and their notes helped inspire me to want to write my own books someday.


About the Author
Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates books for young people in Toronto, Canada. Her first solo picture book, WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?, debuted from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2015. Debbie's illustrations appear in picture books by Michael Ian Black (NAKED! and I'M BORED) and Judy Blume chapter book and middle grade reissues (Atheneum), the upcoming MITZI TULANE series by Lauren McLaughlin for Random House, and the RUBY ROSE series by Rob Sanders for HarperCollins and SEA-MONKEY AND BOB by Aaron Reynolds for Simon & Schuster. Her blog for writers/illustrators:

About Where Are My Books?
A boy investigates a squirrelly situation to track down his missing stories in this charming ode to book lovers of all kinds.

Spencer loves to read. He reads a book every night. But one morning his favorite book goes missing, and in its place is a tulip. Spencer searches high and low, but he can't find his book.

The next morning another book is missing, a nut in its place. And the morning after that, another book is missing.

What is happening to Spencer's books? When he finds out, Spencer devises a surprising solution that will delight readers (and librarians) everywhere.
 Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here!


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