Mo Willems, a multiple New York Times best-seller, is the featured illustrator for Tulsa City-County Library’s 2012 “Books to Treasure,” an annual event promoting the beauty of children’s literature and introducing the community to popular book illustrators.
Willems will speak, answer questions and sign copies of his books during a special visit Nov. 16, 7 p.m. at Central Library, Fourth Street and Denver Avenue. This event is free and open to the public.
Willems is the author and illustrator of more than 50 books for children. He is one of the most prolific author/illustrators in the children’s genre today. Beyond these efforts, he also has written for several TV series including “Codename: Kids Next Door,” “Lazy Town,” “Sheep in the Big City” and “Sesame Street.”
Willems is widely known for winning the Caldecott Honor for his picture books “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” and “Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity.” Parents and children can keep up with all of the fun in the New York Times best-selling Pigeon series by visiting www.pigeonpresents.com There are links for children to find printable coloring pages and games based on characters from Willems’ different books. Music Theatre International recently completed a 19-month production run of “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical,” through its Theatre for Young Audiences Collection. The musical was a hit with children, families and critics thanks to the heartwarming story and dancing laundry.
Books to Treasure is sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust through a grant from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, with special thanks to the Tulsa World and Holland Hall. The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation is providing one free copy of Willems’ “Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!“ to each second-grader in Tulsa County. Students also have the opportunity to receive a special library card featuring art from the book.
To enhance the author’s visit, Tulsa City-County Library children’s librarians will visit second-grade classes at all public and private schools in Tulsa County to promote the program. Librarians will speak with students about the importance of reading and having a library card. Librarians have created specific lesson plans using Willems’ books focusing on curriculum areas such as reading, math, writing, science and social studies.
“Over the last nine years, the Books to Treasure program has become a Tulsa County tradition. It has placed books in the hands of more than 80,000 children and has resulted in countless new library card sign-ups,” said Emily Tichenor, TCCL’s youth services department. “Many students who now participate in the program have older brothers and sisters who have participated. They know what Books to Treasure is and wait eagerly to find out which author will be coming for their year. Being able to tell them that Mo Willems is joining us to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Books to Treasure is just amazing! He is one of the most beloved authors of illustrated books working today.”
For more information on Books to Treasure call the AskUs Hotline, 918-549-7323, or visit the library’s website, www.tulsalibrary.org.