We’re excited to partner with Oregon’s Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) on their new book, Oregon Reads Aloud, a collection of stories from 25 top Oregon-based authors and illustrators created specifically for reading aloud to children. Recently, we spoke with SMART’s communications director, Jessica Bowersox, to learn more about how this exciting new book came to life.
What inspired SMART to create Oregon Reads Aloud?
SMART: As we started thinking about how to celebrate our 25th anniversary of bringing a love of books and reading to Oregon kids, we honed in on the idea of publishing our own children’s book to commemorate this big milestone. As we continued brainstorming, we landed on the idea of 25 stories for kids written and illustrated by Oregon authors and illustrators.
What is your goal for the book?
SMART: To spark a love of reading and books for kids, to celebrate SMART’s 25th anniversary, and to showcase Oregon’s great trove of children’s literary talent.
What do you think kids will love most about the book?
SMART: The silly stories, common experiences of living in Oregon (rain, mountains, food carts, etc!), and the incredible illustrations.
What will adults enjoy about the book?
SMART: That it’s a book about Oregon, written and illustrated by folks in Oregon, all to benefit an Oregon nonprofit that encourages kids to love books and reading. And, there are some incredibly beautiful and poignant stories!
What was the most rewarding or fun part of the process of making this book?
SMART: The fact that such talented (and busy!) authors and illustrators wanted to be part of our project. As the stories started to come in, we realized it was going to be an amazing book and that was very exciting. And holding the physical book in our hands for the first time was incredibly special.
What will educators and parents find valuable in Oregon Reads Aloud?
SMART: There is so little diversity in children’s publishing, and we worked hard to include as many perspectives as we could in this book through the authors and illustrators. The imagery and stories reflected in the book represent a diversity of people and experiences.
For more about SMART and the incredible work they do, go to http://www.getsmartoregon.org/