The mind can be a limitless source of imagination when reading a good book.
It’s National Book Month, and people are urged to visit a title of interest and find out why using the imagination to bring life to an author’s words can be exhilarating.
Every year, schools host book fairs to raise money for the library or community needs while using the opportunity to remind students how reading can change their lives.
The Tahlequah Middle School Scholastic Book Fair runs through Oct. 16 under the theme “All-Star Readers,” which denotes the school’s earning the first-place prize for last spring’s Scholastic Book Fairs National Middle School Student Crew Contest.
“I had seven members of the library staff who were the actual crew, but we had many, many participants,” said TMS Media Specialist Dr. Brenda Maddan. “There were 200 kids who participated in that book fair. They drew fish. Their teachers helped. Mr. [Tony] Scantlin made our ‘Jaws’ [cutout] where the kids could walk through it. The whole school helped. Tahlequah Middle School gets behind the book fair. They’re really dedicated to getting the kids to read.”
Official crew members of the under-the-sea themed “Dive into Reading” book fair included Marisella Sierra, Kenzy Hammons, Tyler Hooper, Jonathan Medellin, Joshua Dick, Courtney Walker and Austin Jones, who will be in the picture selected to highlight TMS in the Scholastic Book Fair resource book that is sent to schools across the country.
“It’s really a great honor to be able to win the [national Scholastic Book Fair contest],” he said. “The library is an important room in the school. People not only come here to check out books, they come here to study. They come here to do all kinds of things. The library is very fun to me because I love reading, and we have so many books. We have the newest and coolest books.”
With the nationwide victory, TMS earned $2,000 in books and merchandise from the children’s publishing, education and media company, as well as an Oct. 16 visit from award-winning author Roland Smith, who will be on hand to answer questions and sign autographs in two separate assemblies.
“He’s also going to have breakfast with the crew,” said Maddan. “I don’t think, at least to my knowledge, that’s ever been done here before. No one’s ever won a book fair contest. It’s pretty awesome. It speaks volumes for my students. They worked hard. We decorate, we go all out. If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly. I can’t help it, that’s just one of my deals.”
Maddan’s crew plan and conduct the book fair, including coming up with the theme, creating contests, designing advertising campaigns, and hosting activities aimed at attracting interest in reading among their peers, as well as adults. Proceeds from this year’s donuts for donations activity, which raised money last spring for books that went to underprivileged children in the community, will go to help rebuild the library in Mannford, where several community members lost their homes or businesses due to a widespread of uncontrolled grassfires.
“The class that raises the most money gets a day of movies and popcorn,” said Jones. “It’s really funny to see the teachers come in and donate so much.”
And creating a sense of home and community in the library is exactly what Maddan wants.
“As far as the library goes, I’m not one of these [quiet] libraries. We’re a library. We’re the hub of the school,” she said. “I want kids to come in and feel comfortable, and not feel like they can’t speak.”
Regardless of detectable reverberations in the room, reading is important, said Cherokee Elementary Librarian Lori Smith.
“Book fairs and special months help to excite students, parents and teachers,” she said. “Book fairs help in two ways. First, the students love the opportunity to shop for new books. They get to look for what they like. This helps to get books into each home. Second, by purchasing books, money is earned for our library. Using these funds, we can buy literature and equipment for our school.”
Greenwood Elementary Librarian Julie Crittenden believes National Book Month is a great opportunity to put reading in the spotlight and remind everyone how essential it is.
“Reading is the single most important tool a child will gain in school. Once a student masters the skill of reading, it opens up the door to all other subjects such as history, science, mathematics, geography, and makes it easier to learn about them,” she said. “Having a month devoted to books and reading helps us remember that when it comes to education, reading is where it all starts.”
The mind can be a limitless source of imagination when reading a good book.
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Plea deal arranged for ex-fire chief
A former Cherokee County volunteer fire chief has agreed to plead guilty to forgery and embezzlement charges in exchange for a suspended sentence and payment of restitution.
Third Thursday Art Walk
Shoppers will have a chance to visit downtown merchants in the evening during the Tahlequah Main Street Association’s first Third Thursday Art Walk and After Party on Thursday, March 20.
Participating downtown businesses will keep their doors open to offer specials until 8 p.m., and artists will display their work at different locations. Art exhibitors, including the Cherokee Art Center’s Spider Gallery, will stay open late.
Sex offender bill reaches House
By a unanimous 44-0 vote of the Oklahoma Senate, a bill that would make it more difficult for registered sex offenders to change their names has reached the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1421, authored by Kyle Loveless, Oklahoma City Republican, underwent its first reading in the House on Feb. 27.
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said he did not know of any instances, during his service with the department, of registered sex offenders evading detection with new names for any length of time.
SB 1497 may aid transparency
Government transparency advocates were pleased, and some were surprised, when a proposed bill designed to strengthen Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act passed the Senate Judicial Committee recently.
Senate Bill 1497, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, would allow citizens who are denied access to public meetings to bring civil lawsuits, and if the court rules in favor, to collect attorney’s fees. A continuing resolution has already been filed.
Should the legislation pass into law, it would become effective Nov. 1 this year.
Moulton: Sovereignty is John Ross’ legacy
When describing the Cherokee people, the words “well-educated” and “independent” may come to mind. Those attributes were principles held most dear by John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokees from 1828-1866.
Dr. Gary Moulton, University of Nebraska Thomas C. Sorensen emeritus professor of American history, discussed Ross’ history during a presentation at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center Thursday. The event was organized by the history department at Northeastern State University.
The bear facts
A joint project linking two state agencies with researchers at Oklahoma State University is gathering the “bear facts” on a growing population in the northeastern part of the state.
A six-year study on black bears in Cherokee, Adair and Sequoyah counties is being conducted as a precursor to possible establishment of a controlled hunting season in Green Country. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management of Oklahoma State University have partnered for the endeavor.
Drug task force seizes K2 at a Tahlequah house
The District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force seized between $200 and $300 worth of synthetic drugs during a bust Friday.
The Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service were also in on the raid. Members of the task force hope the seizure will aid in an ongoing investigation to find larger suppliers.
“We received information that sales were being made from a residence off Choctaw Street,” said Michael Moore, task force director. “Further investigation led to a state search warrant based on the federal Schedule I list of drugs.”
Citizens can report sight obstructions to city
On Feb. 25-26, the Tahlequah Fire Department responded to motor vehicle accidents at South Muskogee Avenue and South Street, and since that time, a few citizens have expressed concern about the sight lines at the intersection.
A visit to the intersection showed that, for traffic westbound on South, the view south down Muskogee is partially obstructed by shrubbery and a tree that appear to be on private property.
Spears: OSRC should help boost business
In a little over 25 years, Arrowhead Resort owner Jack Spears has grown his business from being the smallest float operator on the Illinois River to the second-largest, and he’d like to continue on that path.
Spears believes tourism is vital to the Tahlequah area. He says if the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission would eliminate a zoning issue along the river, both the agency and his own business would reap the benefits.
Spears recently asked the OSRC to consider doing away with recreational floating zones. Commercial flotation device licenses are granted to operators in each area for a total of 3,900 licenses.
Last-place swine earns top sale bid
Local businessmen drew regional attention through a record-setting bid of $10,000 at the Cherokee County Spring Livestock Show last Saturday, but now they say they don’t want the recognition.
The annual show, which ends with a premium sale featuring top winners, is a fundraiser for local FFA and 4-H participants. Proceeds help cover the animals’ expenses or are used for future projects or showings. Community members, organizations and businesses bid on the livestock, but it is not a purchase. The children showing get to keep their animals.
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