The joy of reading is using your imagination to make the scene and the characters whatever you want them to be. It’s the excitement to keep reading, to find out what happens next, just one more page, just five more minutes. For Rogers State University Alumna Brittany Crawford (’00 & ’06), books provided a world full of discovery.
“I was an avid reader at the age of four and read anything I could get my hands on. I love that books can transport you to different places without leaving your home,” Crawford said.
Crawford will be the guest speaker at the RSU Stratton Taylor Library’s Virtual Book Talk on March 9 at 10:10 a.m. As a children’s author, Crawford was inspired by the Judy Blume series, Beverly Cleary and Ann M. Martin to write her own Tilly Green Book Series: Tilly and the Terrible Tornado, Tilly and the Ferocious Flood, Tilly and the Electrifying Thunderstorm.
The books are based on true events to help prepare children for Oklahoma’s diverse weather conditions.
“Parents love the Tilly Green Book Series because it helps them calm and reassure their children that if proper safety precautions are taken, they will be safe during bouts of severe weather,” Crawford said.
Illustrator LP Johnson, employed by Night Writers Publishing in Oklahoma City, reads Crawford’s stories several times before designing the artwork. The cover artist, Darlene Villalobos, uses pencils and colored pencils to depict the scenes.
Crawford’s audience for the book talk, which will include Cameron University students, will hear a brief summary of all three children’s books. Through a partnership with Cameron University, RSU Claremore students can earn bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and social studies education.
RSU offers the first two years of each program, with Cameron supplying the final two years. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree can also earn an alternative teaching certification through Cameron at RSU.
“Working together on events like this allows us to offer students a well-rounded university experience that includes unique perspectives and insights into possible career opportunities they may never have considered before,” Michelle Owens, the collection development and outreach librarian, said.
Crawford, who has Cerebral Palsy, published her first book in 2010 titled I Sit in A Wheelchair…But I will be Ok. During her book talk, she wants the audience to know that anything you wish is possible. No disability nor setback can stand in your way when you put your mind to it.
The RSU Alumni Association has purchased a copy of each of her three books to be gifted to Claremont Elementary, RSU’s partner in education.
“Sometimes we have dreams that don’t always fit in a perfect box. Artistic people that come through RSU and find their passion as a result of that choice really inspires others in and around their community. We are lucky to have Brittany as an alumna who not only serves her community but is realizing her dream,” Travis Peck, director for alumni engagement, said.
The next book in the Tilly Green Book series is Percy and the Powerful Pandemic. Percy is Crawford’s first book to feature a boy character, and together, Percy and his cousin Tilly try to help children understand the reason behind the why’s and how’s of the current global pandemic. The book is set for release in June.
The Stratton Taylor Library provides informational resources and expertise that support the intellectual and cultural development of RSU students, faculty, staff and community members.
The library’s collection holds more than 77,000 books, more than 225 periodical subscriptions and thousands of DVDs, videos and CDs. It also has access to more than 40,000 electronic books and 66 electronic databases.
The public can view the book talk through Facebook live @rsulibraries. All book talks are recorded and later published with closed captioning on the RSU Libraries YouTube channel. Crawford’s Tilly Series is available for purchase on Amazon. For more information, visit www.rsu.edu/library.