Ann Fender wrote Osky Pride, an ABC book, to help kids learn why they should be proud to call Oskaloosa, Iowa, their home. Below, Ann goes deeper into her love for her community and her motivations for writing the book. Osky Pride can be purchased at the Write Place online bookstore.
In your opinion, why is it important for kids to learn about their community?
It is important for the kids to learn about their community so they can develop a sense of “belonging to a group” as well as a great feeling of pride. Kids can explore, learn life lessons, and gain a sense of their own history as they learn about their town.
How can parents help their kids learn about and take pride in Osky?
By getting involved in our town. There is much to learn from our past history but much more to be gained by being involved in our future. A town is not just a place to live, it is a place where we can support each other and share beliefs that we pass on to future generations. In a community, we rally for each other and work as a team.
For those not from Oskaloosa, what makes your community unique?
Oskaloosa is unique in its incredible history. Music is especially strong here. We have great businesses, even nationally recognized ones! We should know and recognize this, and if we don’t learn about our past, how would we know that and develop pride?
About how long did it take you to create this book?
I have wanted to write children’s books for 10 years. One of my brothers has published two poetry books and once told me he wanted to do that as a legacy for his grandchildren. Now that I have a grandson, I decided to get serious about it.
I started by working on a book about “hands.” Then Linda Fox and I were chatting one day at the elementary school. We wondered if kids really KNEW what Osky Pride was, though they say it every day. Since I love taking photographs, it was easy to put together things in Oskaloosa that we all should be proud of. It took some consideration to decide on a format, and ABC order seemed to work the best. I am sorry about the businesses and things that got left out from this alphabet book. My son suggested I had a page for “the ones that didn’t make it.” Maybe a Version II is in order…??
As far as how long it took to complete, I have worked on it off and on since I retired, but not seriously until last spring. I lost my first notebook with the ideas for photo subjects, so had to re-create it all. A couple of friends offered help with the ideas, and I am thankful to them. It took some running around and researching the places, but along the way I learned some interesting facts, not all of which are in the book.
What was the most difficult letter for you to find a subject for?
None of the letters were really hard, it was more difficult to narrow the photos down to one. Now, a second version might be difficult for the X!
What was most fun part of creating this book?
The most fun now is delivering the books to the first graders in town. They get so excited! Linda Fox and I delivered them to the Oskaloosa Elementary School students. I took them to the Oskaloosa Christian School students. When they see their teachers’ pictures in the book, they can’t contain their excitement!
That has been the most fun for me. It is exciting that people are interested in the book. I am already on my second printing. Yay!