Writing superstars visit "Summer @ Your Library" for reading programs

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / June 7, 2015) – Writing can be hard work. Sometimes words flow right through the writer's pen, but other times, finding something to write or finding the right words can be painful.

The Stillwater Public Library champions its local writers, and this week, it will encourage a new generation of writers by hosting several guests who will inspire children and teens to start telling their own stories.

Monty HarperOn Tuesday, July 14, at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., singer and songwriter Monty Harper takes the stage for “Hanging out with Heroes at the Library!”

“My superpower is songwriting,” said Harper. “I’ll be showing off that skill as I sing, while kids sing and clap along, provide sound effects and guess the heroes from their favorite children's books.”

Harper began dabbling in songwriting just for fun around 1989, the same year he entered the Master’s program in mathematics at Oklahoma State University. He found he had a knack for entertaining neighborhood kids with his songs, and by the time he completed his degree in 1992, he was fielding a slew of requests for appearances at schools and libraries. Since then, he has released eight titles on CD.

(Photo: Monty Harper)

"Writing gives children many skills," said Elizabeth Murray, children's librarian. "Writing helps kids read, stimulate their imagination and clarify their thinking process. Seeing a working writer like Monty is both entertaining and inspirational."

On Wednesday, July 15, at 2:30 p.m., teens will get to meet two writers.

This week’s program is about writing in various forms,” said Emily States, teen librarian. “Whether you’re into hip hop, poetry or graphic novels, we’re trying to give some insight into the creative process.”

g neriFirst up will be author G. Neri with whom teens will interact through a live Skype chat. Neri is the Coretta Scott King honor-winning author of “Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty” and the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his free-verse novella, “Chess Rumble.” His other novels include “Knockout Games,” “Surf Mules” and the Horace Mann Upstanders Award-winning, “Ghetto Cowboy.”

Neri will discuss what inspires him to write and how he comes up with his ideas for stories.

(Photo: G.Neri)

“Ideas are like driving at night across Alligator Alley in Florida,” said Neri, a Florida resident. “A lot of bugs will hit your windshield, but every once in a while a real whopper will smash into you and you have to stop because you can’t see clearly anymore. A great idea will literally make you stop in your tracks.”

Neri will also share his journey to becoming an author and answers questions from teens who want to get serious about writing.

“At the end of the day, writers write. Period,” said Neri “You’re either going to find the time and the means to do it, or you’re not. I always say that if you can live your life without writing, do it. If you can’t and you write, even if you’re told you’ll never be published, then you’re a writer.  It doesn't matter how good you are.”

gregory jeromeFollowing Neri's Skype chat, Gregory Jerome, a hip-hop musician and poet, will lead teens through a writing workshop and perform some of his own music.

Jerome has travelled across the United States teaching students his unique brand of creative writing through Hip Hop and has been named to the Oklahoma Arts Council's roster of performing artists. He has opened for major artists such as Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and John Legend.

(Photo: Gregory Jerome)

The writing program is for students in 6-12 grades.

On Thursday, July 16, “Summer Cinema” features a Disney animated classic about a young girl who disguises herself as a male soldier and bravely takes her father's place in the Imperial Army. The film shows at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Major “Summer @ Your Library” sponsors include Friends of the Stillwater Public Library, Stillwater Public Library Trust, Chris’ University Spirit, KOSU, OK Quality Printing, Inc., U.S. Institute of

Museum & Library Services, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Arvest, Cockrell Eye Care Center, Monty Harper, Sonic, Sylvan Learning Center, Young Professionals of Stillwater and Wal-Mart. Please visit the library website for a full list of sponsors.

For more information about upcoming summer programs, contact the Stillwater Public Library by phone at (405) 372-3633 or by e-mail at askalibrarian@stillwater.org, or visit the web site at http://library.stillwater.org.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.).