Actually, this is Part One of the Lampman Presentation. It’s the introduction from Korie Buerkle before Marie’s acceptance on my behalf. (You’ll have to skip back a few blog for that. Thank you, Korie!!!!
Lampman Presentation 2010 for Roland Smith
Few of us find our life’s calling very early in life, but this year’s Evelyn Sibley Lampman Award winner is one of those lucky few. At the age of 5 his parents gave him an Underwood typewriter, and as he clunked away on the keys, his life as a writer was born. His path took a few twists and turns, but all his adventures eventually led him back to writing.
While majoring in English at Portland State University our author took a part-time position at the Children’s Zoo, which led to a full-time position as an Animal Keeper at the Oregon Zoo, and then to curator of mammals and birds at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma. This love of animals led him to his role in the rescuing of sea otters after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 1990, writing of his experience, Sea Otter Rescue was published, and Roland Smith’s experience as a zoologist, his clear writing, and readability impressed reviewers and children alike.
In the 1990’s several nonfiction titles followed: Primates in the Zoo, Snakes in the Zoo, Inside the Zoo Nursery, Cats in the Zoo, Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises in the Zoo, and African Elephants.
One of Roland Smith’s most popular nonfiction titles came out of his work experience reintroducing the near extinct red wolf back into North Carolina. Published in 1996, Journey of the Red Wolf won the Walt Morey Oregon Book Award, and was named a Notable Science Trade Book for Children by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council.
The 1990’s also saw Smith break into the world of young adult fiction with Thunder Cave, Jaguar and The Last Lobo which followed Jacob Lansa as he navigated Kenya, the Amazon, and the Hopi tribal homeland in Arizona on wild adventures to save animals with his research biologist father.
The 1998 release of Sasquatch marked Smith’s first foray into writing about cryptids (PAUSE FOR BOOKTALK). Sasquatch made ALA’s Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List, as well as five reader’s choice lists across the nation. If Roland Smith’s place as an action-adventure young adult author wasn’t cemented before, Sasquatch sealed the deal.
The historical fiction story The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe continued to propel Smith as a top favorite in reader’s choice lists across the country. Smith’s knowledge of animals added a level of realism to his stories that his fans sought out.
In 2001 Smith delved into the world of the witness protection program with Zach’s Lie (PAUSE FOR BOOKTALK). Jack’s Run followed as a sequel in 2005 as Smith continued to build fans around the country and his books became a staple on reader’s choice lists around the nation.
2003 marked another first for Roland Smith. He joined his wife Marie in writing picture books such as B is for Beaver, E is for Evergreen, N is for Our Nation’s Capital and Z is for Zookeeper. These picture books and others give readers an alphabetical adventure with information in small and big bites.
In 2005’s Cryptid Hunters Smith revisited the subject of cryptids, much to the enjoyment of his fans (PAUSE FOR BOOKTALK).
Once again drawing on past experiences with animals and traveling, Smith went back to historical fiction with Elephant Run (PAUSE FOR BOOKTALK).
Roland Smith’s novel, Peak, hit a new adventure high with readers and critics in 2007. Peak made the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Best Books for Young Adults lists, won the National Outdoor Book Award, was a Booklist’s Editor’s Choice pick, and made over 20 reader’s choice lists across the nation.
In 2008 Smith began a new series, and I, Q Book One: Independence Hall won the Oregon Book Award’s Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature. I, Q also won the 2009 National Parenting Publications Award, and thrilled readers with the break-neck adventure of spies, secret missions and hidden identities.
Tentacles, Smith’s most recent novel, returns readers to the world of cryptids (PAUSE FOR BOOKTALK).
Roland Smith’s stories have drawn many readers, reluctant and otherwise, over the years. His fast-paced adventures swiftly engage middle readers and keep them reading. His stories such as Sasquatch and The Captain’s Dog, with an Oregon connection, entreat young Oregonians to see the world around them with new eyes.
Interacting with children and teens is an obvious priority with Roland Smith. His keen interest in what the kids have to say is evident to the youth, and empowering to them in their writing and reading. His friendly interactions with youth show his respect for his audience, as do his works of fiction, picture books and informational titles. Roland Smith is a talented Oregonian who has kindled a love of reading in many young Oregonians and inspires young writers to continue working toward their dreams.
We are pleased to announce Roland Smith as the 2010 recipient of the Evelyn Sibley Lampman award. Accepting the award for Roland Smith today is his wife, Marie. She is the co-author of their picture books and the woman he credits as the author of his success. Please join me in welcoming Marie Smith.
This is Alexandra Noll, from Nekoosa Middle school, here to blog about a chat I had with Roland Smith Thursday night!!!!
First of all, I’m a writer- not a very good one quite yet, but I’m working hard to improve, so when I heard that a FAMOUS author was visiting my obscure middle school, in the middle of Nekoosa, Wisconsin I was more than overjoyed. Then, my teacher,Mr.P***s whose always believed in my ability to become an author, suggested a chat with MR.ROLAND SMITH. Startled at the news, my heart started performing the strangest acrobats, tapping my rib-cage reassuringly as if to say,”You can pass out now.” I waited throughout the whole day for news, hoping for this one-in-a lifetime-chance, but was disapointed to hear he was too busy (which I understand) to speak with me. I sighed, trudging despondantly back to the second-to-last class of the day. Unfortunately, I’m extremely stubborn when i want to be, and the hope that I believed dead refused to be supressed. It kept creeping up on me, and was a distracting, impatient thing. So I decided I was going to talk to him, regardless of what I had to do to get there. Clutching my manuscript, I intrupted my tech-ed teacher during a lecture in the last class of the day, and flashed the papers at him like they were some kind of official document. “Mr.P***s wanted me to give something to the author,” I said confidently. My teacher nodded and replied that I could go anytime I needed to. Wow. That was easy. Wary of teachers prowling in the hallways who could demand a pass from me, and who might think I was some sort of freaky-stalker-kid for skipping class to run after a celebrity, I slunk casually into teh gymnasium. Roland Smith was at the head of the room, and now told the younger children that “This is my computer,” he patted his head, and they mimicked him,” and this is my keyboard.” He held up a pen. I awkwardly knelt on a mat by the wall, eyeing the clock as if it was about to burst into flames. A woman approached me, and asked what I was doing. I sheepishly muttered that I wanted to talk to the author, and expected that she’d send me away, but instead she bit her lip and told me to stay where I was. I waited. My hope transformed into anticipation, spread its newly acquired wings and prepared to fly. When the little kids got in line for autographs, I snuck into the back, so obviously taller than the other kids,and shyly when my turn cam and everyone else had left, asked Mr.Roland Smith if I could speak with him. He grinned, suddenly remembering something, and said,”So you’re that 8th grader I’ve been hearing so much about.” I wasn’t suprised, knowing Mr.P***s had spoken with him earlier, but I was very flattered. Oh My GOSH! I realized randomly. I’m actually here! I handed over the manuscript, to which he replied that he couldn’t read my work with it unfinished and open to the world, it would make him too nervous. I nervously stuttered,”Well, its not very good…” but he glanced up at me in a strange, almost startled way. “I feel the same way when some one’s reading my work. It just never feels good enough, and I’m always really nervous to hear their opinion.” He then asked what the title was, but I admitted I didn’t have one and attempted to excuse myself for it, but oddly enough, his grew even more approving and more suprised as he said. “That means your a writer!! Lots of people say they’d write a book if only they had a title, but that’s completely backwards. How can you title a book , give it an identity, when you have no clue what its about?” From there on, everything got better. We discussed several problems writers have, and how to fix them. It felt amazing to talk with someone else about these things, when no one else in the entirety of the universe had been able to do that with me before. Who knew that those scattered ideas I held to myself, the petty troubles I so abhored, were the same cherished thoughts and hated conflicts experiences by a FAMOUS author? Every comment one of us made during that conversation, the other would want to leap up and yelp- “Oh my gosh,I know!” He gave me valuable advice as we joked about concepts that aren’t funny to any one whose never held a pen and praised it for its capablilties. It was amazing, and this encounter will, I gaurentee, fuel excitment for my hobby, and love for the work involved for a long, long time.