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Children’s author inspires local pre-schoolers

By Staff | May 8, 2012

Author Zachariah Ohora visited the Muncy Public Library recently. His book, Stop Snoring Bernard, was chosen as this year's PA One Book. Preschoolers listened to his story that he also illustrated. Each child also received a free copy of the book to take home.

MUNCY – Zachariah OHora, author and illustrator of “Stop Snoring, Bernard!” visited the Muncy Library on Monday, April 30, as part of his statewide tour to promote early childhood literacy. OHora’s story about a snoring sea otter was chosen as the 2012 One Book, Every Young Child book selection. This is his first book according to library director, Victoria Thompson Hess.

Home based in Philadelphia, but originally from New Hampshire, the author has been on tour since March 27 as part of Early Childhood Literacy, a state program (Pennsylvania One Book Every Young Child) to help promote reading literacy for early readers and its importance to families and the young child.

OHora met and read his story, ‘Stop Snoring Bernard’ to Pitter Patter Pre-Schoolers on Monday afternoon at the Muncy Library. “The goal of this yearly program is to build young children’s home libraries by giving every preschooler a copy of their own book,” said Thompson-Hess. The books are compliments of Local Education and Resource Networks. They are also partially funded through Verizon Foundation.

Published in 2011, the reviews state that this engaging book follows the loveable sea otter Bernard as he tries to find a place in the zoo where his loud snoring won’t disturb the other animals. Stop Snoring, Bernard! encourages young readers to appreciate what makes everyone unique and different.

Stop Snoring, Bernard! is the recipient of the 2011 Society of Illustrator’s Founders Award. OHora wanted to write a book about otters after he learned how they paddle together in pairs while sleeping in the water holding hands so they wouldn’t float alone out to sea. After he first illustrated an otter, it soon turned into the beloved character, Bernard, based upon his wife’s suggestion that it would make a cute children’s story. He said he originally drew the character as a gift for his wife never knowing it would be enjoyed by thousands of young children across the state.

O Horal said he always wanted to write children’s books, even when he himself was a kid. “I love books,” he said. After the program, he signed copies of his book for the children.

The One Book, Every Young Child initiative and program ideas have been developed by librarians and museum educators from across Pennsylvania to promote the value and benefits of reading early. Preschoolers are a perfect audience and the books are used to encourage family bonding through reading. “Libraries have been giving every pre-schooler a copy of their own book, thus promoting Early Childhood Literacy since the program began in 2008,” Thompson-Hess said.