The Wyoming State Library is using Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the Institute of Museum Library Services to bring Rowdy Randy, a western picture book about a troublemaking horsefly, to elementary students across the state.
Rowdy Randy is written by Casey Rislov and illustrated by Zak Pullen, both of Wyoming. LSTA funds are supporting 20 appearances by Casey at schools. Included in the project are 15 books to distribute at each school.
Casey leveraged these funds by finding local donors so that each school receives about 40 books in total. The local librarians decide the best way to use them in library collections and to give to individual students. Many are signed by Zak and/or Casey. She says her donors have been excited to support the project.
She’s been impressed with how much pride the students have in Wyoming. The kids know the state flower, know the difference between bison and buffalo. They like to get precise and technical. And snakes — everyone seems to have a story!
So far, Casey has visited seven schools, appearing in front of more than 1,300 children in grades PreK-6. At Rock River School, students got an appearance not just from Casey but from Rowdy Randy herself! Kylie Sullivan of Casper sported a green face, wings, and cowboy hat to play the troublesome insect. (Sometimes the kids think Casey is the bug, which amuses her.
“The schools are so very welcoming,” Casey said. Some set up Western decorations and signs to make her feel appreciated and talked to the students in advance about her and the book. “ My favorite thing is spending time with the kids — reading the story, answering questions, giving them background. The kids are really engaged, even the older ones.”