Rowdy Randy Makes the Rounds, Thanks to LSTA Funds

Dec 28, 2021

Four children standing in line in a library. Behind them is a woman in a cowboy hat holding up a copy of the book, Rowdy Randy. Beside them is a woman dressed as a horsefly with a cowboy hat, green wings, and her face painted gree.

Students at Rock River School with Casey Rislov and Rowdy Randy herself, played by Kylie Sullivan of Casper.

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.”

Woman in cowboy hat holding up book and reading it to group of children, pointing at something on the page. One little boy in front is up on his knees pointing toward the book.

Casey reading to kids at Chugwater School on November 30. It’s the smallest school she’s visited so far, with around 40 PreK-6 students. The librarian, Lori Bird, set the western scene and made sure the children left with a special snack. Casey had enough book donations for all K-6th graders to receive a book.

Woman in gymnasium in cowboy hat and chaps holding up a book and walking in front of elementary students seated on bleachers.

A visit to Laura Irwin Elementary on November 22. The librarian, Holly Hoffman, was excited and made it extra special for the students. Casey saw over 100 kids at this school.

Woman in Western garb holding up picture book in front of group of students seated on floor.

Reading to students at Tongue River Elementary in Ranchester. Librarian Amber Johnson was very proactive in making sure the students knew about Casey before she came and saw all PreK-6 students.

Woman in Western garb pointing at ceiling in front of large screen where page from picture book is displayed.

I saw Tracy Notgrass at Presenting at Rossman Elementary’s large, beautiful library in Cheyenne on November 30. Library Paraprofessional Tracy Notgrass made sure Casey left with a gift of small things for travel.

Woman in Western garb standing in front of poster with "Rowdy Randy" book cover image and text that reads: 'The Shoshoni Wranglers Welcome Author: Casey Rislov"

Casey getting a warm welcome at Shoshoni School.

Copy of "Rowdy Randy" book in foreground with library building in background.

Heading into Park County Library. Casey saw students from three K-2 schools here — a school group every 45 minutes!

Sheets of construction paper with children's signatures and thank you note cards spread out on table

Thank you notes the Wyoming State Library has received from schools for supporting Casey’s visits.

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