OKI Conference
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OKI Conference 2018:
#ReadLocal - Discovering Treasures in Your Own Backyard

Thomas More College
Crestview Hills, KY

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018   |   8 am - 4 pm

OKI Conference 2018:
#ReadLocal - Discovering Treasures in Your Own Backyard

Thomas More College
Crestview Hills, KY

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018   |   8 am - 4 pm


Registration is open! Create a SWON account and then return here to register for the event!



Adam Watkins

Adam Watkins

Author & Illustrator, Raybot and Weebot

Adam Watkins lives in southern Ohio with his wife, Amy and their two kids, Lucy and Fletcher. He graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2004, where he majored in Illustration, studying under C.F. Payne his junior and senior years. After graduation, he worked for an advertising agency in Cincinnati and is now a full-time freelancer. He loves children’s books and the outdoors. Adam is the author and illustrator of R is for Robot, Raybot, and Raybot and Weebot.



Author, Heather Henson

Heather Henson

Author, Lift Your Light a Little Higher

Born and raised in Danville, Kentucky, Heather grew up at the Pioneer Playhouse, Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre, founded by her father in 1950. Heather is the author of several award- winning books, including That Book Woman and Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop, Slave-Explorer. After living in New York City where she was an editor for Harper Collins Publishers, she returned home and now resides on a farm near Danville with her husband and three children.



April Pulley Sayre

April Pulley Sayre

Author & Illustrator, Thank You, Earth

April Pulley Sayre is a photo-illustrator, an award-winning author of over 60 books, and an expert in the fields of writing, science education, children’s literature, and wildlife. She has followed lemurs in Madagascar, pursued army ants in Panama, and eaten piranha in the Peruvian Amazon. She and her husband, Jeff Sayre, a native plants expert, love science and adventure, and when not leading tours to Panama’s rainforests, they can be found in their wildlife garden in South Bend, Indiana.


Speakers + Workshops

#Read Local: Discovering Treasures in Your Own Backyard

It's trendy to #eatlocal and #shoplocal so why not #readlocal, as well? Join librarians, educators and lovers of children's literature as we discover the talented authors and illustrators who live in our very own states (and maybe our own neighborhoods). Spend the day getting to know Adam Watkins from Ohio, Heather Henson from Kentucky, and April Pulley Sayre from Indiana.

  • 2018 Breakout sessions:

    • Coding without Computers Cassondra Vick and Emily Wages,   SWON Libraries
      Participants will learn fun, interactive ideas for teaching computational thinking to small children... and big ones.

    • Music and LimberjacksBarb and Russ Childers,   Bear Foot
      Participants with learn DIY methods of homemade music and storytelling to engage youth by using handcrafted limberjacks to reinforce Appalachian folk tales and backyard wisdom.

    • Picture Books You Need to Know Candace Clark, Susan Kandt & Cindy Yeager, Boone County Public Library
      We winnowed the field to the best and found titles with thoughtful text and evocative illustrations.

    • Programming on a Shoestring Budget Pamela Jayne,   Boone County Public Library
      Participants are encouraged to think outside the box as they learn about inexpensive programs for grades K-12 that costs $20 or less & can be executed at most libraries.

    • Supporting the E in STEM on a Budget Jessica Bowman,   Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County
      Participants will learn how to implement three affordable Engineering programs that are easily adaptable to a variety of environments and settings.

    • Telling a People's Story: African-American Children's Illustrated Literature Jason Shaiman,   Miami University Art Museum
      Participants will learn about this first-of-its-kind museum exhibition, featuring original art by African-American illustrators that looks at African-American cultural and historical identity through the lens of children's picture books

    • Using Authors as Co-Teachers Jennifer Maschari and Jenn Bishop,   Authors
      Join authors Jennifer Maschari and Jenn Bishop as they provide tips for educators on how to “partner” with authors: using books as mentor texts in writing, arranging virtual visits, and making use of extended materials on author websites.

    • The Wonder of It All: Addressing Anti-bullying Behavior with Story Kevin Cordi,   Ohio Northern University
      Participants will learn how to use the book, Wonder, to address issues of bullying behavior with literature, to generate discussions around the issue of bullying and to use drama and story to question issues and to teach non-violence.

    • Write Local
      Hear from local authors how their writers’ group helps them grow as writers — with technical advice, goal-setting, inspiration, support (when work isn’t going well and editors seem unreasonable!), and friendship. We are writers of fiction and non-fiction, at all stages of our careers. Featuring: Emma Bernay, Mary Kay Carson, Geri Kolesar, Brandon Marie Miller, Kerrie Hollihan, Andrea Pelleschi, Linda Leopold Strauss, and Kathy Wiechman.

    • And everyone’s favorite… Book Reviews!
      Participants will learn about outstanding new non-fiction, picture books and middle grade & young adult novels that they should read before the awards are announced.

  • Full agenda and conference schedule to come. Check back for more info!

2018 Registration

Registration is open!

Online registration is provided by SWON Libraries Consortium and will include a "Bill Me" option that will allow you to mail in a check or pay by purchase order.

If you have never used SWON Libraries' website before, you will need to create an account before you will be able to register for the event.

If you would still prefer to mail in your registration, you may do so. Note that Early Bird registration must be postmarked by the date listed in the chart below. Make checks payable to "SWON Libraries" To register by mail, please print out the registration form here and mail to:

OKI Registrations
c/o SWON Libraries
10250 Alliance Rd #112
Blue Ash, OH 45242

  • Pricing

    Conference fee includes: continental breakfast, lunch, and registration packet.

  • Early Bird
    before 10/13


  • Regular
    includes on-site


  • Students
    full-time with valid student ID


  • Register Now button will take you to the SWON Libraries website, where you may complete the registration process.

    Register Now!

    Or print & mail registration here

A $25.00 processing fee will be assessed on any refund. Refunds will be issued after conference date. No refunds will be granted after October 26, 2018.



The Conference takes place on the campus of Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY. On-site registration, booksales, continental breakfast, and the morning and afternoon keynote speaker sessions will be held in the Saints Center. All workshops will be held in the Library. Lunch will be served in Seiler Commons.

You may download and print a map here.

Thomas More College | 333 Thomas More Pkwy | Crestview Hills, KY 41017

(Click Image to enlarge)

Thomas More College
333 Thomas More Pkwy
Crestview Hills, KY 41017


Parking is available free of charge. There will be reserved parking available for conference attendees. Look for the OKI signs when you arrive on campus.


The conference hotel is Hyatt Place Cincinnati Airport/Florence, KY. If you prefer other accommodations, numerous hotels are available in the area. Please consult the "stay" tab of the Northern Kentucky Visitor Bureau website for a list of additional hotels.

Shuttle service is not provided.

Past Conferences + Archives

The first Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Children's Literature Conference was held over 20 years ago in 1996 & featured illustrator Will Hillenbrand (who designed OKI's signature mouse!) & children's poet and author J. Patrick Lewis. In 1997, OKI debuted its first theme: "Connecting the World with Books". Since then, it has continued to bring quality authors, illustrators & presenters to the tri-state area for the benefit of teachers, librarians, educators and others serving youth.

Take a peek into OKI's past conference themes, speakers and workshops at the OKI Archive. PDF versions of all past conference brochures are available.


Awards + Donations

OKI Charlotte Decker Award:

Established to honor the late Charlotte Decker, this award is designed to encourage others to enrich the lives of children as Charlotte did through a lifetime of work as librarian, Academic Challenge coach, and volunteer in professional organizations promoting the enjoyment of reading among young people. Nominees should be individuals whose extraordinary efforts have encouraged others to support youth literacy through time, service, and philanthropy.

Eligibility + Criteria

Librarians and classroom teachers serving the needs of youth are eligible for this award. To nominate a librarian or classroom teacher, use the online application.

Recipient Recognition

The recipient will be recognized at the OKI Children's Literature Conference and will receive free registration to the conference at which they are recognized.

Previous Recipients of the Charlotte Decker Award (Google Doc)


2018 Application Deadline: TBA


Tina Moore Memorials

Tina Moore, founder and co-owner of Blue Marble Books (along with her husband, Peter), passed away in 2016.

Tina was one of the tri-state’s most prominent children's literature experts, and friend of a great many children’s book authors and illustrators. She served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Children's Booksellers (ABC) and was a founding member of the trade organization. She was recognized for her contributions to area literacy with the Silver Gertie Award (1989), and she was named one of the Women of the Year in Northern Kentucky (1995).

The Moore family would be pleased if you would like to make a donation to the OKI Conference in Tina's honor.

To donate, please visit the Tina Moore Memorial donation page on the SWON Libraries website. You will be able to pay via check or credit card.




You can contact the OKI Committee by email at oki@swonlibraries.org.

If you have any questions about or problems with the registration process, please contact SWON Libraries Consortium at info@swonlibraries.org or call 513-751-4422.

Special Accommodations: Our goal is to make our programs accessible to everyone. Please request ADA services at least two weeks in advance of the conference by contacting Dr. Barbara L. Zahler at 859-344-3358.