The amazing Kennedy Murray, 8, from Cave Junction is the youngest author to have a book published in the Josephine County Community Library system. She read her short story, “The Beach Day,” that includes her own watercolor art at the Illinois Valley Library’s storytime Saturday, Feb. 4.
Her mom Ida Teasdale and stepdad Ben Filip were all smiles in the audience when the young Murray read her story about a beach adventure and showed the audience each colorful page, just like a pro.
I.V. Library branch service manager Roberta Lee showed off the bookcase where the new storybook was placed along with other books from Valley authors.
Also listening to the creative story was her brother Hank, 9; sister Hannah, 6; and her baby sister Cora, 5 months.
Murray is in second grade at Evergreen Elementary School in Miss Westbrooke’s classroom. “In general, I just love school,” said Murray. Her favorite subject is art and she likes to draw her own pictures to color. “I only go to coloring books when I want to color flowers and then make them look like I want.”
When Murray was asked where she got the idea for her story, she gave her best friend Corvis, 7, all the kudos. She met Corvis in first grade at Evergreen and he sat right next to her as she read her story Saturday, on the couch in the children’s section of the library.
“When I was in first grade I didn’t like writing, but now I like to write stories. I like to write about things I want to, instead of writing because I have to,” explained Murray.
Teasdale gave credit to Murray’s tutor Kim Hopewell who has been working with her for two years. The tutoring started because Murray needed a reintroduction to in-school learning due to being homeschooled during shutdowns because of the pandemic. Hopewell also tutors Murray’s sister Hannah who is in first grade.
“It’s hard to learn to read over the computer,” said Filip, adding that it was helpful to have Hopewell get them back on track with their school work after being home because of COVID.
Hopewell, lives in Grants Pass but tutors many children in the Valley and also works with Arts and Science Kids in Cave Junction. “We are so lucky to have her,” said Teasdale. “She helps with academics, phonetics and balances them with art.”
Hopewell explained that she tutors the girls every week or every other week for an hour and has them read a sight word list, then practice phonetics, reading, writing and art.
“Kennedy has been working on her book since last summer,” said Hopewell, adding that each page in the book was an individual painting and the actual painting size.
Hopewell said that the art was done with “Derwent inktense pencils” on watercolor paper. She also noted that Bigfoot Printing copied the book for them.
Lee was happy to report that each Saturday at the I.V. Library, volunteer Deborah Clipp was available for storytime and crafts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “There is usually a theme and it is nice that Deborah is here the whole time so that families can pop in when they can; nap time is usually different for each family.”
Lee also mentioned that the I.V. Library could use more volunteers because of the COVID-19 pandemic they had lost many of their helpers.”We could use about 10 more volunteers.” Lee described that volunteering at the library is nice because you can pick activities that suit you best. “You can interact with customers or you can quietly shelve books; whatever you enjoy.”
Teasdale was proud to announce that her son Hank will start volunteering at the library. Lee said he will learn to shelve and check-out books.
Also in attendance at the library was Carla Gillard that works half days most Saturdays. She said her favorite part of volunteering at the library was seeing books that she wants to read. “Plus, I like meeting people that like books.”
Lee said Gillard does just about every job at the library and that “We have a lot of good conversations about books and movies when we are here.”
If you would like to volunteer at the library you can call Lee at 541-592-4778 or https://josephinelibrary.org/branches/illinois-valley for more information. The library is located at 209 W Palmer St. Cave Junction and the hours are Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Thursdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed Sundays – Tuesdays).