Kathryn Otoshi Visits Sharyland ISD
On Thursday, April 14th, Sharyland ISD held a community author event. Harry Shimotsu Elementary Librarian Zulema Bewley introduced Kathryn Otoshi to community members, parents, teachers, librarians, and students. After studying architecture and graphic design, Kathryn landed an internship at George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic, the maker of Star Wars, and soon thereafter was hired there as the Graphic Design & Multimedia Art Director where she led a team of designers to create hundreds of promotional pieces. She then went on to work for Imagemovers Digital which is Robert Zemeckis’s award-winning film company and the makers of Polar Express. Today Ms. Otoshi is a full-time author, illustrator, and publisher of children’s books. Mrs. Bewley said, “I had the good fortune of “discovering” Ms. Otoshi at the Texas Library Association conference in Austin last year. I was so impressed by her picture book series dealing with character development that I just had to share them with everyone. And I mean everyone…the ladies who accompanied me to TLA got a dose of my enthusiasm late that night, later the librarians in our district all patiently listened to me as I read One to them. My principal, my assistant principal, our counselor, our speech therapist and even a special education staff member whose name I do not know have all sat down to listen to me read one of Ms. Otoshi’s books. And, of course, since then I have shared these books with our students, the most important members of our educational community.”
SISD Lead Librarian Nicole Cruz invited Otoshi to Skype with the librarians at their Back To School Workshop in August. She also arranged for all campuses to have a copy of the Zero, One, and Two books. Soon the district librarians were thinking of ways to bring Ms. Otoshi to Sharyland. A committee composed of Sharron Guzman, John H. Shary Librarian, Elizabeth Moreno, Ruben Hinojosa Librarian, and Zulema Bewley began the work. Several of the librarians wrote a grant and the Sharyland Education Foundation found it a worthy cause. That grant helped fund part of the visit.
Over the course of one week, Kathryn Otoshi visited six campuses and delivered 13 presentations. She spoke to more than 3,500 students and adults. The focus of her presentation included making good choices, self-esteem, relationships, career choices, and the art and mastery of writing. Comments from students and teachers echoed the words of Sharyland High School English teacher Estela Salinas, “The students were reminded of the simplicity and the complexity of life today and that was such a powerful message. Ms. Otoshi is a fabulous speaker and an exceptional writer.”