Author Spotlight | month 2022 | Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation | Goodnight Bartlesville


Author Spotlight:
Goodnight Bartlesville by Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation

May’s Author Spotlight, featuring a book we printed called “Goodnight Bartlesville” from Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation! Below features an interview with Executive Director of Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation, Blair Ellis.

PUBLISHED – MAY 2nd, 2022

Featured book: “Goodnight Bartlesville” by Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation

What is “Goodnight Bartlesville” about?

It is a fundraiser for the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation, which raises private donations for our public schools here in Bartlesville. There are 6,000 kids and 700 staff in our district.

The idea behind the book is to take readers on a tour of Bartlesville, and all the great things there are to see and do in our community. It really highlights which areas are the most special to our residents.

This book is not only to help our students develop a love of reading, being able to read about things they see every day around their town, but also to develop a sense of community pride for our readers.

Where did you get the inspiration for a book fundraiser?

There was another school foundation in Norman Oklahoma that had the same format. We took that idea and added some additional ideas to make it more unique for us. They were very kind and helpful to walk us through their process, we learned from their mistakes, and changed some things that fit us a bit better. It turned into a successful project, something that we didn’t anticipate at all.

The profits from the fundraiser go to the public school foundations, and our foundations serve all the students and teachers in the district. We have a lot of different programs; our primary programs are grants for teachers. Any teacher Pre-K through 12 can apply to our public school foundation for a grant to receive supplies for their classrooms, attend professional development conferences, or bring in experts from all over the country into our school system to visit their students. Our programs impact all the students across the school district.

Who were the illustrators of the book?

We had a total of 12 illustrators, 4 of them being high school Advanced Placement students and the remaining being Bartlesville Public School art teachers. That really allowed our students, while reading this book, to connect with the illustrations because not only are they featuring landmarks around our community but those landmarks are interpreted by art teachers who teach them every day.

We determined which landmarks we wanted to feature. I came up with the poem, and I had a lot of help from the community members, tweaking the language and how to best feature all these places. Once we had the poem established which places we wanted to highlight, we solicited the help of all the art teachers throughout the entire district. Unfortunately, a couple couldn’t participate and we were short on illustrators to create some of the pages of the book, that’s when our high school art teacher approached a couple of her APR art students and knew they would be great with this project. For the art students, it became a project that they would do during their class time.

We struggled with how much direction to give our artists. We provided the paper, so everyone would be using all high-quality paper and then we gave them a stipend to purchase some art supplies. We initially debated whether we should give them all their art supplies, so they’re using all the same medium, but we decided they all are used to working with their own styles and we didn’t want to hinder that too much. I had a great designer for this book who volunteered his services. He does a lot of volunteer work for our schools and our foundation, so he deserves the credit for the design coming together and looking cohesive. He was the one who really selected where to put the words (on the page), what font to use, and how to make it all come together into one piece.

We published this book for the holiday season, but we just held an author and illustrator meet and greet. People who got a copy of the book already or just bought one could visit the Price Tower, which is featured in our book. The art show was held at the Price Tower, where the illustrators’ signed copies of the book. One of our senior students was able to come back and participate in the book signing. It was a really great experience for her just to be able to sign students’ books.

What part of the writing and illustration process did you find the most enjoyable with this book?

I’m more of a technical person and task oriented, so I wanted to get it done. What got me the most excited during the whole process was everybody else’s feedback. When people first read through the poem, I would get responses of: “Oh this is going to be great!”. Then when I first started seeing the artwork, I thought: “Oh wow, this is going to be amazing!”. But I was guarded through most of the process because we have never published a book before.

Thank goodness I had our designer Michael Wray and Editorial Advisor Joe Williams who directed us to your company to publish it. Joe published a lot of books and gave us a lot of advice which we appreciated. Having that gave me the confidence to move through this project. I was really concerned that I would be sitting with piles and piles of books in my office because we ordered 500 to start and we sold out of those in three days.

In conclusion, I would say the most exciting part was the community’s response to the book. Having sold the books back in November / December and then having the illustrator meet and greet event a few weeks ago, the energy and enthusiasm around the book were amazing. All the artists loved being a part of it, it really was a group effort and how received it was in the community.

As soon as the residents started getting the books in their hands and word spread that it was a really great book, we sold copies across the country. We have an alumni association, that the foundation also runs, which we promoted the book through. It’s been exciting to see the book take off.


How did MyBookPrinter help your vision become a reality?

Your company was amazing to work with. I had no idea what I was doing and thankfully Joe Williams and Michael Wray knew the formats we needed for printing. With their help and MyBookPrinter’s guidance, it was a very easy process for me.

In terms of the publishing process, it was a quick turnaround, the proof was great, and it was all just a wonderful experience. We will definitely use your services again. There’s a demand for a hardcover copy of this book; because there is so much interest. Over the summer we plan on adding a few new pages to the book. You all have been so great to work with and we appreciate that.

Where can you learn more about Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation?

Where can you buy “Goodnight Bartlesville”?