NITTANY LION BOOK SERIES
Author: Denise L. (O'Bremski) Kaminsky is a retired teacher who currently resides in Mountain Top and is a Nanticoke native, having been an elementary-education reading specialist. She earned her degree in elementary and kindergarten education from Penn State University in 1973, a school where she met her husband John. Her daughter Jessie also graduated from Penn State.
Publisher: Mascot Books
Available at: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, MascotBooks.com for $14.99 each.
Suitable for: Young readers, Penn State fans.
Characters: The Nittany Lion and his friends.
TIMES LEADER: Has teaching influenced the Nittany Lion books at all?
DENISE KAMINSKY: The idea for the first one, Nittany Lion has the Hiccups, actually came from a trick I learned that helped me in the classroom. Nittany Lion goes hiking on Mount Nittany one morning, gets the hiccups, and all his animal friends try to cure him, but nothing seems to work until he meets up with Grandma Bear. A friend gave me the hiccup cure. In an elementary classroom when a child gets the hiccups, everybody pays attention to that kid, not the teacher or the lesson, so when I found a cure that worked 99 percent of the time I was thrilled and had to share it. Now the Nittany Lion is helping everybody, not just the football team.
TL: Your newest Nittany Lion book comes out Tuesday, Nittany Lion Gets a Big Surprise, which was illustrated by your daughter Jessie. Can you let us in on the secret?
DK: Nittany Lion is told to go to Beaver Stadium at 6 p.m. one Friday, so that morning he wakes up and does his push-ups – just like after a touchdown – and gets himself ready to go. He's early so he heads to the creamery, but no one is around, which he thinks is strange. Then he gets called into the Bryce Jordan Center to help the band, because there's a football stuck in a tuba. Eventually he makes it to Beaver Stadium, where 10,000 of his friends are, and they all yell Surprise, Nittany Lion, Happy Birthday! Of course, the evening is topped off with a big cake, fireworks and many good wishes.
TL: Do you have more Nittany Lion books in the works?
DK: Nittany is getting ready to tell the legend of Princess Nittany.
TL: Many shadows have been cast over Penn State lately, but these books help to bring a sense of positivity to the school. As an alumna, what do you feel Penn State University is all about?
DK: Penn State will always mean an opportunity to learn and grow, to me. It gave me the education to be the teacher I wanted to be. It gave me the opportunity to meet great people, like my husband of 40 years, and the opportunity for socializing at various events and sporting venues.
What: Storytime with Denise Kaminsky
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Barnes & Noble College Bookstore, 7 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre.