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Ironwood native publishes children's book


Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

DIANA OMAN, right, and Colleen O'Hara, left, speak to a group of children during a Young Authors and Illustrators session held at the Ironwood Carnegie Library on Tuesday. Oman and O'Hara, author and illustrator of a recently published children's book, were talking to children about creative writing.


Ironwood - Inspiration can com from anywhere at anytime.

For Diana Oman, an Ironwood native who currently works as a holistic practitioner in Marquette, Mich., inspiration kept her awake at night. Or was it inspiration that put her to sleep?

"It started by simply doing the alphabet in my head and saying a good-feeling word with each letter to help me fall asleep," Oman said. "And it worked. It really helped me to fall asleep. And then I found myself waking up doing it."

What started as a good-feeling "sleep-aid" eventually grew into phrases and sentences for her first book, "My Heart Smiles."

Oman and Colleen O'Hara, the illustrator for the book, read their book to a group of kids as part of the Ironwood Carnegie Library's Summer Reading program on Tuesday. The artists also spoke to kids for a Young Authors and Illustrators session and explained the creative process to the group.

"You can say it's for children, but it's really for the kid in all of us," O'Hara said, who moved up to Marquette from Traverse City when Oman asked her to illustrate for the book.

"It wasn't something that could be done long distance, it had to be hands-on," she said, speaking from experience she gained when she authored and illustrated her first children's book "The Butterfly Woman."

O'Hara said she and Oman have been invited into a number of classrooms to discuss the book because it helps having a dialogue about feelings with students.

"Most kids learn the alphabet as a noun," O'Hara said. "'A' is for apple; 'B' is for baboons – instead of a feeling. So what's happening is they're very excited about using this for feelings."

The two used Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding website, to raise $16,000 in 30 days to help fund the project.

"I didn't set out to write a book," Oman said. "I was only doing something that made me feel good, and then it just naturally led to this. And that's the fun part because it makes my heart smile and now other people have smiling hearts too."


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