Magic Trick: Art, Reality, and Books To Treasure

Meet Zachariah OHora on January 22 for “Books To Treasure”

Every second grader in Tulsa and Tulsa County can receive a Books to Treasure library card.

Something magical happens when you page through a picture book. Sure, the visual images make a story come to life – that’s pretty magical. And yes, sharing picture books with your child can create beautiful moments of joy and wonder, a magic trick you will want to share again and again.

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No, the actual inexplicable, mind-bending magic recently revealed by cognitive science is that what your eyes see, your brain believes is reality.

The elephant on the picture book page lifting its massive trunk? Your elemental brain totally thinks the elephant is flesh and blood in front of you.

Same with illustrations of a desert landscape, laughing babies, or a redheaded girl yelling at a huge bear in a green shirt. Your eyes see and your brain registers: desert, babies, girl and bear. Sophisticated brain scans and scientific studies prove this odd evolutionary trick: The same regions of the brain that light up when you see an actual object in real life also light up in exactly the same way as when you see an artistic representation of that object.

In other words, art is magic!

When the Tulsa City-County Library partnered with the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation nearly 20 years ago to develop the Books To Treasure program, the scientific connections between reality and art in the brain wasn’t the driving force. But the idea that “art is magic” definitely was!

Because one other magical thing happens when children are surrounded by books with beautiful illustrations and supporting text — they become better and more fluent readers.

Every year, as part of Books To Treasure, an outstanding children’s book illustrator is invited to speak in Tulsa, a free copy of his or her book is given to every second grader in Tulsa and Tulsa County, and all second graders are given the opportunity to apply for a special library card with artwork from that illustrator.

For 2020, Zachariah OHora is our illustrious illustrator, his delightful moral tale “Horrible Bear!” is what every second grader will receive, and the library card shows the final scene of reconciliation between redheaded girl and bear.

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2020 Books to Treasure illustrator Zachariah OHora

Five Things To Know About Books To Treasure This Year

1. The program says 2020, but everything won’t take place until 2021.

Because of the pandemic, the library has had to delay a few things related to Books To Treasure, including book delivery to schools and the final public presentation by Zachariah OHora.

2. See Zachariah OHora on January 22!

Zachariah OHora will “visit” Tulsa virtually for a live presentation on the library’s YouTube channel. Check out on Friday, January 22 at 7 p.m. to see Zachariah talk about his inspirations and share his artwork – both recent and his childhood creations!

3. All second graders in Tulsa and Tulsa County can get a special library card online.

If you have a second grader, you can apply for a special Books To Treasure library card online at and it will be mailed to you. You can also go to any of the 24 library locations to apply for a Books To Treasure library card for your second grader.

4. Books! Books! Books!

Copies of “Horrible Bear!” are being delivered to schools this month to distribute to second graders, but if your child is in homeschool, virtual school, or somehow missed the school delivery, parents can also pick up books at any of our 24 library locations.

5. You can find a ton of extra resources for learning!

Teachers and parents who have become homeschool teachers may be interested in the many wonderful lesson plans related to Zachariah Hora’s books at You’ll also find lesson plans for each of our past Books To Treasure honored illustrators going back to 2003!

Books To Treasure 2020 Featuring Zachariah OHora

All second-graders in Tulsa County will receive a copy of Horrible Bear! (illustrated by Zachariah OHora, written by Ame Dyckman) and will have the opportunity to get their own special library card featuring artwork from Horrible Bear!

Public Presentation: Friday, January 22, 7 p.m.

Live on YouTube:

Find out more here:

Jan 2021 Books Pin

Categories: Books and Literacy