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University Relations

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Dec. 13, 2005
Contact: Lisa Eitner, Oread Books, (785) 864-4431.

Graduate to read, sign children's book; Jayhawk basketball plays central role

LAWRENCE -- University of Kansas graduate and Tonganoxie resident L. D. Harkrader will present a reading from her new children's book Airball: My Life in Briefs, followed by a discussion and book signing, at Oread Books next week on the Lawrence campus.

The novel, published by Roaring Brook Press, is written for children in fourth through seventh grade and is filled with the local color of small-town Kansas and KU basketball tradition.

The free public event is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 22 in the bookstore on level two in the Kansas Union. The KU men's basketball team will play Northern Colorado at 7 that night in Allen Fieldhouse.

In Airball: My Life in Briefs, the central character, Kirby Nickel, loves basketball but can't play the sport. Then the beleaguered coach in tiny Stuckey, Kan., announces that KU will be retiring the jersey of NBA star and hometown hero Brett "McNet" McGrew and that the seventh-grade team will participate at Allen Fieldhouse. Kirby knows he must try out, but the coach has a plan for Kirby and the supremely untalented team.

Harkrader, a rabid Jayhawk basketball fan, earned a bachelor's in fine art from KU in 1988 -- a very good year for basketball at KU. Harkrader has written eight nonfiction books for children and has ghostwritten three books in the popular Animorphs series. She has published more than 200 stories in magazines such as Cricket, Spider, Ladybug and Guideposts for Kids, and in many anthologies, including Meadowbrook's Newfangled Fairy Tales. She received the Magazine Merit Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) four times, for fiction and poetry, and was a finalist for the EdPress Distinguished Achievement Award in Fiction. Harkrader is a substitute teacher in Tonganoxie where she lives with her husband and two children.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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