Alumni and Friends

Alumna Bobbi Kasproski fulfills lifelong dream to author children’s book

For some, retirement is a chance to slow down and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. For OHIO alumna Bobbi Kasproski, it was an opportunity to fulfill a long-held dream of becoming a children’s book author, inspiring curiosity about the world to future generations.

Over the span of over 40 years, Kasproski was a dedicated educator in Middleton and Hartford, Connecticut and a librarian for two school systems in Florida. She retired in 2013 and concentrated on volunteer work in her church, a local food pantry, the Bushnell Performing Arts Center and assisting seniors with tax preparations. But there was one thing she always put on the backburner.

Kasproski used her education background and her love of Paris, where she has visited seven times, to author a children’s book titled “Lilly Goes to Paris.”

The story, for ages 3-8, is a humorous tale about a dachshund named Lilly that stows away in her owner’s luggage and goes to Paris having adventures and making new friends in the process. The story not only provides entertainment but also incorporates a few words in French and famous sites throughout Paris that promote global development at a young age.

“I hope children enjoy the humor in this book.  If they love and/or have a dog, especially a dachshund, they can relate to the antics that many dogs display.  Maybe this story will even inspire them to travel when they get older and learn about the culture of another country,” she said.

Part of Kasproski’s inspiration came from a lifetime working with children.

“After working with young children for over 30 years, and even working with them when I was a teenager, I loved their enthusiasm for life.  I love the silly humor they see in absurd things. And, in my capacity as an educator, I saw how most young children love books and can’t wait to be able to read books themselves,” she said. “I just wanted to have a part in giving them the joy of reading, outside of teaching in a classroom.”

Being published by any publishing company is always a challenge for aspiring authors but that did not stop Kasproski from achieving her goal.

She explained, “I ended up self-publishing this book.  I had written to about 30 publishing companies to try and get my book accepted.  But, since I am not a known person, I was rejected even though I kept getting responses like ‘We like the story, but we have to be choosy’ or, ‘Good luck.’”

The cover of the book "Lilly Goes to Paris"

Q & A with Bobbi Kasproski

Q: What was your major/degree, and any minors or certificates. And what clubs/activities were you involved in?
A: My major at OHIO where I received a Bachelor of Science was in elementary education with a minor in math (a subject that I have always loved), graduating with honors.  I went on to receive my master’s in library science at Southern Connecticut State University.

Q: What are your favorite OHIO memories?
A: Coming from a small town, I basically knew the same people from the time I entered elementary school through high school.  So, my favorite memory is being on my own and meeting many new people, both from my classes and outside of classes. Several of these OHIO peers remain friends today, 52 years later.  

Q: Can you describe what Ohio University was like when you attended in the late 60s and early 70s?
For me, it was like being in a big city, although Athens certainly isn’t a big city.  It was such a fun time.  Going to sporting events – baseball where I saw Mike Schmidt play, basketball games at the Convocation Center, football games and going to the bars with alternative rock music playing.  Also, springtime at OHIO was so wonderful – seeing students out on the greens or on the porches of their sorority/fraternity houses enjoying the beautiful weather.  

And, then there was the spring of 1970 when OHIO students were protesting the Vietnam War.  I remember going to peaceful protests on the main green, wearing an armband in support of those peaceful protests. And the days when the National Guard was stationed all along Court Street, helicopters flying overhead at night, and the air filled with smoke from the tear gas.  A rather scary time.  (I WAS NOT involved in the violent protesting).

Q: Have you had a chance to visit the campus since you graduated?
Yes, I have.  My boyfriend and I traveled to Athens several years before Covid hit to go to a football game between OHIO and Idaho.  OHIO won!  It was fun to walk all around the campus and see old haunts.  Things had certainly changed though – new dorms, the relocation of Baker Center, new apartment buildings.

Q: What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?
This is more than one thing. Get involved, be responsible, and enjoy the experience.  Explore the areas outside of the campus; i.e., the Dairy Art Barn, Strouds Run State Park, Old Man’s Cave. The years go by quickly and you will soon be thrown into the “adult world” where your responsibilities multiply.  And remember that your actions will follow you into the adult world.

May 17, 2023
Staff reports