Naval officer Olaolu Ogunyemi publishes three children’s books
If you want to encourage the young children in your life, be sure to check out a series of inspiring books by Ruston native and US Navy Captain Olaolu Ogunyemi, including a new version coming out next month.
Ogunyemi, husband, father and teenage mentor, exudes enthusiasm and emphasizes the power we each have to choose our outlook on life. He hopes to spark conversations between parents and children about the best way to live, and has created a series of books to provide adults with fun and educational ways to connect with young people.
“I hope parents, teachers and mentors will use my books to begin teaching life lessons while developing memorable experiences with their children,” he said.
The first book is “Crow From the Shadow” for ages 6-9, which has over 100 5-star reviews on Amazon (not an easy achievement). The second book is “Horace the Horsefly” for ages 2-5. Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine, the third book, comes out February 16.
Each of the books has a hook in nature, from the stars above to an ominous gadfly. Ogunyemi chooses characters often encountered but rarely the center of attention. “Growing up in the rural part of Ruston really increased my love for the outdoors,” he said. “That’s exactly what I love about these characters. People are quick to judge them on their appearances or their past without really knowing them. People have studied their habits and already determined their future. Many of us can relate to them. identify with that.We encourage the underdogs in the hope that they can defy the statistics and come out on top.
The power of choices
Ogunyemi wants to help put readers in control of their destiny. As the character Crow says in “Crow From the Shadow”: “Only one can determine my future. That one is me!”
The author’s optimism and desire to help nature shines through not only in his children’s books, but also in his personality. Asked about it, he said: “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been enthusiastic. I love seeing people smile, laugh and have a good time. I became optimistic once I realized I had the power to make choices. It’s like having a super power. I can choose my point of view and my reaction to adversity and difficult people. I have always been told to be a thermostat and not a thermometer… I am determined to control my environment rather than let my environment control me.
Married to former Brea Cato of Dubach, their children—Brilee, 12; Jacob, 8 years old; and 3-year-old Eniola inspired him to write for elementary school students. “I want to create fun stories that we can read and enjoy together,” he said.
Beyond that, he believes the first 10 years of a child’s life are crucial for intellectual, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical development. “As a parent, teacher or mentor, I believe our job is to nurture and develop our children during these formative years,” he said. “That means we have to invest time with them to guide them along the way. My books are simply resources to enhance this development process.
Ogunyemi also draws on her own childhood memories in her writing and thanks her parents – Anita Flint of Boston, Mass., and Dr. Olatunde Ogunyemi of Ruston, head of the Department of Educational Leadership at Grambling State University – for their guidance. :
“I know the thoughts, the struggles and the emotions that I had to overcome. I know what my parents told me that helped me through difficult times. I remember the encouragement that my teachers and my mentors lavished on me when I wanted to quit. So, I am writing to the kid who may not be the most outstandingly gifted but has stellar drive and ambition… Maybe it just needs a little nudge.
Learn more about Ogunyemi:
He is currently a student at the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, Va., and will return to his communications office role after graduation in May, although it is not yet known where he and his family will move.
Born the fifth of six children in Ruston, he graduated from Simsboro High School and Grambling State, where he earned a degree in computer information systems and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. While awaiting active duty, he worked as a computer programmer/analyst at Tyson Foods and began active duty in 2013.
His first name means “wealth of God”. “Although I didn’t appreciate my name growing up, it became a source of strength to me both spiritually and philosophically.”
He attends Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Stafford, Virginia, and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He virtually mentors teenagers in San Diego. “I also happily do one-on-one mentoring with others when a parent, teacher, or mentor asks for my help.”
About the illustrator:
“My illustrator is my older brother, the immensely talented Joshua Ogunyemi.” Nashville-based branding and marketing expert, Joshua Ogunyemi has also written a book in addition to his illustration work: “Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do: 9 Ways to Weather a Storm and Come Out on Top”. The book is available digitally at: https://excelu.groovepages.com/ttdlebook/index.The book offers ways to become a champion in handling difficult situations with life lessons.
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Columnist Judy Christie is the author of 18 novels and non-fiction books. With NYT bestselling author Lisa Wingate, she co-wrote “Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society,” the nonfiction sequel to Wingate’s bestselling novel. Before We Were Yours”. To learn more about Christie, visit www.judychristie.com.