Illinois State is proud to be able to acknowledge the work of graduates who are successful authors.

If you’ve written a book that has been released by a publishing house within the past decade, submit it for review by Professor Emerita of English JoAnna Stephens Mink ’73, M.S. ’75, D.A. ’85.

All books authored by alums will be added to a collection of work by other graduates on display in the Alumni Center. Autographed copies are especially appreciated.

Please send your book to Illinois State editor Susan Blystone at Illinois State Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main Street, Normal, IL 61790. Inquiries can be sent to

The Good News Chair: A simple tool for shaping a child’s positive behavior and self-image

By Harriet Arkley. Anacottes, WA: Harriet Arkley & Armchair ePublishing, 2014. 54pp.

The Good News Chair coverSummary: Harriet Arkley’s book was inspired by a special chair that sat in her office when she was an elementary school principal. Wanting to share with others how it could work in a home or classroom to encourage positive behavior, she self-published The Good News Chair.

The book is divided into five short chapters: The Birth of the Good News Chair, How did the Good News Chair Work in the Schools?, Views from the Chair, Getting Started with Your Own Good News Chair, and My Own Good News. The final section, Memories of the Good News Chair, is comprised of comments from children in a first/second grade class. “I went to the Good News Chair when I lost my tooth,” and “I went to the Good News Chair when I put capitals and periods in my writer’s notebook” are two typical examples.

The first chapter explains how Arkley developed her teaching technique using a special chair. She became a school administrator after a career as elementary school principal and completing a doctoral program in curriculum and instruction at ISU. She became the principal at a public early childhood school designed to meet the needs of 500, three-to-five-year-old children, who came from a background of poverty, crime, drugs, birth defects, chronic illnesses and other challenges. Misbehavior was a problem. A parent donated a small purple wooden chair which sat in Arkley’s office—but not for the purpose one might assume when a child is sent to the principal’s office.

This chair was designated as a place for the child to sit when he or she had good news to share. Arkley found that the chair gave teachers insight into what a child was learning. A different chair became a Good News Chair when Arkley moved to a charter school where children “who swam at country clubs and those who swam at the aging city pool studied together.” Her point is that providing a place where a child could share good news contributed to positive self-image and encouraged all aspects of learning.

The Good News Chair incorporates lessons, workbook-type pages, children’s drawings and many color photographs. Chapter four provides instructions for making one’s own chair and includes photographs.

About the author: Harriet Arkley, Ed.D. ’86, has spent a lifetime working with and caring for young children. Now retired from teaching and school administration, she coordinates a gardening program for young children and their parents in Bellingham, Washington. She also is a literacy volunteer at a neighborhood elementary school.

The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There COVERThe Star Who Almost Wasn’t There

By Pamela Hahn. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press-Thomas Nelson, 2013. 32pp.

Summary: In 1965, when Pamela Hahn was an undergraduate student at ISU majoring in art education, she wrote a delightful story for her niece’s first birthday. In 2012, after she had retired, she retrieved the story from a folder and decided to share it with other children. Consequently, she self-published The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There: A Story of the First Christmas for Stacey Ruth Hahn and all little children everywhere in order to attain that goal.

Beautifully enhanced by several illustrators, the storyline follows a tiny star, who unfortunately could not glow because there was no child for him to love. He traveled throughout the sky searching for a child to love him. Then one night, he found the Christ child. When the baby smiled, the world was filled with grace and the star was happy. The star joyfully proclaimed the holy birth to angels, to shepherds and three wise men, and to children everywhere.
The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There depicts the story of the Nativity from a charming perspective which should delight young children.

About the author: Pamela Hahn Hieser ’68 continues to work on her project of creating an organization, the StarGift Project, to help distribute a copy of this book to children. She resides in LeRoy.

Income Taxation of Natural Resources coverIncome Taxation of Natural Resources

By KPMG LLP. Denton, TX: Professional Development Institute, 2014. 1050+pp.

Summary: A hefty tome, Income Taxation of Natural Resources is the 2014 edition which incorporates the most recent legislation, regulations, rulings, and court cases affecting the taxation of natural resources. The authors have selected the most significant items to support the understanding of current industry trends, areas of controversy and established business practices.

As a result, this is a comprehensive tax treatise for natural resources including: oil and gas, LNG, mining, timber, alternative energy and foreign operations. According to the Professional Development Institute’s website, this text is completely updated and is the most expansive coverage of complex partnership taxation issues available. There are two tables of contents to aid the user: one summarizes by the resources listed above; the second, running eighteen pages, enumerates the specific sections of each of the 24 chapters.

Yet the material is easy to understand for professionals. Income Taxation of Natural Resources explains developments regarding conveyances, joint operations and complex partnerships issues. It provides guidance related to exploration and development costs, royalties, depreciation, depletion, gross income, taxable income and tax credits. Charts and illustrations describe complicated issues related to natural resources. A detailed Index completes this useful resource.

About the author: Robert A. Swiech ’74 is listed as the top contributing author of this book. He is tax director, Washington National Tax, of KPMG LLP in Houston, Texas. He earned his juris doctorate from DePaul University in 1980 and is a member of the state bar of Texas.

Present Like a Pro: The Field Guide to Mastering the Art of Business, Professional, and Public Speaking

Speak Up!: A Woman’s Guide to Presenting Like a Pro

Fearless Facilitation: The Ultimate Field Guide to Engaging (and Involving!) Your Audience

By Cyndi Maxey and Kevin E. O’Connor. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006. 274pp.; New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008. 238pp.; San Francisco: Pfeiffer-Wiley, 2013. 208pp.

Cyndi Maxey and Kevin O’Connor’s booksSummary: Cyndi Maxey and Kevin O’Connor’s books provide practical advice to anyone who has ever felt apprehensive about speaking in front of a group; in other words, they are useful for you and me and readers with a wide range of experience. Written in clear and concise prose, each book is organized in a way that anyone can quickly identify the portion that will provide the most help. For example, Present Like a Pro is divided into 10 parts, each with short sections which are clearly identified in the detailed Contents. Commonsense suggestions, such as to tape and time oneself, will aid anyone wishing to hone presentation skills.

Speak Up! deals fearlessly with issues that female public speakers face. Maxey and O’Connor explain in the Foreword: “A man presents, a woman presents. Who has more credibility? … Our experience shows that, over and over again, the man wins hands down.” This situation obviously is unfair, but it is a circumstance that women continue to encounter. Often a woman in the business world finds she is the only woman in the room. Following the advice in Speak Up! will empower her to make a strong impression to her male colleagues. Similar to Present Like a Pro, this book contains suggestions relating to specific situations. The book is organized effectively and clearly.

Once a person has mastered the basics of public communication skills, he or she will want to go a bit further with Fearless Facilitation, which is packed with suggestions to enhance engagement with the audience. Throughout the text, boxed statements offer pithy advice: The fearless facilitator is truly interested in the other person; The fearless facilitator has a planned beginning and ending and is ready to improvise a lot in between are two suggestions. There is even a section on the best way to use humor to connect with one’s audience. Appendices and a detailed Index contribute to a reader’s effective use of Fearless Facilitation.

About the author: Cyndi Maxey ’75 holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation with National Speakers Association. She owns Maxey Creative, Inc., consulting firm. She has co-authored six books with Kevin O’Connor and has acted in more than 30 professional plays, as well as done many voice overs and commercials. Maxey is past president of National Speakers Association-Illinois Chapter and was named NSA 2009 Illinois’ Humanitarian of the Year. She lives in Chicago.