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Pharaoh’s Arrow

Pharaoh's Arrow by [Neeb, George]

If you’re shopping for a picture book, George Neeb’s Pharaoh’s Arrow should be high on your list of choices. This unique book is an experience like you haven’t seen before – a whole book written and illustrated in the style of ancient Egypt! Neeb took the time to paint all the pages by hand and tell us a story of revenge set in the times of a bygone era. He studied Egyptian art and it shows on every page.. Every page is an individual work of art, bringing the artistic style of the Land of the pyramids into the modern format.

While set in ancient times of the pharaohs, Neeb came up with the story himself. As he explained, he tried to get the facts correct. The style of clothing and the makeup match the era the story is set in and he spent a considerable amount of time giving his book the feel of an old papayri. He didn’t just stop at the characters, whom he painted in the drawing style of the ancient Egypt, but went as far to match the authentic hieroglyphics that appear throughout the story with the text!

Pharaoh’s Arrow excels in the themes it takes us through. While picture books usually don’t trouble themselves with big moral questions, George Neeb had other ideas for his characters. What starts like a story of revenge ends up differently than you would expect. Without giving the details, you will be surprised with the decision the main character decided to go with. And while odd, the decision is very practical. Considering the times the story is happening the decision is quite fitting. I felt that Neeb’s poetry was not his strong suit and were not lyrically challenging, but he is still able to tell an interesting story.

Many odds and ends of the life of ancient Egypt show throughout the book. The story starts in quite an unusual way – the mother of Akia, our heroine, is killed by a crocodile which makes her father decide to live in the desert. Crocodiles where a predator on the Nile back in the day and the situation gives us a glimpse of life thousands of years ago. Burial rites of the ancient Egypt are also referenced and Neeb also talks about the spirituality that the people of those times were observing. His reference of “ba”, roughly translated as the modern concept of the soul, is something you will not find in many books that deal with this long gone civilization!

The illustrations are unique and make it an unforgettable work of art. At the end of the book Neeb even explains how to accomplish the style yourself, making the Pharaoh’s Arrow a perfect choice for anyone interested in painting and history.

Pages: 18 | ASIN: B07DV1XL2M

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A Curious Journey

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 takes young readers on a journey through the magical Hotel of Hoo where they’re introduced to many strange guests. What served as your inspiration for this imaginative hotel and its occupants? 

The concept was really born from the title. I had wanted to write a counting book for a while but one that carried a stronger narrative than many others in this particular category. After I had the title, everything else just came together. I think that there is something about doors that sparks a natural curiosity, particularly in young children. I wanted to extend that curiosity by placing the story in a setting that would really compound the mystery. A magical castle, to me, holds a lot of intrigue and seemed like an excellent place to begin a curious journey.

There are a lot of interesting creatures behind each door. My favorite was the miniature giants. What was your favorite to write and animate?

I have so many! For most of the characters there is a fascinating juxtaposition between the general perception of their stereotype and a characteristic they embody in the story. Some of the other creatures are simply a play on popular culture. However a few of them are just plain cute. If I had to choose only one favourite, I think it would be from this last category – the big-headed monkeys.

While I was writing this character, I had in my mind something so adorable that it would make a great stuffed toy. What’s exciting about working with Lenny is that we both think similarly. She was able to take my thoughts for this idea and really bring it to life with brilliant expression. They may not be a typical mythical creature, but I think they nevertheless compliment the overall enjoyment of exploring this hotel by diffusing the expectation that each character needs to have some kind of creepy characteristic.

The story is told in rhyme and each door has a theme which, I think, makes this book great for the classroom. Was it challenging to write the story in this way or was it natural?

After I had the idea, the story itself flowed quite naturally. The fantastical nature of the castle meant that each door wasn’t restricted to a single concept or any established rules. I think this is (in part) what both pulls you along in the story and tempts you to linger – every door is a portal to its own unique and perhaps unexpected theme.

I don’t want it to send like I’m begging, but please tell me this story is going to be expanded on in future books? 

Ooh, now that’s an interesting question. It was definitely a fun story to write so I wouldn’t rule out a sequel. I’ll let you know…

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32 by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

This imaginative picture book aims to take children beyond the first ten cardinal numbers, and introduces them to the patterns of counting in a fun and accessible way. With rooms to explore and unique objects to count, children will enjoy lingering on each page as they make their way closer to the forbidden door.

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A Metaphor for a Butt Whipping

Patrice Brown Author Interview

Patrice Brown Author Interview

The Day Momma Made Me Dance is a colorful children’s book depicting the consequences of childrens misbehavior. What was your inspiration for this book?

My inspiration was my very own childhood experience. I myself was a mischevious child and my sister was also so growing up in a home where consequences were learned about through whoopings. I decided to write about it and this book is in no way to excuse about but to simply talk about my story and how I learned right from wrong. Not all people will see this book as acceptable but in many black homes that are my culture, it is accepted.

The story follows a young girl who is constantly up to mischief. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this story?

The themes that were displayed was the experience of going to school and misbehaving, treating my sibling badly and being disrespectful by not listening to my parent. These themes were important because everyone has had a bad moment in their life either in the home or school as a kid.

The story draws a line between punishment and abuse. What is a common misconception you find people have about this subject?

People find that any form of punishment with an object is abuse. I have to disagree with that opinion because we all have to measure the level of discipline with what object and for how long. I believe that it is ok to whoop your child, talk to them and do time out. However, what happens when all of your interventions fail and the child still continues to misbehave. My book was a simple representation of punishment was in my home and the yes the girl learned her lesson in the end. The girl talked with her mom and stated that she understands the rules of the home and school. I had the same similar experience in my life. So this book was a short story about that time.

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

Readers should take away that punishment is not all bad no matter the form of it. It just depends on the level and frequency of the punishment. This book is not only about punishment but it has a bit of humor in it. The day momma made me dance is simply a metaphor for a butt whipping. The girl understands her faults and is thankful for her punishment because without it she would not understand the rules of home and school.

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The Day Momma Made Me Dance by [Brown, Patrice]As a mom, we continuously tell our children the rules of the house. Not only this, we are constantly cleaning and prompting them to do their chores and homework. Until one day, Momma has had enough. Find out what happens when enough is enough in this home.

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The Chakra System

Teresa McCallum Author Interview

Teresa McCallum Author Interview

In Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art you discuss the seven Chakras, where they’re located, how to determine if they’re blocked and how to correct it . Why was this an important book for you to write?

I have been yearning to write a book about resilience for many years but I always got stalled as I tried to find the correct template. It was not until I had endured a near death experience and started looking more seriously at alternate methods of healing that my ideas started to gel. I had actually given up on writing the book and dedicated myself to healing my own issues and found that the use of the chakra system was perfect. After I had turned my own life around, I realized that the template for my book was right there: the Chakra system. The seven chakras provide the perfect road map: colour coded and simple to use. And the chakra system works well with other methods of healing (traditional and alternative) and is not discriminatory. Regardless of one’s race, gender, sexual identity, culture, or spiritual path, the chakra system can be used.

One of the different aspects of this book over others on Chakras is the incorporation of art in all stages. Why is this a vital aspect?

Well, first of all, I am an artist, so it is just part of the fabric of my being. And I truly believe we are all artists. Children have an innate ability to be creative and as we age, we tend to lose that freedom of creative expression. I have used art as a therapeutic tool with mental health patients for many years. Art is a natural healing method, but when art is used with the chakra system, magic happens…truly. I’ve seen people who are skeptical of using alternative healing methods, such as the chakra system, but when an artistic exercise is added to the experience, it seems to provide increased clarity and buy-in for the participant. I have found that art ties in well with explaining the different levels of the chakra system. And art makes the experience fun.

What do you find is one common misconception people have about Chakras?

I think there are a lot of misguided sexual identity beliefs about the chakra system:

  1. that the basic human needs, including sexuality, are not as important as the higher level chakras
  2. That there is a negative connotation to feminine traits and that masculine attributes are viewed in a more positive light

As I studied the system, I realized that balance in all areas is critical. And that all aspects of self: needs and enlightenment; masculine and feminine are necessary and desired.

I think this book is a great reference for people new or experienced to the study of Chakras and self-healing. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

My hope is that people find balance, while understanding that there are times we need the help of experts – and while knowing that we can also take an active role in our own health, self care, happiness, and ability to connect with ourselves, others, and a higher power. Balance is achieved when we are able to forgive… ourselves, others, circumstances. Yes, there is work to do, but it can be fun, manageable, and with a bit of artistic flair and pizzaz!

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Using chakras and art is like having a template to achieve balance, forgiveness, and peace. Life is challenging; our world often seems chaotic and tumultuous. Learning to assess and treat your chakra imbalances helps you to cope with these challenges and to find inner peace.

Through the use of true stories, both her own and those of others, Teresa McCallum provides examples of balanced and imbalanced chakras. She offers simple activities, methods, and art suggestions to help others achieve personal growth and inner balance. Teresa’s background as a nurse working in mental health, as well as being a visual artist, lead her to develop a unique way of looking at spirituality, self-healing, and use of the ancient chakra system. Regardless of whether the chakra system is new to you or you are an experienced yogini (or yogi), Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art will provide artistic insight and guidance.

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Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Have you ever wondered what Chakras are and how they can impact your well-being? Teresa McCallum has written a book that is the culmination of years of research, personal experiences, and learning from experts. McCallum is a registered nurse that has spent many years working in the mental health field and has the educational background to back up her findings using these non-traditional methods. In Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art you will discover what the seven Chakras are, where they are located, how to determine if it is blocked, deficient or in excess of energy and how to correct it so you can bring your body into balance. In addition to providing readers with information on the Chakras and how to balance them, she gives readers real life examples and stories. Many from her own life as a nurse, and her own personal experiences.

Walk through any book store or brows online and you will find thousands of self-help books.

One of the different aspects of this book over others on Chakras is the incorporation of art in all stages. Teresa McCallum offers up methods to incorporate specific forms of art for each Chakras to help you find balance. From working with clay to dance and performing arts, there are an abundance of suggestions on how to use art forms to focus your mind and body to heal your Chakras. There are examples of art, and there are diagrams and instructions for the recommended yoga poses. It is all organized with plenty of quick reference charts to refer back to. I particularly love the silhouettes drawings of the yoga poses, they are simple and uncomplicated and make it easy for me to see how the pose is done. For more complicated one there are instructions as well as recommended breathing techniques to go with them. I found most of the stories helpful in understanding the purpose of each of the Chakras, though a few felt drawn out longer than needed. You can tell the author has a great passion for helping others and the people she chooses to include in this book mean a great deal to her. Sharing of her personal struggles, especially her cardiac arrest, make her relatable because she shows how her life took such a drastic downfall and what she needed to do to heal.

Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art is a great reference for those new or old to the study of Chakras and self-healing. It is inspiring to learn to detect all the symptoms in your body and trace them back to an origin. What I appreciate the most in this book, is that Teresa McCallum doesn’t promote ignoring traditional medicine and the advice of doctors. She encourages the use of Chakra balancing in addition to getting medical treatment when needed. It is refreshing to see that the two worlds can be combined. I recommend this book for anyone curious about Chakras and how this can improve their day to day life.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B079P9B6Y6

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Literary Titan Book Awards February 2018

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Neutral Space by [Tran, Rebecca]Braxton Snow P.I. (The Snow Adventures Book 1) by [Estes, Danny C]Phoenix by [Chugpai, Arti]

The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger: Volume 1 by [Hayes, Misty]The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom by [Robinson, Diane Mae]

Action Men with Silly Putty: A Jack Donegal Mystery (Jack Donegal Mysteries Book 1) by [Clark, Susan Joy]Empyrean (The Brin Chronicles Book 3) by [Cronin, Jim]Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32 by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Serial K Returns by [Gallagher, Brian]The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series) by [Quiroz Vega, Vashti]

Grandma's Secret Blessings: A Memoir with a Twist by [JohnEgreek]

Dreaming on an Arabian Carpet by [Martek, Igor]The Victory Perspective by [Kellett, E.J.]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Time Travel and Time Slips

Lisa Nicell Treanor Author Interview

Lisa Nicell Treanor Author Interview

Once Upon a Time Slip follows young China Winter as she discovers her ability to cross worlds and finds herself summoned by the father of time travel to save humanity. What was the inspiration behind the setup to this thrilling novel?

I am absolutely fascinated by the paranormal, history and the whole steampunk movement. As an artist, a lot of my paintings and sculptures are heavily influenced by these three genres and my interest in art eventually began to seep into my writing. I have a love of antiques and learning as much as I can about past inventors. I also read a lot of scientific journals and have a huge interest in the whole concept of parallel universes, time travel and time slips. My biggest inspiration behind the book was the great Nikola Tesla. Other influences have been the volumes of history books and war stories I have devoured over the years. I wanted contrast in the story and so my main character is a futuristic, steampunk girl. I liked the idea of having a protagonist who would be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to save the whole of humanity if it was necessary.

China Winter is an intriguing character that continues to develop throughout the novel. What were some obstacles you felt were important, to highlight her character development?

The biggest obstacle for China was having to choose sides in war which seemed to have no boundaries. Her loyalties were being tested throughout the story. Being faced with life altering decisions which would have led to suffering and loss, was the ultimate challenge for such a young girl. Falling in love with a dead man led to a fork in her path of destiny.

The story takes place in a steampunk future where wild inventions abound. What were you favorite inventions or tech to create and write for?

Without giving too much away, I loved creating new time travel devices throughout the story. I felt that it was necessary to have more than one mode of time travel transportation in order to give the full impact of how extremely advanced technology is yet to become within the future.

I especially loved writing scenes where ghosts from the past would react to futuristic technology and end up coming to all manner of baffling and humorous conclusions about what they were witnessing

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on the sequel to Once Upon A Time Slip which will become available in 2019. I cannot leave the readers breathless and tingling with anticipation as they stand at the edge of a mighty cliff hanger!

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

Once Upon A Time Slip by [Nicell Treanor, Lisa]The future will crumble as history re-writes itself in the great time travel apocalypse.

It is the year 2258 when nineteen year old China Winter discovers her ability to cross the veil between worlds. On a quest to find her missing brother Maddox, she finds herself summoned by the father of time travel – Nikola Tesla to help save the whole of humanity; both past and future souls. China must sacrifice so much as she is dragged ever deeper into a treacherous and eternal time war.

Stepping back in time from her steampunk-esque existence, China finds herself caught up in the most incredible battles. Every army that ever existed can materialise in the wrong time or place, at any given moment to lay siege upon the earth. Slipping back and forth between the mists of time, history re-writes itself, playing havoc on the very fabric of reality. Can she survive the world of hauntings, poltergeist manifestations and time slips to save the universe from complete obliteration?

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Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32 by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

B.C.R. Fegan’s Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 takes young readers on a journey through the magical Hotel of Hoo where Mr. Nicholas Noo gives his first-ever guests constant reminders to avoid, at all costs, door number 32. Behind each door leading up to 32, guests are treated to many surprises, some creepy and some quite humorous. Entertaining rhymes help light the way through the castle-like establishment as both the readers and the guests of the hotel meet and greet a bevy of characters who have taken up residence behind the first 31 doors. What lies behind Door 32? I’ll never tell!

I really love Fegan’s books for young readers. Lenny Wen, illustrator, creates some of the most vivid and striking images you will find in children’s literature. Wen gives his characters amazingly expressive eyes whether they are screaming in terror at ghosts cooking roasts, doing a double-take at a paintbrush-wielding elf, sneaking peeks at tea-drinking monsters, or (my favorite) marveling at miniature giants.

This particular tale takes on a Halloween feel and serves as a fabulous book to read aloud during October or as part of a monster-themed unit for elementary grades. As a third grade teacher, I can see using this book with my students to study rhyme, compare and contrast the findings behind each door, or as an inspiring writing prompt. The possibilities are as endless as the number of creatures housed behind each of the doors in the Hotel of Hoo.

Fegan does an excellent job of periodically reminding the reader that Door 32 is somewhat of an enigma and, possibly, the most feared of all doors in the Hotel of Hoo. Suspense builds throughout the book as the second-person narrative draws young readers into the different rooms, page by page, and treats them to a fantastic assortment of zombies, ghosts, wizards, and many more creatures of lore.

Fegan and Wen are, book by book, mastering the kiddie lit genre. With each successive book, their plots and accompanying illustrations take on more depth and even more vibrant characters. From the very first pages, this one has the feel of a classic in-the-making.

Pages: 36 | ASIN: B078VSML8V

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Peeks Their Curiosity

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Lucy’s First Christmas is the heartwarming tale of Lucy the rescue cat’s first Christmas with her adoptive family. There is so many directions to take a holiday story, how did you settle on this story line?

Having a new pet during the holiday season can be stressful for them, the established pets, and the family. The family dynamic changes with the additional family member. I wanted to show that there is plenty of room and love to go around.

I felt like there was a lot of love and truth in this story. Did you take anything from your own life and put it in this story?

Oh yes! Lucy’s antics all happened. From playing with the Christmas tree decorations, to “helping” me wrap Christmas presents, to playing in the snow. She did it all! But in the end her favorite place to be is curled up on our laps or snuggling with one of our other pets 🙂

Do you find that pets are usually extra curious around the holidays when humans are decorating?

Absolutely, the sights, scents, and sounds that go along with the holiday season are very enticing to pets. The constant activity peeks their curiosity even more. That’s why it’s so important to take extra safety precautions for your pets during the holiday season.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The fourth book in the Lucy’s Tale series, Lucy goes to the Vet, will be available spring 2018.

Author Links: Website | Facebook

Tomorrow is Lucy’s first Christmas. Everyone is busy getting ready for the big day. Lucy wants to help. But when she tries to help Mom wrap presents, she makes a mess. When she tries to help Dad decorate the tree, she tangles the lights. When she tries to help Ben build a snowman, she gets stuck in a snowdrift. Surely there must be a way for an eager kitten to help!

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The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom

The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom, by Diane Mae Robinson, is a handy writing tool for kids in one neat, little package. Robinson presents readers with a succinct list of terminology, ten chapters covering everything from subject and verb agreement to dangling participles and misplaced modifiers. Throughout the grammar guide, readers are treated to engaging illustrations of Sir Princess Petra and Snarls, the dragon. From beginning to end, The Dragon Grammar Book, provides readers with everything they need to address those most common questions they encounter as budding writers.

Robinson begins her grammar guide with a very useful and well-organized grammar terminology section. Teachers, students, and parents will find the opening 15 pages of the book an extremely helpful tool for quickly skimming and finding definitions and examples of each of the parts of speech, punctuation, along with a few writing terms tossed in for good measure.

Let’s face it, kids can shut down at lightning speed when a textbook comes into sight. The Dragon Grammar Book provides the perfect amount of information presented in short bursts that don’t overwhelm the reader. Accompanying explanations for each rule are not too wordy, and hold the reader’s attention long enough to make a point. The ongoing dragon theme is tucked into each of the example sentences throughout the book.

As a teacher, I appreciate the wide variety of topics covered in the fairly short text. The author has chosen to include some areas students will encounter as their writing develops over the course of several years. Chapter One’s focus on confusing words was a breath of fresh air to this teacher. Arranged alphabetically and featuring brief, easy-to-understand examples, this portion of the book is simple to navigate and covers each and every roadblock young writers encounter as they learn to proofread and edit their work.

I give The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom 5 out of 5 stars. Having a useful resource that engages students and includes a wide variety of grammar rules with short, fun examples is difficult to find. Robinson has produced a winner with this easy-to-navigate, all-inclusive, grammar guide for kids.

Pages: 140 | ASIN: 198871401X

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