The Mysterious Pool follows a group of friends who uncover secrets in an hold house that send them on a wild adventure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
As a child I’ve always loved reading stories on mysteries and magic as most children do, and as did my late son, Leigh. So he is foremost in this adventure with his friends.
I enjoyed how authentic the children felt in your story. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Of course, Leigh relates to my late son and the other characters, Tara and Cosmo are losely based around his real life friends. The persona of the characters are carried over from my picture book series, Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures. Aimed for the younger reader, these little stories carry an important message on how life in a wheelchair can have its challenges.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Apart from keeping “The Mysterious Pool” fun, adventureous and enlighting, it carries an important message thoroughout the story – to instil confidence in children, particularly for those with limited mobility. I hope this is achieved after reading the story and they come away with a positive outlook and an appetite to learn more.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Book 2 in “Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures” will be out this year (2021). Again it will carry an important message.
There will be three books in this series, each covering different aspects wheelchair users have overcoming a particular problem.
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The Mysterious Pool by Charlene McIver is a beautifully illustrated and charismatic children’s book that is sure to be beloved by any child who reads it. The characters are all lively and maintain the silliness and wonder that children often relate to. Furthermore, the inclusion of a disabled character inspired by the author’s son teaches kids to accept everyone and adults will appreciate the memory of such a brave individual. The story begins when Leigh, Tara, and Cosmo find that a previously undisturbed area is being developed which could bring harm to the organisms living there, but one of their ancestors from long ago fashioned an elixir that could save the day if they can decode a mysterious set of symbols and find it.
This is a great book for kids because it is both entertaining and educational. While kids can experience the adventure of the three children as though they are in the middle of the actions, they also learn an important lesson about environmentalism and the importance of a balanced ecosystem. The whole theme of the book relates to human effects on the environment and how kids can learn to respect Mother Earth and their surroundings. The adventure is fast moving and has lots of quirky elements but is not too mature or grotesque for children. It also has a lot of humorous moments to bring a smile or laugh to a kid such as when Cosmo starts barking.
The Mysterious Pool is a wonderful children’s book that captures the literal way children may communicate and the boundlessness of their imagination in the way they see their world. The book is full of both whimsy and pieces of wisdom that children can carry into their further education, and possibly it might spark an interest in them just as it did in the characters of the book. The story is super cute with talking animals and neat illustrations and details such as the pictures of the symbols. This is such an adorable and inspiring book that any child will surely love and I highly recommend it.
Pages: 82 | ASIN: B097DVV1MY
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Squishy Sand follows three friends who go to the beach and run into a problem on the sand and must come up with a creative solution. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The inspiration was, of course, my late son Leigh. This little series will be based around the difficulties Leigh encountered using a wheelchair as a child.
The art in the book is beautiful, cute, and vibrant. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Caroline Keys?
Caroline was a gem to work with, very attentive to my brief and captured Leigh’s image and personality to a tee. She is an amazing artist.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Is was important to show how sometimes the smallest things are extremely difficult for others with different needs. And this will also be highlighted in Books 2 and 3.
This is book one in your Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures series. What can readers expect in book two?
As mentioned, Leigh struggled with numerous challenges as a child and Books 2 and 3 will explore individual problems he encountered when using a wheelchair. Problems, some may not consider or recognize as difficult. Hopefully, these little books will shed light on these issues.
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Squishy Sand, by Charlene McIver is an educational picture book about three friends who take a trip to the beach and run into a problem on the sand and must come up with a creative solution. They’re all playing together, enjoying ice cream as they walk along the boardwalk. As Cosmo begins to grow bored he suggests going into the water. But there’s an issue: the wheels on Leigh’s wheelchair get stuck in the sand! The three kids try and figure out how to bring Leigh into the sand, going through different ideas. As they begin to lose hope, Cosmo finds something amazing!
Author Charlene McIver does a fantastic job of showing the different issues people struggle with. She shows that even if someone is in a wheelchair, they’re still capable of having fun and doing the same things everyone else does. The story shows how empathetic and kind Leigh’s friends are, encouraging children to copy that behavior. This book provides fantastic opportunities to talk to children about these topics and also gives some great examples of how these ideas apply in the real world. The art in the book is a wonderfully vibrant blend of sketch and water color styles, and makes me think of something Bob Ross would paint. There are cute creates on every page!
Squishy Sand is an educational children’s story that teaches young readers valuable life lessons and problem solving using creativity, all wrapped up in a fun little beach adventure. This book shows that it’s important to be understanding and patient with people that struggle with a disability. The story is fun and entertaining for the audience. Overall, the book is a great read for children to learn about others, and how to help them!
Pages: 38 | ISBN: 0648417832
Tags: adventure, author, beach, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Charlene McIver, children, childrens book, ebook, education, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, Squishy Sand, story, teacher, writer, writing