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Billy’s Wide Crack

What happens when you wake up and look in the mirror while getting ready for school only to realize something is really not right. Unfortunately, that is what happened to Billy. He discovers something alarming that morning, and his solution is to hide in his bed and pretend it doesn’t exist. Then, one by one, his family members come in and observe what he has seen, and all of them are unsure of what to make of the situation.

Billy’s Wide Crack, written by JD Von Lafsalot and illustrator by Pietro Peres, is a humorous picture book with children and adults laughing with each page. The entertaining images and expressions on the characters’ faces will have children guessing right from the start as to what crack Billy has found. I loved that on each page, there was a little bee that seemed to add to the drama of the situation, like sitting on the dad’s tie.

At the end of the book are some quick questions teachers can use to review the story with their class. This helps children recall and identify the context of stories. Some questions require them to have keen observation skills and will allow them to go back and pick out details they may have missed at first.

Billy’s Wide Crack: A Fun Rhyming Story of Assumptions and False Thinking is a light-hearted picture book that will have readers of all ages laughing. With children’s active imaginations, the story will surely bring about many fun, exciting class discussions and laughs.

Pages: 35 | ASIN : B0BFDTGNH7

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Nature Is Amazing

Author Interview Julie L. Kusma
Author Interview Derek R. King

Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More is a fun and creative book for families to learn together about the many uses and the history of different trees. What was the inspiration for writing this book?

I love nature, hence my book Naytre Boy, and with Julie here in Scotland with me I just had to share all the different trees. As does all our conversations, this led us down a rabbit hole of research and adventure.

Julie just loved the Ogham alphabet and I loved the connection and the ancient knowledge associated with the trees. This became the foundation of Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

​Yes, the plethora of information surrounding these sacred trees in Celtic culture was amazing. We had to find a way to include all of this information in a clear and friendly manner. I took as many photographs as I could and Julie wove the information and images on each page.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

​Nature is amazing. The knowledge our ancestors had of each tree, their properties, and how to best utilise these gifts merits respect.

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

We recently published Our Planets: Moons, Myths & More as part of Our Education Series and for Halloween, we have just published Our Halloween: Mysteries, Monsters & More, Alphabites: The Alphabet One Bite at a Time, and Jaggy Little Babies. All three were so much fun to create and we are loving watching them climb the Amazon charts. As for current projects, we have many, but our next releases will for the holiday gift season and include a sequel to Honey: Words to Heal & Mend, entitled Nectar: Words Of Self Love & Care which follows in the Kintsugi tradition. Additionally, and this is the first time anyone has heard this, we are releasing a children’s inspirational book entitled With Love, the Universe this book is full of affirmations for authenticity.

Author Links Julie: Website | Twitter | TikTok | YouTube

Author Links Derek: Website | Twitter | TikTok

If you are looking for an inspirational, educational, and beautiful book, Our Trees is the book to have in your bookcase. This book isn’t only for the adults in your family but can be used as a tool to teach children the value and meaning of nature.

Our Trees takes you on a botanical exploration of various trees and their symbolic meanings. Each page fills you with the knowledge that past generations knew–what each tree symbolized, their medicinal properties, and many other uses for each.

Your children will love the games included inside, from a board game to a word search and even a puzzle. Our trees is a family-friendly book that will entertain and inform everyone who reads it.

You will adore the short story at the end of this book—“Why Trees Lose Their Leaves” is a heartwarming tale of bravery and selflessness. It is a perfect story for all, especially children.

Fostering: A Memoir of Courage and Hope

Fostering is an emotionally-charged memoir written by Carmen Maria Navarro. Readers follow Carmen Maria and her family as she recounts her struggles, obstacles, and newfound love as a foster parent. We get a candid and unfiltered look into how the foster system works and what children in the system experience. There are a variety of sensitive topics discussed in this memoir, but they are all handled with respect.

The author elegantly conveys her experiences as a foster parent. I felt like this memoir really shows the breadth and depth of motherhood and the variety of shades that it comes in. Carmen Maria goes through many of them and shares all of those emotional experiences with readers in a way that feels raw but authentic. I have never been where the author is, but I was able to feel her emotional weight and understand her fear, anxiety, and hopes because of her sharp writing and the balance between feelings and facts throughout the book.

I was captivated by the author’s experiences. Not only by what she went through, but also by the experiences of her biological children, and her foster children as well. This is an illuminating memoir that shows how passion, empathy and love can be a driving force for good in dark times. This impassioned memoir provides an in depth look into Carmen Maria’s thoughts as well as her children’s thoughts, but I would have enjoyed hearing a bit more about her husband because I learned later in the author’s acknowledgement that her husband did so much for the family, like taking the children to doctor’s appointments, to school, making lunches and dinner.

I was shocked at some of the experiences the children revealed to Carmen Maria. It can be triggering to some readers, but I felt it was always handled with honesty and care so that we get to understand the impact these thing have on people and I admire the author for not shying away from the truth. It’s harsh but true and the author does a fantastic job of presenting those two facts in a way that readers can comprehend even if they’ve never experienced it themselves.

Fostering is a potent and awe-inspiring memoir that reveals the truth of what foster kids, and foster families, experience. I highly recommend this stirring memoir to those who are interested in childcare, child psychology and the foster care system as it differs from adoption.

Pages: 266 | ASIN: B0B4KFSNKD

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The Fox’s Palace

Francis the Fox is living in the city near the sea. He wants his family to be proud of him, and he sends them photos and letters saying how wonderful he is doing. The problem is, it is all a lie, so he doesn’t want his family to come to visit him. Francis, however, comes up with a plan to make all his lies the truth and build his dream of Fox’s Palace. He makes some poor choices and tricks people into trying and making his dream a reality, but in the end, he discovers it doesn’t pay to lie and cheat people.

Children’s author Tuula Pere has written yet another fantastic and meaningful children’s book. This story teaches kids about the value of being honest and how being untruthful will only cause more considerable trouble in the end. Francis learns this by ending up in jail. While the message is important, it is told gently so that kindergarten children and young elementary students can comprehend it.

I loved the artwork done by Andrea Alemanno, the seaside was beautiful, and the characters really came to life. The colorful images will draw in children and the detailed work will keep them engaged throughout the story. Despite Francis being a sneaky fox, he does not come across as scary or evil. This helps to show that even when people make bad choices, they are not bad people. Mayor William Wolf allows Francis to see what he did was wrong and forgives him while ensuring that the fox knows he can not treat people so poorly.

Tuula Pere has taken some challenging topics and presented them so that children can follow along and understand actions have consequences. This beautiful children’s book would make a great addition to a classroom or library with an important message on how people should treat one another and the value of honesty.

Pages: 44 | ISBN : 9523572865

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That Playful Little Ghost

Isabel Ricardo Author Interview

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants follows a ghost that is given a unique name and is teased for it, he learns to accept his different name with the help of a new friend. What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration was really my children. I used to try to spook them by going into their room with a sheet covering me, waving my arms and yelling that I was The Ghost of the Torn Underpants. Of course they would always burst out laughing. At a certain point, young children accompanying their older siblings to signings of my THE ADVENTURER’S series asked me to write something for them too, and so I indulged them. I reminisced in that game I used to play with my children and one summer I decided to write the story of that playful little Ghost who was marginalized by others due to his crazy name, and was deeply saddened by this. And it has been a great success!

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Pedro Pires?

After writing this book I searched for an illustrator whose work I admired a lot, Pedro Pires. In this case I sent him the book and left it to his creativity. I had no idea what would come out of his hands. When we hear about ghosts, we always have this common image in our minds, but the illustrator’s vision was very original and innovative, with a ghost with red hair so long that it even wrapped around the lamps. I was surprised by the final product, but I enjoyed the uniqueness. And it was a good choice indeed, because kids love him and they really like his different and strange look.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The main theme is the acceptance of difference and diversity. This book has a pedagogic component to it. I wanted to demonstrate to all children, through a fun way, that we are all different, but at the same time, all the same. We all have hearts and feelings that must be respected and we must not treat differently those who are different from us. This way, children learn to accept and respect difference with ease. During the course of this story, we also discover the value of friendship.

This is a Portuguese children’s literature bestseller, with successive editions, very dear to children of all ages, as well as Educators, Parents and Teachers.

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

I am currently writing my next historical novel, in Portuguese, which always takes longer as it requires very deep and comprehensive research. Later this year, Underline Publishing will release “The Enchanted Forest”, as well as “The Forgotten Treasure”, the second volume of The Port of the Grail trilogy, in succession of The Quest for the Lost Map. There will also be a new adventure: “The Adventurers in Underground River”.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants is a very entertaining book about a playful ghost, who tore his underpants, becoming forever called: The Ghost of the Torn Underpants. Aimed at children from 3 to 10 years old, this story amuses and, at the same time, teaches kids that we are all different, but all the same. This title has the collaboration of Isabel Ricardo, a renowned Portuguese author of many successful children’s and youth collections, and the talented illustrator Pedro Pires. Let’s have fun together!

I Want To Encourage Children

Kathleen J. Shields Author Interview

The First UniBear follows a cub that through acts of kindness and compassion grows a unicorn horn and spreads acts of kindness all around the forest. When you wrote your story at the age of ten what was your inspiration?

I absolutely adore Unicorns and I loved watching the Care Bears. I never understood why there weren’t unicorns in the “Land without Feelings” or why there wasn’t a bear with a unicorn horn and special magical gift. That’s how the idea came to me to combine them.

I began by wondering why no one could SEE unicorns. I determined that they DO exist, that they are rare, and we haven’t “Earned” the ability to see them. Then I began wondering what we could do to EARN the ability. Being a good person, doing good things, that was a given, but there were plenty of good people in the world that couldn’t see unicorns. So there had to be more to it. That’s when I came up with the “Pay it Forward” idea (long before that movie came out). You have to help one person, then that person has to help another person, and down the line. So by having met all of those challenges, you could have the gift… but would you know it?

As a child, I hadn’t helped save someone yet, so that made sense as to why I hadn’t grown a horn. As an adult though, editing my rhyming story – yes, I wrote it in rhyme at ten years of age, and no, I will not share that hilarious version, I realized that it may be because I hadn’t met a unicorn yet, muchless, SAVED a unicorn. I had met horses, but none of them needed saving. There were a lot of dominoes that need to be lined up just right to get to that miraculous gift.

So in my mind, I still instilled the idea that you should all do good deeds, help each other and be kind, because in that rare chance a unicorn is involved one day – I want to earn that horn!

I really loved the artwork and character renditions. You drew some of the illustrations when you were ten what was it like working with illustrator Aashay Utkarsh to turn your vision into the final artwork?

I wrote a blog post late last year entitled “My memories behind the upcoming book” https://www.kathleenjshields.com/authors/the-first-unibear-my-memories-behind-the-upcoming-childrens-book/ and in that post, I shared the original illustration I drew at 10 years of age. It really was adorable (in my own opinion) but Aashay added a level of depth, emotion, and detail that I could never fathom! Finding him was a blessing from God and it was all due to covid! During the lockdown, so many authors that I had met over the years had extra time on their hands and they all wanted to do children’s books. Since I had done so many illustrated books, they came to me.

Over the course of the year, I worked with nearly a dozen different illustrators across the globe to help illustrate their children’s books, but it wasn’t until I saw Aashay’s first page (of another author’s book) that Unibear came rushing back to my mind. I hadn’t thought of Unibear for half a decade, easy! I had lost my father nearly three years earlier. The will to even attempt it had been shelved, and yet, seeing Aashay’s first sketch ignited that spark within me! I immediately asked him if he could draw a teddy bear and a unicorn and what he sketched for me made me feel like that 10-year-old girl – all giddy and excited! I told him he HAD to do my book (as soon as he finished with the other author) and I have been utilizing his illustrations since, in many other authors’ works.

Working with him has been an absolute joy! He understands what I want, and adds a flair and thrill to his work that I haven’t seen from any of the other illustrators. I’ve started projects with a half dozen more this year alone, only to be grossly disappointed. Good illustrators that just disappear or don’t return messages. Illustrators that charge a ton and submit subpar work… maybe Aashay has spoiled me. All I know is he was a blessing and he’s definitely a keeper!

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Originally, I just wanted to tell a story. I wanted it to be nice and magical and, as a ten-year-old girl who moved a lot, I wanted to make friends (out of a unicorn and bear of course). As an adult and author, my primary focus with all of my books is to educate and inspire. I want to encourage children to use their imagination, to do good, help others, and to believe that anything is possible. I want my stories to be fun and entertaining, and I don’t want to present major protagonists. I feel childhood is difficult enough without throwing so much ‘bad’ at them. And I wanted the story to be thought-provoking and a conversation started, which I believe it is.

I feel that 3rd, 4th and maybe even 5th graders can gain a lot from this story, especially Christian schools! Teachers could have the students point out Christian symbolism throughout the book; like the butterfly, the light leading the way, the ability to see with belief, and so much more. I even put together a document that detailed scripture along with questions of the theme which is available on my website.

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

I currently do not have an official book in the works. I have started a memoir but that has a long way to go! I also started writing a funny book about dogs, but it will be a chapter book. My illustrator for the Hamilton Troll series has come out of hiding and might want to work on the next part of the series… we’ll see. None of those are really inspiring me at the moment, and as any good author will tell you – when you force it, the readers can tell. A good story flows through you like warm chocolate cocoa on a bitter cold day. It comes to you like a frosty breeze and dares you not to shiver! When a story comes to an author, you have a very short amount of time to get as much of it written as you can because when that muse takes off, you’re left out in the cold without your cocoa. And for me… I want it to require illustrations because I want to work with Aashay again.

I am very grateful for the reception Unibear has received, all of the wonderful reviews, the awards it has already won, along with its stellar first day almost breaking the Amazon Top 100 Best Selling books in its respective categories! I honestly feel there are more awards coming up, and I have a dream of a screenplay making this inspirational and important story into a movie! Whether or not it makes it all the way is entirely up to God! Thank you for your support and don’t forget, “The First Unibear” is not only a full-color hardback book, but you can also get the full story in the black and white coloring book, for those young eyes that need a bit more activity to keep their attention.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website1 | Website2

This happy-go-lucky little Bear cub loves to explore! One day he follows a butterfly into the dark woods where he sees a curious sight and a shimmering light. A beautiful white horse needs help and this tiny young bear hurries to save him. What follows is a magically inspirational tale of what can happen if you follow your heart, have good in your soul, and do good deeds.

Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain 

Children with ADHD fight battles most of us will never understand. Each day finds them experiencing a constant barrage of thoughts, all competing to find their way to the forefront. Parents and teachers alike can benefit from truly listening to a child’s account of an average day living with ADHD, especially Inattentive Subtype. The Inattentive Subtype of ADHD is a prevalent but often not recognized. Andrew is a child living with ADHD, and his journal-style account of his life is the focus of his mother’s book. Kristin M. Wilcox’s book describes both the child’s and the parent’s experience with this incredibly challenging disorder.

Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain is a unique account of a family’s understanding of the disorder that is a part of their day-to-day lives. Wilcox artfully divides the book into two main parts–one from her son’s perspective and one from her own. She has handed parents and teachers a thorough look at what a child hears each day as he tries to focus and time and time again loses sight of the last thought he had as easily as he breathes.

I more than appreciated Andrew’s perspective. As a teacher, I have seen many students over the years fighting their own inner battles. Only those who live with ADHD know the inner banter, and Andrew’s very thorough commentary allows readers to gain a true understanding of the chaos that can ensue and the emotional toll ADHD can take on the entire family. This is a must-read for any parent of a child with ADHD.

Wilcox manages to give readers a guide that is not only informative but simple to read. There is nothing worse than actively seeking information on a topic only to find the resources dry, boring, and incredibly difficult to understand. Wilcox bypasses all of those issues and hands readers valuable information on one of the least understood types of ADHD. I found the Wilcox family’s story to be immensely helpful in the elementary classroom. Wilcox’s appendices are a wonderful resource for families and educators. This easy-to-follow list of questions and answers regarding symptoms and signs is especially beneficial to families and educators.

I highly recommend Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain to any parent who has a child dealing with the symptoms of ADHD. Schools would benefit greatly by adding this to their teachers’ resource rooms or to their recommended reading lists. This is the book families and teachers have needed for decades.

Pages: 114 | ISBN: 195735402X

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Our Trees

If you are interested in biology and nature, Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More is definitely the book for you. In this book, you will find a compendium of trees that include past beliefs from ancient Celtic cultures and what the trees represented. You can also read about the medicinal properties and uses that the tree can offer to this day.

This fun yet informative book is also family-friendly and even has activities for kids. These games will encourage children to want to know more about the green giants that surround them. I definitely recommend reading this incredible walk through nature.

This book is aesthetically pleasing and is also very informative. Readers will definitely learn a ton about what trees can offer us. I love a book that is written with the goal of educating today’s youth and Our Trees does exactly that. While I enjoyed the book, I would have liked a deeper explanation of the Celtics Runes, because I found them so fascinating and I wanted more information.

I also enjoyed that it is an interactive book. The fact that the book has activities and games for all of the family to enjoy takes the learning experience to a whole other level. The games are a great recreational activity but they also reinforce the knowledge that is spread throughout the pages of this wonderful book.

I would even recommend it to teachers for their classrooms. You could do a whole week of activities for your students from the ideas in this amazing book. The short story at the end of this illuminating book also provides a thought-provoking narrative that will give children plenty to ponder after they put this book down.

If you are a fan of nature or are curious about learning more about trees, don’t miss out on Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More. This is an enlightening and informative book that provides an interesting array of facts about trees.

Pages: 100 | ASIN: B09TN3H6ZS

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