Blog Archives

The Garden and the Glen – Trailer

“You are all different and all perfect, just as you are. Lately, you have become more than that. Now, you reach beyond yourselves, using your differences to help your friends. That is the magic of belonging.”

A tiny blue butterfly is chased out of a yellow garden because she does not blend in.

She flees to the nearby forest glen, where she encounters a colorful band of woodland creatures-all of them expelled from the garden for the same reason-being different. The glen provides safety, friendship, and acceptance. However, it’s the garden that holds the blue butterfly’s true destiny.

A Queen, a mystical potion, and the fate of their natural world hang in the balance. The blue butterfly, and what makes her different, holds the key.

The Garden and the Glen is about the magic that finds us when we’re brave enough to be our unique selves.

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Jam Sessions: Sometimes in Middle School, the best you can do is survive

Jam Sessions: Sometimes in Middle School, the best you can do is survive. by [Jerry Harwood, Myles Richardson, Timothy Sisemore]

Jam Sessions follows a middle school boy named Phillip who has to forge a new path for himself through a new school that he’s transferred to in the middle of the school year. Phillip struggles with bullies, but finds a creative outlet in Mr. Filter’s class where he starts the day with a writing prompt that sends Phillips imagination soaring. Now, if only he could apply that creativity and passion in his real life.

Jerry Harwood has created a cast of characters that are both easy to dislike and easy to empathize with. Chuck and his friends are easily unlikable and I loved Ashley, Daniel and Jaylan. I really liked all the teachers too, especially the language arts and P.E. teachers. I did feel like Phillips mom should have played a bigger part in the story, but it didn’t hurt the story in any way. From the first time we meet Chuck I thought that he was just a pain in the butt kid who likes to be a bully and embarrass people. Chuck and his gang of hooligans didn’t really evolve much but that honestly worked for the story because they continue to be the fundamental antagonists.

Jerry Harwood does a great job detailing what a panic/anxiety attack feels like, I could almost feel and see Phillip having his attacks. It was great that he found a way to cope with his attacks. Even at the beginning when the author is describing Phillip and his mom running away from home, everything is perfectly detailed. When Phillip is standing in the back of the room on the first day of school, you could feel him praying that he is invisible and then realizing that he really had been during that class because not one person had cared about him being there or noticed his presence. It was sort of sad.

The story flowed easily and was well written. I enjoyed the small cartoon characters at the beginning of each chapter and I liked how short the chapters were. I read the book in one sitting, because it was an enjoyable read and I loved that Phillip was able to turn things around which gave the book a feel good ending.

Pages: 214 | ASIN: B0868XNSH9

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Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings

When there’s a new baby in your home, it’s easy for a child to feel jealous or forgotten because the baby will need lots of attention and care. But having the right people there for you can change everything. You can learn to be thankful for all the things in your life instead of focusing on the bad things.

Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings, by Medea Kalantar is a touching story about a little girl named Nala that has to deal with all the attention being placed on her newborn brother. She begins to wonder why her brother is getting gifts and why he’s, seemingly, more important than her. Lucky for her, Nala has a wonderful family member to talk her through it and teach her to count her blessings. She learns all about the Green-Eyed Monster and its negative effects on her. She learns to be thankful for everything in her life and to accept this new change as the blessing that it is.

The way the author is able to send a message to young readers about the importance of being thankful is amazing. She is able to write in a way that would capture any child’s attention. I enjoyed the cute and emotive drawings that do a great job of showing how Nala is feeling. This makes it easy for any reader to relate to Nala. Not only do children get an eye-catching story but they learn an important life lesson.

Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings is definitely one of the most educational books for a child to read. It teaches thing not often taught in school. Young readers will learn about gratitude and thankfulness towards things in their lives.

Pages: 37 | ASIN: B08FPK3Q53

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Children are the Future of our Society

Esther Robinson Author Interview

A little bit Extraordinary follows Juliette as she explains Down’s syndrome and promotes acceptance and diversity. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Children are the future of our society and I feel it’s important to teach them the importance of being kind, considerate and understanding. This way of being is simple and achievable and can make a huge positive impact on people’s lives. My older brother, Martin, has an ultra-rare genetic syndrome called WAGR. Growing up, I was saddened by people bullying him, making assumptions about his capabilities and by him being made to attend a different school to me. Our family connected with other families whose children had various disabilities, including Down’s syndrome. I was such a shy, reserved child and I was taken aback by the open display of affection from the children I met with Down’s syndrome; they seemed free to be who they wanted to be. I saw they had individual personalities with different traits and abilities, but other people who did not mix with people with disabilities did not necessarily understand this. Down’s syndrome affects many more people than WAGR, so focusing my book on Down’s syndrome enabled me to reach more people as they would be able to identify with the character and themes of the book more easily. I also felt that many people did not know the cause of Down’s syndrome and that this book would explain it in a simplistic way, helping to reduce prejudice and judgment, thereby encouraging understanding, acceptance and integration in education and the community.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about Down’s syndrome?

People may assume people with a disability such as Down’s syndrome are unable to contribute to society, that they don’t have any skills or talents to share with the community and ostracise them. People may assume they are stupid or don’t understand what people are saying, and think they don’t feel hurt when someone is unkind to them or bullies them. This was why it was important to introduce the theme of empathy into my book.

I loved the art in this book. What was the art collaboration like with illustrator Grainne Knox?

Gráinne was enamoured with my book idea, really believing in it having an important purpose, so I knew she would put her heart and soul into it. Gráinne paid great attention to the words I had written, so she came up with picture ideas for the stanzas that really reflected the meaning of the words. If there were no words in the book, I feel the pictures would convey the story. Gráinne was a pleasure to work with – very accommodating – and came up with great ideas. I gave her ideas on what I thought Juliette should look like and with some small changes I feel we got her appearance just right. When it came to an idea for a picture to go with the stanza on how Juliette does things differently, Gráinne put out a request on social media for ideas and a mum of a child who has a disability suggested the child lining items up in rows, while a nurse who works with children with disabilities suggested the use of Makaton, so Gráinne combined those two ideas into one picture.

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

The understanding that kindness, compassion, empathy and love enable people to live in harmony with one another and put this into practice in their daily lives.

Author Links: Facebook | Website |estherrobinson.co.uk

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A little bit EXTRAORDINARY encourages empathy and understanding while highlighting the importance of integration in schools and communities.
This story helps young readers to understand Down’s syndrome in simple terms. This book is an excellent resource for every parent, primary school and preschool and aims to help children to celebrate difference, cultivate a caring community and prevent bullying.
This book will help parents and teachers to see the potential in all children. Seeing beyond limitations and labels applied in society, adults will be more open to recognising talents and skills that children are showing, or may be shy at demonstrating, and can then help to nurture and develop these gifts.
This book teaches that when a decision is made from a place of love, it is always the right one. It also emphasises that following your joy brings fulfilment and happiness.

Pure Escapism

Wallace E Briggs
Wallace E. Briggs Author Interview

The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

In reality, the story came about out of necessity – to entertain three or four children in the approximate age range 4 – 7 yrs. They had struck up a friendship with my son on the beach, on a family holiday to Great Yarmouth, over (almost) 50 years ago. The children were forced to shelter in our beach tent during a heavy shower. Not surprisingly they were quite boisterous. “For goodness sake,” my wife, Pat, said. “Do something to quieten them down. Read them a story, or something.

As there were no story books to hand, I had to make up a story, “on the hoof”, as they say. I knew I needed a bit of magic to get their attention, so I created a witch. Observation of the small “playgroup” dynamics highlighted that there was an underdog in their group, it just happened that his hair was ginger.

Jimmy is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

The idea blossomed, of a bullied child, who looked different, in spite of which he overcame – and so Jimmy Crikey was borne to illustrate that it is possible to overcome apparent disadvantages and achieve great things. Otherwise, the adventures that Jimmy embarked upon were designed as pure escapism to keep their minds engaged for a while during the following several wet afternoons.

The story was not committed to the written word until many years later.

Jimmy has to overcome many obstacles throughout the story. What were some themes that guided the development of the novel?

The main theme I tried to get across is that with perseverance all problems can be overcome and that being different does not define the person you are.

Furthermore outright violence is rarely necessary to achieve a peaceable outcome to a dispute.

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

Another Jimmy Crikey story is well underway. It will involve enlisting the help of st least one or two of the four witches, to assist the inhabitants of the islands in the sky. I would hope it might be completed before end of 2020 but the promotion required to bring The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey to market is extremely time consuming and in the meanwhile I am the primary carer of my disabled wife/friend/companion and loved one – Pat.

And I’m also attempting to complete other stories in my portfolio, including a memoir.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Do you want to know a secret?

Beneath the very ground on which you walk and beyond the stars above your head, are more worlds than you could ever dream of. There are monsters. Be afraid. Magic, wielded by witches and sorcerers. Epic adventures in worlds far across the ocean. And fearsome weapons which threaten to destroy everything.

Jimmy Crikey is a brave soul who faces some pretty scary challenges. Solving mysteries and averting mayhem, his incredible courage allows him to free up his abilities to shine and rise above every challenge in his path, on his way to discovering why he looks so very strange.

With a bright red mop of unruly hair, big blue eyes, a small snub nose, pointed ears and enormous feet, poor Jimmy is ridiculed by the neighbourhood children and runs away in search of a world where he fits in. Following a midnight flight through the forest, he stumbles into a lost, underground world called Roombelow and magic, adventure, danger and excitement await.

From the little lady who lives at the bottom of a well, a starship that wants to take him home, trolls, little people, traders and diamonite stealers to water sprites, witches, helpful dolphins, and interplanetary warfare, Jimmy learns the biggest lessons of his life.

Captain Fantastic

Tommy Balaam
Tommy Balaam Author Interview

I’ve Got You is a fun space adventure that explores fear and helping friends overcome it. Why was this an important theme for this book?

For me, it was super important to get this book out during Covid-19 as I wanted to help any children feeling lonely and to make sure they never felt alone! It times of trouble we must stay together and look after those in need the most.

This is book one in your Captain Fantastic series. What can readers expect in book two?

The next book is ‘Captain Fantastic and the Chocolate Planet’ and will be ready for Christmas 2020:
“Good grief,” cried the captain “we’re space monster stew!
Or perhaps it’s an ogre, a witch or some new
Strange kind of monster, a space ghoul or mummy.”
“Captain,” said Winston, “I think it’s my tummy!”

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

First book in the amazing intergalactic Captain Fantastic series

Winston is one of the bravest dogs in the universe. He’s travelled through space and battled monsters with his best friend, Captain Fantastic, but there’s one thing that still scares him.

Come along on this adventure to find out what makes Winston tremble, and discover how Captain Fantastic comforts his loyal space dog so he’s once again a happy, waggy-tailed space hero.

First in the exciting new series of intergalactic adventures, based on the awesome and educational Captain Fantastic parties.

“In this lovely story about friendship and fears is an important message about being there for each other and being able to face our fears when we have someone to face them with. Now more than ever, this is an important message for children – I’ve Got You is like having a hug delivered in the form of a storybook.” Dr Gummer, Good Play Guide

Frankie Stealing Socks

Kimberley   Paterson
Kimberley Paterson Author Interview

Frankie the Ferret is a children’s picture book that teaches kids about the joy of having a ferret as a pet. What inspired you to write a story about Frankie?

Frankie the Ferret was our beloved pet for nine years and as my children were more active outside of our home, Frankie and I developed a special bond. This book outlines what it was like in a day of a ferret. Since most children have dogs or cats, I felt it would be nice to show everyone what a pet ferret is really like. My grandchildren did not get the chance to meet Frankie, they asked many questions about him so I wrote this book, dedicated it to my grandchildren so that they would see what Frankie was really like.

There are so many funny scenes in this book. My favorite was the scene of Frankie stealing the socks. What was your favorite scene from the book?

Frankie stealing socks is my favorite scene too, it was so cute to see him dragging the socks out of the laundry basket and running backwards dragging the socks with him. He loved to hide them under the couch, he always had quite the collection. We always knew where to find our socks if they were missing! Eventually, we bought him a few pairs of socks that he could call his own.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Frankie the ferret. Do you think ferrets are a good pet for children to have?

Ferrets are a great pet for children but not the younger ones. They are very smart, lovable and very funny but like all pets, they are a big responsibility and a lot of work to take care of. They are little escape artists so their time out of their cage should be inside a ferret enclosure with their toys, water, food and kitty litter pan to keep them safe.

Do you have other books planned featuring Frankie?

At this time, there is no sequel book about Frankie in the works.

Author Links: GoodReads| Twitter | Facebook | Website

Do you have a pet? Maybe a dog, or a cat, or a gold fish? Lots of people do, but not many people have a pet like Frankie the Ferret. A lovable, mischievous, and comical little fellow, Frankie fills his family home with love and laughter, and his family wants to share that with you!

Do you want to meet him? Then let’s go!

The Magical Mistake

The Magical Mistake is an adorable children’s book about a farmer who participates in his towns Annual Harvest Tasting only to find a magical cursed berry, supposedly ridded from the land, in his harvest cart. Before he’s able to remove the berry from the cart the Mayor has already begun tasting it. With the towns Mayor cursed by a magical berry farmer John must rush to find a cure.

Kaavya Shah provides young readers with a delightful story that helps build their vocabulary by introducing new words, in an easy to understand context. The glossary provided at the end of the book helps provide everything readers will need to get a full understanding of new vocabulary words and how to use them. With only two characters in this story, there is still quite a fantastical world created here. The supposedly cursed berry is not what it turns out to be, leaving readers with a bit of a mystery, but this opens the story to a continuation in a series that could explore further what this berry is. I would have liked to have seen farmer John come up with a solution to the curse, or at least provide a little backstory to the berry. As it is, it seems that the problem at the heart of the story seems to just resolve it self. Every page of the book is brightly colored and accompanied by cute vector art that suited the story well. The Magical Mistake is an entertaining story that will also build young readers vocabularies.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B08BW511YD

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