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Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari

Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is a fun children’s book following young twins Kate and Tate as they go on a Safari adventure powered by their imagination. This is a charming children’s book that shows kids the power of imagination.

When Kate and Tate are introduced the meaning of their names are explained to the reader. Which I thought was wonderful because this provides a great opportunity for young readers to think about what their names mean. The story then show Kate and Tate brushing their teeth before they head out because ‘no adventure starts until these tasks are complete’. This is another great example of the great lessons this book teaches kids. It seems like every page of this book has a great lesson to learn.

The art in the book is bright and captures the readers attention with a vivid cartoon style. I loved the image of Kate and Tate brushing their teeth as it was funny, but the wonderful images of the Safari were also magnificent. I would have liked to have seen a scene where it shows reality vs. imagination so kids could understand the difference, but this is still a story that is fun and entertaining.

Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is an educational and enjoyable adventure that takes readers on a journey powered by creativity and imagination. This is a lively kids book that I highly recommend.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B09CHGKNQN

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Lulu the Moon Catcher

Lulu the Moon Catcher by [Tyler Zen]

Lulu The Moon Catcher follows a little girl that blazes her own path in life. She doesn’t fit in with any group of friends, boys or girls. Lulu is fearless, energetic and curious about the world. I wish I had her energy. She climbs trees, rides animals, catches bugs and plays in the mud. But even among all the fun and adventure she has no friends to share it with. Lulu sets out to prove to everyone that she’s not afraid of the moon and hatches a plan to capture it.

Lulu is a high-spirited girl that I loved following. The art in the book is bright and expertly drawn and really shows off the wide range of emotions the characters have throughout the book. My child loved looking at all the extra creatures and toys on each page. Each page is vivid and detailed and really captures a child’s attention. Within this beautifully illustrated picture book is a wonderful life lesson about being yourself and accepting people for who they are. This is all told through a fun story about a little girl who creates her own adventures that I love reading about.

Lulu The Moon Catcher is an extraordinary children’s book following an energetic little girl. This is one of the funnest kids books I’ve read this year. With an adorable main character, brilliant illustrations, and a humorous storyline, children will surely fall in love with this adventurous story.

Pages: 56 | ASIN: B098HKKGX9

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Enchanted Forest Adventures

Aimee C Trafton
Aimee C Trafton Author Interview

Amber Tambourine and the Land of Laugh-a-Lot follows a young girl into a wonderous land where she makes many friends, but she worried she wont’ be able to find her way back. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As a child I lived in a house with a backyard that was all forest and farmland. I used to wander around back there and make up little adventures for myself and imaginary friends. So certainly that was an inspiration for Amber’s backyard enchanted forest adventures.

As a child I was also obsessed with “magical otherworlds” as I call them – like when Dorothy went to the Land of Oz…or in the movie “Brigadoon” where a magical village only appears for one day every 100 years. The Land of Laugh-a-Lot is a “magical otherworld” I created based on these inspirations.

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene was the most fun to write and illustrate?

I loved creating the look and feel of Laugh-a-Lot – it is a very colorful and vibrant place with lots of interesting characters, so definitely the scene where she first encounters this magical place is my favorite.

What do you hope young readers take away from your book?

In the book, Amber and her family have just moved to a new house and she has left her old life and friends behind. It is at its core a book about transitions in a child’s life, but I hope that it will impart the message that although change can be hard and scary, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to move on, and sometimes life will take you in new and exciting directions you never thought possible.

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

I have so many ideas whirling around in my head for future Amber Tambourine books, so that is a possibility. Still in the process of figuring it all out at the moment, but I just kind of go where the inspiration takes me – that for me is the fun of writing!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Amber Tambourine is a sad, lonely little girl who has moved far away from her friends. Then one day, she and her doggies, Bandit and Roxy, encounter a polka dot rainbow. Suddenly, they find themselves in the Land of Laugh-a-Lot, where people are happy – ALL THE TIME! They laugh, they play…then they laugh some more. In no time at all, Amber makes many new friends and is happy once more. But this poses a dilemma: Amber knows she must return home, but if she leaves, will she ever be able to find her way back?

An Important Message For Children

An image posted by the author.
Vikki Lynn Smith Author Interview

A Stranger in the Clearing follows a golden retriever that discovers a unique deer hiding in the woods and they both realize there is more to the deer than meets the eye. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration came while I was driving down the road one evening, I saw what I thought was a goat playing in the field with a group of deer. I almost ran off the road watching it. I quickly looked it up when I got home and found that it was a piebald deer. I wondered what it must be like to be a spotted white deer out in the woods, being so different and visible. I had started writing stories for my students to help them understand science terminology, and knew that writing about Pi, in terms of mutation and adaptation, would help them remember the vocabulary. The surprise was the natural moral lesson that came out in the writing process. The lesson that it’s not the color of your skin that makes you special, but your actions to do something for others that makes you the most prized animal in your community.

The art in the book is vivid and colorful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Marcela Werkema?

Marcela is AMAZING. She lives in Brazil, and considering the language and environmental differences, it’s simply incredible what she has done with my illustration suggestions. The idea behind the book was to draw the reader in with 3-D like illustrations that popped off the page. As an animator she realized that my request was also important because books now compete with technology, and today’s children what fast moving literature.

She is so talented, learning what all the animals looked like from photos I sent and suggestions I made. Parents quickly buy the book once they turn the pages and see the stunning artwork.

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

There is not doubt that the main theme focuses on “loving yourself” and “doing something good for others.” I believe this is an important message for children to learn at an early age so that it gets embedded into their psyche. In this volatile world where parents are not able to guide their child throughout their day to make good choices, it helps the child to be reminded through good literature what to do. This book couldn’t have come out at a better time in this tumultuous world.

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

Thank you for asking! My next book is currently at the publisher and it’s called A New Home For Grayce. The story is about Grayce the Groundhog who keeps getting displaced by humans as they develop roads, homes and golf courses. Like so many children today, especially foster children and military children, they must move to new homes more than most. So I wanted to show these children that even though they may have to move a lot, they will always find friends if they put themselves out there. And one day, they just might find their forever home. What is so exciting about this new book is the illustrator. Chad Thompson worked as an animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios in the movies Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear. He graciously stepped in for Mercela Werkema when Covid hit Brazil so hard. It is amazing how he has captured Mercela’s style of illustrations while incorporating his own to make A New Home for Grayce just as special as the first two books in the In the Woods Series. The book will be out this holiday season.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Pi, a unique deer from the Great Forest, arrives in the Woods in search of friends and a new home. The animals of the Woods are surprised by Pi’s arrival, but quickly realize she needs all the love they can give her. Will she discover what it truly means to sacrifice all she loves to be accepted by others? Will she learn the importance of family and the love they give?

A Dog Can Teach Us A Lot

Author Interview
Brad Malm Author Interview

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog follows a spirited dog on adventures around town that show readers how a positive attitude can help overcome any obstacle. Why was this an important kids book for you to write?

First off, I wanted to write it as a tribute to my dog, Oliver, who really is a wonder dog. I also wanted to deliver a positive message to the reader on the importance of courage, determination, resilience, and compassion toward others. A dog can teach us a lot about those traits.

The book shows Oliver helping people around town. What scene did you have the most fun creating?

The scene where Oliver goes into town and is greeted by the townspeople was probably the most fun to create. The illustrator added a lot of nice detail to really make it come alive. It’s a double page panoramic scene where you will notice something new each time you look at it.

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

Overcoming obstacles in your life, helping others, and having fun in the process.

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

A love for dogs and reading!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

From underdog to Wonder Dog! You and your

family will be amazed by Oliver the Wonder

Dog as he overcomes his limitations to show

that nothing can stand in your way if you

have the right attitude. Witness Oliver’s

heroics in the town of Splendorville as

he tows in a wayward row boat, saves a

school bus from danger, and even stops

a bank robbery! He manages all this

while being tempted by his favorite snack

– freshly baked donuts. His courage and

bravery payoff in the end – the whole town

shows their appreciation and honor him

with a hero’s medal. This is one impressive

puppy whose adventures will quicken your

pulse and have your heart pounding.

Empower Any Parent And Educator

Sheena L. Smith Author Interview

All Kids Can Thrive is a holistic educational resource for the education of children with special needs. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I felt that it was important to write this book at this time because many parents and educators are struggling for answers and ways to cope through these very challenging times both personally and professionally. Everyone strives to make a difference and it can be frustrating when it seems that you can’t reach a child or simply do not know what to do to help empower a student or even your own child. That is why I’ve searched the world for programs, courses, and mentors to enable me to help others. The biggest yet most surprising discovery is that relationships and safety are two keys to motivating active learning. 

‘All Kids Can Thrive’ is for all educators whether the students have special needs or not. Each child is unique and should be valued exactly as they are. ‘All Kids Can Thrive’ is a resource filled with many tips, tools and strategies to empower any parent and educator to be successful with implementation and use of  problem-solving tools.

What is a common misconception you feel most people have about special needs classrooms?

One misconception is that children with special needs should be in their own segregated classroom. That is not inclusion! For true inclusion to exist, students should be part of mainstream classes with meaningful programming adjusted to their abilities and skill levels. Studies show there are many benefits for all with inclusion.  Sadly, despite proof of its benefits, inclusion still has a long way to go with regards to educational settings.

People tend to forget that students with special needs have a right to belong and a right to be treated and honoured as valuable citizens of our communities. This should include the right to be included in regular classrooms with proper support and training for the educators.

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

Throughout this book it was essential that I stressed the importance of treating the whole child-mind, body and spiritually. Each child has their own unique gifts, talents and strengths and it is important to assess and build upon those abilities. Honoring a child’s culture and heritage is important to develop a better understanding of thoughts, beliefs, and actions. When the whole child is considered, they can grow, develop, and reach their highest potential physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

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

I would love for the reader to see how important they are for the success of the child and that the reader discovers that no matter what the problem is – there is always an answer. Relationships are an important key, and any child can thrive if they have at least one responsible, caring adult in their corner rooting for them that is willing to protect, value and love them.  Love matters most!

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter

Empowering Solutions for Educators of Children with Special Needs
Many teachers, educational assistants, counsellors, trauma coaches, and school administrators are searching for ways to empower students struggling with behaviour management problems, lack of self-awareness, and limited control of their emotions. Unsolved lagging skills may result in angry outbursts, frustration, and low self-esteem in students.
By applying the tools found in All Kids Can Thrive educators will be inspired and feel grateful knowing that you made a difference by enriching your students’ lives simply by allowing them to be themselves—and by being the best version of yourself.
Author Sheena Smith has been a special education assistant for over 20 years and has raised four children, including two children with special needs—one has Spina bifida and the other has Down syndrome. She knows the challenges children face daily both at home and within the educational system.
A strong advocate for meeting her children’s needs in the school environment and within the community, she has travelled and studied extensively seeking inclusive ways to help children with restricted physical mobility and intellectual disabilities to learn and thrive.
This book is the result. All Kids Can Thrive is filled with valuable information for anyone that works with children or has children with or without disabilities. Educators and parents will discover a wide variety of approaches, tools, and strategies to wholly empower each child to strive for balance within their own mind, body, and spirit.
Some of the takeaways for educators include:
The essential pieces of the puzzle for raising consciousness within your classroom, school, and community environment by teaching the whole child
How to prevent burnout and overwhelm despite current circumstances—turn chaos to calm!
How the body and brain (mind) are intricately linked on all levels physically and psychologically including emotions, decision-making processes, and wellness
Understand why daily, regular movement is not only essential but critically important
What the brain does under stress and how students can easily build new neural pathways
What potential exists through the science of neuroplasticity
How your intuition is one of your best assets when working with children
Evidence-based interventions that embrace the whole child to lower stress, build resilience, empower students to develop self-regulation skills
The basics of the Polyvagal theory and how understanding it can benefit your students
The secrets to building strong, positive relationships and connections
Proven methods to assist your students in becoming more “life ready” when they graduate
All Kids Can Thrive will help you understand your key role in the future of education not just as a teacher but as a coach to guide, motivate and inspire students to achieve their own level of greatness through their skills, natural gifts, and talents. It includes numerous resource links, websites, and freebies for you to pursue further learning.
Use the Look Inside feature to begin reading now and discover how All Kids Can Thrive with the right tools and …Love Matters Most!. Available in eBook and paperback.


Teaching is hard. There are no two ways about it. It is a demanding profession and is possibly the most underappreciated and simultaneously most important career out there. Somehow, day after day and year after year, teachers continue to make it work with limited resources. Were it not for teachers like Sheena Smith who dedicate their lives to making sure students not only learn but thrive, our educational system would be a travesty indeed.

All Kids Can Thrive: A Holistic Education Resource for a Successful and Conscious Classroom, by Sheena L. Smith, serves as both a fantastic resource for teachers and a pick-me-up for those of us who are at our wits’ end with the current onslaught of changes in education. It is easy to fall into a trap and believe that some children just aren’t able to meet their potential. Many factors mesh together to create a negative atmosphere, and it is one that is incredibly difficult to break through. Smith, however, manages to provide an upbeat handbook that focuses on the silver lining in a sometimes very dark cloud.

One of the most appealing aspects of Smith’s work is the fact that she includes an endless list of resources for every possible scenario. Whether she is addressing self-respect or explaining the benefits of mindfulness, she never fails to include authors who have impacted her own methods. She is a fountain of knowledge, and her book is one every teacher needs in his/her back pocket.

As an elementary teacher who has seen more than my share of heartbreaking situations over the last 25 years, I can say that Smith is dead on. Our children need to be met where they are–wherever that may be. I love the fact that Smith goes into great detail to teach readers about various coping skills and meditation. In addition, she stresses that attention should be paid to the different learning styles our children all exhibit. Recent teaching strategies seem to have left this by the wayside, and I am glad to see Smith, for one, realizes and touts their importance.

All Kids Can Thrive is all-inclusive, hits every major dilemma and scenario a teacher can encounter, and gives practical tips that just make sense. Every child can thrive–Smith knows it, and through her writing and expertise, she is going to make a difference in classrooms everywhere. This is a true must read for new teachers and veteran teachers alike.

Pages: 218 | ASIN: B093HLYF6H

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The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog by [Brad Malm]

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog is a wonderfully illustrated children’s picture book that follows the exciting adventures of a spunky Australian Shepherd. Oliver is deaf, but you would not know it by watching him play. Oliver takes young readers around town as he does his best to help everyone he meets. His heroics pay off in the end when he stops a bank robbery in true super hero fashion.

All of the art in this entertaining children’s book is beautifully illustrated with vivid colors in a striking comic art style that will surely capture kids’ attention. There is plenty to look at on each page. I did not even see the bird with the lollipop in his mouth until my child pointed it out.

We follow Oliver as he rescues several people throughout town in creative ways that highlight his bravery and willingness to help others in need. This book does a fantastic job of showing how one’s attitude can go a long way in overcoming obstacles.

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog is one of the most charming children’s books I have read this year. With easy-to-understand language and a fun story, this will be a great read for new readers or for parents to read to their children before bed time.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B08WWV16YJ

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