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Adventures Through Reading

Katie Marie Author Interview

T-Rex and Tuck Explore the Zoo follows a little boy as he uses his imagination to embark on an educational adventure at the zoo. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for the T-Rex and Tuck Explore series in general is my son, Tucker. He loves to go on “adventures” and has quite an imagination. He has a stuffed dinosaur that he takes along with him all over the house and this relationship was the inspiration for the “best friend” character concept. I have always enjoyed writing, but becoming a mom was the inspiration I needed to come up with the story setup and run with it. This first book, T-Rex and Tuck Explore the Zoo, came to me after our own family visit to the zoo and how much he enjoys books about animals. The next book in the series will be T-Rex and Tuck Explore Outer Space which the illustrator is currently working on.

The art in this picture book is very cute. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Jessie Johnson?

I absolutely adore the art in this picture book! Jessie Johnson, the illustrator, is very talented and was able to capture the vision for the characters exactly the way I had envisioned them. I had posted a job on the site Up Work and feel so fortunate that she applied. I had narrowed it down to a few artists and had them illustrate a character concept. She blew me away with her initial design. She is a college student in North Carolina and I am in the Kansas City area so the communication has consisted of zoom calls and emails, but I think we work well together and we are excited to continue our working relationship for the entire series! She has a bright future ahead of her.

What were some ideas that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

One of the ideas that was important to me for this children’s book was the focus on imaginative play. I love the idea that kids can go on adventures through reading and I think this story does a great job of that. I wanted the book to be engaging as far as being able to make animal noises with your kids while reading it and acting out different movements. My kids favorite books are the ones that can be interactive. I also wanted to incorporate some educational information about the animals while still making it fun to read.

When and where will this book be available?

This book is currently available on my website as well as Book Baby’s Book Shop

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Instagram


Proud in Her Hijab

Iman is teased at lunch one day by her classmates that do not understand what the hijab is and what it means. She goes home really upset and tells her family what happened. Iman’s mother, sister, and brother validate her feelings and help her see how she is not odd and has no reason to be ashamed of her hijab. They have a long conversation about each of their differences and how they each feel about their different hairstyles. Her mother reminds her that doing hair together is part of their family bonding and traditions.

Proud in Her Hijab: A Story of Family Strength, Empowerment, and Identity is a heartwarming picture book that will not only educate but help young girls feel confident in their choices. While this story focuses on a young Muslim girl wearing her hijab, the message does apply to all children because everyone is unique.

Author Zinet Kemal has written a beautiful children’s book in a way that is conversational, easy to understand, and relatable to children in elementary school. Kemal delicately approaches a difficult topic. Rather than just brushing it off after the family talks, Iman confronts her classmates to educate them and let them know their behavior is hurtful. Iman learns to take pride in her identity and speak up for herself, this is a great message to pass on to young children, especially girls.

This colorful picture book is illustrated by Mia Hay. The illustrations are bold and bright, and the characters are brought to life through these striking images. The combination of the fantastic illustrations and Kemal’s description of the hijab will draw in young readers and encourage them to learn more.

Proud in Her Hijab: A Story of Family Strength, Empowerment, and Identity is a well-conceived and educational picture book for young readers. This is an excellent resource for teachers and parents to teach about diversity and inclusion, different cultures, and kindness.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B099NX1GTV

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Sticky Icky Vicky

Vicky loves the outdoors. It doesn’t matter how dirty the activity is, Vicky does it with all her heart. She is very proud of her nickname Sticky Icky Vicky that was given to her by her two best friends Rhea and Betty. Vicky did have one fear though, water. When she was just three years old she almost drowned in the ocean. Her dad saved her, but ever since she avoids the water, even baths. But one day Betty invites Vicky to her birthday party and it is at a waterslide park. Vicky must overcome her fear or she will not be able to go to the party.

Picture book Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear by authors Alysia and Michael Ssentamu tells the story of a courageous young girl that has to battle her fear of the water in order to not miss out on fun things with her friends. Believe in yourself is the theme of the book and it is presented in a tangible way that elementary school-age children will be able to conceptualize.

Illustrator Noor Alshalabi uses her colorful and whimsical drawings to engage children in this heartwarming story of overcoming fears. The stunning artwork will draw in readers and really bring this meaningful story to life. The authors include at the end of the book statements and questions for teachers and parents to use to open up the discussion of fear with children. This is an invaluable resource for this complex topic. Another great inclusion to this extraordinary children’s book is a QR code to the audio reading of the book.

Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear is a great character-building picture book for elementary-age children. Parents and teachers will love the resources included in helping bring home this topic and make the concept approachable to children.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B09JHXG2NM

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The Greatest Light

When two children asked Poppy what the greatest light is, the three of them go on an adventure to discover the answer. While trying to discover the greatest light the three get balloons in the park, have some cookies, eat by a fire and catch lightning bugs. While enjoying all these fun activities the children see people that could use some help and they gladly go about helping. Poppy just watches and tells them how kind they are to help out others.

The Greatest Light is a feel-good Christian picture book that communicates the message of kindness and how we should help those in need. Tim & Cindy Morrison have written a story that is easy for children to understand using themes and topics that will appeal to young kids. Steve Worthington illustrates the story in a whimsical manner. The pages look like watercolor paintings and the colors used highlight the focus of each page. Together the prose and artwork create an engaging and entertaining book to read to children that will draw them into the story and teach without feeling like a lesson.

The Greatest Light is heartwarming and spiritual book ideal for parents, teachers, and those in religious education. This Christian picture book will emphasize that kindness is achievable in your day to day interactions

Pages: 54 | ISBN-10: ‎ 1664231641

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