Blog Archives

Butterball Goes to the Beach

BUTTERBALL Goes to the Beach by [Seaborn, Julia]

Butterball is a fun-loving dog who enjoys playing with all types of balls. He’s curious about the world around her, and loves visiting the beach. When Butterball and her owner arrive at the beach, Butterball immediately begins to explore and forms some new friendships as she roams. Along the way, she learns how she compares with her new seaside friends. When her exploration goes a tad too far, Butterball relies on her new pals to get her out of a tight spot.

As an elementary teacher, I can’t say enough positive things about Butterball Goes to the Beach by Julia Seaborn. Seaborn’s book about Butterball’s beach adventure is simple to read but contains enough challenging vocabulary to make it a wonderful teaching tool. This short picture book fits easily into a life science lesson for kindergarten through second grade students and features illustrations that engage readers and emphasize the educational aspects of the story line.

A unique aspect of Butterball Goes to the Beach is the author’s choice to include websites with further information about the sea turtles mentioned in the book. In addition, Seaborn has added a short list of discussion questions at the end of the book for teachers and parents to use to engage readers more completely with the book and its characters. Young readers will enjoy the activity pages following the story as well.

Seaborn’s book is an easy and engaging way to involve students with both an interesting main character and to teach facts simultaneously. I highly recommend Butterball Goes to the Beach to any teacher or parent needing a picture book for a text set or unit on sea life.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B07V71XNT1

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Close to Impossible

April Pulliam Author Interview

April Pulliam Author Interview

Bottom Down, Penelope Brown portrays the difficulties children face with having so much energy and having to stay in their seat. What was your inspiration that made you want to write this book?

My third graders inspire me in many ways. Penelope Brown is a combination of many characteristics I have observed in students over the years. Every year I notice students who work better standing up or leaning over their desks because sitting is just not their style. Sitting at a desk the better part of the day is tough for all of us–children with excess energy find it close to impossible. I felt like it was time those students had a character with which they could identify. You don’t see too many of those characters in pictures books–the ones who can’t sit still and actually have someone in their school experience who understands.

As a teacher, how do you handle energetic kids in your own classroom?

It took me a few years to really grasp that sitting still and being quiet all day was not the way to go. I try really hard to incorporate opportunities for my students to get up and out of their seats with games and activities that still address the standards we are currently studying. Life became easier for me as a teacher when I decided to let those who wanted to stand up to work just stand up. If they listen better with their knees in their chairs and aren’t blocking anyone’s view, well, they can sit that way.

This story is very cute and fun. What was your favorite scene to write?

I think the scene at the table with Ms. Flowers was my favorite one–that moment when Ms. Flowers realizes what Penelope is trying to ask her. When Penelope’s light bulb goes off–that’s the moment you hope every student gets a chance to have.

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

Our next book is very different from our first two. This one is nonfiction and will be a combination of photos and illustrations. It’s a look at Amy’s family’s homeplace through her eyes. The house predates the civil war and holds a special place in the hearts of her family members. We are excited about it!

Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

"Bottom Down, Penelope Brown!" by [Pulliam, April B.]Penelope Brown is a bundle of energy, and everyone in Mighty Oak Elementary knows it. Year after year, Penelope hopes she will find herself in a classroom where she can truly be her delightfully happy self–each year she is disappointed. Will third grade be any different?

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Literary Titan Book Awards August 2019

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Kept Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 3) by [Smith, Tarrant]Surrendered Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 4) by [Smith, Tarrant]Resurrected Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 5) by [Smith, Tarrant]

One Fire Burns Out Another's Burning (Wheeler Book 3) by [Zalesky, Sara Butler]The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune's Dark Side by [Corwin, Marc]Scooter Nation (Unapologetic Lives Series Book 2) by [Funkhauser, A.B.]

Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in World War II by [Nannini, Marcus A.]I Have Demons by [Adam, Christopher]

Bolan's Quest II: The Rise of the Gnarlis by [Simmonds, Paul]The Silver is Mine by [Phillips, Jason Roger]

W900 by [McNulty, Tom]Don't Drink the Pink by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

"Bottom Down, Penelope Brown!" by [Pulliam, April B.]The Enchanters' Child by [Sarikonda, Navya]For The Love Of Alison by [Diver, Sahlan]

The Trial of Connor Padget by [Roberts, Carl]The Dung Beetles of Liberia: a novel based on true events by [Meier, Daniel V. Jr.]Wings at Dawn by [Balustrade, Marie ]

Burn Marks: A strange time for letters by [II, Robert D. Rice]FRAGILE MIND: Mental Health Poetry by [Thompson, Wesley]The Journal by [Stevens, R. D.]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania

Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]

The magical forests of Germania beckon! When five-year-old Stan is invited to a party by a talking Fern, he eagerly enters a lush, verdant world of discovery. When Stan falls ill, his forest friends find a cure. When he gets lost, they guide him home. The forest’s generosity truly knows no bounds.

Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania reveals the protective and healing powers of the forest and its vegetation. Author Gloria Gonsalves cleverly teaches children the names and characteristics of plants, and their ability to heal or harm. Her enchanting fable reveals the countless ways the Earth protects and provides. The true magic of this book is in the illustrations that were created by children. Each drawing is engaging and gives the story an added layer of meaning through the imaginations of young artists. It is a heart-warming story that speaks to the giving nature of the Earth.

Pages: 61 | ASIN: B07926X9S4

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My Inspiration for the Elaborate Mousetrap

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

The World’s Greatest Mousetrap follows Reginald as he tries his best to rid his shop of a pesky mouse. How did you come up with the idea behind this book?

It really began with the text on the first page. When I began writing the book, I had intended on having the bookstore as a small library. The only idea I had at the time was that I wanted to contrast the small, quiet and familiar world of a building (and the person within it) that had managed to keep out the expanding and fast paced world growing up about them.

After the first page, I knew I could take the story in a number of directions, but I decided that I really wanted to focus on that idea of our small worlds being challenged – not from the outside, but from within.

The elaborate mousetrap that Reginald builds was cute, and I ended up staring at the image for a few minutes just to take it all in. What served as your inspiration when creating the mousetrap?

I’m happy to hear that you lingered on that page – that was exactly what I hoped readers might do. I’ve always loved books that invite you to spend time looking over them in detail.

I think perhaps what served as my inspiration for the elaborate mousetrap, were the strange inventions and Rube Goldberg machines in the classic film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. I enjoyed the over-the-top attempts to solve a problem and I wanted to inject that humour into the book.

That page was actually one of the more difficult ones I think for me to describe to Fanny Liem (the book’s illustrator). I hope I didn’t frustrate her too much, but I think we went through three revisions. Each time, I asked her to make it bigger and more complex. In my mind, I had levers and tubes and gears crowding the shop so much that they were invading the street. In the end, I think she rightfully restrained the idea to something that someone of Reginald’s age could manage. She did a fantastic job I think with not only the mousetrap, but with all the illustrations.

I think, in the end, this book is about unlikely friendships. What was a guiding theme for you when writing this book?

I really wanted to create a fun and accessible story about prejudice and the worlds that we create around ourselves that can often hinder our capacity to see the similarities in others.

Reginald’s world is safe. He knows who he is and he knows what he likes. The mouse ends up invading that world and obviously setting into motion a series of events that leads to Reginald confronting his own prejudgements.

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

The next book is called Don’t Drink the Pink and is about a young girl and the magical relationship she has with her Grandfather. Like all my other books, there are a number of layers that I hope will appeal to a wide age group. It will be available August 1, 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The World's Greatest Mousetrap by [Fegan, B.C.R.]When Reginald finds a mouse in his bookstore, he will stop at nothing to catch the pesky critter. Even if it means building the world’s greatest mousetrap. Unfortunately for Reginald, the mouse always seems to be one step ahead.

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Yara’s Tawari Tree

Yara's Tawari Tree (Book 1)

Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid is a children’s short fiction story that takes place in the rain forest. A young girl named Yara and her mother live a self-sustaining life surrounded by nature. One day, a Parrot named Chant leads Yara to the seedling of a Tawari tree that is in danger of being cut by big machines. Yara digs up the plant to save it and replants it near her home. But will her care of the seedling be enough to keep the Tawari tree alive?

I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked that part of the story was told from the point of view of the seedling of the Tawari tree and it talked to Yara, asking for her help. The story flowed well and had a lyrical quality to it due to the author’s use of rhyming lines.

The book was illustrated by Joanna Pasek, and I really liked the pictures that accompanied the story. I loved the illustrator’s use of vivid colors. The landscape scenes looked like paintings. It appeared that watercolors were used, along with another medium.

I enjoyed the ending of the story. Yara saved the seedling, and then tea made from the bark of the grown Tawari tree ended up saving Yara when she was sick. Her kind act came full circle, though she had expected nothing in return for her good deed.

I liked the book’s message that nature should be cherished and we must care for it to ensure that it will continue to be here for people to enjoy.

Pages: 40 | ISBN: 9780997389951

NetGalley

Literary Titan Book Awards June 2019

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Children of the Elements: A Steampunk Adventure by [Wanders, Ora]The Monk (The Monk Series Book 1) by [McKeever, Timony]Swordpoint by [Crane, David]

The Rhine (Harmony Book 1) by [Dean, R.L.]My Name is Erin, and My Mom's an Addict by [Voltaire, Amy]

Oink and Gobble and the 'No One Can Ever Know Secret' (Oink and Gobble Book Series 1) by [Whaler, Norman]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Layers of Deception: An utterly gripping, international crime thriller. by [James, Leo]Destined To Date A Good Man: No More Counterfeits! by [Thomas, Daisy]

The Dark Age Chronicles: Eve of the Hunters by [Bailey, T. L.]The Obsession (Jackie Austin Mysteries Book 1) by [Brotherton, Dawn]The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Infinity 7: Gods Among Men (Infinity Wars Book 1) by [Cosby, Braxton A., Dodds, Keshawn, Champion, Chayil]Traveller Inceptio by [Shackleford, Rob]

Image result for Kirby Lord MyrrendrylA Christmas Carol: (Retold by Norman Whaler and Illustrated by Bianca Milacic) by [Whaler, Norman]

The Silver Tabby by [Higgins, Rachael]Hurtsy the Harrowed Hedgehog: A Future Selves Series by [Graves, Cindy]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Not Enforcing Sameness

Rachael Higgins Author Interview

Rachael Higgins Author Interview

The Silver Tabby is a wonderfully illustrated children’s book about a kitten that struggles to fit in with the other cats. What was your inspiration behind this kids book?

The Silver Tabby was initially written as a high school English assignment. At the time, the class was studying the topic of myths and fairytales, and how the stories portrayed a message or lesson to pass on to the next generation. The assignment task was to write and illustrate a story that embedded a lesson relevant to our societal paradigm. In completing the assignment, I wanted to pass on the message that differences can be beneficial, and that no-one should be judged based on their appearance of being different. I was inspired by authors such as Beatrix Potter and A. A. Milne, with their use of animal characters to portray their stories. Having a love of animals myself, I wanted to use animals in my story to spread a message of hope, kindness, and reconciliation. I also followed the commonly heard writer’s advice of “write what you know” and incorporated some of my own experiences of being considered different, spending time alone; as a result, then receiving acceptance.

Over the years, since the original high school assignment, The Silver Tabby has been redrafted and revamped, but the inspiration and passion in telling the story have remained the same. I believe that passing on the message of accepting others for who they truly are, and not enforcing sameness, is an essential lesson to teach our future generations.

Are you a cat person or a dog person (I’m guessing a cat person)? Do you have any pets that this story was based on?

I would say that I am an animal person in general, not specific to being a cat person or a dog person. However, I have had both animals as pets in the past as well as guinea pigs, and most recently, rats. I’m the type of person who will go for a walk and rescue a lost or injured animal or will visit an animal shelter and want to adopt all the animals to make sure they have a happy, loving, and safe home.

When I originally started writing The Silver Tabby, I had a short-hair silver tabby cat named Silver who the main character of the book is based on. The real Silver was born from my families’ then neighbour’s cat, who had chosen the enclosed area where our hot water tank was stored, below our Queenslander-style home, as a warm, safe place to birth her litter of kittens. The kittens were a mix of tortoiseshells, ginger tabbies, and black furred kittens; Silver was the only silver tabby. Our neighbours called Silver’s mother, Mama Cat. Mama Cat would lead the kittens between our house and the neighbour’s; Silver would venture away from the litter and come inside our house and make herself comfortable while I read. I think Silver really ended up adopting me rather than the other way round.

I loved the illustrations in this book. What was the collaboration like between you and the illustrator Grace Elliott?

Grace is fantastic to work with; I would recommend any author seeking an illustrator for their children’s book to look Grace up on Instagram. Initially, I showed Grace a draft of the text and concept of illustrations that I had drawn years ago for the high school assignment; and later digitally remastered for a later draft. Then Grace worked her magic on the artwork for The Silver Tabby. I feel I made the right decision collaborating with Grace, rather than illustrating the story myself. Grace’s artwork compliments the text and sets the scenes of the story, bringing the characters to life, in a way that I couldn’t have done myself.

As an artist, Grace was willing to accept feedback and advice from other artists, as we amended drafts, and she shared my vision as the author for how the book might look as a finished product. Most of our collaboration was done online, as I spent a lot of the last year moving intercity and overseas, Grace was very patient and understanding throughout every pause and readjustment that was made during the production of The Silver Tabby. I am very grateful to have had Grace onboard for the project, and would gladly work with Grace again.

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

I have a couple of concepts that I am working on at the moment. Another illustrated book that poetically portrays the epic clash between Heaven and Hell. I expect this book will be available within the next year or two. The other concept is a romantic story of undetermined length, and availability, at this stage; although I anticipate the story to evolve into a novella if not a novel.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram

The Silver Tabby by [Higgins, Rachael]

The Silver Tabby is about a kitten named Silver who struggles with being different from the other kittens in her litter.

Then one day, Silver manages to become the same as the other kittens. Excited to meet a new friend, all the kittens play happily together. But, Silver’s disguise does not last long.

When the other kittens discover their new friend is Silver, will she still be accepted?

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Hurtsy: The Harrowed Hedgehog

Hurtsy: The Harrowed Hedgehog by [Graves, Cindy]

Hurtysy is dealing with a unique hedgehog problem. Anyone that touches her gets hurt by her quills. And because of this, Hurtsy is sad and feels bad. In this story Hurtsy meets several animals that are hurting one another and Hurtsy wants to show them how to love, but she can’t because of her sharp quills. Hurtsy must use some bravery and ingenuity to solve this prickly problem.

Every page of this wonderful children’s book is artistically drawn and each piece of art is bright and colorful and fits the tone of the story. Throughout the story Hurtsy is followed by a thought bubble which shows her inner feeling; which is often different from what she is showing to others. I thought this was a unique way to show kids how sometimes our external appearance hides our internal emotions. I really like how this book was able to help kids visualize a complex idea like this.

The story is told in rhyme which flows nicely. The words are easy to understand, but this is a book that adults will want to read to kids because of the aforementioned complex emotional ideas delivered in this book. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern the thoughts from the person as Hurtsy interacts with her own thought bubble.

This is a very cute story that delivers an important message in a unique way. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to teach their kids about emotions, talking about them, learning tough lessons, and reconciling differences between people.

Pages: 26 | ASIN: B07D734LK3

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Oink and Gobble and the ‘No One Can Ever Know Secret’

Oink and Gobble and the 'No One Can Ever Know Secret' (Oink and Gobble Book Series 1) by [Whaler, Norman]

The story Oink and Gobble and the ‘No One Can Ever Know Secret’ is a children’s book about a group of farm animals trying to keep a secret from the humans living with them. The two main characters, Oink and Gobble, spend all of their time together, and are best friends. When Oink goes to talk to Gobble, she thinks he is joking about the little girl that’s been watching him. He lets Gobble know that the girl may suspect that they can talk. They both get worried that their secret may be revealed.

Oink and Gobble and the ‘No One Can Ever Know Secret’ is a interesting story! It really grabs the audience’s attention. The book has a great plot that utilizes suspense and humor in exciting ways throughout the story. The characters are lovable and have their own unique personalities! The change in font size definitely made the story more suspenseful, and allows the reader to understand the importance of those words. This story is definitely good for kids that are still beginners at reading. There aren’t any huge words that would be too hard to understand. The art is cute, using bright colors to showcase characters that are really emotive. The pictures make the story even more enjoyable and makes it easy for kids to imagine each scene; as it’s a still image of an animated cartoon. This is a book that is easy for kids to enjoy, and is one that kids would want to read over and over!

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07L5W3SS6

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