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Literary Titan Book Awards December 2021

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.

Gold Award Winners

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The World Between Us by Diane Farrugia

 

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

 

The Tale of The Pumpkin Seed Squad

The Tale of The Pumpkin Seed Squad tells a buoyant and spirited children’s story about a fun-loving field mouse that wants to play football. But when he tries to play with the human ball, it’s too big and he gets squished. Luckily his friend Gus has come up with a creative solution for the field mice to play football. The game that ensues if a thrilling match of football that is animated and funny.

I really enjoyed how this story used a simple premise like football and twisted it to include a merry group of mice creatively playing a wholesome game. This children’s book gets a lot more in depth with the game then I thought it was going to, which I really appreciated and I think kids who like the sport will also really enjoy.

This is a fantastic book for elementary school readers as it tells a story with many scenes that will help test their reading comprehension. It includes interesting and easy flowing rhymes that conveys the joyful tone of the story. This is a wonderfully educational book in a variety of ways as it teaches sportsmanship, friendship, thinking creatively, along with helping with reading comprehension.

The Tale of The Pumpkin Seed Squad is an imaginative picture book that will be a great fit in any elementary teacher’s classroom. This is also a great book to get children during autumn or football season. With a delightful cast of characters and a charming art style, this is a children’s book that is fun from beginning to end.

Pages: 40 | ISBN: 1643610627

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Delilah & Samson Adventures World

Delilah & Samson Adventures World by [Miz  Marta]

It’s not unusual for a child to be close with a pet, but the bond between Delilah and Samson goes beyond a normal connection. Delilah’s big heart and fearless nature would make it easy for her to confront those that would dare to hurt and exploit animals anyway, but the support of Samson, a huge German shepherd, makes it possible. With the help of various other animal friends in the neighborhood, Delilah and Samson go on adventures, saving animals in need and stopping the people responsible. As the years pass, they continue their good deeds, never revealing themselves as the heroes they are.

Delilah & Samson Adventures World by Miz Marta introduces us not only to the title characters, but an entire host of animals who play a part in their adventures. The book is a delightful combination of children’s fantasy and educational blurbs about the natural world. Each chapter begins with an informational piece about the animal being featured in that particular story, with details about their habitats, diet, and physical appearances, just to name a few. Delilah’s romps with Samson read just like something a big hearted and adventurous child would imagine doing with a beloved pet, and all the chapters focus on a central theme of kindness and compassion toward the animal kingdom. Even in the chapters where another creature stands as the villain, Delilah is hurt by any harm that has to befall it.

The biggest hurdle the book faces is the language and style of writing. I’m unsure if the problems are an editing issue, or more of something lost in translation, but the sentences don’t flow especially well and it definitely distracts from the message. With a little more focus on cleaning that up, this book could stand as a beautiful and educational children’s classic.

This book has the potential to stand as a beautiful and educational children’s classic with some editing that can help with flow, sentence structure, and writing style to help ensure readers stay focused on the fantastic message within the book.

I loved the story, I loved the message, and I loved the fantasy Delilah creates with all her favorite animals. It was utterly charming.

Pages: 187 | ASIN: B08X778257

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From Hair to There

From Hair to There by [Cindy Lurie]

From Hair to There tells the imaginative tale of a girl’s incredibly long hair and how it is used by a diverse cast of characters to travel across the world. But when a gum chewing camel spits a wad of gum in her hair the magical adventure comes to a stop. Will Cynthia get her incredibly long hair back?

This is a fun and creative children’s book that takes readers on a fairytale adventure around the world where young readers will learn about a variety of locations. This provides a great opportunity for parents and teachers to talk about different geographical locations as well as cultures.

The art in the book is excellent. Every other page has a colorful and sharp graphic art piece that is fit to be framed all on its own. Cynthia and her hair get into a lot of whacky situations that will surely keep children giggling.

Author Cindy Lurie has created a charming picture book with simple rhymes that educates as well as it entertains. I loved Cynthia’s character she, and this book, has so much character that the story can easily be read again and again.

For parents and teachers looking for a lively and educational children’s book that will inspire their kid’s imagination look no further than From Hair to There by Cindy Lurie.

Pages: 56 | ASIN: B096Q3LLCJ

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We Must Activate Our Imaginations

Todd Mitchell
Todd Mitchell Author Interview

The Namer of Spirits follows a young girl with the ability to shape what things become as she embarks on a perilous adventure to save her village. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Although the book is a steampunk eco-fantasy that takes place in a fictional world, it was actually inspired by real-world reports on Amazon rainforest destruction done by Lulu Garcia Novarro for NPR. In addition, research into the ways large forests like the Amazon actually create their own weather, pulling in a “river in the sky,” also informed the book. To solve some of the significant environmental and social problems we face, I believe we must activate our imaginations, which is why I wanted to explore real-world issues through a fantastical adventure in this book.

Ash Narro is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Part of what makes Ash unique is how she understands the power of naming. She’s someone who’s able to listen deeply to things that most people overlook or ignore. In doing so, she’s able to hear the true names of things. This shapes not only how she deals with other people, but how she deals with the natural world. And yet, even while she’s more aware than most of the other villagers in the story, she’s also still a child with a relatively innocent view of the world. At times, her innocence allows her to do things that other, more cynical characters, wouldn’t dare try. At other times, her innocence causes her to make some big mistakes.

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

One of the main themes the book explores is the power of language to shape how we see the world, and how we think and act. On the one hand, it’s about the importance of developing one’s voice to speak truth to power, as this is what Ash ultimately learns to do. But the book also explores how language can be used to get good people to do bad things, as the Shadow Namer uses his voice to persuade villagers to act in destructive ways—reflecting how propaganda often works in our own world.

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

My next book is for writers, artists, and creators who know what’s it’s like to struggle with the challenges of creative living. It’s called Breakthrough: How to Overcome Doubt, Fear, and Resistance to Be Your Ultimate Creative Self, and it just came out with Owl Hollow Press this month! If you’re a writer or creator who’s interested in enhancing your relationship with creativity while enjoying the creative process (and life) more, I hope you’ll check it out. https://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Overcome-Resistance-Ultimate-Creative/dp/1945654880/

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In the frontier village of Last Hope, people dismiss twelve-year-old Ash Narro as a flighty child who claims to hear the true names of things. But when enraged forest spirits attack, Ash shows that the names she hears have power.

After taming a destructive forest spirit, Ash teams up with Fen, a wild forest boy, and embarks on an unusual journey to save her village. In this steampunk eco-fantasy, the perils of deforestation and the power of friendship are explored through a fantastical adventure involving giant mistcats, tempestuous forest spirits, a supernatural puppy, and a girl with a special gift for shaping what things become.

A Document Of Our World

Marin Darmonkow
Marin Darmonkow Author Interview

The Epic of Gabriel and Jibreel tells the story of two boys who form a powerful friendship amidst devastating loss. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My goal was to create a document of our world – a piece of realistic and painful evidence. According to SAVE THE CHILDREN REPORT for 2019, 160 million children lived in high-intensity conflict zones. We, the adults, created these conflict zones and we know well that such environments alter the direction of children’s lives and cause many casualties. My main protagonists’ fate is just proof — sad proof, unfortunately — that the world doesn’t care.

The art in the book is vivid and impactful. What was the artistic process like to bring this story to life?

As you already know, I create the illustrations for my publications — my stories give me suggestions for the style of visuals they need. In the case of THE EPIC OF GABRIEL AND JIBREEL, the request was for as-close-as-possible-to real-life illustrations in order to connect the reader with reality. This way the “holy trinity” — narrative, illustrations, and layout, perfectly match and create a cohesive piece of art. 

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

Many themes form the building blocks of the book’s DNA, but two words from the Publishers Weekly review define the main theme well — “cosmic unfairness”.

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

I am currently working on ART — a wordless book about an autistic and artistic circus virtuoso named Art. It is also a book about art…that defies gravity. The title, as you see, is so demanding that the illustrations must be one-of-a-kind. The publication will be available at the beginning of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Epic of Gabriel and Jibreel is a cautionary tale of the ultimate friendship. It is a heartbreaking story of two boys, a refugee, and a child from a wealthy suburb. Gabriel lives with his father in a large house surrounded by other large houses. One day while exploring the beach, Gabriel meets Jibreel. Jibreel lives with his father in the upside-down boat that brought them across the sea. With similar stories of devastating loss, yet joyful dreams, and a love for flying, the boys form an incredible and indestructible friendship. This is an excruciating story – a children’s picture book with a powerful message that is worth hearing.

The Quintessential Tennessee Homeplace

Amy Grantham
Amy Grantham Author Interview

Cleon’s tells the personal story of co-author Amy Grantham in a wistful picture book about growing up in her family’s homeplace in Southwest Tennessee. How did the idea for this book begin and how did you come to collaborate on the project?

I talked to April a lot about the place that we consider to be our “homeplace.” Generations of my family had lived in the house and on the land there. It’s such a special place to us that I wanted to share it with her as well. We had visited the place together, and she had heard a million of my stories from me and other family members before the project ever began.

I loved the pictures in the book. How did you decide which pictures to include?

April was responsible for the photographs that are used at the center of each page. She, with the permission of my cousin who owned the place at the time, went there and took the photos without me. She put them together in a scrapbook with the story and surprised me with it as a gift. When I started putting the project together for print, I added photos and keepsakes to the background that came from my family’s belongings. There’s a receipt from my granddad’s days working at a local hospital. There are letters that my great-uncle Cortez sent to my aunt, Cleon, from when he was a soldier in World War II. Pins, coins, paperclips, and other items came from my grandparents’ things. The only old photo in the book is of my aunt, Cleon, who owned the place most of my life. She was a pivotal person to us all, and was our matriarch for so many years.

What were some ideas, or emotions, that were important for you to convey in this book?

After April gave me the scrapbook, I shared it with my family. So many of them loved it so much that they asked us to reproduce it. We wanted to share our love for the house and land with others. We knew other people had their own “homeplaces” in their lives and could relate. Cleon’s, as I call the place, feels like the quintessential Tennessee homeplace to me. A friend mentioned that the book conveyed “object permanence.” We all have those tangible things and places tied to so many memories. People outside of the family won’t recognize every little thing in the photos, but they may be able to tie it to the things that they remember and feel nostalgic about.

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

I’m not sure what our next project will be, but I’m looking forward to working with April again. This was our third book together, and I’d love to add many more.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Cleon’s: The Story of a Tennessee Homeplace is a short children’s book set against a historical, tin-roofed home that has been burned in the memory and warmed the hearts of countless generations. Author April B. Pulliam helps Amy Grantham tell the story of her family’s homeplace in Southwest Tennessee through her beautiful words set against a backdrop of photos of the house mixed with family keepsakes. Together, they bring the pages of the storybook to life and echo the sentiments of so many Hurst family members who have walked the grounds of “The Hurst Nation” since before the Civil War. Generations flock back to the homeplace each year for the Hurst Family Reunion where relatives of Colonel Fielding Hurst once lived. More personally to Amy, though, this place has always just been “Cleon’s.” She associates the house with her great aunt who she considered to be the family matriarch while growing up–Cleon Hurst Tucker. Cleon was only a couple of generations removed from her infamous great, great uncle, Colonel Fielding. April captured Amy’s fondness for the place and its inhabitants in prose after listening to countless tales of what happened there throughout the years. She tells the story of the house through a child’s eyes–Amy’s eyes. The house and the acres around it are filled with the reverberations of family stories, sweet memories, peace, quiet, and maybe, just maybe, a little magic.

Living With Hunting Dogs

Linda Harkey
Linda Harkey Author Interview

Hickory Doc’s Tales is a collection of humorous stories following the adventures and misadventures at The Lazy Dog Hacienda kennels. What was the inspiration for the setup to your stories?

The memories of over thirty years of living with hunting dogs. My stories come from our relationships with them in the field and at home along with my teaching experiences both in schools and as a docent at several museums. As a docent, I helped develop curricula for children’s programs and gave many presentations to children both at the museums and local schools.

Zeke was my favorite character in the story. Do you have a favorite character in the book?

All of them. Doc for his wisdom and leadership. Zeke (Doc’s brother) for his orneriness, determination, selfishness and humility at times. Patch (Doc’s daughter) for her inclusion of other animals, inquisitive nature, and her hunting skills. Rush (Doc’s Son) for his adventurous nature. Newt (family Lab) for his loyalty and kindness.

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

Ideas that were important for me to share in Hickory Doc’s Tales for elementary children readers and adults are:

Presenting teachable tales to elementary children on the lives of hunting dogs, other animals in nature, habitat, and life lessons involving—family, bravery, diversity, loyalty, adventure, solving problems, acceptance of others, patience, and not blaming others for your mistakes.

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

Chatty the Hen Pheasant (Travels With The Pack) Archway Publishing is printing it now. It will be out in December, 2021.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

His official name is Chicorees Hickory Doc, and he can trace his family tree back to a sapling in Germany. The oldest and wisest of five, he lives at The Lazy Dog Hacienda kennels on Shorthair Boulevard in Oklahoma. Folks just call him Doc.
In Hickory Docs Tales, Doc shares a host of humorous stories from his important role as a hunting dog, and he narrates what life is like at the kennel. He tells tales about his adventures and mishaps with porcupines and cactus and of relationships with humans, other animals, and his tight-knit family of dogs.
Geared toward elementary school readers, Hickory Docs Tales s helps youth transition to chapter books, and it encourages a host of creative writing opportunities and exercises.
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