Ships, Sleighs and Christmas Lights tells the story of how a young boy from Patara grew into the man we now think of as Saint Nicholas. What inspired you to write this story?
There are many wonderful things about gift-giving at Christmas time but for Christians who celebrate the holiday, it can be tricky separating the commercial from the spiritual. I have friends who want to embrace the fun of the season with their children, while making them aware of the historical figures associated with Christmas. I wrote the book with them in mind. Having researched Nikolaos’ life, I found it just as interesting as some of the fantasy stories about Santa Claus.
What were some of the challenges you had moving from being an illustrator to an author and illustrator?
I am used to complimenting an author’s words with illustrations so owning both aspects of picture book storytelling was a new experience for me. An outline of the story came first, then I sketched some of the key scenes. I worked with an editor before I started drawing, so the text was finalised and I knew how much space would be needed in the layout for the illustrations.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Nikolaos is recognised as a saint. I wanted to explore ways in which his upbringing shaped his beliefs. Not everyone will relate to him in this way but I’d like to think the book will be of interest to people with different beliefs too. Much of the book is about culture and the ways in which we influence one another (hopefully for the better). Although our clothes and countries of origin may appear to be different, people are always drawn to goodness.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
There were so many legends about Saint Nicholas to draw on and some were only hinted at in Christmas Lights. I am writing a story about three young girls whose father fell on hard times. Nikolaos allegedly provided the family with special gifts but I wanted to tell the story from the girls’ perspective so they have a sense of agency. Most girls work hard but are not given opportunities or rewards. I’d like to think a privileged man like Nikolaos would address such imbalances. I hope to publish it in time for Christmas 2022.
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Posted by Literary_Titan
It is Bobby’s favorite time of the year, Christmas! Each year Bobby has a Christmas Party in his cave for all his woodland friends. While off walking in the woods to collect items to make gifts for his friends he meets a deer named Danny. Being the good neighbor that Bobby is he invites Danny to join him and his friends that night for the party. Once there Bobby and his friends find out that Danny has much different traditions than they do.
I really enjoyed the variety of characters in this short story. They all had different personalities and Bobby made sure to highlight them in his gifts. It shows readers the value in appreciating the difference in people. All around the world people celebrate different things and in different ways, this story emphasizes that just because something is different it doesn’t make it bad.
Merry Christmas, Bobby the Bear! by author Ryan O’connor is a beautifully written children’s book about how people celebrate the holiday’s differently. This picture book conveys a feel-good and engaging story with creative artwork by illustrator Xiang Manke. Together the story comes to life for readers in a way sure to delight young children.
Pages: 32 | ASIN : B08M41B2BL
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Santa’s reindeer are very busy on Christmas Eve delivering presents to all the children. But when the reindeer decide to take a break and chase a field mouse for fun they bring about a near Christmas disaster. Luckily the field mouse they were chasing knows someone that can help them out of their jam and get Christmas back on track.
This is a charming children’s book that is an absolute joy to read. This book fits right into the cheery holiday theme of the season. The reindeer, and mouse, are so lively and animated throughout the story that their antics are sure to keep any child’s attention.
Right when I figured out this was going to be a story about reindeer getting into mischief, I knew I was going to enjoy this story, and the amusing antics delivered a lot of entertainment. Each scene has a fantastic illustration from illustrator Brenda Timms. Each image has a soft color palette and looks like they were colored with crayon, which makes them easily relatable to children.
This delightful picture book is told in fun rhymes that add color and character to the story being acted out on each page. The rhymes are cute and easy to follow, with a few big words here and there young readers should have an easy time reading this story with an adult.
The Tale of the Christmas Hero is a whimsical Christmas book that will delight kids this holiday season. With lovable and emotive characters taking readers on an amusing chase that ends in a cheesy reward, family’s will surely enjoy this entertaining book.
Pages: 36 | ISBN: 1643613502
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‘Twas the Night follows a young boy through city streets where he finds an injured bird and decides to nurse it back to health. When the bird is healthy enough to fly and takes off out the window, something absolutely magical happens.
This charming children’s story is told completely through images. No words. The first scene we come across is a little boy in a wheelchair on an empty city street finding an injured bird on the sidewalk. My heart ached when I saw this image. The emotions were palpable and I could easily sense what was going on in the scene. No words needed.
This is a picture book that truly lives up to the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. I loved the images in this book. Each is a real image with a rotoscope type art style that gives this story great depth and builds on the surreal nature of the dark and lonely city streets which feel enchanting because of the inclusion of Christmas trees and various lights that bespeckle the pages.
‘Twas the Night tells a beautiful holiday story that inspires the imagination. With other children’s books I find that I’m focused on reading the story to my child. But this book felt much more interactive because me and my child sat together and discussed our thoughts and emotions on each scene. Readers looking for a unique reading experience will find a treat with Marin Darmonkow’s picture book.
Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08NWQP9CV
Tags: 'Twas the Night: Christmas dream-like story, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, childrens book, christmas, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, holiday, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, Marin Darmonkow, nook, novel, picture book, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
“Entre Duendes y Ratones” is an enchanting Christmas story for young readers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
“Entre Duendes Y Ratones” came about in South America, back in 1999. One of my sisters needed to put on a Christmas play with her elementary school students, and she asked me to come up with a storyline. At the time, we printed a few booklets mostly to complement the performance, after which the adventures of my elves and mice were sort of forgotten. But now that, Benjamin, Pablo, and company, have been spruced up and refreshed with new artwork, I’m excited to formally introduce them to a wider new audience.
The illustrations in this book are beautiful. What was the art development process like for this picture book?
I was thrilled to connect with CenkiStudios to refresh “Entre Duendes Y Ratones.” They were a pleasure to work with—only a handful of virtual meetings were needed to discuss the scenes in the book I wanted to bring to life, and this very talented and receptive group delivered in no time!
CenkiStudios was founded in November of 2020 by Whimcifer, a digital artist, animator, and voice actor. Under his direction, the team works on an assortment of projects, including books, comics, and graphic novels. Each member of the team specializes in different creative work, such as illustration, graphic design, animation, voice acting, composing music, and 3D modeling. https://www.cenkistudios.com/
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
At the heart of this whimsical story is a desire to highlight the warmth of home and family while restating the true spirit of Christmas.
“Benjamin leaves his workshop at the South Pole to show his coworkers that humanity still believes in Christmas. But his hopes are dashed by the boy, Pablo, who at the age of ten thinks he knows everything. Never had Christmas Eve been in such peril, but thanks to elves and mice, everything turns out fine.”
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My publication project for 2022 is the translation into Spanish of “Faery Sight” book 1 of my Faerie Legacy Series. Look for it during the Spring Equinox!
With its setting in Hope Falls, New York, C.H. Eryl’s romantic fiction novel The Reindeer Ranch is a simple tale revolving around two people who possess no hope of meeting a significant other given the failure of recent relationships. Darci Grisbane, a recently divorced mother of two, gets a flat tire in the middle of an unfortunate day, adding to her bad luck. It’s only later that she realizes the glimmer in that gloomy day when she meets Brian, her neighbor’s brother. As their convergence draws nearer amid the Christmas events and festivities, the two find themselves hindered by the shackles of their past. This is an emotional story about their endeavor to overcome their past and form a relationship.
Christmas celebrations are full of festivities and we get to see all of that in this romance novel and it adds a fairy-tale element to the story. The major reason why I enjoyed this book so much was because of the straightforward love story. The story is told simply, and because of that I looked forward to picking up this book again and again.
I was enchanted by the descriptions of Christmas gatherings and the jubilant events surrounding them. For instance, the reindeer rides with snowflakes drifting overhead fancied me and delighted my senses.
While I enjoyed the story overall, I felt that the ending left a some things unresolved. Though we get a seemingly happy ending, I felt that struggles still seem to loom over the couple as the dark elements of their pasts still linger over them, if temporarily absent. But I suppose this is a better reflection of life and how things don’t really end, but instead move on to the next chapter.
The plot of the story slowly develops as the novel progress, but the romantic feelings between the characters develop quickly. They both have failed relationships, and the characters and their relationship is intriguing, if not relatable. I would have loved to have delved deeper into their thoughts and emotions because I found them and their past to be so fascinating.
The Reindeer Ranch illustrates the apprehension some people have after divorce, and also shows the glimmer of hope we find in new love. While this is an impassioned novel I also enjoyed the comical touches of parenting throughout the story, as seen in Darci’s parents.
The Reindeer Ranch is an enjoyable and sweet read. This is a fantastic romance novel if you are looking for a quick light-hearted read that is filled with festivity, hope, and kindness.
Pages: 198 | ASIN: B09DTBWCYY
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Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by Ram T Daryanani takes the story of A Christmas Carol and views it through a contemporary Indian lens. We see the typical character of “Scrooge” in an entirely new light. Scroonathan is an excellent businessman, and the story opens with the death of his firm partner, Balaji. Scroonathan is a shrewd and frugal man who values money above all else, even the lives of others around him and the celebration of Diwali.
Many of us are familiar with the story of A Christmas Carol, and it’s so refreshing to see these same themes explored through Indian society. It shows that selfishness and cruelty can be universal, yet they can also be unlearned as we welcome generosity into our lives. As we see Scroonathan turn down kind words from those around him, it’s clear that he has shut himself off from joy. However, the ghosts of his past come to visit and set the record straight, and the story becomes a beautiful exploration of character growth.
I found Scroonathan: A Diwali Story to be a touching retelling of A Christmas Carol. This book allows a classic story to live on in the contemporary world and creates a shared experience between people of all nationalities. It teaches everyone to be thankful for what they have and generous with what they share, to ultimately live more fulfilling lives.
I would have liked to see even more descriptions of Scroonathan’s home and life in India. I think the setting makes this story so unique, and as someone who has never been to India, I was fascinated learning about how Scroonathan reflects the same experiences of the original text in his homeland.
Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by Ram T Daryanani is such a unique take on a story that has lasted throughout decades, and I think everyone could benefit from reading this book and experiencing a different cultural connotation. I loved learning about Diwali while simultaneously feeling the life lessons associated with the classic tale.
Pages: 98 | ASIN: B09C6L6Z47
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Traditions make the world go ‘round. From customary meals to reminiscing about days gone by, family and community traditions are everything when it comes to holidays. Christmas in the United States is certainly no exception. One of the most endearing aspects of Christmas is knowing there will always be a good story shared. Franklin P. Smith knows this all too well. He has taken a tradition cherished by families everywhere and tweaked it to make an incredible little fiction read that will touch hearts and bring warm smiles to its readers. There is an art to storytelling and Smith has mastered it.
Tales from the Smokehouse: The Christmas Book, by Franklin P. Smith, contains the tales spun by visitors to the Smoke House. Everyone who drops by promises to reveal a tale that everyone will find captivating. Smith has written his book in a unique style in which one plot exists but consists of several individual stories told by its characters. The first story shared is about an amazing cat with more than its share of lives. Smith chose a fantastic tale to begin his book.
Smith manages to incorporate life lessons in the stories his characters share. The meaning of Christmas is just one of those lessons and the reason this book makes an ideal holiday gift. This short read would be a perfect present for a host or hostess at a neighborhood holiday party. The stories and lessons within are timeless, relatable, and engaging. In all honesty, I can see Smith’s book as a wonderful read aloud. Sharing stories is one of the best ways to build relationships and draw people closer. Each one of the tales told by his characters in the Smoke House conjures a warm feeling and creates the most vivid imagery. It isn’t often you find stories that easily appeal to so many age groups and demographics.
Tales from the Smokehouse: The Christmas Book, by Franklin P. Smith has everything required to become a holiday bookshelf must-have. I highly recommend Smith’s work to anyone looking for a new and engaging read during the holiday season or to anyone wanting to gift a meaningful book to family, friends, or coworkers.
Pages: 56 | ISBN: 1535278056
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