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Honeycake: A Helping Hand – Book Trailer

Multi-Award Winning and Amazon best-selling Author Medea Kalantar Introduced readers to her new book series Honeycake. Inspired to write these books when she learned she would become a grandmother, Kalantar’s stories are based on her own family, whose members come from many ethnic backgrounds. This unique mix is a perfect recipe—just like the spices in a honey cake. That is why she calls her grandchildren her little Honeycakes.

In the sixth installment of the delightful Honeycake book series, Nala’s uncles, Victor and George, take her to a fundraiser where she meets Alexis, a girl with an artificial arm. Through her interactions, Nala learns that you are never too young to lend “a helping hand,” that it’s okay to be different, and that being different doesn’t stop you from doing great things in life.

All proceeds from each book sold in Honeycake: A Helping Hand will be going to The War Amps CHAMP Program as Medea Kalantar’s charity of choice.

The delightful Honeycake book series is endorsed by Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt.

With all the negativity in the world, Medea Kalantar’s series is a much-needed glimmer of hope and positivity. The Honeycake Book Series teaches valuable life lessons, giving children the tools to overcome obstacles in their everyday lives.

The Honeycake books teach children about diversity, acceptance, kindness, mindfulness, trust, and gratitude. This series will enlighten, empower, educate, and entertain children and their families for generations to come.

In Honeycake – A Helping Hand Nala learns that being different doesn’t stop you from doing great things. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and anywhere ebooks are sold.

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Exploring Speculative Fiction

Ethan Avery Author Interview

Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire follows a budding mercenary and a mage with a secret who set off on a dangerous quest with world changing implications. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve wanted to write a dual narrative story since I was a kid, and this was the perfect opportunity, I feel like there are so many fun places to explore in speculative fiction! I also wanted to write a book where two characters come from very different backgrounds and see how that can affect the way they are presently.

Erevan and Aireyal are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character’s development?

It all comes from focusing on the fundamentals of writing, which is probably something I talk about way too much on my YouTube channel. I’m a big believer in understanding the rules of storycrafting. That way you know how, why, and when to bend or break them. And like anything, practice makes perfect, so it’s important to keep working on those skills, even after we learn them the first time.

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

I’ll leave that one up for the reader to decide. I’m ok with letting the work stand on its own and be interpreted however each reader individually sees it.

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

The next book in the Sword and Sorcery series, of course! It will be available sometime next year if all continues to go well. I’m super excited to share the next part of the story with everyone, there are so many things I wish I could tell you all now!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | YouTube | Website | Amazon | B&N | Books2Read

If you could change your life by trusting in a stranger… would you?
Erevan has a problem. He grew up on the unforgiving streets of Bogudos and has the scars to prove it. His friend, however, is stuck in jail because of his mistake. But when a suspicious courier offers him a chance to fix things, should he lift his sword and journey across treacherous lands to aid her cause?
Meanwhile, Aireyal has been accepted into the wealthiest and most prestigious magical school in all the land. There’s just one problem. She can’t do magic. But that’s far from the only secret within the walls of Darr-Kamo. And what she discovers might just change the world.
Swordsman
Sorcerer
Spiritualist
Scholar
All four have enemies. And all four need help to get what they want. But help is never free.
What would you sacrifice to get what you most desire?
Exclusive to the Kindle eBook version is X-Ray, where Ethan Avery has written never before seen notes on the rich world and regions of Sword and Sorcery and the characters that inhabit it. All easily accessed on a Kindle device or iPad and iPhone through the Kindle app. (All versions include the series’ iconic chapter art.)

The Star Of This Book Uses A Wheelchair

Author Interview Charlene McIver

Medieval Mashup follows a boy who is struggling with accepting himself and wants to fit in with the cool kids. What was the inspiration for your book?

The inspiration behind this and all my stories is my late son, Leigh. He was born with a physical disability and struggled many times to keep up with his peers from a very early age. The difficult situations Leigh, the character, encounters in these stories are loosley based around Leigh’s child-hood.

Leigh struggles with wanting to be cool and still be himself. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s personality?

Of course, the “real” Leigh, my son. He had a beautiful, shy caring nature and a little cheekiness about him which often surfaced when he was feeling confident. Unfortuantely, his lack of confidence with body image and mobility was always a major concern for him.

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

It was important to highlight some of the issues that children with limited mobility face which other children and adult, may or may not have considered.

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

Book 3 in Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures is currently in production and will again highlight another issue children with special needs may encounter.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Little Parachutes Gold Star Winner 2022
Leigh’s Wheelie Adventure series continues with Medieval Mashup (Book 2).
A special book focusing on the challenges children with different needs face on a daily basis.
Leigh just wants to look brave and strong…
Leigh, Tara, and Cosmo are making costumes for the school’s Medieval Fair. But Leigh is afraid of looking silly and keeps snapping at his friends. Will Leigh overcome his fear of not looking cool and make up with his friends?
Based on the true story of Leigh who was born with a severe physical disability.
A beautifully illustrated story of courage, friendship, and fun.
QR Code on back cover to watch the full video and read along

Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire

Sword & Sorcery: Frostfire by Ethan Avery is an adventurous tale that follows Erevan, the son of a mercenary, on an unpredictable path where he meets Aireyal, who desperately needs their help. While Erevan is fixated on becoming like his father, which involves strategic planning and sword fighting, he becomes unexpectedly involved with Aireyal’s world of magic and romance. This intrepid story will take readers on a journey with dwarves, elves, and enchanted places.

One of the most impressive aspects of this book is the fantastic fantasy world that lures the reader in, one development at a time, with bold characters, beautiful imagery, and a genuinely magical connection between Erevan and Aireyal. Once you adjust to the changing scenery and plot, you’ll quickly come to appreciate this story’s exciting narration and emotional character involvement.

Readers will find themselves immersed in this fantastic realm of adventure and intrigue due to the authors vivid worldbuilding. I found the fantasy realms and worlds were well crafted and created a visual that kept me engaged with the characters and their challenges throughout the book. This is a riveting young adult novel that’s told in simple language and because of the easy storytelling this is a book that allows you to lose yourself in the fantasy, the characters’ inner battles, and the challenges they face individually and together. It’s a tale of hope and overcoming the impossible and how it changes you.

Ethan Avery’s Sword & Sorcery: Frostfire is a page-turning sword and sorcery novel that is full of incredible twists and fantastic characters. Between the darker side of this story’s developments and the lighthearted romance between Aireyal and Erevan, readers will find themselves easily enveloped in this novel’s lore. It’s an excellent read for anyone looking for a fantasy story that uses a diverse cast of characters to tell a compelling story, but doesn’t hit you over the head with the fact that they’re different. Frostfire has an intriguing approach to the teen fantasy genre that will ignite your sense of passion and adventure.

Pages: 436 | ASIN: B09T62HGFC

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Medieval Mashup

Medieval Mashup by Charlene McIver is about a boy named Leigh who wants nothing more than to win the school’s Medieval costume contest. Leigh is in a wheelchair and wants to prove that despite his disability, he can be cool, brave, and strong. His friends Cosmo and Tara try to help Leigh come up with ideas, but he doesn’t like any of them. Leigh gets angry with his friends for suggesting silly or impractical ideas for his wheelchair. Eventually, Leigh gets tired of their ideas and rolls outside for a few minutes to collect himself. After taking a break, Leigh realizes he needs to rethink and lets his friends help him come up with a fun costume that is funny and strong.

I love how Cosmo and Tara accept Leigh the way that he is and encourage him to embrace being himself. He is naturally silly, so he should not try and hide that part of himself or change just to fit in with the “cool” kids.

His friends accept his disability and do not treat him as less of a friend because of it. Instead, they try and include him in all their fun ideas, and when he mentions that he can’t do something because of his wheelchair, they problem-solve to come up with a solution that will work. The message to children that they can be creative and find solutions is excellent in a world where many people look for a quick answer.

This well-written picture book is illustrated by Caroline Keys, and is filled with images of inclusion, realistic situations, and expressive characters. As this children’s book focuses on emotions, seeing the characters’ faces so clearly helps young readers understand the feelings that Leigh and his friends are going through.

Medieval Mashup is a heartwarming picture book about inclusion, friendship, and confidence. The children in the story are relatable to young readers and will help them develop their own confidence and see what real friendship looks like.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 0648417883

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Billy Be Kind: Making A New Friend

Billy Be Kind: Making A New Friend is about a shy girl named Lucy-Lou that wants to make friends at the playground. Each day she plays alone or sits on the bench by herself. One day while Lucy-Lou plays alone on the swings, a mouse named Billy asks for a ride on the swing with her. Together they play, and Lucy-Lou smiles for the first time at the playground. She and Billy become friends. Billy teaches Lucy-Lou how to make new friends so she won’t be alone at the park anymore, and she too can make other shy kids smile.

Author Kim Adams and illustrator Ayesha W. have created a heartwarming picture book that teaches children how to make new friends. The story reads easily with some rhymes, and the illustrations are bright and bold. The book explains that making friends happens in four simple steps: Say hello, Smile, Share, Play nicely and take turns. The simple language is perfect for preschoolers to understand, and when accompanied by vivid illustrations, children will actively engage with this beautiful story.

One thing that stands out in this delightful children’s book is all the diversity that is pictured. For example, children from various ethnic backgrounds and different abilities are pictured playing at the park. This is a great message to show children that you can still make friends and play together no matter what you look like. The message of diversity and inclusion is presented through the pictures and is a great way to open conversations with children about accepting everyone for who they are, no matter how different from you they are.

Billy Be Kind: Making A New Friend is a captivating picture book for preschoolers and kindergarten students. Teachers and parents can use this book to teach kids about making friends and including everyone when playing. It is a wonderful book that would be a great addition to a library.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09PZH8MFJ

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Oh, No …Hacked Again!

Oh, No… Hacked Again! A Story About Online Safety by Zinet Kemal is based on her own children’s experiences with internet safety. Seeing her children go through this experience, led her to write a book so other families can avoid some of the dangers of the internet.

This informative children’s book is written from the perspective of an eight-year-old girl. It is broken out into five chapters, the story begins, the panic, the take over, doing the right thing, and the lesson. I really liked how the author broke the story down in this way. There is a lot of important information in this book and if it was not broken out I feel some children would get overwhelmed or lost. Breaking things out into chapters like this allows for an adult to read to or with the child and pause to discuss what happened and how they feel or relate to the story.

Elham loves to play online games and has had the unfortunate experience of being too trusting of people she meets online. Twice she had her game account hacked, she lost everything she had worked for. Kids today that play Minecraft and Roblox will be able to relate to how much work goes into collecting everything and making the perfect avatar. They are also constantly bombarded by the ads to earn free currency and all too often those scams look real. This book explains how, if it sounds too good to be true it is, and if you are unsure always ask an adult.

At the end of this important story is a page of lessons learned from the book, the number one lesson, never ever share your password with anyone, no matter how much they claim to be your best friend and are going to help you. It goes over other internet safety rules that parents can walk their children through and discuss. There is also a page on internet vocabulary so when discussing these topics they can look up words they may not have heard before.

Oh, No… Hacked Again! A Story About Online Safety is a practical children’s book to introduce the idea of computer safety to young elementary kids through middle grades. The message is told in a language that is easy to understand and the artwork fits well with the story.

Pages: 30 | ASIN : B09M85Y31J

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The Importance Of Representation

Zinet Kemal Author Interview

Proud in Her Hijab follows a young Muslim girl that is teased at school over her hijab and shows how she deals with the feelings it causes. What was the inspiration for your story?

I am a mom of four amazing children – 2 girls and 2 boys. The inspirations are also my kids, their years of questions they bring from school as they get asked about their hair type, braid styles, and my girls’ hijab. There aren’t many books about hijab and we already have most of them that are out there so during the pandemic we decided to write our story with characters and names that look like our family. I can’t stress enough the importance of representation and how my girls feel empowered seeing and walking to this book in their respective classrooms. The main message is to uplift and empower girls who choose to wear hijab and be proud of their identities. Also to create awareness for readers about the importance of appreciating diversity and inclusion and embedding appreciation for other’s faith and cultural differences.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Mia Hay?

Mia Hay is the formatter and designer of the book. She is awesome and very professional. I didn’t have a good experience working with the illustrator being unprofessional and not delivering on time. However, Mia stepped in to finish and finalize the missing pieces and designed the book. She is also my 2nd book’s designer and we are very aligned working together. I wanted to thank her.

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

Besides the two important lessons mentioned above. The book outlines the main themes of the book at the back. Such as

Be proud of who you are, your beliefs and embrace your identities.
Respect and be kind to everyone including to those who are different from you.
Be brave and stand up for yourself.
Don’t shy away from sharing what you go through. It’s ok to share you feelings to your family and friends.
Get to know someone before judging them.

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

Yes. I just released my 2nd children’s book titled “Oh, No …Hacked Again!” It’s a story teaching children the importance of online safety and sparking interest for young readers to pursue the field of STEM esp. cybersecurity as a future career option.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What happens when curious children speculate about Iman’s hijab?
“Is she bald?”
“Is her hair dirty?”
There is a fine line between curiosity and ridicule.
Iman must find courage to face the school children.
Proud in Her Hijab is a story that empowers and uplifts girls who choose to wear a hijab while encouraging friendship and respect.
If you are looking for a hijab story of inspiration & courage for your children and loved ones, look no further.

This book is for you!
“A relatable tale of pride and identity that is paired neatly with colorful and expressive illustrations. The summary of themes at the end of the book is a good review for younger readers, and offers a chance for conversation and discussion for parents reading with a child. Kemal has crafted a heartwarming and practical book that elevates kindness, patience, understanding, and cultural sensitivity, which is an essential message for any faith.” Self-Publishing Review
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