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Hooray for Heidi! (The Sumatran Trilogy)

Heidi, the Sumatran turtle, is excited for the day ahead. Today is the first day of the Sumatran Games, and this is the first time she gets to attend. Heidi moves as quickly as she can, given her short turtle legs, but she falls behind the other animals. Finally, a kind, friendly elephant named Jose stops and asks if she needs help. When she explains she is trying to get to the games, Jose picks her up and carries her the rest of the way. Once at the games, the two new friends watch the events, and Heidi becomes sad watching all the things she can not do. Eventually, Jose also grows sad because of Heidi’s morose attitude. Once Heidi realizes her lousy attitude has upset her new friends, she comes up with a plan to make them both feel better about the skills they do possess. While her plan doesn’t work out exactly as they hoped, they learn a valuable lesson about teamwork.

Hooray for Heidi! written by Emma Sandford and illustrated by Olena Osadcha is a beautiful picture book about teamwork and appreciating the unique skills that everyone has. Not everyone in life is strong, fast, or flexible, but that does not mean that they do not have value. This children’s book highlights that kids often feel self-conscious when watching others that have better skills or abilities than themselves. It can be challenging to overcome those feelings and feel valuable.

Emma has written this fantastic book showing that everyone can contribute and be a valued member of the team. With a focus on teamwork, kids will learn how helping others and working together brings its own rewards, even if it is not the trophy they were after. The other focus in this whimsical picture book is friendship. For example, an elephant and a turtle become great friends despite being so different from one another. This is an excellent example for young children to look past the physical differences in each other and value people for who they are inside.

Hooray for Heidi! is a beautifully written picture book that teaches children the value of friendship and teamwork. This would be a wonderful book for preschool and kindergarten classrooms to help kids learn how to work together to achieve a common goal. There is also the message that sometimes things do not go as planned, which is okay too!

Pages: 30 | ASIN : B0BFNT32T1

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Faith’s Freckles: A Book to Build Self-Esteem

Faith is a young girl that has freckles, fifty-five to be exact; she has counted them all. Faith hates having freckles, no one else in her school has freckles like her, and she is constantly being teased by the other girls. They tell her that she has dirt on her face and laugh. One girl, McKenzie, however, thinks Faith’s freckles are beautiful. Through McKenzie’s kindness, Faith learns to accept that her freckles are part of who she is and learns to love that part of herself.

Faith’s Freckles by authors Shermaine Perry-Knights and Baylei Hinds-Perry is an empowering picture book for children that are self-conscious about their unique looks. In this story, Faith has freckles that no one else in her school seams to have, but the message applies to all physical differences that children are often picked on about. This story shows how much it hurts children when they are teased, emphasizing that comments about others’ looks are not funny or a game.

McKenzie stands out as an example of true friendship and how children can be friends with those they see struggling. She offers positive support and listens to what her friend says rather than brushing off her feelings or invalidating them. Teaching children how to be good friends to those that are hurting is a life skill they can carry with them.

This children’s book teaches the messages of self-love and self-acceptance. Aimed at young elementary students, this is a critical time in their lives to learn self-esteem. That makes this book ideal for classrooms and libraries. It would be a wonderful gift for a child with freckles who is afraid of being teased and made fun of. It is a heartwarming picture book that teaches children social and emotional awareness and acceptance for those that look different from themselves.

Pages: 15 | ASIN : B0B9FQP4LB

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Her Legacy Continues

Katherine Scott Author Interview

The ‘Tail’ of a Trio follows three dogs that, over time, become friends, despite having extremely different lives up till now. What was the inspiration for your story?

This ‘tail’ is delightfully based off a true story! Addie was a therapy dog owned by a dear mentor and colleague. I had the honor of knowing Addie for several years and can attest to her character portrayed in the book. On a balmy, early summer day, my colleague shared sweet stories of how fond Addie was of their neighbor’s dogs at their lake house. They lovingly built a bridge connecting the two properties so the pups could easily visit one another. Bee is a Blue Tick Hound who was quite frightened by thunderstorms. Her go-to move would be to dart underneath a bed and quiver as the storm carried on with its rumbles. Unprovoked, Addie would sit with Bee and whimper to her, almost as if she were coaching her through the thunderous sounds. Whenever it was not storming outside, Addie could be caught spending time with Rue, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, gently encouraging her to try out toys. Rue had been found on the side of the road, her story unknown. I was touched by these sweet stories and jokingly commented that they could be a children’s book. My colleague chuckled and triple dog dared me to write it. An afternoon later, the manuscript was created!

Addie sadly passed away during the publishing process, however her legacy continues through the playful lives of Bee and Rue, and the healing she brought to so many others.

What were some challenges you felt were important to defining your characters in this story?

Growing up in today’s world, we are taught to only portray the ‘acceptable’ parts of ourselves. Whether our humanness is drowned out by the pressures of social media, or the threat of vulnerability, it can be challenging to build authentic, genuine connections. It was important to me to illustrate the ‘whole’ of each character, even the parts that felt raw and difficult to share with the world due to shame or fear of judgement.

Addie encapsulated relational skills that have faded into the background of our society in such prolific ways. Her empathetic mindset allowed her to not take Bee or Rue’s initial defensiveness personally. She could recognize the ‘whole’ of the dog in front of her, and exuded patience, kindness, and acceptance. Bee showcased how overwhelming anxiety can be, and how this overwhelm can distract from initial positive interactions. Their first interaction held space for the awkwardness that can ensue from first meet and greets, however it also portrayed how to give one another grace. When we hop over to Rue’s perspective, her negative self-talk and shame ooze from her narrative. This challenge was important to highlight because our internal dialogues can be so destructive to genuine connections with others. If we don’t feel worthy of positive relationships, then we struggle to set ourselves up for success.

Again, Addie captured the beauty of giving someone the benefit of the doubt despite abrupt defensiveness. Addie did not demand rationale for Rue’s initial behavior, nor did she judge it. Addie simply showcased how to not judge a book by its cover.

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

As a mental health therapist, I am a big proponent of advocacy and breaking stigma surrounding mental health. Whenever we initially pursue relationships, our consideration for one another’s headspace is left out of our perspectives. While I recognize it’s within human nature to make quick judgements, I believe it’s vital to teach our youth how to give one another grace and leave room for the imperfections that come along with being human.

Our mental health is as important as our physical health. This book portrays some common mental health challenges that can be invisible burdens others may be carrying. By gently illustrating and normalizing mental health obstacles, we can encourage positive discussions surrounding mental wellness and raise emotionally intelligent children. Also, it’s helpful to teach mindful interpersonal skills early on, as this can shape a child’s inner dialogue as they grow.

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

Presently, I am soaking up the joy of this book’s jump into the world. I am bursting with elation that this ‘tail’ gifted me the title of ‘author’ in such special ways. I am toying around with two ideas, as I believe a series could sprout from this momentum. Animals have played such a pivotal role in my life, and I have had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand their gateway to healing. The next book will either follow the ‘tail’ of two horses as they thoughtfully explore the process of healing from grief, or of a Husky and his journey to adjusting to a new sibling in the form of a scrawny kitten. Stay tuned and be on the lookout for these books in the next year or two!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Imagine the friendships that could be possible if only we recognized we are all worthy of another’s good nature. Fostering true friendships takes time and a lot of good nurture.

Within these pages you will discover the story of three dogs whose journeys began in far apart places. Rue faced the adversity of abandonment, while Bee grew up behind the gates of a pound. Can Addie, through steady patience and acceptance, bring these pups together and lead them to a place full of healing and friendship?

Dive into the whimsical exploration of a Mental Health Therapist’s take on a true story. Take away significant life lessons pertaining to resiliency and the power of friendship that leaves a lasting impact in the hearts of most ages.

The Legend of Paisley Pete: A Magical Story About Abandoned Cats

There are times humans make bad choices, and abandoning a family pet is one of those times. Flynn is confused about why his family has left him in the middle of nowhere; he is afraid, hungry, and scared. So he is suspicious when a strange cat shows up and offers to sit with him. Next, a sweet girl cat shows up and offers him a snack. Soon he follows them back to the feral colony. Here he learns the fable of the Pete the Paisley Cat is real. Cats that have been abandoned by humans and abused turn a majestic paisley pattern, and Flynn realizes his coat is changing as well. He realizes his family has left him and starts to accept those around him, especially Daisy. The following day something magical happens. Will the cats be rescued and find a home?

Author Phyllis Smith has written and whimsical children’s book, The Legend of Paisley Pete: A Magical Story About Abandoned Cats. This heartwarming story is based on her real-life experiences of rescuing a feral cat colony. I loved that the story is told from the perspective of the cats. While Smith says this is because the cat’s view is more interesting, I feel it also adds a dimension to the story of humanizing their feelings. Animals have feelings just like people, and this story highlights that.

The illustrations also done by Smith are amazing. They are vibrant and colorful. Each cat is unique and seeing the different patterns and colors that match their personality bring the story to life. Each page will keep children engaged, looking at the designs and seeing how each cat is different.

The Legend of Paisley Pete is a well-written children’s book from which children can learn compassion. Written for elementary-age children, this would be an excellent book for classrooms and a home library. However, anyone that loves animals, especially cats, will find this book works its way into their hearts and will want to read it more than once.

Pages: 77 | ASIN : B0B1D6CLWZ

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Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain 

Children with ADHD fight battles most of us will never understand. Each day finds them experiencing a constant barrage of thoughts, all competing to find their way to the forefront. Parents and teachers alike can benefit from truly listening to a child’s account of an average day living with ADHD, especially Inattentive Subtype. The Inattentive Subtype of ADHD is a prevalent but often not recognized. Andrew is a child living with ADHD, and his journal-style account of his life is the focus of his mother’s book. Kristin M. Wilcox’s book describes both the child’s and the parent’s experience with this incredibly challenging disorder.

Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain is a unique account of a family’s understanding of the disorder that is a part of their day-to-day lives. Wilcox artfully divides the book into two main parts–one from her son’s perspective and one from her own. She has handed parents and teachers a thorough look at what a child hears each day as he tries to focus and time and time again loses sight of the last thought he had as easily as he breathes.

I more than appreciated Andrew’s perspective. As a teacher, I have seen many students over the years fighting their own inner battles. Only those who live with ADHD know the inner banter, and Andrew’s very thorough commentary allows readers to gain a true understanding of the chaos that can ensue and the emotional toll ADHD can take on the entire family. This is a must-read for any parent of a child with ADHD.

Wilcox manages to give readers a guide that is not only informative but simple to read. There is nothing worse than actively seeking information on a topic only to find the resources dry, boring, and incredibly difficult to understand. Wilcox bypasses all of those issues and hands readers valuable information on one of the least understood types of ADHD. I found the Wilcox family’s story to be immensely helpful in the elementary classroom. Wilcox’s appendices are a wonderful resource for families and educators. This easy-to-follow list of questions and answers regarding symptoms and signs is especially beneficial to families and educators.

I highly recommend Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain to any parent who has a child dealing with the symptoms of ADHD. Schools would benefit greatly by adding this to their teachers’ resource rooms or to their recommended reading lists. This is the book families and teachers have needed for decades.

Pages: 114 | ISBN: 195735402X

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The Ghost of the Torn Underpants

A ghost has the unfortunate luck of getting bestowed the name Ghost of the Torn Underpants. Now the way it works is once another ghost gives a name to an unnamed ghost, it can not be changed; that is just how it works. Upset and frustrated at the constant teasing he endured after receiving this name, Ghost of the Torn Underpants moved to a new mansion alone. He was very lonely, but it was better than being teased nonstop over a name he could not change.

One day the ghost postman brought him an invitation to a party at his old mansion. He decided to give it a try as he was lonely all alone. He found a girl ghost sitting alone when he arrived, looking sad. When he asked her what her name was, she shyly said it was Ghost of the Backwards Dress. She was teased just as much as he was, and they formed a friendship. Together they learned to love their unique names and realize being different does not make you a bad person or less worthy of friendship and respect.

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants, written by Isabel Ricardo and illustrated by Pedro Pires, is a captivating children’s story about differences and accepting those that are not the same as you. With the increase in diversity in schools, there are many names children have never heard before. I think this book is an excellent resource for teachers and parents to show that names are unique and not something to be teased about. Ricardo teaches children about acceptance of themselves and others, standing up for themselves, and the value of friendship.

The bold and beautiful watercolor illustrations bring this meaningful story to life. The Ghost of the Torn Underpants has bright red hair that waves like a flame. This makes him stand out visually as well as his name, drawing attention from the other ghosts that fit a more traditional appearance. All the illustrations are engaging with small details that children can pick up on and look for. This is further enhanced by an exercise at the end of the book. The author asks questions about what children saw in the pictures, like how many letters the postman carries.

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants is a well-crafted children’s book combining important messages about acceptance, diversity, and friendship. The author writes in a manner that young kindergarten children will understand the message but is mature enough that children in older grades will be drawn to the story as well.

Pages: 37 | ASIN : B08QG9NGK8

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Marco Pablo & Olivia Story One Fútbol Tryouts

It’s not easy moving to a new neighborhood, especially at a young age. It can cause a lot of stress and worry. Although, it’s a lot easier when you have your siblings by your side. Marco Pablo & Olivia Fútbol Tryouts, by Ana Cortes follows an Ecuadorian family, moving into a new city. When the three siblings, Marco Olivia and Pablo, see the inside of their new house, they begin to grow excited at the idea of decorating their own rooms. As they look around, their mom brings them the news that there is a fútbol field nearby! Marco immediately wants to take his siblings to go see it, and when they go they discover that there are soccer tryouts coming up. But, when they talk to the team, they find that one member doesn’t want Marco on the team. He insults him and tries to convince him not to come to tryouts, but Marco is determined. Now, the siblings are left with the task of helping Marco complete the tryouts and making it onto the team!

Not only does this story show readers Ecuadorian culture, but it also covers multiple other important lessons for children to learn. The author writes about moving into a new city, which everyone knows can be difficult and worrying. The author brings to light that moving can also bring positivity and new opportunities.

The story also covers the topic of bullying very well as it shows how to stop a bully, and how to continue to follow your dreams, despite what they may say. It’s important to stay true to yourself and continue to do what makes you happy.

The comic book style of this story really brings it to life as it is full of color and all the characters are emotive. The scenery is drawn with a lot of detail, helping the reader to immerse themselves in the scenes. Overall, the story delivers an incredible message while still entertaining the audience with wonderful writing and drawings.

Marco Pablo & Olivia Fútbol Tryouts, by Ana Cortes is entertaining while also being educational. It teaches children how to balance a new life, and get through any barriers they may run into. The illustrations are drawn with an amazing amount of skill and detail, making the book captivating. This charming children’s book is useful for any child to have, so they can understand that these challenges are only temporary, and there’s always a way to get through.

ASIN: B09QQ2QC9M

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How Do We Live With Our Mortality?

Author Interview William Loizeaux

Into the Wind follows a young boy who, while fixing up a sailboat, befriends his elderly neighbor. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When I was a boy, I had a feisty, independent, widowed and elderly aunt who was an artist and loved sailing.  As she aged, she didn’t seem to mellow or retire or relax, but seemed to come even more alive, to throw herself with increasing energy at what she loved, even as that became more difficult.  She painted with a trembling, arthritic hand.  Some weeks before she died, she managed—in a wheelchair!—to get herself into a small boat and, with the help of someone who held the rudder, sail through some rough weather.  That was the germ of Into the Wind

Was there anything from your own life that you incorporated into Rusty’s and Hazel’s relationship?

Yes.  There is a certain amount of my relationship with my aunt in Rusty’s relationship with Hazel.  Like Hazel, my aunt was odd and demanding—you might even say cantankerous.  We rubbed each other the wrong way.  But she took an interest in me, and slowly I took an interest in her and came to appreciate her quirky sense of humor, the challenges she faced and the wisdom she had as an aging woman who mostly got around in a wheelchair.  We became unlikely friends.

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

The main theme was intergeneration friendship.  How could that happen between a boy with his life ahead of him and a woman near the end of hers?   What might connect them?  What might each of them gain from that connection?  

Our mortality is another theme, something that children from eight to twelve are beginning to grapple with.  By then they may have lost a loved pet or, worse, a relative.  How do we think about that?  How do we live with our mortality?  Maybe Hazel shows Rusty a way.  Sadly, life comes to an end, but it can be filled, like Hazel’s, with curiosity, fun, humor, generosity, growth, energy, friendship, love, wonder, and meaning—all of which might be passed from one generation to another.  I hope that’s what readers feel and understand when they finish Into the Wind.

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

I write books for children and adults, and I’m usually working one or the other, or sometimes both.  At the moment, I have an adult nonfiction draft on my screen and parts of a children’s story in a folder on the side of my desk.  When might they be available?  I don’t know, as I haven’t finished them yet.  Sometime soon.  Fingers crossed.  Information about my previous books is available on my website.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A character-driven novel about the unlikely friendship between a 10-year-old boy and an elderly woman. The old woman badgers the boy into taking her sailing, but when the weather turns bad, it becomes a wild sail. It becomes the last trip before she goes into the hospital where she dies: but not before the two of them share memories of their last sail together. Hazel helps build the boy’s confidence during a tough time in his home life. Both moving and joyful, Into the Wind is a poignant story about loss and love in a boy’s life, and the surprising and sustaining bonds that can grow between the old and young.
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