Blog Archives

Marky the Magnificent Fairy

In Marky the Magnificent Fairy by Cynthia Kern Obrien, readers are presented with an array of characters with numerous differences and physical capabilities that are then quickly explained and understood. As society is becoming more aware and educated on the diversity of people in many aspects, it is important to be able to introduce this subject to growing minds, and this vibrant children’s book does just that.

Throughout this charming picture book, readers are taken on a journey exploring the differences between people and get to understand self-love, confidence, acceptance, compassion, and positivity, among other things. All these things are core values that all people should learn about, but author Cynthia Kern OBrien makes it very easy for young readers to understand. All of these characteristics come into play as children grow into adulthood. This book also includes discussion questions that get kids to self-reflect and understand themselves and others better. Teachers will greatly appreciate The Resource Guide, as I thought it was helpful in furthering the discussion on how to handle situations with disabled people.

The beautiful illustrations were incredibly adorable and fit the atmosphere of the book perfectly. They were charming and captured the essence of each unique character. The writing is easy to follow and sends a clear and compassionate message. I would highly recommend Marky the Magnificent Fairy to all children, parents, and teachers. This would be a great book to have in an elementary school classroom to inspire discussion on diversity and self-respect.

Pages: 36 | ISBN: 1589850157

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A Story That Needed To Be Retold

Tom Tracy Author Interview

Scoochie & Skiddles: Scoochie’s Adoption Story follows a little girl who teaches her friends about adoption and different kinds of families. What was the inspiration for your story?

The character Scoochie is inspired by my oldest daughter. The book, Scoochie’s Adoption Story, chronicles our family’s experience in adopting her. However, the book is inspired by an actual incident at the park when another girl inquired about my daughter’s family. The book represents how my daughter proudly explained her adoption experience to this other girl. I could not have been more proud of her and, in that moment, I knew it was a story that needed to be retold.

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

Thank you. Dustin has illustrated both of my books and has been a wonderful collaborator. He gets my vision, which makes the process easy. I offer a scene description and give him creative liberty to bring it to life. While Scoochie’s Adoption Story is primarily about the main character and her family, I wanted the images to represent a broad range of diverse families. Dustin and I paid close attention to the background characters in the park scenes to ensure this diversity. I am very pleased with how it all turned out.

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

Most importantly, I wanted to concept of family diversity to come through. Every family is so different, and I wanted to celebrate those differences. I also wanted to normalize the adoption process as one way a family can be formed. Finally, I wanted to showcase same-sex parents and create greater visibility and representation of gay parents.

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

There are several concepts on the storyboard. Since adopting our second child, my available time to write isn’t the same as it once was. At this point, I would project book #3 to come out sometime in 2023. Lifting up diverse families in children’s literature will continue to be the theme of my books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

From the author of Scoochie & Skiddles in Fun at Gramma’s – a #1 top reader voted book (Reedsy Discovery), comes the much anticipated next release in the Scoochie & Skiddles series.  Scoochie’s Adoption Story is a multiple award winning book, earning a Readers’ Favorite Five Stars award, a Purple Dragonfly Book Award, and a Firebird Book Award in three categories – 1st place in the Adoption category, 1st place in the LGBTQ+ Families category and 2nd place in the Parenting & Families category.

Scoochie was adopted by her two daddies through an open adoption. In Scoochie’s Adoption Story, Scoochie takes you on the journey of her and her daddies’ adoption experience. She tells of the many distinct processes related to adoption such as the “match” process between her birth mom and daddies, the hospital and post-hospital experience, and the adoption hearing that legalized her adoption. Most importantly, she expresses her respect and positivity for her birth mom and birth family, while exuding immense pride and endless love for her two daddies and soon to be adopted sister. While the book’s theme is Scoochie’s adoption, it honors and celebrates families of all types and structures. The story is an uplifting story about the bond family.

Narrated by the book’s main character, Scoochie’s Adoption Story is told in child-friendly language with adoption concepts presented in a manner that are easy for children to understand. It is a celebration of family, regardless of family composition or how a family has been created. Through text and illustration, the story represents a wide variety of families and sends a strong message of diversity and inclusion. A perfect reading book for all families and especially for children of LGBT parents, diverse families, and families touched by adoption.

Those who may enjoy the book include:
All families and all children
Parents looking for books on diversity
Birth parents
Adoptive parents
Adopted children
LGBT parents and LGBT allies
Diverse families / mixed race families
Adoption agencies / Adoption case workers
Adoption attorneys
Adoption facilitators
Individuals and couples considering adoption
Social Workers and Counselors
Teachers and Guidance Counselors
Child Protective Services / Family Preservation
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) advocates
For more information, visit us on the web at scoochieandskiddles(dot)com or email us at

Imperfections Are What Make You Unique

Emma Sandford Author Interview

Hooray for Heidi! follows a young turtle who makes a new friend on her way to see the animal games; once there, she learns the value of teamwork and that everyone has different strengths. What was the inspiration for your story?

I am very aware that we live in an age where children are becoming increasingly self-conscious in terms of their appearance, physique and abilities. I was therefore inspired to write an entertaining story that ultimately teaches children that it is okay to be good at some things and not so good at others. Nobody can be good at everything, and in fact your imperfections are what make you unique.

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your character’s life?

Due to adverse experiences in my childhood, I had a habit (and still do) of being self-critical, for example, comparing my abilities to other children, what I was good at and not so good at etc. I wanted to refer to this with characters in the book as it’s important for everyone, especially children, to realise their strengths and weaknesses, how to learn from them, how to accept yourself and others and to be kind and show compassion to people no matter how similar or different they are.

 What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

I wanted to make sure that this book had more excitement in it with it being the final book in the Sumatran Trilogy, and I hope I have achieved that. It was important to me to have the book flow well and for the theme to remain as close to the first two books, The Problem with Poppy and What’s Troubling Tawny?, as possible. I also wanted to make it funny and a little more light-hearted than the first two books but still with meaningful messages that would help children handle their emotions and feelings.

What is the next book or series you will be writing, and when can your readers look for it to be out?

Hooray for Heidi! is the final book in the Sumatran Trilogy, but I do have plans for more books in the future. I am co-writing one with another author at the moment, but I can’t reveal any details yet. Watch this space!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Website

It’s the Sumatran Games and Heidi the turtle is excited! On her way to the event, she makes friends with a jolly elephant called José. As the pair watch the sports, Heidi realises that a turtle could never compete – and her smile soon turns to a frown.

Will José be able to cheer Heidi up, and can the two animals find a way to join in the fun?

Colin the Crab’s Friends

What is the purpose of life if there is no one to enjoy it with? In Colin the Crab’s Friends by Tuula Pere Colin knows that working hard and savoring the beautiful moments in life is a well-balanced diet. Colin is a hardworking builder that keeps himself fully busy.

He helps Ms. Catfish with a loose roof beam on her home but then spends time listening to her stories and enriching their friendship. The Next family needs help washing their windows which Colin is more than willing to help, knowing Mrs. Newt has so many children to look after and would much prefer her spending time looking after them than worrying about her silly windows that need cleaning. Sally the Starfish is incredibly sad about how glum her fence is looking, and Colin knows his friend well enough to do just the right thing to cheer her up. He embellishes her fence with decorative ornaments, which instantly brightens her mood but reminds her to be thankful that she has a strong-standing home keeping her perspective of what is important in check as a good friend should do. After working hard all week, Colin decides to throw his friends a party in the blue pavilion he built for just such occasions. He knows life is about working hard and taking the time to enjoy life’s splendors with friends.

I loved how simple the story is, but it permeated with such significance. I feel everyone is told to always work hard to get the things they want in life. But this story does an exquisite job of clarifying exactly how to do so and then, in the same breath showing you how to have meaningful relationships and enjoy life. This is exactly the kind of story young readers should have at their disposal to become what I think are well-rounded individuals.

The illustrations by Roksolana Panchyshyn give life to the characters and convey the sweetness and charm the story possesses. I enjoyed how the author has given Colin the crab such humanity-like quality to him. He empathizes and sympathizes with his friends and their situations. He knows just what everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated, and this is also a shining mark shown countless times throughout the story by the author’s remarkable writing skills.

Colin the Crab’s Friends is a heartwarming picture book that children and adults will be able to find meaning within its pages. This children’s book is perfect for classrooms and libraries to help young children understand what friendship is and how to be a good friend to those around them.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 9523573225

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The Magical Bag for a Plastic-Free Earth

Have you ever noticed how much waste we create? How much just one person can create in a single day? The Magical Bag for a Plastic Free Earth, written and illustrated by Pranamee Nath, follows a young girl named Ollie who loves animals and comes to realize the answers to those questions. Ollie goes for a visit at her Uncle John’s house where the main attraction is the beach. When the beach is closed her cousin Tanya takes her to enjoy the day at a fair where there is a variety of delicious foods and treats to indulge in. Tanya has a magic bag that lets her carry alternative containers that allow her to live waste and single-use plastic free. Ollie doesn’t see the importance of these items until she is confronted with why the beach was closed in the first place.

The message of doing our part in keeping our planet free of single-use plastic was done in such an impactful way by the author’s emotionally evocative writing skills. I enjoyed that the author also gives readers examples along the way that show how to make small changes when we are going about our everyday lives. These changes can make a huge difference and are easy to implement. I felt like I was being educated on every page rather than preached to or being shamed for my lack of action. This enlightening children’s book is a gentle guide that illuminates the steps that are necessary and easy to take. Ollie realizes how her actions throughout the day have contributed to a destructive situation for us, the world we live in, and the animals she loves. I felt her shame and sadness all at once and again that speaks to the author’s fantastic writing.

The Magical Bag for a Plastic-free Earth is an educational picture book that is a wonderful resource parents can use to introduce environmental issues and sustainability to young readers. This informative book will help parents and teachers start a conversation about the environment in a way that young kids will easily understand.

Pages: 40 | ASIN: B0BCSMD4ZF

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Colin the Crab Feels Tired

It is difficult to say no to friends when they ask for your help. In Colin the Crab Feels Tired by Tuula Pere we get to see the struggle Colin feels when he is asked by numerous friends’ for his help with many different tasks. He simply cannot say no to his friends and does his best to prioritize his jobs but is too tired from working hard all day to move another muscle.

The fish family’s home was destroyed by waves, and has asked Colin for his help in building them a new home. This being an emergency, he gets to work on it straight away. He then receives a call from Eddie the eel to get his help in making him a new and bigger garage for his new moto copter, which Colin knows is nothing urgent and can wait but begins to feel the slightest pressure building within him. Still working hard at the construction site for the fish family, Sally, the starfish, calls him, needing his help in putting up her new mirror on the wall of her home. Colin cannot decline her request but decides to put her next on his fast-growing list of friends to help. At the end of the day, Colin feels exhausted and needs a good night’s rest that seems to last long into the morning. In the morning, his friends are all looking for him needing his help, and realize they he is overworked and must be desperately tired if he is still asleep. They decide to take on his task of building the fish family’s new home so he can rest up.

I love that this story shows young children not only the significance of helping others but also the weight it can bear on us if we take on too much. We must look after ourselves in order to help others in the end, and that also having good friends who are more than willing to bare the weight is what true friendships are made of.

Colin the Crab Feels Tired is a well-written picture book that teaches children the value of self-care and looking out for your friends. Teachers and parents will love the important message this book shares, while children will be drawn to the beautiful illustrations and entertaining characters.

Pages: 32 | ISBN: 9523573160

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A Bluebird’s Memories

Life can be an exquisite or boring journey depending on your perspective. In A Bluebird’s Memories by Tuula Pere, a grandmother bluebird exemplifies to her grandchildren how even being a small bird, they can live impactful, meaningful, and beautiful lives.

Near a summer cottage, the owner built a nesting box in which the grandmother bluebird lives. She is cleaning and readying her home for her grandchildren’s visit. She reminisces of the days when she was with her mate and all the beautiful memories she cherishes. She isn’t lonely, though, and has many friends and events keeping her busy. She has lived a long full life, and the little curious chicks want to hear stories from her past. She tells them of moments when she helped others without receiving praise or recognition and moments of overcoming terror.

The lovely illustrations by Outi Rautkallio fully encompass the wholesome naturalness of the characters and the environment with a waterlike soft look that brings the reader into the world. The stories the grandmother bluebird told were so heartfelt and perfectly encased with symbolization that it is easy for young readers to understand. She sheds light on how significant everyone’s life is and to be a good person. To live life fully and appreciate every moment, even when they are scary or hard. To find what truly matters in life which is the people we keep around us and that we love to no end. To see life as an opportunity and all its possibilities. I loved the story and how sweet the relationship she had with her grandchildren was.

A Bluebird’s Memories is a heartwarming children’s book that teaches children the value of kindness and how even small things can make a big impact on someone. This story is inspiring and will help kids realize that they do have an important role in life, even though they are small.

Pages: 18 | ASIN : B07HY9JNH6

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Find A Forever Home

Clara Donis-Girma Author Interview

Clara and Mr. Milo’s Adventures follows a five-year-old girl who wants her pet and takes the time to ensure she gets the right pet and takes care of it correctly. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

My husband and I adopted Mr. Milo from a shelter in central Florida. We walked by so many sweet pets needing a loving home that it broke my heart. I wanted to find a way to encourage others to adopt shelter pets. A few days after adopting Mr. Milo, my niece Adelyn came to visit and meet Mr. Milo. She was very interested in learning about shelter pet adoption. Adelyn was only six years old, and her sweet and caring questions inspired me to write about the process we underwent to adopt Mr. Milo. Adelyn reminded me that children are eager to learn and that their innocence and selflessness can encourage the kindness and compassion needed to help shelter pets find a forever home.

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

Thank you! I enjoyed working with Lana Lee. I initially submitted a picture of Mr. Milo as a kitten and a picture of me as a child to different illustrators at Upwork. When Lana sent me her initial illustrations, I knew she was the right illustrator for my series. Lana allowed me to give her my vision, page by page. We worked together, going back and forth during the dates scheduled and at different hours of the day. Lana would send me a draft of the illustrations, and if needed, I would request changes. We worked hard on refining the images to capture my vision. Sometimes, it was a simple color change or changing the details of the expression of a character. She amazingly created every page as I imagined and finalized every episode on the scheduled dates. We worked together for almost a year, and she was easy to work with. I’m thrilled with her work. Lana Lee is a very talented illustrator, and I look forward to continuing our partnership.     

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

My goal is to educate children about the process of shelter pet adoption and the responsibility involved in caring for a pet. As well as to highlight the rewards and joy pets give us in return. I hope to inspire kindness, compassion, patience, and love toward shelter pets.

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

We recently completed seven episodes of this series. It has been an incredible experience and an absolute joy to create. I’m currently focusing on using this series to spread the valuable message of shelter pet adoption and hope to expand on Clara & Mr. Milo’s Adventures very soon…

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Clara wants to help a shelter pet! Join Clara in her search and the process of adopting and caring for her shelter pet. Clara & Mr. Milo’s Adventures Series hopes to inspire shelter pet adoption and show you the importance of being patient, loving, and caring with your shelter pet. This book includes seven episodes of Clara & Mr. Milo’s Learning Adventures Series. Join Clara & Mr. Milo today!
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