Blog Archives

Changemakers Of The Future

Tara Anderson
Tara Anderson Author Interview

You Belong Too follows a young girl as she navigates being the new kid in school. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for the set up to this story was to teach children the importance of including others and accepting one another despite differences.

The art in this engaging picture book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with Carrisa Harris?

The art collaboration process with my illustrator, Carissa Harris, was phenomenal. She is extremely talented. We worked well together as a team and she was very open to and patient with all of my suggestions, changes or additions I wanted.

What made you decide to write a children’s book on empathy and kindness?

I decided to write a children’s book on empathy and kindness because I believe these qualities will empower todays children to become impactful leaders and changemakers of the future. As well, there is always room for more kindness in our world.

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

The next book I am working on is about two boys and their adventures sailing the North Channel, but it is still in progress while I enjoy sharing this one.

Author Links: Instagram | Website | GoodReads

To everyone else at Meadowbrook Public School, it’s just an ordinary Monday.
But to Annie, it’s so much more.
Today is her first day at a brand-new school. She can feel the butterflies fluttering in her tummy.
Even though Annie’s Mom reminds her that she can do hard things, she wonders if it’s really true.
As she sits alone at recess, she begins to lose hope.
Maybe I can’t do hard things.
…. Or can she?
Join Annie as she overcomes her fears and takes a brave step towards kindness and friendship that leaves a positive effect on her entire class.

The Choices We Make Aren’t Mistakes

Diana Smith
Diana Smith Author Interview

My Awareness Book follows a boy and girl as they encounter strong emotions and learn how to work through what they are feeling. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The set up for My Awareness Book is: I had already written My Grateful Book and My Welcome Book talking about the importance of gratitude and self esteem and to start with this was going to be My Choices Book, but then My Awareness Book seemed more appropriate as it talks about how it is ok to have feelings and talk about them. Big or small. The choices we make aren’t mistakes they are all learning experiences.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with the illustrator Sarah Jane Marchant?

Sarah had illustrated my first two books so it was just a given she would illustrate the third. I just give her the story and she creates these amazing pictures. I don’t have to change anything usually it is exactly what I was thinking as well. We work very well together.

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

The important themes in this book for me was to tell children, we do have some strong emotions growing up and it’s ok to talk about them. That the choices we make are ok for us individually. We are all different but can still all get along.

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

The next book in this series I think will be My Brave Book with what is happening in the world, vaccinations etc., masks and social distancing. Just letting kids know its ok to be scared but moving through the fear and doing it anyway will make you feel like a hero!

Author Links: Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Childhood can be tough. Navigating feelings and figuring out your place in the world can be even tougher.
With simple rhyming prose, My Awareness Book follows the journey of a little boy and a girl, steering through their struggles toward a positive mindset and learning the skills for mental resilience.
My Awareness Book teaches your child how to have a growth mindset, build mental resilience and identify and regulate their emotions, all important skills for a young mind to master. Beautifully illustrated with simple rhyming prose, this book is the perfect story to help a child feel supported and understood as they grow and learn. An easy read, My Awareness Book invites broader and deeper discussions with your child, enabling them to continue to move confidently towards adulthood, with empathetic direction and positive guidance.
This delightful book is part of the Feel Good series.
About the author
Diana Smith is the author of My Grateful Book, My Welcome Book and My Awareness Book (the celebrated children’s Feel Good series). Her other early childhood books include Bruiser’s G’day at the Park, Bruiser’s G’day at the Beach, Bruiser’s G’day Camping and The Adventures of Clive.

Tales of the Monkey King

Monkey is capable of some marvelous things. He wishes to be a master in virtually every area, Small but mighty. His thirst for knowledge is unmatched, and his abilities outshine everyone around him. When he transforms into the famed Monkey King, it is just the beginning of his fantastic journey. Monkey is, however, quite a character. He never fails to be the center of any and every bit of chaos. Monkey is filled with intensity and determination from his temper to his strength. There is no one else like him.

Tales of the Monkey King, by Teresa Chin Jones, is a retelling of classic Chinese tales of the famous Monkey King. Jones delivers a fabulous series of chapters tracing the making of the Monkey King through his outrageous adventures to the fascinating end of his journey. Along the way, readers will meet captivating characters and find themselves in awe of the fantastic and, sometimes, harrowing situations in which Monkey and his cohort find themselves.

I was taken with the colorful characters and the vibrant language throughout the book. Though there are beautiful illustrations placed sporadically throughout the chapters, readers will have no trouble visualizing the characters and exquisite settings. Jones does a fantastic job of building Monkey and his comrades into strong mental images for her readers. In addition, the more challenging text structure and choice of verbiage will push young readers. I can see Tales of the Monkey King as a beautiful read-aloud addition to any classroom.

As a teacher, I appreciate the added summaries at the beginning of each chapter. Teachers and students alike will find these little bonuses helpful when picking up reading where they left off. As I usually spend a little time reviewing previous chapters before reading, I can see these summaries making that much more manageable and bringing my students and me quickly up to date. In addition, young readers will find the summaries an easy way to review on their own.

I truly enjoyed reading Monkey King’s escapades and seeing Jones’s work as a real asset to upper elementary and middle school classrooms. Folklore is an essential part of literature education, and I highly recommend Tales of the Monkey King to any fan of classic folk tales and legends. Monkey is sure to bring a smile to readers’ faces.

Pages: 277 | ASIN : B091721V92

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I Can Do That

Scarlett is a little girl, and her mom wants to play a game all day long. The game is mommy and daddy will give her different challenges all day, and she has to see if she can do them all by herself. Challenges like making her bed, cleaning her room, helping with shopping, and even playing at the park and drawing a picture make for a full day of fun. Scarlett spends the day thinking she is playing a game but is really learning and growing as she completes each of her challenges.

I Can Do That: A Little Girls’s Day of Big Challenges is written for preschoolers and kindergarten level children; this book introduces taking responsibility in a fun and creative way. Scarlett has a mantra she repeats with each task given, “I can do that!” This phrase is often heard from small children and allows them to feel empowered and able to accomplish things. Finding age-appropriate jobs and helping them succeed is a delicate balance, and this picture book demonstrates a creative way to engage children. Learning while playing is a crucial developmental skill, and Scarlett jumps right into this activity despite the fear that she may not be able to do everything. Her mom, however, offers encouragement and tells her all she needs to do is try and ask for help if she can’t do it.

Author and illustrator Kairen Alaina is immensely talented and does a fantastic job composing this children’s story and providing whimsical artwork to follow along. Reading this playful story aloud will entertain children and adults with a positive and energetic narrative.

I Can Do That: A Little Girls’s Day of Big Challenges is a remarkable picture book that will delight children and adults. Parents and teachers will love having this charismatic book on hand to help teach children about responsibility and building self-confidence.

Pages: 31 | ASIN : B09KNWFK5T

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The Message Of Positivity

Maria Cedolini Thompson
Maria Cedolini Thompson Author Interview

Our 20/20 Journey Back to School talks about returning to school in a post COVID world, what was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for this setup to my story was the thoughts in my head about returning to school a few days before our return in February of 2021. I was fortunate enough to have my first-grade class loop up to second grade with me and so I knew the questions that they had been asking and had built a strong relationship with both my students and their parents. As a parent myself, I knew the importance of letting my community know that we are all in this together and that anything is possible (even though a pandemic). The message of positivity was necessary for all of us to cope with these challenges. The idea that we would conquer them as a team, was most important to me!

The artwork was very creative and engaging for young readers. What was the collaboration process like between you and the illustrator?

The collaboration with Daria Shamolina was amazing. She lives in the Ukraine and I have yet to meet her face to face or even on Facetime/Zoom. I trusted that she would produce incredible illustrations and she was truly able to make the story come to life. I found Daria on a Facebook Author page and saw her previous work and emailed her. I think it was meant to be because she had now illustrated my second book as well.

Returning to normalcy in a post COVID environment is challenging for adults and kids; you touched on the perspective of teachers and children in a relatable way. What was your thought process in writing this content in order to appeal to both the children and the adults reading with them?

In collaborating with teachers at my school and in Covid Facebook groups, I really got a good sense of what “all” teachers were going through. I learned so many things from the many groups I followed and was so thankful for the many resources that I had access to during this time. I really tried to put myself in the shoes of my students and think about how they might be feeling through this unprecedented time. I couldn’t be prouder of my group of students who were warriors through the Pandemic and who supported each other and myself alike!

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

My second book was just released at the end of November on both Amazon and Ingram Spark, it is called, “Lucky the Leprechaun on the Loose”. It is about a legendary St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun. Each year during the month of March up until the family Irish holiday, Lucky comes to visit children at school and at home. But he isn’t just here for a visit! Lucky wants to create some March magic by hiding toys, leaving messages and surprises, and even making messes while the children aren’t looking. In the spirit of The Elf on the Shelf, Lucky brings much delight to the hearts of children during this wonderful holiday time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram

“Our 20/20 Journey Back to School” is told from the children’s perspective and starts at the beginning of the Pandemic when students are home learning on Zoom. The children address both the challenges and positive aspects of their time spent at home. As the story continues, they tell of the changes to school upon their return. This story tugs on your heartstrings as the students return to school with joyful anticipation and describe the effects of the pandemic on their school experience. They explain how they are feeling and tell about the many unfamiliar changes in this new and different atmosphere. By the end of the book, they are able to express the importance of the class being together, whether on Zoom or in the classroom. This experience has opened their eyes (20/20 vision) and taught them the value of working together. While students and teachers have always been a team, 2020 truly taught us what teamwork was all about and the importance of our journey together and learning as a “class family”.

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds: A Hickory Doc’s Tale by author Linda Harkey tells the story of how a pack of bird hunting dogs meet a race horse. Zeek, Deacon, and Doc are German Shorthaired Pointers and very proud of their pedigree and hunting abilities. They live in their hacienda with the Great One and the Other One and hunt birds. They were not pleased at all when BJ the race horse is brought to their farm. After a few scuffles between horse and dogs, they decided to set things straight once and for all, with an old fashion race.

Author Linda Harkey has written an entertaining children’s book. The personalities of all the animals will delight children. From the first page you will find the hunting dogs humorous and engaging. The artwork by illustrator Mike Minick brings Harkey’s words to life. The collaboration between the two is extraordinary. Readers will enjoy the banter between BJ and the pack, especially Zeek who likes to stir up trouble and than blame someone else.

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds: A Hickory Doc’s Tale by author Linda Harkey is perfect for a classroom library or for children that love animal stories. This enchanting picture book has humorous dialogue, colorful and vibrant artwork, and a thrilling storyline that will make this a book you will definitely want to add to your collection.

Pages: 48 | ASIN : B07NJLPL94

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Dance-It-Out!

Once Upon a Dance
Once Upon a Dance Author Interview

Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute tells a creative story that gets kids dancing and exercising. How did the idea for this book come about?

As a dance teacher, I know the value of movement and expression. My daughter and I teamed up to try to keep cooped-up kids moving and active at home. The Dance-It-Out! collection—Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute is one of 10 books—are mostly expanded versions of stories I told in my dance classes. These were always the kids’ favorite part of the class, and I wanted to share the experience with a broader audience. This story is a collaboration with one of the instructors at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Marjorie Thompson, who was separately creating a story ballet, and we thought we’d team up.

What were some driving ideals behind the books development?

The story was created to be danced on stage, so it was an easy transition to create a children’s book with movement from the ideas. We infused even more movement into the Dance-It-Out version by adding the zombie ballet class and having the cats in dance-like poses. It’s full of movement themes and offers many opportunities for creating steps and shapes.

What is the collaboration process like between the authors to bring this book to live?

Marjorie, the original author, had a story draft. We whittled and edited that version together to create a book for her slightly older audience, then I infused that story with simpler movements and actions to make it accessible for younger kids.

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

We hope to have 2 more Dance-It-Outs out this year including one about a spirited squirrel superhero. Some of the previous series favorites include Joey Finds His Jump! and Princess Naomi Helps a Unicorn. We’re also working on audio books for the series and have 3 up on Amazon.

The Freya/Fynn sequel is in motion, and we have the same illustrator booked to start working on it in the new year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | CreativeMovementStories.com | OnceUponADance.com | Instagram | Twitter

Boisterous bats, zany zombies, and giddy ghosts await readers in this tale of sibling friendship, silly creatures, and magical music.

In the Dance-It-Out series, created by an award-winning dance teacherchildren act and move alongside the characters, and Ballerina Konora joins each page with movement suggestions. In this story, Fynn, Freya, cats, bats, ghosts, and zombies assemble for a captivating story of music, magic, and meyhem.

Movement, dance, and concepts include:
• Kicks
• Marches
• Jumps
• Rolls
• Bends
• First/Fifth position
• Shoulder lifts
• Lunges
• Tiptoes/Relevé
• Breath/Sighs
• Balancing on one foot
• Rocking/swaying
• Hand shapes such as fists/flat/pointer/curved fingers
• Sharp and smooth
• Emotions such as joy, shock, curiosity, and love
• Improv dance

Each Dance-It-Out story is an interactive kids’ storytelling adventure to ignite children’s movement, joy, and imagination. Ballerina Konora joins each page with optional movement and dance ideas and photographs.

The books can be used as a supplement for dance or theater studio classes or camps. Fynn, Freya, and the Fantastic Flute would be pair well with themes such as Halloween, cats, island-living, zombies, ghosts, music, camping, or magic.

The Dance-It-Out movement journeys are ideal for dance, pre-ballet, creative movement, preschool, daycare, early learning, physical education, homeschool, kindergarten, or first-grade activities. The full collection features male/female/nongendered and diverse characters. Books make a great gift for girls or boys interested in dance, ballet, gymnastics, or yoga, or reluctant readers who enjoy getting up and being active.

With kind characters, subtle life lessons, and a positive role model in Ballerina Konora, teachers love the kid-approved, ready-made, easy additions to curriculum and lesson planning. Children at home adore the stories that “young readers will return to again and again” (—Reedsy) offering “an innovative use of dance and storytelling” (—Kirkus Reviews).

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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