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Scroonathan: A Diwali Story

Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by [Ram Tirthdas Daryanani]

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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Tales from the Smoke House

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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I Could Never Have a Christmas Tree

Julia Seaborn
Julia Seaborn Author Interview

BUTTERBALL’S Christmas Surprise follows a young poodle as she prepares for Christmas, gets into mischief, but does her best to ensure Santa’s visit. What inspired the Christmas theme in book three of your series?

My previous miniature poodle was notorious for wanting to play with my Christmas trees. She was fascinated with the decorations. Consequently I could never have a Christmas tree or could only have one high up where she couldn’t reach.

What was a lesson that was important for you to include in this book?

It is important to show genuine remorse when one does something wrong. It is also important for positive behaviour to be rewarded.

I appreciated the questions at the end that provided an opportunity for reading comprehension. How do you see this fitting into a teaching curriculum?

The questions are designed to test the ability of young readers to understand and retain details in the book. I think this is a good exercise in reading comprehension.

What plans do you have for Butterball the Poodle book 4?

Currently I have no plans for Butterball the Poodle Book 4 BUT I might change my mind at a later date. I have started a new series which will be on sale very soon – A Poodle called Pippin Book 1 “Pippin’s Country Adventure”.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

What is Butterball the Poodle up to now?

She helps to prepare for Christmas and sees shiny balls on the Christmas tree but Butterball cannot stop thinking about those shiny balls.

Will she make a mistake? Will Butterball get her surprise?

Join Butterball as she goes to the poodle groomer and …

Includes fun questions at the end of the story.

Butterball’s Christmas Surprise

BUTTERBALL'S Christmas Surprise (Butterball the Poodle Book 3) by [Julia Seaborn]

Butterball’s Christmas Surprise follows the life of an adorable poodle as she prepares for Christmas. Butterball goes shopping, decorates a tree, and goes to the groomer to get ready for the big day. Butterball gets into mischief along the way, but does her best to show her mummy that she’s a good dog and is rewarded with a special visit from Rudolph and Santa.

This is an adorable holiday picture book that is perfect for young readers who are advancing to stories with full sentences and paragraphs. There are no difficult words, but word repetition will help develop reading comprehension and confidence.

Each character is doe eyed and very cute. The illustrations cover each page with a soft color palette and simple yet emotive graphic art. Readers are given a challenge at the beginning of the story to find 12 Christmas Candy Canes throughout the story ensuring that readers will be fully engaged with this entertaining book. The bonus ‘Fun Questions’ section at the back of the book makes this book a full reading comprehension lesson in itself.

Author Julia Seaborn provides elementary readers, parents, and teachers with another beautifully illustrated children’s book that is a prefect fit for the holidays, as a learning tool, or as a delightful bedtime story.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08XQ6F32Z

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Charlotte’s Snowman

Charlotte's Snowman by [Lainey Dee, Sarah-Leigh Willis]   

Charlotte’s Snowman, by Lainey Dee, is an exciting and touching children’s story of a little girl that builds a snowman for Winter. She expects her snowman to be normal when suddenly, he starts talking! He begins to complain of the cold and she does her best to keep him warm. But, the next morning, Charlotte finds a surprise that she never expected.

Charlotte’s Snowman has an adorable storyline that is easy for children to follow. Charlotte is an incredibly empathetic and generous young girl. She’s a perfect role model for anyone to follow, with a great fashion sense too. This is a great story for parents to read with their children, as it provides topics of conversation on helping others and being empathetic. The art is very detailed with a soft color palette that shows emotion and movement well. The illustrations allow the reader to better understand how Charlotte and the snowman feel throughout the whole book. It was an art style that was reminiscent of Charlie Brown and I truly enjoyed it.

Charlotte’s Snowman is a cute and imaginative story perfect for children and parents to read together during the holidays. It teaches a valuable lesson with an easy to follow storyline along with cute artwork.

Pages: 25 | ASIN: B08P1P97F1

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The Doing of Good Deeds

Norman Whaler Author Interview
Norman Whaler Author Interview

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge is the children’s edition to your previous award winning book. What motivated you to turn your story into a book for kids?

Hello! Thank you so much for inviting me here. To answer, the adult edition of the book had several themes and lessons and was too complicated for younger children, but I felt children could learn a valuable lesson from a children’s edition. I selected one of the major themes of the book that children understand and can relate with readily.

What were some parts of the story you absolutely had to keep when condensing this for kids?

1) Kindness to others. Something we ALL can do that can change the world, in my opinion. 2) The lesson that WE continue the goodness that is in this world that we inherit from those who came before us. Life goes on and so must also the doing of good deeds from generation to generation. Of course, all the main characters are there: Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Becky, and Jimmy!

The art in this book is stunning. What was the art collaboration process like with Voxillustrations?

Voxillustrations was such a great partner in capturing the essence of each page of story text in their art! I gave them detailed ideas of what I was looking for such as character actions, expressions, backgrounds, and the little details of Victorian life, and they worked hard to get each illustration just right for the story. This art style they call ‘Fantasy’. Love them!

What part of the classic Charles Dickens story speaks to you the most?

That we are all redeemable, no matter what the situation we are in, how hopeless things feel, or how far down we are. Thank you for letting me speak with our readers! It is such an honor!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

*** Children’s Edition – Narrated with Audio Christmas Carols ***
In the continuation to Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’, a troubled Tiny Tim, now grown-up, has ghosts of his own and is gently reminded what Christmas is all about.

Beautifully illustrated and told in verse, narration with audio Christmas Carols and print music editions add to the Christmas charm of this classic holiday sequel. (Christmas, Holiday, Children, Classics, Gift Book, Narrated, Christmas Carols, Picture Book)

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge *Children’s Edition*

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol (Children's Edition - Narrated with Audio Christmas Carols) by [Norman Whaler, Voxillustrations, Esther Randell, David  Deighton (UK)]


Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol (Children’s Edition) by Norman Whaler, with illustrations by Voxillustrations, is a picture book intended for children aged 4 through 10. Set in London, Tiny Tim is now grown up. He loves Becky, but her parents will not allow a marriage between the two of them. After many years pass, Tim has started to forget the lessons he learned from Ebenezer Scrooge. He forgets the hardships of his childhood–and appreciating the simple joys of life. After Mr. Scrooge passes away seven days before Christmas, Tim is visited by Scrooge’s ghost. Will Tim finally remember the true spirit of Christmas?

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a perfect story for parents to share with their children this holiday season. It has a good lesson about generosity and kindness, and a message of faith through trials and struggles. Quotes about kindness at the beginning of the book, including from scripture and literature, reinforce the message of the story. This book can be enjoyed even if a reader is not familiar with the classic Charles Dickens’ story, since there is a quick overview of A Christmas Carol in the first page of verses. The rhyming verses are fun and young children will enjoy looking at the pictures as the story is read to them. I liked the change in font to indicate strong emotion in the dialogue, and I enjoyed the happy ending. I wanted to know more about Becky and her son, Jimmy.

I loved all the vividly colored pictures with bright pinks and greens and beautiful scenery and landscapes. My two favorite pictures were the scenes of the bedroom at night and in the morning. The glow from the candle was very realistic. It actually appeared as though light was shining out of the book in this picture, and also the one where the sun was shining through the bedroom window the next day. The illustrator’s use of perspective was very good and many pictures had an impressive three dimensional look.

There are nine Christmas carols at the end of the story with lyrics and sheet music, which are a wonderful addition to this book.

Pages: 95 | ASIN: B08MKJT2YH

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Christmas Letters

MICHAEL SHAWN MCCALLEY
Michael Shawn McCalley Author Interview

30 Chicago Christmases is a collection of personal letters you’ve sent during the holidays over the last 30 years. Why was this an important book for you to publish?

I have asked myself what I would grab from my house in a hurry were it burning to the ground. The obvious answer was my collection of end-of-year Christmas letters that I have been keeping in a 3-ring binder. I did not want to reach the end of my life without leaving behind any indication of having been here. I did not want to reach the end of my life without sharing what I have learned or observed. In publishing this book filled with holiday-themed correspondence, my hope was that others might benefit from the insights that have come from my experiences.

Your 30th year-in-review letter will be in 2020. This is a difficult year for everyone, but was there anything specifically personal to this year for you?

During the earliest and most restrictive phases of the pandemic lock-down, I never identified with the oft-spoken adage that “we’re all in this together.” Despite technology which has allowed for telework and electronic forms of communication, I have felt greatly distanced from a sense of normal and from other people. Christmas 2020 looks to take place under a lock-down. My hope when writing this book is that it would be a way to connect with people, with activities, and with traditions at a time when get-togethers and travel might be inopportune.

Was there anything that surprised you when you went back to look at these letters for this book?

No, I cannot say that I was surprised by anything. What I had written was consistent with my memories of what I had described. My letters did include some details that I might have forgotten had they not been put to paper. What I did feel was a sense of affirmation with respect to the choices I have made and that my life feels like it is headed in the right direction going forward.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

I want readers to appreciate how beneficial and significant writing can be to a sense of well-being. I do not wonder where the years have gone because I have got a record of what I have done with them. Others who write can experience that same sense of satisfaction in being able to account for how they have spent their time on planet earth or at least avoid that sense of loss felt by non-writers who wonder how time got away from them.

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

My name is Michael McCalley, and 30 Chicago Christmases is the first book I have authored. Before now, my writing outside of work had been limited to personal correspondence and accounts of travels when I have taken a vacation. Many people have told me how much they enjoy my letters which I consider my favorite compliment. What I write also tends to be short, generally no more than a few thousand words. Never would I have considered myself an author or a writer of an entire book. But then the pandemic hit. I coped with lockdowns and restrictions by writing more than usual. During this time, I successfully recovered the most aged of some lost “year-in-review” Christmas letters which I had stored on some old floppy disks. They go back continuously to Christmas 1991. Beginning with the 2009 Advent season, additional mailings detailing the build-up toward Christmas in the Windy City supplemented the annual letters sent to my parents. The year-in-review letter sent for 2020 is my 30th. My pandemic project has been the compilation of all my holiday correspondence into what has become 30 Chicago Christmases. At times, it may read as a reflective memoir intended for those interested in personal growth and development. The book is also an account of how Christmas is observed in Chicago, which is part current history and part travelogue. I chronicle the happenings downtown, in my neighborhood, at work, and at home. Vivid descriptions of activities and events which make the Yuletide special in the Windy City put the reader at the center of the festivities. This book will delight readers who want the experience of a Chicago Christmas for themselves and to share with others.
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