All People Are Beautiful celebrates diversity and highlights the beauty of our differences. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I truly believe diversity is reality and that children need to know that our differences are what unite us, not divide us. I think this message is so important for kids to be exposed to until it becomes unconsciously integrated — until it becomes a truth they know deep down! I truly feel the conversation of diversity never gets old and can never be talked about too early. I feel our differences help this world be a really cool place to both live and love.
The art in this book is delightful and beautiful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Cha Consul?
My partnership with Cha was kismet. Cha is an absolutely phenomenal illustrator. By the time we connected, I already had in my mind what I thought the illustrations would look like. Cha took my vision, added her creative flare and gave my words a face.
It was important to me that readers got to see bright colors, different skin tones, features, and faces of children from all over the world in this book. Cha helped me achieve that goal and I’m grateful. It was great to work with her because she loves diversity just as much as I do.
Interestingly enough, All People Are Beautiful was the first children’s book she ever illustrated, so I feel very special.
Because of COVID, locations, and our time difference, we did all the collaboration for All People Are Beautiful virtually from opposite sides of the world. Cha is based in the Philippines and I am based just outside Nashville, Tennessee, so there were lots of virtual video calls to make sure we aligned on the presentation.
I am forever grateful for her artistry and I am looking forward to working together again in the near future!
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I want readers to take away that everyone is beautiful regardless of what you look like, where you’re from, your culture, your hobbies, or anything else that makes you different. I want readers to know we like different things and that’s OK. Our differences are what unite us, not divide us. I want kids to know that it’s cool to talk about our differences in fun and interactive ways.
Do you plan to write more children’s book on this or other topics?
So I’m a true ENFP and a Creative, so I’m always on the go! I’ve actually recently finished writing a few new stories.
I’ve written a really cool story about a group of animal friends that decide to switch places for a day and realize it’s no fun being someone else. This is definitely another diversity themed book. I’ve also written another book about beautiful rainbows and the things the colors remind us of.
Both are books for early readers so I’m looking forward to sharing these with children everywhere.
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Who doesn’t need a little fun with their facts? When dry nonfiction material can be made more palatable, everyone wins. Limerick Comics, written by Robert Hoyman and illustrated by Steve Feldman, presents a mountain of facts while simultaneously handing readers entertaining limericks. The limericks do a wonderful job of drawing readers in and piquing interest while Feldman’s illustrations give readers much to ponder. They are colorful, detailed, and provide a perfect visual for both the limerick and the corresponding fact.
Hoyman and Feldman seem to have struck upon a fantastic vein in the nonfiction genre. I can see their limericks as a wonderful addition to middle school libraries and classrooms. They provide quick bites of science and history in easily digestible comic frames and short bursts of facts. I can say even as an adult reader, I learned quite a bit from Hoyman and Feldman’s comic in a short amount of time. From rollercoasters to food fights, this pair has created a comic that will most certainly appeal to young adult readers.
I would have given anything to have a book like this on hand for my own children. Encouraging them to read nonfiction material was always important to me, but it was difficult to find options that kept their interest. Hoyman and Feldman more than meet this challenge. Readers who appreciate and seek humor will love the limerick presentation, and educators will be instant fans of the accompanying facts.
Limerick Comics is a fun children’s picture book that educates as wells as it entertains.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B07MFC7KQ5
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Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship, by Lisa Jacovsky is a fun and educational children’s story about a little girl named Harper. While at the pool one day, she meets a girl named Emma. She tries to talk and play with her, but she notices something’s off. Emma doesn’t speak, and she just stands there, flapping her arms. Harper offers to play in the pool with Emma and once she does, she learns that Emma has autism! Even after knowing why Emma behaved the way she did, she didn’t mind and Emma still became her best friend.
Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship is a light-hearted and engaging story that teaches young readers a valuable life lesson. Author Lisa Jacovsky is able to write about a sensitive topic while keeping it easy for kids to understand. The colorful and detailed illustrations allow for the reader to better visualize the story and the characters. I really enjoyed how the story shows what it is like to have a friend with autism, letting the audience know that they may think differently, but they are still fun people to be around!
Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship is a touching and easy to read picture book that will make it easy for parents and teachers to begin a discussion about autism with children. It teaches kids about the importance of accepting others and learning how to make them feel more comfortable, and Lisa Jacovsky does it all within an entertaining story.
Pages: 14 | ASIN: B08CBDT71J
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Mattie Boombalatty by Wayne Gerard Trotman is a children’s illustrated short story that follows Mattie Boombalatty as she moves to a new town and falls victim to bullying by her new schoolmates. Trotman’s simple yet profound lesson about morality, combined with the book’s vivid and lively illustrations makes this a fantastic book for children.
Nhat Hao Nguyen, the illustrator of the book, is a skilled artist who makes each scene and character come to life. He uses vivid colors that pop, and his life-like yet cherub-like character illustrations add just the right amount of magic and realism to this children’s picture book. His attention to detail on each page is fantastic.
Trotman’s message about treating others who treat us lesser than we deserve is, as aforementioned, simple yet poignant. Mattie faces many anxieties that are understandable and normal for a school-aged girl. Some of her schoolmates decide for no reason that they do not like her and, as mean schoolchildren do, they make their feelings known. As distraught as she is over being taunted by her peers, she displays strength in refusing to wish them ill will, even when she comes across a glowing opportunity to get revenge. Mattie is ultimately rewarded for choosing the high road, and she reaches her happy ending in the story. While we as humans are not always rewarded for rising above our circumstances, Trotman makes it clear that the reward is not what matters – rather, the peace of mind that comes with choosing the right path is what ultimately matters.
Pages: 50 | ISBN-10: 1916184839
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Nickerbacher follows a fun loving dragon on his quest to be more than a dragon protector of princesses and sets his sights on becoming a comedian. What was the inspiration for the setup of this entertaining book?
This story started out as a Picture Book and evolved to a Chapter Book. In the beginning stage, I wanted to find a way of saying that it’s okay to be who you are. Being true to yourself and following your dreams. It went through a lot of stages, twists and turns but having been involved in theater, I ultimately went with performing as a fun way to get my message out.
I felt that the story carried some important lessons for children, like the importance of friendship and believing in yourself. What were some morals you felt were important for this story?
Those were exactly the morals I felt were important. The princess is a true friend who supports Nickerbacher 100%. And the evolution of the prince’s friendship is great to see ’cause once you get to know someone, unlikely friendships can develop.
The book is filled with some great art. My favorite includes ghosts and goblins at the Fairywood Forever Cemetery. What were the decisions that went into the art direction for this story?
Working with artist, Kim Sponaugle, was a wonderful collaboration. There was a lot of back and forth. We’ve spent hours on the phone planning each scene. Then she sends rough drawings and we discuss any needed changes before she does the final shading with ink & pen.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I’m working on a few different things right now. Pretty much in the beginning stages. Don’t really have any publishing plans yet.
“Nickerbacher is a dragon and aspiring comedian who travels to La La Land to audition for The Late Knight Show. Hoping to prove to his father – and the world – that dragons can be funny. Nickerbacher befriends a prince and a princess who help him realize his dream while paving the way for equal rights of all citizens.”
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Oliver and Jumpy is book 4 in your children’s series that follows playful characters as they go on various adventures. Why was it important for you to create a children’s story that focused on kindness, friendship and helping others?
Many picture books have lessons to tell, but can be very obvious. Children don’t really like to be told what to do. A good example is always better and Oliver, although he is quite a character, shows that you can have fun and adventure, and at the same time do good.
The art in this book is wonderful. What was the collaboration like with the illustrators?
I thought a long time about which quality of illustrations I should pursue. I did not want to go cheap with dots for eyes figures. I would have loved to follow the very complex pictures of the fairy-tales books of 100 years ago. Unfortunately, being self-financed, this option would have been far too expensive. I grew up with Walt Disney and decided to follow that style, which is easy enough for most illustrators to create, but with facial expressions possible. I tried out six illustrators. The first one, Marvin Alonso, was outstanding. He did illustrations to about eleven of the stories before finding greener pastures. Then I found Maycee Ann Reyes who works together with her husband. The rest is history. This team was simply fabulous. They needed a minimum of supervision and created the scenes of the stories totally by themselves. I just provided the story and simple instructions. Maycee turned out a picture every 3-4 days. These series has about 500 illustrations. Oliver and Jumpy began 4 years ago and it was a herculean task which is now finished. This is a triumph of self-publishing. No run-of-the-mill publisher would have been able to produce such an elaborate work in that time.
My favorite story is Butterfly Trouble. What is your favorite story in this book and in the series?
I like the Dog story. I wrote this story because every time we have our daily walk through the neighborhood, there is a bored dog barking and my wife is saying that we should knock on the door and see if we can take him for a walk with us. My favorite story of the series is Story 18 called Moon Crystal. Oliver travels to the moon to bring healing crystals back to Sillandia. This book won the Readers Favorite Book Award Gold Medal.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be available?
I have been working and finished the Chinese and Spanish version of the series. I am now working on the German one and other languages will follow. My final goal will be to find a company who is willing to invest in a TV series. I would like to see children all around the world to benefit of the marvelous work of my illustrators.
Picture book: A cat series book for kids riddled with mystery and fantasy.
Oliver is an elegant tuxedo cat, who is full of himself. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!”, quite often. Naughty, isn’t he? But his best friend Jumpy, a kangaroo lady, is aware that he has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! These little bedtime stories with their lovely illustrations are great for small kids. A parent can read the text and tell the child in his own words. These animal stories have sufficient text to keep early readers happy and provide some educational value. Love you all! Meow! Story 10: Unhappy Dog – The friends help an unhappy dog to escape his boredom. Story 11: Kite High – Flying high is everybody’s dream, but how to get down? Story 12: Butterfly Trouble – Butterflies don’t like to be caught.
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