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Enchanted Forest Adventures

Aimee C Trafton
Aimee C Trafton Author Interview

Amber Tambourine and the Land of Laugh-a-Lot follows a young girl into a wonderous land where she makes many friends, but she worried she wont’ be able to find her way back. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As a child I lived in a house with a backyard that was all forest and farmland. I used to wander around back there and make up little adventures for myself and imaginary friends. So certainly that was an inspiration for Amber’s backyard enchanted forest adventures.

As a child I was also obsessed with “magical otherworlds” as I call them – like when Dorothy went to the Land of Oz…or in the movie “Brigadoon” where a magical village only appears for one day every 100 years. The Land of Laugh-a-Lot is a “magical otherworld” I created based on these inspirations.

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene was the most fun to write and illustrate?

I loved creating the look and feel of Laugh-a-Lot – it is a very colorful and vibrant place with lots of interesting characters, so definitely the scene where she first encounters this magical place is my favorite.

What do you hope young readers take away from your book?

In the book, Amber and her family have just moved to a new house and she has left her old life and friends behind. It is at its core a book about transitions in a child’s life, but I hope that it will impart the message that although change can be hard and scary, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to move on, and sometimes life will take you in new and exciting directions you never thought possible.

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

I have so many ideas whirling around in my head for future Amber Tambourine books, so that is a possibility. Still in the process of figuring it all out at the moment, but I just kind of go where the inspiration takes me – that for me is the fun of writing!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Amber Tambourine is a sad, lonely little girl who has moved far away from her friends. Then one day, she and her doggies, Bandit and Roxy, encounter a polka dot rainbow. Suddenly, they find themselves in the Land of Laugh-a-Lot, where people are happy – ALL THE TIME! They laugh, they play…then they laugh some more. In no time at all, Amber makes many new friends and is happy once more. But this poses a dilemma: Amber knows she must return home, but if she leaves, will she ever be able to find her way back?

An Important Message For Children

An image posted by the author.
Vikki Lynn Smith Author Interview

A Stranger in the Clearing follows a golden retriever that discovers a unique deer hiding in the woods and they both realize there is more to the deer than meets the eye. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration came while I was driving down the road one evening, I saw what I thought was a goat playing in the field with a group of deer. I almost ran off the road watching it. I quickly looked it up when I got home and found that it was a piebald deer. I wondered what it must be like to be a spotted white deer out in the woods, being so different and visible. I had started writing stories for my students to help them understand science terminology, and knew that writing about Pi, in terms of mutation and adaptation, would help them remember the vocabulary. The surprise was the natural moral lesson that came out in the writing process. The lesson that it’s not the color of your skin that makes you special, but your actions to do something for others that makes you the most prized animal in your community.

The art in the book is vivid and colorful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Marcela Werkema?

Marcela is AMAZING. She lives in Brazil, and considering the language and environmental differences, it’s simply incredible what she has done with my illustration suggestions. The idea behind the book was to draw the reader in with 3-D like illustrations that popped off the page. As an animator she realized that my request was also important because books now compete with technology, and today’s children what fast moving literature.

She is so talented, learning what all the animals looked like from photos I sent and suggestions I made. Parents quickly buy the book once they turn the pages and see the stunning artwork.

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

There is not doubt that the main theme focuses on “loving yourself” and “doing something good for others.” I believe this is an important message for children to learn at an early age so that it gets embedded into their psyche. In this volatile world where parents are not able to guide their child throughout their day to make good choices, it helps the child to be reminded through good literature what to do. This book couldn’t have come out at a better time in this tumultuous world.

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

Thank you for asking! My next book is currently at the publisher and it’s called A New Home For Grayce. The story is about Grayce the Groundhog who keeps getting displaced by humans as they develop roads, homes and golf courses. Like so many children today, especially foster children and military children, they must move to new homes more than most. So I wanted to show these children that even though they may have to move a lot, they will always find friends if they put themselves out there. And one day, they just might find their forever home. What is so exciting about this new book is the illustrator. Chad Thompson worked as an animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios in the movies Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear. He graciously stepped in for Mercela Werkema when Covid hit Brazil so hard. It is amazing how he has captured Mercela’s style of illustrations while incorporating his own to make A New Home for Grayce just as special as the first two books in the In the Woods Series. The book will be out this holiday season.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Pi, a unique deer from the Great Forest, arrives in the Woods in search of friends and a new home. The animals of the Woods are surprised by Pi’s arrival, but quickly realize she needs all the love they can give her. Will she discover what it truly means to sacrifice all she loves to be accepted by others? Will she learn the importance of family and the love they give?

A Dog Can Teach Us A Lot

Author Interview
Brad Malm Author Interview

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog follows a spirited dog on adventures around town that show readers how a positive attitude can help overcome any obstacle. Why was this an important kids book for you to write?

First off, I wanted to write it as a tribute to my dog, Oliver, who really is a wonder dog. I also wanted to deliver a positive message to the reader on the importance of courage, determination, resilience, and compassion toward others. A dog can teach us a lot about those traits.

The book shows Oliver helping people around town. What scene did you have the most fun creating?

The scene where Oliver goes into town and is greeted by the townspeople was probably the most fun to create. The illustrator added a lot of nice detail to really make it come alive. It’s a double page panoramic scene where you will notice something new each time you look at it.

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

Overcoming obstacles in your life, helping others, and having fun in the process.

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

A love for dogs and reading!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

From underdog to Wonder Dog! You and your

family will be amazed by Oliver the Wonder

Dog as he overcomes his limitations to show

that nothing can stand in your way if you

have the right attitude. Witness Oliver’s

heroics in the town of Splendorville as

he tows in a wayward row boat, saves a

school bus from danger, and even stops

a bank robbery! He manages all this

while being tempted by his favorite snack

– freshly baked donuts. His courage and

bravery payoff in the end – the whole town

shows their appreciation and honor him

with a hero’s medal. This is one impressive

puppy whose adventures will quicken your

pulse and have your heart pounding.

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog by [Brad Malm]

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog is a wonderfully illustrated children’s picture book that follows the exciting adventures of a spunky Australian Shepherd. Oliver is deaf, but you would not know it by watching him play. Oliver takes young readers around town as he does his best to help everyone he meets. His heroics pay off in the end when he stops a bank robbery in true super hero fashion.

All of the art in this entertaining children’s book is beautifully illustrated with vivid colors in a striking comic art style that will surely capture kids’ attention. There is plenty to look at on each page. I did not even see the bird with the lollipop in his mouth until my child pointed it out.

We follow Oliver as he rescues several people throughout town in creative ways that highlight his bravery and willingness to help others in need. This book does a fantastic job of showing how one’s attitude can go a long way in overcoming obstacles.

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog is one of the most charming children’s books I have read this year. With easy-to-understand language and a fun story, this will be a great read for new readers or for parents to read to their children before bed time.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B08WWV16YJ

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Surrounded by Ocean

Author Interview
L. J. Nilsson Author Interview

Mangrove Sands takes four friends who all seemed destined for uncertain futures and sends them on a magical adventure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Once I retired, writing was a way of staying connected to the students who I missed terribly. My beautiful environment surrounded by ocean, marine animals and bushland full of native birds and wildlife added to my inspiration and development of fictional characters.

Your characters were wonderfully diverse and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Having worked with Primary school students for nearly a decade who were verified under the spectrum and watching them grow under my wing and transform from failing students to students who began to enjoy learning, were finally understood and given a new way of learning, definetley played a part in the development of my characters.

Each character has a small piece of character or personality from some of the children I worked with.

Many of these students have transitioned to highschool and beyond. One in the army, one studying law, another a graphic designer. They still stop for a chat or send me messages .

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

Definetley for children facing hardship and adversity my book aims to encourage children to find the positive in even the worst situation and make every day count.

Other underlying themes touch on environmental awareness, empathy and kindness.

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

Both the sequel Mangrove Sands, The Enchanted SeaWorld & Beyond and The third book of the series, Mangrove Sands, The Epic Journey are currently in production in London.

It is hoped that the sequel will be released in 2021. This book includes an indigenous aboriginal character who teaches her friends about her language and culture.

The third book includes a Swedish character opening the doors and young minds to embrace multiculturalism, language and diverse cultures And of course, there are many more adventures in the Enchanted Seaworld.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

This book sets out to inspire and educate children, who, for one reason or another, have difficult starts in life either by fate or disability. Each chapter provides a human lesson and human qualities through adventure, including: empathy, bravery, honour, friendship and resilience in the face of adversity.

Based on an island in South East Queensland, Australia, four children, who attend the same island state school, are all miserable at home and school until Parlow, the pelican, comes knocking on Tommy’s window one night to offer him a better life. Tommy thinks he is dreaming as do his friends—Maria, Dino and Jake—who all have an out of body experience and are taken to an enchanted underwater sea world beneath Mangrove Sands, where they meet talking animals who have their own language and become the children’s tutors, mentors and friends.

Through an enchanting underwater sea world of magic, adventure and humour, Mangrove Sands aims to provide hope and inspiration to children around the globe facing adversity.

The Heath Cousins and the Ruby Lantern

Heath Cousins and The Ruby Lantern by Eileen Hobbs is an enchanting adventure tale where we are taken into a whimsical land with the main character Addie. B, a bright and imaginative child who with the help of a moonstone ring can translate other languages. Addie and her mother head out to do some shopping, during their adventure Addie spots an opening into another world, which she had visited before. In this world there is a garden of choice which leads them to Ambra, the main part of this other world. Addie enlists the help of her cousins, then they head off on a whirlwind adventure where they solve problems and discover clues that cause them to be riddled with curiosities and ensure many more visits to the garden of choice in the future.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this imaginative adventure novel by author Eileen Hobbs. This is a classic adventure story that took me back to my own childhood and filled with me the same sense of wonder that I had back then. Overall, I found the characters to be charming and a joy to follow through this adventure. I liked the author’s voice and enchanting atmosphere that she effortlessly creates in this novel.

While I heartily enjoyed the story, I felt that the child sometimes felt older than their age, hopping on planes and running off on their own. But how else would you find yourself into and out of these compelling adventures.

Heath Cousins and The Ruby Lantern is a book I can see myself reading as a child, curled up at night with a night light, reading until I fall asleep. This is a well crafted and fun sword and sorcery story that will appeal to anyone looking for a timeless children’s fantasy story.

Pages: 166 | ASIN: B08XTST3MZ

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What’s So Great About Silent E?

What’s So Great About Silent E? is an entertaining children’s book that teaches readers about the importance of silent E and provides various fun examples of how silent E modifies words. Every amusing example shown throughout the book is accompanied by a brightly colored picture that hilariously shows how the modified word can alter the world.

This charming picture book is filled with hand drawn art that is colored in with markers and is very appealing and relatable to children. Talking about the English language to children can often be abstract, Author Deanna Thompson provides readers with a fantastic book that will literally show readers how silent E works to modify words. The silly imagery accompanying each example will certainly capture the attention of young readers and ensure the lesson is learned well. The combination of sketch art and fun lessons reminds me of the old children’s cartoon Schoolhouse Rock.

This is a fantastic addition to any parent or teachers reading comprehension lessons as it is filled with easy-to-understand words that will build a new readers comprehension skill. What’s So Great About Silent E? is a crazy fun book that teaches readers about the important of a single letter.

Pages: 28 | ISBN: 1449092748

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I Needed to Entertain My Toddler

Lisa Forsythe

Lisa Forsythe Author Interview

Simple Activities For Toddlers provides parents with lots of fun and educational ideas that will keep their kids engaged. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Last year (2020) was challenging for many families. In March Spain, along with many other countries, went into lockdown. We were confined to our apartment with an almost 2-year-old. Suddenly, I needed to entertain my toddler all day long whilst making sure I offered a variety of activities and physical exercise while cooped up in an apartment. I drew on my experience as a primary school teacher to create play-based activities to engage my son whilst ensuring he was developing holistically. I started an Instagram page, @simpletoddleractivities, to share some of the activities we were doing with friends and family to offer activity ideas if they needed them. Then, it became something to keep me sane during that challenging time.

Throughout this journey, I realized parents wanted some inspiration for play-based activities to keep their toddlers busy whilst giving them the best start in life. Being a primary school teacher and parent, I wanted to use my teaching expertise to create simple activity ideas that are attainable for other parents and yet achievable for their toddlers. I try to use resources that are easily accessible, like recyclables, household items and common craft supplies. Furthermore, I want to help reduce overconsumption that plagues many families and in turn, has negative impacts for the environment.

The activities were so fun and easy to follow. What is your favorite activity from the book?

Modern art. The activity allows kids to enjoy the process of creation as opposed to creating a finished product. Creating a space where children can freely experiment with colour mixing, different brushes, lines, and materials encourages the use of the child’s imagination and ‘out of the box’ thinking. It is a type of art that they can be totally involved in and requires little assistance.

What advice would you give to parents who are struggling to engage their kids in different activities?

Start with something simple that is based on your child’s interests. For example, if they are into dinosaurs, choose a dinosaur related activity. As a parent it is important that we are playful and get down to their level. Remember your child wants your time, your undivided attention – YOU are enough. The activity does not have to be what you would consider amazing, your presence and engagement is sufficient.

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

I am currently working on another book for slightly older children. As we are not in lockdown, I would love to write a book that incorporates more outdoor learning.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Do you find yourself repeating the same activities with your toddler and are looking for new innovative ideas on how to keep them amused whilst making learning fun? If so, Lisa and Thomas have lots of great ideas to help you.

The activities in this book are of high educational quality that maximizes the best use of your time, resources, and space. These play-based activities help your child thrive and ensures that they get a head start in life. All the activities have been ´toddler approved´ or field tested by Thomas.

Lisa Forsythe has over 15 years of experience as a teacher across Australia, NZ & UK. Since becoming a mother to Thomas she has focused her time on developing simple activities that develop foundational skills toddlers need to learn before engaging with more complex concepts and understandings. This is a practical guide for parents that creates opportunities to bond with your child and make beautiful life-long memories.

The activities predominately require things like recyclables, household items and common craft supplies; so, saving you money whilst being kind to the environment. There are a range of activities from sensory play, imaginative play, STEAM, crafts and games. They spark curiosity, enjoyment, motivation, deep learning, and creativity. The hard work of planning and ensuring that your toddler is equipped with the foundational skills they need for life has been done for you.
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