In her children’s book, It’s OK to be Different, Sharon Purtill endeavors to teach her young audience an important lesson that all children – and adults – need to learn: that although people may differ in the things they like, the way they live, and the way they look, everyone deserves to be treated with the same respect and kindness.
I think Purtill’s book has a great message and one that is especially important in a modern world that is connected globally like never before. By teaching children to be accepting of themselves and of others, Purtill challenges the need to fit into a stereotypical idea of “normal” while emphasizing that everyone is different in one way or another. The use of rhyming, simple examples, and colorful illustrations makes the book flow well and makes it one that is easy to read and is likely to appeal to Purtill’s young audience.
Although Purtill’s message is solid, I think she could jump to the issues that are likely to really matter, like differences in appearance, speech, or abilities/disabilities, earlier in the book. With that being said, the book has a great message for children, is easy and fun to read, and has delightful illustrations to capture the eyes and minds of its audience.
Pages: 30 | ISBN: 0973410442
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Nala is nervous. In fact, she’s more than a little nervous. When she is asked to read in front of her elementary classroom, she feels a stirring from within. As her teacher explains that she has butterflies in her stomach, Nala begins to picture a literal tangle of butterflies she must have swallowed by accident, and her misunderstanding continues to blossom before she can arrive at home and be set straight by her mother. Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly, by Medea Kalantar, is a precious account of one little girl’s misunderstanding of the idiom, “butterflies in your stomach.”
From beginning to end, Kalantar takes young readers on a journey to understanding the ways this simple phrase can be literally defined and how it relates to nervousness and apprehension. Through young Nala’s conversation with her mother, readers hear the explanation of the idiom and are given breathing techniques for reducing nervousness as Nala’s mother helps her plan for the next time she is faced with anxiety. As an elementary teacher, I can see Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly being used a couple different ways. Figurative language is a huge part of our third grade curriculum, and this is the perfect piece of literature to use in introducing it to students. In addition, I can see Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly as an important tool in an elementary guidance program. The techniques for calming oneself are more than helpful for young students as they face the stresses of everyday life.
Medea Kalantar has succeeded in providing young readers with yet another touching story revolving around Nala and her loving family. The educational value of each of Kalantar’s Honeycake books is unrivaled. Kalantar carefully crafts her stories to touch readers of all walks of life and always includes valuable life lessons for both children and adults.
Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania is an enchanting children’s book that takes kids on an educational adventure. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I grew up in Tanzania where to me, nature is a place to collect firewood and fresh grass for livestock, hunt edible animals and a place to watch out for as a home to deadly snakes. I never imagined that one could leisurely visit a forest just for its aesthetic beauty. Fast-forward to years later, I am living in Germany and one of the leisure activities is spazieren (to walk) in the forest especially on Sunday. My husband has a knowledge of wild plants passed on to him by his parents. One day during our usual Sunday walk, I got an idea to write a book. I thought it was important to share the knowledge of wild plants to children since I didn’t have it when growing up.
I loved the children’s artwork in this book. What made you want to go this route with the art for this book?
One of my aspirations as a writer is to inspire creativity in others or showcase those who have potential. The idea to involve children with illustrations started with a book prior to this one. The book is about diamond poems and I thought it would be boring for children to read as text only. I approached friends, colleagues and family, who gave consent to have their children involved in the book. It was a try and I am grateful for their trust in my intentions. I got feedback of children treasuring the book as well as increased confidence in what they can achieve in art because someone believed in them to draw in their book.
I loved Stan’s character. What was the inspiration for his development and journey?
Stan is an imagined version of my husband as a child learning about nature from his parents. Danloria is a coined name from the letters of his first name and mine. Other characters are from our favourite forest in the Siebengebirge (Seven Mountains or Hills).
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The manuscript for a third sequel of Lamellia is almost done and an illustrator is working on it. I am planning to have it out by autumn.
Danloria is a forest located in the seven hills of Germania. Not everyone in Germania knows about the forest. Stan is a little boy who enjoyed visits to the forest with his father. One day, his dad fell sick, and Stan was led to the forest without his father by wise Fern. It was during this adventure that their friendship was sealed. During this forest visit, Stan was introduced to prominent residents of the forest and told of their benefits to human life. On one unfortunate occasion, Stan fell sick. The healing process introduced him to more friends of Fern from forests all over the world, such as Asilandia, Afrilandia, Califoria, and Englandia. These encounters with Fern’s friends formed an everlasting memory on the little boy.
This book is a blend of fantasy, adventure and education. The story is enchanting for readers young and old alike if you are a fan of nature adventures and fantasy. The different styles for each drawing makes each turn of the page a brand new experience. Danloria is written for children under seven.
The magical forests of Germania beckon! When five-year-old Stan is invited to a party by a talking Fern, he eagerly enters a lush, verdant world of discovery. When Stan falls ill, his forest friends find a cure. When he gets lost, they guide him home. The forest’s generosity truly knows no bounds.
Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania reveals the protective and healing powers of the forest and its vegetation. Author Gloria Gonsalves cleverly teaches children the names and characteristics of plants, and their ability to heal or harm. Her enchanting fable reveals the countless ways the Earth protects and provides. The true magic of this book is in the illustrations that were created by children. Each drawing is engaging and gives the story an added layer of meaning through the imaginations of young artists. It is a heart-warming story that speaks to the giving nature of the Earth.
Pages: 61 | ASIN: B07926X9S4
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The World’s Greatest Mousetrap follows Reginald as he tries his best to rid his shop of a pesky mouse. How did you come up with the idea behind this book?
It really began with the text on the first page. When I began writing the book, I had intended on having the bookstore as a small library. The only idea I had at the time was that I wanted to contrast the small, quiet and familiar world of a building (and the person within it) that had managed to keep out the expanding and fast paced world growing up about them.
After the first page, I knew I could take the story in a number of directions, but I decided that I really wanted to focus on that idea of our small worlds being challenged – not from the outside, but from within.
The elaborate mousetrap that Reginald builds was cute, and I ended up staring at the image for a few minutes just to take it all in. What served as your inspiration when creating the mousetrap?
I’m happy to hear that you lingered on that page – that was exactly what I hoped readers might do. I’ve always loved books that invite you to spend time looking over them in detail.
I think perhaps what served as my inspiration for the elaborate mousetrap, were the strange inventions and Rube Goldberg machines in the classic film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. I enjoyed the over-the-top attempts to solve a problem and I wanted to inject that humour into the book.
That page was actually one of the more difficult ones I think for me to describe to Fanny Liem (the book’s illustrator). I hope I didn’t frustrate her too much, but I think we went through three revisions. Each time, I asked her to make it bigger and more complex. In my mind, I had levers and tubes and gears crowding the shop so much that they were invading the street. In the end, I think she rightfully restrained the idea to something that someone of Reginald’s age could manage. She did a fantastic job I think with not only the mousetrap, but with all the illustrations.
I think, in the end, this book is about unlikely friendships. What was a guiding theme for you when writing this book?
I really wanted to create a fun and accessible story about prejudice and the worlds that we create around ourselves that can often hinder our capacity to see the similarities in others.
Reginald’s world is safe. He knows who he is and he knows what he likes. The mouse ends up invading that world and obviously setting into motion a series of events that leads to Reginald confronting his own prejudgements.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book is called Don’t Drink the Pink and is about a young girl and the magical relationship she has with her Grandfather. Like all my other books, there are a number of layers that I hope will appeal to a wide age group. It will be available August 1, 2019.
When Reginald finds a mouse in his bookstore, he will stop at nothing to catch the pesky critter. Even if it means building the world’s greatest mousetrap. Unfortunately for Reginald, the mouse always seems to be one step ahead.
Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black brings two strange men to the farm and peaks the curiosity of the two farm friends. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this kids book?
All the Oink and Gobble books are are short reads and meant to be humorous and fun and to put a smile on everyone’s face! The Men in Black are popular and familiar to kids and adults alike, but are still are a mystery to be solved!
This is book two in the Oink and Gobble series. What were some new themes you wanted to introduce in this book and what were some ideas you wanted to continue from the first book?
Oink is adventurous and interested in all the strange mysteries of the world, yet has a tendency to jump to conclusions with few facts. Gobble is focused on facts first and tries to bring logic to the investigations the two inevitably start. Though they look at things quite differently, they are best of friends!
What kind of mischief will Oink and Gobble get into in book three and when will it be available?
Without saying too much, Oink once again will jump to conclusions about a mystery of the world, and Gobble will try to bring reason to Oink’s thinking. I hope everyone will enjoy it! Should be out by July 2019.
Posted in Interviews
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