A Dog Named Zero and The Apple With No Name is a wonderful children’s book that teaches counting in an fun and imaginative way. What inspired you to write this book?
My older brother is a mathematics professor, and he said to me one day that he has spent a lifetime with numbers because of the number zero. And when I did my research and checked on what kind of counting picture books used the number zero, I didn’t find any. I am sure there are some, but I couldn’t find any, and the number zero is the most important number of all numbers.
How do you see this book being used by teachers and parent to educate their children?
That’s difficult to say. I hope teachers and parents will enjoy the humor in the book and use the boohooing and sniffing words in a way that will make children laugh. There is no better way to learn than through laughter.
Did the art in the book follow what you had already written, or did the writing follow the art?
That’s an excellent question. It happens both ways for all of my children’s picture books. I might draw a quirky character, and then the story comes from the drawing. There are times when the story comes first, and then I decide the art style I’ll use that fits the story.
Do you have plans to write more educational picture books?
I feel all children’s picture books are educational. Some are more specific with one point to be made, as in A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name, than others. I have a new picture book that was published March 1st titled Letting Go. It’s about a leaf that doesn’t want to let go, a cycle of life story. And I have another picture book coming out titled Birds Fly, A Cat Tries on June 1st. It’s a wordless picture book about a cat who wants to fly. Each time the brave tabby tries, he fails. But in the end, with some help, the cat finally takes flight.
Both stories have a message, and although they are not as educational as a counting book, my point is, there is always a lesson to learn from every one of my picture books. Or at least, that is my hope.
My plan, though, is to publish at least one picture a year. This year is different, as I will have published the two I mentioned above, Letting Go and Birds Fly, A Cat Tries.
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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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There may be no better time for a children’s book that celebrates and honors diversity than the present. Young readers are bound to have questions about the world around them and the feelings they perceive in the adults they encounter each day. All People are Beautiful, written by Vincent Kelly and illustrated by Cha Consul, is the visually stunning children’s picture book that drives home the fact that we are all beautiful through the differences in our talents, cultures, age, appearance, and race.
I am going to throw this out there in hopes the right person in each school system hears it–every school needs this book. Kelly and Consul’s children’s book is a must-have for every school library and would make a fantastic addition to a classroom collection on diversity. I can see this book fitting easily into several different social studies units for grades K-3. With truly beautifully-fashioned illustrations, All People are Beautiful quickly captures readers’ attention and makes for a fantastic read aloud. It’s not often that I tout a book as one suitable for repeated read-alouds, but this one is short enough and the message is a powerful one. Students would both benefit from and enjoy hearing it over and over again.
I am giving All People are Beautiful, written by Vincent Kelly and illustrated by Cha Consul, a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This is the children’s book we all need. The message throughout Kelly and Consul’s work is one of unity, mutual respect, and harmony. There is no better theme, and there is no better addition to a child’s bookshelf.
Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1735950416
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Zero just wants to get his paws on that apple. The apple, who has no name, knows not what awaits him. Zero is in no way tall enough to reach the apple with no name and needs a little help from his friends. Counting their way from 0 to 10, the ever-growing group of friends cooperate to help Zero in his efforts. His friends vary in size and shape, but they all have one thing in common, they want nothing more than to give their friend a hand. Will they make it? Will Zero ever get his apple?
A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name, by T.C. Bartlett, is the beautifully illustrated children’s book focused on counting. There are many counting books out there, but Bartlett has a whole new take on the concept. With a more advanced vocabulary that challenges readers, A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name contains bits of humor that parents and teachers will also appreciate–those are the best kinds of children’s books!
I have used my share of counting books over the years as a parent and elementary teacher, and Bartlett’s work is one of the best I have seen. There is much more to this little gem than meets the eye. Each of the different animals in the series of numbers offers readers the opportunity for discussion. Parents and teachers will easily find ways to have conversations about why and how each type of animal might want to help Zero. There are plenty of teaching opportunities to be had within the pages of Bartlett’s work.
I highly recommend this adorable counting story to anyone looking for an alternative to the traditional counting books. A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name makes a great addition to anyone building a library for infants and toddlers.
Pages: 48 | ISBN: 1733908617
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Song of the Blue Whale is an educational picture book that teaches readers about whaling and ocean pollution. Why is this an important topic for you?
The blue whale is the largest animal on Earth. This magnificent, gentle giant is an endangered species due to the ill effects of avoidable human behaviour. There may come a time when these beautiful creatures will only exist in photographs, video footage or on the pages of books. If properly educated, informed future generations can avert such a tragedy.
I loved the art in this book, especially the pictures of whales under the ocean. What is your favorite picture from the book?
In this volume, I included cameos of two characters from other books in the series. We see Mattie Boombalatty picking up rubbish from a beach with her mother. However, my favourite illustration features Shelly, the leatherback sea turtle with a purple heart painted on her shell. The double-page spread shows the beauty of a tropical coral reef spoiled by discarded tin cans, surgical masks, nets, plastic straws and bags. Shelly is coming to the aid of a companion trapped in a plastic bag. As well as colourful seahorses and tropical fish, we see two curious dolphins. It’s a powerful image that forces older children to think about how we deal with rubbish and how it may affect other animals.
What is a simple step someone could take to help reduce ocean pollution?
Using less expendable plastic and recycling as much of the plastics we do use can dramatically reduce pollution in rivers, lakes, oceans and seas.
Do you plan to write more books on these same topics?
There is a total of seven books in my series of illustrated children’s books. These appear in an anthology titled Wayne Gerard Trotman’s Rhyming Stories, introduced by the poet and novelist Dr. Benjamin Zephaniah. I also co-wrote Believe in Fairies with my wife, Sherrie. Several species of wildflowers have disappeared from the English countryside. This rhyming fairy tale introduces children and their parents to the various types that still exist and encourages them to plant wildflower gardens.
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Can A Teddy Bear Be? is an educational children’s picture book filled with cute images and repetitive wording to help children learn to read.
Author Jose Torres is both writer and illustrator and is able to combine both crafts in this beautifully illustrated kids book. With twenty two different adorable bears throughout this book, there is plenty to keep young readers attention. Each bear represents a different profession, which is yet another educational aspect to this picture book. Children will learn to read as well as learning about different professions. This provides a great opportunity for children to learn about different jobs, see what their interested in, and begin a discussion about different professions.
The simple and repetitive words used throughout the book will ensure readers pick up new words, practice them throughout the story, and master them towards the end. This is a perfect book to build confidence in young readers. I loved all of the delightful illustrations of the bears throughout this book. My favorite was the scientist bear. The book even provides readers with an opportunity to draw their own favorite bear at the end of the book, adding a bit of interactivity to this children’s book.
Can A Teddy Bear Be? is ideal for teachers and parents to read with their children as it is perfect for beginning readers. Jose Torres Animal Reader Series is a superb start to any child’s literary journey.
Pages: 28 | ASIN: B08QRGXTRC
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When Grandpa visits, there is a whole world of possibilities that comes alive in the heart of one little girl who doesn’t only regard him as grandpa, but someone she can trust and depend on to be allowed to dream and explore, all in the realm of safety, because Grandpa’s love is just as special as her parents’ love.
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