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Kindness Has the Power to Change Lives

Tania Woznicki Author Interview

Marty and Lenny follows a friendly monkey who decides to befriend the school bully in hopes of helping him change. When you set out to write this book, was it your intention to write a story filled with kindness and morality?

Yes, it was definitely my intention. My aim was to create an entertaining children’s book designed to teach and inspire children to be kind to others, even when at first it may seem difficult.

I was inspired by research on the positive effects of oxytocin (the love hormone) on the mind and body. Showing and receiving kindness are ways we can boost oxytocin levels. Every act of kindness counts and repeated acts of kindness, have the power to change lives and make the world a better place.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art creation process like?

For the artwork in Marty and Lenny, I contracted Stefanie, an amazing, talented illustrator through Tellwell Publishing. I had a clear vision of the style of artwork I wanted based on the many picture books I had enjoyed reading in the past. I asked for bright, colourful and dynamic illustrations which effectively portrayed the emotions experienced by the characters in the story. I then created a storyboard and detailed descriptions for each illustration. Based on these descriptions, the illustrator created draft sketches for each illustration and then submitted them to me for review and feedback. Adjustments were made based on feedback and then colour was added to complete the illustrations. When I saw the finished products, I was thrilled and excited to see the story coming to life!

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

The power of kindness and the importance of good manners, were two of the main educational aspects I wanted to include in this book. My desire was to teach children that sometimes, the people who find it challenging to show kindness, can be the ones who need it the most. Everyone longs to belong and feel valued.

In addition to this, the story is a narrative poem designed for young readers. I chose this form of storytelling because poetry motivates children to read and builds early literacy skills. It helps children learn about rhyme, rhythm and sound. I was also intentional about the vocabulary I included in the story to help young children build their vocabulary.

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

I am in the process of writing some draft manuscripts, which all have a special message for young readers. However, there is no current set release date for these yet. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Marty and Lenny is an encouraging story about the power of kindness.

Marty is a sweet, helpful monkey with lovely manners. Lenny is the complete opposite! He is a mean and selfish lion with bad manners and disgusting habits. After a memorable encounter with Lenny, Marty decides that things need to change. Join Marty as he makes a brave choice that changes EVERYTHING!

Marty and Lenny

Marty is a well-behaved and polite monkey; he has excellent manners. One of Marty’s traits is he tries to be a good friend to all around him. That also includes Lenny the Lion. Lenny is rude, crude, and has a terrible attitude. He has no manners and does not care who he upsets as long as he gets his way. One day at lunch, he let off a fart that was loud and stinky, and Marty knew something had to change. So that night, Marty came up with a plan. He was going to be nice to Lenny. Marty was going to see if being friends with Lenny would help him be a better Lion that people actually liked and wanted to be around. Would his plan work?

Marty and Lenny by Tania Woznicki is a heartwarming picture book about friendship. The school bully really just wants to be noticed, and when Marty approaches him with kindness, he is thrown off and takes him up on his offer to play. Marty teaches Lenny how to have good manners and be a good friend, not by lecturing or telling him everything he does wrong, but instead by showing him how a good person and friend acts.

The artwork in this children’s book is fantastic, there are layers of details, and everything is so vibrant. The characters come to life and will draw children in as they read the story and see Lenny learning how to have good manners.

Marty and Lenny is a delightful way to introduce good manners to children and teach them how to be a good friend to others. Children and adults will find this book well-written and inspirational. This would be an excellent book for preschool and kindergarten classrooms to help kids understand how to make new friends.

Pages: 24 | ASIN : B09VD63H9V

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Cool Kids

Michael is excited to start the year at his new school. He is going into 4th grade with two of his best friends. Together they all dream of playing football at this new school like they did last year. Michael makes several new friends in the first few weeks of school, and they all get along great. One day, Michael sees some boys playing football, and they will not let him join in. He is not one of the ‘cool kids.’ Disappointed, Michael decides to find a way to get into the cool kid’s group. Unfortunately, he learns that he must be mean and become a bully to be part of this group. Michael starts seeing himself as a monster and questions if being cool is worth it.

Cool Kids by Arlene Freeman takes a serious topic of bullying and presents it in a way that older elementary grade kids can understand and relate to. As a parent, I have witnessed bullying from this age group multiple times, and I think addressing it at this age level is vital for teaching just how harmful it can be to others. Kids will be able to relate to Michael and his desire to fit in and join others that are doing the activities he wants to do. I am impressed with how the author shows readers the ugly side of bullying. Being a bully makes you feel ugly inside, even when you look like the cool kid on the outside.

The artwork by Amelina Jones brings the story to life with detailed emotions for the characters and a style that fits between whimsy watercolors and graphic novel imagery. Children will enjoy the bright colors and realistic representations of a day in school. For younger kids who can’t read all the words yet, the images do a fantastic job of telling the story independently.

The theme of friendship and acceptance is just as strong as bullying in this children’s book. Michael is not the only kid to learn the real meaning of ‘cool kids,’ and seeing that people can change is helpful for this age group. It is a good reminder that sometimes we all make bad choices and that we can fix things by apologizing and making good choices after.

Cool Kids is a feel-good children’s book for elementary-level kids. Dealing with topics that kids struggle with at this age and presented in an approachable and relevant manner, this makes an excellent book for classrooms and caregivers to discuss the issues of bullying, kindness, and friendship.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B09L5LKSST

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