Blog Archives

Hooray for Heidi! (The Sumatran Trilogy)

Heidi, the Sumatran turtle, is excited for the day ahead. Today is the first day of the Sumatran Games, and this is the first time she gets to attend. Heidi moves as quickly as she can, given her short turtle legs, but she falls behind the other animals. Finally, a kind, friendly elephant named Jose stops and asks if she needs help. When she explains she is trying to get to the games, Jose picks her up and carries her the rest of the way. Once at the games, the two new friends watch the events, and Heidi becomes sad watching all the things she can not do. Eventually, Jose also grows sad because of Heidi’s morose attitude. Once Heidi realizes her lousy attitude has upset her new friends, she comes up with a plan to make them both feel better about the skills they do possess. While her plan doesn’t work out exactly as they hoped, they learn a valuable lesson about teamwork.

Hooray for Heidi! written by Emma Sandford and illustrated by Olena Osadcha is a beautiful picture book about teamwork and appreciating the unique skills that everyone has. Not everyone in life is strong, fast, or flexible, but that does not mean that they do not have value. This children’s book highlights that kids often feel self-conscious when watching others that have better skills or abilities than themselves. It can be challenging to overcome those feelings and feel valuable.

Emma has written this fantastic book showing that everyone can contribute and be a valued member of the team. With a focus on teamwork, kids will learn how helping others and working together brings its own rewards, even if it is not the trophy they were after. The other focus in this whimsical picture book is friendship. For example, an elephant and a turtle become great friends despite being so different from one another. This is an excellent example for young children to look past the physical differences in each other and value people for who they are inside.

Hooray for Heidi! is a beautifully written picture book that teaches children the value of friendship and teamwork. This would be a wonderful book for preschool and kindergarten classrooms to help kids learn how to work together to achieve a common goal. There is also the message that sometimes things do not go as planned, which is okay too!

Pages: 30 | ASIN : B0BFNT32T1

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Worries About Visiting The Dentist

Katie Specht Author Interview

Ellie Visits the Dentist follows a little girl on her first visit to the dentist where she learns how to take care of her teeth and finds that the dentist’s office isn’t scary. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this children’s book?

This story is based on my own daughter, who went through a similar experience when she visited the dentist for the first time. She was, understandably, nervous enough about her first dentist visit and then finding out she had cavities only added to her anxiety. Thanks to her wonderful and patient dentist, her experience turned out very positive, and she has since grown to love her dentist. I knew that other kids were probably experiencing similar fears regarding visiting the dentist, and I wanted to write a book that they could read and relate to that would help them understand that the dentist does not have to be a scary place, but rather it can be interesting and even fun.

The art in the book is vibrant and cute. What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

I would have to say that the first spread, which depicts Ellie playing with her three brothers, was my favorite scene to create. I love this scene because the kids in it are based on my own children, and I tried to make each of their own personalities really show in their character. It is also just a fun, loving picture, showing siblings getting along and playing nicely together, which doesn’t always happen in real life!

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

I wanted to show that Ellie’s fears and worries about visiting the dentist were completely valid and justified, and that it was important for her mother and her dentist not to minimize them. However, at the same time, I wanted her mother and her dentist to clearly explain and also demonstrate that it is important not to let her fears take over, but rather to understand that the dentist is a person who provides a service to her that helps her and that nothing bad will happen at the dentist’s office.

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

My next book, which is still in its early stages, is going to be based on my oldest son, and the topic is going to be practicing good sportsmanship by being part of a baseball team while dealing with both winning and losing. Since I’m still working on drafting the story, I don’t have an expected release date yet, but I’m hopeful for sometime next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Ellie is excited for her first appointment with the dentist until she discovers that she has cavities that need to be filled. With the help of her kind and caring dentist along with her mom, Ellie learns that properly taking care of her teeth can be fun and the dentist’s office does not have to be a scary place to visit.

Visiting the dentist for the first time is often frightening for many children since they do not know what to expect. Receiving the unwelcome news that the child may require dental work will likely amplify this fear. Ellie Visits the Dentist is the heartwarming story of a little girl who experienced these same fears. Though she is scared when it is discovered that she has cavities, her kind dentist helps her through the process and Ellie realizes that the dentist’s office is not a place to fear.

Empower Young Children

Author Interview
Jacqueline Crann Author Interview

Sharing is the New Cool follows a little boy who loves to share and shows readers that a little bit of kindness can go a long way. What was the inspiration for the setup to your children’s book?

I was inspired to write this story by my two wonderful boys, whom I’ve always taught to lead with kindness. I love that they have compassion and consideration for others. Their actions are infectious and I hope writing a book that would empower young children with a simple message of sharing will inspire their hearts and minds.

The art in this book is very cute. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Abira Das?

Abira Das, is my illustrator and friend, that makes the process so much easier. From the moment she sent her first idea of my vision I knew this would be a good start to a great working relationship. Abira and I communicate regularly, comparing thoughts and exchanging ideas.

I start by submitting my storyboard. Then she begins her sketching process. We collaborate and then the magic begins creating diverse characters that every child can relate to.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

I had the most fun writing the scene where Morgan’s mom and dad pick him up after his first day of school. I wrote this scene from my own personal experience with my son, Morgan. I can still hear his teacher’s voice enthusiastically praising Morgan’s kindness towards others and how much he loved to share.

There is also a scene at the end of the story where Morgan realizes how much the old man appreciates his kindness. That scene is special to me, because I believe it’s important to teach children that SHARING IS COOL!

Do you have more books planned featuring Morgan?

You may see Morgan featured from time to time, however, my plan is to introduce new, fun and exciting characters throughout my Cool series.

I will be releasing my new book Honesty Is The New Cool by the end of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Sharing is the New Cool is about a little boy, named Morgan who loves to share. Morgan takes us on his first day of school as he makes new friends and shows us that a little kindness can go along way. This book will teach your young readers how being kind can make a big impact on others. Ages 3-7

Near And Dear To Me

Lisa Jacovsky Author Interview

Lets talk! Learning to bowl follows two friends to the bowling alley where they learn about the importance of wearing a mask and how people with autism communicate differently. What inspired the idea to have this story take place in a bowling alley?

Each book has a different setting and activity that is near and dear to me. I grew up bowling and had even worked at the local bowling alley. In doing that I got to see a lot of children begin to bowl and fall in love with it. I thought it would be great to showcase that in a book. Not many books show bowling and I loved the idea of it being something different that can also inspire kids to want to try a bowling league too.

Was there anything that you pulled from your own experience and used in the book?

Oh absolutely I did! All of my books have things in them that are from my experience in the field. This book in particular though is special and near and dear to me because I did work at the local bowling alley and volunteer coached. In this book I bring back the idea of using the index cards for Emma to understand and communicate. That is a technique I use a lot in my current career in applied behavior analysis.

I modeled the bowling alley and coach after what I knew growing up. The bowling alley is similar to the one I worked in. I decided to use a coach because I had coached as a volunteer too. I had worked with children and seen little ones with disabilities try to bowl. I pulled from my own memories and experiences to shape the character of the coach. It also influenced the front desk and the types of shoes the characters are wearing. I made sure those were all authentic when I wrote out how I wanted the illustrations to look. I loved that I could put my experiences in and be super authentic when It came to the communication device and the activity this time.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

Most fun creating, I would have to say it was figuring out how to address Emma wanting to take the mask off and helping her to understand why it needs to stay on. Emma taking the mask off is very real and similar to experiences I had in my own career once we were able to go back to in person therapy. I think that was the most fun to actually write and pull from my own experiences. I really loved writing in the character of Coach Phil too. So many people do not realize how fun bowling is or that a little one with a disability can do it too. I loved that I was able to show people that with a little effort and a few questions, our teenage or adult coaches can understand how to work with our littles ones with disabilities too. Also, one last fun part, was making the character of Coach Phil Native American. Diversity is so important to me and being able to showcase that in a main character was really amazing.

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

Currently, I have a few things in the works. I have some books written that under contract. The first book in a new series with the illustrators being amazing individuals with autism. Then there is a third series that was actually picked up by a traditional publisher. That first book in the series is actually written from Emma’s point of view. There will be more information and teases coming up! Also, there is book 4 in the Lets Talk! series which is called Lets talk! celebrating the holidays. This will be available by April 2023. Lots to come! I am very excited for everything that is moving forward!

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Two best friends go bowling for the first time during the time of the pandemic when everyone needs to wear a mask. This is difficult for one friend who happens to have autism and sensory processing issues. Her best friend helps her to understand why she needs to wear a mask. Then she helps the teenage coach, who is helping them to learn to bowl, understand Autism, and how to communicate with her best friend. Come along on a fun journey of friendship, bowling, and learning!

Valuable Lessons

Kim Adams Author Interview

Billy Be Kind helps young readers find the courage they need to tell the truth. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this children’s book?

This book, like all my books, is inspired by authentic situations and real conversations that I’ve had with my three children. Like most parents, the importance of honesty is something that I emphasize regularly to my children. In particular, this book was inspired by a discussion I had with my son who admitted to telling a lie to avoid getting into trouble. I realized that all kids lie, but it’s up to us as parents to create an environment that encourages honesty. 

The art in this picture book is vivid and cute. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Ayesha W? 

Since I have collaborated with my illustrator Ayesha Warusavitharana on other projects, she has a clear understanding of my vision. I begin by sending her my storyboard and stick figure drawings. She then sends me her interpretation of my ideas. We often go back and forth until we are both satisfied that the artwork matches my vision. Her humility, patience, attention to detail, and her desire to excel in her field make it easy to work with her.

What is one piece of advice you would give to parents that are trying to teach their kids about honesty?

The best way to teach honesty is to be honest. We are our children’s first teachers. Have the “honesty conversation” early and look for ways to acknowledge and appreciate their choice to tell the truth, especially when it may have been easier to tell a lie. 

What can readers expect in the second  book in the Billy Be Kind series? 

In the second book, Billy Be Kind: Making A New Friend, the readers are introduced to a new character, Lucy-Lou. She is a shy little girl who has a hard time making new friends. Billy Be Kind, the kind little mouse, encourages her to be brave and take the first step in meeting someone new. The readers can expect rhyming stories, colorful illustrations, and themes that teach valuable lessons simplified for young children. 

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Website

Billy Be Kind: The Kind Little Mouse – Honesty, is the story of two young boys faced with a dilemma of whether or not to tell the truth and the kind little mouse that encourages them to make the right choice.
This wonderful, rhyming story is part of the Billy Be Kind Children’s Series.
The Billy Be Kind Children Series is a collection of short stories with important lessons simplified for young readers. The series offer eye-catching illustrations, diverse characters and relatable themes that help children thrive to reach their full potential. Ages 2-5

Hooroo, ta-ta, bye-bye

Courtney patiently waits as her busy morning with her family begins. She starts with breakfast and then continues her day at daycare. When her mother picks her up, her day isn’t over yet as she has swimming lessons. Readers also learn that her grandparents have moved away, but they keep in touch. Courtney ends the night with warm milk and her Bibi.

Hooroo, ta-ta, bye-bye is a cute children’s book that helps kids cope with busy days and the changes that come from everyday life. Author Nicky Mee seamlessly introduces these challenges and shows Courtney having a good time as she goes to different places, rather than dreading it. This is especially important for young readers as parents try to bring structure and a routine to their day.

The images are delightful and captivating. Young children will enjoy looking at these wonderful illustrations as their parents read the story to them. The author’s writing style is easy for young readers to understand and she makes this story engaging and lyrical by adding a fun rhyming scheme.

Hooroo, ta-ta, bye-bye is the perfect book for toddlers who are preparing to go to their first day of pre-school or kindergarten. This educational picture book will show them that it is a normal part of life and that it will be an experience that they will enjoy.

Pages: 40 | ASIN: B098TGF8MV

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Lets talk! Learning to bowl

Let’s Talk! Learning to bowl, is a beautiful story that follows young Harper who has a very special best friend named Emma who happens to also be autistic. Their latest adventure takes them to the bowling alley where they learn to bowl with their new friend Jerry, who is in a bowling league. While learning to bowl, Emma sometimes takes her face mask off and, because Harper is the greatest friend, she takes on the role of educating Coach Phil on how Emma understands what we are asking of her by communicating with flash cards. Which leads to everyone having a great time at the bowling alley, and another successful adventure for the friends.

This is a sweet picture book that shows how children can be amazing role models that promote inclusivity and understanding of people with special needs. The story is perfect for the developing reader who is ready to take on longer sentences and new vocabulary words. The illustrations by Blueberry Illustrations are incredibly adorable, vibrant and wonderfully shows each character’s emotions. I feel it gave the story such warmth and charm.

I enjoyed learning about the author at the end of the book and I can tell her background in working with special needs children is very near and dear to her heart, and that passion shines throughout her book. I loved how she included some of the mannerisms children with autism exhibit. This makes them seem natural and like nothing is different or strange about them.

Lets talk! Learning to bowl is a fantastic children’s book that will educate readers while promoting diversity and inclusion.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B0B8BLVS1L

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Adventures Through Reading

Katie Marie Author Interview

T-Rex and Tuck Explore the Zoo follows a little boy as he uses his imagination to embark on an educational adventure at the zoo. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for the T-Rex and Tuck Explore series in general is my son, Tucker. He loves to go on “adventures” and has quite an imagination. He has a stuffed dinosaur that he takes along with him all over the house and this relationship was the inspiration for the “best friend” character concept. I have always enjoyed writing, but becoming a mom was the inspiration I needed to come up with the story setup and run with it. This first book, T-Rex and Tuck Explore the Zoo, came to me after our own family visit to the zoo and how much he enjoys books about animals. The next book in the series will be T-Rex and Tuck Explore Outer Space which the illustrator is currently working on.

The art in this picture book is very cute. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Jessie Johnson?

I absolutely adore the art in this picture book! Jessie Johnson, the illustrator, is very talented and was able to capture the vision for the characters exactly the way I had envisioned them. I had posted a job on the site Up Work and feel so fortunate that she applied. I had narrowed it down to a few artists and had them illustrate a character concept. She blew me away with her initial design. She is a college student in North Carolina and I am in the Kansas City area so the communication has consisted of zoom calls and emails, but I think we work well together and we are excited to continue our working relationship for the entire series! She has a bright future ahead of her.

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

One of the ideas that was important to me for this children’s book was the focus on imaginative play. I love the idea that kids can go on adventures through reading and I think this story does a great job of that. I wanted the book to be engaging as far as being able to make animal noises with your kids while reading it and acting out different movements. My kids favorite books are the ones that can be interactive. I also wanted to incorporate some educational information about the animals while still making it fun to read.

When and where will this book be available?

This book is currently available on my website http://www.authorkatiemarie.com as well as Book Baby’s Book Shop https://store.bookbaby.com/book/t-rex-and-tuck-explore-the-zoo

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Instagram

IN THE FIRST INSTALLMENT FROM THE T-REX AND TUCK EXPLORE SERIES, TUCK USES HIS IMAGINATION TO TRANSPORT HIMSELF AND HIS BEST FRIEND, T-REX, TO THE ZOO. IN THIS WONDEROUS ESCAPE FROM THE RAINY DAY INSIDE TUCK’S ROOM, THEY LEARN INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DIFFERENT ZOO ANIMALS AND GET TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN ALONG THE WAY.

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