Blog Archives

Brayden the Great Warrior

While playing on the beach one day, young Brayden declares himself to be a great warrior, indeed. Always the thinker, Brayden begins to ponder how he will become this great warrior. With some help from his father, Brayden soon learns exactly what he will need to do to shape himself into the brave and fierce warrior he has always wanted to become. The advice his father gives him is not what he expected to hear from his father, but is exactly what he needed and could not have come at a better time.

Brayden the Great Warrior, written by John Livingston, is a beautifully crafted story illustrating how a father teaches his child to have faith, pray to God, and listen for his guidance. With an emphasis on the metaphor of becoming a warrior in this world, the author does a wonderful job of teaching young readers to become prayerful and devout. Patience is also emphasized in Livingston’s work as Brayden’s father gently instructs him on how to listen for God’s word. 

Brayden the Great Warrior, written by John Livingston and illustrated by Lynn Livingston, is a heartwarming Christian book for children. This sweet book is a quick read and serves as a wonderful devotional book for parents, Sunday school teachers, and vacation bible school curricula. I recommend the Livingstons’ book to any parent struggling to find the words when helping their children find their faith and become prayerful.

Pages: 24 | ASIN : B092LCRX7L

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The Scary Snakes

Shelly is terrified of snakes, so much so she is unable to enjoy outings with her family for fear there is a snake everywhere. When out on a picnic with her family, she is afraid to even walk on the ground, and her dad has to carry her all over. She is worried that when she gets bigger and her dad can no longer carry her that she will not be able to go out with her family on these adventures. When she gets home, she calls her Grandma to tell her how upset she is, but Grandma has a plan to help her. The next day Grandma shows up with her yarn and knitting needles and together work out a plan to get past her fear of snakes.

The Scary Snakes by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Catty Flores is a creative picture book about one girl overcoming her fear of snakes. With her help of her, Grandma Shelly knits all sizes and colors of snakes to put all over her house. Seeing the harmless, fun snakes all over helps her overcome her fear.

What I love about this story is that no one makes fun of Shelly’s fear; it is taken seriously, and instead of making her feel bad, her family does things to help her overcome them. In addition, there is a strong bond between Shelly and her Grandma; it is heartwarming to see them connect over making snakes.

I loved how Catty Flores gave the characters so much energy. You can feel the excitement as Shelly gets over her fears and has fun with her Grandmother. The illustrations are colorful and have great details bringing the knitted snakes to life.

The Scary Snakes is a beautiful children’s book about overcoming fears and building confidence. This is an excellent story for kindergarten and young elementary students to learn how being afraid of things is normal.

Pages: 32 | ISBN : 9523572989

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A Special Sweater 

Eddy is creative and enthusiastic about knitting. After making a pot holder decides he will knit a sweater. He starts by looking at designs in a magazine, then he draws up a plan. Unfortunately, he hits roadblocks towards his goal. His family thinks this project is too much for him and that he can’t get the right yarn and needles to make a project this large. Rather than giving up, Eddy finds ways around these problems and never gives up on his vision. Even when it takes him months to complete the project, he keeps going and finding solutions to every problem he encounters. In the end, Eddy is proud of his hard work and dedication; nothing anyone says will diminish his happiness.

A Special Sweater by children’s author Tuula Pere is a heartwarming children’s book about dedication and determination. Eddy learns to knit, and even when everyone around tells him making a sweater is too much work or trouble, he refuses to give up. Instead, he makes the best of the supplies he is given, even if they are not what he needs or wants for his vision. The ability to adapt to his situation and the make the best is a valuable lesson that children can learn from.

I love how Eddy keeps going, takes every obstacle, and finds a way around it. So many books have things work out easily. This one really showcases how important a good attitude is to turning something into a magical experience. When things don’t work out how he wants he adjusts his vision and perspective to see the project through.

A Special Sweater is an inspirational picture book that will show children that they can achieve their dreams even when there are obstacles in the way. They will learn that having a good attitude is key to finding a way through challenges in life. This is an excellent book for families and classrooms to have.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09K6M3CHL

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Write a Children’s Book Was on My Bucket List

Cindy Van Rooy Author Interview

Ten Precious Pigs follows a family of piggies as they finish eating and head off on their own adventures, eventually all coming back together at bedtime_._ What was the inspiration for your story?

I knew I wanted to write a children’s book, and of course I love numbers and counting (I’m an accountant). I have loved anything to do with cute little pigs since I was a little girl. So, I decided to write a book about counting and cute pigs who go on exciting adventures.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

I had so much fun creating each pig’s adventure scene, but I think my favorite scene in the story is when all the pigs come home. They are all exhausted from their fun escapades and they pile up together by the fireplace to sleep.

What inspired you to become a children’s author?

A long time ago, I was in college studying for a degree in Elementary Education. One of the assignments in my Children’s Literature class was to use any means available to create artwork for a scene of a children’s book. I enjoyed this assignment so much that I decided to add “write a children’s book” to my bucket list.

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

Actually my husband, Bill, and I are working on a book together. It’s going to be a series of books. The series is going to be focused on a variety of everyday life events which cause children to be nervous or have anxiety. The first in the series is about a brother and sister going to daycare for the first time. I am hoping we will have it ready to publish by the end of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram

Ten precious pigs are munching at the trough. One by one, each pig runs off to go on an adventure. What fun adventure does each pig choose? After each pig runs off, can you count the pigs still munching at the trough?

Ten Precious Pigs is an adorable picture book for children ages 3-5 years. It tells a story full of the fun and silly adventures of ten pigs. By using rhymes and repetition, the story teaches young children how to count to ten.

If you like counting, pigs who do funny things, and adventures, this book is for you!

To complement learning, ask your child the name of each animal in the farmyard.

Count and Play with K Dot

Count and Play with K Dot, The Little-Bitty Learning Ladybug: Learning Numbers 1-10 is More Fun with a Friend! by author Kimberly Becker is a colorful and fun way to introduce the concept of counting to children. K Dot the ladybug wants to be your friend and together you go on an adventure to learn to count from one to ten. How many new friends can you make as you learn the numbers 1- 10?

This engaging picture book is filled with bright colors and K Dot is a welcoming and friendly character that children will be drawn to right away. Each page has a simple illustration, perfect for babies and toddlers. From the beginning of the story, young readers will be asked to engage in the story as K Dot asks what their name is and if they want to be friends. This makes the book an active reading story from the start and encourages children to do more than sit and listen.

The story’s rhyme is a classic children’s song that the author has turned into an imaginative story. Adults will recognize the nostalgic rhyme while giving children a fresh look, thanks to K Dot’s jovial personality. Becker has done a great job bringing this classic to the next generation of children. I am happy that she kept the last line, “sit on a big fat hen,” which has always been my favorite part.

Count and Play with K Dot, The Little-Bitty Learning Ladybug: Learning Numbers 1-10 is More Fun with a Friend! is an excellent book for preschools and one of a child’s first books. The creative illustrations and musical rhymes will provide entertainment, and with so many new friends joining K Dot, the story will never get old or boring to read. Children will enjoy counting the bugs sounding each number as K Dot signs her song.

Pages 42: ASIN : B09Z2733SZ

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Mickey on the Move Farming

A young boy is born with deafness in both ears, he wants to do all the things that children with hearing do though. His family gets him Cochlear implants but they can not get wet. He enjoys life on the farm and his dad’s wine vineyard helping out, especially helping with the chickens. However, things like swimming and playing in the rain are impossible because his implants will get broken if they get wet. Keeping his ears dry can be challenging when there are things like sprinklers, water for the animals, and unpredictable rain storms.

Then one day he gets Aqua Cochlear and his life changes! These new implants can get wet! Now he can play in the rain, go swimming, and no longer has to worry about getting his ears wet. Being on the farm has never been so much fun.

Mickey on the Move Farming by Michelle Wagner and illustrated by Jenny Phelps is a touching story about a little boy that has his life improved with Aqua Cochlear. This picture book explains to children what a Cochlear implant device is and does so in a way that is easy to understand for even young kids. The simple explanations accompanied by the creative and colorful illustrations will help children to understand what the Cochlear device is. Mickey goes on adventures many children enjoy from fishing and swimming to playing in the rain.

The thing that parents and teachers will love about this book is that it explains how special needs children are still normal kids. They sometimes have the medical equipment to help them do the things other children do. It does not mean they do not desire to have the same fun and adventures as their classmates and friends. This is a wonderful way to teach inclusion and diversity to younger elementary-age students.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B0B33N3TGF

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Do You See Me when We Travel

Traveling with small children is a challenge at times. They often don’t understand why things take so long, they get bored easily, and do not like having their routine changed. Do You See Me when We Travel by Tuula Pere is a whimsical look at traveling from a child’s perspective. It helps children with things like long car rides, strange food, new places, and sleeping in a strange bed.

As a parent, I recognize many of the questions and comments the small child makes in this picture book. This is an amazing book to read to a preschooler or kindergarten child before taking a long trip to someplace new. It will help them understand that things may look and feel different, but that is ok. The child in the story was able to find things that were more like they are used to and learn to enjoy being someplace new.

Majigsuren Enkhbat illustrations are colorful and fun to look at. Seeing the child and only the legs of the adults really puts the perspective on a level for small children to relate to. The use of different color text in for the adults vs the child was also a brilliant choice. The text is written like a conversation between the adults and the child so having the different colors makes it so young readers can easily identify the parts that are from a kid’s perspective.

Do You See Me when We Travel is a heartwarming picture book that children and adults can appreciate and enjoy? This book is perfect to take when traveling to help keep kids entertained on the way anticipating all the fun they can have on their adventure.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09JMFWKRM

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I Want To Encourage Children

Kathleen J. Shields Author Interview

The First UniBear follows a cub that through acts of kindness and compassion grows a unicorn horn and spreads acts of kindness all around the forest. When you wrote your story at the age of ten what was your inspiration?

I absolutely adore Unicorns and I loved watching the Care Bears. I never understood why there weren’t unicorns in the “Land without Feelings” or why there wasn’t a bear with a unicorn horn and special magical gift. That’s how the idea came to me to combine them.

I began by wondering why no one could SEE unicorns. I determined that they DO exist, that they are rare, and we haven’t “Earned” the ability to see them. Then I began wondering what we could do to EARN the ability. Being a good person, doing good things, that was a given, but there were plenty of good people in the world that couldn’t see unicorns. So there had to be more to it. That’s when I came up with the “Pay it Forward” idea (long before that movie came out). You have to help one person, then that person has to help another person, and down the line. So by having met all of those challenges, you could have the gift… but would you know it?

As a child, I hadn’t helped save someone yet, so that made sense as to why I hadn’t grown a horn. As an adult though, editing my rhyming story – yes, I wrote it in rhyme at ten years of age, and no, I will not share that hilarious version, I realized that it may be because I hadn’t met a unicorn yet, muchless, SAVED a unicorn. I had met horses, but none of them needed saving. There were a lot of dominoes that need to be lined up just right to get to that miraculous gift.

So in my mind, I still instilled the idea that you should all do good deeds, help each other and be kind, because in that rare chance a unicorn is involved one day – I want to earn that horn!

I really loved the artwork and character renditions. You drew some of the illustrations when you were ten what was it like working with illustrator Aashay Utkarsh to turn your vision into the final artwork?

I wrote a blog post late last year entitled “My memories behind the upcoming book” https://www.kathleenjshields.com/authors/the-first-unibear-my-memories-behind-the-upcoming-childrens-book/ and in that post, I shared the original illustration I drew at 10 years of age. It really was adorable (in my own opinion) but Aashay added a level of depth, emotion, and detail that I could never fathom! Finding him was a blessing from God and it was all due to covid! During the lockdown, so many authors that I had met over the years had extra time on their hands and they all wanted to do children’s books. Since I had done so many illustrated books, they came to me.

Over the course of the year, I worked with nearly a dozen different illustrators across the globe to help illustrate their children’s books, but it wasn’t until I saw Aashay’s first page (of another author’s book) that Unibear came rushing back to my mind. I hadn’t thought of Unibear for half a decade, easy! I had lost my father nearly three years earlier. The will to even attempt it had been shelved, and yet, seeing Aashay’s first sketch ignited that spark within me! I immediately asked him if he could draw a teddy bear and a unicorn and what he sketched for me made me feel like that 10-year-old girl – all giddy and excited! I told him he HAD to do my book (as soon as he finished with the other author) and I have been utilizing his illustrations since, in many other authors’ works.

Working with him has been an absolute joy! He understands what I want, and adds a flair and thrill to his work that I haven’t seen from any of the other illustrators. I’ve started projects with a half dozen more this year alone, only to be grossly disappointed. Good illustrators that just disappear or don’t return messages. Illustrators that charge a ton and submit subpar work… maybe Aashay has spoiled me. All I know is he was a blessing and he’s definitely a keeper!

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

Originally, I just wanted to tell a story. I wanted it to be nice and magical and, as a ten-year-old girl who moved a lot, I wanted to make friends (out of a unicorn and bear of course). As an adult and author, my primary focus with all of my books is to educate and inspire. I want to encourage children to use their imagination, to do good, help others, and to believe that anything is possible. I want my stories to be fun and entertaining, and I don’t want to present major protagonists. I feel childhood is difficult enough without throwing so much ‘bad’ at them. And I wanted the story to be thought-provoking and a conversation started, which I believe it is.

I feel that 3rd, 4th and maybe even 5th graders can gain a lot from this story, especially Christian schools! Teachers could have the students point out Christian symbolism throughout the book; like the butterfly, the light leading the way, the ability to see with belief, and so much more. I even put together a document that detailed scripture along with questions of the theme which is available on my website.

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

I currently do not have an official book in the works. I have started a memoir but that has a long way to go! I also started writing a funny book about dogs, but it will be a chapter book. My illustrator for the Hamilton Troll series has come out of hiding and might want to work on the next part of the series… we’ll see. None of those are really inspiring me at the moment, and as any good author will tell you – when you force it, the readers can tell. A good story flows through you like warm chocolate cocoa on a bitter cold day. It comes to you like a frosty breeze and dares you not to shiver! When a story comes to an author, you have a very short amount of time to get as much of it written as you can because when that muse takes off, you’re left out in the cold without your cocoa. And for me… I want it to require illustrations because I want to work with Aashay again.

I am very grateful for the reception Unibear has received, all of the wonderful reviews, the awards it has already won, along with its stellar first day almost breaking the Amazon Top 100 Best Selling books in its respective categories! I honestly feel there are more awards coming up, and I have a dream of a screenplay making this inspirational and important story into a movie! Whether or not it makes it all the way is entirely up to God! Thank you for your support and don’t forget, “The First Unibear” is not only a full-color hardback book, but you can also get the full story in the black and white coloring book, for those young eyes that need a bit more activity to keep their attention.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website1 | Website2

This happy-go-lucky little Bear cub loves to explore! One day he follows a butterfly into the dark woods where he sees a curious sight and a shimmering light. A beautiful white horse needs help and this tiny young bear hurries to save him. What follows is a magically inspirational tale of what can happen if you follow your heart, have good in your soul, and do good deeds.
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