Blog Archives

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence by [Lynn McAllister]

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is an educational picture book warning kids, in hilarious fashion, about the dangers of spending too much time on their phone.

After spending too much time on her phone Pixie Van Dimple suffers from AI Infiltration. Someone must save her, and they better do it soon, or else Pixie will certainly be doomed.

This fun children’s book is told in rhyme and every other page has brightly colored comic art that serves as fantastic eye candy while reading the book. I think this book is more for higher grade elementary students, but in either case, the lesson taught here is a valuable one for todays youth. I loved the fun rhymes and the beautiful art and the story was very detailed. I would love to have seen this story as a kids chapter book for middle grade readers because I feel like there is some hints at a larger world that would be fun to explore.

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is wonderfully representative of todays kids and provides a good lesson in a fun story that will surely keep children laughing as they eagerly flip the pages of the this whimsical picture book.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B087BPDK11

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Buzz the Brave

Buzz the Brave by [Gabriela Charatsari]

Buzz the Brave is an inspirational children’s book following the bravest of all bee’s. Although Buzz was not always known as the bravest, he was first known as Buzz the Wanna-Be and was banned from his hive for looking different. But when the queen goes missing, there is only one bee brave enough to find her.

This picture book is wonderfully illustrated with bright computer graphic art that depicts some very cute bees. The story is easy to follow, with simple words, that makes this book perfect  for young readers to practice reading. The story also provides a great example that shows kids how to overcome obstacles, not to listen to those who will keep you down, and being brave. Maya is a fantastically inspirational girl that accepts Buzz immediately and she serves as a great example of how children should be accepting of others that are different.

This was a fun children’s adventure story that follows a charming little bee that sets out to prove everyone wrong and gets his name written on the topmost branch of the tree as a reward for his bravery.

Pages: 74 | ASIN: B096WF5S9C

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Cleon’s by author’s April Pulliam and Amy Grantham is a feel-good read that will give you a nostalgic feeling. The book follows a little girl and her story of growing up in her historic house. The images that accompany the descriptions are captivating and bring the short story to life. As I read this heartfelt book I began to think about the house I grew up in as a child, although not nearly as historic or important, it reminded me of all the small things that you recall about your house, not the grand things everyone hears about, the minor things that effect you personally. I appreciated that the pictures were in black and white and had a rustic touch to it as it shows the age of the house and how time has passed as the little girl grew up. There’s little details to the pictures that tell a story all on their own.  I felt as though I was looking through the family’s scrapbook. The descriptions, as brief as they are, are so powerful that you are taken back in time and you can imagine the smells and sounds in Cleon’s house. You can feel the love, happiness, and safety that the little girl felt growing up in her home and how she hoped those same feelings would be passed on to the next generation.

In just thirty six pages the reader is taken on an emotional and reminiscent journey to Cleon’s house. Cleon’s is a short and sweet mini-family-saga, mini-memoir, mini-tribute to something that has affected an entire family, and generations past, and Amy shares her personal story in an evocative and charming way.

Pages: 36 | ASIN: B099BYLKWQ

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I Loved That Cat’s Tenacity

T. C. Bartlett
T. C. Bartlett Author Interview

Birds Fly, A Cat Tries is a wordless picture book that follows an adventurous tabby who tries to take flight. What was the inspiration for the wordless idea behind your story?

I enjoy finding ways to help children understand the importance of working together and never giving up in many of my stories – to keep trying no matter the obstacles that are placed in front of us. As a child, our family had a pet cat named Buttercotton. He was an orange Tabby, and this cat loved to hide behind furniture and jump out and try and scare us. He always found a different hiding spot and was forever improving on his scare tactics. I loved that cat’s tenacity.

I find this book to be wonderfully educational for children to insert their own dialogue. Was that the intention or was there a different educational aspect your aimed for?

Wordless picture books are my favorite to work on because I know that children can find many different educational aspects within the story without even knowing that the author has designed the plot with specific educational elements. With their unique ability to imagine the world in so many different ways, children can sense and feel so much within the story of a wordless picture book. And even though my intention, for all my wordless and near wordless picture books, is for children to insert their own dialogue into the story and use their imagination, I always design my picture books to have some kind of positive influence.

I loved the art in this book. What was the funniest scene for you to draw, and what were some sources of inspiration?

That is a difficult question for me to answer. There really isn’t any particular scene that wasn’t fun to draw. I did however enjoy creating the elephant at the end of the story. She went through many variations in order for me to find the right look on her face. As for my source of inspiration, well, I was no different than most children when growing up and wanted to jump off the roof of our house holding an umbrella and float down to the ground. Did I try taking the great plunge? No. But I did think about doing it.

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

I am working on two new picture books right now. The Lost and Lonely Tumbleweed, which will be published in June 2022. It is another story about never giving up and to keep on trying, no matter what. Although, The Lost and Lonely Tumbleweed has a lot of words in it. The other book I am working on is titled, Never Was A Grump Grumpier. It will be available in June of 2023, and it is a story about the choices we make in life, particularly the not-so-good choices where we have to accept the consequences that come with the choices we make.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

In this wonderful picture book without words, Birds Fly, A Cat Tries, a cat pursues a dream, desperately wanting to fly . . . sadly, for this adventurous tabby, each effort ends in failure. Does this spunky feline give up? Does the cute kitty take flight? Only one way to find out . . .

Literary Titan Book Awards September 2021

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Award Winners

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

La Florida by James D. Snyder

My Hidden Fear by Luan Nguyen


Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.

An Important Message For Children

An image posted by the author.
Vikki Lynn Smith Author Interview

A Stranger in the Clearing follows a golden retriever that discovers a unique deer hiding in the woods and they both realize there is more to the deer than meets the eye. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration came while I was driving down the road one evening, I saw what I thought was a goat playing in the field with a group of deer. I almost ran off the road watching it. I quickly looked it up when I got home and found that it was a piebald deer. I wondered what it must be like to be a spotted white deer out in the woods, being so different and visible. I had started writing stories for my students to help them understand science terminology, and knew that writing about Pi, in terms of mutation and adaptation, would help them remember the vocabulary. The surprise was the natural moral lesson that came out in the writing process. The lesson that it’s not the color of your skin that makes you special, but your actions to do something for others that makes you the most prized animal in your community.

The art in the book is vivid and colorful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Marcela Werkema?

Marcela is AMAZING. She lives in Brazil, and considering the language and environmental differences, it’s simply incredible what she has done with my illustration suggestions. The idea behind the book was to draw the reader in with 3-D like illustrations that popped off the page. As an animator she realized that my request was also important because books now compete with technology, and today’s children what fast moving literature.

She is so talented, learning what all the animals looked like from photos I sent and suggestions I made. Parents quickly buy the book once they turn the pages and see the stunning artwork.

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

There is not doubt that the main theme focuses on “loving yourself” and “doing something good for others.” I believe this is an important message for children to learn at an early age so that it gets embedded into their psyche. In this volatile world where parents are not able to guide their child throughout their day to make good choices, it helps the child to be reminded through good literature what to do. This book couldn’t have come out at a better time in this tumultuous world.

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

Thank you for asking! My next book is currently at the publisher and it’s called A New Home For Grayce. The story is about Grayce the Groundhog who keeps getting displaced by humans as they develop roads, homes and golf courses. Like so many children today, especially foster children and military children, they must move to new homes more than most. So I wanted to show these children that even though they may have to move a lot, they will always find friends if they put themselves out there. And one day, they just might find their forever home. What is so exciting about this new book is the illustrator. Chad Thompson worked as an animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios in the movies Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear. He graciously stepped in for Mercela Werkema when Covid hit Brazil so hard. It is amazing how he has captured Mercela’s style of illustrations while incorporating his own to make A New Home for Grayce just as special as the first two books in the In the Woods Series. The book will be out this holiday season.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Pi, a unique deer from the Great Forest, arrives in the Woods in search of friends and a new home. The animals of the Woods are surprised by Pi’s arrival, but quickly realize she needs all the love they can give her. Will she discover what it truly means to sacrifice all she loves to be accepted by others? Will she learn the importance of family and the love they give?


PHANTOM BULLET'S by [Andrew Avra]

Phantom Bullets by Andrew Avra is a collection of paintings and journal extracts depicting the mental health issues faced by Lilly. Through the visual representations of her internal battle as well as images showing parts of her past, the reader is able to follow along and get an intimate understanding of Lilly’s mind. Interspersed throughout are short extracts from her journal which further helps the reader to keep track of how Lilly is feeling and follow the flow of the artwork.

Going through each stage of her life and her struggles, you can clearly see the changes that take place. One aspect which varies drastically is the colors used to paint the watercolor images, in the beginning, although you can tell there is a lot going through her mind, the colors used are quite vivid shades of pink, purple and blue. As you move through her life the colors gradually become duller and there are much darker shades used which may represent the different mental health problems she is dealing with. It is also done well as you get to see both her external reality beside what is happening internally.

Phantom Bullets is a fantastic representation of the wide variety of mental health problems a person can experience, and in many paintings, demons are depicted which makes it clear the journey you are following. I think it would work better as an art collection, both as a way of telling the story or as one-off pieces of work. I would’ve liked a little dialogue to get a better sense as to what Lilly was feeling in the moment. The images can be interpreted a different way then what the author intended. But I suppose this is also the point of art isn’t it? The reader does get a more in-depth insight into how someone can be struggling internally and the different ways they try to express their emotions.

Phantom Bullets is a unique graphic novel with interesting art pieces all throughout the book that tell a thought-provoking and impassioned story in vivid color.

Pages: 131 | ASIN: B09CN45D8N

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Birds Fly, A Cat Tries

As children, we are taught to believe in ourselves, have faith, and never give up. All of those mantras come from parents, teachers, and caregivers. It’s during the early years of elementary school that we begin to build our self-confidence. Great picture books with engaging plots are just one way to help young children imagine the possibilities and find relatable characters who can give them the confidence boost they need.

Birds Can Fly, A Cat Tries is the adorable wordless picture book by author, T.C. Bartlett. Conveying an engaging and well-developed plot with illustrations alone is incredibly difficult, but Bartlett has more than managed to hand young readers a fantastic story for the ages. A cat who desires to fly–there is nothing more engaging than watching him give it his all. Bartlett’s story teaches readers to never give up and does so through humor, strategically placed nuances in illustrations, and a fun main character who is bursting with attitude.

As a third grade teacher currently in the middle of a unit on central messages, I am excited to incorporate Bartlett’s work into my reading block. Wordless picture books are a great resource for teachers, and watching Bartlett’s birds as they taunt the determined cat will provide my students with the perfect opportunity to brainstorm and write their own dialogue. I am confident that my students will fall as much in love with Barlett’s feline protagonist as I have.

I am giving Birds Can Fly, A Cat Tries by T.C. Bartlett a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. The sweet illustrations and expressive faces of the characters make this book a must have for elementary classrooms. I encourage any teacher or homeschooling parent who wants to teach dialogue to his/her students to include this book in their bag of tricks.

Pages: 50 | ISBN: 1733908668

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