Blog Archives

The Adventures of Arya and Krishna Betta Fish

Arya betta fish and her brother, Krishna, journey from the pet store where they were born to their new home at a lovely koi pond. While exploring their new home, Arya and Krishna meet new friends Blake and Sharktooth and explain their greatest mission: to reunite their family. However, when the world of the koi pond is turned upside-down, all the betta friends find themselves on an exciting adventure. Meeting new friends, discovering amazing new places, and helping each other survive, Arya and Krishna must use their wits and find a little luck on their quest to find their missing parents.

Bettas have a special place in my heart. My first pet was a betta, and I love this charming adventure tale of fish friends working hard to help each other. I also love the multi-cultural approach to this lively narrative, where both the fish and humans in the world are from many different ethnicities. Spunky Arya, courageous Krishna, wise Ash, and all the other friends the bettas encounter add their own personal magic to this thrilling journey. Numerous endearing illustrations add to the enchantment of the adventure. Whether fish, human, or animal, everyone works together to aid each other in this entertaining tale of friendship, family, and fun.

Author Gabriel Bietz uses lighthearted storytelling and adorable illustrations by Ananta Mohanta in this book that is perfect for children ages seven and up. The illustrations brought the story to life, making this a middle grade book that young readers will find engaging. The adventure wraps up nicely while leaving plenty of room for many more exciting stories to follow. The Adventures of Arya and Krishna Betta Fish is a cheerful romp through a world of never-ending challenges and fun, where friendship and determination may be the key to everything.

Pages: 129 | ASIN : B09QH8YW9W

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A Heartfelt Conversation With The Moon

Natcole Staskiewicz Author Interview

Lacie’s Moon follows a little girl who embarks on a fantastic adventure where she learns about love and grief. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Amyia Staskiewicz?

Amyia is my daughter and that made working on this project extra special. She had been drawing since she was six years old, and I was happy she said yes when I approached her to do the project with me. It was during a difficult time and we had loss many loved ones. She created the character, and everything took off from there. I was amazed that without reading the full story and with little instructions she was still able to capture its essence.

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

When Lacie rides through the stars having a heartfelt conversation with the moon. It was both fun and therapeutic because I was grieving alongside her.

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

I am currently working on a couple of book projects. One of them is the next book in the “Little People Big Emotions” series which focus on children processing their feelings. It will feature Lacie adjusting to having a new sibling. It has just started the illustrating phase and I anticipate it will be available by early 2023. The second book is a story about kindness, and I am working to make it available by December 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Rated #1 New Release
Awarded Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival

Understanding grief is never easy.

Lacie’s Moon follows a happy little girl who can’t imagine life being anything else until she learns that two members of her family have died. She loved them with all her heart. And they loved her to the moon and back. Now they’re gone forever…
Not sure what to do, Lacie shouts out to the moon. To her surprise, she wakes to the moon coming to her aid.
Can the moon help?
Natcole Staskiewicz has thoughtfully crafted a beautiful story to help your child cope with loss. Each page is accompanied with wonderful illustrations by her daughter, Amyia Staskiewicz, that helps bring the story to life.
This book is wonderful for elementary grade children and older, who can then discuss it with their parents and family. This is also for adults who need a gentle reminder that the ones we love stay with us…through their never-ending love.

Pearl, Our Butterfly

Pearl, Our Butterfly by Tuula Pere navigates the very difficult subject of loss of life with a beautifully written book that handles a tragic yet memorable journey that is the life of Pearl. Pearl is Jacob’s younger sister, and since her birth, she has encountered many challenges and requires ongoing care due to a disability and many medical issues. Pearl’s big brother, who has experienced several milestones, including recently starting school, has just adjusted to becoming a sibling and must now learn how to grieve the loss of his sister.

From the moment Jacob and Pearl meet, he becomes her biggest fan and supporter. Jacob worries that she will never come home when his small sister is moved into a hospice facility. It is during this process that Jacob and his parents must face the tragedy of loss, which is a traumatic event for anyone. I admire how the author handles a complicated but important topic with such grace and support, which helps children articulate their feelings and understand how grieving is a natural part of the loss.

Pere highlights the importance of communication and support, a crucial part of healing after losing someone. The author cleverly shows how a whirlwind of emotions and pain is to be expected and how it is possible to achieve a sense of peace and acceptance in time. Jacob’s character showcases many real emotions which mirror what many people experience after the death of a loved one. The author brilliantly illustrates death through the transformation of a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis. Like Pearl, the butterfly is no longer confined to a cocoon and is finally released to be free. Pearl, Our Butterfly is a helpful book for children dealing with loss and shows them that it is possible to see the light through the darkness.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B07NKSLM6N

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Pearl’s Life

Pearl’s Life is the second book following Welcome Home, Pearl, which tells the story of Jacob, the older brother of Pearl, who experiences big changes in life after her arrival. As Jacob prepares to start school, he wants to include Pearl in his new experience. He asks his family to bring Pearl when they drop him off at school. As a child with disabilities, Jacob’s parents are initially unsure if Pearl can handle such an event or if bringing her to school to see her big brother make an entrance would be too much for her.

This children’s book provides a great opportunity to discuss the challenges of welcoming a new baby into the home and how a child with disabilities can handle some of the same experiences and activities differently. Jacob asks many helpful questions, as he sincerely wants his baby sister to play a pivotal role in his life, but doesn’t always understand how her abilities and special needs may impact how she interacts with him. As his family listens to Jacob’s concerns, they provide the best and easiest explanations and solutions while discussing how Pearl will be a part of every new milestone in his life.

The author does an exceptional job of tackling difficult questions and the emotional, real-life situations that accompany a family, especially when learning how to love and care for a child with disabilities. The story illustrates how important it is to not let the opinion of other people determine how to live your life or the compassion you have for others, including your family. Just because Pearl has a disability doesn’t mean she can’t come with Jacob to his first day of school. The boy sees this as an opportunity to show off his sister and normalize her condition by opening answering questions and inviting people to meet Pearl.

I really enjoyed author Tuula Pere’s carefully and beautifully written story and the illustrations by Catty Flores. I found each scene brought a sweet and heroic nature to Jacob. He’s a curious but compassionate child who makes a great role model for children. He shows readers how to discuss friends and family members with disabilities. I recommend Pearl’s Life for its excellent message to accept others and start a meaningful and heartfelt discussion about family and friends and their disabilities in a way that educates and increases compassion.

Pages: 16 | ASIN: B07NKF91BL

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It’s All About Self-acceptance

Kellen Roggenbuck Author Interview

The Awkward Dinosaurs identifies the lesser known fictional dinosaurs of the world who have awkward characteristics making them less popular. What was the inspiration for this picture book?

I was drawing dinosaurs for fun, trying to make ones with silly personalities, and the more I thought of silly backstories, the more I thought this would make a fun book!

Shyladon is one of my favorite awkward dinosaurs. Do you have a favorite?

This feels a little like choosing a favorite child! I chuckle every time I read the Blankasaur page, so I’ll say that’s my favorite today.

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

I’ve tried to make sure that my books have a moral undercurrent, something that is subtle but concrete to help teach important lessons. In The Awkward Dinosaurs, it’s all about self-acceptance, even when you feel awkward, strange, or weird.

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

I am working on two projects, but both only in the planning phases – an unnamed llama project and a tattooed dad project. I would’ve loved to had either available by Christmas, but most likely we’ll see one or both in 2023.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

You know the popular dinosaurs, but here’s a book dedicated to the ones that history forgot! These are the awkward, strange and delightful dinosaurs you’ve never heard of! This book is a silly book about different make-believe dinosaur species who are downright awkward, but that doesn’t stop them from being happy! This book has a colorful, fun illustrations and a nice message about being who you are and proud of it.

Author and illustrator Kellen Roggenbuck does it again! Another fun, colorful book full of humor and positive lessons! Check out other books by Kellen Roggenbuck, available on Amazon.

Welcome Home, Pearl

Welcome Home, Pearl is a story about Jacob, who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his baby sister Pearl. As with the arrival of any new baby into a family, things can be difficult, and there may be concerns about the baby’s health, development, and how everyone interacts with the new addition. When Jacob’s baby sister arrives, he quickly learns that she will require lots of special medical care, and as her big brother, he must focus on the positive. Jacob is proud to call Pearl his sister, and he becomes aware of the stress and challenges that lie ahead for his parents, himself, and Pearl.

Children with disabilities and their families face many challenges, and the author does a great job of expressing the fears and anxiety experienced by not only the parents but the siblings as well. Pere takes a serious situation and explains it well so that it is clear to understand young readers. Jacob’s character is a positive force of support throughout the story, despite how worried his parents become during such a distressing time. This difficult subject beautifully opens communication and discussion about how to talk about children with special needs and ongoing medical treatments so that children and adults can express their emotions and concerns while providing a powerful, supporting role during the process.

I really enjoyed how brilliantly the author approached this challenging subject, as well as the charming and warm illustrations by Catty Flores. Author Tuula Pere creates a wonderful portrayal of how the love and support of family mean everything when faced with challenges and how Jacob’s positivity shining through can make a big difference. I recommend Welcome Home, Pearl for its excellent writing and serving as a great reminder to look at things from a different perspective, with love, patience, and understanding.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B07NKQ9JKJ

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Bullies Don’t Hurt Me Anymore

Young Jax is being bullied and he doesn’t know how to handle it. Luckily, Richard has experienced bullying before and shares his words of wisdom with Jax. Richard helps Jax identify different types of bullies, understand why bullies do what they do, and shows Jax how to take appropriate steps to stop the bullying. By the end, Jax feels much more confident in himself and his ability to handle a bully.

Author Brenda Turner has created an informative children’s book that focuses on explaining to young readers what a bully is, how and why they act, and what actions they can take to stop a bully. The book goes into detail on each subject and provides helpful examples on each piece of advice that is given. This is a comprehensive book that informs and empowers children by giving them the emotional and intellectual tools they will need to handle a bully and strengthen their self-esteem.

Each page of this enlightening picture book is illustrated. Characters emotions are easy to identify and I really enjoyed the diverse cast of characters that are present throughout the pages. Each scene illustrates the points being made in the accompanying text, and it all serves to really drive the point home so that children can fully understand what they are reading.

Bullies Don’t Hurt Me Anymore is a critical resource for any parent who thinks their child might be the victim of a bully. The story in itself is very helpful for children, but the book also contains tools for parents at the back of the book that includes things like, how to tell if a child is being bullied, punishments, and self-defense. This is an educational children’s book that shares a lot of great advice that can help stop bullying.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B09W4XTRVZ

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Survival Stories Series

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Traveling Companions follows three villagers that are left alone after the destruction of their homes from a mudslide, together they must find a way to down the mountain alone. What was the inspiration for your story?

I often write about even extreme difficulties and challenges faced by individuals and the interaction between people in such situations. The background of the events can be a disaster affecting the wider community – sometimes even the entire society.

The main reason for this book and the entire Survival Stories Series is the tragedies that Nepalese people faced in the massive 2015 earthquake. It was by no means a single event but a whole series of difficulties that still exist and are reflected in life. Many new things had to be built and the old repaired – which applies to emotional damage in addition to material things.

Naturally, I followed the flow of news related to the events, but I felt very powerless in the face of this great distress. The catastrophe was experienced on the other side of the globe, where I had not even been to myself. However, I have friends who are familiar with the places or live in Nepal. They emphasized the importance of children’s literature in a situation like this. They made me see that I have this particular way of making an impact, even a modest one.

I loved how you showcased that everyone has value and can contribute in this story. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The book’s title – Traveling Companions – expresses the idea that we humans are together on all our life journeys. It is wisest for us to support each other in every way. That makes us stronger and helps us achieve better results.

It is important that we see the value of other people and respect them for who they are. Everyone has their weaknesses and their strengths. The best overall result is achieved when these different characteristics are considered.

To emphasize this, I have included three very different people in the story. Each of them is deficient in some respect. My message is that they are all valuable in their own right. When the special skills or characteristics of each of us are combined, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.

The story also emphasizes the value of both childhood and old age ¬– as well as using strength for the benefit of others. The child can see with his clear eyes. The older man can share his knowledge of medical assistance and help find the way to the valley. The strong but blind man can use his strength with the help of others.

All the traveling companions in real life, too, need each other!

Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? Why?

There were only physical books in my childhood, so they are naturally the most familiar to me. Even as a writer, at first, it was my ultimate wish to succeed in creating a beautiful paper book with valuable content. I imagined as many children as possible holding them in their hands and enjoying the illustrations and stories in peace, in a place of their choice.

I have read countless paper books to my children and later to my grandchildren. My bookshelves are still full of our favorite children’s books. There is nothing better than a peaceful moment you can offer the child in your arms by reading a good book together.

Technology has increased the possibilities of enjoying literature in many new ways. I approach all options with an open mind. The most important thing is the reader’s opportunity to choose the most suitable way to enjoy good literature. My own stories have also been published in all possible formats. I believe they all have their place.

In the end, the most important thing is always the quality of the content produced and a meaningful message. Good is good, even when served in different ways.

What other books are you working on in the survival series and when will they be available?

The Survival Series already has three books: Traveling Companions, Saved from the Flames, and The Owl and the Shepherd Boy. They all have strong illustrations by Catty Flores, which I think fits well with the dramatic events of the books. The style also leaves room for the reader’s thoughts, and it is possible to place the events in a wide area.

I consider it possible that there will be sequels to the series. The world is full of events and situations where you need to believe in the possibility of survival, even if everything seems impossible.

As a mother and a children’s author, my thoughts turn to children whenever there are various challenging events – such as natural disasters, accidents, or wars. Of course, it is difficult to improve the world and help even in small matters by just writing children’s books. Even so, I still see some ways to make a difference.

Writing survival stories is all about sharing experiences and putting yourself in the shoes of others. I have a unique opportunity to influence readers’ attitudes, as I can share information about things that would otherwise remain unknown. I can also increase readers’ empathy towards the suffering of others and make them ready to help.

The importance of books like these increases, particularly in complex and extensive problem situations. Good stories can make the events more understandable. The sense of community can then cross not only geographical boundaries but also cultural boundaries.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

After devastation caused by a landslide, the people of a small mountain village are forced to leave their ruined homes and embark on a difficult journey towards the valley.

However, an unlikely trio has to stay behind and wait for help. The rope-maker’s son, Tony, has injured his leg; the oldest of the village is weakened by his age; and the blind blacksmith is not likely to make the difficult trek down. They are anxiously waiting to be rescued, but they are running out of options.

Even though the odds are against them, the three companions gather their courage and set out. On this dangerous journey, they rely on each other and share the little they have left.

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