Adam Zebediah Joseph’s Lillee Can Be delivers a sugary sweet children’s book with a punchy, poetic pace and solid sense of cohesion overall. The book focuses on the school and extracurricular lives of two young twins in an unspecified setting, making it an allegory of sorts. Specifically, the twins provide a totally relatable dynamic for any reader with a sibling, as the book directly confronts feelings of inferiority, unequal recognition, and other relevant issues that many children experience.
Likewise, the author is perfectly on trend with the wave of subtle social justice and advocacy messages within children’s and young adult literature currently. For example, Joseph boldly tackles sexism, gender identity, equal pay, and other concepts beyond merely familial themes, yet he does it with humility, honesty, and ease, without any preachy or condescending tones. Although the male character is unnamed, the female character (or mini SHE-RO!) offers an affirmative, fun, feisty, and feminist protagonist for readers to emulate. Lillee, the main character, demonstrates resilience and displays fearless fortitude as she faces gender boundaries and revolutions about our world, social norms, and cultural mores in this vibrant but also bold, bubbly book.
As far as the pros and cons, I love that the book perceptively resonates with girl power. I also applaud how his writing cleverly employs a rhythmical quality that makes you want to sing or rap each page aloud-of course with a fist pump, too! I further appreciate the teachable lessons in this book beyond character education and tolerance, since Adam Zebediah Joseph also cites many careers for young children to pursue. Occupational terms in this book and illustrations make it suitable for a teacher, counselor, parent, or family member and embed superb context clues for the definitions. However, I was a bit dismayed that the male twin character remained nameless throughout the entire piece. This anonymity seemed to counter the equity themes that this book so adamantly advocated. While I also liked the pictures, I wanted a bit more multicultural depictions to truly illuminate the themes that book defends: equality, respect, inclusion, etc.
In sum, this book provides a mirror for young readers to assess not only themselves and their personal relationships around them, but also a path for sociopolitical awareness. Read it yourself to see if a fairy godmother emerges or if other lessons enlighten these characters as they grow and mature. The author shows empathy and wisdom to tackle themes with such poise and poetic power!
Pages: 50 | ASIN: B07F7XCTLV
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Traits and Emotions of a Salvageable Soul helps one achieve a higher quality of life by realizing one’s own value. What was the inspiration that made you want to put your wisdom into a book?
The inspiration for writing this book came from God’s whisper. Although I have a beautiful heart, my walk in life hasn’t been so great. I love giving to other people, regardless of the color of their skin. One day I was reflecting on all the books that I’ve read and noticed that none of them spoke to my soul. I was looking for a touch of guidance and in doing so, I thought it would be a good deed to provide our youth with a book of wisdom. Now no one can say they were never informed.
This book covers many different topics from happiness to accepting criticism. What were some themes you felt were important to express in this book?
I thought it was important to express: Accepting constructive criticism, the importance of respecting our elders, appreciating and respecting woman and all of the other themes. 🙂 I can honestly say that this book is what my heart needed to express.
Why do you think some people struggle with finding value in themselves and in their lives?
I think some people struggle (as I have) with finding meaning and value for their lives because they weren’t taught about values, emotional intelligence, and how to show love to the next child, woman or man. “America, I am an example of how intelligent and compassionate your prisoners can be.”
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book will be, Traits and Emotions of A Salvageable Soul, Vol. II. Truthfully, it’s already completed. In case you weren’t aware, $1.00 from every book purchased goes to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. A dollar from my next book will probably go to The Ronald McDonald House.
I can’t give away too many details, but I’m working on a deep novel titled, Silenced by a Predator’s Threat. You can look for Vol. II sometime in January or February of 2019. Please, tell the world about this book. Everyone can find me at Inkwater.com or via my Facebook link (below).
All people have their own remarkably intrinsic value, and it’s time we recognize it in ourselves and share it with the people in our lives.
From the wisdom of elders comes Traits and Emotions of a Salvageable Soul: A Conversation with a Touch of Class, a guide to growing and healing ourselves so that we can live the quality of life we were always meant to live. From life’s hard lessons, Crawford offers the reader encouragement and truth, a path for using life’s challenges to overcome and even thrive.
Don’t give up, he reminds us. Every one of us has great potential and purpose. We just need to have faith in ourselves and courage.
Posted in Book Reviews
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Phoenix tells the story of Sonam and her trials and tribulations as she builds her life as a woman in India. What was your inspiration for this heart-felt novel?
I have been inspired by experience and observation. My family background has been similar, and I have closely observed the lives of urban well-educated women in India. Despite a progressive education and multifaceted skills, they are expected to conform to obsolete family norms and not allowed to make life choices. This is especially true for the year 1983, when the protagonist Sonam wants to extricate herself from an abusive marriage. Indian society then was full of paradoxes: on one hand was the evolution of a knowledge society and unprecedented technological advancement and on the other deeply entrenched dogmatic beliefs in gender stereotypes. Instead of sympathising with a woman who was a victim of circumstances, her family and friends blamed her for her misfortunes and ostracised her.
I felt that this novel confronted gender stereotypes in a bold way. What themes did you want to capture while writing this book?
I have always felt strongly about the unequal playing field provided to women, even in the educated elite class, and the perception that they are appendages to male family members, whether father, brother or husband. Why should women be accorded respect only if they have empathetic men to battle for them? This discrimination is especially difficult to combat since one is pushing against one’s parents and closest family members whom one loves and respects. Through this novel, I wanted to highlight the need to cherish and support daughters as individuals regardless of the presence and status of their life partners.
I felt that Sonam was a multilayered character that was judged by her failings rather than her success. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
While her parents despair of what will happen to Sonam after she leaves her husband and judge her by her failure in relationship, she demonstrates exceptional skills and shines in her workplace as an achiever. Her personality growth from 1983 to 2017 despite all odds illustrates the triumph of the spirit over ostracism, bigotry, negativity and injustice. She is rejuvenated from the ashes, just like the mythical bird, phoenix.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
My next book, tentatively titled ‘A Journey Within’ has a very different story though it also deals with women’s issues. The lives of 16 Indian women of varying age groups intersect when they go on an all-women’s trip to Spain and Portugal. As events unfold during and after the trip, each of them reaches a realization that changes her life forever.
Caught in an abusive marriage, Sonam Aggarwal finds no family support when she struggles to break free. However, with unwavering grit, she makes a place for herself in the world and rises like a phoenix from the ashes of her dead marriage to discover true companionship and professional success.
The evolution of a knowledge society in India that places a premium on human knowledge and skills regardless of gender finally bequeaths her a coveted place in the sun. The novel focuses on the core strength of a woman that asserts her value despite external trappings and women characters who go through their individual struggle with the inevitable challenges that threaten their existence.
Phoenix, a novel, traces the life of Sonam and her upper class family in South Delhi from 1983 to 2017. It highlights the curious paradoxes in Indian society: its global leadership in digitalization contrasted with antiquated prejudices and gender stereotypes.
Posted in Interviews
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Dear Emma, written by Kwen Griffeth, is a touching novel that revolves around the life of a family in the hospital waiting for a crucial moment that will equate to life or death. Their story is discovered by a caring man, Roger, who is the chaplain at the Price Hospital.
Lost in his own thoughts about his own personal life, Roger stumbles across Ben Talbet, an architect about to become a grandfather. But instead of it being a joyous occasion, Ben is convinced that he is about to lose everything he cares about- all because of a mysterious letter found on a hospital bedside table. What could this letter say that has Ben convinced he is about to lose it all?
Dear Emma is a heartfelt novel based on the significance of letters written to a woman by the name of Emma. The beginning of the novel walks you through the hospital in the eyes of a chaplain. It is here you meet nurses, doctors, patients and families all experiencing the ins and outs of hospital life. One family, in particular, has several lives on the line, and this is where you meet Ben- a loving father about to become a grandfather.
The story ventures into the past where we learn about Ben and Emma and what lead them to this important moment of their lives. Their past tragedies and losses will be shared and you will find yourself feeling a connection to the characters and their story. As the story progresses, the doubt and questions that are posed by Roger, all assist in creating a strong belief and understanding of things we may not understand.
There is a religious sentiment throughout the story and you feel as though you are involved in a special moment with Ben as he shares a personal story between the Father in Heaven and the chaplain. This interaction provoked thought between life after death and how our lives change after we lose a loved one. Dear Emma respectfully shows how love can be everlasting, and how a love between a mother and daughter is an irreplaceable bond.
The descriptive language used throughout the novel easily paints a picture of the hospital setting, with images such as the chapel, cafeteria and maternity ward easily envisioned. Kwen Griffeth’s language, however, does not take away from the importance of the story and instead compliments the plot line and the characters as they progress through the story. This novel tugged at the heart strings and will feel the reader’s heart with warmth and love. The storyline is always fast paced, and even though it isn’t a typical action novel, it kept me on my toes, eager to learn what happens to the family and the letters.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a beautiful, feel good story with a little twist at the end! Dear Emma is a journey of love, life and grief and how love surpasses time, death and life.
Pages: 115 | ASIN: B00770I2HO
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“In between… life” is a collection of 30 poems capturing a range of emotional experiences in the most apt words possible, but without making it feel inaccessible. What was your goal when writing this collection?
Well, what has driven me is that I have read plenty of poetry books that are all very well done, technically close to perfection and so forth, but that fail to engage the reader, to grasp his/her attention and say, for example, “Wow, that was written to me, that relates do what I think or what I have experienced in my life” you know. This sort of connection I think it is very important, otherwise, it becomes too distant regardless of its technical quality.
Only to give you an illustrative example, there is a female reader who sent me a message through my website saying that she felt like some of the poems had been written specifically for her. For me, as a writer, this sort of spontaneous and genuine feedback is the most valuable reward I could get because it is a clear indicator that my aim has been achieved in connecting the writing with people’s real feelings, sensations and emotions. It is simply priceless.
My favourite poem is “Turning the Page” because of the evocative imagery of unrequited love. What is your favourite poem and why?
If my book was a music album, I would say that some of its working titles would be “Today” and “Especially for you”. The first one I understand that is quite straightforward and evident on its intent right from the first lines, but even so it is also powerful in its message and underlying meaning of attachment and union. With regards to “Especially for you”, it has been written in such a way to initially give the impression that it is addressing male-female love, but as the lines go on it becomes clearer that, in fact, it is talking about another type of love and I appreciate this subtle shift. So, yes, those two are among the ones I like most, even though I could talk about a couple of others as well. But it is fine this way.
I loved the idea behind this collection, of sharing poetry as widely as possible. And the imagery that accompanies each piece is spot on. What was the art direction like in this book? What made you choose each picture?
Well, since the conceiving of this book I had decided that contrary to other titles available in the market, I could try to offer a more substantial reading experience that would transcend the writing. My wish was that the readers could not only read the poems but also visualise them as much as possible and establishing an even stronger bond with their content. Therefore, I have done an extensive research for relevant and meaningful imagery that more than simply illustrating each poem, could ‘translate’ them, so to speak, and convey a subtle complementary message linked to the core idea of the respective poem. Therefore, with this proposition, the book not only becomes differentiated in comparison to many others out there but, more importantly, it offers a unique and broader reading experience. Fortunately, the feedback has been quite positive and people are enjoying the project and fully engaging with its content and design.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
For the time being, I am focusing my energies primarily to promote “In between… life” but for the near future, I may start working on a new prose book eventually for the end of the year or first quarter of 2018.
Unplugged! If there is a single word capable to accurately summarize the atmosphere of this book, that is for sure the most appropriate given that, similarly to an unplugged performance of your favourite band/singer, the selected poems in this book also convey the sensation of filling out the room and taking your senses to a different state of mind. They address topics such as love, romance, perceptions about life around us, and new discoveries. Nonetheless, they are ‘unplugged’ of unnecessary features, meaning that they make the reader feel at ease from the very first lines and engaging you just like an intimate conversation with your closest friend.
Posted in Interviews
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Gifts of the Crysnix is about fairies that watch over villagers in a seaside town by granting wishes and comforting them in times of need. When you set out to write this book was it your intention to write a story filled with kindness and morality?
Yes, it was a conscious decision to create a story that would resonate with not only young people, but adults as well. My main intent was the message to trust your gut instincts, or inner voice, to lead you in life. I created the Crysnix to personify your inner voice. I wanted to open the door to the possibility for the reader to dream big, believe in them self and make the best of their life. When I began writing the story it was in the form of a screenplay. There are many “scenes” that are filled with emotion and imagery and a take home value found in films you want to see again and again. I turned the screenplay into a novel and enjoyed taking the story to a new dimension of reaching out to the hearts and minds of the readers.
The fairies must learn to deal with their own issues so that they can mature and help humans with their problems. What were some of the trials that you felt were important to highlight the Crysnix’s development?
I really enjoyed creating the Crysnix world. Although it is perfect, I made the Crysnix have to earn their perfection and also their powers to fly without wings and grant wishes. Some of the early trials are the basic adolescent hurdles of not feeling pretty or good enough, gossiping and being self absorbed. As the story progresses the issues get broader and decisions are made around the value of integrity, believing in yourself against all odds and the simple fact that just being yourself is enough to earn love and respect. The lessons get more and more complex and as a friend said to me, “It is a great read on life lessons for young people and also a good refresher for us adults.” One example is; at the end of the story the protagonist, Elixir finds the value of forgiveness when he realizes his father was doing the best he could and just messed up. Although the mistake impacted Elixir’s life, we learn that we are not responsible for the choices of others and it is not up to us to shoulder the burden. When Elixir finally forgives his father, he becomes free to move on in his life.
The Laws of Light are rules that fairies know very well, but humans struggle with. What was your inspiration for the Laws of Light and how they’re used in the novel?
The Laws of Light are introduced as the basis of the Crysnix belief system and although I described a few, I left it up to the reader to imagine what the others may be. They really spell out the depth of character of the Crysnix and are an inspiration for us humans. When I wrote the story I kept referring to them but only described them at the end of the book. I was hoping to create a sense of reverence and mystery about them. When they were finally revealed as the simple truths of self acceptance, being a source of love for others, living with gratitude, trying to better the world and never forgetting our purpose, I hoped they would resonate with and be remembered by the reader.
There are insightful quotes at the begging of each chapter. How did you choose which quotes to put in your story?
I have always been a fan of descriptive elegance where wisdom is spelled out concisely and beautifully. I have a book of quotes that I referred to and I researched my favorite sources online. Most of the “anonymous” quotes are my own. I enjoy books that use the format of introducing chapters with quotes. I think it lends another dimension to the story and who wouldn’t appreciate input from the eloquent talents of the likes of Marcus Aurelius, Goethe, Aristotle and Henry David Thoreau?
What is the next story that you’re working on and when is it due out?
I have six more children’s books waiting in the wings and a sequel to Gifts of the Crysnix nagging at me. I have finished the first two books of the Presley Series and am in the process of launching them on Amazon etc. They are about a young girl whose imagination gets her into trouble although she always has the best intentions. Currently, I am working with an illustrator on a bedtime story book for young children. It is a lovely illustrated lullaby about the universal love of a parent for a child. I hope in these global trying times it may serve to unite us with the insight that we really are not so different from one another.
What if a simple wish had the power to change your life? Beautiful creatures from a parallel universe watch over the humans in a small seaside town. A breathtaking new world-so perfect, so enchanting that we want to believe-unfolds as we witness the journey of new friends, who lead us toward our own personal triumphs. They have harnessed the power to bend time and grant wishes.
Posted in Interviews
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