My Buddy Knows… Letters is an educational picture book that teaches children about the alphabet in a fun and playful way. What inspired you to write this book?
I was helping my high school aged daughter study for a chemistry test and we were using flash cards. Afterwards, I was marveling at how often we use flash cards to test our memory.
That got me thinking, “Why don’t we use flash cards for teaching early concepts?” My Buddy Knows series was born.
Fun fact: each of the “Buddies” in the books are named after my children.
I loved the art in this book. What was the art process like in putting this book together?
Surprisingly, all of the art in the books were acquired from a site that offers royalty-free images, approved for commercial use, free of charge.
It was a case study, of sorts, for my YouTube channel for authors, Keith Wheeler Books. I wanted to prove that you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to produce a book, if you focused on quality content and provided your reader with an amazing experience.
How does this book help young children with their alphabet comprehension?
The simple answer is that it makes learning fun. It’s like a game. Plus, as you turn the page, Josh(the “buddy” in the book) pops up in different places.
I can’t tell you how many parents tell me that their child loves to see where he’s going to pop up next.
This is volume one in the My Buddy Knows series. What are the other books in the series and what is the goal for the series overall?
There are currently 4 volumes in the My Buddy Knows series. They are:
My Buddy Knows Letters
My Buddy Knows Numbers
My Buddy Knows Colors & Shapes
My Buddy Knows Baby Animals
I’m also in the process of creating a spin-off series: My Buddy Knows Languages. I’m in the process of creating the first 5 books in the series:
My Buddy Knows Spanish
My Buddy Knows French
My Buddy Knows German
My Buddy Knows Italian
My Buddy Knows Japanese
Posted in Interviews
Tags: alphabet, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, children, ebook, education, goodreads, Keith Wheeler, kids, kindergarten, kindle, kobo, literature, My Buddy Knows… Letters, nook, novel, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, story, teacher, writer, writing
Bullying: What Are We Really Scared Of challenges our current response to bullying and explores successful ways of dealing with bullies. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was able to get inside the head of a bully, learn all the secrets as to how they bully and why. Stemming from this, I was able to devise an action plan to stop bullies from hurting me. After many years of implementing this plan, learning that it worked every time, seeing the world was in such a state with bullying problems, saddened, I felt it was imperative I shared the secrets to defeating the bullies to help victims with this worldwide problem.
What were some ideas that were important for you to focus on in this book?
Divulging the truth about bullying, that it is not just the schoolyard bully or domestic violator, but that bullying is in every aspect of our lives. Exposing their secrets and sharing how easy it is for bullies to be retrained during counselling from being a physical violator to a psychological abuser because that is when they are most dangerous. Demonstrating, with examples, how easy it is to fall victim to bullies and what to look out for to be safe from the manipulations of bullies. Explaining to victims that the Justice system is more often than not, a lame duck when it comes to seeking help from them so they don’t fall into the abyss of depression when it fails to help them. Most importantly, I wanted to empower victims to be self reliant, to help themselves to stop the bullies in their lives.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about bullying?
That bullying is scary, that once they fall victim to a bully it will never stop, that they cannot defeat it and no one would believe them.
Do you have plans to write other books on this topic?
Yes, I am in the midst of writing a book for younger children (ages 3-8) to help them understand bullying and what they can do to stop it.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: abuse, author, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books to read, Brenda Turner, bullying, Bullying: What Are We Really Scared Of, children, ebook, education, goodreads, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, novel, parent, read, reader, reading, school, self help, story, teacher, writer, writing
Mommy, Daddy Please Teach Me!, by Michael A. Brown, is an educational children’s story about appreciating what our parents have done for us. Through this book readers will learn to value the things their parents have taught them by exploring various real life examples such as learning to dress themselves and learning to love themselves. The story portrays diverse families in many different situations that children find themselves in on an average day. The author then uses this base to show some simple, but effective, examples of the numerous ways that parents help their children learn and grow.
It’s important to appreciate the things our parents have taught us. They have taught us a lot of things that have helped us become the people that we are today. Our parents have always been there to guide us through life and it is important to think about what we have learned from them. Michael A. Brown inspires this kind of thought and understanding in his exceptional picture book.
Along with the multiple examples given that show how parents educate children, this cute book also helps remind kids to cherish the lessons their parents give them. If the reader were to discover something in the story that they didn’t know about, such as the concept of money, then they’d have something new to discuss with their parents.
Mommy, Daddy Please Teach Me! is yet another brilliant book by Michael A. Brown that uses beautiful illustrations to capture children’s attention and then inserts a lesson while looking over all the beautiful imagery.
Pages: 34 | ASIN : B08K3QQNMG
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, childrens book, diversity, ebook, education, elementary, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, learning, literature, Michael A Brown, Mommy Daddy Please Teach Me!, nook, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, story, teacher, writer, writing
Lance Vance Picks a Topic, starts with introducing us to our 9 year old, smart, cocky and impulsive protagonist Lance and then proceeds to follow his journey from the time he receives his Science Fair assignment to the day of the Science Fair. This charming children’s book follows his adventure, impulsiveness and knack for creating something new and is bound to inspire young readers.
Children are often afraid of science as a subject and science fairs can be a real cause of anxiety in not only them but their parents too. But through Lance’s story, the author successfully breaks down the steps of the Scientific Method and makes it easy and simple for children to grasp. It aims at imbibing and instilling scientific flair in children from a very young age. After all science is the most exciting subject, if we just introduce kids to it right! Lance’s hilarious yet thrilling experiments does exactly that. It instigates creative thinking in young readers. The storyline is compelling and keeps readers engaged. Lance is bound to fascinate them. The writing is lucid and that helps in easy comprehension of not only the plot but the insights as well. The illustrations are really adorable and will hold their attention.
I recommend this book to all young readers so that they get to enjoy science in its all glory and don’t associate fear with it. It is an interesting subject and science fairs allows them to create fun projects. I’m really looking forward to more of Lance’s adventure.
Pages: 53 | ASIN: B08CSZZ2W4
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, childres book, ebook, education, Emmie Miller, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, Lance Vance Picks a Topic, literature, nook, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, science, science fair, stem, story, teacher, writer, writing
Amen and Amen by Gene Vickers is a simple but enchanting story set between the backwoods of Blairsville in northern Georgia and the elegant suburbs on its hilltop. While abject poverty and limited opportunities have kept one side of society barely scraping by, the other half lead extravagant lives filled with imported cars and vacation homes overseas. Long-buried secrets and animosity steeped in classism have divided the town for generations yet all that will start to change when the wealthiest boy in school befriends one of the poorest girls in the county. Their unlikely relationship will inspire a revolution throughout their town, leading to well-drawn lines in the sand becoming blurred as God and humanity intervene.
At its core, the book focuses on faith, family and football, first and foremost, and how those factors can come together to unite those who would be torn apart otherwise. Prepare to get swept away by interweaving tales that peer into the lives of the disenfranchised and the rich that prove that maybe the two have more in common than expected at a glance. Follow two disadvantaged adolescents in a heart-warming underdog story who join the elitist ranks of the football team in a move that upsets long-established social dynamics, for better or worse. Out on the gridiron, economics hardly even matter as the playing field is leveled to allow everyone’s God-given talent to shine through whether they reside in a trailer park or a mansion. Enemies can become brothers just as school friends can become lovers as long as everyone grows in grace and understanding.
Still, not everyone is without their faults and prejudices and, since the ages of old, the sins of the father can and certainly do come back to haunt his children so it’s easy to get caught up in the quaint town’s gossip mill and endless drama. Sinners and their descendants alike try throughout to reconcile with their past and present misdeeds from clandestine backroom dealings to unplanned pregnancies with only a hope and a prayer. However, with God’s eternal love comes forgiveness, culminating in a story brimming with vibrant characters, a touch of colorful language, and a whole lot of soul.
Amen and Amen is a twist on the classic boy-meets-girl theme yet the rags-to-riches theme can become repetitive. Some characters can feel one-dimensional at times as they heel-turn their previous convictions seemingly through faith alone and not necessarily hard work. Perhaps it just goes to show that humans are flawed and still God forgives all.
Read Amen and Amen if you want a feel-good Christian story filled with patriotic characters who, through their faith, prevail no matter what comes their way.
Pages: 357 | ASIN: B08DL6FB5P
Jam Sessions follows a middle school boy named Phillip who has to forge a new path for himself through a new school that he’s transferred to in the middle of the school year. Phillip struggles with bullies, but finds a creative outlet in Mr. Filter’s class where he starts the day with a writing prompt that sends Phillips imagination soaring. Now, if only he could apply that creativity and passion in his real life.
Jerry Harwood has created a cast of characters that are both easy to dislike and easy to empathize with. Chuck and his friends are easily unlikable and I loved Ashley, Daniel and Jaylan. I really liked all the teachers too, especially the language arts and P.E. teachers. I did feel like Phillips mom should have played a bigger part in the story, but it didn’t hurt the story in any way. From the first time we meet Chuck I thought that he was just a pain in the butt kid who likes to be a bully and embarrass people. Chuck and his gang of hooligans didn’t really evolve much but that honestly worked for the story because they continue to be the fundamental antagonists.
Jerry Harwood does a great job detailing what a panic/anxiety attack feels like, I could almost feel and see Phillip having his attacks. It was great that he found a way to cope with his attacks. Even at the beginning when the author is describing Phillip and his mom running away from home, everything is perfectly detailed. When Phillip is standing in the back of the room on the first day of school, you could feel him praying that he is invisible and then realizing that he really had been during that class because not one person had cared about him being there or noticed his presence. It was sort of sad.
The story flowed easily and was well written. I enjoyed the small cartoon characters at the beginning of each chapter and I liked how short the chapters were. I read the book in one sitting, because it was an enjoyable read and I loved that Phillip was able to turn things around which gave the book a feel good ending.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B0868XNSH9
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, bully, children, childrens book, contemporary, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, Jam Sessions, Jerry Harwood, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, middle school, new readers, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, school, story, urban fantasy, urban fiction, writer, writing, young adult
What I Tell Myself About Talent is a fun children’s book that places exploration and self actualization center stage. What are you good at? What’s your talent? How can you ever know until you try. This book helps kids make the connection between their current talents and their future jobs, whether it’s an innate talent or something they have to work at. Rather than telling children to be one thing or another, What I Tell Myself About Talent let’s readers know that it’s okay to not know, and exploring the possibilities is part of the fun.
Michael Brown has once again created a book on a topic that I have rarely, if ever, read about in a children’s book. Talent, and how to find it in everyday places with a little exploration, is accomplished in this book with simple rhymes and vibrant illustrations of diverse children doing different activities. This picture book will encourage readers to get out into the world and try things out. It will open their eyes to the idea that they can continue to do the things they like even into adulthood. From doctors to construction workers Michael Brown makes it clear that going out and finding what your good at is part of the fun. The ending of the book has Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is a great opportunity for further discussion beyond the book. What I Tell Myself About Talent is a great way to start a conversation about finding talent in everyday activities.
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B08CBQR6XJ
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, career, children, childrens book, ebook, education, exploration, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, Michael Brown, nook, novel, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, story, student, teacher, What I Tell Myself About Talent, writer, writing
Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K. helps educators gain greater insight into each partner’s role within a co-teaching classroom. Why was this an important book for you to write?
There is a growing need for special education students to be placed with their peers in the general education classroom. In doing so, the gap that is faced by the special education students can decrease. This book is important as it serves as a catalyst for change in the collaborative relationship. Co-Teaching: The Professional will help readers M.A.S.K. The inevitable. Learn to MANAGE the stress, ACCEPT co-teaching as a valuable tool, STRENGTHEN your relationships, and create the KEYSTONES that will allow for personal growth.
What do you think is a common misconception educators have about co-teaching?
One misconception is that one of the teachers are not certified. Co-teaching is a classroom with TWO certified teachers that are charged with educating a group of students both special ed and general ed in the same environment. Each teacher adds value to the classroom. The general education teacher is considered the content/curriculum expert. The special education teacher is the strategist, they add strategy and technique to the content to make it accessible to all learning level. The two certified teachers work hand in hand to deliver the curriculum in a way that allows for learners to thrive.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
One thing that I’d like readers to take away from Co-Teaching: The Professional is the need to effectively communicate with colleagues. Classrooms are not the only areas that collaboration is key to engagement and success. In every profession, the expectation is that there is a level of teamwork that increases productivity and efficiency. We should abolish the fixed mindset and embrace growth to meet the needs of the current generation. We must work together to discover the best approach for personal growth as well as company development.
What is your experience in the education field and how has that helped you write this book?
My experience in the education field has moved from managing front offices, working as a principals secretary to now teaching in the classroom. I have been an advocate for children for more than 20 years. I wrote this book based on my experiences in the coteaching classroom. As an advocate, it is my desire to enhance the coteaching classroom. Co-Teaching: The Professional will help guide the relationship into a collaborative experience that utilizes the talents and abilities of both certified teachers.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K., ebook, education, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, Regina M. Christian-Massey, school, special education, story, teacher, teaching, writer, writing