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I Played With Food For a Living

Ali Manning Author Interview

Can I Play With My Food? follows two sisters as they learn where Food comes from and how Food is used in science. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The book began as a passion project and a way to reconnect to some of the artistic things I’ve loved to do since childhood. I also used to tell people I “played with food for a living,” so I thought the title was perfect because what better way to learn than through play. I was inspired to create a character loosely based on my sister Alexis, who has Down’s Syndrome because I wanted to create an inclusive book where children who aren’t typically represented in literature can see themselves.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Taylor Bou?

Taylor was able to bring my vision to life by creating relatable characters who represent individuals in all of our lives. The collaboration was effortless because he confidently believed in the messaging and what this book means for BIPOC children and those with special needs.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It’s essential for BIPOC children, especially those with special needs, to see themselves and see what’s possible. The book also provides information about food sources and exposes children to the concept of food science as a career path.

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

Yes! I have a few other books in mind that feature more BIPOC children with Downs and share other elements of my life and career.

Date: TBD (I’m just basking in the moment of my first publication.)

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Lifelong Friends, No Matter Where You Go

Lori Croy Author Interview

The Whole Dollar follows two brothers that love each other and share everything as they grow up. What was the inspiration for your story?

This is a true story about my two oldest sons. When something is an event from a real-life situation, the story literally writes itself. As a parent, I tried to capture and take note of those precious everyday moments that are fleeting. When you’re raising children, you feel you’ll never forget something and yet, you do. This is one of those events that was burned into my memory and was the hallmark of what a sibling relationship could and should be.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

The obvious idea is the lifelong joy of a loving sibling relationship. The other major idea focuses on the act of sharing. I wanted to emphasize that sharing isn’t only about “giving something away.” It’s the act itself that brings the giver something precious in return. I also wanted to give the children reading this a hint of how sibling relationships change, and in some ways never change, as they get older. It was important to me that this book be a reminder that your brothers or sisters aren’t just a childhood relationship. They can be your closest and best friends for life, no matter where you go.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

I think it was to write about what you know and to write the stories the way I tell the stories. Humor, excitement, nostalgia, and sweetness among other things – especially when writing for children.

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

The Whole Dollar is releasing on March 4th. I am currently working on 2 additional books and one of those will likely be available early in 2023. The next book will focus on how children experience feelings of anger, anxiety, fear, being tired, being hungry, and how those feelings can make them act in ways that get them in trouble. This book will be a means of helping parents, teachers, and caregivers start meaningful conversations and teach children how to talk about and manage their feelings.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Two brothers, who are very close, share absolutely everything. They share a room, a bunkbed, toys, cookies – everything! One day, they discover how a dollar becomes something that will forever remind them of what it means to have a brother, no matter where in the world they may go. The Whole Dollar is a story about sharing, sibling relationships and the concepts of whole and half. A heartwarming message that is perfect for early readers and an asset for teachers.

The Whole Dollar

When two brothers are also best friends, they share everything. From sharing a room to toys, and even food, Big Brother and Little Brother shared all they had with each other. One day Big Brother wants to do a chore to earn a dollar, his mom asked him to rake the leaves, and he did. When he was done, she gave him a dollar bill. Wanting to share like always, Big Brother ripped the bill in two and gave half to Little Brother. Mom said she would put the two halves somewhere safe for the boys. Years later, as the boys grew older, they stayed just as close and shared everything still. Till one day, Little Brother must head off alone to join the Army. Mom has a surprise for the boys before they say their goodbyes.

The Whole Dollar is a beautiful children’s story about brotherly love, compassion, friendship, and mostly about sharing. Lori Croy has written this picture book using her own sons as the inspiration for the story. You can’t help but smile as you read through this heartwarming story because the love these two brothers share is immeasurable.

The language is geared to lower elementary level children and the illustrations are animated and colorful. Illustrator Katelynn Hoefelman has deftly captured the emotions of the brothers. Their personalities shine through in the images as they grow in the story. This creative story shows that even as they grow older, the things they share change, but the love they have for each other does not. Children will be able to understand the message that Croy is presenting while being entertained as well.

The Whole Dollar is a memorable picture book for younger children. The playful storyline and the message of sharing make this phenomenal children’s book ideal for use in the classroom. Showing the bond between brothers and the importance of family values will delight parents and caregivers of all children.

Pages: 28 | ISBN : 1667826190

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Can I Play with my Food?

Can I Play with my Food? is a fantastic picture book about two sisters, Nema and Lexi. Together, they learn about where their food comes from, how you can use food in science, and how cooking and baking are also science. The girls are amazed to learn that food does not start out at the grocery store. They discuss growing food on farms and in gardens and what animals can also be food. At school, they learn that food can be used for more than just eating as they work on a science experiment.

Author Ali Manning has written a creative children’s book that explores where food comes from while encouraging imaginative thoughts. The character Lexi is based on the author’s own sister, that has Down Syndrome. Lexi shows some traits of Down Syndrome, and the author uses this to promote compassion and acceptance for those with a disability.

While the girls are making a lava lamp in science, they realize all the ingredients to do the experiment are things that they can find at home in the kitchen. Even when the experiment doesn’t go as planned, the girls are not discouraged. This experiment gets Lexi imagining that she too could become a scientist one day.

Taylor Bou illustrates this light-hearted children’s book with colorful and charismatic images. Nema and Lexi’s inquisitive personalities show through as they go about their day asking questions and trying new things. Their bubbly nature is fun and relatable to children.

Can I Play with my Food? is a touching picture book that young elementary and kindergarten children will be captivated by. The expressive illustrations will keep them engaged, while the superb narrative will give them lots to talk about. This is a great inclusive children’s book that teaches morals and science that teachers will love to use this in the classroom.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B09NTX3JQD

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The Intra-Earth Chronicles: Book I: The Two Sisters

The Two Sisters, by author Kara Jacobson, is the first book in the Intra-Earth Chronicles series. The story follows the path of two sisters, Adrianne and Sasha, who endure a nuclear fallout in the distant future and are forced apart when the ground splits open and seemingly swallows Adrianne into an abyss.

Although Sasha does not know if Adrianne is dead or alive, we know Adrianne is somewhere deep within Earth and is on the run. The Two Sisters is action-packed and very fast-paced as it takes the reader on a journey into a deep and unknown part of the Earth. Little do we know that this story also takes us on a ride into exploring the unique bond that is sisterhood.

This fantastic book was a very quick read and each chapter ended with an invisible lure pulling you to the next page. I found it difficult to put the book down and thoroughly enjoyed following both sisters as they embark on their own unique missions. It was also easy to imagine each character’s personality even without much description, which is something I find difficult for authors to do.

This heartwarming story focuses on the bond between two sisters. Even separated and not knowing if the other is alive they fight to find them. Sasha refuses to give up on her sister and is willing to take any journey necessary to find her in the ravine.

The only thing I felt that was missing in this entertaining book is more character development. This could be due to the fact this is going to be a series of books and the author was just introducing characters to readers with plans to develop them further in other books.

The Two Sisters, book one of The Intra-Earth Chronicles, is an exciting and fast-paced sword and sorcery novel for middle-grade children. The action and adventure that the characters experience will keep children engaged and waiting to see what happens next.

Pages: 88 | ASIN : B09R6ZZHRM

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Heirs of Deceits

Heirs of Deceits by Elizabeth Reinach is a historical fiction story set in Victorian England. Sir Gilbert Stanley is a wealthy landowner and member of parliament who has left behind a string of abandoned women and illegitimate children. When the mothers died, the children were sent to live at a workhouse or fostered out to another family. Years later, Sir Gilbert does not acknowledge them as his children but takes them in to his household to work as servants at his country estate, Stanley Court. When his illegitimate son, Henry is murdered, will Sir Gilbert be able to discover who killed him? And what will become of his other children when the scandal of their illegitimacy is revealed?

This story had a unique structure that spanned a number of years, following several children from early childhood in to young adulthood. I liked how the author showed insight into the various trials faced by the characters. It was an interesting contrast to see the difference between the hardships in the lives of Sir Gilbert’s illegitimate children living in a workhouse compared to Lady Anne, who was raised in an aristocratic household. I enjoyed the elements of mystery in this story, reading all the different clues during the murder investigation and trying to put the pieces together to figure out the identity of the killer. I liked that the author included an epilogue showing how the lives of the characters turned out.

The story was divided into several parts and in the first part, where each chapter was focused on a different child’s early life experiences. In Part Two the story lines of the different children start to merge together. When the same events were told from more than one character’s perspective, the facts were not always consistent as is often the case when multiple people are retelling a story, everyone remembers things a little different. This adds a layer of realism to the story with the retelling from multiple perspectives.

Heirs of Deceits by Elizabeth Reinach is a wonderful period piece that highlights a common issue of the time when men often had illegitimate children but no one ever wanted to speak of them. While a work of fiction this book give a voice to those deemed illegitimate. With scandal and a riveting murder mystery this novel will entertain a diverse set of readers.

Pages: 244 | ASIN: B07T239B3B

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The Power of Imagination

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

Henry and the Hidden Treasure is the story of one little boy’s quest to keep his treasure a secret from his sister. How did the initial idea for this story come about and how did it evolve as you wrote?

Imagination. Secrets. Spies. Treasure. These were all the things that I loved to read about when I was a child, so it made sense that I would incorporate these themes into a picture book sooner or later. Probably the very first thought I had when I set about writing Henry and the Hidden Treasure centered on the idea of treasure. What makes the concept of treasure so appealing to children? From there it wasn’t hard to extend this idea and ask the question: What constitutes real treasure within a family?

The story leads the reader on a journey into a child’s imagination and its endless possibilities. What do you hope your readers take away from the story?

Exactly that! I try to write every one of my books to encourage imagination. I think the mark of a great picture book is when children go beyond the written narrative and begin to explore the world of the story for themselves. Of course, it’s important to have positive themes and morals, but I try to make them subtle, or at least secondary to the imaginative qualities of the tale.

I love the brother vs. sister dynamic in this book. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

I think anyone reading Henry and the Hidden Treasure will immediately identify with the dynamic between Henry and his younger sister. Henry has the traits of a child who is perhaps a little possessive and who is certainly suspicious of Lucy’s place in the family. Lucy is a lot more enigmatic throughout the story, but her own qualities end up challenging Henry’s perceptions.

There are a number of morals that can be highlighted in the story. Henry’s possessiveness with his ‘treasure’ not only examines his exclusive approach to playing, but has a valuable lesson in listening to parental advice. His suspicion of Lucy also challenges his ideas of what it is to have a little sister, and what it means to be the big brother. In addition to this, there are other teaching points in the story, such as the use of ordinal numbers, understanding the broad use of financial institutions, and of course, the power of imagination.

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

The next book coming out is called Titch the Itch. It centres on the idea of friendship and how this can be difficult when you’re an itch. It will be available on November 30 2017.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Henry and the Hidden TreasureHenry and the Hidden Treasure is an imaginative adventure a young child has in defending his pocket money against his little sister. Henry constructs elaborate defensive measures that he is sure will stand up to the clever ambitions of Lucy. Little does he know, Lucy has a few tricks of her own.With a focus on introducing children to the use of ordinal numbers, Henry and the Hidden Treasure also draws out some important qualities of being a kid – such as creativity, the value of listening to parental advice, and of course, being nice to your sister.

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