Blog Archives

Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In My Head

Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In My Head is a delightful and informative picture book that introduces young readers to the vital role that the hippocampus plays in our ability to recall information. Following the young protagonist, Oliver, and his friends, Bella and Beau, on a magical adventure through an enchanted forest, the author, Beverley Reichman, skillfully weaves in important lessons about how the hippocampus helps us remember things. The captivating illustrations are not only amusing but also serve to fully immerse the reader in Oliver’s world.

One of the strengths of the book is the clever way in which the author demonstrates the function of the hippocampus through the characters in the story. The book also showcases Hugh the Hippo as a superhero who saves the day, which makes for a fun and engaging read. Additionally, the author highlights that dogs also have a hippocampus, which we learn through Toby’s Treasures.

At the end of the book, readers are offered a fun and educational activity to test their knowledge of what they’ve just read. Overall, this interactive and enjoyable read is highly recommended for young readers and perfect for teachers to share in their classrooms. Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In My Head is a must-read children’s book that teaches important concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Pages: 54 | ASIN: B0BQNPWFN4

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Living Green and the Smoke

A handy and helpful small tree and a smart and intelligent little flower meet up for their daily chat, but there’s something weird in the sky today. There is smoke covering the forest and making plants sick. The duo set out to find the smoke’s source and find it coming out of a mountain. They gather their friends, and together they work to close the hole and fix a problem that was affecting all of them.

This educational picture book takes the serious and complicated subject of climate change and distills it down into a creative adventure that children will be able to understand. This is the perfect book for young readers as the problem is easy to grasp, there’s smoke coming out of the mountain. How do they stop it? They have to work together to solve the problem, and their teamwork is also illustrated in an easy to understand manner. All of this makes this a perfect book for preschool or kindergarten children. This educational children’s book does a fantastic job of establishing this basic understanding in young readers. In many children’s books these ideas are often abstract, but author Florian Bushy is able to mix a serious issue with whimsical characters and create a fun and educational kid’s book.

The artwork throughout the book is colorful. The trees and plants come to life, and I loved seeing Mr. Florian’s cute character in different situations throughout the story.

Living Green and the Smoke is an educational children’s book that conveys an important lesson about air pollution, global warming, and how working as a team is critical to solving a problem that affects us all. I highly recommend this informative picture book to educators and parents who want to introduce their young children to the idea of climate change and teamwork.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B09R7TNMZ5

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The Little Regenerative Farmer and The Dairy Farm

Lina is happily gardening and playing outside when her father tells her some sad news. They’re moving. At their new home, Lina makes a new friend in the old farmer across the road. They share their love of farm animals, educate one another, and help implement a regenerative agricultural practice.

Lina is a hardworking and inquisitive child whose passion for life is evident from the first page of this vibrant children’s book. There is a variety of lessons young readers will pick up throughout the story, but the one that stood out to me the most was Lina’s determination. When Lina hears some disheartening information from her friends at school, she works for months to prove them wrong. There are many children’s books where a lesson is learned quickly, but I appreciated how the lesson learned in this book is achieved over a long period of time, and through the child’s own hard work. This is a fantastic message to send to kids. Young readers will also learn about farming, sharing information with others, and being adaptable.

The artwork by illustrator Yana Gorbatiyk is rich and brilliant and makes each character look adorable. Lina’s chicken was very cute and I loved seeing it on the page every time. Young kids will be drawn to all of the bright imagery in the book.

The Little Regenerative Farmer and The Dairy Farm is an educational picture book that shares several valuable life lessons, some of which are rarely seen in other children’s books. This is a heartwarming story that spreads a positive message that has the potential to improve the world.

Pages: 43 | ASIN: B0BNWHTGTR

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Dear Child of Mine

Dear Child of Mine shares an inspiring message with young readers and lets them know that they can be whatever they want to be in life. This is a love letter to all the children in the world, letting them know that anything is possible.

This inspiring children’s book shares a heartfelt message of love and empowerment to help children understand that there are many different professions, and they can choose any of them. And not just one either. This remarkable kids book shares an overwhelming message that will empower children and motivate them to think about what they want to be and shoot for the stars.

I enjoyed the exploration of different professions at the beginning of the book because I think this will inspire conversation with kids about different jobs that are out there, and what those jobs entail. After readers are shown a variety of different jobs, the story then asks what they will be, which offers another fantastic opportunity for parents and educators to stop and ask their child what their aspirations are.

The vibrant graphic art throughout the book is charming. There are several scenes throughout the book that also show a diverse cast of characters, ensuring that every reader will feel represented. Dear Child of Mine is a short but very encouraging picture book that shares a message of love and gets them thinking about what it is they want to be in life.

Pages: 31 | ASIN: B09T5RQYXC

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Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is a highly engaging children’s book that educates as well as it entertains. I’ve come across many alphabet books that use generic words, but Anna Finch adds yet another layer of education to her book with the focus on animals specifically from Australia. Some of the names of the animals were hard to pronounce but children will love seeing the exotic animals, especially in the beautiful artwork that illustrator A.P. Gil has created.

There are multiple levels of engagement to this wonderful children’s book. The book goes through the alphabet one letter at a time. With each letter we learn about an animal whose name starts with the letter, we learn a fact about that animal, and we learn sounds that it makes. Children will mostly love how the book invites them to find the animal on the page, and they’ll also enjoy making the different noises that accompany each animal. All of this together makes for an engaging lesson that any parent or teacher can use to ensure their kids are focused on the subject.

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is an entertaining and educational children’s book. This is a perfect fit for any kindergarten or preparatory class. I highly recommend this book to any parent who is struggling to keep their child focused as there is plenty of fun activities built into this book.

Pages: 58 | ASIN: B0BHLH35BM

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A Story That Needed To Be Retold

Tom Tracy Author Interview

Scoochie & Skiddles: Scoochie’s Adoption Story follows a little girl who teaches her friends about adoption and different kinds of families. What was the inspiration for your story?

The character Scoochie is inspired by my oldest daughter. The book, Scoochie’s Adoption Story, chronicles our family’s experience in adopting her. However, the book is inspired by an actual incident at the park when another girl inquired about my daughter’s family. The book represents how my daughter proudly explained her adoption experience to this other girl. I could not have been more proud of her and, in that moment, I knew it was a story that needed to be retold.

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

Thank you. Dustin has illustrated both of my books and has been a wonderful collaborator. He gets my vision, which makes the process easy. I offer a scene description and give him creative liberty to bring it to life. While Scoochie’s Adoption Story is primarily about the main character and her family, I wanted the images to represent a broad range of diverse families. Dustin and I paid close attention to the background characters in the park scenes to ensure this diversity. I am very pleased with how it all turned out.

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

Most importantly, I wanted to concept of family diversity to come through. Every family is so different, and I wanted to celebrate those differences. I also wanted to normalize the adoption process as one way a family can be formed. Finally, I wanted to showcase same-sex parents and create greater visibility and representation of gay parents.

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

There are several concepts on the storyboard. Since adopting our second child, my available time to write isn’t the same as it once was. At this point, I would project book #3 to come out sometime in 2023. Lifting up diverse families in children’s literature will continue to be the theme of my books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

From the author of Scoochie & Skiddles in Fun at Gramma’s – a #1 top reader voted book (Reedsy Discovery), comes the much anticipated next release in the Scoochie & Skiddles series.  Scoochie’s Adoption Story is a multiple award winning book, earning a Readers’ Favorite Five Stars award, a Purple Dragonfly Book Award, and a Firebird Book Award in three categories – 1st place in the Adoption category, 1st place in the LGBTQ+ Families category and 2nd place in the Parenting & Families category.

Scoochie was adopted by her two daddies through an open adoption. In Scoochie’s Adoption Story, Scoochie takes you on the journey of her and her daddies’ adoption experience. She tells of the many distinct processes related to adoption such as the “match” process between her birth mom and daddies, the hospital and post-hospital experience, and the adoption hearing that legalized her adoption. Most importantly, she expresses her respect and positivity for her birth mom and birth family, while exuding immense pride and endless love for her two daddies and soon to be adopted sister. While the book’s theme is Scoochie’s adoption, it honors and celebrates families of all types and structures. The story is an uplifting story about the bond family.

Narrated by the book’s main character, Scoochie’s Adoption Story is told in child-friendly language with adoption concepts presented in a manner that are easy for children to understand. It is a celebration of family, regardless of family composition or how a family has been created. Through text and illustration, the story represents a wide variety of families and sends a strong message of diversity and inclusion. A perfect reading book for all families and especially for children of LGBT parents, diverse families, and families touched by adoption.

Those who may enjoy the book include:
All families and all children
Parents looking for books on diversity
Birth parents
Adoptive parents
Adopted children
LGBT parents and LGBT allies
Diverse families / mixed race families
Adoption agencies / Adoption case workers
Adoption attorneys
Adoption facilitators
Individuals and couples considering adoption
Social Workers and Counselors
Teachers and Guidance Counselors
Child Protective Services / Family Preservation
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) advocates
For more information, visit us on the web at scoochieandskiddles(dot)com or email us at

The New Addition To Our Family

Tricia DellAnno Author Interview

No Dog in my Yard follows a young boy who wants a dog more than anything and does what he has to in order to prove to his parents he is ready for a pet. What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for No Dog in my Yard was my son, Jonathan. He begged and begged for a dog for ten years. He reminded us daily of dogs in every yard but his own. Though my husband and I love animals, with both of us working, our son in school, we enjoy traveling, etc., there never seemed to be an ideal time to get a pet and give it the time and attention it deserves. We hoped Jonathan would get his “dog fix” by playing with all the neighborhood dogs. It only made his desire to have one of his own even greater. We also repeatedly said no to a dog because Jonathan needed to take his responsibilities at home and school more seriously and prove he was ready to care for a pet. When the pandemic hit, I started to work from home, Jonathan was learning from home and doing well with his chores. Every excuse I had for not getting a dog went out the window. So, Millie is the new addition to our family. The transition from no dog to dog led me to write a second book – A Dog in my Yard.

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

I couldn’t agree more that the art is fantastic! Jim is an absolute pro with an impressive background. He worked at Pixar Studios on the movies Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, and The Ant Bully and went on to work at the Cartoon Network. Though No Dog in my Yard is Jim’s first children’s book, his experiences and talent truly brought the story to life. I gave Jim the story, pictures of all ten dogs, Jonathan, and a handful of adults, and the sketching began. His creativity, level of detail, and humor are apparent on every page of the book. Throughout the project, we found a really nice balance. Jim did what he does best, but he always asked my opinion and was open to suggestions. I knew it was important to him that I be completely happy with every illustration. With No Dog in my Yard my first book too, we learned a tremendous amount from each other and ultimately formed a great partnership and friendship.

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

What’s most important for me to share in No Dog in my Yard are important life lessons told in a comical way that any child, parent, or educator can relate to and enjoy.  I want readers to substitute a dog for anything children are asking for like video games, phones, toys, etc. The lessons for children include working hard for what they want, persevering, being responsible, making good decisions, and saving money they’ve earned. I want to share adorable characters and playful illustrations, so children laugh, learn, and want to read more.

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

My next book is A Dog in my Yard and will be available on November 6, 2022. The adventures of Jonathan, Millie, and more neighborhood dogs continue. Who knew having a puppy would turn our house upside down? So, the many discussions to re-home Millie and Jonathan’s plea to save her were real. I applied the same principles of laughter and learning and hope all readers will enjoy the next book in the series. And I’m happy to say that Jim was back for book #2 with more stunning illustrations!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Join Jonathan on a heartwarming and hilarious journey as he learns the importance of decision-making and working hard for what you want.

This playfully illustrated and comical story follows Jonathan and his nine furry friends around the neighborhood as they plan and scheme to get Jonathan a dog of his own. But it is more than a story about a boy wanting a dog. Told from Jonathan’s perspective, children, parents, and teachers alike will laugh aloud as Jonathan’s plans shift from relentless begging to taking initiative, setting goals, persevering through challenges, and proving he is responsible.

Empower Future Generations

Valerie Johnson Author Interview

1 2 3 Count with Me on Granddad’s Farm follows a family who visit the family farm for the day and learn about different activities that go on there. What was the inspiration for your story?

My passion and purpose is to inspire, teach, and empower future generations. This story was inspired by summers on my grandfather’s farm and pays tribute to the special bond between children and their grandfathers. The concept of the book is based on my work with young mathematicians in grades K-6 as an Elementary Mathematics Specialist (and former classroom teacher). And, I dedicated this book to my Aunt Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician and Hidden Figure, because she loved to count.

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

I want everyone to love math, so I’m writing math-themed children’s books to help ignite a love for math in all children.

The two important educational aspects included in this book—teach math and empower parents to support learning at home with tips, tools, and hands-on tasks. Parental involvement helps to increase student engagement and academic achievement. Parents can also help make learning less scary by practicing math at home. Learning to count is more than just memorizing and calling out numbers. The book’s back matter helps little ones develop (and reinforce) a strong foundation in counting and quantity by engaging in meaningful learning experiences (i.e. practicing the counting sequence, counting a collection, matching the number words with the objects being counted, exploring the idea of more or less, etc.) with visual supports.

The Discussion Starters, questions in the back of the book, help young readers comprehend and analyze the story for deeper meaning. The visual models (counting dots, fingers, animals, etc.) on the following pages help little ones to dive deeper into counting and reasoning mathematically.

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

Illustrating my picture book went through a lot of stages and took many months to complete.

First, I sent my manuscript to Cee Biscoe along with other background information so that she could start imagining how everything would look. Over the next several weeks, we collaborated on character development. Then, she drew pencil sketches of the characters and animals. Next, she planned what to show on each page of the story (to determine if there would be single or double-page spreads). Then, she created the thumbnail sketches, rough sketches, and full-size sketches. Revisions also occurred during that time. Once the page layouts (text placement and illustrations) were finalized, she painted the final artwork on large sheets of watercolor paper using gouache paint.

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

I love fractions and sweet potato pie. And, I’m using both to ignite a love of fractions with a heartwarming story about friendship, sharing, and grandparents — which was inspired by the classic book The Doorbell Rang. This picture book will introduce young readers to basic fraction concepts. I hope to have my next picture book available next year.

Author Links: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A fun, visually-engaging counting journey from 1 to 10 and more!

Welcome to our farm! It is a place to learn about farm life and animals on a farm, and to celebrate family, especially grandparents.

Children will love counting their way through Granddad’s farm. Pigs and chickens, cows and horses, apples, tomatoes, and plums-so many things to see and count on the farm. Follow an adventurous young girl as she spends the day with her grandfather helping with chores, riding the tractor, and enjoying a big family dinner to celebrate the farm’s bounty and the love of her family.

Learn to Count Build your little ones’ counting knowledge while reading together. Count up to 10. Count the farm animals, tractors, apples, flowers, and anything that can be counted. Read it again! Count down to 1.

Count to Learn Engage in meaningful math moments. Find and count the number of animals on each page, count how many animals there are all together, ask how many would be left if some were taken away, and talk about more and less.

Count in the Real World Help your little ones develop a love of numbers and math. Explore your home, neighborhood, and school. Count everyday objects forward up to any number and backward from any number.

A perfect book for little readers. Have fun counting from 1 to 10 and back again as you learn about farm life, farm animals, and family! Grab your copy of 1 2 3 Count with Me on Granddad’s Farm.

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