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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 hello@scoochieandskiddles.com

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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The Magical Bag for a Plastic-Free Earth

Have you ever noticed how much waste we create? How much just one person can create in a single day? The Magical Bag for a Plastic Free Earth, written and illustrated by Pranamee Nath, follows a young girl named Ollie who loves animals and comes to realize the answers to those questions. Ollie goes for a visit at her Uncle John’s house where the main attraction is the beach. When the beach is closed her cousin Tanya takes her to enjoy the day at a fair where there is a variety of delicious foods and treats to indulge in. Tanya has a magic bag that lets her carry alternative containers that allow her to live waste and single-use plastic free. Ollie doesn’t see the importance of these items until she is confronted with why the beach was closed in the first place.

The message of doing our part in keeping our planet free of single-use plastic was done in such an impactful way by the author’s emotionally evocative writing skills. I enjoyed that the author also gives readers examples along the way that show how to make small changes when we are going about our everyday lives. These changes can make a huge difference and are easy to implement. I felt like I was being educated on every page rather than preached to or being shamed for my lack of action. This enlightening children’s book is a gentle guide that illuminates the steps that are necessary and easy to take. Ollie realizes how her actions throughout the day have contributed to a destructive situation for us, the world we live in, and the animals she loves. I felt her shame and sadness all at once and again that speaks to the author’s fantastic writing.

The Magical Bag for a Plastic-free Earth is an educational picture book that is a wonderful resource parents can use to introduce environmental issues and sustainability to young readers. This informative book will help parents and teachers start a conversation about the environment in a way that young kids will easily understand.

Pages: 40 | ASIN: B0BCSMD4ZF

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Ellie Visits the Dentist

Ellie loves everything sweet, from ice cream to cookies. Her mother tries her best to have her eat a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables and go easy on the sweets. Ellie goes to the dentist for a routine cleaning and discovers that she has two cavities. Scared that she has to come back to the dentist to fix the sugar bugs, Ellie starts to get nervous. After an amazing visit with the dentist to fix her cavities Ellie realizes that even though her experience wasn’t scary, she must eat a balanced diet and go easy on the sweets to avoid getting cavities.

Ellie Visits the Dentist is a captivating children’s book that will help young readers feel better about going to the dentist. Author Katie Specht teaches children that it is okay to eat sweets, but in moderation. I appreciated that she is honest with her audience but approaches this experience in a sensitive and inviting manner. Going to the dentist can be a daunting experience even for adults, but after reading about Ellie’s experience even I wanted to go to the dentist!

The illustrations throughout this educational kids book are colorful and vivid and offers readers plenty of eye-candy to look at while their parents read the story to them. Each character is expressive and their emotions are easy to identify, making this a perfect book to read to young children who are still learning to identify emotions. This is also a great book for elementary students who are starting to read on their own as the language used throughout the book is easy to understand.

With the support of Ellie’s mother and the dentist, Ellie had a wonderful experience. Ellie Visits the Dentist will inspire children to eat their fruits and vegetables to avoid getting cavities.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B0B5M8FDVQ

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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.

Sharing Is the New Cool

Morgan is about to start his first day of kindergarten. As Morgan and his mom head out for school readers start to learn that there is something very cool about Morgan. He loves to share! Morgan encounters various situations throughout his day that show how kindness and sharing are two of the coolest qualities a kid can posses. Morgan is certainly worthy of the title printed on his backpack at the beginning of the story, ‘King of Cool’.

Beautifully illustrated pages, a cool little protagonist, and a heartfelt message all come together to create a fantastic children’s book that kindergarten and first grade readers will adore. The art throughout the book is bright and sharp and captures the emotion of each scene. There is plenty going on in the background of the scenes that will keep readers coming back looking for things they missed the first time. My favorite inconspicuous detail in the story was the ‘Crann’s Pizza’ shop.

There are a lot of emotional details in all the characters faces throughout this vivid picture book. This helps young children understand the emotion of each scene as their parents read the story to them. Parents looking for a book that promotes diversity will love Jacqueline Crann’s kids book as the entire kindergarten class is filled with diverse children. Kids will learn about a variety of things that are cool, like eating vegetables and reading books as well as sharing.

Author Jacqueline Crann has created a marvelous children’s book with a charismatic protagonist. Sharing Is the New Cool is a delightful picture book makes its point in the most charming way possible. Young readers will surely come back to this book again and again.

Pages: 29 | ASIN: B0B1C6BCT6

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