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Healthy For Both Body And Soul

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Scared to Swim follows a young child who is eager to learn how to swim but is fearful of the busy swimming pool. What was the inspiration for the idea behind Lillian’s character?

First of all, I must advertise that Finland is indeed a country with thousands of lakes. Much of the summertime is spent on the shores of the lakes and by the sea, and the use of swimming pools is active during the winter. For this reason, good swimming skills are essential for the safety of children.

There are, of course, other good reasons. Swimming is healthy for both body and soul. I learned to swim when I was very young. I immensely enjoyed the lakes and summer nature when I spent my childhood in a small rural village in Finnish Lake District. And diving was fun!

I was the oldest child in my family, so I also participated in teaching younger siblings to swim. I was a popular swimming teacher because I always kept my promise and never loosened my grip unless it was mutually agreed. The feeling of being in safe hands is most important when a child learns something new and challenging.

In indoor swimming pools, a child may be afraid of the hustle and bustle around them. Loud noises are unpleasant for many, too. In particular, shy and sensitive children suffer, and a pleasant thing can turn uncomfortable and scary. With this book, I wanted to help every real-life Lillian. Over the years, I’ve met many of them.

The Little Fears series gives young readers the tools needed to handle fear. What is a key tool shared in this book that will be built upon throughout your series?

Six books have already been published in the Little Fears series, and more are on the way. The fears they talk about are very different and of various sizes.

But, regardless of what the others say, every fear exists for the child. This unpleasant thing can cast a shadow on the child’s whole life.

The key tool that unites these Little Fears stories is a two-way solution. It involves a helpful adult who takes the child’s fear seriously and seeks a solution. It also includes the child’s opportunity and ability to express the concerns instead of drawing back and feeling left alone with the trouble.

Creating an atmosphere of trust, rather than downplaying grief, is important for the adults to remember. This change of attitude may take time, but it is worth working with. At its best, it can save children a lot of harm for the rest of their lives.

In many cases, the reactions of adults surprised me when I presented the Little Fears series at international book fairs, for example. I have met people who have come to seek advice for the parental challenges of their daily lives or asked me to write a new book about some of the fears connected to their families. I have also encountered those adults who burst into tears and said they would have needed a similar book when they were children. Their fears may have plagued them until the adult years.

What is a common fear young children have about swimming and how can parents help them overcome it?

Although children generally enjoy water games, the situation may change as the playing becomes a lesson in swimming. Performance pressures hamper a relaxed attitude towards learning a new skill. Children may compete to see who is the quickest to learn, the bravest in diving, or who swims fastest. A joyful hobby turns into a tough competition.

The children may also fear that they will be a disappointment to their parents or swimming instructors. The family may have traveled a long way to swim on the beach with high expectations. Or swimming course has been an expensive parental sacrifice that should result in some achievement. Failure can make a child feel utterly disappointed and give up the effort for good.

Children also have concerns about their safety. What if I sink under the surface and no one notices? What if I draw water into my lungs? What if no one hears me screaming for help? Fears like this are, in my opinion, the most serious because they are related to the child’s basic safety.

There are a few simple things to keep in mind for parents. Learning any new skill requires time, patience, and a safe environment. It is best to forget all about performance pressures and unnecessary requirements. The grown-ups must focus on making the children feel protected and happy to practice the new thing at their own pace.

What is the next book in the Little Fears series?

After the present six books in the Little Fears series, it’s time to introduce two new books later this year – both illustrated again by a very creative Catty Flores, who has an eye for the child’s view of the situations. Both stories, “Noise All Over” and “The Giant Legs,” talk about celebrations and crowds in separate ways.

In the first one, “Noise All Over,” the Dinosaur Rock Band concert for children turns out to be an unpleasant surprise for the little Liam. The loud music is painful to his sensitive ears, and the only solution is to escape! There are other noisy elements in the book as well, to make it possible to discuss this problem with children.

“The Giant Legs” may be a surprising name for a book about fears. It tells about Elliot, who doesn’t like family gatherings. At Grandpa’s party, he feels uncomfortable in the noisy group and escapes to the attic. His uncle finds a way to lure him back to the others. The crowd looks less scary when Elliot observes it while walking on high stilts! These old playthings, wooden legs, provide many fun moments for the entire party, and Elliot is no longer afraid to participate in the joint celebration.

Adults should remember that parties and crowds may look very different when viewed from a child’s gaze level – and sound different as a child listens to them.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

“Little Fears” is a book series about the various concerns that children can have. Sometimes, minor harms may grow into big worries if they are ignored. Fortunately, there are fun ways and gentle tools to handle such situations, often through play.

Lillian wants to take swimming lessons, like some of her friends.
However, it’s very noisy at the swimming pool, especially in the children’s pool, where things can get wild at times. It frightens Lillian and makes her back away from the pool.
“What if I sink to the bottom and no one notices?” Lillian says, worried.
Once Dad and Lillian start practicing together, she conquers her fear of swimming.

A Tribute To The Finnish Generations

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Raspberry Red follows a young girl as her family flies from a war-torn country and eventually makes it back home to start over again. What was the inspiration for to your story?

The subject of this book has matured in my mind since I was a small child. As the 100th anniversary of the independence of Finland approached, it seemed to be just the right time to write “Raspberry Red”, as it is inspired by drastic periods in the history of our country.

At the same time, the book can be fitted equally well for any country, at any time. The topics are sadly current even today. Recent news proves it painfully. I still remember my conversation with the Greek illustrator Georgia Stylou about the book. After reading the script, she felt connected to the story through the developments in her own country throughout the years.

“Raspberry Red” is also a tribute to the Finnish generations before me. Over the years, I have listened to the personal experiences of many people about the war, leaving home, and adaptation to demanding situations. There have been threats, danger, escaping in haste, and joys and sorrows experienced and shared.

In addition, as a child, I lived in Eastern Finland in an area where a lot of evacuees from Karelia had been placed. Families no longer had a home and familiar regions to return to after the war.

I will never forget the stories of these people. They were telling about everything they had experienced or what they had to leave behind them. The tears were plentiful, and the songs were full of longing. The hospitality was present, although there was little to offer. The new life gradually began.

Aino is a strong young girl that stays strong for her family during these difficult times. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The book includes some of my mother’s experiences with her father going to war and how she waited for him to return. As a child, my mother-in-law also had challenges keeping the family village shop running together with her mother during the war. The most dramatic moment of Aino in the story is encountering the foreign soldier. That had taken place in real life for a deceased lady when she was young. Her perseverance and survival after the war showed great courage and determination.

Aino, the girl in my story, had to face highly demanding situations at a young age. Everything in her life changed in a short time. I wanted to highlight the child’s vulnerability and sensitivity, but simultaneously her ability to adapt to the inevitable. Aino doesn’t lose hope of getting father back home.

Fortunately, she gets to talk about father with other people close to her. She shares her feelings and expectations with her friends, mother, and grandparents – except for one event; meeting the enemy soldier face to face. It was such an overwhelming experience that only the father’s return frees her to reveal what happened. She feels safe and confident going through the situation only with her own father. He has been a soldier, too, and can understand the event’s significance for all parties.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I find it extremely important to pass on the experiences of previous generations to younger people. We must try to learn something from what has happened in the past. Maybe this would prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

The themes of war and peace are, in my view, among the most important stories of all – though telling them requires a sensitive mind and a skilled hand.

In the twists and turns of this story, we encounter people of all ages whose lives have been shaken utterly. I want to encourage the reader to believe that even during difficulties, good things happen, too. People help each other, and also, in the most challenging situations, it is possible to choose a humane option.

Stories that connect real experiences and increase empathy are valuable. They help us better understand people in different situations.

What is one thing that you hope readers take away from Raspberry Red?

Before I can answer this question, here are a few words about my general motivations for writing several children’s books about conflicts and wars. As an author, I find it necessary that my audience is left with hope even after reading such books.

I want to consider the needs of children as a target group carefully. Their ability to understand is essential for how the story is told, and their feelings must be respected and protected. They need wise guidance in meeting the most significant challenges of their lives.

We often say in Finland: As long as there is life, there is hope. The English saying “hope is eternal” means roughly the same thing. I find this thought very encouraging. The idea of ​​keeping up hope to the very last moment is important. However, I want to attach another thing to it, overall respect for life. This attitude means a humane approach to other people’s lives, too, not just our own.

I want to believe that we can cherish humanity, even if life is challenging at times. I find it especially beautiful if a person respects the life of others, even if their own is under threat. It is probably the greatest gift you can give to another.

The foreign soldier in the “Raspberry Red” carried this warmth with him. He used the humanity of his heart in a most stressful situation and chose to save the life of the child of the enemy country, as his highest priority.

This message of love and respect is necessary for all ages, in all countries. I write about it in all my books, not just “Raspberry Red,” and plan to do it as long as possible.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Raspberry Red is a story about war’s breaking out and a family setting out on an evacuation journey, as seen through the eyes of a little girl. When they’re leaving, Aino meets a foreign soldier by her playhouse. The man lets her go. Only her rag doll’s raspberry red apron is left behind in the snow when Aino escapes.

Late one autumn, Aino’s father sets off on the road with the other village men. Little Aino doesn’t quite understand why. During the cold winter days, scary noises start to echo from the nearby forest.
The family is forced to leave their home, their own village shop, and Aino’s playhouse. They leave for the train station in such a hurry that Aino can hardly keep up with the others.
Near the playhouse, the eyes of the child and a foreign soldier meet. When Aino escapes, her rag doll’s raspberry red apron is left behind in the snow.

Begin Leading An Even Happier Life

Jennifer Decker Author Interview

Oliver and the Wishing Star follows a young boy who becomes a dog but finds that it’s not what he thought it would be and learns to appreciate his life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Growing up, we always had a lot of animals. I often thought to myself how animals have the good life, especially our dogs. As a former preschool teacher and having spent a couple decades working in Children’s Ministry, I found the topic frequently talked about amongst children. The thing is, everyone’s life has both the good and the bad, and we should be grateful for who we are and what we have. And that’s the inspiration behind my story.

I loved the art in this book. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Chrish Vindhy?

Working with Chrish Vindhy was a wonderful experience, and we’ve become good friends ever since. In the beginning, she asked me for my manuscript and what the breeds of the dogs in the story were, and within two weeks she got back to me with her sample illustrations, and I was smitten. She captured my vision perfectly. Except for the cover, I let Chrish have complete artistic freedom in creating the entire book in black and white sketches. With only a few changes, I approved them. After that she enhanced everything with color, and with a few minor color changes we were good to go, and I handed it over to my graphic designer, Tia Perkin, to work her magic. Good relationships are vital when creating. I could honestly say that Chrish was ideal to work with, and I look forward to working with her again in the future. And highly recommend her as an illustrator.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

I hope everyone who reads my book or listens to it is left feeling more grateful and appreciative of who they are and what they have—and begin leading an even happier life—and also shares what they’ve learned and experienced with others.

Do you have plans to write more children’s books featuring Oliver?

I certainly do! “Cooper’s Wish” is in the works. Where Oliver’s dog thinks that kids have the good life and wishes upon a star and becomes a boy. I’ve also started another as well. I didn’t plan for it to be a series, but my imagination is running wild regarding numerous story ideas.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

MOM’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER
FAMILY CHOICE AWARD WINNER
FIRST PLACE ROYAL DRAGONFLY BOOK AWARD WINNER
5-STAR READERS’ FAVORITE


AS SEEN ON – ABC 4 “GOOD THINGS UTAH”
KIRKUS REVIEWS MAGAZINE – MARCH 15 2022 ISSUE
STORY MONSTERS INK MAGAZINE – NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE


HAVE YOU EVER WISHED UPON A STAR? What did you wish for? In this unforgettable story, Oliver thinks dogs have the good life until one evening when he sees a falling star, makes a wish to become a dog…and that wish magically comes true! At first, he’s on Cloud 9, but soon things take an unexpected turn, and Oliver begins to miss the old life he once had. Will Oliver ever make it home, or is he destined to remain a dog forever?

This book is destined to become a CLASSIC and a FAVORITE your child will ask you to read over and over again! Filled with laugh out loud humor, and moments that will touch your heart. Sure to become a book you and your whole family will treasure and enjoy time and time again!

The Path To A Friend’s Heart

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Colin the Crab Finds a Treasure follows a crab who meets a hurt pearl oyster and while helping her heal realizes the value of friendship. What was the inspiration for your story?

After I had written the first book – The Caring Crab – in this series, I couldn’t just leave the characters. They had grown so strong in my mind that they continued their lives almost independently.

I am happy to pass on my real-life experiences through the life circle of Colin the Crab. The diverse character gallery offers a fruitful ground to explore very human relationships, weaknesses, and strengths.

I have chosen two main themes for this book: different perceptions of essential things in life and trust as a prerequisite for friendship.

I found it essential to show that Colin the Crab lived a rich life, although it was seemingly modest. Children get to compare the choices various characters value in life. I hope they realize the importance of friendship by the end of the story, too!

I also wanted to show that it is better to be genuinely yourself than pretend to be something else. When Colin gets lost on this path, the consequences are harmful. Fortunately, Colin learns from his mistakes. Boasting is pointless, and not everyone needs to build muscle at the gym. The path to a friend’s heart goes along other routes.

If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

Funny coincidence that you ask this! I recently started to consider writing separate books or series about Colin the Crab’s friends.

There are many delicious characters in the series about whom I could easily write separate books or an entire spin-off series. I could look at the world through the eyes of Eddie the Eel, Stella the Starfish, or Ms. Monkfish, for example. Also, the fast-paced life of Norma the Newt’s family with many lively children would be a perfect setting for new adventures. Each spin-off would indeed become interesting in different ways.

With Eddie, who is a technology freak, we would undoubtedly embark on the wildest adventures. He is so passionate about acquiring the fastest, most comprehensive, and most expensive technology and solving everyday problems with them.

The sophisticated and vain Stella would undoubtedly spend most of her efforts to fulfill her desires. That kind of character simply believes herself to be the center of the world. Successes and failures with this delusion would give rise to many juicy conflicts.

There would undoubtedly be many interesting things to tell about old Ms. Monkfish’s past and memories. Her adaptation to modern life and various friends also offers exciting opportunities for stories. And needless to say, Norma the Newt’s bunch of children – with its hustle and bustle – is certainly enough to fill many books.

Thinking about this answer inspires me to consider these spin-off stories seriously. Thanks for that, and let’s get back to it later.

What are your favorite blogs or websites for writers?

I don’t know if I dare to admit that I hardly follow any authors’ blogs or web pages. I am writing all the time myself and work with my own publishing company, so I don’t have too much time and energy for that.

There are some literary communities to which I belong. e.g., The Association of Finnish Nonfiction Writers and Finnish Youth Writers Association. I follow their communication and activities – and participate occasionally. I used to belong to IBBY Finland as a board member and have been the chairman of the board for the Topelius Society of Finland, which recently organized a national poem competition for young writers.

I know this isn’t exactly an answer to your question, but I rather write and act myself instead of reading how others do that. Besides, I have this hybrid role of being a publisher as well. In that respect, as a writer, I am perhaps in a different situation than the others.

I personally have direct contacts with all my target groups – including international publishers, illustrators, and translators. Hopefully, I’ll find more new ways to be in contact with as many readers internationally as possible. Enough goals for a small author/publisher and enough reasons to develop my blogs and websites!

What books did you grow up reading?

I grew up with a library of books, not my own, but the village library across the road. I moved between the shelves there from one age group and theme to another.

I went to the library every evening it was open and borrowed loads of books. I quickly moved from fairy tales and picture books to international favorites in children’s literature. My favorites were all the adventures like The Famous Five and Five Find-Outers by Enid Blyton and many more. Naturally, the romantic books about Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery had to be read later. I also read all the possible Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books to keep the balance.

The most important books of my childhood and youth also included various non-fiction books. I was a big consumer of them. As schoolbooks sparked my interest in some topics, I got excited to learn more details from the library’s book collections.

In my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, it was impossible to use the Internet to search for information, but a library was a good source. Of course, the amount of information available has multiplied, but it is essential that the data is structured and there is peace in absorbing it. Books are a great tool in that sense. That’s the reason why I would love to retain something of that explorer vibe that I enjoyed in my childhood library.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Colin the Crab has many special friends at his home in the river bay. It’s hard to imagine anyone more beautiful than Sally the Starfish or more successful than Eddie the Eel. Ms. Catfish’s antiques are very impressive, and the big newt family is always busy and full of energy.
Just as Colin starts to wonder if his own life is a bit too ordinary, a tidal wave tosses Priscilla the Pearl Oyster into his backyard. Colin’s new friend has something very valuable—something that many others want, including the deceitful Larry the Lobster.

Remember How We Felt When We Were Little

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Do You See Me at Home follows a small child that struggles with big feelings and needs the adults in their life to comfort and reassure them things will be ok. What was the inspiration for your story?

This book is one of three belonging to “Do You See Me? Series.” I wrote the books because I believe my experiences as a mother of three can be helpful for young families.

I have always been sensitive to observing everyday situations between young children and their parents. I often notice that adults somehow look past the children even when a little attention is needed.

It is often a matter of small things that grow into big problems unless they are dealt with compassion right away. In many situations, we can choose to behave kindly and smoothly to make everyone do better. I don’t mean that we should accept all requests or whims of the child. On the contrary, we must help children find their place and limits safely and learn to trust that they receive support when needed.

I want to remind the reading adults that you have to listen to your child, even in the middle of a rush. Creating a sense of security is one of the most important things. It is also easier for the child to face strange and scary things in such an atmosphere.

Children must make their voices heard, even when they cannot express themselves adequately. An observant adult can sense what is going on, even without words. We have to empathize and remember how we felt when we were little.

How do you use social media as an author?

I admit that I am a beginner as a social media user. Our publishing company, Wickwick, has a lot of online activity in marketing and sales. For my part, I connect with all my stakeholders by participating in producing the publishing company’s material.

In addition, I have both the Tuula Pere Author and the personal Tuula Pere Facebook pages. My friends and readers there include very different people interested in children’s literature — readers, writers, illustrators, publishers, and many of my dear old supporters. I also use LinkedIn to talk about books and writing internationally. I try to find a suitable way to meet people on each channel. They are different depending on the media and have different expectations.

I’m also quite active in the Publishers without Borders group, an engaging Facebook community born during the pandemic. It’s incredible how fast such networks can spread! There are about 4,500 people from the book industry in this community, and I have already met some at the international book fairs and publishing fellowship programs.

And I recommend my Warm Values Blog to you! I write there on a more general level on topics that I consider essential and exciting – such as Author’s Voice, Parenthood, Society, and Inspiration. My purpose is to get my readers to ponder various societal themes with an empathetic approach. I may reflect on recent events around us, or go back in history, describe observations from my travels, and thoughts behind my books.

In Warm Values Blog, I sometimes open my personal experiences of family life, being a mother and child, or layered memories of my family’s many generations. – My modest and ordinary grandparents would have been amazed reading about how much they have influenced my thinking and writing!

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

When I answer questions like this, I often choose some past writer. My companion would now be Mika Waltari (1908¬–1979), a versatile Finnish writer who was a professional writer for almost every kind of literary assignment. In addition to the smooth pen, he had a broad knowledge base and studies that gave depth to his social reflections.

He was so productive and successful that many people in the book industry and literature field envied him. He seemed to be capable of writing anything and adapting his gifts to very different uses and audiences. He wrote great historical novels, film scripts, crime novels, plays, essays, poems, and rhymed texts for newspaper comics. And was well-paid, too!

I chose to spend my imaginary day with Waltari, as I am a great admirer of his most famous novel worldwide, The Egyptian. But as a writer of many travel stories, he would undoubtedly be an expert as a traveling companion, preferably on a train.

I traveled alone by train around Europe for a month at a young age. I made a lot of observations about different regions, people and their habits and languages, and history, too. There was a lot for a young traveler to ponder and melt together. Young Waltari did the same thing and wrote a novel about that. No doubt, we would have a lot to discuss about our findings on the way – at least for one day together!

Have you ever traveled as research for your book?

I enjoy traveling a lot because it helps me understand life more broadly. The goal of my travels is simply to see and experience, perhaps learn something new and connect it to my previous experiences and knowledge. All this belongs to refining one’s personality.

As I walk around and explore things and meet people, I get new ideas, and old ones develop further. Everything gathers deep in my mind, where it matures – hopefully even into a story worth telling others. I guess I don’t travel to collect material but gain life experience and clarify and refresh my thinking.

In my children’s books, the stories travel around the world. In this way, I want to connect children across all borders – visible or invisible. The ingredients in these stories come from somewhere deeper than my travels. They come from the journeys my brain and heart have made.

But who knows if the more concrete “mental souvenirs” from my journeys could later be used in books for adults? The caches of my memory are already quite packed at this age.

So far, I’ve not written much for adults – mainly non-fiction. But I have published one collection of my short stories for adults in Finnish. And in some of them, I have put a few extraordinary situations and events from my travels abroad.

Maybe it’s soon time to start writing about this lifelong journey for adults. But it takes a new kind of courage!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

What should you do when your playing time is cut short or news reports are scary? What if no one has time to listen to you when you come home?
Many ordinary situations can be difficult for young people, and that’s when you need a grown-up’s support. With a warm heart and playful mind, families can fin

A Fun, Entertaining Book with a Positive Role-Model

Once Upon a Dance Author Interview

Dance Stance, Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers teaches readers, children, and adults, how to improve their posture with tips from an actual ballerina. Why was this an important book to write?

We’re making the books I wished for as a dance teacher and mom. I loved watching things click for my daughter when she’d have a new teacher describe things differently, so giving kids more ways to think about technique as well as a fun, entertaining book with a positive role-model was important. As a teacher with decades’ experience teaching all ages, these highlight some of the most effective descriptions that have helped my students. Weaved in are helpful lessons and tips from a ballerina that we wanted to share.

I love Prisilla the cat, where did the idea to include her come from?

​My illustrator added the kitty cat sidekick – it makes the book so special. We actually did a social media vote for the kitty’s name and got many great ideas—in the final draft, the cat’s name is Ballerina Kittina.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The first book I wrote for this age group was actually all about falling, but I went back and created Dance Stance, thinking that was a better starting point. So Falling into Dance is next up, and then we want to deep dive into turning after that.

One of the messages from Dance Stance is that ballet doesn’t have to be life-consuming. I quit cold turkey when I was fourteen because I didn’t know how to take just a few classes – it felt like it had to be all (40 hours a week) or nothing, and I’ve talked to so many people who had similar experiences, some who returned to dance years later wishing they never stopped.

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

Eka and the Elephants arrives in a few weeks. It’s part of the Dance-It-Out! series for kids ages 4-7.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Aspiring dancers adore the clever mix of wit, wisdom, anecdotes, and how-to instruction from a professional ballerina. Throughout the award-winning debut of ballet inspiration, young readers explore posture while standing, on tiptoes, and on one leg. A tutu-wearing kitty sidekick joins Ballerina Konora and friends, adding humor and lighthearted encouragement.
Brought to you by the mother-daugther team of Once Upon a Dance, with over 20 awards for their Dance-It-Out! and Dancing Shapes series for younger audiences. Dance Stance debuts their trilogy for kids ages 8+.

Oliver and the Wishing Star

Oliver and the Wishing Star follows a young boy who struggles with having so many responsibilities and wants to live free, like his pet dog. When a star streaks across the sky he quickly makes a wish to become a dog. When his wish comes true he realizes that being a dog is not at all what he thought it would be. Will Oliver get back to being a boy again?

Jennifer Decker has created a charming children’s book that teaches young readers to appreciate what they have through a whimsical story that many kids will be able to relate to. The story starts with Oliver’s mother telling him what to do, which I’m sure every child can relate to. Things quickly take a fantastic turn when Oliver is turned into a cute grey pup and he heads out into the night.

I really enjoyed how emotive all the characters were in this story charismatic, which makes it easy for young readers to watch the story unfold as parents read aloud to them. Every illustration is bright and sharp, with shading that makes the illustrations look 3D sometimes. With simple language and changes in font throughout, this is a story that will keep early readers engaged.

Oliver and the Wishing Star is an imaginative picture book that uses humor and heart to tell a fun story with an important message. Young readers will learn to appreciate who they are, as well as appreciate their family and home. This is a fantastic bedtime story as the magic happens right when Oliver hits the bed.

Pages: 39 | ASIN: B09DWHQBLD

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Scared to Swim (Little Fears)

Lillian is taking a bath one day and decides that it would be fun to learn how to swim. Her father agrees and quickly signs her up for swimming lessons. But that night Lillian feels that she may have been too hasty in her decision and starts to worry. Sure enough, when she is in class she is frightened by the noise and wild activity in the class. How will Lillian ever learn to swim?

Scared to Swim is an educational children’s book that shows young readers how to conquer their fear, specifically their fear of swimming. Many parents, myself included, think that sending their child off to swim lessons solves their swimming problem. But for some kids all the activity of a swim class can make them nervous. Author Tuula Pere illustrates this point perfectly in her children’s book.

I loved the art in the book as it made Lillian’s emotions throughout the story very plain. The dramatic enhancement of emotion on the characters make for some funny scenes, like when Lillian says she wants to learn how to swim. I literally laughed out loud when I saw her waving her arms around as if she was swimming.

This bright kids book sends a powerful message to young readers that if they trust in their parents, and give it a good try, together they can accomplish anything. I thought this book was going to show the parent encouraging their child to take the class. I was delighted to see that the parent is the one that helps their child learn a new skill and gain confidence in themselves. This shows young readers that relying on family can be powerful.

Scared to Swim is about so much more than swimming, and all of these ideas are shared in an easy to understand and beautifully illustrated picture book. This is a fantastic book to read multiple times as I’m sure that every time a child reads it they will pick up a new subtle but important lesson.

Pages: 34 | ISBN: 9523254510

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