Blog Archives

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

Buy Now From Amazon

Just Janey’s Way

Janey has been a little stubborn lately, always wanting things done her way. After spending some time out in the garden with the class, and bossing her friends around, she finds herself all alone because no one wants to work with her. Will Janey find a way to work with others?

Just Janey’s Way shows how children that are stubborn may seem like bullies, but they are really just afraid and having control makes them feel safe. Once this issue is out in the open this book does a fantastic job of showing kids how to handle the situation. Opening up and talking about things is a critical step for Janey, and helps her reconnect with her friends. I thought this was a great lesson to teach to young children, because a lot of times children bottle up their emotions, and this book shows them that it’s okay to let others know your worries.

There is a wonderfully diverse cast of characters in this book that carry over from book one. I was also happy to see that Ben’s Fidget ball makes another appearance as this establishes a character trait throughout the series and also shows readers that people deal with their emotions in different ways. I think that this is really what this book, and book one in the Janey Series, was about; handling emotions.

Yet another fantastic and educational entry in The Janey Series. This is a vibrant picture book that is sure to keep kids engaged while teaching them a valuable life lesson. I highly recommend this children’s book. It would be great for gifting and is an exceptional kids book to add to any young child’s library.

Pages: 30 | ISBN: 1922670553

Buy Now From Amazon

The Swishing Shower

Young Sam has a difficult time transitioning from taking a bath to taking a shower. He does not like when the water gets into his eyes while he bathes. Good thing Sam has his big brother Niles to help lead the way and show him how to enjoy taking a shower. Niles knows just what to do and all he needs is his old umbrella and a little help from his mom.

In this sweet story poor Sam is having a hard time getting used to taking showers and wonders why he can’t take a bath in the tub like he used to. Thankfully he has Niles, his older brother, who experienced the same issue when he was getting older. Taking on his big brother role he shows Sam a different way of going about taking a shower and more importantly shows that he is there to care for and protect Sam.

This cute picture book shows the importance of family, teamwork, and ingenuity in writing this story. It shows young readers that having strong family values is important and to have trust and rely on the people we love. Niles found common ground with Sam and made sure to keep him safe, supported and understood to aid in his growth along with their mother. Young readers will enjoy this story and the whimsical illustrations by Catty Flores.

I enjoyed the life lesson shared in this story because I found it unique. I have never come across a children’s book that tackles this topic. It’s a challenge many parents face and this book provides a great story that will help children make the transition. The Swishing Shower tells an adorable tale that’s the perfect vehicle for an important life lesson.

Pages: 34 | ISBN: 952325457X

Buy Now From Amazon

Empower Teachers and Parents

Ortal Green Author Interview

Think Unique introduces parents and educators to the idea of teaching creative thinking as a necessary life skill to help prepare them for the future world. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I am a Design Thinker who studied Computer Science and worked at the forefront of technology for many years. My work experience in the Hi-Tech industry is diverse. I worked for large companies such as IBM research lab, creating algorithms for future technology; I also worked for different start-ups that developed technology that disrupted the market. This knowledge and experience helped me see that with the rapid advancement in technology and the development of machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation, the type of jobs we humans perform are changing. Computers now do many tasks that we used to do in the past, and new jobs are popping up daily. Who could have imagined, ten years back, that an e-sport couch would be a profession, an uber-driver, or a social media influencer?

Looking at where our world is heading, two things were obvious to me –

We don’t know what job types will be there in 10-15 years. Therefore, many children in primary school today would work in jobs that haven’t been invented yet.

As we work alongside computers more, we must develop our superhuman skills. The skills that are unique to us and computers can’t replace. These skills, to name a few, are creative thinking, problem-solving, and an innovative mindset.

Consequently, to succeed in the 21st century (in whatever path you choose and whatever career children will decide to pursue), children today must develop their creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

As a mother of three children, I felt the need to do everything I could to set up mine and other children, from around the globe, for success.

One of the ways for me to do so is to empower teachers and parents to help their students and children develop their thinking capabilities and become excellent problem solvers.

Therefore, I wrote the book “Think Unique” to guide educators on how they can create an environment that develops these crucial skills in their classrooms.

How much research did you undertake for this book and how much time did it take to put it all together?

I wrote “Think Unique” after many years of following my passion. I have spent many years exploring, researching and learning Design Thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving.

As part of my desire to help others develop these skills, I have worked with many adults, educators and children, teaching them Design Thinking to develop their innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

I have spent many years in classrooms, working alongside teachers and teaching children Design Thinking. For many years, I have been training teachers on Design Thinking as a framework for teaching and learning.

These years of going on my journey and mentoring and teaching others how to develop their thinking capabilities have helped me develop a deep understanding and knowledge of this topic.

This journey led to the birth of “Think Unique”.

What is one thing about education that you think is misrepresented in the media?

There are many conversations about the need to change our education system. These types of discussions have been going on for years now. Many people talk about our outdated education system and the need for politicians and bureaucrats to re-design our education system to suit the needs of the 21st century.

While today, many agree that the current system is not serving our children, we can’t afford to wait for governments to change this system.

And there is no need to wait for policymakers to slowly change existing policies and drive a top-down transformation of this massive education system. In fact, there is no time to waste: our children need a different kind of education now.

What is misrepresented in the media is the idea that this transformation needs to happen from the top down. The idea that governments and bureaucrats are the ones who need to lead the required changes to provide our children with the learning environment they need to thrive.

In reality, re-designing and enhancing our education system can and needs to start with the teachers. Teachers have the power to bring their classrooms to the forefront of education and provide their students with the learning experience they need.

They can deliver their curriculum differently. Educators can choose to use a framework for teaching and learning that provides our children with the learning environment they need.

Teachers have this power. They have more autonomy than they think. They have more choices than they might believe. Even within the many constraints of our education system, educators have the power to teach differently.

And this is what I do. I empower teachers to amplify their impact and create an innovative classroom learning environment.

I show them how they can deliver the curriculum they need to adhere to in a meaningful and authentic way.

I guide them on how they can facilitate learning that empowers children to become excellent problem solvers and change makers.

What is one thing that you hope reader take away from Think Unique?

I wrote “Think Unique” to empower readers to become innovative problem solvers. Therefore, I hope that “Think Unique” readers will learn from my book that creative thinking is a skill anyone can develop and will follow the path I provided them to develop their innovative thinking.

Through their “Think Unique” journey, I hope they will become excellent problem solvers and help others develop their unique thinking.

As per research performed by Dr George Land and Dr Beth Jarman, we are all born creative geniuses, but most of us lose this skill as we grow up and go through our education system. However, the good news is that we can develop this skill and become creative geniuses again.

I wrote “Think Unique” in a way that empowers readers to become creative geniuses again.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Do you wish you could do something unique with your curriculum?
Do you want to inspire your students and help them experiment and think without boundaries, but aren’t sure where to start?
If you want to create a unique and fantastic environment for your students, Think Unique is for you.

Creativity and innovative thinking are too often seen as not essential or icing on the cake. That’s simply not true! Creativity is a way of thinking and processing information. It is a way to expand your student’s thinking capabilities and develop their love of learning.
Moreover, turning your classroom into an innovative environment means creating an exciting and fun learning space. And we all know that children learn best when they are having fun.
Creating the right learning environment for your students is important. With Think Unique, you can take your classroom to the next level and turn it into the most creative and inspiring learning community ever!
Think Unique combines the creative thinking and innovation process that drive start-ups and organisations’ success with the principles of Project-Based Learning. By adopting this approach, you bring the methodologies used by the best innovators and thought leaders of our time to your classroom.
With this book, you will:

Develop your students’ 21st-century skills
Provide them with a voice
Build up their confidence as excellent problem solvers
Open their world to infinite possibilities!
Think Unique provides you with an innovative framework you can use for any subject, including STEM, Math & Literacy.
It is your step-by-step guide to making learning more engaging, more relevant, and more creative. You will find strategies that you can put into practice right away. You’ll learn how to inspire your students, plan engaging lessons, develop your students’ 21st-century skills, and create your most unique curriculum ever.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just getting started, Think Unique will help you develop a creative curriculum for your students and put it into action.

Tegan Finds Her Tribe

Tegan is a charming and unique cat who has big dreams. But those dreams are dashed when she’s abandoned in the woods. She survives one terrible night and decides to take it upon herself to seek safety and a new home. What she finds instead is a band of friends that make her feel better and let her be who she is.

Tegan Finds Her Tribe is a heartwarming and uplifting children’s book that teaches young readers to persevere in the face of adversity, and that a home is really a place where people accept you for who you are, not just a place. Throughout the story Tegan is wonderfully emotive, ensuring that readers can see her emotion in every situation, which speaks to the fantastic illustrations throughout the story. Tegan’s nose looks like a little balloon and was one thing I looked forward to in every scene. This picture book is filled with beautiful watercolor art that is vibrant, has depth and reminded me of the artwork in The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

The story starts off with Tegan being abandoned, which is hard to see, but the story then takes readers on an inspiring adventure that is filled with lots of creative and cute imagery. I loved the scene where Tegan lists all the animals she heard in the woods. They were all so cute. Tegan’s imagination is also a source of inspiration for her and provides her with the motivation she needs to keep going. I really enjoyed this idea and I think it makes this book unique because there are not many kids books that show kids how to find inspiration from within. It’s usually an external force that motivates the character. In this book, Tegan motivates herself to find something better, imagines what that could be, and then goes out to find it.

Author Melinda Booth has created an inspirational children’s book that takes young readers on poignant journey to find a place where an abandoned cat can feel like herself. This is the perfect book for parents and teachers to educate kids on acceptance and empathy and show them how to find the strength from within to overcome obstacles.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B0B57ZH86Z

Buy Now From Amazon

When She Finally Took Flight

Alisa Wagner Author Interview

Gaining Her Strength follows a butterfly who learns that strength is more than just physical abilities, that everyone has different areas of strength to use. How did you come up with this idea and develop it into a story?

The first book in the series is about Laia’s birthmark. Laia, the Butterfly Princess, has a flame-like birth mark on her lavender wing. Her parents, King Papa and Queen Mama, were fearful that Swift Swallow would see her red birthmark and be tempted to gobble her up. So they pleaded with Laia to keep her wings shut tight. So for the first part of her life, Laia crawled along in the shadows, watching as all the other butterflies enjoyed flying in the meadow. Finally, one day, she decided that she did not want to hide in the forest anymore. She opened her wings and discovered that she rather liked her birthmark. When she finally took flight, Swift Swallow did not pursue her, for she was too quick for him. I, Alisa, have a red, flame-like birthmark on my right hand and arm. I used to be embarrassed by it, but I finally decided to see it in a different light. I realized that I, in fact, liked my birthmark because it made me unique. Once I wrote the story, I found out that my illustrator, Albert Morales, also has a dark birthmark on his right hand. It is interesting that the tools we use as creative people (our hands) have both been beautiful marked.

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

Albert Morales normally draws more masculine characters for comic books, like Wolverine, Spiderman, Venom, Fantastic Four, etc. However, we have known each other since we were kids, so I asked him if he could draw butterflies. Albert is an excellent artist who is always challenging his skills. He has illustrated numerous books for me, and he breathes life to my imagination with his art. I honestly think he can draw anything.

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

The first two books of the Butterfly Princess Series, Spreading Her Wings and Finding Her Friends, tackle topics on body differences, accepting others, and embracing how God designed each of us. In the third book, I wanted to show how being smart, innovative and fearless can be just as or even more powerful than physical strength. My hope is to illustrate to children that they can overcome great obstacles by working with others and thinking outside the box.

Will there be another book with Laia the Butterfly Princess, and if so, when will it be available?

Yes, I am writing the next one, Freeing Her Crown, which is slated for Winter/Spring 2023.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

The tale of Laia, the Butterfly Princess, is a body image parable for children inspiring them to appreciate the uniqueness of their design. Laia has overcome many obstacles, but now she wants to explore the world around her. As she soars into adventure, she runs into trouble when an angry alligator frustrates her plan to cross the river. Although Laia is small and not so strong, she faces her fears to help a new friend, and she gains an inner strength of compassion, smarts and grit.

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.
%d bloggers like this: