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The Best Interests Of The Children

Holly Marlow Author Interview

Room in the Nest follows a swan husband and wife who open up their nest and hearts to all the bird children in need for as long as necessary. What was the inspiration for your story?

I adopted my son a few years ago, and we stay in touch with his lovely foster carers. We’ve seen several children come into their care, some of whom have been reunited with their birth families, some of whom have been moved into kinship placements. My son understands that we adopted him, so he started to ask questions about why his foster siblings and other children looked after by his foster carers ended up in different sorts of families.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

The moral is that children need to be kept safe, and the most important theme throughout the story is that all of the adults pictured have the best interests of the children at heart. The social worker character, Caring Goose, seeks advice from the Wise Owl, who makes suggestions to ensure that lots of options are considered before a child is removed from their family. The Wise Owl also ensures that the children are placed with family members when possible, or that a suitable adoptive family is found, but there are recurrent reminders throughout the book that the foster carers are there to help any children who need to be loved and looked after throughout these periods of uncertainty.

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

I wanted to help normalise all of these different family structures and help children to understand the basics of foster care, in an accessible way.

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

My next story is created to help children to understand that making a few bad choices doesn’t make them a bad person, to try to help children who find themselves labelled as the “bad kid” at school, to see that they are not intrinsically “bad” and they can make kind choices. I am working on the illustrations now, and plan to publish it this Winter.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

From the author of award-winning children’s story book, Delly Duck: Why A Little Chick Couldn’t Stay With His Birth Mother and other adoption and fostering children’s stories, comes a heartwarming story featuring a mixture of familiar and new characters.

Mr and Mrs Swan build a big nest, so that they have plenty of room to help anyone who needs them. Teach children about different kinds of foster care, with this touching tale of fostering placements leading to kinship care, reunification, adoption and long term foster care. This inclusive story can be used as a therapeutic tool to help care-experienced children to process their experiences, or as an effective teaching aid to normalise and explain foster care and other family structures to all children.

The Fox’s Tower

The Fox’s Tower tells the story of one sly fox who thinks he knows better than everyone else. Francis, despite prior trouble, still wants to be the best at something. His latest plan is to build the tallest building in the city. His plan starts out well, following all the rules and listening to the experts, but quickly his desire for fame takes over, and his smart decision-making falls to the side. Instead of making his dreams come true, he returns to his sneaky ways and ends up with a pile of regrets.

Tuula Pere has written an entertaining cautionary story for children. This children’s book helps children understand that having big dreams is ok, but you must still follow the rules and do the right thing to achieve them. It also helps children understand that some dreams are unrealistic and cannot be done physically. For example, Fox’s tower was a big dream but could not be built safely or structurally. It is a hard lesson for children to learn that being told something can not be done is not an attack on them but just a fact of life. Francis learns this the hard way so that children can learn from his mistakes.

Another lesson in this beautiful picture book is that of forgiveness and second chances. The town council was worried about Francis and his past misdeeds, but they were willing to give him another opportunity to do the right thing. Of course, they were all cautious about helping Francis, but in the end, they did give him a chance and show that bad decisions do not mean someone is unworthy.

The Fox’s Tower is a beautifully written children’s book sharing life lessons with children and making them laugh along the way. This is a wonderful book for younger elementary children to learn about cause and effect and about how everyone deserves a second chance.

Pages: 44 | ISBN : 9523578375

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Chocolate Space Bunnies

A long time ago, there lived cute little bunnies called Fonduliens who lived on a chocolate planet far away. Everything was covered in chocolate, but it was all melting. Three courageous bunnies head out on a quest to find a new home. They find the perfect place to live on a planet called Earth. But no one there has ever heard of chocolate. Will the Fonduliens be able to convince the earthlings to let them live there?

This is a wildly creative and fun book that sets up a great backstory before sending the characters on an entertaining quest to save their people. I was impressed with how much was packed into this children’s book. We learn about the Fonduliens, about their planet, we’re taken on an adventure through space, and then we land on Earth, where the Fonduliens encounter humans who are afraid of them.

There is so much in this kid’s book to dive into and discuss with children. Like the bunny’s planet melting, needing to find a new home, people being afraid of aliens, and the idea that chocolate doesn’t exist. These are all ideas that rarely appear in children’s books. It’s all presented in a way that is easy to follow and fun every step of the way.  

The artwork throughout the picture book is absolutely delicious. The artwork is sharp, vibrant, and detailed. I loved the color choices and the cute expressions on all the character’s faces. This all makes for a perfect book to read to young children at bedtime, as they are sure to be glued to every page as their parents read the story to them.

Chocolate Space Bunnies takes young readers on a lively and imaginative adventure that is heaps of fun. I recommend this book to early elementary school children or any parent that is looking for a book that is unique and will capture children’s imagination.

Pages: 39 | ASIN: B0BTGHL62B

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Children Who Dance in the Rain

Sophie is like many young kids today; always on her tablet and often takes for granted the many wonderful things in her life. She goes to school and learns how to spell the word ‘privilege’ but doesn’t truly understand its meaning. After a family trip to India shows her the challenges that children face there, and how they face them bravely, Sophie is inspired and opens her eyes to all the wonderful things in her life, and in the world, that she was taking for granted.

Children Who Dance in the Rain is a wonderfully educational story that teaches young readers about Indian culture, along with helping them understand what it means to be privileged by providing a sharp example. Children will learn the value of compassion and giving and see how it can truly have an effect on other people. I loved the epilogue at the end of this kid’s book. Not many children’s books have an epilogue, so it was nice to see, but it also shows how Sophie’s experience shaped who she became.

The gorgeous artwork throughout the book is vibrant and colorful. Each character has big beautiful glowing eyes, and their emotions are clear to see. I loved the market scene in India because there was so much detail on the page. Young children will be captivated by the artwork as their parents read them this story.

Susan Justice has created a picture book that teaches valuable life lessons and helps children truly appreciate the things they have in their life, and to share it with others. Children Who Dance in the Rain is a delightful children’s book that is infused with spirituality and culture. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers who want to start a conversation with their children about gratitude and sharing.

Happy In your Skin

Rafa is a young boy who recently moved to the Midwest. He loves living in the U.S., but sometimes kids ask why his skin is brown. It makes Rafa feel weird, so he goes to grown-ups he trusts to ask for advice on how to answer this question. Rafa learns about self-love, his Indian heritage, and what makes him special and shares this with anyone that asks him why his skin is brown.

Author Erlin Kakkanad has created a captivating children’s book following a charming character as he learns how to answer awkward questions from children interested in why he looks different. I enjoyed how the story has Rafa looking for answers from respected adults, but the answers are hidden and then revealed at the end. This makes the book much more engaging as I wanted to know what each adult told him. Readers get to find out in a heartwarming at the end of the story.

The artwork throughout this marvelous picture book is vibrant, and the sharp graphic artwork and shading accentuate the story’s charm. There is a diverse cast of characters throughout the book, making this a perfect book for any teacher or parent educating their young ones about diversity and inclusion.

Happy in Your Own Skin is an empowering and educational children’s book that teaches children about India and that our differences makes the world a wonderful place to live.

Pages: 47 | ASIN: B0B8W7PHHX

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The Moon Child

One night, a baby is left outside a doorway. The parents kiss their child goodbye, leave a note, and say goodbye. The Moon takes great interest in the child and asks the Sun for help. She is watched over by the Sun and the Moon throughout her life and is connected to her birth parents through them.

Author Geraldine Moran shares a personal story with readers with her heartfelt children’s book, The Moon Child. This is an imaginative story that bring the Sun and the Moon to life and gives hope to any child that is adopted and might feel disconnected from their birth parents. It inspires hope and tells a stirring story that feels like a folktale.

The gorgeous artwork by illustrator Daniella Banco reflects the warm and sincere tone of the story. Each page contains beautiful watercolor artwork that will capture the attention of any young child as their parents or teachers read this story to them. I especially loved the image where the baby’s parents stood under the tree at night.

The Moon Child is a stirring and uplifting children’s book that will touch the hearts of readers. I would highly recommend this wonderful book to children who are struggling with adoption, or to anyone who feels out of place.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B0BN5LL69R

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Noah’s Wild Birthday

Noah likes animals. He especially loves lizards. He knows all about them and hopes to own a Leopard Gecko one day. Noah sets off to show his mother that he can be more responsible, and with his birthday just around the corner, he’ll be older too. Will he get the Leopard Gecko he’s been hoping for?

Author Christina Champion has turned her family stories into a wonderfully educational children’s book. This vibrant picture book follows a cheerful little boy that knows a great deal about lizards. He shares his knowledge with readers and gives interesting facts about a variety of lizards throughout the story.

Every page includes a cute illustration that fits the story well. I especially loved the page where the Leopard Gecko was drawn and the anatomy was pointed out in a way that a child will be able to relate to. I also enjoyed how the narration and dialogue bubbles worked seamlessly together to tell a cohesive, engaging, and fun story.

This is a great kid’s book for early readers as the language used throughout is perfect for young elementary school children. Younger children will also be glued to the pages as their parents read the story to them as there are a variety of cute animals throughout the book that they’ll adore. Noah’s Wild Birthday is a humorous, entertaining and educational children’s book that I would highly recommend to parents and teachers.

Pages: 31 | ASIN: B0BSG342M2

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Cassie’s Big Change: Going from the Living Room to the Classroom

Cassie is finally getting to return to her school building after learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. She did not love going to school in her living room on a laptop. She missed her friends and teachers. Now that there is a vaccine, she can return to her school and be with her class in person again.

Cassie’s Big Change: Going from the Living Room to the Classroom is more than a story about returning to school. Author Tamera Foley uses this children’s story to validate the feelings many young children have had during the pandemic and the emotional struggles they felt. She uses Cassie’s writing assignment to show children different ways to express themselves and let others know how they feel. It shows children that the adults at school and home care about how they are feeling and that what they feel is important and real. I loved the part where the children were sharing their feelings on the playground, and they were not superficial remarks like you might expect in a kid’s book. Instead, they show just how aware children are of the world around them and the impact that things like COVID-19 have had on their world.

The childrens book Cassie’s Big Change: Going from the Living Room to the Classroom is beautifully written and shares ways that children can express their emotions in a positive and safe manner, be it through clay models, writing a story, or talking one on one with a teacher or parent. Tamera Foley shows kids that they have a voice and that their feelings are important. This is a wonderful children’s book that any elementary classroom would benefit from having.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B099B13X7T

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