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Am I Brave Enough To Conquer It?

Cynthia Kern OBrien Author Interview

Marky the Magnificent Fairy follows a young fairy who is teased for looking different and teaches the other fairies about acceptance and compassion. What was the inspiration for your story?

Writing Marky has been a very emotional journey. The book has always been about a Fairy who could not fly because she had a small wing, but she could still do so many other things. However, it began to evolve into much more as I started talking to teachers, doctors, families, and others who work with and/or live with special needs children.

I am so blessed and fortunate to have partnered with Linda Radke and the Story Monsters team on this book. The entire team fell in love with Marky as I did. It has been a passion project for all of us.

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

Marky the Magnificent Fairy is written with the intent of eliciting back and forth discussions with children at home or in the classroom. This book is about diversity, inclusion, bullying, disabilities, kindness, believing in yourself, self-love, confidence, acceptance, positivity, and compassion. No matter what age you are.

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

I always had a firm vision of Marky in my head, and I could not move on to any other illustrations until she was created. I knew once we captured the essence of Marky everything else would fall into place. During a phone call I gave Jeff the “backstory” of who Marky was and how she came to be. That was helpful to him in understanding her background and importance.

As a surprise Jeff added in the small yellow Japanese Caterpillar which you see throughout the story. I have since named that caterpillar “Tomo” which is short for Tomodachi which means friend in Japanese.

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

We are still busy rolling out Marky the Magnificent Fairy which is currently in Pre-Order. Tomo plushies are on the way and will be available for sale soon. We are currently updating my website to accommodate it all… However, there is a dystopian novel I started outlining a year ago, the question is, am I brave enough to conquer it?

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Believing in yourself isn’t always easy. Marky learns that firsthand when the other woodland fairies make fun of her. They laugh at her one small wing and say mean things about her fiery-red hair, her glasses and her freckles. It is hurtful, but through Marky’s determination, she helps them understand that everyone has exceptional qualities. Some are visible. Some are invisible. Through her kindness, Marky teaches her friends about self-love, confidence, acceptance, positivity and compassion. She reminds them they are magnificent. Readers of all ages learn to believe in themselves and the importance of treating everyone with respect and kindness.

Read and Read and Read Some More

Susannah Nilsen Author Interview

A Splash of Colour is a wonderful picture book introducing colours to children. What made you write a story about this topic? Did you pull anything from your life experiences?

For many years, I was a classroom teacher. I started writing in December of 2021.

My motivation in writing A Splash of Colour was the same as for all of my books.

Thus far, I’ve published two children’s picture books using a conventional format.

So, with a narrative structure and characters and with illustrations that reinforce and complement the written text.

I will write many more of these however thus far most of my picture books have had less a conventional narrative structure. They are much more an educational aid explicitly teaching maths and language concepts. These are aimed at early childhood albeit with the written text and the illustrations complementing and reinforcing each other and aimed to be read by children or to children.

There are many educational workbooks for younger children but these serve a completely different function to children’s picture books.

I feel passionately about the importance of having children arrive in a classroom setting for the first time, feeling confident and comfortable around words and numbers. Word and number intelligence are the bedrock of our educational system and its curriculum. Without feeling at ease in this environment, children start their formal schooling on the back foot.

And it’s so easy to make a difference in the life of a child. If as an adult you feel comfortable with words, then read and read and read some more to the children in your life. Some children will find the journey of learning to read harder than others. With support and strategies they will learn to read. For them to live in a

home environment where words and reading are a comfortable part of the atmosphere will be powerful. And I have never met a child who didn’t adore being read to.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing or illustrating?

I was gardening and the rhyming verses flew through my mind and the illustrations of colourful birds began to form. I enjoyed creating every page. I love the effect of water colour as a medium and I loved being able to have an entire book using watercolour elements to build up the illustrations. And I also so enjoyed writing in rhyme. If you can get the tempo right, then this style just flows from the mouth of the reader. It’s born to be read out loud and for young children, this is a very effective tool for learning.

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

I next published Numbers Come In Pairs and that’s up on my Amazon bookshelf. The explicit teaching focus of this book is that numbers can be written as words or as digits. Again, its written in a picture book style but without an explicit story narrative. There are characters however. Meet the ones, meet the twos, meet the threes and so on and we discover something that each of the pairs loves to do.

I’m almost ready to publish an educational workbook that fits hand in glove with the picture book. It’s tentative title is Numbers are Never Alone.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

I next published Numbers Come In Pairs and that’s up on my Amazon bookshelf. The explicit teaching focus of this book is that numbers can be written as words or as digits. Again, its written in a picture book style but without an explicit story narrative. There are characters however. Meet the ones, meet the twos, meet the threes and so on and we discover something that each of the pairs loves to do. I’m almost ready to publish an educational workbook that fits hand in glove with the picture book. It’s tentative title is Numbers are Never Alone.

I have just begun a book for primary aged children. The focus is on feelings, naming them up, describing their physicality and their impact. Having a language to speak about feelings is a powerful means of building emotional literacy and a strong sense of self. Books aimed for earlier school aged children and very young children will follow

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book? First of all, for it to effectively help colour recognition in young children. And for it to be enjoyed a book that children will want to revisit again and again. And then for the book to be the best that it could be. I felt very positive building up the book in my mind before putting ideas on paper. I wanted it to be as good as I my imagination had it. And I was really proud of A Splash of Colour. While I feel comfortable with words and can create stories on the fly, I’m new to creating and publishing books and I feel they are getting better each time. It’s so important for us humans to feel proud of what we do and if we can enjoy what we do to earn a crust, how blessed is that!

A goal that I have and I’ve had some limited success with, is using tools to get my books under people’s radars. I struggle with this, I’d happily not have to do it. I have a Shopify store, an Amazon author page and a Facebook page and they will mature with age. I’m excited about blogging because I can add so much more of interest and that’s useful for others and to learn from them.
The issue is that all of it is a tiger in the bushes. In the last two years, I’ve discovered that I’m autistic. This has been a profound and very positive paradigm shift. The downside of such a late diagnosis (Ive just turned 54) is that, as for so many others with late diagnosis is that anxiety and depression are my housemates. This interview took three weeks to sit down and write to as the thought of it brings on anxiety. So, blogging and promotion are tigers in the bushes. But they are tigers that need to be tamed somewhat if my books are ever going to be found by readers and listeners.

Author Links: Website | Amazon

Best friends, not so much or somewhere in the middle. Follow the adventures of some very colourful birds.
With its rhyming text and engaging illustrations, ‘A Splash of Colour’ is a must for young children learning to recognise colour.

Marky the Magnificent Fairy

In Marky the Magnificent Fairy by Cynthia Kern Obrien, readers are presented with an array of characters with numerous differences and physical capabilities that are then quickly explained and understood. As society is becoming more aware and educated on the diversity of people in many aspects, it is important to be able to introduce this subject to growing minds, and this vibrant children’s book does just that.

Throughout this charming picture book, readers are taken on a journey exploring the differences between people and get to understand self-love, confidence, acceptance, compassion, and positivity, among other things. All these things are core values that all people should learn about, but author Cynthia Kern OBrien makes it very easy for young readers to understand. All of these characteristics come into play as children grow into adulthood. This book also includes discussion questions that get kids to self-reflect and understand themselves and others better. Teachers will greatly appreciate The Resource Guide, as I thought it was helpful in furthering the discussion on how to handle situations with disabled people.

The beautiful illustrations were incredibly adorable and fit the atmosphere of the book perfectly. They were charming and captured the essence of each unique character. The writing is easy to follow and sends a clear and compassionate message. I would highly recommend Marky the Magnificent Fairy to all children, parents, and teachers. This would be a great book to have in an elementary school classroom to inspire discussion on diversity and self-respect.

Pages: 36 | ISBN: 1589850157

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Sled With Me: I Love You to the North Pole and Beyond

Sled With Me is an enchanting children’s book that takes readers on an imaginative journey to the North Pole. Readers will see a cozy village, visit the workshop where elves are busy making toys, and see Santa and his reindeer all in one fun-filled night.

In this charming kid’s book author Sharon Purtill tells a magical holiday adventure all through rhyme. Each rhyme is short, cute, and perfect for the season. The language is perfect for parents to read to their young children, or for early readers to read on their own.

Every page of this picture book is illustrated from edge to edge with vibrant and sharp illustrations that bring each scene to life. There is so much detail on every page that children will surely spend several minutes on each page picking out all the different things, especially when they get to the North Pole and see the cute polar bears on skates.

This is a wonderfully detailed children’s book that brings together all of your favorite holiday characters. This book is so much more than a Christmas story. It shows children how to use their imagination to take them wherever they want to go. Sled With Me is a delightful children’s book that will inspire your child’s next dream adventure.

Pages: 37 | ASIN: B0BMVYS1LF

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Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair

Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair follows young Maggie, who absolutely refuses to have her hair brushed. When her mother tells her that spiders will make a home for themselves in her hair if she doesn’t comb her hair, the issue is resolved! This is such a delightful, sweet, and charming story. From the rhythmic writing to the whimsical illustrations by illustrator Norris Hall, readers can’t help but enjoy this imaginative story.

One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome as a parent of a child with long hair is to be able to brush their hair. At times it can feel like a losing battle. Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair, written by Sheila Booth-Alberstadt, is a must read and a fantastic tool that will help parents teach their children to build good and lasting habits.

I would recommend Maggie McNair Has Spiders in Her Hair to any parent, teacher or child because it creatively conveys the important message of keeping your hair tidy. The lesson is delivered in a fun and silly way that will capture a child’s attention and help them come to terms with it. This educational children’s book lets kids see why brushing their hair is essential to hygiene; all while entertaining them with an amusing story.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B09B4DJ1Z5

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A Splash of Colour

Great educational tools are immensely fundamental to child development, but I have found they are scarce in young readers’ libraries. A Splash of Colour, written and illustrated by Susannah Nilsen, has given us a supreme perfect example of an educational book aid.

The beginning starts us off with common sight words that help us while we read, and the writing is simple enough to follow, so young readers can pick up these sight words quickly. Although this story does not follow a specific storyline or have an overall theme, it does, in fact, allow for an entertaining way to learn. The rhythmic verses leaped from the page with a steady pulse that kept the reader hanging from every word.

I recommend this book to any family or young reader who is learning to read or needs help gaining more powerful reading skills. This book will allow for quick and entertaining learning. The illustrations and the sight words were effortlessly cohesive and echo a seamless connection to the sight words allowing for an even better teaching aid.

I believe that the gift of reading is magical and can help us do amazing things. The author explains at the end of the book, “Her classroom experience affords a deep understanding of the value of picture books in the classroom, both as a vehicle to teach across the curriculum and to explore all manner of concepts.” this is something I clearly saw through her writing and the illustrations themselves.

A Splash of Colour is a whimsical picture book that will engage preschool and toddler-age children with its vivid images and entertaining text. Parents and teachers will find this to be a valuable children’s book to have for teaching about colours and introducing sight words. This is a wonderful addition to a home or classroom library.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B0BJ6JZJB9

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Billy’s Wide Crack

What happens when you wake up and look in the mirror while getting ready for school only to realize something is really not right. Unfortunately, that is what happened to Billy. He discovers something alarming that morning, and his solution is to hide in his bed and pretend it doesn’t exist. Then, one by one, his family members come in and observe what he has seen, and all of them are unsure of what to make of the situation.

Billy’s Wide Crack, written by JD Von Lafsalot and illustrator by Pietro Peres, is a humorous picture book with children and adults laughing with each page. The entertaining images and expressions on the characters’ faces will have children guessing right from the start as to what crack Billy has found. I loved that on each page, there was a little bee that seemed to add to the drama of the situation, like sitting on the dad’s tie.

At the end of the book are some quick questions teachers can use to review the story with their class. This helps children recall and identify the context of stories. Some questions require them to have keen observation skills and will allow them to go back and pick out details they may have missed at first.

Billy’s Wide Crack: A Fun Rhyming Story of Assumptions and False Thinking is a light-hearted picture book that will have readers of all ages laughing. With children’s active imaginations, the story will surely bring about many fun, exciting class discussions and laughs.

Pages: 35 | ASIN : B0BFDTGNH7

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Inspired By My Love For Candy

Tara Giri Author Interview

La Aventura de Algodòn de Azùcar (The Adventure of Cotton Candy) follows a character as she searches for her missing friend. What was the inspiration that created the fantastic journey these characters go on?

I was inspired by my love for candy as well as learning Spanish.

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

It was important to include repetitive phrases as I find that is the most efficient way to learn a language.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

My favorite scene was when Cotton Candy finds Peppermint.

Do you have any plans to continue writing children’s books?

Not at this time.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

La Aventura de Algodón de Azúcar – The Adventure of Cotton Candy- is an illustrated Children’s book written in Spanish and English. It is about Cotton Candy who is in search of her friend Peppermint. Along the way she meets several colourful, edible characters engaged in various interesting and amusing activities. The illustrations bring the characters to life in vivid colour and the dialogue is hilarious.
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