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Lulu the Moon Catcher

Lulu the Moon Catcher by [Tyler Zen]

Lulu The Moon Catcher follows a little girl that blazes her own path in life. She doesn’t fit in with any group of friends, boys or girls. Lulu is fearless, energetic and curious about the world. I wish I had her energy. She climbs trees, rides animals, catches bugs and plays in the mud. But even among all the fun and adventure she has no friends to share it with. Lulu sets out to prove to everyone that she’s not afraid of the moon and hatches a plan to capture it.

Lulu is a high-spirited girl that I loved following. The art in the book is bright and expertly drawn and really shows off the wide range of emotions the characters have throughout the book. My child loved looking at all the extra creatures and toys on each page. Each page is vivid and detailed and really captures a child’s attention. Within this beautifully illustrated picture book is a wonderful life lesson about being yourself and accepting people for who they are. This is all told through a fun story about a little girl who creates her own adventures that I love reading about.

Lulu The Moon Catcher is an extraordinary children’s book following an energetic little girl. This is one of the funnest kids books I’ve read this year. With an adorable main character, brilliant illustrations, and a humorous storyline, children will surely fall in love with this adventurous story.

Pages: 56 | ASIN: B098HKKGX9

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Enchanted Forest Adventures

Aimee C Trafton
Aimee C Trafton Author Interview

Amber Tambourine and the Land of Laugh-a-Lot follows a young girl into a wonderous land where she makes many friends, but she worried she wont’ be able to find her way back. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As a child I lived in a house with a backyard that was all forest and farmland. I used to wander around back there and make up little adventures for myself and imaginary friends. So certainly that was an inspiration for Amber’s backyard enchanted forest adventures.

As a child I was also obsessed with “magical otherworlds” as I call them – like when Dorothy went to the Land of Oz…or in the movie “Brigadoon” where a magical village only appears for one day every 100 years. The Land of Laugh-a-Lot is a “magical otherworld” I created based on these inspirations.

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene was the most fun to write and illustrate?

I loved creating the look and feel of Laugh-a-Lot – it is a very colorful and vibrant place with lots of interesting characters, so definitely the scene where she first encounters this magical place is my favorite.

What do you hope young readers take away from your book?

In the book, Amber and her family have just moved to a new house and she has left her old life and friends behind. It is at its core a book about transitions in a child’s life, but I hope that it will impart the message that although change can be hard and scary, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to move on, and sometimes life will take you in new and exciting directions you never thought possible.

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

I have so many ideas whirling around in my head for future Amber Tambourine books, so that is a possibility. Still in the process of figuring it all out at the moment, but I just kind of go where the inspiration takes me – that for me is the fun of writing!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Amber Tambourine is a sad, lonely little girl who has moved far away from her friends. Then one day, she and her doggies, Bandit and Roxy, encounter a polka dot rainbow. Suddenly, they find themselves in the Land of Laugh-a-Lot, where people are happy – ALL THE TIME! They laugh, they play…then they laugh some more. In no time at all, Amber makes many new friends and is happy once more. But this poses a dilemma: Amber knows she must return home, but if she leaves, will she ever be able to find her way back?

Empower Any Parent And Educator

SHEENA L. SMITH
Sheena L. Smith Author Interview

All Kids Can Thrive is a holistic educational resource for the education of children with special needs. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I felt that it was important to write this book at this time because many parents and educators are struggling for answers and ways to cope through these very challenging times both personally and professionally. Everyone strives to make a difference and it can be frustrating when it seems that you can’t reach a child or simply do not know what to do to help empower a student or even your own child. That is why I’ve searched the world for programs, courses, and mentors to enable me to help others. The biggest yet most surprising discovery is that relationships and safety are two keys to motivating active learning. 

‘All Kids Can Thrive’ is for all educators whether the students have special needs or not. Each child is unique and should be valued exactly as they are. ‘All Kids Can Thrive’ is a resource filled with many tips, tools and strategies to empower any parent and educator to be successful with implementation and use of  problem-solving tools.

What is a common misconception you feel most people have about special needs classrooms?

One misconception is that children with special needs should be in their own segregated classroom. That is not inclusion! For true inclusion to exist, students should be part of mainstream classes with meaningful programming adjusted to their abilities and skill levels. Studies show there are many benefits for all with inclusion.  Sadly, despite proof of its benefits, inclusion still has a long way to go with regards to educational settings.

People tend to forget that students with special needs have a right to belong and a right to be treated and honoured as valuable citizens of our communities. This should include the right to be included in regular classrooms with proper support and training for the educators.

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

Throughout this book it was essential that I stressed the importance of treating the whole child-mind, body and spiritually. Each child has their own unique gifts, talents and strengths and it is important to assess and build upon those abilities. Honoring a child’s culture and heritage is important to develop a better understanding of thoughts, beliefs, and actions. When the whole child is considered, they can grow, develop, and reach their highest potential physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

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

I would love for the reader to see how important they are for the success of the child and that the reader discovers that no matter what the problem is – there is always an answer. Relationships are an important key, and any child can thrive if they have at least one responsible, caring adult in their corner rooting for them that is willing to protect, value and love them.  Love matters most!

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter

Empowering Solutions for Educators of Children with Special Needs
Many teachers, educational assistants, counsellors, trauma coaches, and school administrators are searching for ways to empower students struggling with behaviour management problems, lack of self-awareness, and limited control of their emotions. Unsolved lagging skills may result in angry outbursts, frustration, and low self-esteem in students.
By applying the tools found in All Kids Can Thrive educators will be inspired and feel grateful knowing that you made a difference by enriching your students’ lives simply by allowing them to be themselves—and by being the best version of yourself.
Author Sheena Smith has been a special education assistant for over 20 years and has raised four children, including two children with special needs—one has Spina bifida and the other has Down syndrome. She knows the challenges children face daily both at home and within the educational system.
A strong advocate for meeting her children’s needs in the school environment and within the community, she has travelled and studied extensively seeking inclusive ways to help children with restricted physical mobility and intellectual disabilities to learn and thrive.
This book is the result. All Kids Can Thrive is filled with valuable information for anyone that works with children or has children with or without disabilities. Educators and parents will discover a wide variety of approaches, tools, and strategies to wholly empower each child to strive for balance within their own mind, body, and spirit.
Some of the takeaways for educators include:
The essential pieces of the puzzle for raising consciousness within your classroom, school, and community environment by teaching the whole child
How to prevent burnout and overwhelm despite current circumstances—turn chaos to calm!
How the body and brain (mind) are intricately linked on all levels physically and psychologically including emotions, decision-making processes, and wellness
Understand why daily, regular movement is not only essential but critically important
What the brain does under stress and how students can easily build new neural pathways
What potential exists through the science of neuroplasticity
How your intuition is one of your best assets when working with children
Evidence-based interventions that embrace the whole child to lower stress, build resilience, empower students to develop self-regulation skills
The basics of the Polyvagal theory and how understanding it can benefit your students
The secrets to building strong, positive relationships and connections
Proven methods to assist your students in becoming more “life ready” when they graduate
All Kids Can Thrive will help you understand your key role in the future of education not just as a teacher but as a coach to guide, motivate and inspire students to achieve their own level of greatness through their skills, natural gifts, and talents. It includes numerous resource links, websites, and freebies for you to pursue further learning.
Use the Look Inside feature to begin reading now and discover how All Kids Can Thrive with the right tools and …Love Matters Most!. Available in eBook and paperback.

ALL KIDS CAN THRIVE

Teaching is hard. There are no two ways about it. It is a demanding profession and is possibly the most underappreciated and simultaneously most important career out there. Somehow, day after day and year after year, teachers continue to make it work with limited resources. Were it not for teachers like Sheena Smith who dedicate their lives to making sure students not only learn but thrive, our educational system would be a travesty indeed.

All Kids Can Thrive: A Holistic Education Resource for a Successful and Conscious Classroom, by Sheena L. Smith, serves as both a fantastic resource for teachers and a pick-me-up for those of us who are at our wits’ end with the current onslaught of changes in education. It is easy to fall into a trap and believe that some children just aren’t able to meet their potential. Many factors mesh together to create a negative atmosphere, and it is one that is incredibly difficult to break through. Smith, however, manages to provide an upbeat handbook that focuses on the silver lining in a sometimes very dark cloud.

One of the most appealing aspects of Smith’s work is the fact that she includes an endless list of resources for every possible scenario. Whether she is addressing self-respect or explaining the benefits of mindfulness, she never fails to include authors who have impacted her own methods. She is a fountain of knowledge, and her book is one every teacher needs in his/her back pocket.

As an elementary teacher who has seen more than my share of heartbreaking situations over the last 25 years, I can say that Smith is dead on. Our children need to be met where they are–wherever that may be. I love the fact that Smith goes into great detail to teach readers about various coping skills and meditation. In addition, she stresses that attention should be paid to the different learning styles our children all exhibit. Recent teaching strategies seem to have left this by the wayside, and I am glad to see Smith, for one, realizes and touts their importance.

All Kids Can Thrive is all-inclusive, hits every major dilemma and scenario a teacher can encounter, and gives practical tips that just make sense. Every child can thrive–Smith knows it, and through her writing and expertise, she is going to make a difference in classrooms everywhere. This is a true must read for new teachers and veteran teachers alike.

Pages: 218 | ASIN: B093HLYF6H

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The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog by [Brad Malm]

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog is a wonderfully illustrated children’s picture book that follows the exciting adventures of a spunky Australian Shepherd. Oliver is deaf, but you would not know it by watching him play. Oliver takes young readers around town as he does his best to help everyone he meets. His heroics pay off in the end when he stops a bank robbery in true super hero fashion.

All of the art in this entertaining children’s book is beautifully illustrated with vivid colors in a striking comic art style that will surely capture kids’ attention. There is plenty to look at on each page. I did not even see the bird with the lollipop in his mouth until my child pointed it out.

We follow Oliver as he rescues several people throughout town in creative ways that highlight his bravery and willingness to help others in need. This book does a fantastic job of showing how one’s attitude can go a long way in overcoming obstacles.

The Amazing Adventures of Oliver the Wonder Dog is one of the most charming children’s books I have read this year. With easy-to-understand language and a fun story, this will be a great read for new readers or for parents to read to their children before bed time.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B08WWV16YJ

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Surrounded by Ocean

Author Interview
L. J. Nilsson Author Interview

Mangrove Sands takes four friends who all seemed destined for uncertain futures and sends them on a magical adventure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Once I retired, writing was a way of staying connected to the students who I missed terribly. My beautiful environment surrounded by ocean, marine animals and bushland full of native birds and wildlife added to my inspiration and development of fictional characters.

Your characters were wonderfully diverse and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Having worked with Primary school students for nearly a decade who were verified under the spectrum and watching them grow under my wing and transform from failing students to students who began to enjoy learning, were finally understood and given a new way of learning, definetley played a part in the development of my characters.

Each character has a small piece of character or personality from some of the children I worked with.

Many of these students have transitioned to highschool and beyond. One in the army, one studying law, another a graphic designer. They still stop for a chat or send me messages .

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

Definetley for children facing hardship and adversity my book aims to encourage children to find the positive in even the worst situation and make every day count.

Other underlying themes touch on environmental awareness, empathy and kindness.

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

Both the sequel Mangrove Sands, The Enchanted SeaWorld & Beyond and The third book of the series, Mangrove Sands, The Epic Journey are currently in production in London.

It is hoped that the sequel will be released in 2021. This book includes an indigenous aboriginal character who teaches her friends about her language and culture.

The third book includes a Swedish character opening the doors and young minds to embrace multiculturalism, language and diverse cultures And of course, there are many more adventures in the Enchanted Seaworld.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

This book sets out to inspire and educate children, who, for one reason or another, have difficult starts in life either by fate or disability. Each chapter provides a human lesson and human qualities through adventure, including: empathy, bravery, honour, friendship and resilience in the face of adversity.

Based on an island in South East Queensland, Australia, four children, who attend the same island state school, are all miserable at home and school until Parlow, the pelican, comes knocking on Tommy’s window one night to offer him a better life. Tommy thinks he is dreaming as do his friends—Maria, Dino and Jake—who all have an out of body experience and are taken to an enchanted underwater sea world beneath Mangrove Sands, where they meet talking animals who have their own language and become the children’s tutors, mentors and friends.

Through an enchanting underwater sea world of magic, adventure and humour, Mangrove Sands aims to provide hope and inspiration to children around the globe facing adversity.

Beyond The Grumpiness

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

The Grumpface is a charming children’s book about a grumpy old man in a forest and Dan who needs to find a flower for his love. What was the inspiration for this charming kid’s book?

What inspired me to write The Grumpface was seeing that particular grumpy face a child pulls when things aren’t going their way. I have witnessed it on so many occasions, and each time I find it hilarious. What makes it so funny is that quite often parents will naturally try and make the young child smile or laugh. Sometimes this is all it takes to break the curse, yet often this only serves to make them more determined to remain grumpy. The Grumpface himself is the character that embodies this determination to remain grumpy and resist anything positive or amusing. In this sense, he goes beyond the grumpiness of a child and becomes the identity of the pessimist or those caught up in negativity.

Dan on the other hand is the natural antithesis to the Grumpface’s outlook on life. He is optimistic and hopeful even when things aren’t working out for him. His quest for love actually provides the setting for negativity and positivity to meet head on.

I felt that this book was good at teaching morals of persistence, compassion, and friendship. What themes did you try to use when creating this book?

First and foremost I wanted to create an enjoyable tale that excited the imagination. Rather than beginning with a theme, I started with the desire to inspire the imagination. I remember as a child reading some books that were enjoyable, and others that held such intrigue, that they challenged your perception about life. This is really where I tried to begin. I wanted to forge a tale that was memorable, inspiring and filled with adventure. What better way to do this, than to write a new kind of fairy tale.

The morals that were subsequently woven into the story though were intentionally light and simple. It has unfortunately become common for children’s books these days to be so distracted by the message, the tale itself seems to be an afterthought. As you have already mentioned, there are a number of morals such as persistence, compassion and friendship that come up in The Grumpface. Yet for the most part these morals simply arise naturally through the considered development and interaction of characters. As mentioned previously, perhaps the most overarching theme in the book is simply the power of positivity over negativity.

The art in this book is lovely. What was the art direction like and what decisions went into choosing the right images?

The art direction for The Grumpface was a little unique and certainly experimental. Every other children’s book has been briefed with an overarching ambience and emotion that I’m hoping to convey. Each page of text is then detailed down to the perspective of the scene, the emotional response of the characters and any unique aspects to the setting. I am still open to any deviation from the brief if the illustrator is compelled to try something different, but the brief provides a place to begin.

For The Grumpface, I wanted the illustrator to try something different. Instead of providing strict direction, I wanted Daniela to simply draw the scene that the text conjured in her mind. As a fairy tale, it was important to that the text carried enough depth and richness, so that even without pictures, it would still capture the mind. Daniela was very open to this and would send a short summery of her thoughts for each page (which would be approved or slightly amended) before providing a draft. At this point there might be some minor adjustments. When all the drafts had been complete, there was a final check to ensure that everything flowed smoothly before the final drafts were created.

This particular process meant that the illustrations took considerable time to complete and get right, but in the end it worked out well. The book has received numerous comments on the artwork and the impact they have on the tale itself. I think Daniela did a great job!

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

The next book will be available on the 3rd of August 2017 (so not long now). The title is Henry and the Hidden Treasure, and it is about a child who attempts to defend his pocket money from his little sister. Henry is convinced that Lucy is a secret ninja spy who has been sent to steal his treasure and he therefore constructs some elaborate defences to try and stop her.

The book highlights some important themes such as listening to parents, being nice to your siblings and carefully considers what constitutes real treasure within the family context. Henry and the Hidden Treasure also introduces children to ordinal numbers in a subtle and imaginative way.

Like The Grumpface, my first priority with this coming title was constructing an exciting and imaginative tale that children will find themselves thinking about long after it has been put down. It is my hope that the many tales to come will continue to provide that magic and inspiration for children young and old.

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

The Grumpface by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

Dan is a young inventor in love. He ventures into a forest looking for a rose but instead finds the mysterious Grumpface who threatens to hold him captive unless he passes some difficult challenges. What follows is a humorous adventure that neither Dan nor the Grumpface could have anticipated.

The Grumpface is a tale in the spirit of any grand adventure. It is about a clumsy young inventor’s quest for love, and the challenges he must face to find it. But it is also a tale of bravery, absurdity and happiness, and the power of these qualities over negativity and sheer grumpiness.

Every parent will be acquainted with their own little ‘grumpface’ now and then. This story stands as a small piece of hope – that no matter how ingrained the grump, there will always remain in every one of us a smile or a laugh just waiting to come out.

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A Pardon For Tommy

A Pardon For Tommy

Who would have thought that a story about a turkey would bring a reader to tears? Within the pages of A Pardon for Tommy by Patricia Nmukoso Enyi readers will find just that. Chelsea Malibu is the protagonist of our story. We begin with her waking from a nightmare in her college dormitory. Chelsea is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and still suffers from its aftermath. She is a young woman now, but she cannot let go of the horror she faced at the tender age of twelve. The story walks us through what Chelsea experienced during the hurricane, how it affected her and what happened to her family. Throughout her ordeal Chelsea had one pillar of support: the never questioning Tommy the turkey. Tommy was a prize her father had won and expected to eat on Thanksgiving with his family. However, life has a funny way of throwing you off track.

The pain that Chelsea experiences in this story is raw and real. Tommy isn’t just a pet turkey: he symbolizes her family. The family that was ripped apart by the hurricane during which her father went missing after trying to save her life. Chelsea is clearly traumatized by the events and the life she lives after relocating to live with her mother, brother and maternal grandmother isn’t as easy as it should have been. Aside from the emotional trauma, Chelsea is faced with discrimination and bullying. Her family is fractured, and no matter how much she prays it won’t become whole again.

While there are some mistakes in the grammar and the styling of the novel leaves a lot to be desired, the content of the tale more than makes up for it. Readers can feel the agony that Chelsea experiences in these pages. She is young and there is so much she doesn’t understand about what is happening to her. There are so many changes in short succession that it would make even an adult’s head spin. There is so much uncertainty in her life that it’s as if time stops for her. Because of this, Chelsea clings to Tommy, the turkey, for comfort. This turkey is the only thing that connects her to her missing father. The physical existence of the turkey allows her to have something she can touch to remember her father.

In the novel, it has been six years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Our protagonist has avoided returning to the city where her life was so gravely changed. With the impending death of her beloved turkey Chelsea boards a bus to return. It is here that we are privy to the events that took place in that city. A Pardon for Tommy by Patricia Nmukoso Enyi is a beautiful, sad, and harrowing tale of a survivors experience with one of the deadliest events in modern history. This is a perfect book for young adults or those who enjoy more realistic fiction tales. Will Chelsea’s family ever become whole again? Will she ever find out what happened to her father? And most importantly, will Chelsea’s nightmares ever disappear? Read for yourself to find out.

Pages: 150 | ASIN: B0725M51SV

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