Back to School Book Alert #1

Standard

Greetings everyone. I am disappointed about having to cancel the Back to School Blog Tour this year. But I have found a way to be supportive by giving a type of shout out to new books that I’ve discovered from great, new Indie Children’s Authors. I know how many teachers need to stock their class libraries right now, and how parents want to support their child at home with quality reading material.

So, here is the first introduction to help build your Back to School Buying List.

GENRE: Children’s Middle Grade Realistic Fantasy

His Silent Killer

by Rich Unkel

Special things are to be cherished and protected. For Burton, this held a different sentiment. He had a treasure that was from the past, but it measured his future. It calculated his life through pain. The more pain he experienced, the more his treasure let him know he was closer to his mortality. He could not escape this faceless clock that kept track of his past, present, and future. That is until the hand hit the Omega. Was this clock accurate? Could it really tell him when life was over? Will Burton be able to live without the pains of life overtaking him?

The book is available at Amazon.com as a Kindle and print edition.

The book is also available at www.richunkel.com.

Damon Piletz is the creator of the pen name Rich Unkel. Mr. Piletz is a teacher and writer. He has had the opportunity to be a part of many areas of education over the last twenty-three years. Working with thousands of students, Damon’s love of writing comes alive in the classroom motivating both reluctant and seasoned writers. Many of his published works have been used with students of all ages. Damon lives in Vermont with his wife and family.

Learn more information about the author here: http://richunkel.com.

Back to School Blog 2022 Canceled

Standard

I’ve ended up having to cancel this year’s blog tour due to lack of sign-ups. Not sure if it’s the pandemic or what. I did have to push back the date to mid-September due to my vacation this year. So, that might have been something to do with it. Or just so much going on now that there are more vaccines to beat the Omnicron variant of COVID19, or who knows. But it feels kind of sad after so many years of running this event that I didn’t get much interest.

But I’ll try again next year, maybe pushing it up to end of August. It’s been 10 years since I’ve done this, and I love supporting teachers and students as they go back to school. But the pandemic has changed things a bit, gotten people out of routines. Plus, I’ve had a lot of personal things I’ve had to catch up on due to delays of the pandemic. I think most people have had to do this during 2022 too.

But hey, there’s next year. 2023 should be better all around. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years; take everything with stride. The pandemic has just made things have to be adapted and changed, and it’s taking awhile for all of us to return to some kind of normal. Until then, enjoy my features of Indie Children’s authors over the next several months. There is still a lot of great book and authors to find out about. Feel free to sign up for my blog and stay informed about all that is to come.

So, until next year, 

-Tiff

Interview with Lee Erica Cruz

Standard

As the summer starts to come to a close, I’d like to add in one more recommendation of a book that will help inspire your child at the start of the school year and all year long. Lee Erica Cruz loved to write as a child. It was her escape to create stories she could get lost in. Now, she is doing the same for other children as an author. “The Walking Butterfly” is a children’s book that encourages children to “spread their wings” to know how wonderfully gifted they are. The book helps children discover that they can have a purpose and to step out into the world in faith.

Lee Erica Cruz is the author of the new children’s book, “The Walking Butterfly”.

I got the chance to talk to Lee Erica Cruz about her memories of reading as a child, her writing projects and what inspires her, and words of wisdom for aspiring authors.

  1. What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Lee Erica Cruz: My favorite memory as a child was reading “Dick and Jane” books. They took me on adventures that inspired my own creative writings as a child.


2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Lee Erica Cruz: My favorite author was Charles Dickens. I was influenced to achieve great things through my gift of written expression, because he had come from a background of lesser education. I also applauded his work in philanthropy with women and children.


3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Lee Erica Cruz: My father taught me to just write my heart out and not overthink. It helped me to write freely and efficiently because I did not keep stopping to worry if what I wrote was grammatically correct or if I was descriptive enough. He would tell me to keep the creative process flowing – you could always go back and fix the details later.


4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Lee Erica Cruz: I would love to continue to write stories for children to inspire them to know their God-given gifts and be motivated to pursue their aspirations.

5) What were the reasons you enjoyed writing as a child?

Lee Erica Cruz: I grew up during difficult financial times for my family. I would write hundreds of small books on scraps of paper my father brought home from work. It was a way for me to express my feelings and a way to dream of all the places I wished I could go.


6) What would you tell an aspiring junior author about writing their own story?

Lee Erica Cruz: Do it. Simple as that. We all have a story to tell and an audience waiting to hear it. You are as unique as your fingerprint.


7) What things helped you overcome your personal battles growing up?

Lee Erica Cruz: I’ve overcome anxiety and fear. These two things kept me from living out what was on the other side of that wall . . . Life.


8) What or who inspires you?

Lee Erica Cruz: The life of Jesus inspires me. Most of his life he was rejected and looked down upon. Through it all he kept spiritually poised, humble, merciful, and loving. In Him, I have found my strength, salvation, joy and peace.


9) What other areas do you share your passion for creativity?

Lee Erica Cruz: I write and sing. I just released a gospel album called “Releasing The Butterflies”. I also love being crafty and making my own personalized gifts for people.


10) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Lee Erica Cruz: Writing to me is healing and freedom.

Blurb for “The Walking Butterfly”:

“In a world filled with differences, we all are trying to find our place. Each of us is uniquely created, and wonderfully made. However, in this world, our differences can make us feel separated and alone. This story is about learning to embrace what makes us different and seeing the beauty and purpose in it. God gave us a fingerprint that no one else has so that you can leave an imprint that no one else can. It’s time to break through and fly!”

“The Walking Butterfly” is available at Amazon.com as a print or ebook edition.

For more information on Lee Erica Cruz, visit her on her social media at:

Instagram: @sheisabutterfly
Facebook: @sheisabutterfly312
YouTube: Aleeza

Interview with Laura Bridle-Smith

Standard
Laura Bridle-Smith is the author of the children’s book “Elizabeth Finds Her Brave”.

Summer is in full swing, and one of my fondest memories is going and learning about horses at the local stable with my Campfire Group. I never was an expert rider, but I got the basics down with activities through my girl group. It came in handy later when I was exploring and traveling, down to riding horses in Mexico along beaches and down steep mountain trails. I thanked my troop master for taking us to those stables so long ago.

But many children first experience obstacles and how to overcome them through books. Laura Bridle-Smith has written a book that combines her love for horse riding into a wonderful story of overcoming fears and obstacles. Elizabeth Finds Her Brave is a story collection in which horses and self-confidence combine in story telling expertise.

Laura Bridle-Smith attended university studying Creative Writing. Real life steered her into project management as a trade. But her love for writing, being a mom and helping to inspire her children helped bring this book to life.  Her story brings her experiences as a mom into her storytelling by crafting a collection of tales to overcome fear and uncertainty while documenting how to face the obstacles.

I am excited to bring you her interview and introduce you to her latest book, “Elizabeth Finds Her Brave”. I got to talk with her about childhood reading memories, her inspiring books and authors, her writing routine and what she has in store for future projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Laura Bridle-Smith: So many of my memories stem from reading. Whether it was as a child wrapped in a blanket reading the hobbit late into the night, having my breath taken away by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or walking across a moor in Yorkshire and sitting on a rock to read a chapter of Jane Eyre, books evoke so many memories for me. A most recent one is walking in on my seven year old crying as Charlotte has just died in Charlotte’s Webb! That book will now be a core memory for her.

The author’s daughter, Elizabeth, posing with the book “Elizabeth Finds Her Brave”.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Laura Bridle-Smith: Jane Austen will always be my favourite author. Her wit, humour and characterization just pops out of the pages of every novel. These were the novels that engrossed me into the world of reading as a young teenager. They introduced me to more classic novels. They influenced my interest in history, my focus on language and lyrics. There is a reason my daughter is named Elizabeth!


3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Laura Bridle-Smith: I usually write at pace. The story will pour out of me, and I will scribble everything down. I then walk away, and leave it for a few days before coming back and actually beginning the harder process of editing myself. I reflect on my rushed words and making more thoughtful changes. I find my children are also fabulously honest critics!!

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Laura Bridle-Smith: I’d like to continue to write about children’s fears and anxieties. These little people go through so much so quickly, and I really enjoy exploring difficult aspects I find interesting. Elizabeth Finds Her Brave is the first in the finding your brave collection which I’m really keen to expand and grow.


5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Laura Bridle-Smith: Writing is escapism. It’s freedom, and sometimes the only things that can turn my brain off. I think it’s remarkable that the written word is always out there. My little book is available now, and children in 10-20 years from now could pick it up and think, “Wow, this is about me!”

Blurb for Elizabeth Finds Her Brave!

“Trying something new can be daunting and scary.

All children at some point are nervous and wary.

But Elizabeth is determined to find a hobby to love,

To find new friends and a club to be part of.

But not all friends have two legs, some of course have four,

With hooves, a tail and big brown eyes to adore.

As a pony named Sara enters the stage,

Will Elizabeth ever find her Brave?

The first story in the ‘Finding your Brave’ collection by Laura Bridle-Smith.”

Elizabeth Finds Her Brave is available at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

For more information on Laura Bridle-Smith, please visit her website at http://www.lbridlesmith.com/

She can also be contacted at her Facebook page here.

Interview with Darlene Rakestraw

Standard
Darlene Rakestraw is the debut author of the children’s picture book, “Wabbles the Happy Little Hippo”.

Summer is here, and I’m sure your child is hungry for adventure and fun. I know the perfect mascot for that. “Wabbles the Happy Little Hippo” is a wonderful adventure to engage your child into the adventures of life while introducing problem solving events that might turn up. Darlene Rakestraw is the debut author of the book. She is a mother, grandmother, and a recent cancer survivor. Her story helps bring a sense of wonder back into the fun-filled moments that turn life into an adventure.

I had the chance to talk with Darlene about writing, her reasons for writing her book, and her early reading influences as a child.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Darlene Rakestraw: My favorite stories were bedtime stories read to me by my mother.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Darlene Rakestraw:
It was really a series of different authors who wrote the Nancy Drew Mystery Series. My favorite Nancy Drew story was “The Hidden Staircase” written under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene as the author.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Darlene Rakestraw: No, but I do enjoy writing at the end of the day when it’s quiet and I can collect my thoughts.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Darlene Rakestraw: I do not have any future projects planned at this time.

5)  How did you get the idea for your picture book, “Wabbles the Happy Little Hippo”.
Darlene Rakestraw:
While I was going through chemotherapy, the words just seemed to pop into my head while I was in bed one day. I wrote them down on a scratch pad and put them away for a while. That was the start of the book.

6) What hobbies do you enjoy besides writing?
Darlene Rakestraw:
I like to make quilts and other projects using vintage hand crank and treadle sewing machines. Also, I enjoy reading, collecting antiques, traveling by car and exploring new areas.

7) What is your favorite recipe book? Can you share some of it?
Darlene Rakestraw:
Using a cookbook to get ideas for cooking different foods is the main reason I look through a cookbook. I would have to say my favorite recipes are the basic ones using less than six ingredients. I think food should taste like the main food item without trying to bury it in a lot of extra seasonings.

8) Which is your favorite vintage sewing machine in your collection?
Darlene Rakestraw:
I would have to say my everyday machine for the fabric piecing is my 1941 Singer model 99 hand crank machine. I also use my 1939 Singer model 201K treadle for the larger sewing pieces. The really vintage machines from the earlier years are all in excellent working condition, but these are my favorites to actually use a lot.

9) Do you have a favorite walking trail? If so, why?
Darlene Rakestraw:
I really don’t have a favorite walking trail. In recent years, I use a walking machine to get in about a mile a day. It’s quick, efficient, and can be worked into my schedule day or night.

10) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Darlene Rakestraw: To me writing is a way of expressing and organizing my thoughts and feelings.

Book Blurb:

Ever had the feeling of needing to take on an adventure? Wabbles does. She is a very curious and happy hippo that enjoys swimming in her own pond in her pasture. But one day, she decides to go out and find adventure in her life. Join her as she enjoys a delicious treat, goes to the doctor, has a fun day at the circus and gets lost while exploring in four unique, easy to read bedtime stories.

This book would be a great way to instill a sense of adventure in a child’s life. Validate that need to solve problems and take on new things while enjoying the fun aspects of life in this whimsical and adorable children’s tale. This storybook collection of four original tales will make the perfect addition to any class or home library.

“Wabbles the Happy Little Hippo” is available as an ebook in the Kindle store and as a paperback edition on Amazon.com.

Interview with Sneha Sabu

Standard
Sneha Sabu is the author of the children’s safety book, Stay Safe with Ruby and Reuben.

As we enter back into the real world, children need to be reintroduced to some concepts that they may have forgotten or missed in virtual school. As a teacher, I know there were a lot of social skills taught within the curriculum, but also in selected times as social skills. Studying, group work and even school assemblies would help educate children in this area. Now, as parents and teachers, we may have to do some catching up in this regard. This can be done with read-alouds or even assigning books as reading group assignments. For home school, looking for books to teach important social skills are often by word of mouth or teacher reading lists.

I was lucky to find a wonderful children’s interactive safety book called Stay Safe with Ruby and Reuben. It’s written by the author, Sneha Sabu. She has worked with international NGOs, and has written more than twenty-five stories for children. Her recent release goes over difficult topics to discuss with children, but necessary to maintain safety for them. The book includes the topics of bad and good touches, traveling safe to and from school, safe sleepovers, and secret codes for protection. I was able to have a discussion with Sneha about her favorite reading memories as a child, her favorite author infleunces, and what projects she has in store for us.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Sneha Sabu: As a child, I read comic books. I grew up reading books such as Balarama and Poompatta written in Malayalam, my mother tongue. Even as an adult, I still love reading Balarama. I began reading Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and other mysteries as a teenager. Books such as Balarama helped the child in me visualize the unseen animal kingdom on par with the humans. The visual imagery the reading evoked made me an Alice in Wonderland.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Sneha Sabu: I love J.K. Rowling. Her life demonstrates patience and resilience. I am influenced by what J.K. Rowling achieved as an author in life’s most challenging and uncertain times.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Sneha Sabu: I do not have a writing routine. I have my highs and lows in writing. I used to write regularly in the younger years of my career. Over time, with life routine and circumstances changes, I stopped writing for almost a decade. One fine day, I had a very emotional and heartbreaking moment. The situation did not change, but kept recurring in different forms. When I reached a point where I could not bounce back quickly, I decided to write. I wrote day and night until all the stress and emotions were translated into a draft of crime fiction. Ever since, my writing has been revived. I decided to write at least a couple of times a month. That is my new routine. When I have writer’s block, I take a break to have a fresh perspective.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Sneha Sabu: I would like to write in all genres. My book, Stay Safe with Ruby and Reuben, is a child safety book for children. However, I am working on a collection of poems now. In addition, I would like to experiment with motivational books and crime fiction.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Sneha Sabu: Writing is an expression of my creative and exploratory experiments and the things I want to do, influence, and revive from the lost pages of my mind.

Book Blurb For Stay Safe with Ruby and Reuben:

Stay Safe with Ruby and Reuben is an interactive child safety book written to create awareness among children on issues such as good and bad touches, how to be safe in school, how to be safe while going and coming back from school, safe sleepovers and secret codes are critical to protecting children. This book covers the above issues in an easy to read format for children. Profit from sales will be used to fund not for profits working to protect children from child sexual abuse and to print additional copies for children who cannot afford to buy the book.

Stay Safe with Ruby and Reuben is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Sneha Sabu, please visit her website at snehasabu.com.

BOOK REVIEW: My “Stand By Me” Moment Reflecting on the new Wil Wheaton Book: “Still Just A Geek”.

Standard
Photo by Mark Plu00f6tz on Pexels.com

I’ve been reading Wil Wheaton’s new book. “Still Just A Geek” that just came out a few days ago. He’s going back into his original “Just A Geek” book and doing comments on his writing back almost 20 years ago. It’s pretty much also a history of early blogging and the Internet of the 00s too. All the references are bringing up memories. Like LiveJournal, Geocities, designing websites in HTML. Those were the good ole’ days. It is also reminding me of how we are such different people when we’re younger and how our older selves can be reminded of the growth when looking back.

Point in question. Wil does talk about one of the movies he’s most known for being in, “Stand By Me”. Which of course, is about going on kid adventures and the bonding of friends in our formative years. But it’s also about looking back as well. Which I’m doing as I read his book. Looking back to the almost 20 years of this current century, that still seems to me, new.

I’m also looking back at my kid adventures that inspired a lot of my children’s books. My Crystal Keeper Chronicles has that element of adventure that all children need to kindle. I think that’s how we all learn growing up. I lived in the Silicon Valley before it was that. Then, in the 1970s, it was the Santa Clara Valley. It had creeks and orchards to play in. Tadpoles to catch and cherries to eat by hopping the fence to my backyard. I also lived over the hill from Santa Cruz, which was the closed beach for this Northern California Valley Girl.

On my friend’s Scott’s 13th birthday, we went to Capitola, a small beach town next to Santa Cruz. We were spending the day at the beach, but the best thing about the town was the small stores that you could shop at or best yet, buy a slice of pizza. It was also safe to walk around and explore, which is what we were doing when we found a path leading up to a train trestle that went over the river that emptied into the ocean. We had to check it out.

At the top, we started to walk across the trestle, eradicating our fears that it probably wasn’t in use anymore. But we were wrong. Because when we were a fourth of the way across, a train whistle blew behind us.

Slowly turning, I could see the approach of a freight train heading right for us. I looked at the boards of the trestle that were spaced further and further apart ahead of me, and I could see the drop below to the river. I realized we couldn’t make it across in time before the train came. We would have to go back. I had to convince my friend Scott to do it. Head towards the oncoming train to escape getting hit by it.

After a quick exchange of reasoning, he agreed we had to go towards the train to save ourselves, and we started to cross back over the trestle towards the train. The whistle blew again, more rapidly. I couldn’t think about anything but getting off that track before the train hit us. The train whistle kept blowing, and finally we reached the edge of the trestle and went down the side bank of the trestle bridge. We got back from the tracks as the train passed, realizing maybe it was stupid to have been trying to cross in the first place.

I guess that’s what is so interesting about childhood. You have to have those adventurous mistakes so you can figure a way to get yourself out of them. They make you grow and be a better person. I guess I was thinking that too as I’m reading Wil Wheaton’s new book. He’s going back and commenting on his younger self, now older and wiser from his current mindset and viewpoint.

But part of growing up is realizing mistakes and moving on with new knowledge. We do that at any age, I guess up until we die. So maybe we never grow up. I hope that’s true.

And I wish Wil Wheaton the best in the artistic process and rewards in doing the annotations on his new book. It’s good to read it again with his new perspective in the margins, so to say. But it’s also good to see the Wil of the early 21st century, because I’m looking back at myself too.

Wil Wheaton’s new book “Still Just A Geek” is available at Amazon.com here.

Interview of Noah Quill

Standard

When I was teaching, I was always looking for cute holiday books to help the kids enjoy different seasonal holidays through the year. St. Patrick’s Day was always fun with the Leprechaun hunt through the school and different classrooms. I would leave a trail of gold glitter through the classroom, over and under desks and along counters, to show the Leprechaun had run through our classroom.

I’d seen a lot of Leprechaun books, but I think I’ve found the most unique one of all. “Jack the Farting Leprechaun and the Rainbow of Farts” really takes the cake of all the leprechaun books I’ve read. It’s a book that I think will really give everyone, kids, parents and teachers, some laughter and a few smiles that we may all need about now.

Noah Quill has created a humorous picture book to add to this fun pre-spring holiday. I had a chance to talk with Noah Quill about his childhood reading memories, writing and what future subjects he’d like to work on. Look into the mind behind the book.

  • What is your favorite memory reading as a child?

Noah Quill: As a child in my time there were no eBooks, only books. I remember one of my happy moments was when they let the kids go rampage over a pile of books on a table. We all had to be quick to get the title we wanted.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Noah Quill: I’d like to write some educational picture books for kids ages 3-5. Especially watercolor illustrated stories teaching an important life lesson, learning or simply an entertaining story.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Noah Quill: Writing to me is like giving someone else a glimpse into your world. I enjoy children picture books because a picture is worth a thousand words and children appreciate without judging.

Book blurb:

St. Patrick’s Day is coming. Kids will be excited to read a new story around this special celebration! In this cute watercolor illustrated storybook, children will follow the adventures of Jack the Farting Leprechaun. Jack farts a different color of the rainbow each day of the week (From Monday to Sunday) depending on the type of food he eats. The beautiful illustrations will surely captivate kids and makes learning fun!

Book Features:
*Cute Farting Leprechaun
*Pop-up text feature (Allows Easy reading even on small devices)
*Great educational book for children during St. Patrick’s Day
*Double click/Double tap objects to read their names
*28 Watercolor Illustrated Pages!
*Bright Colors that will peak kids’ curiosity and interest

Find out what happens when one day Jack stumbles upon a rainbow of farts!
Grab this cute St. Patrick’s Day farting leprechaun story today and create lasting memories with your kids.

“Jack the Farting Leprechaun and the Rainbow of Farts” is available at Amazon.com. This book is available as a Kindle Unlimited title and paperback edition.

For more information on the author Noah Quill, please visit his website at: https://www.noahquill.com/ .

Interview with Tracy Markley

Standard

Looking for something to inspire fitness and health while teaching Science at the same time? This is a great book about the health of the body as we care for our brain. In Your Brain, The Engine to Your Body – Kids Edition is written by Tracy Markley, and is a wonderful way to get your child focused on how keeping your brain healthy leads to general whole body goodness. Tracy Markley has an extensive background as a fitness trainer, and has led a program to help adults with stroke recovery. Her expertise in the subject helps give her insight to helping others achieve brain health. With this book, she is reaching out to the younger generation to start early in taking care of their brain.

I had a wonderful opportunity to be able to interview Tracy about her childhood reading memories, experience with brain recovery and helping others, and what could be her future writing projects.  

Tracy Markley is the author of the children’s book, In Your Brain, The Engine to Your Body–Kids Edition.
  1. What is your favorite memory from reading as a child? 

Tracy Markley: I remember being so excited to have the Flintstones Book. It was colorful and simple for me to read. I had it with me all the time. Flintstones was my favorite childhood cartoon in the seventies that some people may remember.

 2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Tracy Markley: As a child my favorite author was Dr. Seuss. As an adult, Wayne Dyer is my favorite author. He has several books, but his book, The Power of Intention, kept me inspired and empowered to keep to my desired goals.

3) Do you have a writing routine?  Share what works for you.

Tracy Markley: I really don’t have a writing routine. I write when I feel like it. Often, I hand write a lot of my book in a notebook, and then I take it to my computer to type. Once I am writing on the computer, more of the book creation and writing comes to play.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects? 

Tracy Markley: I have two new projects coming up in the next few months. One is a book collaboration with other fitness professional leaders and the other is a book on hearing loss. I have hearing loss, and it greatly affected me as a child in my reading and writing skills. It is amazing to me that I became a writer as an adult.

5) What do you hope for kids to take away from reading your book?

Tracy Markley: I want kids to learn how important drinking water and eating healthy is for their brain and body at a youthful age. Sometimes as an adult we learn these things after we have brain or health issues. It’s a fun and quick book that also encourages them to be kind to themselves and others. Also, to remember how important it is to play and laugh for good brain health.


6) Do you think your book would be a nice addition in a classroom setting for teachers to read and discuss with the class?

Tracy Markley: Yes, definitely. It is a terrific book to use in the classroom. There is a page in the book with kids and a teacher showing how kids can focus and learn better at school when eating healthy and staying hydrated.

7) Are the illustrations in your book based on someone you know?

Tracy Markley: Yes. My business logo for my fitness studio is a cartoon illustration made to be me. I took that illustration and asked someone on Fiverr if they could make me a child’s version of it. He did a wonderful job and that is the girl in the book. It’s a mini-me. On the page in the book where she is watering the garden, she has a dog next to her. That was my dog, Wasabi. I gave the illustrator a picture of my dog and asked him if he would cartoon him for the book. I love it.


8) This book seems to be filled with good advice and tips that adults can use too. Would you ever direct it for adult reading too?

Tracy Markley: Yes, this book is actually the Kid’s version of my adult book “Your Brain the Engine to Your Body” A Fitness Trainer’s Guide to Brain Health. Both are simple and to the point. This kid’s edition, of course, is simpler. But the idea to eat healthy, drink water, be kind to others and laugh more is good for everyone at any age.

 9) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Tracy Markley: Helping others with my knowledge and or experience.

Here is the book blurb for “Your Brain: The Engine to Your Body”.

Blurb:

In Your Brain, The Engine to Your Body – Kids Edition, kids will learn some simple fun things about their brain and how to stay healthy as they have fun with fun illustrations. It is easy to read and understand. A healthy brain helps have a healthy body. The brain is the engine to the body. This book can be read alone or with teachers or parents. Tracy also wrote an adult version of this book to help teens and adults learn more about the health and care of their brain. Enjoy the fun illustrations as you learn more about your brain. Exercise, staying hydrated, and good nutrition helps the brain to stay healthy as we grow up.

In Your Brain, The Engine to Your Body – Kids Edition is available at on Amazon as an ebook or print edition. This is a Kindle Unlimited title. Find all her books on her Amazon Author’s Page.

For more information on Tracy Markley, please visit her website here or on Instagram.

Interview with S. Marie Hawks

Standard

As February arrives, I know you might be looking for a great Valentine’s Day read aloud to share with your class or little ones. I think I’ve found a great way to kick off this Valentine’s Day with a book by S. Marie Hawks. She has come up with a combination of a letter pattern book and folk tale to compliment any Valentine’s Day reading unit or celebration. She lives in Northern Utah with her husband and family. Her experience as a preschool teacher has given her a unique perspective on children’s literature, and loves to include her human development background within her books.

“Weasels Do Not Get Valentines” is a book that combines animals, letter patterns, holidays and Valentine’s Day in a unique way. It will help build vocabulary, create discussion about fighting for what you believe in, and put a few smiles on children’s faces. I got a chance to interview S. Marie Hawks on her childhood influences, reading memories, and what future projects she is working on. 

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?
S. Marie Hawks:
If my mom had a minute she would say, go get a book and I’ll read it to you. I would run to my room and bring back a laundry basket, my toy shopping cart, or a blanket full of books. Never was one book enough.


2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
S. Marie Hawks:
As a child, I loved to check out Norman Bridwell’s Clifford the Big Red Dog books. When I started reading on my own, I went crazy on Marc Brown’s Arthur books. I had the entire Arthur book collection and even the stuffed dolls of Arthur and DW. These books were inspiring to me because they focused on learning lessons and kindness, things I love to write about.

3) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

S. Marie Hawks: I love to write about happy, healthy joyful things. I have an allergy-friendly/paleo cookbook that I hope to finish up soon. Also, I’m working on multiple children’s books and two adult fiction novels 🙂

“Weasels Do Not Get Valentines” is a wonderful combination of letter patterns, holidays, and folk tales all in one book. It starts with an introduction to how animals celebrate the holidays through the year, leading to how Weasels do not get any Valentines for Valentine’s Day. In which, of course, they decide to lead a movement to make change. It’s a delightful way to create discussion around traditions, vocabulary building, and enjoy a holiday themed book in a new way. This unique story will bring lots of smiles to any child or classroom.

“Weasels Do Not Get Valentines” is available at Amazon.com.

It is available as a print edition or as a Kindle Unlimited title ebook.