Category Archives: Children’s Books Recommendations

Interview with Tom Murdoch

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Before all the scary, spooky stories start to take over your child’s brain, I’d like to introduce you to Tom Murdoch. He’s a fun, adventurous author that writes soothing bedtime stories. He has written “Where will you go, Ricky Jo?”, a sweet, adventure story about an outgoing Chihuahua that loves to explore. I got a chance to ask author Tom Murdoch about his childhood reading memories, writing and what he is thinking of accomplishing next.

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

Tom Murdoch: My dad read to me, sometimes scary stories! As a child, I read all the Hardy Boy books.

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

Tom Murdoch: I write all day as a copywriter, so for my book projects I try to squeeze it in as I can.

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

Tom Murdoch: I hope to continue a series about puppies.

RickyCover“Where Will You Go, Ricky Jo?” is a classic bedtime story certain to inspire imagination as well as sleepy time adventures. Featuring vibrant illustrations, journey with Ricky Jo, a loveable Chihuahua, chasing after fire engines, soaring high on airplanes, riding on horses and visiting a farm. His journey ends with bedtime where he starts his dream adventures. This charming picture book will make a great addition to any family’s home library.

 

“Where will you go, Ricky Jo?” is available at Amazon.com.

This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Carey Azzara

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Carey Azzara is the author of the children’s book, The Sick Puppy. 

I have an extra treat for you. A new book from the author, Carey Azzara is coming out in this week. Carey is one of those authors that just have to write and get his message out to the world. His upcoming book, The Sick Puppy, is due out for release on [release date inserted]. I had a chance to talk to Carey about his influences as an author, his writing routine, and what he would like to write about in the future.

Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Carey Azzara:
I’m a fan of Mark Twain (who isn’t right?). His stories flow with ease and they all make sense. He teaches as well as entertains (something I aspire to). We learn something of true value from his writing, like the concept of a good lie in the book Huck Finn.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Carey Azzara:
I am not overly disciplined in my routine. I typically do my best work in the morning and late in the evening. However, when an idea strikes, I try hard to get it down on paper no matter when the muse is being helpful.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Carey Azzara:
My next project is a series of books written for the YA audience. It features a fifteen-year-old girl living in New Mexico who is part Apache. Along with her Apache mentor, an elder in the local Native American community, she discovers she has extraordinary powers. The working title is Gila Wilderness Warrior.

the-sick-puppy-ebook coverThe Sick Puppy is the story of a seven-year-old girl that has enjoyed living in her home in Cumberland, Maine. But when her Dad receives special news, her life is turned upside down to adjust to a new home. Heidi learns to adjust to her new town by a friend that puts the meaning into rescue. A sweet, little puppy.

The Sick Puppy is available on Amazon.com in ebook edition or paperback. It is also available at the publisher’s website at Glass Spider Publishing.

For more information on Carey Azzara, please visit his website at:

https://careyazzara.com/.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Charlotte Safieh

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Cover 3With school starting in many states, it’s not too late to start building your school or home library for the new school year. Charlotte Safieh has written a picture book called “A Cry for the Ocean” to help create awareness and support to clean the plastic littering our oceans.

Charlotte lives in Toronto, Canada with her family. She has been in the teaching profession for many years and specializes in teaching creative writing. She is celebrating her first published book. Charlotte has also started her own imprint called Blue Jay Press to help support new authors with stories needing to be told.

I had a chance to ask Charlotte about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors and impact that writing has had and the influences she hopes to accomplish.

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

Charlotte Safieh: My favourite memory from reading as a child was reading Gerald Durrell and following his adventures collecting exotic animals from exciting far away countries. Something that would not be allowed anymore! I recently learned that he was very influential in changing how we manage zoos, so that instead of simply being a source of entertainment we are protecting endangered species and learning more about their natural environment and behaviour.

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

Charlotte Safieh: My favourite writer for children is Roald Dahl. He is very entertaining and irreverent with such a unique imagination. I also love Barbara Kingsolver, and I’m just reading her new book “Unsheltered” which is a remarkable story that can tell us so much about our current time and the challenges we face with our poor treatment of the natural environment.

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

Charlotte Safieh: I need to be accountable with my writing and love doing courses and being a part of a writing group. I love sharing ideas and talking over writing with fellow writers.

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Charlotte Safieh is the author of the new picture book “A Cry for the Ocean”.

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

Charlotte Safieh: I would like to continue to write stories about the natural world to help children to understand how important it is to protect nature and wildlife. Maybe Sukara can go on to do more great things in the future!

  •  What is storyquest.com, and how did it influence you to become a writer?

Charlotte Safieh: Storyquest is a creative writing project that I have been running for several years. After I qualified as a teacher I began working in classrooms with students teaching them how to write stories and putting their stories together as published chapter books. This has been very enjoyable and rewarding, and I have seen hundreds of students write incredibly exciting, imaginative and powerful stories. I feel very lucky to have done this work, as I see how much they enjoy writing the stories, and I love creating a space to allow that to happen.

  •  What other environmental issues would you like to address in future books?

Charlotte Safieh: I would love to write more about protecting nature, and have been considering a story set in the rainforest, as we are losing our forests so rapidly. I would also like to write about the kids 4 climate movement, as I have been very excited to see that grow in the last year. I am a really big fan of Greta Thunberg and have been following her journey across the Atlantic on a yacht this week.

  •  Why did you start your own independent publishing company, Blue Jay Press?

Charlotte Safieh: I started Blue Jay Press because I love publishing books. It is a true passion, and although this is the first book I have authored I have published over 400 children authored chapter books. I hope to continue to grow Blue Jay Press with books by other authors as well as more of my books.

  •  What advice do you have for aspiring writers who are interested in self-publishing?

Charlotte Safieh: I would say go for it. The self-publishing industry has grown exponentially. Now it is very achievable for anyone who has a story they are passionate about to self-publish. I used Kickstarter very successfully to fund the first set of books and my wonderful illustrator Tamara Piper, who I found on Fiverr. Self publishing makes up a significant proportion of sales of books, especially ebooks.

  •  For our younger authors, what can they work on now to help them become better writers?

Charlotte Safieh: When I teach creative writing I work a lot on encouraging children to be confident in their writing, and to ignore the critical voice in their head that can stop them from enjoying writing. When they are getting ideas down I also tell then not to worry about spelling or grammar so they can let their imagination flow.

  •  What is writing to you in one sentence?

 Charlotte Safieh: Writing is sharing our inner worlds, our lives, ideas and connecting with each other.

“A Cry for the Ocean” is a picture book that brings forward the cause of helping clear our oceans of plastic pollution. Sukara meets a mermaid and learns about the plastic pollution in the ocean and finds a magical way to save it. It will bring awareness to the plight of our oceans and be a great addition to any school or home library. It will be a wonderful teaching tool for ocean and environmental units. Teaching resources accompany the book to help teachers and parents.

“A Cry for the Ocean” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Charlotte Safieh’s new book “A Cry for the Ocean” and free resources, lesson ideas, activities, and to order wholesale books, please visit her website at: https://www.bluejaypress.ca/.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Toni William

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For those looking for a fun read to end their summer nights, here is a great international award-winning author I’d like to introduce you to. Toni William lives in Scotland with his family. He writes from inspiration taken from drawing with his son. Mr. William has created stories and images that emerged from collaboration with his son, putting together imaginative tales. “The Frog Who Lost His Croak” is one of these delightful tales that bring to life vivid characters through rhyming text and playful images. I had the chance to talk with Toni William about his writing routine and process, future projects, and what writing means to him.

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

Toni Williams: I don’t have a writing routine as such. I tend to find I work best with a clear mind. So a lot of my writing and ideas come to me when I’m driving.

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

Toni Williams: I plan to write another three books in this series. Two are already being written currently, one is a story about the importance of sharing, and the other is a fun Christmas story.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Toni Williams: Writing is an escape from reality, you create your own world for others to live in.

Frog Who Lost His Croak cover“The Frog Who Lost His Croak” is a charming adventure about a little frog that woke up with a shock. He had lost his croak. Join him on the journey to find his croak, and all the ups and downs that he encounters. This story is full of beautiful illustrations and engaging rhyming text. It is sure to be a favorite for your child and a repeat read-aloud at bedtime.

“The Frog Who Lost His Croak” is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information on the author Toni William, please visit his website at: https://toni-william.wixsite.com/portal.

 

 

 

 

Book Recommendation for “Stop Doing That”: A Picture Book About Having Tourette Syndrome As A Child

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Stop Doing That CoverWith the summer breezing past us, it’s nice to find a great book to keep the education going for your child. I found a wonderful book to teach your child or to supply your next year’s classroom with an understanding story of a child with Tourette syndrome. Written by an author with Tourette’s, it’s a story that will help any reader understand what it is like to have Tourette’s. “Stop Doing That!” is a story that belongs in any school library or classroom.

First, a little about the author. Chris Mason grew up with Tourette’s syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and anxiety disorder. He later was diagnosed with depression and akathisia a few years ago. He has published five books, including his autobiography, an anthology of thirty short stories, and non-fiction book about coaching youth soccer which will be published soon.

The book “Stop Doing That!” is the journey of a boy named John. Teachers, his parents, and friends get upset with him from his constant blinking, coughing and twitching at inappropriate times. His mother finally takes him to the doctor, and he is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. His family and John learn strategies for minimizing his tics and encouragement to share his story with his fellow classmates.

It all makes John determined to not be stopped from doing the things he likes to do and deterred from the person he wants to be. It’s a book of finding strength and getting support to face struggles that are experienced.

I think “Stop Doing That!” is a great way to include diversity in your home, school or classroom. It’s a way to continue learning during the summer months, and a way to extend learning in the classroom, and would make a great read-aloud for the beginning of the school year.

“Stop Doing That!” is available at Amazon.com.

Interview with Sola Togun-Butler

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Sola Togun-Butler is the author of the book Where Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School In America

Looking for educational books to add to your child’s learning or augment your classroom’s read-alouds? I had the chance to interview author Sola Togun-Butler, author of the book “Where Do You Keep The Lions?”. She has written a book about her experiences as a young African immigrant attending an American school for the first time. It’s a book that highlights the importance of cultural diversity and awareness while encouraging children to ask questions when they are curious about other cultures. Sola shared with me her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and what she has in store for future writing projects.

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

My favorite memory reading as a child was the ability to immerse myself into the life of the character I was reading about. I would completely forget about my own surroundings and literally feel like I was living in the world of the character. I enjoyed the ability to form images in my head of the character’s life and experiences. Even till this day, I would rather read a book and form the images in my own mind than have those images given to me in a movie or television show.

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

My favorite author is Chimamanda Adichie. She has the amazing ability to capture the attention of the reader with the title and maintain that attention throughout the book. Therefore, it was important for me to choose a title that grabs the attention of the reader and have a story line that maintains it.

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

I prefer to write in the morning when I am really energized. I grab a hot cup of tea, open the window blinds so I have a beautiful view of the sunshine or rain, turn on Bossa Nova or music from Nigeria, Mali or Senegal, sit at my desk and just write away. I am inspired by both music and nature

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

I would like to continue writing children’s books about cultural diversity and sensitivity. The world is diverse, and curiosity about other cultures is normal and should be encouraged by parents. It is important for parents to talk to their children to identify any stereotypes or biases that they might have about other cultures that could negatively impact their interaction with peers from that culture.

  1. What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing opens up the world and takes one on a journey of self-discovery.

KeepLionsBkCvrWhere Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School in America. Kemi, an eight-year-old African immigrant girl is looking forward to her first day of school in the United States. But when her classmates start asking upsetting questions about Africa, the negative attention confuses her. With advice from her father, she decides to show her classmates a different side to their understanding of African culture. This book is a wonderful way to expose children to sensitive cultural understanding by encouraging positive questioning about new cultures.

This book is available on Amazon.com.

For more about the author Sola Togun-Butler, visit her author’s page at: https://www.amazon.com/Sola-Togun-Butler-Ph.D./e/B07SHL16PL.

 

Interview with Glen C. Kinnaird

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Glen C. Kinnaird is the author of the book “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”

Summer is here! I bet you’re feeling the heat already. Time for a great read for your little ones. Here’s a brilliant picture book that grabbed my heart. “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”. It’s the first of a series that introduces children to the behind the scenes of theater. Playwright and author Glen C. Kinnaird wrote this book as a story to teach children about live theater. He lives in New York with the real Tony the Theater Dog. He developed the story from experiences backstage at a national tour of a Broadway show. I had a chance to interview Mr. Kinnaird about his picture book series, authors that influenced him, and what future projects he has in store for us.

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

Glen C. Kinnaird: My favorite book from my childhood that really sticks in my mind was a book called Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. The book is set on a Cherokee farm at the end of the 1800s and it tells the story of Jay Berry, a young boy from a poor family, as he tries to capture a group of runaway circus monkeys. I was captured from the first pages and as a boy who struggled with identity as a child and found it hard to make friends, books became a way for me to imagine I was friends with the characters in the books, going on the adventures with them.

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

Glen C. Kinnaird: Now that is a tough question. I think C.S. Lewis is my favorite author of all time. Lewis writes in both rational argument and imaginative analogy that helps me consider more deeply my faith. I remember thinking to myself it was the first time I had read someone who was both an intellectual and spiritual at the same time.

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

Glen C. Kinnaird: I am shamed to say I am a writer who goes with inspiration. I do not have a set routine yet, although I did not find my interest in becoming an author until 2012 when I began another young adult trilogy called, The Legend of the Crystal Lotus. It has been a story that has taken me almost eight years to develop the world, the characters and I have revised the plot lines about four times over the years. “Tony the Theatre Dog” took almost two years to write and had three different plots and story lines when we started. The illustrator began her drawings as I was doing the final editing on the book. I would bring her images and a description of what I wanted on the page. She did not see the actual text until I showed her the first draft summer of 2017.

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

Glen C. Kinnaird: I would like to find my Southern Voice as a writer. I feel that my childhood was kind of odd and I think there are a ton of kids that need to hear a voice that understands. So, this means I need to dive into those memories and some of them may be painful. It took time to explore those memories. I think I suppressed a lot of the pain. Now that I am almost fifty coming up in August, 2019, I see joy in my childhood where in years past the only thing I could see looking back was painful memories.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Writing is like flying for me, looking for new worlds.

Tony the Theatre Dog - 9 x 7-3Tony The Theater Dog series starts with the book “Puttin’ On A Show”. Tony takes the reader through the preparation of a theater production. Kids are introduced to the jobs that help put a theater show together. Different locations are explored, and Tony even brings peace to the cast and producer inspiring everyone to work together as a team.

 

“Tony the Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show” is available at Amazon.com.

It is due to release on July 15, 2019. Pre-order is available.

For more information on Glen C. Kinnaird, please visit his website at: https://www.tonythetheatredog.com/.

Interview with DeWana Green

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DeWana Green is the author of the picture book “Vonny B and Me”.

Spring is a great time to start thinking about summer reads. The best way to start gearing up is to consider some new picture books. I’ve found a darling story called “Vonny B and Me”. I had a chance to talk to the incredible author, DeWana Green. DeWana was a foster child that overcame many challenges in her life. She graduated from university with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She works in healthcare and bio tech, and teaches at the college level part time. She’s an inspirational speaker and has her own jewelry line that benefits foster children seeking higher education.

I had a chance to talk with DeWana about the challenges and memories from her childhood, what inspires her to move forward, and what projects she is planning in the future.

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

DeWana Green: My favorite memory from reading as a child was learning to read. I learned to read very young. In fact, I was three-years-old when I learned to read fluently.  

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

DeWana Green: My favorite author from childhood was Shel Silverstein. I was obsessed with “I Know Where the Sidewalk Ends”. Also, I loved Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”. As an adult I like Maya Angelou and Robert Fulghum.

  • Do you have a writing routine?

DeWana Green: When it comes to writing, I don’t really have a writing routine. I write best when I am near water. I do have a couple writing rules: 1. I always write from an outline 2. I never force my creativity to flow, so I have never had writer’s block. If there is no flow, it’s a no go… I only write when I feel it. I write when I am inspired.

  • How did you get the idea to write “Vonny B and Me?”

DeWana Green: VBM was inspired by the relationship of my son with learning differences/special needs and his dog. It truly demonstrates that we all have areas that we can excel and be great!

  • You have faced many challenges growing up. How has this helped you to inspire young people?

DeWana Green: It has only been since my divorce over the past 4 years that I have really embraced the pains and fears of my past. I realized that it took ALL of it to make me who I am today. I am always mentoring young adults in some facet of life. There are times I have young adults onboard doing intern work for me and helping research my ideas and concepts. There are other times I am simply spending one-on-one time with them and reminding them that there is NO-thing that they could ever encounter that they cannot overcome once they have decided to overcome it in their minds.

  • I noticed you design jewelry. What are the ideas behind some of your designs.
  • DeWana Green: Yes, I love to jewelry design. It’s a great creative outlet. Each piece I make comes with a unique writing about that piece. My ideas are inspired by nature and the colors of sun, ocean, and sky.
  • What would you suggest to future aspiring writers?

DeWana Green: My suggestion for aspiring writers is simply take time to understand your gift by writing and learn how your gift flows. We all flow and are inspired uniquely and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that creative energy that’s responsible for so many different books.

  • What plans do you have for the “Vonny B” and Me series?

DeWana Green: The plan is for there to be 5 books in the series. I had 5 different concepts when the idea came to me for the initial work. So up next we will find that VB goes on a unique trip with some friends to some cool places! What I love the most is the subtle lessons that children learn from the book(s).

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

DeWana Green: In the future I see myself writing more in the VBM series. I would like to finish it out. Also, I see superheroes in my future as I have gained some inspiration in that area.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

DeWana Green: Writing is the ability to take an imaginary world living in my head and bring it to life on paper so that everyone can experience it too.

vonnyBandmeCvr“Vonny B and Me” is a captivating picture book about a dog and his boy. A seven-year-old boy and his dog take you on a journey of love as you follow their relationship of friendship and courage. The boy has many challenges, such as a learning difference. But through the love of his dog, he can face them. This is a touching story to teach about dealing with differences, changes, and using communication to solve problems. It will make a great addition for any child’s or teacher’s read aloud library. This is the first in a planned series.

“Vonny B and Me” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on DeWana Green, please visit her website at: www.courageousme.net.

Interview with Denise L. Jefferson

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Spring is in the air. What a great time to add to your picture book library with a newly discovered author. Meet Denise L. Jefferson. She’s the author of Button Joe. It’s a humorous picture book about a boy that likes to eat buttons. She is also the author of “Dragons Don’t Take Vacations”. I had the chance to talk with Denise about where she gets her story ideas, what inspires her, and what writing means to her.

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

Denise L. Jefferson: I really don’t have a writing style or routine. I gather my book ideas from almost anywhere. Sometimes I like the different environment when traveling, because you get to experience or interact on a different scale. Or people watching might spark something?

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

Denise L. Jefferson: Future projects. I’d like to expand to adult Christian or inspiration.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Denise L. Jefferson: Writing to me is like dreaming on paper. Your thoughts and imagination can be limitless.

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Denise Jefferson’s book is available at Amazon.com.

Denise L. Jefferson’s book Button Joe is about a scrappy little baby boy that loves to eat buttons. As he grows, he has to learn to break this habit. What he learns along the way makes a humorous, warm story for the whole family.

Button Joe” is available at Amazon.com.

Interview with Karolina Marques Pereira: Author of “Blue Like My Shoe: Red Like My Head”

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Karolina Marques Pereira is the author of the picture book “Blue Like My Shoe, Red Like My Head”.

With all the rain and weather happening at this time of year, it’s great to find a book to talk with kids about the colors they can see during rain storms. Karolina Marques Pereira has written a darling picture book that introduces the colors of the rainbow in a fun game between a witch and a dragon. She lives in Germany with her family and works as a primary school teacher. In her book, “Blue Like My Shoe: Red Like My Head”, she creates a delightful way for any child to learn colors. I had a chance to interview Karolina about her childhood reading adventures, which are her favorite authors, and what she’d like to write about in the future.

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

Karolina Marques Pereira: As a child I love to listen to stories. Later in school I loved to write stories on my own. You learn so much from stories and they are so wonderful.

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

Karolina Marques Pereira: Eric Carle and Astrid Lindgren are my favourite authors. As a kindergarten child I loved Eric Carle. The repetitions and the easy structured stories are perfect for children and help them to learn the language.

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

Karolina Marques Pereira: I love to write stories for young learners. Topics like “colours” and the “weather” and other interesting topics for kids are my favourite. I think it is important that children are able to learn something out of it. My new book “Blue Like My Shoe” helps learners to remember the names of rainbow colours.

BluelikemyShoe“Blue Like My Shoe: Red Like My Head” is a story about a little witch and her dragon friend that play a Q & A response game to guess favorite colors. Introduce your little one to all the colors of the rainbow, how they mix together to form other colors, and rhyming patterns associated with colors. This cute picture book is recommended for ages 2 and up. A repetition and pattern song is at the end of the book to help with read aloud instruction.

This book is available on Amazon.com.