Category Archives: Monthly Author Feature

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Raspberry Sassafras Series

Standard
bio_pic

Allison Holland is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series.

I have found a cute picture book series that stresses the unique factors in each of us. It’s called the Raspberry Sassafras series. With books titled Raspberry Sassafras, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am a Cow and Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow, it’s a series that brings back memories of other animal books like Curious George.

The author of the series, Allison Holland, has created a world where animals have secret abilities that humans never see. The main character, Jane, finds Raspberry Sassafras at a nearby farm on a family trip. Her family adopts the little cow, and that is where the fun begins.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasRaspberry Sassafras, the first picture book in the series, starts off with Jane and her family adopting Raspberry Sassafras from a local farm. They bring the little cow back to the city, and introduce her to her new apartment home and the big city. Jane teaches Raspberry Sassafras about how to adapt to her new surroundings and discovers a secret; Raspberry Sassafras can fly and even talk. Apparently, it’s what most cows do when humans aren’t around. The secret is kept by the family setting up the possible reveal in future books.

RS02_I_Am_A_Cow

The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The second picture book, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow, deals with Raspberry Sassafras learning to explore her neighborhood and to be accepted by the dogs at the dog park. After a visit to the park, Raspberry Sassafras finds hostility towards her, and soon a sign goes up banning all cows from the dog park. Jane convinces Raspberry Sassafras to face the dogs and their owners, and speak her truth about how she may be different, but still unique, and be allowed to play at the park. Her bravery to face her feelings and the people that were prejudice against her as a cow helps bring change to the park. Cows are officially allowed.

RS03_Fab_Flying_Cow

The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The third picture book in the series is called Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow. Raspberry Sassafras uses her ability to fly to save people from a burning building exposing her secret. Jane and Raspberry return home to find the media is trying to find her. The press is everywhere, and Raspberry Sassafras becomes famous. But fame doesn’t stop here, in fact, she embraces that she can teach others about herself and help people understand more about her differences. She finds herself on TV shows doing interviews and on magazine covers. This all helps her to realize she can finally be herself and not have to hide her real abilities anymore. In the end, Raspberry Sassafras can finally be the real cow she wants to be.

The Raspberry Sassafras series reminds me a lot of the old children’s stories involving Curious George. Raspberry Sassafras is a loveable character that children can relate to. All of the stories make great read-alouds for the classroom since they deal with different themes that can be discussed with a class. The stories all deal with several important themes such being unique, accepting your self, standing up for your feelings, and not hiding and being your true self. I can see this series being a valuable addition to any family’s bedtime collection, and I’m looking forward to seeing what new books will be added to the series.

For more information on Allison Holland, visit her website at: raspberrysassafras.com.

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow


Amazon.com: 
https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

 

Advertisements

February Author Spotlight: Interview with Allison Holland

Standard

bio_picFebruary Featured Author

I’m proud to introduce a fabulous writer. Allison Holland is a children’s picture book author that has left the 9-to-5 corporate world to write children’s books. Of course, her new bosses are brutally honest and a joy to work for. She is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series. In my exclusive interview with her, she reveals some inspirational authors from her childhood, memories of being an avid reader, and what it’s like in the new job she loves, writing for children.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

HeadAllisonBabyThat’s a tough one because I read voraciously as a child. I was like a little swarm of locusts devouring everything I could get my hands on. But the one thing that really stands out for me is when I was given Kay Thompson’s Eloise. Growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminism and the equal rights movement were undoubtedly in full-swing, but it didn’t seem to trickle down to little girls. We were expected to like dolls and tea sets and patent leather Mary Janes, and Girl Power was a concept on par with having phones you could carry around in your pocket. That is to say, it wasn’t even a consideration. But then Eloise came along, and unlike all the sweet, dainty little girls in my other books, she was a hot mess. Just like me. She was the first book character I could relate to, and I loved it. I loved her. That’s probably why I still have that book on my shelf today.

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

I think I was more drawn to a book’s characters than to its author. I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona for much the same reason I loved Eloise, but I don’t recall ever thinking, “I want to be a writer just like Beverly Cleary.” I liked Roald Dahl because he could be a bit dark and sometimes scary. I remember being a bit shaken up that James’ parents were killed in James and the Giant Peach. But, at the same time, it made the story much more interesting than all the typical fluff aimed at readers my age. But the first one that made me want to write like him was Shel Silverstein. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout was my absolute favorite, and I remember writing long, terrible poems trying to emulate Silverstein. I don’t write poetry anymore (you’re welcome, world) but I feel that I still carry his influence. From him, I learned that every word matters and using the wrong one is like playing the wrong note in a musical piece. It’s noticeable, it stands out, it disrupts the flow.

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

I don’t, actually. I’ll make notes and write down ideas, but I don’t sit down and write for a certain number of hours every day. I write in waves and gushes. When an idea hits me, it hits me all at once. I was driving to meet a friend when the inspiration for Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow struck, and by the time I arrived at my destination, I had the whole story figured out in my head. All I had to do was get it into my laptop when I got home. When I do write, when an idea blossoms in my brain, I can bang away at my computer for hours on end, editing, re-editing and tweaking it, first writing, and then endlessly tweaking it until I’ve taken care of all the sour notes.

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

I’ll definitely be writing more Raspberry Sassafras books … in fact, I’m pretty much done with the story for the fourth book, and I just need to crank out the illustrations. Which can take a while because I’m a terrible artist and I have to tweak my drawing far more than my writing. I want to cover essential things with Raspberry and Jane, things that matter to kids … bullying, being different, peer pressure, loneliness … but I never want to be heavy-handed. I hope that any message or lesson I’m trying to convey wafts gently into the child’s mind and easily sinks in. I never want my books to shout, “This is wrong!” or “This is scary!” Kids are smart, they can absorb a subtle message. I also want to break up the message-parade with some stories that are just for fun … Raspberry In Space, Raspberry Visits The Farm, Raspberry Confronts Her Irrational Fear Of Clowns … hahaha!

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing is the key to my identity, my self-confidence and, quite often, my sanity.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasAllison Holland’s Raspberry Sassafras picture books series has three darling picture books for children ages 4-9. The first in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, introduces the beloved cow Raspberry Sassafras as she moves from her farm to an apartment in the city. She learns to adapt teaching her friend to except her for who she is. The second book has Raspberry Sassafras exploring the city park, and her encounters with dogs. They learn that being different than others is okay. And in the third book in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, the Flying Cow, embraces her talent and shows it off to the world. All of these picture books can be purchased from Amazon.com and  Barnes and Noble.

For more information on Allison Holland and her other books, visit her website:

https://raspberrysassafras.com/

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

RS02_I_Am_A_Cow

The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

RS03_Fab_Flying_Cow

The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

***Stay tuned for a book review of the Raspberry Sassafras series in the next couple of days! Hit the button on the left, and follow my blog to be updated on all of the new and exciting Indie Authors in Children’s Books!

 

Picture Book Review: Elijah and the Key of Knowledge & Elijah and the City in Danger

Standard
ElijahKeyKnowledgeCvr

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge starts this fresh take on exploring reading skills.

I had the pleasure of reading Elijah and The Key of Knowledge for this June’s featured children’s book to get your summer reading started. The author, Zachariah Rippee, does a masterful job of pulling readers into the idea that reading gives you knowledge. In fact, the whole Elijah series is full of themes to get kids reading.

The series begins with the picture book, Elijah and The Key of Knowledge. This book starts out with Elijah as an adventurer like in the Indiana Jones movies. He takes his animal friends, ie Calvin and Hobbes, on an adventure with many obstacles blocking the way. He has to enlist the help of his friends to best the things thrown into his path. It all ends when he finally discovers the secret to the key of knowledge. You guessed it, reading.

elijahcitydanger

Elijah and the City in Danger is the second in the Elijah series.

The second book in the series I liked better than the first. It has Elijah now using his imagination to become a superhero in Elijah and The City in Danger. In this picture book, Elijah is now a masked hero charged with the safety of THE CITY. He must fight giant dinosaurs, robots and aliens to keep the City safe all while using his imagination, the biggest super power of all.

I really enjoyed the spontaneous joy in these two picture books. Mr. Rippee presents a fun, playful world in which a child uses his reading powers to create big adventures and be the star of his own imagination. The series would make a great read-aloud for teachers wanting to emphasis reading skills, and parents wanting to motivate their little ones to read. The Elijah series would be a great way to start off your summer reading as well.

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Elijah and the City in Danger is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

-Tiffany Turner

Head writer and editor of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection

*Tiffany Turner is the head writer and editor for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection and author of her own middle grade children’s fantasy adventure series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has taught elementary students the love of reading and writing for 18 years, and currently has moved to writing full time. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and cat. The cat, of course, is the center of attention.

 

 

Update: The Lost Secret of Time is Coming!

Standard
Tiffany Turner in the hospital ICU Dec. 2014

Tiffany Turner in the hospital ICU Dec. 2014

Greetings Crystal Keeper Fans! I’ve been rejuvenating my efforts to get back into the swing of writing. As always, life has thrown some curves at me. And they were some pretty big curves. There were a lot of changes in education, namely the Common Core, that has made it difficult for me to keep up with all my writing and still give all my efforts in teaching. Transitions are really hard in education, and this has been the worst and most difficult that I’ve seen in my career.

Then, I got blindsided by illness in December 2014. I got pneumonia and ended up in the hospital. While there, I went into Code Blue and cardiac arrest. Basically, I almost died, and the doctors were trying everything to help me pull through. I also had the complication of septic shock and the discovery of a heart blood clot. So, it was discovered that I have cardiomyopathy, a heart failure condition where my heart isn’t pumping enough blood to the rest of my body.

My monitors in the hospital.

My monitors in the hospital.

This has made it difficult for me to do much else but get better. I’ve been on medical leave from teaching, and I’m taking a year of absence to get my health back. The bonus of all the health issues is that as I start to feel better, I can start writing again.

So, over the next year, I’ll be working on The LOST SECRET OF TIME and finishing the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. I’ve always intended on doing so. But sometimes life just throws you a curve ball, and you have to adapt, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep going.

Resting in my hospital bed Dec. 2014.

Resting in my hospital bed Dec. 2014.

All the encouragement is always helpful and appreciated. I’ve got a start on THE LOST SECRET OF TIME, and signed up for Camp NANO in April to make progress on the book. Things are underway, and I’ll be sure to give you updates as I move through the process. As for now, I’ll be continuing with featuring more Indie Authors once a month, and will try to get back into doing Indie writing posts to help out other authors.

So, hug your parents, kids, and pets. Positive thoughts can do so much. You just never know what path will lay before you. And with writing, everyone is on a different writing journey. I’m glad to be sharing mine with you.

Take care!-Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

Author Spotlight Book Review: E.S. Pete Sixth Grade Sense

Standard
E.S. Pete is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

E.S. Pete is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This month’s author spotlight review is on E.S. Pete Sixth Grade Sense by Arnold Rudnick. I always like a good story with a psychic twist. Pete, like other boys, wants to be normal. But has a strange twist to life; he can read minds. Most of us would love to have this super power. For Pete, sometimes it’s a curse. Like being able to read the mind of a teacher that is going to rob the school and no one believes him. Sometimes he wishes he couldn’t do what he could. Factor in his crush on his friend Casey, and you got a recipe for a mystery adventure.

This middle grade novel is a cross between Encyclopedia Brown and the Mentalist, except with a school boy crush in the middle. Unlike Encyclopedia, Pete has fallen for his sidekick or at least she becomes his sidekick in the first of what proves to be an interesting series. From trying to save the day to going on a field trip as bait for the robbery, Pete is the unsung hero. He has to believe that he is right even with the ability to read people’s minds. He still has doubts on whether he should use the information or not. It often gets him in trouble.

I liked this twist of fate. What would happen if you could read minds? Rudnick digs deep into this dilemma giving Pete that morality of good vs. evil that is often missing from today’s literature for children. With the basics of a good ole’ fashion mystery, ESPete: Sixth Grade Sense will charm any child reader into believing that reading minds isn’t easy, and having super powers means you have to still be like everyone else. I think they’ll relate to Pete on an everyday level and enjoy the idea that reading minds wouldn’t be easy. I recommend for children that enjoy a good mystery series that might enjoy fantasy or paranormal twists.

Rating: Four Stars  ****

ISBN: 0981587909

Publisher: Paraphrase, LLC

****Available on: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

FB Fan Page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ES-Pete-Sixth-Grade-Sense/239256356097969

ARNOLD RUDNICK has written for many television shows, including THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.

Author Website: http://espete.com

Follow on

Twitter: arnoldrudnick

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/arnold.rudnick

May Author Spotlight: Arnold Rudnick

Standard

WOI Banner for Arnold Rudnick April 2015 webI’d like to introduce you to a new feature here on the Indie Children’s Connection. Each month, I’ll be featuring a new Indie Children’s Author with links to their books and a spotlight, book review, and author interview or giveaway.

We’re starting off May with a feature on Arnold Rudnick. He writes several different types of books including middle grade novels and picture books. His books have a new twist on different genres. He fills his books with realistic characters that are easy to relate to. Often, they have some unique obstacle they have to face.

Little Green coverArnold Rudnick has a gift for creating fascinating stories to challenge children toward self-improvement and self esteem. In LITTLE GREEN he introduces a little green frog (beautifully realized by illustrator Marcelo Goreman) who has big dreams to be special.

ISBN: 0981587976

Publisher Paraphrase, LLC

​E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense is about the perils of a paranormal preteen.

Pete knew there would be a lot more homework in Sixth Grade, but he didn’t plan on the reading list including the minds of his teachers and classmates. Knowing what they think can be helpful sometimes, but it also gets complicated — ESPecially when Pete thinks the substitute teacher is planning a big robbery.espetecvr

ISBN: 0981587909

Publisher: Paraphrase, LLC

 ARNOLD RUDNICK has written for many television shows, including THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.

Author Website: http://isntitpossible.com and http://espete.com

Follow on

Twitter @isntitpossible or arnoldrudnick

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/arnold.rudnick

FB Fan Pages:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Green/367225250007330

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ES-Pete-Sixth-Grade-Sense/239256356097969

World of Ink Virtual Tour http://www.worldofinknetwork.com/arnold-rudnick-april-15.html

***Stay tuned this week for Author Interview and Book Review of E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense.