Tag Archives: children’s book

Interview with Yolanda Avery

authorphoto Yolanda Avery

Yolanda Avery is the author of the book “The Adventures of Granny Fannie”.

I hope you are staying safe with your family, and have started a routine for your quarantine life if you’re area or state is in lockdown. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, I can find some more fabulous books and authors to interview along with more tips for distance learning. I’m proud to lend my 20 years of teaching experience to help out the parents finding themselves teachers all of a sudden during this pandemic crisis. I’ll try my best to support you.

This brings me to my next author I’d like to introduce to you. Yolanda Avery grew up in Louisiana with the dream to run her own business and to make a difference. She has been a screenwriter, writer and business entrepreneur. Her book, The Adventures of Granny Fannie, creates a unique, inspirational character that uses her rhyming conversations to inspire others during her adventures. I had the chance to talk with Yolanda about her memories of reading as a child, what authors influenced her and what writing means to her.

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

Yolanda Avery: My favorite memory from reading was from my dad. I can remember when I was about 6 or 7 years of old. My dad woke me up early in the morning, and he had prepared a tea party for the two of us. He had placed all of my stuffed animal friends around this white table I had in my room. It was during the holiday season because I remember that was my first taste of eggnog. He had all the cups at the table filled with this tasty beverage and chocolate chip cookies on each saucier.

Then he pulled out one of my favorite books. Of course, it was the book of nursery rhymes. The book was filled with so many of my favorite short stories. We spent hours at the table drinking and reading from my favorite nursery rhymes stories. This is a memory that I continue to share with my family.

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

Yolanda Avery: Beatrix Potter was my favorite children’s author. As a child, I can remember dreaming that I lived in an imaginative world creating fantasies out of many daily tales. My mind often wondered in a world of “what if”. I love how her stories of Peter Rabbit seemed so real to me.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Yolanda Avery:
Writing to me is exhilarating!

granniefannycvrThe Adventures of Granny Fannie is a collection of short stories involving a grandmother character called Granny Fannie. Each story includes inspirational adventures all told through the enjoyment of rhyme. Granny Fannie will bring a hip and fresh look into many educational and life lessons told through the point of view of her unique personality.

The Adventures of Granny Fannie is available at: Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

For more information on Yolanda Avery, please visit her website at: https://yolandacavery.com/.



Day 5: Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study & other home schooling resources


Study Questions for Chapters 7-8

Greetings everyone! Hope you had a safe and healthy weekend. As more of the US hunkers down and isolates, I’m hoping this will help keep the education of your little ones at home going through the next few weeks. And of course, after all this is over, teachers and parents are still welcomed to use this for educational studies.

First off, I’d like to offer the next set of study questions for The Lost Secret of Fairies novel study. Hopefully, your child is writing down notes and details as they read each chapter in their journal. They can go back and look at the notes they took to answer the questions.

summer1Study Questions for Chapters 7-8:

  1. Summarize the story so far. Pretend you are talking to a friend and describing the story to them. Include who the characters are, setting, main problem, and plot events so far.
  2. Why does Wands tell Jessica she’s going to build a pond in the backyard?
  3. How do the fairies help her escape and get the water?
  4. Was it worth getting into trouble for the spring water? Support your answer with details from the story.
  5. Why do you think Wanda stopped to face her fears?

Bonus: Have you ever had a time where you have had to face your fears?

I’m also including a vocabulary building worksheet. As your child has been reading the story, they’ve been writing down words they don’t know into the area at the bottom of the journal entry sheet. They can now go back to those entries, and pick three words that they don’t know to look up in the dictionary. The following worksheet can be downloaded and printed out for them to fill in the words. Then, they look up the word usage and meaning from the dictionary. They can do this activity every 3 chapters.

Lost Secret Fairies Definition Fill-In WS

Tomorrow, I’ll have another blog post activity that will relate to Legends and Fairy Tales. This is a standard for many lower grades, including fourth and third grade. It’s also a great review for the upper graders, and ties into their prior knowledge.

Until then, remember stay safe and healthy! We’ll get through this together!

-Tiffany Turner

(Mrs. Turner)

Interview with Mark Even

Mark Even PIC

Mark Even is the author of the children’s book, “The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol”.

As we move into a time where many schools are taking early Spring breaks or closing for 3 weeks for protection against spreading the corona virus, I’ll be helping out with recommendations, interviews, and my own lesson plans for parents during this time. I know it’s hard to find activities and lessons for your child. So, I’ll be featuring author interviews, book deals, and other ideas to help with this interim.

I’m starting out with an interview with a fabulous children’s fantasy author, Mark Even. Mr. Even lives in Minnesota, and worked for IBM for thirty-seven years. After he retired, he got the idea to write a children’s book from a local children’s book fair. Combining his love of comic books, superheroes, science fiction and Harry Potter, he created the book “The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol”. Written for his granddaughter’s and all children’s enjoyment, it’s a children’s fantasy with dragons, wizards and a magical parasol with special powers. I got a chance to talk to Mark Even about his childhood reading memories, writing routine, and what he plans for future projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?
Mark Even: The first real book that I read was a biography about Babe Ruth. I was really into baseball as a kid (still am) and played through college and even after college. And I was also a big fan of baseball. But as a kid, I also remember how the nuns at the school would bring TVs into the classroom for the World Series since there were very few night games back then. Baseball was a big part of my life and that book sticks in my mind as part of that whole passion.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Mark Even: To be totally honest, Stan Lee is my favorite author. During my teens (even through college), about all I could afford for entertainment were comic books. I found the whole Marvel Comics Universe so interesting and creative. And now, technology has caught up and these stories can be told in films. But I think the whole creativity of making impossible things seem real and natural while working in stories of family and relationships along with the battles of good vs evil — this is what I strive to portray in my stories as well.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Mark Even: First I start forming a plot in my head and then even “write” chapters or sections in my head as well. This will go on for weeks — keeps me awake most of the nights thinking through plot lines and dialogue. Next, I jot down the major plot points in a notebook and various particular items, like a name of a character or the distance between Earth and Mars, so I don’t forget these or have to look them up again. Finally, I’ll sit down and just start writing on the computer. Probably just a chapter at a time, but I often go back and rewrite or enhance the writing with new items or plot points that tie to the next chapter.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Mark Even: I’m pretty much set on developing more stories about magical persons and creatures.

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Mark Even: Being retired, writing (or more accurately, making up stories), is one of my favorite pastimes!

WPP pic (2)“The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol” is a children’s fantasy adventure that brings to mind Harry Potter, superheroes and every day kids with a magical purpose. Two cousins find a magical parasol that unlocks a world to discover their magical heritage. Mistakenly releasing an evil magician leads to the cousins working together to save their wizard ancestor, the parasol, and their families. This is a magical adventure that children from upper grade elementary to middle school will enjoy.

“The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol” is available at: Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

For more information, visit Mark Even’s Amazon Author Page at: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Mark-M-Even/e/B082HYFKXP.


Interview with Loretta Sponsler


Spring is just around the corner, and the great outdoors will be calling people out for travel, camping and adventuring in an RV. I have found the perfect picture book to introduce your child to the camping experience and get them ready for their next family adventure. Loretta Sponsler is a mother of three boys. She enjoys RV camping with her family. When she looked for a book about RV camping for her kids, she couldn’t find one. So, she wrote “The Tent Mouse and the RV Mouse”. It is a modern twist on the old Aesop’s Fable. I had a chance to talk to Loretta about her memories of reading as a kid and why she enjoys writing for children.

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

Loretta Sponsler: My favorite books as a child were the collections by Shel Silverstein. I loved his wacky take on things, the rhythm of his words, and his illustrations. Such talent! I was hooked as a child.

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

Loretta Sponsler: I love to write about camping, where my family connects with nature and with one another. We explore and learn in the great outdoors. We roast marshmallows over a campfire and tell stories and sing songs. Camping (and nature in general) offers endless subject areas for books. My hope is that I create books that both children and adults will love.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Loretta Sponsler:
As a mom to three busy boys, a routine is sometimes hard to find. However, I try to commit to sitting at my desk and just writing for a chunk of time at least four days a week. I aim for three-hour blocks of uninterrupted time. There are always millions of distractions and side projects that draw my time, so that focused-writing time is valuable.

Sponsler eBook Cover“The Tent Mouse and the RV Mouse” is a contemporary take on the old Aesop’s fable, The Country Mouse and City Mouse. While Thomas Tent-Mouse loves to camp in his tent where he feels connected to nature, his cousin Harvey RV-Mouse loves to camp in his RV where he feels safe. Together, they go on adventures and share their love of the outdoors while respecting the differences that make them unique.

The Tent Mouse and The RV Mouse is available at: Amazon.com.

For more information, visit Loretta Sponsler’s website at: https://kidscampingbooks.com/.





Interview with L.M. Dunn


With all the hoopla of Halloween over, you might be looking for a sweet book to read to your little one at night. I’ve found a nice, cuddly dog picture book for you called George Loves A Stick. I had a chance to interview the author L.M. Dunn about her childhood memories, writing process, and what she has in story for us.

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

L.M. Dunn: How To Eat Fried Worms was my favorite book as a kid.

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

L.M. Dunn: I write by hand on paper, then type the first draft on the computer, print and edit by hand. Then do it again until it’s right.

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

L.M. Dunn: I’ll be writing more children’s books as well as adult sci fi, thriller, spiritual, et al. Writing is my passion.

GeorgeLovesStickcvrGeorge Loves A Stick is a darling picture book involving a dog and his stick. It takes you on an adventure of what a dog will experience in a day as he roams around, plays with other dogs, explores, and makes friend with his favorite stick. But when he gets in a tug of war with his brother over the stick, which will win?

This delightful picture book will make a great addition to any child’s library that loves dogs.

George Loves A Stick is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.com.br.

Interview with Tom Murdoch


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

Carey Azzara Bio Pic

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:






Interview with Cody L Clark


Fall is a beautiful time of year to read a book with your young one, or enjoy some quality time at bedtime. Here is a newly discovered children’s author I’d like to introduce you to for these longer night reads. Cody L Clark grew up in a small North Carolina town. His imagination was active as a child, and it just never stopped. It helped him create a story about his two dogs that were adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society.

Lucky Dogs Shake Paws is based on the meeting of two dogs from different backgrounds. Cody L Clark tells a story of two dogs learning to get along in a new home. I had a chance to talk to him about his writing, inspirations, and what he has in store for us.

1) Why do you enjoy writing?
Cody L Clark:
Writing allows me to create my own adventure by using my imagination. Writing also allows me to share the adventure with others. To sum it up, I enjoy writing because it gives me the freedom to create a story with my imagination and share it with people.

2) What inspiration sparked the story Lucky Dogs: Shake Paws?
Cody L Clark: My two dogs are the inspiration behind the story; Ruby and Juliet. When the dogs first moved in together, uncertainty was clear, but over time they have become best friends.

3) What is the moral of the story?
Cody L Clark: Acceptance. The story is about accepting others and their differences.

4) Why did you choose to name the town Dogwood?
Cody L Clark: Being from North Carolina, I decided Dogwood was fitting since that is the state tree.

5) Will Lucky Dogs be a standalone book or do you see this become a series?
Cody L Clark: I plan to make it a series. The characters are a lot of fun.

PawsCoverMayor Ruby has a problem in Dogwood. It’s the quietest and most peaceful place on Earth. But when a new dog arrives into town, the new hound, Wiley, creates uproar. Will Mayor Ruby find a way to keep the peace in Dogwood without upsetting the new resident?

Lucky Dogs Shake Paws is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles.com.



Day 3 of the 2019 Back to School Blog Tour

book at powers1

Lisa Parkes is the author of the children’s book Stuck Between Two Worlds.

Welcome to third day of the Back to School Blog Tour for 2019. I’d like to introduce you to our featured author for the blog tour today. Lisa Parkes is an extraordinary author. She is an author and life coach that helps children deal with their trauma. With many years of training, she has helping children through PTSD, anxiety and depression. With many challenges as a child, Lisa Parkes has used her experience and training to create a story that will help and inspire children going through a similar crisis. Her book, Stuck Between Two Worlds, explores the ways to help heal from childhood trauma while incorporating the love of fantasy and magic, and escaping into another world. I had the chance to talk to Lisa about her childhood memories of reading, growing up, advice for aspiring writers, and what she has in store for us with future projects.

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

Lisa Parkes: I remember relaxing rainy days where we couldn’t go outside. I would sit in my playroom or lie on my bed and read. I could literally dive into a book and lose myself for the whole day. It was my idea of heaven and even now – all these years later- I love a rainy Sunday.

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

Lisa Parkes: I loved Enid Blyton. In her book, The Enchanted Wood, she created other worlds to explore at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree. She helped me see that my imagination was limitless and gave me some respite from a noisy world. I realized I could go anywhere in my mind and nobody could find me there. It was my most private place and I was happy there.

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

Lisa Parkes: I love to write to music. Music is energizing and uplifting. I’m better writing early in the day. When I wake up my brain is full of ideas. I’m inspired by my work and by things I observe in daily life. I usually make notes in my phone if something happens or I see something that moves me or teaches me something. I like to write in a journal most days by hand. But when I’m writing a book or a podcast episode, I just sit down at my laptop and let my fingers do the talking. I write unedited and from my heart. I think about what I want to say, not what other people will want to hear. Then go back after a cup of tea and tweak it.

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

Lisa Parkes: I would like to write more about how we treat children and what they need to grow up feeling happy and healthy. I would also like to write more for the child who feels like they don’t belong or who feels alone or different.

hannah guest

  • What is your favorite memory growing up? 

Lisa Parkes: Going on holiday – stepping out of the daily routine and visiting somewhere new. I love the sea, ice cream, swimming and reading in the shady spots. I was lucky as a kid, in that I went to Disney a few times and I fell in love with the magic of the place. I can remember having my picture taken with the Minnie and Mickey. The highlight was watching the electrical light parade on Main Street and telling my Mum that I wanted to be a Disney dancer. That or a dolphin trainer. I loved swimming and dancing. I still do!

6) What inspired you to become a life coach and then children coach? 

Lisa Parkes: It wasn’t a path I chose – it chose me! In my personal life I had a lot of therapy to heal from childhood trauma which manifested as PTSD, anxiety and depression. As a life long learner and avid reader, I then began to study everything I could get my hands on. It was a long and painful process and lonely at times. I wanted to make a future contribution to break the cycle and for there to be less hurt children in the world.

  • What gave you the idea to write “Stuck Between Two Worlds”? 

Lisa Parkes: I didn’t know how, but I had the idea to write a book that would incorporate my childhood and my work with children in a way that could be understood on different levels. I think I have done that with the magic and the wonder of The Wilderness – a free place for children to follow their hearts, and Nettie the fairy mentor who is playing the role of the ‘good enough’ parent. Luckily for me, once I started to write it all fell out on the page easily.

  •  What would be some advice you could give to aspiring younger authors? 

Lisa Parkes: To write as often as you are able to. Find ways to make writing part of your daily routine – journaling is good for that. Don’t edit yourself. Write what is in your heart, not what you think people want to hear. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth and what is right for you. It’s your story, your words and it is unique to you. Write from your own real life experiences and the places you go to in your imagination. 

  • What is it you love the best about being a children’s author?

Lisa Parkes: This is my first book and I find it hard to wrap my head around that word! I’m excited that I can reach more people with my work and do it in a way that is enjoyable. Learning about ourselves and the world we live in should be fun. I like to think that my book would keep the reader company during those times when they felt lonely or disappointed by life.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Lisa Parkes: Writing gives me the freedom to express my inner world, and share that with other like-minded souls.

B2W Final Front CoverStuck Between Two Worlds is a fantasy children’s book that helps many school-aged children learn to deal with those negative and scary feelings like low self-esteem and anxiety. Firecracker Ruby was in trouble again. Crying in her room seemed to be the only way she could express herself until she had a fairy friend visit her. Nettie takes Ruby to the world of the Wilderness where she learns that she is a “wildheart”, a strong-willed child with a sensitive soul. Ruby learns how to use her wildheart powers for good, to shrink her worries and master her fears while dealing with life’s lessons. This story will touch any child that needs inspiration to be themselves and inspire self confidence. This heart-warming story will bring them into a world where they learn they may be a wildheart too.

Stuck Between Two Worlds is available as a Kindle or paperback edition at Amazon.com.

For more information on Lisa Parkes, please visit her website at: http://www.smileyforlife.com/book.

To enter the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway, please link to the Rafflecopter Giveaway HERE! Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card to add to your Back to School Library at home or in the classroom.

remember-9-11I’d like to close today’s entry with a moment of remembrance for all those lost 18 years ago today on Sept. 11, 2001. Never forgotten!



Day 2 of the 2019 Back to School Blog Tour


Vijaya Bodach is author of the novel, Bound.

Welcome back to DAY TWO of the Seventh Annual Back to School Blog Tour. I’d like to introduce you to today’s featured author: Vijaya Bodach. She is a scientist as well as a children’s writer that has recently started publishing her own books as Bodach Books. She has written over 60 children’s books, including Ten Easter Eggs, along with magazine articles, stories and poems. Bound is her first novel. I had the chance to ask Vijaya about her childhood reading memories, what inspires her, and what future projects she has planned.

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

Vijaya Bodach: I remember learning to read on my own at the age of six and how it opened the world for me. I no longer had to ask anybody to read me a story. I loved the freedom it gave me to read as many books as I could on our regular trips to the library and then picking out four books of my own to bring home for a month.

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

Vijaya Bodach: My favorite author was Enid Blyton when I was young. She wrote imaginative tales of animals—I loved how Brer Rabbit always outsmarted the other bigger animals. She also wrote realistic boarding school and adventure stories. It was pure entertainment always filled with interesting tidbits of information. It reminds me always that what matters most is a good story.

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

Vijaya Bodach: I began writing when I became a mother so I was a night-time writer for a few years until the children started school. I’d steal a few minutes at the kitchen counter during the day to jot down thoughts and ideas and those 10-20 min added up. Once I got the children off to school, I’d get to my writing after doing morning chores. I got a couple of good 90-min blocks to write most days. I’d write a bit after supper and on the weekends if I had deadlines to meet. My husband was very supportive by taking care of the children. My kids are grown and away at college now, but I suspect I’ll stick to the school routine.

One thing I did from the beginning was to reserve one day per week for the business aspects—querying, submitting, researching magazines and book publishers. I need to start doing this again. It’s so easy to get lost in your own world and neglect the business aspects in writing.

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

Vijaya Bodach: I have several picture book biographies I want to write but my characters from BOUND are again talking in my head. So, I need to pay attention to them first. Their lives have been percolating for over a year.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Vijaya Bodach: Writing allows me to think more deeply about the questions that haunt me.

vidjaya cover bookSeventeen-year-old Rebecca Joshi, an adopted girl from India, burn survivor, and primary caretaker of her intellectually disabled sister, Joy, has the one dream to be a physician. Her traditional Indian father relies upon Rebecca to care for Joy while he buries himself in work to drown his grief over his wife’s death. Leaving home is the only way Rebecca can envision reaching her goal.

She helps Joy develop greater independence, and is devastated when Joy becomes pregnant. Rebecca tussles–with her father and with herself–over who is responsible for Joy and her baby. When Rebecca discovers the truth of what happened the day she was burned, she struggles to hold onto her dream while wrestling with questions of life, love, and responsibility.

This will make a great YA book for any high school classroom. Great gift for the beginning of school.

Bound is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

For more information on the author, Vijaya Bodach, please visit her website/blog at:


back2schoolbanner2019Plus, for a chance to enter and win a $25 Amazon Gift Card for visiting during the Back to School Blog Tour, please visit the Rafflecopter giveaway link below. Winner will be announced Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.


**Come back tomorrow for another featured Indie Children’s Author!