Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Children's Picture Book New Releases

Picture Book New Releases
i'm a gnomeI’m a Gnome! by Jessica Peill-Meininghaus (Author), Poly Bernatene (Illustrator)
Join Gnome (that’s spelled G-N-O-M-E–don’t ask why the G is silent!) as he travels through the magical forest to attend the annual Gnome Festival.
Along the way he encounters elves, dwarves, trolls, and fairies. But don’t be mistaken. He is NOTHING like those magical creatures. Well, maybe he is . . . but only a little bit!
When Gnome finally arrives at the festival, he realizes that all the traits he thought made gnomes different from the others actually made them alike–and that’s just fine.
common threadsCommon Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market by Huda Essa (Author), Mercè Tous (Illustrator)
Adam and his family spend an exciting day at the colorful and bustling Eastern Market. But when Adam gets briefly separated from Mom and Dad, he mistakes a friendly, diverse cast of characters for his parents in their traditional Muslim clothing–and shows that we all have more in common than you might think. This nearly-wordless picture book celebrates diversity and community in vibrant, dynamic art.
as warm as the sunAs Warm As the Sun by Kate McMullan (Author), Jim McMullan (Illustrator)
French bulldogs Toby and Pinkie learn to live together and form a heartwarming friendship.
Toby loves basking in the morning sun, snuggling in a lap in the afternoon, and toasting his tummy by the fireside at night, but somehow his warm spots never last. What Toby wants more than anything is to find something as warm as the sun that never fades or fizzles.
Then one day, Pinkie comes along, and she starts hogging all of Toby’s favorite places. Toby feels alone and forgotten, and slinks away. . . but Pinkie follows him, determined to prove that she is the something as warm as the sun Toby has been looking for all along.
if I built a schoolIf I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen (Author, Illustrator)
If Jack built a school, there would be hover desks and pop-up textbooks, skydiving wind tunnels and a trampoline basketball court in the gym, a robo-chef to serve lunch in the cafeteria, field trips to Mars, and a whole lot more. The inventive boy who described his ideal car and house in previous books is dreaming even bigger this time.
riding a donkey backwardsRiding a Donkey Backwards: Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin by Sean Taylor (Author), Khayaal Theatre Company (Author), Shirin Adl (Illustrator)
Would you like to know how a thief can turn into a donkey? Whether a cow can climb a pole? Or why you should spoon yogurt into a lake? Mulla Nasruddin knows all the answers, and he might also tell you why he rides his donkey backwards. Whether in the guise of an imam in a mosque or a beggar in the street, this trickster is never at a loss for a rejoinder, though it may leave you scratching your head, rolling your eyes, or laughing out loud. Enjoy twenty-one classic tales about a much-loved character from Muslim cultures in a book packed with jokes, riddles, and wisdom and paired with vibrant, theatrical illustrations.
why by seegerWhy? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Author, Illustrator)
Bear just wants to water his flowers, but Rabbit needs to know: why? Bear is looking forward to a peaceful night of stargazing, but all Rabbit cares about is: why?
As the two friends spend time together through spring, summer, and into fall, Rabbit persistently and simply asks Bear why, encouraging the reader to figure out for themselves the reason for each question that Bear patiently answers, over and over again. . . until there’s a question that he has no answer for.
duck!DUCK! by Meg McKinlay (Author), Nathaniel Eckstrom (Illustrator)
In this funny nod to Chicken Little, a quiet afternoon on the farm might be the scene of a barnyard disaster waiting to happen.
When Duck runs around the farm shouting “DUCK!” to the other animals, they grow exasperated as they haughtily explain to Duck which animal is which. Unfortunately, something is falling from the sky. But perhaps “DUCK!” isn’t the best warning. Perhaps what Duck should have said is . . . “RUN!”
arnica the duck princessArnica, the Duck Princess by Ervin Lazar (Author), Jacqueline Molnar (Illustrator), Anna Bentley (Translator)
Princess Arnica is so sweet and gentle that when she smiles even wolves and bears forget their fierceness. Everyone loves her, but she loves only Poor Johnny. Luckily, he loves her too, and even more luckily she has a very sensible king for a father, who is happy for her to marry whomever her heart desires. So, no problems then?
Well, maybe just one – The Witch with a Hundred Faces has cast a spell on Arnica and Johnny which means that one of them, at any one time, must always be a duck, and the other human! Who can help them? Only the Seven-headed Fairy. Will they be able to find her? You’ll just have to read the book and find out!
spot & dotSpot & Dot by Henry Cole (Author, Illustrator)
In Henry Cole’s vivid wordless picture book Spot, the Cat, readers joined Spot on a journey through a city that began with him following a bird outside his window.
This time, a dog named Dot draws Spot from his window. As we follow Spot and Dot on their wordless journey, we quickly realize that it’s Dot the dog who is missing this time, and Spot is trying to get her back home. We follow these two on a different journey through the city as they weave in and out of a bakery, a library, a busy park, and more. And with a surprise twist at the end, we realize that “home” for both cat and dog was never very far away.
Info from BookRiot.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Interview with Children's Book Author Anne Kaufmann


Anne Kaufmann is both the illustrator and author of the Pippin and Nigel adventure series for young children. She is the also the author of “Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude.” Anne is a former teacher librarian. She studied English Literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. Her passions include music, books, animals and creating nature journals. She has shared her life with dogs, horses, cats and birds.A nature lover, she spends many hours exploring the forests north of her home and walking her dogs, Indy, Maya and Pippin. She loves spending time with her horse, Aria. Some of her favourite childhood memories include summers at her cottage on Lake Simcoe, settling back on the family couch reading while listening to her dad’s weekly String Quartet group, playing with her dogs and wishing for a horse. She is currently working on the third book of the Pippin and Nigel Adventure series and  a historical fiction novel on the great Canadian horse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for this interview, Anne.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

I was an elementary teacher and then a teacher librarian for many years. I loved reading to the children. I was as excited about the delightful stories as they were. There always seemed to be something I could relate to as well. Children loved asking questions about the stories, characters and illustrations. There were lively discussions and many times their answers were insightful, at times, funny and always honest. Many of these books captured the children's imagination and encouraged them to work through their own thoughts and feelings.  

The children's books caught my youthful fancy too. They frequently ushered me back to my childhood and the precious story hours with my grandmother. I was struck by the reading 'bug' that continued all my life. So when I decided to write, I was drawn to children's literature.


What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, That'll Do Pippin?

Dogs have constantly been in my life and by my side. They were my playmates and my confidants. There were many dogs in my neighbourhood. Every close childhood friend included a dog. Whether it was a baseball game, a soccer game, an imaginary made up story to act, a bike ride or a skating party our dogs were with us.

I have had many wonderful dog breeds sharing my life, but have always been consistently drawn to the Border Collie's charisma. They are smart, playful, wise and a "take charge" kind of dog.

Pippin is my dog. He came from a working farm. When he was a pup, he was a most comical, gentle boy and he looked like a little cartoon character. His brother Nigel was the leader of the litter, who took command of any playtime. He now happily lives in the United States, excelling in the dog sport, Agility. Pippin and Nigel are delightful but distinctive and unique personalities. I thought they might be two appealing characters for a children's book. 

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

 Many children went through my school library. I would have story times and book studies with at least four to five classes a day (about 200 students). The children loved discussing the books and asking questions. They seemed to believe in the characters and their stories and feelings. Reading and working on book projects were for me a rewarding time and enabled me experience the books through the eyes of the children.
I suppose I am a kid at heart. I still love children's stories, picture books and novels.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I didn't have one favourite book. When I was four years, a book called The Penny Puppy was a daily request. I heard it so many times that I knew the whole story word for word. Naturally, the next new dog/animal story was often my favourite.
In later years, I loved the Anne of Green Gables series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Wind in the Willows and Black Beauty. I enjoyed mysteries (even adult ones, particularly Agatha Christie). Farley Mowat's books, especially The Dog Who Wouldn't Be touched my heart.  

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

 Have fun! Stretch your imagination! Familiarity with your subject taps into your own experiences and emotions. Even if the story sounds impractical, just go for it. Children are clever. They love reading about the impossible becoming possible. They embrace unlikely heroes. They want to believe in the characters and their journeys.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I wrote a Junior level children's non-fiction book, Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude before the Pippin books.

 A second book for the That'll Do Pup series, Pippin and Nigel's Christmas Adventure, was published around the same time as That'll Do Pippin. I am working on a third That'll Do Pup book.

I am on final revisions of a historical fiction book, Northern Dancer: A Stable Girl's Journey for YA on the great Canadian racehorse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer.

About the Book:



Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his brother Nigel. Nigel is brave. Nigel is strong. Nigel is smart. One day, the puppies escape from their yard into the woods where they experience many adventures. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous problem all by himself and learns that it is okay just to be Pippin.
This story teaches young children the importance of believing in themselves and that they each have their own wonderful gifts and abilities.

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Book Review: Drewsilla The Shelter Puppy by Karen Carew Oakes

Title: DREWSILLA THE SHELTER PUPPY
Author: Karen Carew Oakes
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Pages: 22
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
When Drewsilla and her siblings are tiny puppies, an accident steals their mother away. A kind stranger rescues them and takes them to a shelter, where the staff works around the clock to care for the pack of newborns. Soon, her brothers and sisters begin to thrive. Drewsilla has a beautiful black coat, intelligent eyes, and ears that stand straight up.

Drewsilla, though, is scared. She seems afraid of everyone and everything and hides in the back of her cage when families come to visit. As her friendly siblings each get adopted, lonely Drewsilla remains. The staff even worries that she might never find a home. Then, one day, something amazing happens.

The Johnsons come to the shelter to look at another dog and see Drewsilla, who miraculously finds the courage to stop hiding and say hello. All shelter dogs deserve the chance to find a loving family, and this is the true story of Drewsilla — how she overcomes her fears, finds her family, and gets a second chance at a happy life.

Book Review:

I absolutely loved this book. This is the story of Drewsilla, a poor little pup who, along with her sibling pups, ended up at a shelter. When people would come up to the pups, Drewsilla shrank away into a corner, scared and confused. When she finally worked up the nerve to come out, a family saw her and fell in love with her. Then, they left. Drewsilla didn't know what to do. She finally worked up the courage to get over her fear of humans and it didn't work. Or so she thought. 

I won't give away any of the story, but what a delightful book. Children not only would enjoy the story, but learn important lessons and that, in my book, makes this book a winner.

I would gladly recommend this book and give it 5 rainbows.




Drewsilla, The Shelter Puppy is available at Amazon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Interview with Children's Book Author Karen Carew Oakes


Karen Carew Oakes, has been writing for many years and her articles have been included in the Lutheran Advent, as well as an article in several magazines. She is a mother and grandmother. She lives in Helotes, Texas with her two schnauzers Ella and Mackenzie. Her stories are based on true experiences her children encountered growing up.

Visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/karencarewoakes.  



About the Book:

Title: DREWSILLA THE SHELTER PUPPY
Author: Karen Carew Oakes
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Pages: 22
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

BOOK BLURB:
When Drewsilla and her siblings are tiny puppies, an accident steals their mother away. A kind stranger rescues them and takes them to a shelter, where the staff works around the clock to care for the pack of newborns. Soon, her brothers and sisters begin to thrive. Drewsilla has a beautiful black coat, intelligent eyes, and ears that stand straight up.

Drewsilla, though, is scared. She seems afraid of everyone and everything and hides in the back of her cage when families come to visit. As her friendly siblings each get adopted, lonely Drewsilla remains. The staff even worries that she might never find a home. Then, one day, something amazing happens.
The Johnsons come to the shelter to look at another dog and see Drewsilla, who miraculously finds the courage to stop hiding and say hello. All shelter dogs deserve the chance to find a loving family, and this is the true story of Drewsilla -- how she overcomes her fears, finds her family, and gets a second chance at a happy life.

ORDER YOUR COPY:


Thanks for this interview, Karen.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

Actually, I have been writing all of my life. As a kid I would write alternate story lines for books and comics I read.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Drewsilla the Shelter Puppy?

Drewsilla the Shelter Puppy, was inspired by Drewsillas adoption by my daughter and son inlaw.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

Everyone likes a story with a happy ending. Drewsilla was a very shy withdrawn puppy because of the way she was found. She was very tramatized and the shelter was not sure if she would find a home. She chose my daughter and son inlaw.

Children love stories about animals and Drewsillas story also teaches the importance of adopting. There are so many animals in need of home

What was your favorite book as a child?

As a kid I loved a good mystery. Robin Kane mysteries and Nancy Drew were two of my favorites series.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

I would say make sure you know your audience. I actually read my stories at local schools in the library and to friends childrens. 

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I am in the process of putting illustrations together for my series of books The Misadventures of Kelly and Radar. These are fun and informative books children can relate to.

Friday, February 22, 2019

New Children's Book! A Little Book About Spring by Leo Lionni

A Little Book About Spring

Monday, February 4, 2019

Interview with Children's Book Author Cheryl Malandrinos @ccmalandrinos


Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com/ and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:


About the Book:

Title: AMOS FACES HIS BULLY
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 20
Genre: Christian children's picture book

BOOK BLURB:
Amos is targeted by the town bully because he is so small. When word reaches Amos of his friend David's battle with Goliath, he thinks back to what David told him about putting his faith in God's protection. Perhaps the same God can help Amos face his bully too.

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Thanks for this interview, Cheryl.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

I didn’t. It happened by accident. In 2006, I began a full-length novel set in Biblical times for NaNoWriMo. It was the story of a shepherd boy named Obed who met the Holy family on the night of Christ’s birth. The story was set during the years of Jesus’ ministry. After the Resurrection, Obed seeks out the disciples to discover if Jesus is the Savior he met when he was just a boy.

The story wouldn’t come together (I still want to give it another shot). When I discussed the novel with my pastor, he asked if it was a children’s book. At that moment the gears began to turn in my head about how to make it a story for children.

Little Shepherd was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in 2010. Since then, I’ve continued to write stories for children. With the release of Amos Faces His Bully there are four books to my credit.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Amos Faces His Bully?

Like Little Shepherd, this story places fictional characters in a Biblical setting. My first inspiration was to continue with the format of my first book—make it a series of unrelated, yet similar, stories. There are others planned.

My primary reason for writing Amos Faces His Bully, however, is very personal. I was bullied as a child; teased from the day I entered elementary until the day I graduated high school. We had a different approach to it back then—kids will be kids and let them handle it themselves. Yet, with all the awareness of bullying and the anti-bullying programs that exist in our cities and towns, bullying still exists. As I’ve worked hard to prevent my own child from being bullied, I wanted her to know God could provide her—and other victims of bullying—with peace and strength.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

As a mom and Sunday school teacher, I am around kids a lot. Though my girls are now teenagers, I still remember them in their younger years. It also helps that I am a great big kid myself. The important thing to do is spend time with children and really listen to them.

From a business perspective, I perform a lot of market research. I read children’s books. I browse the children’s fiction section of our local library. I research new releases and what agents who represent children’s literature are looking for.

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Little Engine That Could—though I knew it as The Pony Engine. I can still see the cover of that book in my mind. I read it over and again when I was a kid. I’m sure my persistence as an author goes back to that engrained “I THINK I can!” message.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

Don’t shy away from the business end of writing. Perform market research: read books in your market; get to know your children’s librarian; visit publisher and agent websites to learn what they publish and what they are looking for. Write your story, then edit, edit, edit. Make your story the best it can be before submitting it to a publisher or agent. You won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I set new goals each year and review them quarterly. Since I successfully won STORYSTORM again this year—30 new story ideas during the 31 days of January—more stories are definitely in the works. I completed a new picture book thanks to last year’s STORYSTORM that I want to pitch to agents. Thanks to my writing group, I am 18 chapters into my middle-grade historical novel, Amelia’s Mission. I also have several other children’s stories in various stages. I would eventually like to dust off and polish that women’s fiction book I completed and, one day, would really like to give my original Obed idea a fair shot.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Interview with Children's Book Author Chris Sarracini


Chris Sarracini has been working in the comic book and film industries for over 15 years. In addition to writing for a number of successful comic book favorites including TRANSFORMERS, STREET FIGHTER and DARK MINDS, his own creations include FATE OF THE BLADE and CASA NOSTRA. As a screenwriter, he has worked with Universal Pictures, Disney and Nasser Entertainment. His most recent publication is the children's picture book WHERE WISHES GROW... 

Chris lives with his family in Toronto where he continues to create and write.
Website Address: www.chrissarracini.com

Thanks for this interview, Chris.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

I have been writing for the comic book and movie industries for several years and, throughout that time, I always found myself wanting to write a children’s book. I had several ideas in mind I kept coming back to that I thought were really special. Ideas that I felt could have a strong impact on younger and older readers alike. “Where Wishes Grow…” is my first children’s book and working to bring the book to life with Pauline Aksay, the book’s illustrator, was a very fun and cathartic experience (especially considering the story we told).

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, “Where Wishes Grow…”?

I wanted to write a book that felt timeless. I wanted to tell a story that would have a powerful emotional impact not just on the kids enjoying the book but also on the parents or grandparents who might be reading it with them. “Where Wishes Grow…” focuses on the unbreakable bond of love between a young girl (Maggie), her mother and her grandmother. Maggie’s grandmother is bedridden and Maggie has some wishes she desperately wants to come true; wishes that would help her grandmother enjoy the vibrant life she once had. And so, Maggie’s mom comes up with a plan to help those wishes to grow. I wanted the story to remind readers, young and old, just how powerful the bonds of family are and how important it is to cherish the shared memories between generations because time with family is precious.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

I think I am a kid at heart! Working on certain comic book projects (like “Transformers” and “Street Fighter”—two of my childhood favorite franchises) has definitely helped me hone my youthful sensibilities when writing. Working as a high school English teacher also keeps me feeling young as I have to always keep my finger on the pulse of what my students are feeling and what they think is trending. But most of all, my two-year-old daughter reminds me everyday of the innocence and wonder of seeing things and experiencing things for the first time.

What was your favorite book as a child?

So difficult to choose! Some of my favorites included “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “James and the Giant Peach” and “The Giving Tree”.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

Try and bring rhythm to your sentences. Vivid description is important, but I think that when it comes to children’s books, the musicality of the language might be even more important.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I continue to write graphic novels, comic books and movie scripts. I would love to publish some more children’s books in the near future and am in talks with some illustrators I would love to collaborate with. Stay tuned!

About the Book:

Where Wishes Grow… is the story of eight-year-old Maggie, a pensive and courageous dreamer, whose big heart starts to break when her grandmother becomes bedridden and sick with no recovery in sight. Fortunately Maggie has some wishes in mind to breathe life into Nana and is about to learn the secret for making them come true.

Watching Nana’s health fail has been difficult for Maggie and so now much of her time is spent dreaming up wishes for ways she can help her. Maggie conjures up three wishes for Nana she desperately wants to come true: for Nana to see again to enjoy her favorite beautiful things, for her to walk again to visit her favorite places, and for her to speak again so that she and Maggie can sing their favorite songs. The problem is, with wishes this important, Maggie wants to be sure she can realize them; wishing upon stars that may be long dead or relying on birthday candle hoopla just won’t cut it. Thankfully, Maggie’s mother knows the secret for turning wishes into reality…you’ve got to write each wish down and then go plant each one in just the right place. And, as Maggie discovers, retelling the story of how each wish was planted turns out to be the most magical part.

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Amazon