Monday, February 27, 2017

Book Review: Squirrel Superhighway by Anna C. Morrison

Title: Squirrel Superhighway
Author: Anna C. Morrison
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 16
Genre:  Children's Picture Book

Squirrel Superhighway features a dog on a self-discovery mission who is surrounded by many graceful squirrels. This is a vocabulary booster in a series of feel-good stories for children of all ages and those who read with and to them. The story includes squirrels, more squirrels, even more squirrels, and a dog who wants to be a squirrel!
Are you ready to get your child excited about faith? “I Have Faith” puts your child right in the footsteps of Danny as he begins to learn about faith. Danny and his older brother have been wanting a dog, but both know their parents don’t think they are ready for a dog. When Danny’s mom begins teaching him what the bible says about faith, he puts his faith into action. After praying and releasing his faith for a dog, doubt and even his best friend keep telling him that he will never get a dog. Over time Danny never loses his faith in the promises of God and finds that God is faithful and that faith works. Come along on this journey that is a real life event that took place in the author’s life as a child.
This book has great illustrations that support a wonderful story about finding faith in God. As you are teaching your child about principals in the bible; this book will help you teach faith. What a wonderful experience it is when we can see our children begin to develop their faith in God, and grow from a tiny mustard seed to a firmly planted tree. The back of the book has a parent/child discussion which will help children gain understanding in faith and some scriptures that Danny’s mom used to get him excited about faith.

For More Information

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Review:

Before I begin my review, I want to give praise to Guardian Angel Publishing for a fantastic book cover. This was what made me want to read this book. 

While this is supposed to be a faith-based children's picture book, it can be read by all denominations or even those who aren't so faith-oriented. No preachy anything in it; just feel good stuff. 

Duke is a cute little doggie who is infatuated with squirrels. Not only did they seem to be everywhere, Duke imagined what it would like to be a care-free squirrel and wanted to be one himself. But Duke becomes frustrated because he can't run on the tree limbs like squirrels do and he couldn't understand their language.  No matter how much he tries communicating with them, they didn't listen.  They just kept scurrying around leaving Duke frustrated and alone. Finally he discovers a game that he could play with them and he was happy again!

I loved this book and give it 5 rainbows.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Children's Book Author Interview with 'Squirrel Superhighway' Anna C. Morrison

Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow.  She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online.  While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others.  In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition.  Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino.  Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings.  She lives in Southern California with her family and pets.   



About the Book:

Squirrel Superhighway features a dog on a self-discovery mission who is surrounded by many graceful squirrels. This is a vocabulary booster in a series of feel-good stories for children of all ages
and those who read with and to them. The story includes squirrels, more squirrels, even more squirrels, and a dog who wants to be a squirrel!


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

Thank you for interviewing me!  Writing for children occurred to me when I was an undergrad in countless English classes, and I realized that most of the books I loved were written for children or young adults.  When I wrote, since I was on the creative writing track, I also found myself writing for children and for young adults.  Childhood and adolescence is when the most brain development is occurring, and the life experiences in this timeframe shape us the most.  These are the memories that we carry with us into adulthood, so they should be not only educational but inspirational, so that we always strive to be better than we were the day before, which is my personal goal.  Children know this intuitively, as their job is to learn and grow, and I believe this is reflected in my work.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Squirrel Superhighway: It’s Good to be a Dog?

Squirrel Superhighway started in the back of my mind when I lived in Lytle Creek, California, with my young son and our animals.  My little dog used to love the squirrels who lived in the trees on and around our property.  They would chatter among themselves and scurry about on the highway that they created for themselves through the trees and on the telephone poles.  They were constantly harvesting pine cones for their seeds.  Bits and pieces of pine cones were scattered everywhere, and they even would throw them sometimes so that, just out of nowhere, a pine cone would come flying down in front of me.  One even hit a visitor on the head!  These squirrels were great characters, and my dog, I think, even wanted to be a squirrel sometimes, from the way he was fascinated by them.

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?

While my son is no longer young like when I used to read him picture books every night, and there are no other children in my life, I am probably a perpetual child.  I am always looking for opportunities to learn and grow, and I see beauty in everything I can, which are childlike qualities.  I think of what makes me smile or laugh and try it out on the page.  My inner child directs me.

What was your favorite book as a child?

There are so many that it’s difficult to select one.  I was a precocious reader, and I could read when I was four years old, which is when I started Kindergarten.  I already could read and was developing my skills when other children were still learning the alphabet.  I zipped through the reading selections offered at school and spent two or three days a week at the local library well into my teenage years, often surprising new librarians while the ones who knew me well just smiled.  While I enjoyed picture books early on, I quickly graduated to longer works, and I enjoyed the classics as well as contemporary works.  I devoured the Little House series.  I especially loved mysteries, and still do, such as Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden, and I even read all of Agatha Christie’s works before I was ten.  I have a wall of inspiration in my home, and she is figured prominently.

The one book I remember reading over and over again, always with a box of tissues next to me, was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  First, it empowered me because here was an author with my first name, which told young me that I could also be an author.  Second, it was about animals, and I love animals more than I love most anything else.  Third, it was about protecting animals and educating people about how animals feel and that we should treat them kindly, and this was such an important lesson to impart that I couldn’t imagine anything more important to teach people when I was this age, which was probably between ten and twelve.  After a few years, I set this book aside, and I don’t like to read things that make me cry anymore, but the lesson—and the desire to continue to share this lesson—stayed with me. 

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

If people would like to write children’s books, they should definitely read children’s books first, and they should read a lot of them.  What is it that they like the best?  Is it the humor, the art, the word play?  They should discover what style appeals to them specifically and work on developing that in their own work with their own personal approach to the genre.

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

I do have more children’s picture books in mind, specifically more in the “It’s Good to be…” series, and the next one in this series will focus on marine birds.  I love to walk in a bird sanctuary near my home, and there are many migrating seabirds, along with birds who live there year-round, and they interact in fascinating ways.  Since this is a waystation for birds from around the world, and some stop for a little while and then move on, while others choose to remain, it seems that the theme here is that everyone needs a home, even if it is only temporary, and it should be safe and secure.  Children can relate to that, and so can I, and believe the birds express it well, so it is the subject of my newest work in progress.  Thank you for having me for this interview!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Children's Book Author Interview: Kim Delgado, author of 'Where Do Dreams Come From?'

Kim Delgado is owner of KD Novelties an independent publisher of personalized children's books. She has written several award winning children's books and has gotten featured in several publications. 

When she is not busy writing books or running her publishing company, you can find her tutoring children who struggle with reading in her local school district. She is also a board member and serves in her local soup kitchen feeding the homeless and families in need. 



About the Book:

A magical story that will satisfy even the most curious child and expand their imagination about Dream Land, the place where dreams are made. After all, what child wouldn’t love to know "Where
Do Dreams Come From?” 

In this magical adventure, your child’s imagination takes them on a visit to
Dream Land where they see how dreams are made. They learn about the "Dream Machine" and the fairies that work very hard to make sure that happy dreams are delivered to children around the world. This is the perfect bedtime story to expand your child’s imagination, encourage reading and instill pleasant dreams!

Voted Mom’s Choice Book of the Year Award and featured at the Book Expo NYC at the Jacob Javits Center.


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

I always knew even when I was younger that reading books was a passion that I had.  I remember I received a book as a little girl and the back of the book had two choices the main character had to make.  If you chose option A, then you continue reading the end of the story for option A, if you chose option B then you read the end of the story for option B.  Both had different endings and I was intrigued with the choices I had to make, and how I was able to determine the end of story. As I got older and read many books I knew that with my creative mind I needed to use it to enhance children’s lives and write my own personalized stories for children.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Where Do Dreams Come From?

As a child and even as an adult we often ask ourselves, “how are dreams made, where do they come from and what do they mean?” Therefore giving me the inspiration to write this personalized children’s book where children become the star of their very own story all while learning where dreams come from.

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?

You have to be around children all the time to understand how their brain works and the types of questions they ask, but more importantly tapping into their imagination.  The most fun reading experience you can experience especially as a child is being the main character of your own story.  Seeing and hearing their name, and becoming a hero while saving the day, is the most rewarding reading experience for any child.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

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

Do it!! Don’t procrastinate! If writing a children’s book is your dream let it become reality in 2017.  It takes time and there will always be obstacles but don’t let them distract you from what you are destined to do. Just think of the smiles you will put on children’s faces when they read and cherish the book you have written! That alone should get you motivated to move forward.

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

I definitely have more books planned for this year as I’ve already starting writing one and have ideas for others.  My goal every year is to write three children’s books. I am also looking to work with more authors this year in getting their children’s stories published.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Board book: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Cartwheel Books; Brdbk edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Purchase at Amazon 
Book Blurb: 

The bestselling Giraffes Can't Dance is now a board book!

Giraffes Can't Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it's harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.

With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Interview with Children's Book Author Cheryl Malandrinos

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.


About the Book:

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 16
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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?

After my first children’s book was published. LOL!

I never intended to write for children. The first manuscript I completed was women’s fiction, and I had always planned to write for an adult audience. Then NaNoWriMo happened. The story I was writing wouldn’t come together. Since it was Christian fiction, I ran the idea by my pastor. “Is this a children’s book?” he asked. That’s when the gears in my mind started turning. I took the first part of that story and turned it into a children’s picture book, Little Shepherd.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving?

In 2010, I participated in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) for the first time. The challenge: come up with 30 picture book concepts in 30 days. Not as easy as it sounds. Many of my ideas revolved around holidays: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter…

It was the day before Thanksgiving, so we were in the home stretch (only six more days to go). I didn’t want the same old story with a message of being thankful. That’s when possible holiday disasters entered my head; like the first time I cooked a turkey and nearly left the plastic bag filled with giblets inside. But it needed to be something kids would find funny. That’s when the “what ifs” started flying and my mind settled on: What if right before dinner the dog grabbed the turkey off the table?

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?

A bit of both. When I started my writing career, I had two young girls at home. Their antics provided lots of inspiration. Now they are teenagers, so I draw upon the fact that I am a big kid at heart. It’s possible I will never grow up.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I’ve been around a long time. Must I pick just one?

It would have to be The Pony Engine by Mary C. Jacobs; though many people know the story as The Little Engine That Could. I’m not one to give up easily. Makes me wonder if that perseverance comes partially from reading The Pony Engine over and again in my room all those years growing up.

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

Never give up! Believe in yourself. Learn your market. Don’t be afraid to take chances every once one in a while.

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

I’ve been working on a middle grade novel for what seems like forever. I would like to wrap that up in 2017 and polish it up for submission. Returning to outside work two years ago has made it tough to accomplish my writing goals, but I keep plugging along. Our local library has a writing group that meets once a month, so I attend as often as I can. I also help plan an annual writers conference in the area to stay connected.

As for more children’s books, you better believe it. My publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, has my next book under contract, Amos Faces His Bully. Like my first book, Little Shepherd, it drops fictional characters into a Biblical setting. In this case, the actions of David when he faces Goliath empowers young Amos to face his own bully. Amos Faces His Bully was also inspired by my participation in PiBoIdMo.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Special Feature: Theresa A. McKeown's How To Eat Your ABC'S Book Blast!

We're happy to host Theresa A. McKeown's HOW TO EAT YOUR ABC'S Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Author: Theresa A. McKeown
Publisher: The ABC’s of Everything, LLC
Pages: 30
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

How to Eat your ABC’s” is a cleverly written and illustrated book, which encourages children to get excited about healthy eating, while also developing a genuine love for reading.  Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a fresh fruit or vegetable and is narrated by BuzzBee, (a friendly honeybee who adores children). Written entirely in rhyme with a melodic tone, it is meant to be read aloud.  Not only will it inspire kids to fall in love with fresh healthy food, but it will also build their vocabulary and phonemic awareness.  “How to Eat Your ABC’s” will instill a healthy, happy, conscious way of looking at life from a young age.

We invite children and parents alike to follow BuzzBee and his friends as they show everyone how to eat their way through the alphabet.


Book Excerpt:

About the Author

Theresa McKeown spent over two decades in the entertainment arena before embracing her true passion of writing children’s books. After producing hundreds of hours of television for a host of cable and network outlets, Theresa is now on the path of what she considers her highest calling.
Theresa and her sisters have created “The ABC’s of Everything, LLC”, a family endeavor solely focused on publishing several series of children’s books, digital content, and educational curriculums.  All will be written and produced with an awareness of the true possibilities that children of the 21st century can realize.  

 As an author, Theresa is dedicated to estimating rather than underestimating the wisdom of children. Her philosophy is that kids are fully adept at understanding nuance and meaning and it’s not necessary to talk down to them.  She is dedicated to creating a new paradigm in the children's book world by introducing work that fully embraces the insightfulness, perception and unlimited intellectual potential of today’s youth.

Her books are meant to plant the seeds of education and awareness early in a child’s development, knowing full well that children will ultimately blossom into the best versions of who they are meant to be.

In her role as producer, Theresa traveled worldwide, filming from locations as diverse as the White House, NORAD, the Pentagon, FBI headquarters, maximum-security prisons and from the top of the World Trade Center.  Along the way she "tail-hooked" onto an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, yachted through South America with jet setters and chased bad guys with the LAPD in a helicopter.

Yet, with a background like this, building a community to celebrate children promises to be the most exciting adventure of all



Interview with Children's Book Author Bethany Ramos

Bethany Ramos is a children’s book author, editor, and blogger. She is a regular contributor to Bethany’s first children’s book, Lions Can’t Eat Spaghetti, was published through 4RV Publishing in 2016. Her second children’s book, There’s a Bumbie Under My Bed, was published by Saturn’s Moon Press, also in 2016. Her first chick lit novel, 5 Stages of Grief, was published by Black Opal Books in 2011; her second chick lit novel, Adventure to Love, was published by Soul Mate Publishing in 2013.

Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.


About the Book:

Title: There’s a Bumbie Under My Bed
Author: Bethany Ramos
Publisher: Saturn’s Moon Press
Pages: 24
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

There’s a Bumbie Under My Bed tells the story of a boy who can’t go to sleep because of all the monster bunnies keeping him up at night. Told in the first-person narrative, the little boy delays bedtime, using his flashlight and hand to create scary and silly bunny shadow puppets on the wall. According to the boy, friendly, spooky characters like the Bumbie (bunny zombie), Were-bunny (werewolf bunny), Bunny-stein (bunny Frankenstein), and Count Hop-ula come to visit him in the night. At the end of the book, his mother comforts him to sleep by telling him to let his imagination rest — and put the flashlight away.


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

I have always loved writing, even as a child and a teenager. But I didn’t start writing until I started blogging for a job about eight years ago. Around that time, I got the first idea for my first children’s book, which was Lions Can’t Eat Spaghetti that finally came out this year. I actually started writing children’s books just before having my kids, who are now 3 and 4.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, There’s a Bumbie Under My Bed?

This was a really fun one because it was directly inspired by my 4-year-old son, who has gotten into the notorious stage of putting off bedtime. A little while ago, we gave him a flashlight because he started getting scared of “ghosts” and other characters that he saw in cartoons. I taught him how to use the flashlight to make little characters on the wall, like rabbits, which turned into using the flashlight to make scary characters so that he wouldn’t be afraid of the dark anymore.

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’m around kids almost all the time with my own two sons at home, and beyond the regular parenting frustrations, I love it! I think this is my favorite stage so far, the toddler and preschool age, because they are learning so much and have such wild imaginations. And that also works out well to inspire my children’s books.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I am all about Shel Silverstein — I love his books. And as a child, I was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss and all of his nonsensical rhymes that actually make perfect sense.

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

I would tell other aspiring writers, and especially those who want to write children’s books, to read, read, read as much as you can. Some of my best inspiration came about recently when I was spending time in the children’s section of the library, something I loved to do as a child. Get back to that place where you are reading for pleasure, and then writing is easy.

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

I definitely hope to write another children’s book next year! I have had so much fun with this process and in my partnership with the illustrators. This is also a great time in my life to pursue children’s book writing since my kids enjoy reading my books — for now. J