Thursday, December 2, 2021

Interview with Children's Picture Book Author JD Wise


JD Wise is a West Virginian-born author who believes that the world can be changed for the better, by one person, one time, doing the right thing.

“Just think what would happen if we all did that,” said Wise.

Wise is happily married to the love of his life. Together, they have four wonderful children, who are the true inspiration for the book.

Nomophobia is his latest children’s book.

Visit him on Instagram and Facebook.

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

I had the idea that maybe I could take new ideas and turn them into a learning experience through the pages of a book.  

What was the inspiration behind your children's book, Nomophobia?

Finding an interesting way to inspire children to put down their phone's. To get them to realize that they could be missing out on things that surround them that they can enjoy and benefit more 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?

I look back on the things that caught my attention when I was a child and I compare it to what kids today may be interested in.  I also try to include an awesome learning experience through reading in order to make it fun.  Yes, I am around kids mostly everyday.  I am definitely a giant child!

What was your favorite book as a child?

Berenstain Bears Collection, by Stan and Jan Berenstain (I loved them all)

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

When you feel like you haven't done enough, do a little more.  This can pertain to all steps of writing a children's book.  

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

Well, Somewhere Over the Rainbow; it would be fun if Nomophobia was turned into a movie, or even a Broadway play.  The cast would be so easy to find.  You can't even go to the grocery store without seeing 30+ kids on their phones.  But on this side of the rainbow, I am going to keep writing more children's books.



This is a somewhat true, mostly exaggerated story of modern-day children – children who have spent way too much time on their phones. One night the children are mysteriously turned into ogres. At first the children blame each other for their condition. When they finished blaming each other, they worked together to find a cure. They searched the house for a cure…but they could not find one. They tried to wash the ogre off…but it stayed on.

They had all but given up when sissy’s phone accidently falls into the fish tank. When the phone gets wet, a hidden message appears: YOU WERE TURNED INTO OGRES, BECAUSE ON THE PHONE YOU DID STAY! NOW, PUT IT AWAY AND GO OUT AND PLAY!

So the children rushed outside, where they returned to normal. That day the children learned a valuable lesson. OVERUSED CELL PHONES TURN CHILDREN INTO OGRES.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Book Review: Creature Cat Tales by M.G. Rorai



Author: M.G. Rorai
Pages: 68
Genre: Children’s Picture Book


This whimsical collection of poetic life lessons is sure to inspire positivity and values while delighting young readers with charming creature cat stories and illustrations. Come join the creature cats as they make learning fun—a purrfect addition to any kid’s collection. Suggested reading age 8-12.


First I have to say this is a wonderful know how sometimes you feel different and everyone picks on you...wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to show these people that inside you're really really nice and then wouldn't it be wonderful if you formed your own community for those who are just a little different? Welcome to Creature Cat Town!

What a great message this book shows us, but wait, let's get to know the creatures who live there! There's Zima the Zombie-Cat, Milo the Mummy Cat, Warren the Were-Cat, then there's Mary who has water features, Franken-Cat, William the Wendigo-Cat, Sammy the Spider-Cat, Uni the Unicorn-Cat, Cameron the Chimera Cat, Manny the Mer-Cat and more!

What I absolutely loved was that each section had a different creature cat and each holds a story - a lesson on how even though each cat had something different about it, they surpassed their own expectations. 

This story is whimsical and enchanting. The author has a great imagination!

Here's an example of what's inside: 

Mary was a water creature
with webbed feet and tail;
her kind glided through water
as naturally as whales.

Her brother swam strong
while her sister liked to splash
Mary liked neither;
she certainly wasn’t rash.

Her tribe would hold parties
in the ocean so vast;
Mary always stayed put;
Bereft, alone and outcast.

She remembered when they were little
Running up and down the beach;
Life was the cat’s meow
to use a figure of speech

Her mother taught them to wade
and paddle just like so
then dive into the deep
and catch the fish below.

Mary had a secret
that she never said out loud;
she kept it to herself;
this thought she was not proud.

Mary was afraid of drowning
she didn’t want to chance
breathing in the water
and doing a drowning-cat dance.

So she sat on the shore
while others went out to play
until she heard a desperate mew
coming from the water one day.

A cat had fallen
from an overhanging tree;
there were no other creatures around
she would have to go into the sea.

Mary gathered her courage
and paddled out to help;
She reached the kitten in time;
As she grabbed it, it yelped.

As she pulled the small one to safety
she saw a crowd had gathered
cheering her on;
showing how much she had mattered.

Back on the shore
her siblings praised her actions
she was their quick-thinking sister
Mary grinned with satisfaction.

After that day
Mary realized she swam well;
She stopped fearing the ocean;
And now has sea stories to tell.

Wonderful story in verse! 

I would gladly recommend this book and give it 5 rainbows (wish I could give it more!).

Creature Cat Tales is available at Amazon at

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Children's Book New Release! A Christmas Kindness by Cheryl C. Maladrinos

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Pages: 52
Genre: First Chapter Reader

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?
Book Excerpt:

"Oh, when will we get there?" whispered Robert from the backseat of his mother's car. He fiddled with the pull on his coat. The wipers brushed aside the snow falling on the windshield.

As they arrived, lines of cars streamed in and out of the mall parking lot. Robert peered over his mother's shoulder and saw her white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. She huffed as she scanned the parking lot for an empty space. He wiggled around, but his seat belt kept him secure.

Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert's ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water.

Robert's shoulders drooped when he saw how many kids waited to see Santa. There were babies, some crying and struggling to get out of their mother's arms. Little kids, many younger than eight-year-old Robert, clung to their father's pants or jumped up and down as they waited their turn.

"This is going to take forever!"

About the Author:

Cheryl C. Malandrinos
 is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A member of SCBWI, she is 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 and her children’s book blog at

Connect with Cheryl on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Book Review: Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia by Julia Hengst

Author: Julia Hengst
Pages: 36
Genre: Children’s Picture Book


The first book of a new series, this humorous, whimsical collection of poems and songs reveals how baby mermaids are made, what mermaid families are like, and how mermaids study magic at School of the Fish to become Sea Witches (not Sand Witches).


This is the story of how mermaids are born and how they survive using colorful wording and out of this world illustrations as well as other wonderful under the sea characters. Each page is whimsical and I loved the pages with the songs - if you are reading to a child, you can pick your own melody so fun!

I am just tickled pink this is part of a new series. The wording, illustrations, everything, shouldn't be confined to this one book. Out of all the children's books I have reviewed, this has got to be my favorite. The illustrations will knock you off your feet.

I so loved this story. Whimsical...enchanting...addictive. I loved the way the authors used such words as merbabies, Switchy Witches, Mermagrams, octomom, Jolly can tell the author has a great imagination!

Here's an example of what's inside: 

"Mermaids and friends travel on a cosmic rainbow trail. The rainbow trail inter-connects all of Mermaidia, and any vehicle that merges onto it becomes part of the Soul Train. The Soul Train has many different carriages, such as the Dragon Wagon, the Jolly Jellybus and Sally Slugbutter’s Mysterious Magic Bus."

See what I'm talking about? Exquisite! Imaginative to the max...wonderful story! What I also loved about the book is it's a feel good book - one in which if your child has had a rotten day, open it up, read, sing, laugh together.

I would gladly recommend this book and give it 5 rainbows (wish I could give it more!).


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Interview with Children's Picture Book Author Julia Hengst


Julia Hengst is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an avid surfer, traveler and word nerd who resides in Maui. Passionate about psychology, spirituality and media literacy, she holds an undergraduate degree in Media Studies from UC Berkeley, a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and an imaginary degree from the University of Puns.



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

To be honest, my original intention was to write a series for teenagers, since I’ve worked with teens as a psychotherapist and mentor for over 20 years. Once I began brainstorming the series, which will have various ideas from psychology and other healing traditions, it became clear early intervention is the best! The sooner we can expose kids to positive ideas, the better, so I expanded the series to begin with books for children.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia?

One of my brothers has three daughters, all of whom are 12 and under. During a visit with him five years ago, we discussed my therapy work in high schools, and he asked what is the biggest problem I see facing kids these days. Self hatred, I told him. He then asked how he can help prevent self hatred in his daughters. I told him I’d get back to him, and this book series is the answer! Mass media is one of the biggest contributors to self hatred, so my goal is to create a series that helps kids navigate the world so they are protected from some of the most toxic elements of mass media. This first book sets the stage for a much larger story that will unfold over several future books.

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?

My name, Julia, means “youthful,” and I am definitely a jokester, so yes - I am a child at heart forever! One interesting thing about meditation practices is that one of the goals is to develop a mind of “childlike wonder.” This is why psychedelics are making a resurgence in psychology, because people reconnect with their child-like mind of wonder and awe. I hope to tap into that state of mind.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved anything by Roald Dahl. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar was one of my favorites, and introduced me to mysticism and philanthropy in one go!

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

I would advice them to do research on all the options, such as print on demand versus offset printing, and what it means to go the indie route versus the traditional route. There is a ton of information available, and SCBWI is a fantastic resource. Consulting with others and networking through established channels yields a lot of rewards.

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

My goal is to publish these six books for kids, then six more for teens. I hope to incorporate lots more tools from alternative healing traditions as well as psychology into the books, all of which will be greatly expanded upon in the teen series.

The ultimate dream is to turn these books into an animated series of some kind. We are all so visual and it would bring the messages of these books to a whole new level. Plus, the time has come for edutainment, where we educate more and more in a way that is also entertaining. The world is so full of sad, shocking news that I would really like to cheer people up with this series, in as many formats as possible.


The first book of a new series, this humorous, whimsical collection of poems and songs reveals how baby mermaids are made, what mermaid families are like, and how mermaids study magic at School of the Fish to become Sea Witches (not Sand Witches).

An inspiring read in so many ways – each of the works has a special feeling. It made me smile, laugh and relate to different personalities in the book. Itʻs definitely a unique and heart-warming way to express our feelings, actions and personalities. This is a kids book that I think many adults need to read. Iʻm looking forward to reading the entires series. I loved the different terms and their connections: Emoceans, Sane Lane, Unihorn, m.maximus and m.magnificus and their sets of eight. So clever! Absolutely loved it!! – Andrea Moller, world record holding big wave surfer, mom, Paramedic

What an awesome opportunity for young folkx to be able to connect to the world in a more positive and affirming way. These books are going to touch many young hearts and promote self love for many. Not only is the language inclusive, but welcoming to all communities. Looking forward to reading more! – America Islas, LMFT, Mom

This book is simply enchanting. The illustrations are delightful and appropriate for young children. Unlike the typically sexualized depictions of mermaids, these sea creatures are diverse and celebrate all kinds of shapes and colors. The language is playful, and the story is sweet, silly, and embraces positive values without moralizing. I recommend this book for boys and girls, and anyone who enjoys fantasy. – Kate Gillooly, Mother of twin boys, Marriage & Family Therapist

Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia is a guide through the answers we’ve all desperately sought since childhood: Where do mermaids come from? Why can’t we ever see them? Do they sing and dance? How do they stay underwater?

Sooo much more….

This clever and delightful book will enchant young and old. It takes the reader and listener “152 unfathomables deep in the sea” where imagination and creativity and freedom rule. I’m a 77 year old grandmother of four. I’ve read and reread this adventure through the “deep see” and each time found hidden treasures. I can’t wait to gather my grandchildren and share the giggles and insights that flow so gently from the pages. – Julia Bromley, Grandmother


Amazon →

Author’s Website →

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Interview with Children's Fantasy Author E.P. Bellows & Giveaway!


A few random things about me…

Um, let’s see… when I was eight, I had a pet turkey. I used to take it with me on my very short lived paper route. Needless to say, I was terrible at delivering the paper. No one wanted a “Dollar Saver” with turkey poop splattered across the front page. Apparently that’s where the best coupons are.

Books… well, “Treasure Island” is a fantastic pirate tale. I love just about anything by Roald Dahl. I would also like to thank C.S Lewis for sending me on an unrelenting childhood quest for portals to amazing worlds (even in the most unpleasant locations, e.g… the older brother’s closet, etc…)

I write fantasy stories for children. Yep – I am a HUGE fantasy geek. I can’t help myself! It’s too darn awesome to escape to another realm with sorcerers and wizards. The underlying theme in my stories is empowerment, self love, and living purposefully.

When football is on I turn into a different person. I may even use a curse word or two… or three. I enjoy running; which is a good thing because I need to do it in order to fit into my jeans.

I love to cook and really, really love to eat. I have a theory that avocados actually contain super powers and have the amazing ability to make any snack epic. I also love garlic… which, according to my loved ones, also has an unfortunate super power … the pungent breath-inator… or something of that nature.

Few things make me smile more than chocolate, cheese… AND, if the Chargers would make it to the Super Bowl again – just once:)



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

Thank you for having me! When my son (now 15 years old!) came into this world I started writing stories to read to him. I have been writing ever since! It has been an amazing journey that started with a young boy on an adventure in a magical world...

Children’s fantasy taels are the stories I love to tell. My favorite kind of story has the prefect amount of adventure and magic. Of course, you have to have a fantastically flawed hero and “rotten to the core” villain.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Bandits of Basswood?

Bandits of Basswood is the prequal to Alexander Drake’s adventure. I had already written about Alexander (Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit), Jonn William’s son. Bandits of Basswood builds out the back story for the guardians, Imperius and how the adventure really unfolded hundreds of years before. John William’s adventure begins with the mysterious disappearance of his father in Azra’s Pith. John William was determined to find him. He had no idea what dark forces he was up against... a wild adventure was about to begin and his life would forever change.

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 am terribly and eternally childish. Adulting is not my favorite. Other than my crazy mind, my kiddos are an infinite source of inspiration. They have inherited my fantasy gene and never run out of characters and other tid-bits that should be in Azra’s Pith. I can just sit and watch them play and the ideas come pouring in.

What was your favorite book as a child?

After reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, I was forever in search of portals to magical worlds. Hands down, my favorite childhood book. I Have a giant wardrobe in my house as a matter of necessity. You never know what may be on the other side 😉

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

Let your imagination and muses Guide you. Persevere, have the patience of a jedi, grow a thick skin and learn from constructive criticism... did I mention persevere? I'm sure this goes without saying; but read and write as often as you can... even when you’re struggling and the writing looks like rotten bologna on a computer screen. If you hope to buy a latte or two with your royalties, the work begins when the writing is done... so be ready! Did I mention persevere?  

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

I have written five additional books in the Azra’s Pith Series. After a wild publishing ride they are all waiting in line to be revised and re-released. Quest for Copia will be the next book to be released (again). It is the sequel to Bandits of Basswood. A lot of questions are answered in this book and the story takes a heavy turn so I’m taking my time on this one.  


John William Drake was born an explorer; just like many, many Drakes before him. His adventure really began with the discovery of a book hidden in the ceiling, followed by the mysterious disappearance of his father. He lived every day in misery until his twelfth birthday. A new friend gave him an invitation he could not turn down… follow me and change your destiny.

He never imagined being captured by bandits and taken to a ship riddled with river rats was part of his fate. Not just any bandits – the Bandits of Basswood; known to be a ruthless and wild crew of thieves. Trying to escape would be a ridiculous idea. No one has ever escaped and lived to tell about it. Uncovering traces of his missing father gave him hope and upped the stakes. John William was determined to get off the ship alive and search for the missing pieces of the puzzle. The chase out of Basswood was on. He took a chance to change his destiny and ended up on a wild ride to solve the most important mystery of his life.


“The imaginative world created by the author is especially fun. Some animals can talk (with attitude!), magic is in the air and emu-like creatures provide fast transportation. Yes, I realize this series is for children- and they can certainly read it. Just as soon as I’m finished.” – Amazon Reviewer 5 stars

I enjoyed reading these books. Great for young adults, even though I’m an adult. I would recommend this series to those kids who like a good adventure…” – Amazon Reviewer 5 stars

“A simple walk into the world of furry and fairy alike. Enjoyed the character building, as the young boy finds himself in a world with furry pirates, and a feisty fairy princess. Even the villains (as a group,) were only bad because of the main villain of the piece. all in all a nice intro to a simply enchanted world. Hope to see more…” – Amazon Reviewer 4 stars


Amazon →


E.P. Bellows is giving away a summer goodie bag containing Azra’s Pith swag! Goodie bag includes a coffee mug, tumbler, beach towel, paperback and kindle copy of Bandits of Basswood!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on October 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Book Review: Laurel's Marvelous Kingdom by Monique Roy

Author: Monique Roy
Pages: 36
Genre: Children’s Picture Book


When the wicked witch of the land snatches up Princess Astrid, her sister, Princess Laurel, realizes it will take more than her plant-growing superpowers to rescue her. With the help of a handsome prince, Laurel rides deep into the dark forest in search of the witch’s den.

To her horror, Laurel discovers that Astrid is jealous of her superpowers, and has teamed up with the witch to weaken Laurel’s powers. Now, Laurel must convince Astrid to abandon her evil ways and return to goodness — before the witch and Astrid shed harm onto the kingdom.

This fairy tale story will enliven the imagination of children with a little witchy fun in between. The story teaches children about what makes us unique, appreciating your special characteristics, and doing what you love.


What a beautiful story! I always like to start off my reviews with a comment or two about the book covers. This was one beautiful cover. Who can go wrong with pink and purple? My daughter would grab this one off the shelf just for the colors. So we have a princess like person (or is it a queen?) either looking for the pink rabbit or chasing him. What's that pink like stuff coming out of the tree? Guess we'll have to read to find out. And a few kudos has to be thrown out there for the illustrator, Lauren Curtis. I thought she did an excellent job. On to the story! 

So it is a princess! Laurel is a beautiful princess with magical powers. So she decides to plant an apple tree for her sister, Princess Astrid, knowing how much she loved apples. But once she returned to the castle, Astrid was nowhere to be found. Night came and she began to really worry. So she asks an old childhood friend, Prince Falcon, if he could look for her. He agrees to do so but early the next morning she convinces him for her to go along with him in his search for Princess Astrid. And oh dear, they are both sleeping in the forest that night when a nasty witch snatches Princess Laurel and takes her off on her broomstick!

I think I'll leave it right there - what happens to Princess Laurel? Does Prince Falcon find her? And what about Princess Astrid? Does the witch have her too?

Laurel's Marvelous Kingdom was such a joy to read. Not only does it teach children valuable lessons, but it's suspenseful, too! The author's words resonated with me as it reminded me of fairy tales I used to read as a child. I'm so happy someone has given us another fairy tale that's a must read. Children will stay glued to the pages, too!

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

Laurel's Marvelous Kingdom is available at Amazon at