Friday, December 29, 2017

Save the Date!!

This is always a fun event with dozens of authors in many different genres on hand to introduce you to their work, share their experiences in panel discussions, and answer questions. Come discover a new favorite author or book!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

A fascinating look at the legendary racehorse Rachel Alexandra – Known to her fans as Alexandra The Great. Deb Aronson immerses readers in the world of thoroughbred horse racing with an in-depth look at the racing super star who taught audiences what it means to "Run like a girl." 

Rejected by her mother and labeled an “Ugly Duckling” Rachel Alexandra was scheduled for a quick sale, but a medical problem caused by growing too fast prevented the transaction from going through and her owner, Dolph Morrison, ended up sending her to his trainer. The rest, as they say, is history. Rachel proved herself smart and strong as she ran away with win after win. But despite her remarkable success, Dolph refused to allow her to compete against the boys. That decision came when Jess Jackson made Dolph an offer he couldn’t refuse and gave Rachel her chance. Rachel became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness and went on to become the first filly to ever win the Woodward – crowning her career by being named 2009 Horse of the Year.

Aronson’s carefully researched work is filled with exacting details and numerous quotes from owners, trainers, jockeys and others. She gives readers a healthy education about the day-to-day world of breeding farms, training barns, and life in the shed rows behind the tracks. The fact-filled text is balanced by a lively narrative that will leave the heart pumping in time with the hoof beats pounding down the final stretch.

Additional information is available at the end of the book with: Rachel’s Record-Making Runs, A Glossary of terms highlighted in the story, Notes citing the author’s sources for quotes, a Bibliography, and Index.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Gingerbread Cowboy in the Classroom

It's always so much fun to see one of my books, THE GINGERBREAD COWBOY, being utilized in a classroom. 

Check out this great literature lesson -- Comparing Versions of The Gingerbread Man: Turning Readers Into Thinkers by Linda Kamp.

 To view the lessons, click HERE

Friday, November 10, 2017

Picture Book Friday

Kobee Manatee: Shipwerck Sea Friends is the third title in the Kobee Manatee Children’s Educational Picture Book series by Robert Scott Thayer with illustrations by Lauren Gallegos.

In this adventure, Kobee and his friends, Tess the seahorse and Pablo the hermit crab, set out to explore a Caribbean shipwreck, the SS Antonio López. Along the way, Kobee makes friends with a variety of other sea creatures, an octopus, a whale shark, a moray eel, and a nurse shark. Of course, no adventure would be complete without some danger and when Kobee becomes trapped inside the sunken ship, all of his friends must come to his rescue.
As with the other titles, each two-page spread includes Kobee’s Fun Facts to provide information about the many animals that swim through the story.

Vibrant colors, clean text, and child-friendly illustrations make this book as attractive as it is informative.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Writers Wednesday

THE SISTERS by Claire Douglas is a psychological thriller that was the winner of the Marie Claire Best Debut Novel Award.

“I see her everywhere … in the window of the Italian restaurant … trying to cross the road … running for a bus.” 

Haunted by despair and guilt over her twin sister’s death eighteen months ago, Abi Cavendish struggles to prove to her friends, family, psychologist, and most of all herself, that she’s no longer a fragile, self-destructive loner. All she needs is a new start, new friends, new surroundings. As luck would have it, she may have found all three. Beatrice seems to understand her as no one else ever has. Her handsome twin brother seems interested in romance. And the two just happen to have a room available to rent in their elegant old house. It couldn’t be more perfect, but as the coincidences continue to pile up, Abi begins to question her good fortune and her sanity.

Shifts between Abi’s and Bea’s point of view offers readers conflicting takes on events and motives, thus creating doubt and raising the stakes for the reader in much the same way as the events challenge the characters to differentiate between opposing realities.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Save the Date

I’m delighted to share this press release from the Maturango Museum for Children’s Hour – Featuring my book “The Gingerbread Cowboy – A Folktale With A Desert Twist” Nov. 17, 2017.

Children’s Hour at the Museum – A Nod to Tradition

Moms, Dads, Grandparents and their preschoolers are welcome to a morning that might feel a bit like a visit to olden times. On Friday, November 17, 10:30-11:30 the children will be introduced to a familiar folktale with a desert twist, “The Gingerbread Cowboy” by Janet Squires, followed by “riding trail” on calico-headed stick horses. Continuing to keep the spirit of the West alive will be the story “Barn Dance!” by Bill Martin. Lively fiddle music is bound to set the children’s feet to moving in a Hoe Down round dance. A last old-fashioned story recalling turkey-time visits to grandparents in pictures and song will signal time for crafts and guided hands-on viewing at the Discover Table.
Families are encouraged to please arrive on time. Children’s Hour at the Maturango Museum is a monthly program throughout the school year presented by volunteer docents.

Maturango Museum is open daily 10-5. Tel. 760-375-6900 and website
The Maturango Museum is located at 100 E Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest, California 93555

If you’re in the area be sure to make time to enjoy this delightful program.

Nonfiction Monday

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, written and illustrated by Mark Jones, provides readers with a guide to making snowman and offers up some interesting facts in the process.

The book opens with a brief history of snowmen – a reference in a Christian devotional book from Medieval Denmark, the first known photograph of a snowman 1853 in Wales, and a Hans Christian Anderson story to name a few. GETTING STARTED identifies the basics: what to wear, best places for building your snowman, how to use the location to create a visual story. Each of the remaining twelve chapters focus on individual projects ranging from basic snowmen, to snow scenes, and on to elegant snow sculptures.

Detailed instructions are illustrated with a combination of vibrant cartoon-style illustrations and photographs which are paired with colorful notes and tips. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Picture Book Friday

From the Busy Wheels collection comes TRACTOR SAVES THE DAY by Mandy Archer and Martha Lightfoot, an engaging adventure for preschoolers and first graders.

Dog and tractor have been hard at work feeding cows, plowing fields, and baling straw. When the wind causes a tree to fall across the lane, the cows can’t get back to the barn for milking, but dog uses his tractor to drag the tree out of the way and herd the cows back to their barn. Along the way young readers get an in depth look at farm equipment and the many ways in which tractor are used. There’s plenty of action, sounds and excitement to inspire imaginations and entertain audiences.

A fun read!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Writers Wednesday

If you’re a Fantasy reader, CaladriusDreams, a mystery wrapped in a fantasy adventure, is worth a look.

Calli, is an orphan abandoned by fate to a life on the street where she is always just one bread crust away from starving – until she encounters the King’s Guard, Master Arcturus Sheridan. Her chance meeting soon immerses her in a world of nobility, privilege, and power that is as dangerous as it is beguiling. Author Erin Ann McCarter weaves a tale of magic that explores Calli’s struggle toward self-discovery as she seeks to uncover the secrets that underlie her disturbing dreams.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

If you have an interest in STEM, you’ll want to check out Explore Comets and Asteroids! With 25 Great Projects by Anita Yasuda with illustrations by Bryan Stone.

Eighty-eight colorful, fact-filled pages provide a thorough overview of the subject and offer young scientists multiple opportunities for hands-on activities.

Six well-organized chapters are enriched with maps, diagrams, photographs and illustrations. Words to Know, Good Science Practices, Keyword Prompts, Primary Source connections, QR codes, and small notes inviting readers to investigate, consider and discuss topics create a rich addition to the text. 

A glossary of terms is followed by a section titled Resources includes Metric Conversions, Books, Websites, and a QR glossary for links to additional information.

For ages 7-10. Recommended as a fine addition to home and school library collections.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month. To Celebrate, I'm running a Goodreads Giveaway for 10 hardcover, autographed copies of
Monty: The Courageous Survival of a Rescue Dog.

Entry Details are in the sidebar to the left.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Picture Book Friday

I’m Not A Scaredy-Cat: A Prayer For When You Wish You Were Brave, by New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado is delightfully silly story about a little cat who encounters one frightening moment after another – a squeaky rubber duck, a playground slide that seems much too tall, a furry caterpillar, the ticking of clocks, and the patter of rain – to name just he few. But, as the subtitle suggests, each time he feels frightened, worried, or nervous he knows he can rely on a simple child’s prayer to help him feel better.

The large format of the double-page spreads gives illustrator Ng-Benitez plenty of space to play and the simple, but colorful artwork is in keeping with the text.

Childhood fears, while seeming mild to adults, are all too real for children and the incidents depicted in I’m Not A Scaredy Cat feel just right for a child’s perspective.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

The Holocaust:Racism and Genocide in World War II by Carla Mooney with illustrations by Tom Casteel is part of the Nomad Press Inquire and Investigate series.

Eight chapters: What Was the Holocaust?, The Jewish People and Anti-Semitism, The Rise of the Nazi Party, Persecution and World War II, The Final Solution: Extermination, War’s End, How Could the Holocaust Happen? Rescue and Resistance, and The Legacy of the Holocaust provide a thoughtful look at the subject.

Chapters include vocabulary labs and additional opportunities to inquire and investigate specific content. Sidebars provide highlights and access to primary sources and QR codes. Maps and photographs enrich the text.

A Time line from1918 through 2005 traces the forces that led to the holocaust and its continuing impact on world events. A glossary addresses terms and a final section, titled Resources, lists books, museums, and websites for further study.

For ages 12-15. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

SAVE THE DATE: November 25th

I'll be here from 10:00 - 12:00 reading two of my books: THE GINGERBREAD COWBOY and JUST LIKE GULLIVER. If you're in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in and say hello!

Picture Book Friday

Elephants! One of the most amazing animals on the planet and always a favorite with children.

Now preschoolers can enjoy Elephants, a delightful picture book, illustrated by Suzie Mason with words by Rebecca Heller.

Simple language describes elephant behavior (Elephants trumpet. Elephants roam. Elephants never forget.) and each page is beautifully illustrated to highlight the text that follows a baby elephant and its family. An author’s note at the end offers additional information about these remarkable creatures.

A portion of the proceeds from the book are donated to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants www.elephant

Recommended as a lovely addition to your home library.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

The Human Body in 30 Seconds by Anna Claybourne with illustrations by Wesley Robins will keep young readers engrossed as they explore the rich variety of subjects covered in 30 topics. 

Six sections: Body Parts, Body Structure, Survival Systems, Brain and Nervous System, Senses, and Your Amazing Body provide readers with clear organization and each begins with a Glossary of words pertinent to the content. Each of the topics covered in the section offers brief, well-written and fact-filled discussions paired with a 3-second summary, and an activity.

Body Parts provides a thoughtful discussion beginning with the basic building block – cells, to the organization of  body tissues, then organs—which make up body systems. Body Structure looks at the 206 bones of the skeleton, the three types of muscles, movement, teeth, skin, hair, and nails. 
Survival Systems examines the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory and immune systems. Here’s an interesting fact: the human body discards 500 million skin cells per day. Brain and Nervous System explains how the brain is able to handle up to 100 trillion calculations every single second. Senses describes the numerous ways in which humans are able to connect with the world. The final section, Your Amazing Body, offers an overview of reproduction, growth, aging, genes and DNA, and explores what makes you YOU.

Each subject is paired vibrant illustrations. Reader-friendly content, thoughtful discussions, and a broad range of topics make this book an excellent resource for home or school.

Recommended as a handy introduction to a subject that we all must deal with on a daily basis. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Picture Book Friday

From the Busy Wheels collection comes FIRE ENGINE IS FLASHING by Mandy Archer and Martha Lightfoot, an engaging adventure for preschool and first graders.

When the fire station alarm rings, the foxes leap onto their engine and race to the fire. Of course, they save the day by rescuing a trapped apartment dweller. Along the way young readers get an in depth look at fire equipment and the way fire fighters work. There’s plenty of action, sounds and excitement to inspire imaginations and entertain audiences.

A fun read!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Writers Wednesday

Mystery lovers – this one’s for you!
New York Times bestselling author, Denise Swanson once again offers readers a first-rate mystery with DEAD IN THE WATER, the first book in a new series featuring her engaging Scumble River characters now firmly settled in 2017.
From the book’s back text:
A twister, a kidnapping, and a murder—oh my! Scumble River may never be the same.
For school psychologist Skye Denison, there's certainly no place like home. When a violent tornado devastates her small hometown of Scumble River, she can't see how the community will ever recover—especially since town councilman Zeke Lyons appears to have perished in the twister.

But things get even worse for Skye when her police chief husband, Wally, disappears in the midst of investigating Zeke's death, and evidence arises pointing to foul play. Did Zeke really die in the storm, or was he murdered? And could Wally be next on the criminal's hit list?

Skye Dennison is as strong as ever – she’ll have to be. Her home is leveled by a tornado, she’s pregnant with twins, and her husband has disappeared in the middle of a murder investigation. 

Swanson’s well-drawn characters, attention to detail, and smart pacing give readers all they can hope for in this delightful return to Scumble River.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Inventions in 30 Seconds by Dr. Mike Goldsmith with illustrations by Chris Anderson offers 30 ingenious ideas for innovative kids explained in half a minute and will keep young readers engrossed as they explore the rich variety of subjects covered in 30 topics. 

Six sections: Making Life Easy, Communication, Travel (from wheel to Spacecraft) , Finding Out (telescope to satellite), Medicine (vaccination to implants), and Industry (transistor to robot) provide readers with clear organization and each begins with a Glossary of words pertinent to the content. Each of the topics covered in the section offers brief, well-written and fact-filled discussions paired with a 3-second summary, and an activity. As an example: Making Life Easy addresses basic innovations such as Weaving, Central Heating, and the Light Bulb. Communication looks at Writing (Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese Writing, Ancient Greek, and Mayan), the Printing Press, Telephone, Radio, and Internet. Each subject is paired with eye-catching illustrations.

Recommended as a handy resource for home or school – a thoughtful introduction to many of mankind’s most important inventions.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Weather in 30 Seconds by Dr. Jen Green (in consultation with Professor Adam Scaife) with illustrations by Tom Woolley will keep young readers engrossed as they explore the rich variety of subjects covered in 30 topics. Six sections: Earth’s Weather, Climate and Seasons, All Kinds of Weather, Extreme Weather, Predicting the Weather, and Climate Change provide readers with clear organization and each begins with a Glossary of words pertinent to the content. Each of the topics covered in the section offers brief, well-written and fact-filled discussions paired with a 3-second summary, and an activity.

Earth’s Weather provides a thoughtful discussion of the sun, atmosphere, oceans and seas, winds, and the ways in which they influence weather. The final discussion in the section, Weather Power, looks at how sun, wind and rain are used to produce power. Climate and Seasons offers insights into how climate and weather differ, and looks at biomes, microclimates, seasons, and how animals and people adapt to varying climates. 

All Kinds of Weather delves more deeply into the water cycle with particular attention on rain and snow fall and the relation to high and low pressure. Extreme Weather covers not only the many different types of stormy weather, but also droughts. Predicting the Weather builds on the previous sections to examine the tools and methods employed in meteorology.  The final section, Climate Change, pulls the entire book together with a thoughtful exploration of forces behind climate change, effects of global warming, and future weather.

Each subject is paired with colorful illustrations. Reader-friendly content, thoughtful discussions, and a broad range of topics make this book an excellent resource for home or school.

Recommended as a handy introduction to a subject that we all must deal with on a daily basis.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Oceans in 30 Seconds by Dr. Jen Green with illustrations by Wesley Robins offers a great deal more than the title suggests and will keep young readers engrossed as they explore the rich variety of subjects covered in 30 topics. 

Six sections: Blue Planet, Stunning Seascapes, Ocean Life, Ocean Perils, Exploring the Oceans, and Using the Oceans provide readers with clear organization and each begins with a Glossary of words pertinent to the content. Each of the five topics per section offers brief, well-written and fact-filled discussions paired with a 3-second summary, and an activity. As an example: Blue Planet addresses Oceans and Seas, Wind and Waves, Tides, Swirling Currents, and Air and Oceans. Each subject is paired with a colorful map or vibrant illustration.

Recommended as a delightful introduction to Oceans and a handy resource for home or school.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Picture Book Friday

I'm changing it up today. This isn't your traditional picture book, but still plenty of fun!

CAVERN OF CLUES by David Glover is a mystery wrapped in a puzzle for young adventurers 8-12 years of age. 

Armed only with a map and basic math skills, readers must negotiate their way from one challenge to another in their quest to discover the buried treasure of the fearsome pirate Black Beard.  Solve each puzzle correctly, and the reader moves forward through the story.  Make a mistake, and the reader will find an explanation of what probably went wrong before being sent back to try again.

This is one in the Math Quest series of books designed to encourage and develop math skills in an entertaining format. Colorful illustrations paired with a lively text draws the reader into the story. A glossary of Calculation Words explains terms and demonstrates methods to provide support for readers on a variety of topics from addition to percentages.

Not every reader will become a math whiz, but they will discover that math can be fun even when it's also a challenge which is a great confidence booster for reluctant mathematicians.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Writers Wednesday

Jean Bregman’s debut novel, TheTimeKeepers, is a legal thriller built around idealistic lawyer, Sarah Brockman’s sudden descent into a dark world of greed, corruption, and murder built on insurance fraud that works both sides of the system.

After witnessing a near fatal hit and run, Sarah finds herself unable to say no when the victim’s son appeals for her help in filing a suit against the driver. It’s just the kind of personal injury case that keeps her barely able to pay her bills, but as she begins to investigate, she discovers this case is nothing like she expected. Her vicious adversary is playing for keeps and Sarah is clearly in over her head. No one can be trusted…not even, Sam, the new man in her life, who’s working the same case, but from the other side.

If you’re a Grisham fan, check this out!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

What's your geography IQ?

A new book by TIME FOR KIDS, 50 STATES: Our America, offers young readers a chance to check their knowledge. What was the last state to join the United States -- Hawaii in 1959. Can you name the oldest city in America -- St.  Augustine, Florida founded in 1565.

This quick reference guide devotes a page to each of the states. Individual entries include basic facts such as date of admission to the union, postal abbreviation, capital, nickname, population, land area, state tree, and state bird, along with an illustration of the state with major cities identified. A brief write-up highlights historical facts often beginning with Native American inhabitants and ending with present day.

The book opens with sections on Tribal Nations Before European Settlement, European Settlement, Westward Expansion, and The United States of present day.

The Federal District of Washington, D.C. receives a double page spread similar to that of the states with historical details. The inhabited U.S. Territories and Commonwealths of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are treated to a brief discussion and facts: Status, Capital, Population, Geography, and Economy listed. Uninhabited Territories and Commonwealths are listed and mapped.

The five geographical regions of the United States: Northeast, South, Midwest, West, and Pacific States are mapped and discussed with a focus on climate, industry, agriculture, and recreation.

Colorful artwork, maps, and photographs provide visual interest and support the child-friendly text.

Recommended as an introduction to the subject or a quick reference source for home or school.

Friday, July 28, 2017

SAVE THE DATES! If you have always dreamed of writing or are currently working on a book, here's an opportunity to explore your writing options and sharpen your skills.

Picture Book Friday

Here’s a wonderful book for the 2017 Baseball Season.

WAITING FOR PUMPSIE by Barry Wittenstein with illustrations by London Ladd is the fictionalized story about the integration of the Boston Red Sox in 1959 when they brought up their first black player, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green.

Major league baseball began to integrate in 1947 when Jackie Robinson took the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it took another 12 years before fans at Fenway finally saw a black player on their team.

Bernard, the young narrator of the story has waited and waited for that day, and the story brings that moment to life with energy, sensitivity, and honesty. Vivid illustrations are a bold counterpoint to the strong text.

Beginning with spring training, the tension builds as Bernard’s family observes the growing pressure both from stadium crowds and members of the civil rights movement to give Pumpsie Green his moment. Bernard’s family are devoted to the Red Sox and follow the season’s play as the Sox slip in the standings, but It’s not until a July game – the eighth inning with the Red Sox down two to one – that the waiting is finally over. Bernard’s voice transports the reader to both time and place and immerses the audience in the heart-pounding excitement.

Willy Mays and Jackie Robinson are probably far more familiar names. It’s time for Elijah “Pumpsie” Green’s story to be shared with young audiences.

This is an excellent addition to home and school libraries for the young baseball fans in your family.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

In Animal Planet's Chapter Book SNAKES!, Author, James Buckley, Jr. introduces readers to the diverse world of snakes beginning with a basic look at the anatomy and characteristics that differentiate these animals from other reptiles.

The eleven chapters divide focus between general knowledge and the examination of specific types of snakes. How snakes move, attack and defense, foods, life cycles, and senses compare and contrast the ways in which diverse types of snakes function. Additional chapters concentrate on some of the most interesting, abundant, weird, or deadly groups of snakes such as rattlesnakes, boas and pythons, garter snakes, and the elapids which include cobras, kraits, and mambas.

Colorful, detailed photographs enrich the text and provide visual interest. Fang Facts identify snake body parts, and discuss the value of snakes in the ecosystem.  Double-page FACT FILES, highlight some of the United States’ most venomous snakes, details such as food choices that range from termite larvae to birds and mammals, identifies various types of vipers, and discusses habitats. Colored text boxes define terms, and offer extra details.

A fun resource for home or school.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer