Thursday, September 20, 2012

Discover & Suggest Children's Book

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Looking for new children's books? Want to suggest children's books your family loves? Click above and check out newest Blog Hop on the block, the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interview with Phyllis Griggs & review of Bob Beetle Book Bug: The Magical World of Books

Phyllis Griggs is the founder of Bob Beetle Book Bug, Inc. A non-profit children's
literacy program located in Decatur,IL. Her book, Bob Beetle Book Bug: The Magical
World of Books was written to encourage children to explore the wonderful world of
reading and to partake in the vast wealth of knowledge available to each one of us
inside of books. The book will be given to Children FREE through her literacy program.
ALL proceeds from the sales go to Bob Beetle Book Bug literacy program and helps to
put books into the hands of under-served children and schools. Originally from
Chicago, IL. Phyllis currently resides in Decatur IL with her husband, three children
and her cat named Mystie.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

What lead you to write your book? My book, Bob Beetle Book Bug: The Magical World of Books, was written out of my love of reading and my desire to want to help instill that love in children.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
Read as a volunteer to children and senior citizens,  yoga , dancing.

Do you have any other books you are working on? If so give us a sneak peek.  

Yes, Bob Beetle Book Bug: Underneath A Tree will be the second in the Bob Beetle Book Bug series of books that inspire children to spend time reading or reading to others.

What are your plans for the future?  

To continue to grow and expand my not for profit children's literacy program to other cities and states.

What do you hope children learn from your book? 
That reading is fun and gives you access to a magical world (books) where  you can do and be anything you want to be ( imagination)

Tell us about the Bob Beetle Book Bug organization.  
It's a not for profit children's literacy program located in Decatur ,IL  that employs a fictional character (Bob Beetle Book Bug) to help inspire children through books and other items to develop a life-long love of reading and to spend time reading with their families.
How can we be involved? 
There are several ways for individuals to become involved ( 1) fellow children book authors can donate autographed copy/copies of their books for Bob Beetle Book Bug to use as - giveaways to the schools and or libraries he visits, which gives the author valuable exposure while helping to get books into the hands of children and schools.  (2)  by purchasing a copy or copies of my book  where all of the proceeds from the sales go to help support and fund our program.

What advice would you give other aspiring writers? 

Believe/trust in yourself and know that everyone has a story somewhere inside of them that needs to be shared with others. Make it a priority, your number one goal to spend time reading everyday reading to and/or letting your child read to you - "Today's readers become tomorrow's Leaders"

My Review of Bob Beetle Book Bug: The Magical World of Books


What a wonderful book! Bob Beetle Book Bug: The Magical World of Books is sure to inspire an appetite for reading in young readers. Bob Beetle is a cute, passionate "book" bug. CUTE? Did I just call a bug cute?! I usually don't like bugs but this one is all right with me. Bob talks directly to the readers and takes them on a journey through the magical world of books. The book is colorful and written in a way all children can understand. Bob's passion for books is depicted on every page. It is humorous and sure to make children giggle. As a voracious reader Bob is my new best friend, although I cannot join him in snacking on book pages! :)

All proceeds from the book go to Bob Beetle Book Bug non-profit organization to help the organization reach out to children everywhere and encourage them to explore the magic of reading.

*A free copy of this book was given to me for a honest review. No other compensation was provided for this review
Visit Phyllis on FaceBook

Monday, June 4, 2012

From My Bookshelf to Yours: The Large Rock and the Little Yew by Gregory Ahlijian

The Large Rock and the Little Yew by Gregory Ahlijian is an uplifting story of survival about a little yew tree who is  trapped in the  crack of  a  large rock. The little yew is determined  to find sunlight., soil and water so that it can survive. The large rock is rude, pessimistic and inhospitable. Despite the  large rock trying to destroy the  little yew tree's dreams of survival by insisting that it will never survive its less than ideal circumstances, it continues to believe that  it is  unique, valuable and can grow strong. The book is beautifully illustrated by Janna Roselund.

The lesson illustrated by the determination and willpower of the little yew tree is that anyone can achieve their dreams no matter the overwhelming odds and hostile environments that they may be in. The little yew and the large rock are located in Wakehurst, United Kingdom. People travel to see a large rock encased within the roots of a majestic yew.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to Jasper Mountain Center, a nonprofit  treatment center, in Oregon, that addresses the needs of emotionally disturbed children and their families. On April 9th, he presented the center with a check in the amount of $30,000!

Gregory Ahlijian has been a mentor at the Jasper Mountain facility since 2008. He has worked in the field of arboriculture for over 30 years. He teaches the children at the center bout nature, trees, character development and poetry. The children of Jasper Mountain were the inspiration for this uplifting story of perserverance and hope. He says that his goal is " inspire the child's sense of self-worth by creatively and effectively teaching the components of good character and illustrating them with examples present in everyday activities." 

For more information about Jasper Mountain Center Please visit: Jasper Mountain.
For more information about this book is available on: 

Would you like to win a copy of this book? Just comment on why you would like to win it. Winners chosen by on 6/10/12.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Gimme-Jimmy by Sherrill Cannon

Sherrill does it again! She has written another great book that will teach children morals in an enjoyable, non preachy way. Gimme-Jimmy is beautifully rhymed story about a bully named Jimmy. He snatches and takes what is not his. He never asks. He is very rude and  always demanding "Gimme". He learns a valuable lesson when his hand swells to an enormous size. He must be polite and not say "Gimme" for his hand to return to its normal size.

My favorite part is Jimmy's New Polite Rule:

"To try to treat others as I'd like to be,
To try to see things the way others might see,
To try to be helpful, and do what is right,
And to try at all times to be very polite!"

The illustrations, as always, are excellent. I have used this in therapy with my young clients and one of my four year old clients now wants to read it every session. We say the polite rule and she chimes in very loudly the last word of every sentence. Great job, Ms Cannon!

Interview with Sherrill Cannon

Reviews of other Sherrill Cannon Books

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mockingjay- Ms. Collins, I respectfully demand a rewrite!

I am extremely disappointed with this book. I typically don't write reviews on "popular" books or write one star reviews, but the author had me really invested in the series with the 1st two books. Man, what a disappointing letdown! If it had been the 1st book I would never had read the others. It seemed rushed. I lost all the interest and care I had for the characters. In fact I pretty much disliked them all. There was one well developed character and he was killed in one unemotional sentence. ( I almost missed it.) This happens at least one other time with another important character. I understand the anti war message but it seemed to overtake the story. There was endless dying and hopelessness. Yes, I know that it is a part of war.

Truthfully, the story was not well written. Was it even written by Ms. Collins? I am not saying this because I did not like the ending ( I liked who she ended up with but not how). I struggled not to skim. I wanted to skip chapters they were so dry. I feel like I could have skipped 3 chapters and 4 pages and ended up at the same place....Katniss, crying, hiding, running, blacking out or sleeping in the hospital.

 Katniss seems so dead inside. Even the Gale vs Peeta was not exciting. It seemed like the author was just putting up with the characters to get to her true end...making sure we received her heavily crammed down our throats anti war propaganda. I found myself very confused  most of the time. The only reason I finished the book was because I wanted to see what happened to the characters I grew to care about in the 1st two books. I would have rather stopped at "Catching Fire" and made up my own ending.

 I'm not sure this book should even be a YA, it is depressing and hopeless. Even the ending, which I guess is supposed to give some sense of hope, doesn't ring true. I respectfully demand a rewrite! Ms. Collins, take your time and  stay true to your characters so that this can be a triology that we want to read over and over. I'm not sure I will even read the 1st two again since I know that the third book brings so much hopelessness and depression. The good thing is when this book makes it to the movies it will possibly be changed for the better because I don't see how anyone could watch such a dark, depressing movie for two hours.

P.S. I am not bashing her work. I would never bash another author's work. I am just so disappointed I needed to get it out somehow!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Is Your Child a Blueloon?

Help!  I Think My Child Might Be Depressed!
Although clinical depression is often thought of as an adult disease, it can affect children as well.  Unfortunately, children may not have the maturity to understand what is happening to them, or they may feel powerless to change their situation, so they don’t speak up about what they are going through. It is up to adults to be on the lookout for signs of trouble, and recognize when a child needs help.
What to Watch For – Potential Warning Signs of Depression in Children:
Sadness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure or interest, anxiety, turmoil (anger outbursts)
Difficulty organizing thoughts (concentrating), extreme negativity, worthlessness and guilt, helplessness, feelings of isolation, thoughts of suicide
Changes in appetite or weight, sleep disturbances, sluggishness, agitation
Avoidance and withdrawal, clingy and demanding behavior, excessive activity, restlessness, self-harm
What to do:
Don’t minimize your child’s feelings, and reassure him child that depression is not something to be ashamed about –Some people have a hard time recovering from being sad.
Work hard to cultivate trust and communication with your child and be aware of the impact your own responses in life are having on your child.  You are your child’s coping instructor.
Allow your child the right to feel depressed and teach him that asking for help is ok – If he thinks depression is bad or not ok, he may try to hide his feelings from you.
Tell your child the truth and give him time to grieve.  By being honest, you are allowing your child to work through the pain.
Pay attention to the length of your child’s symptoms. If the symptoms linger for an extended period of time, or if you see severe changes in your child’s personality, seek professional help.
Although suicide in children is rare, it does happen.  Take it very seriously if your child says or acts like he wants to die.
If your child is experiencing frequent signs of depression that last for extended periods of time, it is crucial that you seek professional help. Children who are experiencing signs of depression do not automatically need medication.  Many children will respond to therapy alone. If you are uncertain where to seek help, contact your child’s school counselor or your family physician for a referral. 

Julia Cook is a national award winning children’s author and parenting expert. The purpose of her books is to enter the worldview of children and teach them to become life-long problem solvers. Her latest book: Blueloon is a creative story about a sad little balloon who is suffering from depression.  With help from the wise rock, Blueloon learns what he can do to “bounce back” to being the way he used to be – bright, round , and full with a very straight string!  Finally!  A book on depression  that works for Blueloons of all ages!  Available at  (and
Would you like to WIN a copy of Blueloon? Julia will give away TEN (10) copies. Just leave a comment here! If you use the anonymous feature be sure to type your name. Winners will be chosen by on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

Click here to read My review of Julia's books and Julia Cook's Interview

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm Back!

I've been MIA for a little bit but I am slowly coming back. I will begin posting author interviews and book reviews within the next 3 weeks. I'm also looking forward to having some guest bloggers visit with us.

I am now having two new books illustrated. "The Worry Glasses: Overcoming Anxiety & "My Warp Speed Mind: Managing ADHD (cover coming soon). I'm really excited about these books. They have both been endorsed by a child psychiatrist (really cool).

I just thought I would check in and say hello. Hello! I really hope you have been reading everyday. I can't wait to start sharing with you all the wonderful books that have come my way! TTYL ❤ Donalisa

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fill their Easter baskets with books!

Easteis almost here! Instead of candy that will rot their teeth and toys that will break the next day. Give the children in your life the gift that keeps on giving! Books!

From today 3/28/12 through 4/3/12 you will receive an "I Love You More than Chocolate Chip Cookies coloring book FREE with the purchase of the book! Be sure to check out the rest of the blog to see all of the other wonderful books you can buy from other wonderful authors!

Buy this boo

Get this coloring book FREE (until 4/3/12)

Click Wild About Reading to buy now so you can receive it before Easter!

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Fifo "50 States" by Hayley Rose

Fifo "50 States" is a fun and educational book. The states are listed by alphabetical order. It is written in a rhyming prose that makes the information easy to remember. The book presents each state's capital, motto, flower, tree, bird as well as the chronological order that the state entered the Union. I especially love that Fifo the bear is journeying through each of the states. He is so cute in each of his state appropriate outfits. Each state also has pictures and tidbits on the pages of things like what the state is "famous" for.

My 4th grader took it to school to share with her class because they have been working on the states and capitals. I had to hunt the teacher down to get the book back because she loved it so much!
This is definitely a must have for parents, children and teachers!

*A free copy of this book was given to me for a honest review. No other compensation was provided for this review.

Visit Hayley's website:  Fifo the Bear and FaceBook
Click here to read Interview with Author Hayley Rose of Fifo "50 States"
Read The Dos and Don'ts Book Review

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with Author Hayley Rose of Fifo "50 States"


About Hayley Rose

Award winning author, Hayley Rose, grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades, California, to a family of visual artists. In the early 1990's she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet. In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children's book. Looking for a cute and catchy name for a main character, she kept hearing "first in, first out". Hence, the name Fifo was born. Hayley's mother would often ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, so Hayley decided to start her series of "Fifo" books with that very question. Her first book, Fifo "When I Grow Up" was published in 2002. Her love of travel inspired her second book in the Fifo series, Fifo "50 States", published in 2010.

Along with writing children's books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years, specializing in concert touring. She has worked with many "A list" musicians including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox just to name a few. Hayley hopes to one day soon release an album of children's songs. She is a currently member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides dually in Los Angeles, CA and Scottsdale, AZ.

Tell us 3 words that describe you?
Witty, spontaneous, loyal.

What inspired you to write Fifo 50 States?
Fifo “50 States” came from my love to travel. I wanted kids to get out and explore this great country of ours. And since kids usually have to learn the facts by 5th grade, I thought I’d have Fifo jump in and be the tour guide. After reading Fifo “50 States” you will know each state’s capital, bird, tree, flower, motto and much, much more. So far I have personally been to 42 states. Each state is unique and has something special to offer, and one day I hope to visit all 50 states. Of course, the book is all written in rhyme and Fifo is always educational. I am sure you will want to visit all 50 as well.

What are your favorite children's authors/books?
Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Suess, and “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.

What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Write, write and rewrite; there is always room for improvement.  Also, believe in yourself and what you’re writing.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?
What’s your favorite M&M?  Plain or peanut?

How would you answer that question?
Plain, although, the new pretzel M&Ms aren’t bad either.

How old were you when you began to write stories?
I began writing stories as age six after a trip to a farm. I still have that story.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
In my spare time I work in entertainment business management specializing in concert touring. I have been lucky enough to work on some great tours over the years including, Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox, just to name a few.  I also love to travel, hang out with friends and sing karaoke.

Do you have any other books you are working on? If so give us a sneak peek.
Yes. Right now I am working on a new etiquette book outside the Fifo series called, “Do’s and Don’ts”  Lessons in Etiquette, which should be out by November 2012. The book is about a brother and sister who team up to teach an adorable little, green monster a better way to behave. Here are a few lines from the book:

Don’t just rush into an elevator.
Do let everyone out of the elevator first before you enter. “What floor would you like?”

Don’t be rude and cut in line.
Do be patient and wait your turn.  “This was definitely worth the wait.”

What do you hope children learn from your book?
I hope that book inspires children to get out and explore this great country of ours.  I also hope that it helps them to ace all their tests on the state capitols.

What has been an obstacle in your writing career?
I think sometimes I have been my own biggest obstacle.  Anytime you start with the words, “I can’t” then you can’t.  For whatever reason you put up your own road blocks.  You have to realize you “can” and that anything is possible.  If someone says “no” to you, that doesn’t mean that your project isn’t a good one, that just means that they aren’t the right person that can help you.  Keep asking and find that person who says “yes” and believe in your own work. There is always a way to achieve your goals as long as you don’t give up. 

Fifo 50 States Book Review

Visit Hayley's website:  Fifo the Bear and FaceBook

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bloggers Read Across the Globe—Promoting Children’s Reading and Literacy

Welcome to Day #11 of the Bloggers Read Across the Globe (BRAG) Project!

I’m happy to feature Jo Ann Kairys, founder of BRAG, and blogger at Story Quest Books. To do her part in promoting children’s reading and literacy, Jo Ann has been rounding up great information about programs dedicated to helping every child learn to read. Here’s her latest report:

I’ve been scouring the Internet for children’s literacy and reading resources, and am excited to see many wonderful programs and initiatives. Throughout the BRAG tour, I’ve listed as many programs and initiatives as I could find. It’s an affirmation of our global community and the shared goal that every child will learn to read.

Here are some other programs making that goal a reality:

1.      Check out the interesting conversation I Have a Dream edition of the Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Family Bookshelf, and Reading is Fundamental. These bloggers share one dream: that every child has (at least) one book to call their own and to be successful, happy readers.

2.      Here’s a well-established reading motivation program—Reading is Fundamental (RIF) — that shines a light on underserved children from birth to age 8, making reading a fun part of everyday life. Last year, through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources, including Multicultural programs and activities.

After what I thought was a pretty extensive Internet search, a new (to me) literacy program suddenly appeared—LitWorld—dedicated to help build literacy skills in the world's most vulnerable children. Then I discovered “New Day, New Friends,” a lovely picture book created for the LitWorld project.

“New Day, New Friends” is a story about values and how they reflect who you are and who you want to be. The 7 personal strengths embodied in the book are a jumping off point to foster fun reading and interaction.

“New Day, New Friends” highlights excerpted from LitWorld’s Discussion Guide:

BELONGING—Identifying as a needed, loved, and respected member of one’s family, community, and world as a whole: What groups are you a part of in your community? How do you feel similar to other people in that group? How do you feel different from them?

CURIOSITY—Fostering a willingness to explore new territory and test new theories: When have you tried something new? What would you like to try that you haven’t already done? What do you wonder about?

FRIENDSHIP—Having close, trusting relationships with others: What qualities make you a good friend to someone else?

COMPASSION—Being tender towards others who are in need, both near and far:

When have you helped others? When has someone helped you? How does being helpful make you feel? How do you feel when someone helps you?

CONFIDENCE—Thinking independently and expressing ideas with assurance:

When have you tried something new and succeeded? When have you tried something new and didn’t succeed? What is your proudest accomplishment?

ESTEEM—Feeling respect and admiration for self and others: How do you feel about people who are like you? How do you feel about people who are different from you? How do the differences bring you closer or keep you apart?

HOPE—Thinking optimistically and believing that today’s efforts will produce good things in the future for self and for the world

I love reading to my grandchildren, and can picture these types of questions prompting some wonderful discussion and dialogue. Thanks to LitWorld for bringing them to us—and to children everywhere.

Now I encourage you to head on back to Story Quest Books to see what’s happening on the Bloggers Read Across the Globe (BRAG) tour and collect some free bonuses

About Jo Ann Kairys

Jo Ann Kairys is co-author and co-illustrator of the children’s picture book, Sunbelievable—winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Medal 2012 Award. Widely published in the medical/science literature, she recently shifted from highly technical writing to creating stories for young readers. “I don’t know which is more challenging… writing a research article or producing a book that children will want to read over and over again. I love that wonderful stories can last for generations!” Jo Ann is also Founder of the 2012 First Annual Bloggers Read Across the Globe (BRAG) Project—Promoting Children’s Reading and Literacy—one enthusiastic blogger at a time.

Sunbelievable tells of a hilarious and whacky Sun seen through the emboldened imagination of 2 young sisters. Does the Sun ride roller coasters? Eat pizza? This endearing story shows the loving relationship and unbounded curiosity of young children. NASA’s Chief Technologists adds facts about the real Sun as a jumping off point for questions and discussion. The images combine real photographs with magical, digitally created landscapes. “You can’t take your eyes off of the illustrations!” (San Francisco and Sacramento Book Review 2012)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Kidpreneurs by Adam & Matthew Toren

What a wonderfully exciting and innovative book! The illustrations are wonderful. Kidpreneurs is very easy to follow. defines what an entrepreneur is, shows the steps to get started as one, gives your child business examples (dog walking, yard work.) It is a very interactive read. Your child will have forms to fill out and quizzes to take to make sure they understood what they read. Your children will be motivated to start their own businesses! They will feel more creative and know that their dreams are in reach. What an empowering book for our children to read!

*A free copy of this book was given to me for a honest review. No other compensation was provided for this review.

Click here to read Matthew Toren Interview

Check out the I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies book trailer


Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with Matthew Toren, author of Kidpreneurs

What inspired you to write “Kidpreneurs”?
As a life-long entrepreneur, it’s always been important to me to pass on my knowledge and love for entrepreneurship to my own kids. When my daughter was old enough to begin to learn about entrepreneurial concepts, I went searching for a book that would help me teach her in a way that spoke to her age level while instilling practical information that she could use right away as well as throughout her life. I quickly realized there was nothing in print that fit the bill.
My brother Adam and I are always looking for business opportunities and chances to help people succeed – especially kids. And we know the best opportunities often come when you can find a need and fill it. So when we realized the book I wanted didn’t exist, deciding to write one ourselves was pretty natural.

What do you hope your books will impart to children?
Whether we’re talking about money management, organizational and planning skills, or how to work well with others, entrepreneurship teaches lessons that anyone can use throughout their lives. Our goal with Kidpreneurs is to help kids realize all the benefits entrepreneurship and gain critical skills they can use whether they become business owners or decide to work as employees.

What are you working on now?
My brother and I always have a number of projects going at once. Our latest book, Small Business, BIG Vision was recently released by Wiley, we have a number of website projects we’re working on, and our consulting business is going strong. We just love entrepreneurship and can’t seem to get enough of it!
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
One of the great advantages of owning your own business is that you decide how to spend your time. When I’m not writing or working on a business, I spend quality time with my family, and I really enjoy traveling to exotic destinations.
Who was your favorite author when you were young?
My favorite author was - and still is - Napoleon Hill. Even though his writings were first published decades before I was born, I have always found his advice to be timeless and infinitely valuable. 
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
It seems like just about everyone has had a dream to write a book at one point or another. But not many people actually make it happen. So my best advice is to just do it. If you’re not sure you’re a good author, don’t worry about it. Just get it down on paper and work on editing and improving it from there. A good editor or writing consultant can help you get your work to where it needs to be, but you have to take the first step and get started.
Describe yourself in 5 words:
Caring , loving, open-minded, unique, honest
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
My brother and I don’t actually consider ourselves writers. We’re entrepreneurs who happen to have written books. Our life-long experience in business makes us uniquely qualified to provide advice to entrepreneurs and “Kidpreneurs” and books are a great way to get the message out.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’ve been an admirer of Richard Branson since I was a teenager. He epitomizes what it means to be an entrepreneur. Branson lives life to its fullest and gives it his all 100% of the time. On top of that, Branson gives back and serves as an inspiration to millions. Having dinner with Richard Branson would be an awesome evening. 
Where can people buy your books?
People can learn more about Kidpreneurs and purchase the book at Small Business, BIG Vision can be found at
Do you have a web page or fan page?
In addition to the websites for the books, we have Facebook pages for each, at, and
Anything else you would like to share?
I’d just like to thank you for taking the time to learn more about Kidpreneurs. I really appreciate it and love what you’re doing.

Click here to read Kidpreneurs Book Review