Staff Book Picks: November

POSP 3D-book

Written by Irina Gonikberg Dolinskiy and Illustrations by Mark Wayne Adams
Hardbound ISBN:  978-1-59616-017-0
Pages: 32
Retail Price: $14.95

The parts of speech come magically alive as they participate in a colorful New York City Parade! Each presents and defines itself as it marches down the street and through a child’s imagination.

 

Written by Linda Smigaj and Illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams
ISBN:  978-1-59616-034-7

Paperback Retail Price: $9.99

History with a Twist Makes Learning Fun!

Welcome to the world of Linda Smigaj’s books. Educator and juvenile fiction author Linda Smigaj, aka Professor Fuddy-Duddy, captures the imagination of readers, ages 7–10, through stories of historically accurate events told from a unique perspective. Come travel through early American history with these adventurous flies.

 

Written by Crystal White and Illustrations by Mark Wayne Adams
ISBN: 978-159616-028-6
Pages: 32
Paperback Retail Price: $9.99

Franny Finds a Home! is a beautiful children’s book complete with vibrant illustrations and educational resources for both parents and teachers, not to mention an exciting and heartfelt story.

Franny is a former stray who was relieved to be saved from the streets. But her rescuer, Trishalou, simply can’t keep her. Franny encounters nice workers at the rescue shelter, but she misses her friends. Shy, and not the cutest critter in the place, will Franny ever be chosen for a forever home?

At the end of the story the author (a 20-year reading teacher) has included resources for teaching or review of text features. These activities can be used with any text.

Staff Book Picks: October

Written by Jane R. Wood
ISBN: 9780979230462
Paperback Retail Price: $8.99

It seems wherever they go, adventure follows the Johnson family. This time it comes while they tour the historic cities of Savannah and Charleston. In addition to learning about the challenges of the early settlers, the boldness of the greedy pirates, and the determination of feisty women who helped save the heritage of these historic cities, Joey, Bobby and Katy encounter numerous ghost stories. When 10-year-old Bobby finds himself in a dangerous situation on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, he looks to a legendary ghost for help. Young readers won’t know they’re learning history; they’ll only know they’re having fun as they follow these kids on their latest adventure.

 

Written and Illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams
Paperback Novel: ISBN:  978-1-59616-026-9
Pages:  210
Paperback Retail Price: $15.77

There are no chapters in life—only moments. The Family Tree Novel Series is written and illustrated for adventurous readers. Not only can readers explore the content by researching facts and fiction, but also learn a new Australian vocabulary within the story.

For generations, the family tree records words and sing-song that wind deep in its core. Children playing in or around the tree may accidentally sever or uproot disturbing moments hidden in their Outback.

Adopting new words and terms helps better describe your Outback and how you lived it. Family Tree Novel readers are introduced to a variety of Australian, American, and Qweepie vernacular throughout the novel series. Choose to adopt or to adapt these terms in your Outback language using the “Language of the Outback” glossary included.

 

The Childrens Horrible House 3D-book

Written by N. Jane Quackenbush
ISBN: 978-0991104567
Pages: 220
Paperback Retail Price: $11.99

Holly Spinatsch, a curious and rebellious tomboy, was forewarned by her siblings that if she didn’t make her bed, she would be taken away to The Children’s Horrible House…and indeed she was. On her search for kinship in this seemingly haunted jail like mansion, she discovers a mystery lurking and breathing, crying out for discovery. However, when she and her friends attempt to solve the mystery, they are only left with more questions.

 

Staff Book Picks: September

Voices in St. Augustine 3D-bookVoices in St. Augustine
Written by Jane R. Wood
ISBN: 9780979230455
Paperback Retail Price: $8.99

Thirteen-year-old Joey Johnson hears voices. Only he can’t find the people who belong to them. His curiosity leads him on a quest where he learns more than just history about the Nation’s Oldest City. He discovers he has a special connection to the past—something that changes his life forever.

 

Written by Crystal White and Illustrations by Mark Wayne Adams
ISBN: 978-061585-316-1
Pages: 36
Hardbound Retail Price: $14.95

Franny’s Rescue is a beautiful children’s book complete with vibrant illustrations and educational resources for both parents and teachers, not to mention an exciting and heartfelt story.

Franny is a scrappy little dog living on the streets, never knowing where her next meal will come from. She finds herself in all sorts of danger as she prowls the town in search of food and shelter: People, cars, other creatures! One day Franny finds herself in a situation she can’t handle on her own. Who will help her in her struggle to survive?

At the end of the story the author (a 20-year reading teacher) has included a small nonfiction section describing the characteristics of the breeds featured in the story. This is also an excellent resource for the teaching or review of text features. There is also a section for parents describing activities they can do with their children to enhance reading skills. These activities can be used with any text.

 

Jaces Adventure in the Forbidden Forest-3D Book-www.mwa.company
Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest

Written by Diane Harper
ISBN: 9780984873630
Paperback Retail Price: $4.99

It’s the first day of summer vacation. Jace and his best friend, Rocco, are anxious to get to the park to play catch. Their ball accidentally goes into the Forbidden Forest. Jace goes in to look for it and he gets lost. Two young dinosaurs named Ribney and Ryder are in the forest and help Jace find his way home. But before they do, Jace helps the dinosaurs with a big problem they have!

Staff Book Picks: June

 

Written by Irina Gonikberg Dolinskiy and Illustrations by Mark Wayne Adams
Hardbound ISBN:  978-1-59616-017-0
Pages: 32

Retail Price: $14.95

The parts of speech come magically alive as they participate in a colorful New York City Parade! Each presents and defines itself as it marches down the street and through a child’s imagination.

Written by Jayne Rose-Vallee
Illustrated by Anni Mastick
ISBN: 978-0986192203

Hardbound Retail Price: $17.99

Sabrina has curly hair and a problem. Tangles and knots make her mornings difficult. Try as she might . . . To make her hair “cool,” . . . . The curls make it tricky . . . To comb out for school. At the top of her head . . . Where it’s simply a mess . . . Do creatures hide out there? . . . The answer is YES! Rose-Vallee’s whimsical rhymes combined with the beautiful watercolor illustrations from Anni Matsick make this a children’s book not to be missed! A Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA) 2015 President’s Book Award Finalist for Poetry and Book Cover Design.

 

Lost In Boston 3D-bookLost in Boston
Written by Jane R. Wood
ISBN: 9780986332500
Paperback Retail Price: $8.99

The Johnson family is traveling to new places again. This time, they fly to Boston and Jennifer Johnson wants her kids to experience some of the town’s history while there. Taking a subway ride for the first time, sampling new foods, and exploring impressive landmarks—like the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, and the USS Constitution anchored in Boston Harbor—add fun and discovery to this family adventure.

“filled with fascinating and little-known historical facts…”—Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite

Mayflower-Fly on the Wall Series-3D-book
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series is an educational book for children written by Linda Smigaj and illustrated by Mark W. Adams. This historical tale is narrated by a Dutch cheese fly, named Anna, whose quest for adventure leads her to join forces with the Pilgrims on their 66-day journey aboard the Mayflower. Anna narrates how the Pilgrims and the other passengers bound for the New World had originally been scheduled to travel on another ship, but problems with its seaworthiness led to their voyage on the Mayflower, a merchant ship that had never carried passengers before. The daily life of those passengers was filled with hardships, as the ship had neither living quarters nor facilities and proper space for them. Storms and rough seas were especially difficult for all concerned. Despite the challenges of their journey, all on board, save for one sailor, survived the Atlantic crossing.

Linda Smigaj’s educational book for children, Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series, is filled with fascinating and little-known historical facts that make this Fly on the Wall book a particularly interesting read for both children and adults. Anna’s narrative is beautifully brought to life by the pen and ink and watercolor illustrations of Mark W. Adams. I instantly knew I was in for a treat when I opened the book to the illustrations showing the parts of the ship and the areas where the Pilgrims and the other passengers spent their time aboard the Mayflower. And while I was fully aware that I was reading an historical and educational book, it felt more as if I were reading an adventure tale, and an exhilarating one at that. What a marvelous way to introduce history to young readers! This very entertaining and informative work also contains a glossary and an appendix filled with more little known facts about the Mayflower’s journey. Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series is most highly recommended.

How do you approach the writing process?

How do you approach the writing process?

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_AuthorMy writing process is fairly structured. I outline the story using a historical timeline which guides the rhythm of each book. As ideas appear, I categorize them into their respective place within the story timeline. I also parallel historical facts and words I want included from the time periods. Some days I sit inside my screened pool and become a prisoner to the story. Every breath is a moment trapped within Driew Qweepie’s story.

My favorite thing about being a writer is hearing from readers! Connecting with book lovers reminds me what writing fiction is all about—escape for us all. I enjoy reading Goodreads and Amazon reviews and seeing posts about the story—both positive and negative. I can’t improve without their honest feedback.

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

“Authentic glimpse into the lives of the passengers.”—Gisela Dixon, Readers’ Favorite

Mayflower-FOTW-9781596160347-www.mwa.company
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers’ Favorite

Mayflower (Fly on the Wall Series) by Linda Smigaj is a children’s book for ages five up to pre-teens. Mayflower (Fly on the Wall Series) is one in a series of books in which literally a “fly on the wall” observes historical events and presents the story to the reader. In this book, Anna is a small cheese fly from Holland. She has moved with her human family to England and from there to the New World via the Mayflower. The fly narrates how they boarded the ship, their hardships and experiences on the ship, and finally their landing in Plymouth, Massachusetts on the coast of the New World. Although the book is told from the point of view of Anna, the fly, it provides an authentic glimpse into the lives of the passengers, as well as the living conditions on the ship and the voyage itself. At the end, the book also provides a glossary of words for young readers.

Mayflower (Fly on the Wall Series) by Linda Smigaj is a cute and engaging book on the passage of some of the early settlers from England to America. It describes a real, historical event in a concise, educational, and yet entertaining way that will appeal to children. The illustrations that go with the book are outstanding. In fact, the pictures really make the words come alive and add to the overall fun and engaging style of the book. This is a great book and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the Fly on the Wall series.

Meet Debra Latiolais

Debra is an award-winning author and passionate storyteller of Polly and Her Pigtails. She believes everyone has a significant life story to share. Debra is dedicated to reviving the art of generational storytelling as a way to preserve family history, while teaching core value lessons that will build a strong foundation for children.

Spending decades working in the corporate arena, Debra tapped into her creative side by writing a series of children’s books inspired by life’s rich tapestries. She created The Age of Storytelling Book Series to deliver colorfully illustrated and enriching stories for young and old alike. Her books are designed to create an atmosphere for “Sharing stories ~~ shaping lives”!

Debra has worked with charitable organizations and women’s groups in the Virginia and Washington DC area for over 20 years. She remains committed to using her voice and talent in support of civic community efforts.

Debra is available for special events, parties, book signing and speaking engagements. She approaches her presentations with tremendous honesty, warmth and humor. She is a thought-leader with the rare ability to inspire audiences, while leaving them with actionable life-changing strategies.

Read more about her books…

You are truly masterful!  Not only are you a gifted artist, but you offer great insight and guidance for a first-time author/publisher.  Thank you for bringing Polly to life and helping me share my story! – Debra Latiolais