Get Ready for Summer: Most Anticipated Releases

Ring In the summer with these new books!

May Releases

 Alberto lives alone in the town of Allora, where fish fly out of the sea and the houses shine like jewels. He is a coffin maker and widower, spending his quiet days creating the final resting places of Allora’s people.  Then one afternoon a magical bird flutters into his garden, and Alberto, lonely inside, welcomes it into his home. And when a kindhearted boy named Tito follows the bird into Alberto’s kitchen, a door in the old man’s heart cracks open. Tito is lonely too–but he’s also scared and searching for a place to hide. Fleeing from danger, he just wants to feel safe for once in his life. Can the boy and the old man learn the power of friendship and escape the shadows of their pasts?  With a tender bond that calls to mind  The Girl Who Drank the Moon , charming characters reminiscent of  The Penderwicks , and the whimsy of  A Snicker of Magic , this is a novel to curl up with, an extraordinary work of magical realism that makes the world feel like a warmer and happier place. Complete with dazzling interior illustrations, a gem from start to finish.  Released May 15

Alberto lives alone in the town of Allora, where fish fly out of the sea and the houses shine like jewels. He is a coffin maker and widower, spending his quiet days creating the final resting places of Allora’s people.

Then one afternoon a magical bird flutters into his garden, and Alberto, lonely inside, welcomes it into his home. And when a kindhearted boy named Tito follows the bird into Alberto’s kitchen, a door in the old man’s heart cracks open. Tito is lonely too–but he’s also scared and searching for a place to hide. Fleeing from danger, he just wants to feel safe for once in his life. Can the boy and the old man learn the power of friendship and escape the shadows of their pasts?

With a tender bond that calls to mind The Girl Who Drank the Moon, charming characters reminiscent of The Penderwicks, and the whimsy of A Snicker of Magic, this is a novel to curl up with, an extraordinary work of magical realism that makes the world feel like a warmer and happier place. Complete with dazzling interior illustrations, a gem from start to finish.

Released May 15

 When a small, friendless boy goes to bed at his boarding school, an adventure is about to begin! First he finds an invitation in his turtle's bowl. Next he makes an escape--out the window, through the woods, across a river, and onto an island. And then he joins a grand celebration, with larger-than-life animals serving tea and dancing late into the night. And finally? After the journey back, he has a fantastic story to tell--the perfect way to make a friend.  A simple text and glorious illustrations combine to make a deceptively powerful and touching picture book, cementing Daniel Miyares's reputation as one of the most exciting children's book author-illustrators working today.  Released May 8

When a small, friendless boy goes to bed at his boarding school, an adventure is about to begin! First he finds an invitation in his turtle's bowl. Next he makes an escape--out the window, through the woods, across a river, and onto an island. And then he joins a grand celebration, with larger-than-life animals serving tea and dancing late into the night. And finally? After the journey back, he has a fantastic story to tell--the perfect way to make a friend.

A simple text and glorious illustrations combine to make a deceptively powerful and touching picture book, cementing Daniel Miyares's reputation as one of the most exciting children's book author-illustrators working today.

Released May 8

 A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and  New York Times –bestselling Hope Larson.  Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he's off to soccer camp for a month, and he's been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it's up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it's a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin's older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he's acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.  Released May 1

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling Hope Larson.

Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he's off to soccer camp for a month, and he's been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it's up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it's a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin's older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he's acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.

Released May 1

 

June releases

 

 Only Fallow was just six harvests old when she realized that not everyone sees lies. For Only, seeing lies is as beautiful as looking through a kaleidoscope, but telling them is as painful as gnawing on cut glass. Only’s family warns her to keep her cunning hidden, but secrets are seldom content to stay secret.  When word of Only’s ability makes its way to the King, she’s plucked from her home at the orchard and brought to the castle at Bellskeep. There she learns that the kingdom is plagued by traitors, and that her task is to help the King distinguish between friend and foe. But being able to see lies doesn’t necessarily mean that others aren’t able to disguise their dishonesty with cunnings of their own.  In the duplicitous, power-hungry court, the truth is Only’s greatest weapon . . . and her greatest weakness.  Releases June 5

Only Fallow was just six harvests old when she realized that not everyone sees lies. For Only, seeing lies is as beautiful as looking through a kaleidoscope, but telling them is as painful as gnawing on cut glass. Only’s family warns her to keep her cunning hidden, but secrets are seldom content to stay secret.

When word of Only’s ability makes its way to the King, she’s plucked from her home at the orchard and brought to the castle at Bellskeep. There she learns that the kingdom is plagued by traitors, and that her task is to help the King distinguish between friend and foe. But being able to see lies doesn’t necessarily mean that others aren’t able to disguise their dishonesty with cunnings of their own.

In the duplicitous, power-hungry court, the truth is Only’s greatest weapon . . . and her greatest weakness.

Releases June 5

 Risk-averse Greg Belmont is content with being ordinary. He's got a friend--that's right, just one--at his fancy prep school, and a pretty cool dad (even if he is obsessed with organic soaps that smell like a mix of salted pork and Icelandic bog). The problem is, Greg isn't ordinary . . . he's actually an honest-to-goodness, fantastical Dwarf!   He discovers the truth the day his dad brings home a gross new tea--one that awakens bizarre abilities in Greg. Then a murderous Bro-Troll kidnaps his dad and Greg is whisked away to the Underground, where Dwarves have lived for centuries right beneath the streets of Chicago.  With the help of some awesome new friends and a talking ax, Greg learns all about the history of the Dwarves, which has been marked with tales of epic failure since the dawn of time. However, the return of the magic they once wielded means big changes are afoot, escalating tensions with the Dwarves' sworn enemy: the Elves.   Brimming with humor and action, Chris Rylander's  The Legend of Greg turns dwarf lore on its head, delivering an adventure readers won't be able to resist.  Releases June 12

Risk-averse Greg Belmont is content with being ordinary. He's got a friend--that's right, just one--at his fancy prep school, and a pretty cool dad (even if he is obsessed with organic soaps that smell like a mix of salted pork and Icelandic bog). The problem is, Greg isn't ordinary . . . he's actually an honest-to-goodness, fantastical Dwarf! 

He discovers the truth the day his dad brings home a gross new tea--one that awakens bizarre abilities in Greg. Then a murderous Bro-Troll kidnaps his dad and Greg is whisked away to the Underground, where Dwarves have lived for centuries right beneath the streets of Chicago.

With the help of some awesome new friends and a talking ax, Greg learns all about the history of the Dwarves, which has been marked with tales of epic failure since the dawn of time. However, the return of the magic they once wielded means big changes are afoot, escalating tensions with the Dwarves' sworn enemy: the Elves. 

Brimming with humor and action, Chris Rylander's The Legend of Gregturns dwarf lore on its head, delivering an adventure readers won't be able to resist.

Releases June 12

 
 "Hey, you! Sky's blue!" a girl shouts as she runs by the window of a boy bent over his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind, and into a world of sunshine, dewey grass, and warm sand. Filled with the pleasures of being alive in the natural world,  Run Wild  is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens.  Releases June 5

"Hey, you! Sky's blue!" a girl shouts as she runs by the window of a boy bent over his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind, and into a world of sunshine, dewey grass, and warm sand. Filled with the pleasures of being alive in the natural world, Run Wild is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens.

Releases June 5

 Guinevere St. Clair is going to be a lawyer. She was the fastest girl in New York City. She knows everything there is to know about the brain. And now that she’s living in Crow, Iowa, she wants to ride into her first day of school on a cow named Willowdale Princess Deon Dawn.  But Gwyn isn’t in Crow, Iowa, just for royal cows. Her family has moved there, where her parents grew up, in the hopes of jogging her mother Vienna’s memory. Vienna has been suffering from memory loss since Gwyn was four. She can no longer remember anything past the age of thirteen, not even that she has two young daughters. Gwyn’s father is obsessed with finding out everything he can to help his wife, but Gwyn’s focused on problems that seem a little more within her reach. Like proving that the very strange Gaysie Cutter who lives next door is behind the disappearance of her only friend, Wilbur Truesdale.  Gwyn is sure she can crack the case, but when she does she finds that not all of her investigations lead her to the places she would have expected. In fact they might just lead her to learn about the mother she’s been doing her best to forget.  Releases June 12

Guinevere St. Clair is going to be a lawyer. She was the fastest girl in New York City. She knows everything there is to know about the brain. And now that she’s living in Crow, Iowa, she wants to ride into her first day of school on a cow named Willowdale Princess Deon Dawn.

But Gwyn isn’t in Crow, Iowa, just for royal cows. Her family has moved there, where her parents grew up, in the hopes of jogging her mother Vienna’s memory. Vienna has been suffering from memory loss since Gwyn was four. She can no longer remember anything past the age of thirteen, not even that she has two young daughters. Gwyn’s father is obsessed with finding out everything he can to help his wife, but Gwyn’s focused on problems that seem a little more within her reach. Like proving that the very strange Gaysie Cutter who lives next door is behind the disappearance of her only friend, Wilbur Truesdale.

Gwyn is sure she can crack the case, but when she does she finds that not all of her investigations lead her to the places she would have expected. In fact they might just lead her to learn about the mother she’s been doing her best to forget.

Releases June 12

 
 Bear is hungry. Gertie wants to help. But finding the perfect snack is harder than it looks. Will Gertie and Bear silence Bear's tummy grumbles before hunger gets the best of them?  Expressive characters and funny dialogue lead the way in this pitch-perfect story about patience and teamwork, by nationally-syndicated cartoonist Drew Sheneman.  Releases June 12

Bear is hungry. Gertie wants to help. But finding the perfect snack is harder than it looks. Will Gertie and Bear silence Bear's tummy grumbles before hunger gets the best of them?

Expressive characters and funny dialogue lead the way in this pitch-perfect story about patience and teamwork, by nationally-syndicated cartoonist Drew Sheneman.

Releases June 12

 

July Releases

 lice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia—a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.  Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice's day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.  Tamara Bundy’s beautifully written debut celebrates the wonder and power of friendship: how it can be found when we least expect it and make any place a home.  Releases July 3

lice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia—a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.

Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice's day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.

Tamara Bundy’s beautifully written debut celebrates the wonder and power of friendship: how it can be found when we least expect it and make any place a home.

Releases July 3

 Elliot and Uchenna—and Jersey!—have barely recovered from their first adventure with Professor Fauna when he approaches them with an all-new quest. Except this time they're going to have to cross an ocean. In the mountains of the Basque Country, the Unicorn Rescue Society must track down a missing dragon. But how could someone even kidnap a dragon? And for what evil purpose? And is their newest, fire-breathing rescue more than they can handle?   New challenges await in this second book in the Unicorn Rescue Society series, a brand-new fantasy-adventure from Adam Gidwitz. Illustrated throughout, it’s the perfect fit for newly independent readers looking for a story full of adventure, fun, and friendship.  Releases July 10

Elliot and Uchenna—and Jersey!—have barely recovered from their first adventure with Professor Fauna when he approaches them with an all-new quest. Except this time they're going to have to cross an ocean. In the mountains of the Basque Country, the Unicorn Rescue Society must track down a missing dragon. But how could someone even kidnap a dragon? And for what evil purpose? And is their newest, fire-breathing rescue more than they can handle? 

New challenges await in this second book in the Unicorn Rescue Society series, a brand-new fantasy-adventure from Adam Gidwitz. Illustrated throughout, it’s the perfect fit for newly independent readers looking for a story full of adventure, fun, and friendship.

Releases July 10

 From #1  New York Times  best-selling author Robert Beatty comes a thrilling new series set in the magical world of Serafina.    Move without a sound. Steal without a trace.    Willa, a young night-spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work-the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand–but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.  When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day world, she calls upon an ancient, unbreakable bond to escape. Only then does she discover the truth: not all day-folk are the same, and the foundations that have guarded the Faeran for eons are under attack.  As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her home, Willa must decide who she truly is. To save the day-folk family that has become her own–and lift the curse that has robbed her people of their truth–Willa will meet deadly force with trusted alliance, violence with shelter, and an ever-changing world with a steady heartbeat of courage.  Releases July 10  0 Likes

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Robert Beatty comes a thrilling new series set in the magical world of Serafina. 

Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. 

Willa, a young night-spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work-the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand–but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.

When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day world, she calls upon an ancient, unbreakable bond to escape. Only then does she discover the truth: not all day-folk are the same, and the foundations that have guarded the Faeran for eons are under attack.

As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her home, Willa must decide who she truly is. To save the day-folk family that has become her own–and lift the curse that has robbed her people of their truth–Willa will meet deadly force with trusted alliance, violence with shelter, and an ever-changing world with a steady heartbeat of courage.

Releases July 10

0 Likes

Jessica Mathisen

Meet Featured Author Jessica Mathisen!

Join us for a Meet the Author Event on Saturday, May 19 at 1:00pm.

jessica mathisen.jpg

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a former elementary school teacher turned church administrative assistant. Athens has been my home for about 10 years now, and I love it! My husband Rory and I have been married for almost three years, have a sweet puppy, and are in the process of becoming foster parents. 

2. What do you do when you are not writing?

I work full time. :) I love to read, obviously, and I also just enjoy being at home with my husband. As a social person it is also really fun for me to get to hang out with friends by getting lunch together and catching up. 

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Since I was a child, I have always known that I wanted to write. The dream got put on the backburner a little bit during my teen years, but I’ve always been an avid journaler. The written word is much more comfortable for me and I’ve always enjoyed being able to put my thoughts on paper.

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My husband might be a better person to ask this question to; I’m not sure I’m aware of my quirks! I don’t think there is anything too strange or out of the ordinary that I do while writing. :)

5. Do you have an upcoming book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes! My book is called Already Chosen and was just released on May 1. It is about my journey to discovering true contentment and allowing God to teach me that He would always be enough for me. Growing up in the South and also as a Christian, I felt like those two subcultures valued marriage and made it an expectation and desire of my heart that would have to be fulfilled in order for me to be happy. When I didn’t receive that desire in a “timely manner,” it made it difficult for me to find happiness because I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. Even when the dream finally did come true, I found that all of my problems were not solved overnight. This book is my journey of learning that joy is a choice and contentment is possible even in the midst of deep longing. 

6. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Well, since it is a memoir, it is all about my life! 

7. What was your favorite part to write and why?

It was really fun for me to go back and write about our love story. It made me so grateful for him and was fun to relive. 

8. Who is an author that you look up to today?

I absolutely love Beth Moore. Her writing and Bible studies have been deeply impactful for me. 

9. What is your favorite genre of book to read?

Memoirs are my favorite these days! Reading someone else’s story brings me a sense of gratitude and helps me to understand how every person’s unique story has value. 

10. What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is a modern retelling of the biblical book of Hosea. I have probably read it about five times and own two copies, one of which is falling apart. 

11. Who is an author that has inspired you or influenced you growing up?

I read and reread Ella Enchanted when I was younger. While I am not a fiction writer, I devoured historical fiction as a child. I also loved the Little House on the Prairie series and the American Girl series. It was always fun to imagine that I lived in another place or time period.

12. Who is an author that has inspired you more recently?

Annie F. Downs’ work has inspired me to take chances in my writing and to pursue it with all that I am. She is from the same town I grew up in and also went to UGA. Not only do I share some life experiences with her, I feel like she has been a trailblazer for younger authors who want to share their story in an honest way with others. Her writing has a “me, too” voice that helps you know that you are not alone. 

13. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Just do it. I know it sounds trite and a bit terrifying, but it is worth it to take the leap and just put yourself out there. It’s ok to start something from nothing and just get your feet wet. The practice of writing does not have to be painful! For me, I journal a few times a week, and that counts as writing to me! It’s a way that I process everything before I process in front of others through my public writing. If you want to write, just write. Learn from other authors and take notes, but use your gifts and talents to inspire, encourage, and lead others.

14. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?  

Thank you! It is an honor to serve you and I don’t take it lightly. It was always my dream to write, and with the ease of technology, that dream became a reality. Learning from you and hearing your stories inspires me to keep going and become better at what I do in order to serve you better, too. 

 

Marsha K. Nowakowski

Meet Featured Author Marsha K. Nowakowski!

Join us for a Meet the Author Story Time on Saturday, May 12 at 1:00pm.

marsha nowakowski.jpg

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife, a dedicated mother to three children, and a “grammie” to my grandchildren. 

I have spent forty years in the healthcare industry, primarily as a cardiac nurse. My inspiration for writing Matt and Mattie’s Adventures developed from her own observations that patients who recovered more quickly exhibited healthy habits and good attitudes toward life.  

As a mother and grammie, I recognized the need for books teaching healthy habits to help young ones develop into successful people who always do their best.  Matt and Mattie’s Adventures makes everyday habits fun, balanced, and adventuresome for toddlers. 

My own adventures include travel, horseback riding, and reading. I also enjoy golf, baseball games, and sailing with my husband. Every day is an adventure!

2. What do you do when you are not writing?

I have not given up my full time career as a cardiac nurse at Emory University Hospital. I love my Nursing career, coworkers, patients and Emory University Hospital but as I approach age 65,  I am looking forward to retirement. My husband and I love to travel and visit our children and grandchildren in Philadelphia and Denver. With a large extended family, we all like to travel the world and do so often together making our adventures of culture and history fun and exciting.   

My husband and I look forward to our next adventure in the life of retirement. We are excited to be building a retirement cottage in our own little slice of heaven which happens to be in Montana near Glacier National Park. I really am a country girl at heart who loves the outdoors, animals, and, in particular, horses. I’ve owned and trained several horses, but currently enjoy trail riding with my friends. Because my husband and I have resided in the beautiful state of Georgia for the last 34 years, living in a golf course community with tennis, I have taken part in our country club living over the last 30 years but look forward to a slower, more serene pace of living in Montana,  which I often refer to as the last best place on earth! 

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Although always a creative child with a vivid imagination, I found myself throughout my nursing career creating projects, flyers, and support information for our patients and staff. After becoming a grandmother, nearing retirement, and taking care of other’s hearts for 35+ years, I decided to follow my own heart. I envisioned doing something that would make a difference and contribute positively to our world. Teaching health and wellness most of my life, it made sense then to follow what I knew best. So my journey to creating the Matt and Mattie’s Adventures series and Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day! started approximately 3 years ago. My belief is that our future lies in creating healthy children with good attitudes to create a healthy world. In reality, the message of diversity, positive attitudes in learning hard lessons and developing habits through good choices can apply to everyone, not just toddlers. My healthcare background provided me the vision that good attitudes will lead to healthy, lifelong habits, thus helping young ones learn confidence and independence. 

4. Do you have an upcoming book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Since my book Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day! just came out in January, I find myself immersed in social media, readings, and book tours.  I have many ideas for future books promoting healthy choices that will always cover ten toddler tips about learning life’s adventures. The next book I am working on is called Matt, Mattie, and Murdock the Horse. Because of my own love of horses, I would like to write ten safety tips for toddlers visiting a barn and seeing big horses for the first time. Murdock will be a sad, lonely soul looking for his lost barn when Matt and Mattie come upon him. They become fast friends, find Murdock’s home and soon Murdock is the comic relief in teaching them about safety tips in the barn.   

5. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The educational portion of Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day! is based on facts and observations as a Mom, Grandma, and Nurse. The characters of Matt and Mattie are cute, unique, creative feet characters who represent ten activities of daily living symbolic to ten toes. Just as our toes help our bodies balance, learning the ten life skills will help your child create balance in their own life. Toddlers will learn independence and confidence in a fun, interactive way.

6. What was your favorite part to write and why?

My favorite part of Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day! occurs on the very first page which starts with the toddler’s morning and introduces the idea of having a good attitude each day. I was inspired by my experience as a cardiac nurse and mother, knowing that a positive attitude is key to leading a healthy, productive life. Quality choices define the outcome of our health. Having a good attitude and always doing your best by putting your best foot forward is not a one-time choice made in the moment. It’s a behavior cultivated over many attempts, many days in those formative years through healthy habits. Toddlers have a lot of learning to do and I wanted to write a book of encouragement that makes all the difficult lessons seem easier with rhymes and fun activities. I impress upon young readers important life skills, such as eating nourishing meals and brushing your teeth, through endearing characters, enjoyable illustrations, and easily understood lines.  All pages in the book introduce toddlers to routines that could be considered difficult and instead become fun-filled learning activities. 

7. Who is an author that has inspired you or influenced you growing up?

As a young child I enjoyed all the fantasy and enchantment found in Christmas books, but as I became a teenager I enjoyed solving the mysteries found in the Nancy Drew series.

8. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”    -Toni Morrison 

Writing requires a lot of creativity, time, and energy. Even though Matt and Mattie are friends in the book, my husband and I call them “our twins.” They are with us always! 

Life is short, so follow your dreams. For me, I waited until my own children were grown and my primary career is now coming into retirement years. Your dreams can come true but it will require patience, rewrites, reworks, and a good publishing team. The title of my book was the single most difficult decision for me. Trying to capture everything your book represents in a creative way can be long and the most thought provoking exercise. 

It is exhilarating to create something you believe will make a difference to others while also providing joy. In this case Toddler Tootsies provide a difference in how we look at health, happiness, and choices while giving the joy of learning through reading and interacting with the characters.  

As a writer you are vulnerable to criticism and rejections, so you should never give up and develop a thick skin. Remember as Toni Morrison so eloquently stated: write your own story and if has not been written yet, then you must write it!

9. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?  

I think two things set Toddler Tootsies Take On The Day! apart from other children’s books: The book is about them, the toddler. They recognize each of the ten activities of daily living because this is their day, every day. The book is about them! They can relate to the characters Matt and Mattie, seeing themselves in the book while having fun with some of the choices offered. It becomes an unconscious, fun learning experience for toddlers to learn life skills that follow along with quotes from long ago. Ben Franklin said: “It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” Or from Aristotle: “Excellence is not an act but a habit.” Matt and Mattie help toddlers learn independence and confidence within their own daily activities. 

I look forward to meeting you May 12th at The Story Shop! 

An Ode to Poetry Month

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
— “My Shadow,” Robert Louis Stevenson
poetry.jpg

          I can’t help but hear my grandfather’s voice in my head as I read this snippet. It’s a widely known children’s verse, the first stanza of a longer poem from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1885 collection, A Child’s Garden of Verses.

     "My Shadow" is a poem that’s been read aloud countless times in countless settings, so beloved to children and adults alike that most people probably can’t remember where they heard it first. Countless voices have given it life over the last century and a half. Still, in my readings, the voice is always my grandfather’s.

Poetry helps us remember. 

     I should mention that my grandfather passed away when I was six years old. As one would expect, I don’t remember many details about him. But poetry has always been the clearest way for me to remember his voice.

     This is the power of a poem - it stays with us. Poems have an appeal similar to aphorisms (concise statements of general truth, like “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”): they move an idea from point A to point B via a catchy soundbite. They are portable. We can show poems off on command, both impressing our friends and skipping the long process of trying to put our own words to a thought. 

     (At least, this is the joy I find in memorizing poems. Nerdy? For sure. But it sure makes me look like I know more than I do.)

Poems grow with us as we age.

          I would argue, though, that unlike coffee-cup slogans or t-shirt catch phrases, poems grow with us as we age. As children, a poem can speak to us on a certain level, and then a different level as adolescents, different still as young adults, and so on. Clearly, they spoke to my grandfather over the course of his entire life, ever his companion, just like Stevenson’s little shadow.

          What better way, then, to teach our children to love words and books? What better way to ensure that their lives are interwoven with reading than to give them words they can be proud to remember, books that remind them of all the love and joy they know and have yet to discover?

Poetry from connections.

          Poetry blossoms from connections we make between the world and ourselves, and I can’t think of a better way to teach our children empathy and creativity than to show them these connections and explore them together. And, with poetry as with all books, reading to our children can remind us of what grounded us most when we were their age, and what can ground us still. 

 

From all of us at The Story Shop,

Happy National Poetry Month!

Alice Mohor

Meet Featured Author Alice Mohor!

Join us for a Meet the Author Story Time on Saturday, April 21 at 1:00pm.

Alice Mohor.png

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a retired elementary P. E. teacher, and I first wrote rhyming poetry for my elementary P. E. students.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?

I like to visit with my family and with my friends. I also like to read and discuss books with a group of friends. 

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I wanted to share something that I had written.

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I often get an idea for a poem when I am trying to fall asleep. I keep a lighted pen and paper pads on my bedside table and often fall asleep while writing.

5. Do you have an upcoming book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes, I just published a second book of poetry, Shared Days, about two people learning how to love each other while living together.

6. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

All of my poetry is based on my experience or understanding of real events.

7. What was your favorite part to write and why?

My favorite poems are about the ordinary days in life that feel special when we remember them.

8. Who is an author that you look up to today?

Mary Oliver

9. What is your favorite genre of book to read?

I like to read books about real things.

10. What is your favorite book?

The Thesaurus.

11. Who is an author that has inspired you or influenced you growing up?

Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss, Robert Frost, Stephen Vincent Benet, and Edgar Allan Poe.

12. Who is an author that has inspired you more recently?

Edna St. Vincent Millay.

13. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Yes, try to write something every day.  Practice will make you better.

14. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?  

Yes, if you will keep reading, I will keep writing.