A new year, and a new book…books. Regardless of how many books you have set to read this year, here are a few picture books to keep your little ones feeling rather, mostly…furry, and laughing in the new year.
How Tickles Saved Picklesby Maddie Johnson: this true story picture book is full of uber cute piglet and pig photos. And even a few dogs. This story is pigfect for all animal lovers.
Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Seve, illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski: The story and colors comes alive in this imaginative story about new neighbors. Readers will be enchanted by the story and illustrations. Kids will absolutely relate, maybe even some adults who think the grass is greener on the other side.
Walk Your Dogby Elizabeth Stevens Omlor, illustrations by Neesha Hudson: As I write this I’m still trying to decide if I liked this story or not. The illustrations are cute, but you’ll need to decide if this is a winner or not when you read it.
I Mustache You to Read with Meby Andrea Vilemont Moreau, illustrations by Clinton G. Bowers: This book could not be any punnier! (see what I did there). Kids will love this book enough to LOL and parents won’t mind reading it over…and over…and over again.
The Wall in the Middle of the Bookby Jon Agee: This unique story had me hooked! Since I am a fan of the author’s other books, including It’s Only Stanley, I had high expectations. I think little ones will even pick up on the sarcastic tone of the book. A must read for sure!
Did y’all know that Hallmark (yes, Hallmark movies, cards, ornaments) launched a publishing division? Yes, it’s true.
They have multiple books written/published based on some of the Hallmark Christmas movies, but in September of this year they released their first original (not based on a movie) book. In fact, since September they have released four new books.
The first was Stacey Donovan’s Sunrise Cabin. The story is set in Colorado during Halloween, however, it being Hallmark, it’s nothing worth scaring yourself over. The main characters, Paige and Dylan, are as cozy as the cabin they’re both hoping to keep. Paige is an amazingly positive character and the story is so well written that you can envision every sentence you read.
The second book is by Alys Murray titled, The Christmas Company. This story follows Kate and Clark (and I must admit with it being about Christmas, I kept thinking Clark Griswold) in the town of Miller’s Point, Texas. If you are looking for a different story about Christmas then this is the one for you. The story takes place from Christmas Eve-Eve through Christmas morning as Kate tries to convince a very Scrooge’y’ Clark about the importance of the Dickensian Christmas festival.
The best part about these books, and other Hallmark books, is….you can find them at Target and Hallmark stores!!! and of course also online.
Looking for a heartwarming and heartbreaking story to round off your summer reading list? Helder’s Story is one with dignity and possible controversy. But as the reader, you can decide. Please enjoy my interview below with the author.
Your book, Helder’s Story was released by Brother Mockingbird in July, what was it like working with a small publishing house?
It was a wonderful experience. It was a dream come true to have the book published by someone who was touched by the story, and sensed a connection with our family life. Working with a small publishing house made that possible. I think it also makes a difference that the publisher herself was naturally caring and personable, as well as knowledgeable and bright. I felt she had me in her best interest, and that was important to me.
As a medical social worker I come in contact with many clients who don’t wish to keep going because of their disease(s). Yet, it’s a hot topic, and everyone tip-toes around it. Were you concerned that sharing Helder’s Story might bring some backlash from those who disagree with the choice?
Absolutely. There was a moment I had to pause and recognize what I’m getting myself into. Eventually I concluded, the choice is not one I might make personally for myself. However, it is one that should be made available to everyone, whether you choose to exercise it or not. I guess you can call me pro-choice. That awareness enabled me to move forward, in spite of my concerns.
Why should a reader, who disagrees with aid-in-dying medication, read Helder’s Story?
Great question! One of the goals of writing the book was to lay the foundation so people can understand why someone would make that decision. There are so many variables involved which makes it a very individualized and personal decision. However, that wasn’t the only goal. The book has a strong message of encouragement, hope and perseverance. Finding spirituality in your life is another ongoing theme in the book. There is really so much more to Helder’s Story then the end result.
What were your children’s’ reactions to Helder’s Story being published?
They are still getting use to the idea that Mom wrote a book! They all agree it feels so right and so good to honor Dad’s life in this way. It’s very much in line with his philosophy – to share our experience, strength and hope in that it may help someone else.
The artwork for the cover is subtle and serene, what was the determining factor to make THAT the cover?
Helder loved nature. He had a spiritual connection with the outdoors that was both invigorating and healing. Having that conveyed through the artwork fits the story and him well.
What most do you expect readers to take away from this story?
I expect readers will relate to the hurts and triumphs in their own lives. The book touches on so many different issues – there’s something for everyone! In the end, I expect readers will feel inspired. That inspiration will take form in many different ways.
Do you have a background in writing? Are other books in the works?
A part from poetry writing in my teen years, I do not. I have been journaling for many years, and writing my thoughts and feelings are a daily part of my own growth and spirituality. While I was writing, I was vigilant about keeping the focus on Helder. Many times it occurred to me, my own background and heritage, seeped in shame and racial biases, has a story that should be told. Helder’s Wife perhaps?
Looks like we might have another story in the works for sure! Thanks for reading!
You can locate your copy of Helder’s Story directly from the author. If you live in the Pasadena, CA area you can get it at Vroman’s Bookstore.
It is also available on Amazon.
And bonus for southern California residents, she has an upcoming author appearance!!!
Author Jared Reck has a lot to live up to after his outstanding debt young adult novel. While I cannot wait…honestly, CANNOT, wait to read his future books, I need to share with you how amazing his current YA is/was. Terminology, whatever.
A Short History of the Girl Next Door takes your heart places. It made me laugh, and it even caused me to tear up (I don’t care that you know, whatever). This story is real, fresh, and meaningful.
I don’t want to give anything away, but once you start reading you will find yourself reaching for it at any break you can sneak. You will read it as soon as you wake up and before your eyes become too heavy.
The writing is sharp and sarcastic. The story is powerful, the characters honest.
Please, read this story even if you are not a teenager (lame sentence, I don’t care).