THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Kippi The Conqueror, Bed Bugs And Monster Hugs by Kady Oliker

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Kady Oliker, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, KIPPI THE CONQUEROR: Bed Bugs & Monster Hugs. Take it away, Kady…

KIPPI THE CONQUEROR: Bed Bugs & Monster Hugs by Kady Oliker

In my opinion, children are either born fearful, or fearless. I was the extremely fearful child, never running into the street, and clinging to my mother’s leg at any and all loud noises. You name it, I had a phobia about it, but I never had a book that showed me how to acknowledge those fears, and teach me how to be brave.

My Kippi the Conqueror series started as a way to begin the conversation about mental health and substantiating fears. When I was growing up, this was a taboo subject, something no one talked about, and my fears got swept under the rug. So I started creating books that didn’t just tell kids they were going to be fine. I wanted to open up the door to ask why they weren’t okay, and help them gather tools that they would be able to utilize later on to talk themselves through an anxious moment.

Bed Bugs and Monster Hugs, the second book in my series, stemmed from my cousin telling me that if I hung my arm off the bed, something would come up and rip it off. For the longest time, I would get a running start and launch myself into bed, just to avoid having my feet near the edge where things might be lurking in the dark. This book is about validating the fact that we all have nightmares, but teaches a child how to turn those bad dreams into something more manageable.

My goal is to have many more books in this series, tackling everything from fear of the dentist to fear of dogs. I feel so lucky to be able to help kids deal with their fears in fun and imaginative ways, and hopefully make the world a less scary place for them.

Here is the book’s blurb:

“A mysterious trail of snacks? A secret door in the floor? A dream machine?! With the help of a new friend who smiles, laughs, and snorts, Kippi learns how to deal with her fear of things that go bump in the night. Come with Kippi on her next adventure to conquer the world of nightmares and monsters under the bed.”


Kady Oliker Eshleman is a real estate agent by day, and children’s book and mystery writer by night. When not crafting stories or playing tennis, you can find her playing with her Goldendoodle puppy, Dude. Kady’s first book, Beyond the Clouds, helps children deal with the loss of a loved one in a whimsical and concrete way. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, and has an affinity for roaming through old bookstores and smelling the books.

Want to connect?





THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: The Three Little Coyotes by Patricia VerMeer

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my new friend, children’s book author, Patricia VerMeer, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, “The Three Little Coyotes”. Take it away, Patricia…

The Three Little Coyotes by Patricia VerMeer

I have been told that I am a natural-born storyteller but only recently a published author of one of those stories; A newbie author. I chose a self-publishing route through Kindle and The Book Patch because I wanted to have free creative control of the stories. These Little Coyote stories are my heart told to my own children.

As an educator, I was keen to find opportunities to escort my kids through the learning process of reading. I love books. I love getting lost in the storyline, falling in love with characters, and mourning the last chapter of a good book. My busy, active boys did not love books in that same manner. My only captive audience was at bedtime. They quieted easily for a good read-aloud.

As the nights and years moved along I was forced to create more coyote content for my boys. Sometimes the stories wove around a theme of obedience, roughhousing, curiosity or kindness. Many of the stories focused on the personality traits my children were developing at that time. Others had more naturalistic concepts like the necessity of hunting for food, searching for water, and out-smarting hunters. A few stories centered around the seasons or the other floral and fauna found on our hobby farm. My boys were born explorers so many of the stories developed a “return to the den” segment ripe with repetition and rhythm.

Once my oldest son started to read independently I found that his interests in the natural world were not well represented in fictional literature and sight-word books. I had to revise the Little Coyote stories to include illustrations and text so we could practice reading. Those first rough drafts were kept in a spiral binder and read nightly for many years.

Now that my boys are in their late teens, I have decided to take the time to rework my stories for publication. My sons are still inspired by the natural world and I want to honor their gifts and interests while highlighting strong themes that were useful for them. The seek and find elements and repetition are particularly magical when reading to young children. Oh, how I miss those
nights of freshly, bathed cuddles over a good book. I hope you find the three little coyotes as magical as we do at Bluebird Meadows. You can download it here or purchase a glossy paperback at The Book Patch.

Here’s the book’s blurb:

“The three little coyotes are growing up north the Big Pines in a fallen oak tree on the Bluebird Meadow Farm. One little coyote can not control his curiosity. He is drawn to explore the farm by the sites, sounds and of course, smells. The three coyotes pups can always count on Momma to bring them back to the cozy den filled with soft grasses and dry leaves. This read-aloud is great for children that like outdoor adventure, rural living or animals.”


Patricia VerMeer is a mother, wife, teacher and equestrian.  She lives with her family on a hobby farm in rural Michigan.  She loves spending time with horses, in her gardens or curled up reading.  

Want to connect?







THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Grandma, I Don’t Want To Go To Sleep by Richard Ceasor

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my new friend, children’s book author, Richard Ceasor, is sharing the WHY he wrote his newly released book, “Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep” . Take it away, Richard…

Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep by Richard Ceasor

My first foray into self publishing and “professional” writing began in the second grade.   A friend and I wrote superhero comic strips utilizing parodies of actual Marvel superheroes as characters.  We would churn out issue after issue of The Defensible Tin Can Man of Park Industries or Raredevil who was a pitchfork carrying rare devil that fought for good.  We always left our heroes in dire straits or right at the beginning of discovering some new secret.  

Our second grade classmates constantly cajoled us to produce the next issue and paid for the privilege at a whopping three cent an issue- a sheet of paper folded to provide us with the requisite sixteen panels when you counted front and back.  I loved creating those stories with my friend and the conversations at lunch time discussing our “comics”.  Who knew that almost fifty years later I would be doing something very similar. 

While attending Oberlin College,  Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was required reading in my sophomore French class.  The Little Prince was assigned to us because it’s simple vocabulary allowed us with our limited facility with the French language, to be able to read the story.  In our class discussions,  I was fascinated with the layered aspects of the story.  It could be read as a straightforward children’s story or, as we discussed,  a philosophical journey about the nature of life itself.  I vowed that one day, I would write a story like that. 

I began to look at children’s books like the Pooh stories, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and various tales from Dr Seuss and realized that there were many gems for adults hidden in these tales for children.  Over the years I recognized the same things in cartoons like Puff the Magic Dragon, Disney’s Peter Pan and many others.  For decades my pen was silent.  And then, one night in 2020, I was awakened a little after three am from my sleep with a burning desire to write and wrote Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep in it’s entirety in less than an hour. I was delighted with what my muse had produced! A layered philosophical story with no words above a first grade level and a tribute to grandmothers everywhere.   I knew that I had to find an illustrator! 

I sing in The Soul Stick Q, a do wop acapella quintet that has sang with The Platters, Archie Bell & the Dells and many others. We often had rehearsals at each other’s houses. During rehearsals, I had often marveled at the paintings of the wife of Daniel Muraida, one of the members of our group.  Thelma Muraida is a well-known artist in Texas and when I approached her with the idea of illustrating my book, she read my verses and agreed to collaborate with me.  I had hit the jackpot!  When she began to show me sketches and then illustrations, tears came to my eyes.  It was as if she had went into my head and drew the pictures just as they appeared.   She also had experience with children’s books and agreed to illustrate and format the book.  She was a virtual one stop shop!  One year later, the work was complete.

Now the question was “Do I self publish or do I look for a publisher?”   After almost one hundred hours of research, I decided that self publishing was the best choice for me.   I liked having complete artistic control and felt that my decade of corporate outside sales experience would help me to navigate the difficult marketing aspects of the business. 

In December 2021,  I created the new publishing company Ceasor Press Publishing and in January 2022, published my first children’s book Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep A Forever Love Tale -a layered  tale written in the tradition of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.that could serve as both the ultimate bedtime story for very small children, or a philosophical journey for a more mature reader.   Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep is a story that was decades in the making.

Here is the book’s blurb:

“This book is a tribute to grandmothers who have to be mothers twice as they raise their grandchildren. This book follows a child’s fantastical voyage under the sea in an imaginative attempt to avoid bedtime. A book of laughter, longing and loss. Told within the confines of a nontraditional family, children being raised by their grandparents can finally see themselves in print.”


From Martial Arts master inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, to a singer who has sang on the stage with The Platters, to a corporate outside sales representative who left corporate America to go teach inner-city children in Washington DC. Richard Ceasor brings a wealth of experience to his writing.

Richard comes from a family of storytellers.  He grew up as the offspring of two noted gospel singers in Cleveland, Ohio.  Despite a happy childhood, his life as a child was often interspersed with the grim aspects of inner city violence.   As a small child, Richard’s mother read traditional bedtime stories or told him family bedtime stories passed down over many generations.  Although they filled him with an absolute terror of the Big Bad Wolf (and boy did it take awhile for him to recover from that), they also offered him an escape from inner city life. Richard maintains his family’s reverence for a well-turned tale. He hopes his departed mother and uncles look down at his work and that they’re smiling. Richard  has taught children for almost two decades in inner city and Title I Schools.  He has also worked as a District Wide Behavior Specialist and a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program Principal and has spent many hours with both troubled and non troubled young people.

Want to connect?

Website: Ceasor Press Publishing (




THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: There’s A Spider In My Bathtub by April Eckert

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, April Eckert, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, THERE’S A SPIDER IN MY BATHTUB . Take it away, April…


The best memories of my childhood are intertwined with nature. I spent hours outside playing with my siblings or even on my own, simply loving the freedom that I had to run and jump and feel the breeze in my hair. I loved to scavenge for ingredients to add to my nature soup or mud pies. A little rain water, different shaped leaves from the trees in my yard, small pieces of bark that had fallen to the ground, and perhaps even some multi-colored flower petals would all add up to the best “food” a child of nature ever concocted. I made friends with the worms and the slugs, the fireflies, and the little roly polies. Toads and salamanders were kept for a short time in a bowl and always released so that they could continue on their way. Hours and hours of time flew by because I was having so much fun.

When I started school, I wasn’t used to being inside for so long. I yearned to be outdoors and couldn’t wait to play outside during recess. It took me a while to acclimate to the school climate, but I did. As time went on, I realized that I loved reading and writing stories. I could immerse myself in books and envision movies playing in my head while I read. 

Over the years I had many ideas for books to write, but nothing really “stuck.” I would have an idea and jot down some lines, but slowly the words would slip away along with my inspiration. Then one day, I saw a spider in my bathtub and the words just flew out of my head and onto the paper. I took a few days break and when I came back, even more words came until the story was finished! Luckily, I found a great group of indie authors that shared their experiences of publishing their stories. I soaked their advice up like a sponge. I also found my illustrator, Catherine Knorr in this group. Her talents extend far beyond her amazing drawings and we have become an incredible team focused on creating the best picture books for children.

Writing children’s books that center around the theme of nature is the perfect combination of my two greatest creative passions. Now I get to spend hours creating stories about endearing little characters while promoting time spent outside. 

My debut book, There’s a Spider in My Bathtub was written to help children (and some parents) learn to be less anxious around these misunderstood members of nature. A rhyming picture book with marvelous illustrations, this book will make even those who are most timid around spiders grow a little love for these cute crawlies. Follow along as little spider embarks on an amazing adventure after being rinsed down the drain…and right into your heart. 

Here’s the book blurb:

“Has there ever been a spider in your bathtub? What did you do? What do you think would happen to it if you rinsed it down the drain?

Come along with an adorable little spider as he travels to a land of dinosaurs, flies head first into a meteor shower, and accidentally falls into a battle with a dragon!”


As a child who loved the outdoors, April Eckert could usually be found playing with cute crawlies and creating a nature-inspired culinary dish in her spare time. Although nature was her favorite place, the one part of it that she was never comfortable with, was spiders. 

As an adult, April has earned her Master’s degree in Education. She has been a teacher for more than 10 years and continues her love for nature. April is happiest playing outside amongst the trees, with her daughter.

Although spiders still aren’t her favorite of the cute crawlies, she has learned that her childhood fear was based on not understanding these eight-legged creatures. She hopes that her books help children find their love for all things nature and their parents to be able to reconnect to the carefree feeling that being outside used to bring.

Want to Connect?





THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Our NICU Journey by Sarah Immonen Ward

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my new friend, children’s book author, Sarah Immonen Ward, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, “Our NICU Journey” . Take it away, Sarah…

Our NICU Journey by Sarah Immonen Ward

I never planned to be a writer or publish a book in my lifetime, yet here we are celebrating my debut children’s book, “Our NICU Journey”. I celebrate this achievement for many reasons.

Publishing our story was a way to cope with my birth trauma. It was also a way for me to mourn the loss of a typical full term pregnancy. Lastly, it was our way of giving back. We cannot begin to describe how thankful we are to each and every person that helped bring our babies home from the hospital.

My husband and I struggled to get pregnant right away and were thrilled to announce to our family and friends that we were due with twins. Our excitement quickly changed when we delivered them at a gestational age of 28 weeks. We watched as our children lived their third trimester in a hospital bed. Instead of being filled with grief and focusing on the bad news, we chose to celebrate their victories.

We wanted to stay productive and read to our children every day. Reading to babies promotes neurological development, reduces stress, and helps with coping. We collected so many great stories all while collecting beads from the Beads of Courage® program (

After every procedure, test, and therapy we were given a bead and at the end of their treatment had a strand to represent a tangible form of their medical history. Our family was released 78 days later with their beads to remind our children of their courage and bravery in their fight to come home. To always remember their strength, I wrote a love letter about their journey and kept it in my nightstand drawer.

Fast forward two years and we found ourselves in the NICU with our full term son. I felt denied a normal birth experience and faced past feelings of fear, uncertainty, and disappointment. We once again relied on faith, read to our son every day, and were finally able to bring him home to grow and thrive.

After our experiences we just knew we had to give back to the community and help other families not feel alone. We used our love of reading children’s books, personal photos of our journeys and individuals on our care teams, and my love letter as inspiration to create this keepsake that we hope will be treasured for years to come.

We pray that our story will help others who feel isolated cope with their own journey and inspire the love of reading in their own families.

Here’s my book’s blurb:

“Our NICU Journey is an inspiring children’s book and keepsake that follows first time parents as they navigate the neonatal intensive care unit. This book provides individuals enduring the NICU a sense of hope and encouragement. It is the perfect gift for families with a loved one or multiples in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, NICU graduates, and healthcare workers and supporters who are dedicated to this fragile community. The final pages include sections to document your own NICU journey and space for guests and healthcare teams’ signatures. Follow along as each page of the story highlights the strength, courage, and perseverance of a child’s fight to come home, visually represented through Beads of Courage®. Whatever your story, know that you are not alone.”

Available on Amazon:


Sarah Ward has a BS in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia and a degree in dental hygiene from the Medical College of Georgia. She is a mother of three NICU miracles and is passionate about giving back to the NICU community. With the help of their amazing medical teams featured in this book, the Ward children are home and thriving. Since her experiences in the hospital, Sarah has enjoyed connecting with fellow NICU families and healthcare workers in hopes to bring comfort and support.

Want to Connect?




Goodreads: Sarah Immonen Ward

Bulk orders please contact

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: I Am Enough by Sarah Hoskins

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Sarah Hoskins, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released series, I AM ENOUGH. Take it away, Sarah…

I Am Enough by Sarah Hoskins

I don’t think of myself as an author, I’m very much a beginner. Writing children’s books was never really in my plans but something that really just fell into my lap.

One day I had noticed that my young niece was saying negative things about herself. “I’m fat” and “I’m ugly”. I was so shocked that she was saying those things about herself at such a young age. I’ve come to realize though that our internal dialogue starts earlier than we realize. Kids are very impressionable and with added pressures these days of YouTube and social media who wouldn’t feel less then.

The more I thought about it the more I felt just really sad. I wanted her to feel good about herself and to help her start to change the way she was talking about herself. So I started looking for a positive affirmation book for kids. I didn’t really find what I was looking for specifically for her age group 2-8 year-olds.

So I decided to write one myself. One of my first books I AM ENOUGH – Positive Affirmations for Girls.

Now if I told anyone that I was writing a children’s book they probably would have laughed in my face. It’s so different to anything that I have done before but I’m very resourceful and also creative which I’ve come to realize. The process of writing and creating the book has been very therapeutic and an enjoyable process for me.

When writing the affirmations for the book my focus was really on my niece. I thought about her age, her beautiful personality and what I thought would be important positive seeds to plant in her mind. I came up with many positive affirmations but decided to keep it to the 12. I wanted to keep it short and simple to remember. Affirmations are so powerful when repeated regularly.

I then had to find an illustrator. I knew that I wanted the book to have amazing pictures to help bring the affirmations to life especially considering the age group that I was writing the book for. The illustrations were important.

I was lucky enough to come across Mariia Luzina. An amazing Italian artist that I found on Up Work. She bought my vision to life better that I could have ever imagined. We worked so effortlessly together and managed to have the book ready to be published within a few weeks.

I had to decide how I would publish my book after all I had never done this before. After a little research I decided to self-publish my book through amazon KDP. I had already successfully been selling physical products on amazon so I was familiar with the company and decided that would be a good place to start, after all who knows how the book would turn out and if anyone would even be interested in buying it.

I was also lucky that Mariia had experience with publishing her own books on KDP so she helped in making sure I had the right files to upload. On 31st December 2021 my very first book was published.

After getting so much amazing feedback on my first book I decided to write I AM ENOUGH –
Positive Affirmations for Boys. This one written and inspired by my beautiful two year old son

Sarah Hoskins is a mom who lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband Ross and beautiful son Caleb. Caleb being the inspiration for one of her first books “I am enough – Positive affirmations for boys”. Before she started writing children’s books her life’s work had always been about helping people stay fit and healthy both physically and mentally. Now she enjoys spending her time cooking, creating and having wild adventures with her son.

Instagram: @sarahhoskins or @iamenoughbook

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Brixton the Cat Whisperer – A Tale of a Pittie and Two Kitties by Toni Arrowsmith

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Toni Arrowsmith, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, BRIXTON THE CAT WHISPERER. Take it away, Toni…

Brixton The Cat Whisperer – A Tale of a Pittie and Two Kitties by Toni Arrowsmith

For as long as I could remember, I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a children’s book, but never dreamed it would come to fruition as the chaos of everyday life always got in the way. Fast forward to an unprecedented pandemic, I found myself with more time on my hands due to lockdown. With no idea of where to start, I dove right into extensive research from getting the first word on paper to getting the final product in print through self-publishing. 

Being a lifelong animal lover and advocate, it only seemed fitting that the characters of my book would be centered around my pets – Brixton, the deaf pit bull and his kitty sisters, Ruby and Suds.

Since adopting Brixton and witnessing firsthand the public’s negative perception of pit bull type dogs, I became inspired to educate, advocate and encourage people to be more open minded about these misrepresented and misunderstood souls. So many of these dogs continue to endure discrimination, abuse and neglect, yet they remain true to their nature – they are resilient, loyal, forgiving, cuddly wonder pups with endless love to give.

Brixton the Cat Whisperer – A Tale of a Pittie and Two Kitties demonstrates how the protagonist, Brixton, is an incredible representation of pit bull type dogs. Not only does it showcase how he cares for and loves his kitty sisters, but it shows how he overcame a difficult past and does not let his disability hinder him in any way. This book also exemplifies the importance of how pet adoption and fostering can mutually enrich the lives of pets and their humans.

This book is designed to be enjoyed by children of all ages; however, it is sure to be loved by anyone who loves pets as well. Brixton’s lessons on embracing our differences, acceptance and second chances are sure to resonate with anyone who struggles because they feel they are different.  

A portion of the sales from this book will be donated to Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue, the rescue where Brixton was adopted from.

Here is the book blurb:

Brixton the Cat Whisperer – A Tale of a Pittie and Two Kitties is an inspiring story about a deaf pit bull puppy who finds himself at an animal shelter. Day after day, he watches one dog after another get adopted and starts to lose hope that he will ever get a family of his own. Then one day, Brixton gets his second chance when he is saved by Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue. Brixton soon learns that he is not limited by his disability, but rather, that our differences are what makes us special. Follow Brixton on his journey from being an unwanted shelter puppy, to being adopted into a loving home, to finding his calling as a cat whisperer.” … (

Toni Arrowsmith is a first-time children’s book author, small business owner and animal welfare advocate who has dedicated her life to improving the lives of animals. She lives in Seattle with her three rescue pets – Brixton McQueen, the deaf pit bull, and two cats, Ruby Puffkins and Suds Vicious.

Want to connect?


LinkedIn: Toni Arrowsmith

Goodreads: Toni Arrowsmith

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Boo’s Shoes – Learn To Tie Shoelaces By Sybrina Durant

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my new friend, children’s book author, Sybrina Durant, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, “BOO’S SHOES: Learn To Tie Shoelaces”. Take it away, Sybrina…

Boo’s Shoes: Learn To Tie Shoelaces by Sybrina Durant

Many years ago, I had a need to learn to tie a knot in a necktie. It was the 80’s and they were starting to regain popularity in the business world. I heard a cute little story about a fox chasing a rabbit through the woods. Mimicking their movements allowed one to perfectly tie a simple knot in a necktie. I learned that this technique is called “Mnemonics”.  I became intrigued with the idea of using a story or a song to help someone easily remember the steps for a tricky task. After much research, I was surprised to discover that that particular story had never been published in print so I decided to do it myself.

Then, SCREECH! That’s the sound of my dreams coming to an abrupt halt. I thought all authors had to be accepted by traditional publishers in order for their books to be presented to the world. It wasn’t until much later that I learned about the idea of self-publishing.

Nearly 30 years later, I learned something new was available to authors. That something was the freedom to produce, publish and promote your own book to the entire world. In 2012, I did some more research and could not believe that no one had ever published the story of the rabbit and the fox. I realized my time had finally come.

The internet was just coming into its own in the early 2000’s. That technology was opening up the world in ways no one had ever experienced before. With a little more research, I found an illustrator, Donna Marie Naval, whose artwork was perfect for “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit And The Fox”. I loved her illustrations so much that I also hired her to do the artwork for “Learn To Tie A Neck Scarf With The Rabbit and The Fox”. I didn’t want to leave the girls out of this new method of learning a skill.

Since Donna was from the Philippines, I was inspired to have the book translated into Tagalog. After that, I had it translated into Spanish. I even did a special version of that book to gift to boys in wedding parties.

Over the years, I was really stuck on teaching how to tie a necktie and that story morphed into several books including “Ned Knows How To Knot A Necktie” and “Nellie Knows How To Knot A Neck Scarf” illustrated by Enrique Vignolo from Argentina.  Finally, in 2020, I had a epiphany that I needed to write a book teaching how to tie a bow and “Cleo Can Tie A Bow” was born. The final book in my “Learn To Tie With The Rabbit And The Fox” series of books is this one. “Boo’s Shoes – Learn To Tie Shoelaces” was published in November of 2021. Cleo and Boo were both illustrated by Pumudi Gardiyawasam from Sri Lanka.

You can find all of my learn to tie books plus learn to tie books by many other authors on my blog at The Rabbit And The Fox Book Store. I believe there is strength in numbers and am happy to help other authors gain exposure for their books. It’s a Win-Win.

Here is the book burb:

“No Laces! That’s what Boo, the bunny, always says. He doesn’t want to learn to tie them. He has plenty of shoes for every occasion and none of them have laces or strings. So, what’s the point of learning to tie? His friend, Farah Fox, convinces him that it’s a skill he can use. . . and one that might make him happier, too.

This book is meant to be a parent-child activity. Youngsters can read Boo’s story and their parents can help with the how-to-tie instruction pages. A fun shoelace-themed “I Did It” badge is included at the back of the book to give in celebration of conquering this difficult task.”


Hi! I’m Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you’ll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

My links


The Rabbit And The Fox Book Store on my blog –






THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: How To Pick A Pet by Brooke Vitale

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Brooke Vitale, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “How To Pick A Pet”. Take it away, Brooke…

How To Pick A Pet by Brooke Vitale

I still remember that day in my junior year of college when I said to a friend, “I wish someone could just pay me to read books,” and she replied, “You know that’s a job, right?

Honestly, no. As amazing as it seems, the idea of what actually went into making a book had never crossed my mind! But once that idea hit . . . well, I was done!

An internship at the University Press led to a graduate degree in publishing from NYU and an internship at Sterling Publishing (now Union Square & Co). Those first days were anything but glamorous. My days were spent mailing back images from thirty-year-old books. But as luck would have it, a job opened in the children’s department. I jumped at the chance and never looked back.

It’s been nearly twenty years since I walked through the doors of my first real job in publishing. Twenty years of learning how the business runs and what makes a truly great book. I’ve moved from Sterling to Penguin to Disney, and finally over to my own company, where I help aspiring authors make their books the best they can possibly be. And every day, I’m continuing to learn.

But about two years ago, something changed. With all those years of making other books great under my belt, and now a mom to two young boys of my own, I found myself teaching my own son how to read, I realized that many of the books out there for early readers just aren’t engaging enough. And many of them aren’t written at the level of a beginning reader. (And I get that, because having written tons of level 1 early readers for publishers before having kids of my own, I know that most people writing them aren’t truly educated in how kids learn to read.) So I started learning again. Learning about phonics, and how kids blend words, and what they are truly capable of when they are beginning readers. And then I started applying that learning to my own books. Which was when Charge Mommy Books was born.

My company has a heavy focus on literacy, as anyone looking at my newest level 1 early reader can see. Charge into Reading: How to Pick a Pet is the tale of a boy on the hunt for the perfect pet. Like many of my books, this one is drawn from a real life experience: taking my kids to the pet store only to have them ask for one of every pet they saw! But How to Pick a Pet is much more than just a story about pets. It also contains seven pages of literacy activities at the end to keep a reader engaged (as do all the books in the series). These are such a hit in my house that it’s not uncommon to hear my four-year-old running around shouting in his little voice, “Can I do the literacy activities?

He absolutely can, and it is my sincerest hope that other kids will love them—and How to Pick a Pet—just as much!

Here is the book’s blurb:

“Today is Tom’s big day: the day he gets to pick a pet of his very own. But as Tom looks around the pet store, he begins to worry: what if he can’t find the right pet? Join in the adventure as Tom meets a bird that’s too loud, a cat that makes him too sneezy, a snake that’s too squeezy, and a dog that’s WAY too big. With so many wrong animals, can Tom ever find his right one?”


Brooke Vitale is a children’s book editor, author, and proud founder of Charge Mommy Books, an independent publisher of playful, high-quality stories that children can really enjoy. She has written over a hundred books, including The Magic Is in You, The Mandalorian: A Clan of Two, Goonies: An Illustrated Classic, and her new Charge Into Reading Early Reader series, featuring Stuck Duck, Bug Hunt, How to Pick a Pet, and the forthcoming I Am Not a Rooster. Brooke spent nearly twenty years as an editor at prominent publishing companies, including Penguin Books for Young Readers and Disney Publishing. She now runs, a website dedicated to helping aspiring authors navigate the publishing and self-publishing industry. For more information on her newest venture and upcoming books, visit or head over to @chargemommybooks on Instagram to see a new piece of a story dropping every day.

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When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and prolific children’s book author, Darcy Pattison, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, FEVER. Take it away, Darcy…

FEVER by Darcy Pattison

When I write a children’s nonfiction picture book, I am definitely catching a story.

I look for topics that will appeal to elementary kids, their teachers and parents. The story of a Nobel Prize winning scientist is a story of success! The perseverance needed to achieve remarkable results often adds a layer of character development.

But before I commit to a topic, I need to see and understand the story. For me, the narrative storytelling is important, even in a nonfiction book. FEVER tells the story of Tu Youyou, a Chinese scientist who worked under the Chinese Communist government of the 1960s and 1970s.

She was assigned to Project 523, so named because it was conceived on May 23. China’s ally, North Vietnam asked for help during its war with South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese soldiers were dying of malaria. In fact, more soldiers died of malaria than died in the conflict in Vietnam. If doctors and researchers could cure malaria, the war efforts would be more successful. It’s a strange beginning to a story of healing.

Youyou made many sacrifices to carry out the research. For example, at one point, she didn’t see her two young daughters for three years. Instead, she sweated over vats of plants and chemicals, trying to extract compounds to test against malaria. She volunteered to test the medicines on herself.

The research was fascinating. At one point, I had to look for reference material of the time period for the illustrator. I found an image of a poster of how to prevent hepatitis. It’s fascinating to see how the Chinese medical system was depicted at this time.

The story of Youyou’s discovery of artemisium, a drug that cures malaria, is a strong story of perseverance, survival, failures, new attempts and finally success. It inspires me to keep going when times are hard.

Here is the book blurb:

“People were dying! Malaria is a deadly mosquito-borne disease that causes fevers, chills and often death. In 1969, the People’s Republic of China created a task force to find a cure.

Working in the 1970s, Chinese scientist Tu Youyou reviewed the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) scrolls for ideas on where to start her research. She found 640 traditional treatments, and methodically started extracting compounds and testing them against malaria. Would any of them work?

Courage, resilience, and perseverance–follow the struggles of Nobel Prize scientist Tu Youyou as she works to find a cure to malaria.”


Fiction Notes blog has provided writers with tips, strategies and inspiration since 2007. Our motto is “Believe in Your Story.” Storyteller, writing teacher, Queen of Revisions, children’s book author and founder of Mims House publisher, Darcy Pattison has recently been motivated by zombies (which helped her meet a goal of running a 5K) and chocolate (which keeps her young). Always active, before her tenth birthday, she (almost) climbed the Continental Divide, turning back at the last 20 yards because it was too steep and great climbing shoes hadn’t been invented yet. This year, she biked in Poland and hiked the Rockies (her first 14-er! Made it to 13.). On her bucket list is kayaking the Napali Coast, eating curry in Bombay, and catching a glimpse of a puma in South America.