THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: It’s Great To Be Me, Daily Affirmations For Children by Melissa Ahonen

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, Melissa Ahonen, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, IT’S GREAT TO BE ME: Daily Affirmations For Children. Take it away, Melissa…

It’s Great To Be Me: Daily Affirmations For Children by Melissa Ahonen

Being a parent, one of the first things that you want to instill in your children is love: love from you as a parent, self-love and the realization that they are amazing individuals full of talents, dreams, and kindness.

Fast forward to having our second child and me starting to do daily affirmations with her. It started with her repeating them after me methodically: I am brave, I am smart, I am kind.

After several days I noticed her saying them with fire in her voice: I AM BRAVE, I AM SMART, I AM KIND. She was believing in herself and everything she was saying.

Fast forward to a holiday with a neighbor having a large blow-up figure in their yard, my daughter was scared of it at first, but she quickly turned to me and said, “No mommy I can do this, I AM BRAVE!”

From that moment, I realized that affirmations help mold children’s belief in oneself, self-love, and confidence.

I sat down and decided to write “It’s Great to Be Me” so that other children can see the great they have inside of them, just like my daughter did.

“It’s Great to Be Me” was published January 11th, 2022 and in that short time has hit Best Seller on Amazon, #1 new release in 7 categories, a 5 star review with Readers Favorite, and named a Finalist in the Feathered Quill Award for Early readers.

Here is the book blurb:

“Self-love and acceptance should start at a young age, and what better way to instill that than by reading daily affirmations with your child! Have your child repeat all-caps affirmations and then let them enjoy listening to different ways they are special. Assure them that it’s great to be exactly who they are.  After reading the book, use the daily reflection questions to inspire conversation.  Adults will soon realize after reading this that they are perfect just the way they are as well. “

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Melissa grew up in a creative and imaginative home in Karlsruhe, ND. She spent her days playing outdoors on the farm, where her imagination led her to write endless stories. Her nights were spent hidden beneath her covers, well after bedtime, reading her book by way of flashlight. She now resides in Lincoln, ND with her husband and their two children.

Melissa draws inspiration from her two children as well as her spirited and mischievous childhood days on the farm. She loves writing about being the best you that you can be and finding the magic in the everyday. When not writing, you will find her chasing after her children, sipping a hot chocolate while cheering in the hockey rink, and enjoying the outdoors.  

Want to connect?

Amazon: http://mybook.to/ItsGreattoBeMe

Website: www.melissaahonen.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/melahonen

Facebook: www.facebook.com/melahonen

Email: Melissa@melissaahonen.com

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley

TITLE: Neck & Neck

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Elise Parsley

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, 2018

SYNOPSIS: “Everybody loves Leopold the giraffe. He inspires awe and wonder. His adoring fans gaze and cheer. Best of all, they feed him lots of deeeelicious snacks! But, one day, a shiny, bobble-headed new rival comes in and ruins everything…a giraffe-shaped balloon! Just how far will Leopold go to prove that he’s the hero of the zoo? Readers learn that actions speak far louder than looks in this laugh-out-loud face-off from Elise Parsley–the New York Times bestselling creator of the Magnolia Says DON’T! series.”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : “Author/Illustrator, Elise Parsley has a whimsical, expressive style in both her storytelling and her drawings. Neck & Neck focuses on Leopold the giraffe and his almost larger than life ego when he becomes one of the fan favorites at the zoo. But when an unexpected visitor starts stealing the spotlight, he’s not sure what might have caused this change. Young readers will enjoy all the bright colors and expressive faces of both Leopold and his balloon visitor. Older readers will pick up on the subtle lesson of not letting one’s ego get the better of them. A great addition to any library!”

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is kdp-haileys-hats-ebook-cover-jpeg.jpg

“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QXV4NVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

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.”

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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?

Website: www.kippitheconqueror.com

Email: kady@kippitheconqueror.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kippitheconqueror

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kippitheconqueror

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Bats At The Library by Brian Lies

TITLE: Bats At The Library

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Brian Lies

PUBLISHER: HMH Books For Young Readers, 2014

SYNOPSIS: “Frolic through the library with Caldecott honor winner and New York Times best-selling creator Brian Lies’ adorable bats.  This nighttime escapade is part of the award winning Bat Book series, perfect for bedtime reading as well as budding book lovers on Halloween and all year round.

Can it be true? Oh, can it be?
Yes!—Bat Night at the library!


The enchantment of story time is near—come bats, come one and all, and gather around for the tale of the night.

Roam the book-filled halls on this inky evening as the bats wander around the library and cause all sorts of mischief.

Brian Lies’ joyful critters and their nocturnal celebration cast library visits in a new light. Even the youngest of readers will want to join the batty book-fest..”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : Brian Lies’ book BATS AT THE BEACH was one of the first bat books I read by this author. While most people might be squirmish around nocturnal flying critters, I was captivated by Mr. Lies’ delightful illustrations, so when I realized he wrote another book in this series, I was eager to read it. This book is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the magic and fun that can be found within the aisles of their local library. A MUST addition to any children’s library!

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!

*************************

“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QXV4NVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)***

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Got To Get To Bear’s! by Brian Lies

TITLE: Got To Get To Bear’s

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Brian Lies

PUBLISHER: Clarion Books, 2018

SYNOPSIS: “Bear never asks for anything. So when a letter arrives for the little chipmunk Izzy, urgently requesting her presence, she can’t refuse–even if there is a blizzard on the way! This heartwarming tale of friendship from bestselling author Brian Lies will melt even the chilliest of hearts.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : Among all the animals in the natural world, one of my least favorite is the bear. I don’t know why, but books about bears don’t really capture my attention.

Until I came across this one.

I like the colorful illustrations and how Bear’s friends eagerly overcome any obstacle to get to their friend. Not even a snowstorm can stand in their way. That level of dedication to friendships is a dying art and author Brian Lies has managed to remind us what is important in the hectic world we live in. A sweet, heartwarming story and a MUST addition to any children’s library!

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!

*************************

“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QXV4NVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)***

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

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.”

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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?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.vermeer

Twitter:https://twitter.com/trishvermeer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bluebirdmeadows/?hl=en

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@bluebirdmeadows

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/patricia-trish-vermeer-160055202

Email: tvermeer3@gmail.com

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: SumoKitty by David Biedrzycki

TITLE: SumoKitty

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: David Biedrzycki

PUBLISHER: Charlesbridge, 2019

SYNOPSIS: “A stray kitty gets a job in a sumo stable, chasing mice in exchange for food. But when eating like a sumo wrestler slows our feline hero down, he realizes he must train like a wrestler, too. Through hard work and perseverance–and with a little help from a big buddy–SumoKitty is born! A funny and heartwarming story inspired by the Japanese saying “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I’m a lover of cats and martial arts so, of course, this cover appeals to me. I have also been fascinated with the Japanese culture and this picture book enables readers to learn more about the ancient art of sumo wrestling through the eyes of one homeless cat which leads right to a sumo training hall where young warriors learn to live a life of strength, honor, and integrity. And through author/illustrator David Biedrzycki’s informational storyline and creative illustrations, readers can follow one feline’s journey to become a SUMOKITTY! This book would make a nice addition to any library!

RATING: ****4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



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“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QXV4NVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: In The Red Canoe by Leslie A Davidson

TITLE: In The Red Canoe

AUTHOR: Leslie A Davidson

ILLUSTRATOR: Laura Bifano

PUBLISHER: Orca Book Publishers, 2016

SYNOPSIS: “Fish and herons, turtles and dragonflies, beaver lodges and lily pads—a multitude of wonders enchant both the child narrator and any other nature lovers along for the ride in this tender, beautifully illustrated picture book. Baby ducklings ride their mama’s back; an osprey rises with a silver fish clutched in her talons; a loon cries in a star-flecked night. Rhythmic, rhyming quatrains carry the story forward in clean paddle strokes of evocative imagery.

In the Red Canoe celebrates the bond between grandparent and grandchild and invites nature lovers of all ages along for the ride.”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : There are some picture books out there that storm into a room, announcing their arrival. Bright, colorful illustrations and high octane words pull the reader along on a rocket ride to the ending. Then there are soft, subtle, elegantly written books like IN THE RED CANOE, gently cradling its readers in beautifully crafted sentences to send them on a journey to a land of wonder. Ms. Davidson’s lyrical story is accompanied by Ms. Bifano’s lovely illustrations to create a world any young reader would enjoy. A great addition to any library!

RATING: ***** 5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is kdp-haileys-hats-ebook-cover-jpeg.jpg

“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QXV4NVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927



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.”

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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 (https://www.richardceasorauthorceasorpresspublishing.com/)

Instagram: www.instagram.com/aforeverlovetale

Twitter: www.twitter.com/aforeverloveta1

Email: Ceasorrichard@gmail.com

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Dinosaur Pirates! by Penny Dale

TITLE: Dinosaur Pirates! by Penny Dale

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Penny Dale

PUBLISHER: Nosy Crow, 2017

SYNOPSIS: “Our intrepid team of dinosaurs is back, but this time they are pirates in search of buried treasure! Having navigated their way to a desert island and dug up their booty, they are just sailing away when they are ambushed by a fearsome band of marauding baddy-pirates! Will our goody-pirates save their gold, their ship, and their honor, or will the baddies win out?”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : If I took a poll of one hundred kids and asked them what kind of book they wanted to read, I am sure a book about dinosaur pirates would top that list! Author, Penny Dale, not only creates vivid, colorful illustrations, her romping, rolling, pirates tale is told in a style I don’t often see. Each sentence begins with the ending word from the sentence before which takes the reader on a lyrical journey from discovering buried treasure to fighting robber raptors! A cute story and a great addition to any library!

RATING: ***** 5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



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“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09QXV4NVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)***

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Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927