Friday, June 5, 2015

New book encourages children to explore the world around them

Rislov Come In Cover
Open the Doors to You is a unique and comforting book that will take readers through many metaphorical doors to explore all the different aspects that make up each of our lives: family, neighborhood, charity, friendship, education, creativity, sports, and nature. Through vibrant, cheerful artwork and playful text, this inviting book offers a way to expand a sense of self-awareness in children, building resiliency, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Open the Doors to You is Casey Rislov’s third children’s book. She credits her parents for encouraging her from a young age to open doors whenever possible: "Whether it was the door to education, sports, friends, hobbies, or travel, my parents always supported my adventurous ways. So when writing books became a passion of mine, they were just as excited as I was."

An excerpt from the book reads:
So if you ever find yourself stuck and upside down, ask:What am I going to do? Is there something else to learn?Can a friend show me something new? Which door is theone I haven’t visited in awhile?

Rislov wrote her newest book to inspire readers to try new things: "I hope Open the Doors to You will encourage young children and adults to see what new adventures are waiting behind each door. There are always new things to see and do and new friends to make!"

Through exploring the world around them and experiencing new things, children gain a deeper understanding of others and themselves. Child development studies show that sensory experiences shape how a child’s brain develops and grows. Children who are exposed to varied new experiences have increased confidence, feelings of security, and learn how to better deal with challenges later in life.

About the Author
Casey Rislov holds a master’s degree in elementary education and is endorsed in early childhood and special needs. She has spent most of her career teaching children everything from swimming and downhill ski racing to developmental skills and reading and writing. She lives in Wyoming with her family.

Praise and awards for Casey Rislov

Love is Forever (November 2013)

Living Now Book Award Winner 2014
Children’s Picture Book Category, Gold Medal
Time Together, Time Well Spent! (November 2011)

"A wonderful antidote to the presence of increasingly isolation-heavy media and technology."
—Midwest Book Review
Los Angeles Book Festival Winner 2012
Children’s Book Category, Honorable Mention

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Open the Doors to You by Casey Rislov; Casey Rislov Books; Category: Juvenile Fiction; Hard Cover: 32 Pages, $15.95; Availability:,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Interview with Misti Kenison, Author of The Tiny Travelers Series

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary.

The Tiny Traveler series is a collection of primers for children age 0-3, with a primary focus of teaching basic concepts, such as numbers, shapes, colors, etc. Each book uses iconic imagery from countries around the world to illustrate these concepts in an engaging way.

Unlike many other baby board books, which use basic items such as fruit or animals to teach primary concepts, The Tiny Traveler series uses exotic, fantastic images from places around the world to illustrate these concepts. From the Eiffel Tower, to the Great Pyramids, children will learn the basics of colors and shapes while also learning about these famous landmarks.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

My publisher, Sky Pony Press, is wonderful. I feel very lucky to have found them. I initially sent my manuscript out to a number of children’s book agents. Once I found an agent that was interested, she sent the material out to different publishers. It was a long process, it took many many months to find her, and many more for her to find an interested publisher. The publishing process took even longer, which was surprising to me. Once I signed on with Sky Pony, it was over a year before I actually saw the books in print. 

How did you get the idea for this book?

I got the idea for this series when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I spent a lot of time browsing bookstores and online catalogs to build a nice library of board books to start her out. I realized that there really wasn’t anything out there like the Tiny Traveler series, something that focused on exotic places and travel.

I actually studied illustration when I was in undergrad. I wanted to go into children’s book illustration then, but things took a detour for me after school and I went into graphic design instead. I’m so glad to finally be able to fulfill my dream of writing and illustrating these books, especially now that I have children who can enjoy them as well.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

Because I do both the writing and illustrations for my books, the process for me is interchangeable. I do a lot of research before I even start gathering ideas for each book, both for copy as well as possible images to use. Once I start writing, I’m constantly thinking about how the words will translate into illustrations as well. It does makes things a bit more complicated at times, but I end up with a more fully realized book than if I just tackled one part of it at a time.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
Since my books are aimed at a very young age group (0-3), I imagine reading them out loud to my children as I’m writing. In fact, many times I do run the copy by my kids to see if it makes sense. I love that they have become such an important part of my work.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

I really consider myself more of an illustrator than a writer, so the writing part of the job is difficult in many ways for me. I want to maintain a level of consistency with the copy in all of the books, and that can be hard as well. Thankfully, I have a great agent who proofreads everything for me.

How has publishing a book changed your life?

It’s been a great experience! I’m getting to do something I’ve always dreamed about, which is rewarding in itself. I also enjoy getting to go to author events and signings and just meeting so many amazing people. There are so many great librarians and booksellers that have become a big part of my life.

What are your plans now?
I am working on 2 new books in the series right now. My hope is that they will be published soon!

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Be patient. The whole publishing process takes so much time, and initially there is a lot of rejection. Not every agent will want to work with you, and not every publisher will want to carry your book. That doesn’t mean that your work is bad, or that you are a failure, it just means you have to keep looking.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Heart Wrenching Story Encourages Children to Recognize and Report Risk

little girl remembers her two-year-old brother, killed at the hands of their birth father, and helps readers realize that others share their pain

The facts are grim. Every ten seconds, a child abuse report is filed. Every year, more than a thousand lives are lost as the result of child abuse. By extension, many thousands more are forever changed.

The newly published book "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story," illustrates the impact of loss through one young girl’s words and experiences as she grieves the death of her "Baby Maxwell."

Written in verse by Gwenn Eyer, Valerie’s adoptive mother, this beautifully illustrated book relays a story of love, loss, and hope. Valerie was just four years old when her baby brother died at the hands of their birth father. Valerie’s story describes her sad, scared, and angry feelings and traces her journey from her sudden removal from her home and the loss of everything she knew to her placement in foster care to her eventual adoption.

Eyer explains that "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story" offers a message to be shared with children and families who have been impacted by child abuse and loss. Traumatized children will identify with Valerie, and adult readers will benefit from viewing the impact of child abuse and domestic violence through a child’s eyes.

Eyer comments, "If allegations of child abuse are made every ten seconds, how many more incidents go unreported? This book, written in our adopted daughter’s words with childlike illustrations, provides encouragement for children to recognize risk and report it." She adds, "The book can be used at home and in therapeutic settings. It is my hope that it can serve as a ‘wake up call’ for families currently at risk."

"The artwork is amazing and the questions posed by one little girl give voice to the confusion and pain of many children." ~ Kimberly A. Mann, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Author: Gwenn Eyer is the mother of five adopted children ranging in age from eleven to forty. Valerie, her youngest daughter, came into the family following the death of her younger brother Maxwell at the hands of their birth father. Valerie shared her heartache with her "new" mom, writing journal entries and songs for her brother Maxwell along the way.  Gwenn used Valerie’s words and experiences as the basis for Valerie’s adoption Lifebook, a tool used in adoption to help children and youth take experiences and connections from their past to build on with hope for the future. This Lifebook became "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story." Gwenn has worked in the child welfare field for more than twenty-five years, spending much of that time training foster and adoptive parents and other trainers. An experienced conference presenter, she enjoys writing prose and plans to share more stories about children who have experienced life in foster care and in adoptive families.
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Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story written by Gwenn Eyer with 11-year-old Valerie Eyer; Illustrated by Sharon Coker; Category: Family & Relationships; Hard Cover: 978-0990883807, $20.00; Availability:,, Ingram,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interview with Kate Louise, Author of Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. 

Pierre the French Bulldog loves digging things up. He tosses some old stuff into the trash but forgets to recycle, and before he can right his mistake the garbage truck comes and empties the trash bin. Pierre then chases the truck through town, with the help of the neighborhood dogs, on a mission to make sure his recyclables don’t end up in landfill.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

My publisher is Sky Pony Press, the children’s imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. For me, the process after writing the script was to send to my agent, who then worked with me to edit and prep for submission. My agent represents a lot of talented illustrators, so I paired up with Bethany Straker before the MS went out to publishers. Bethany drew up some full color samples to accompany the script and we sent out. We received an offer from Sky Pony after a few months and continued working on it alongside our editor and the rest of the team there.

How did you get the idea for this book?

I used to work somewhere that’s big on recycling, and we make sure to recycle properly at home, too. The idea started with the two bins – a greedy, smelly garbage bin and a sad, hungry recycling bin. I wanted to include some knowledge of why we recycle, but also make it a lot of fun to read.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

If I’ve got the day to myself, I like to have a quiet breakfast and cup of tea before starting up the computer. And I take the dog for a walk somewhere in the middle. It depends how much I’ve got on at the time. Some days I can stop, take the dog, and come back and do my own thing. Other days I need to use all the time I have to meet deadlines etc.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s relaxing (at times!). I enjoy the quiet. It’s also amazing to see a project develop. To go from a first draft, through each stage, until it’s looking like a finished book.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Motivating myself at times when I want to be doing anything but. We all have those days, but at home on my own there’s no one but me to say “Come on! You can do it!”

How has publishing a book changed your life? 

I just think it’s amazing to interact with readers, both online and through visits to schools and stores. It’s both wonderful and surreal to hold a book with your name on and get to share your story with others.

What are your plans now?

I have another picture book out this year with the same publisher – Tough Cookie, about a mischievous gingerbread man who learns the positive effects of kindness, illustrated by the fabulous Grace Sandford. I also write young-adult novels under the name Kate Ormand, and have a book out this September that is currently going back and to between my editor and me.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

To believe in yourself and your work. Every piece of writing is beneficial – accepted or rejected, it’s never a waste of time. All we can do is move forward.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website ( or on Twitter (@katelouisebooks).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interview with Chantele Sedgwick, Author of Love, Lucas

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. 

LOVE, LUCAS is about a 17-year-old girl names Oakley, who is trying to recover from the loss of her older brother, Lucas. As she struggles with her depression, the book follows her journey of picking up the pieces of her life and putting them back together. There’s healing, first love and a journal full of letters Lucas left for her to help her find herself again. 

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published? 

Sky Pony Press is amazing. My awesome agent, Nicole Resciniti, submitted LOVE, LUCAS to Nicole Frail and after a few months we got an offer. I’ve loved working with Sky Pony. They’ve seriously been so professional and kind. 

How did you get the idea for this book? 

I got the idea while I was waiting to pick up my kids from school. I had a letter come to me, a letter from an older brother to a younger sister, and I wrote it down. Then more letters came and it all flowed amazingly well after that. 

What is a typical writing day like for you? 

A typical writing day for me is chasing around 4 kids all day and getting time to sit down to write after they go to bed. I write from about 8:00-bedtime Mondays through Thursdays. So, not as much time as I’d like, but when the kids are older and all at school I’ll have a bit more free time to get things done.

What do you enjoy most about writing? 

I love words. I love putting them on the page and watching characters come to life. Each one is different and has their own story and I’m so happy I get to tell them. 

What is the most difficult part of writing? 

Picking which idea to start and finish. I have so many, it’s hard sometimes to know which one is the right one. 

How has publishing a book changed your life?  

It’s amazing and wonderful, but I’m still me. My family will always come first, but I hope to publish as many as I can because I truly love what I do. 

If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you or why made you choose to use historical events?  

It’s not based on true events, but I hope my book can help someone going through what Oakley is going through. It’s hard to lose someone you love, but you still have to keep moving forward, even if it feels like you can’t. 

What are your plans now?  

Keep writing! 

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?  

Don’t give up. You will get rejected, you will have hard times that will make you want to quit. Believe me. Even after you’re published things don’t work out like you plan sometimes. But love what you do and do the best you can. Things always do work out in their own time. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership? (Here you can share about characters, historical facts, setting or whatever else you would like our readers to know about your book.)  

This book has a little bit of everything. A summer on a beach, healing, first love, the bond between a brother and sister, and most fun of all, surfing! 

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order

All the links are on my website!

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