Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oddsockosaurus: New Dinosaur Picture Book Helps Children to Reflect on Their Moods and Behaviours

Inspired by her young Sonosaurus, Zanib Mian’s ‘Oddsockosaurus’ could just be one of the most unique new books of the year. This whimsical, creative tale allows kids to see their everyday quirks as characteristics of a variety of silly and always-entertaining dinosaurs. Mum and Dad, prepare to be hunted down in the cutest, most adorable way possible.

While they are supposed to be deadly, fierce and sometimes over twelve-feet tall, dinosaurs have a unique knack for captivating children. In a wholly-unique new children’s book, author Zanib Mian provides children with all of the inspiration they need to turn themselves into their own kidosaurus, and have heaps of fun along the way.

‘Oddsockosaurus’ will have kids’ imaginations spinning….imaginationosaurus!

Packed with humour, which will amuse adults and children alike, this read-aloud picture book captures the imagination of a whimsical little boy who describes some of his very human characteristics as if he were a dinosaur. He refers to himself as a Fastosaurus Rex, Whyceratops, Readabookadocus, Tellafibasaurus, Mudiraptor, and many others. He explains why he can be all these different dinosaurs, and that if dinosaurs were still around, they would understand him quite well! A comic tale for dinosaur lovers everywhere!

“This book kind of wrote itself,” explains Mian. “My son once came down the stairs in his crisp school uniform, but with socks that didn’t match. Without even thinking – in that way mothers do – I said, “What are you doing you Oddsockiosaurus?”, and he thought it was great. On the school run, my mind span with all of his idiosyncrasies, and I couldn’t wait to get home to jot them down on my laptop with their own unique dinosaur spin!”

Continuing, “I’m a big advocate of active reading; books that transfer to the real world and provide fun that carries on long after the final page has been turned. I hope that my creation does exactly that – with as little destruction around the house as possible!”

Readers have praised the book highly.

Dustin Growick, The Dinosaur Whisperer, comments, “Whether you're fluent, or just starting to learn to speak dinosaur, this book is amazing!”

Reader’s Favorite adds, “Zanib Mian and Bill Bolton have written an absolutely adorable story in Oddsockosaurus. Most preschool and young elementary age children love dinosaurs. Mian and Bolton will draw in parents and young readers quickly and easily with the colorful, playful, and funny images within Oddsockosaurus. The creative dinosaur names they have offered will most likely be used by parents and children alike after they read this dinosaur fantasy.”

About the Author:
Zanib Mian is a Molecular Cell Biologist and Founding Director of Sweet Apple Publishers. She grew up in London, where she still lives with her family. Zanib began writing stories and poetry when she was just a little girl, and was well known by her teachers, friends, and family to rhyme about anything that meant something to her! She has held on to some of her notebooks for over twenty five years, and loves to share them with children when she is invited in at libraries and schools.

About the Illustrator:
Bill Bolton is a British illustrator who graduated in 1990 from Oxford Brookes University followed by several years working exclusively for two major greeting card publishers. He has since then worked across the board illustrating children’s book, in Advertising, Editorial, Publishing and Design – with over 20 years’ experience under his belt. Bill has a passion for the environment and lives in an earth sheltered house. At the weekends you might spot him under the wind turbine or mowing the roof!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Willamina Mermaid & the Quest for the Crystal of Light

Since Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ smashed the box office in 1989, millions of young children have become obsessed with the beauty and allure of mermaids. Taking her cues from this now-timeless appeal, author J.A. Kelly has penned a wholly-unique children’s book that puts one mermaid’s skills to the test.

In fact, the mermaid in ‘Willamina Mermaid & the Quest for the Crystal of Light’ is a princess mermaid, even though she spent the first twelve years of her life locked away in a bathroom. A spellbinding adventure awaits, however, when she finally gets back into the water.

Willamina didn't know she was a mermaid. Her aunts told her she was 'deformed' and kept her hidden in a tiny bathroom for twelve long years. Her only companion was Finley, her goldfish. She didn't know she was a princess either until Merlin, the merman, helped her escape back to the seas where she belonged and the help of her five royal cousins went on a quest to retrieve the crystal of light, stolen by the witch of darkness, and set her people free.

“The story takes children on a full-circle adventure with Willamina as she’s banished out of the ocean after her kingdom is overruled by an evil sorceress, lives twelve years as a prisoner but then finally returns to embrace her princess mermaid magic and save the kingdom once and for all,” explains Kelly, a former actress. “It’s a story that proves you can achieve great things, no matter where you started in life, and that each of us has amazing abilities that the world is waiting to put to use.”

Continuing, “I also felt it was vitally important to make a little girl the “star” of the book. While the story is geared at both girls and boys, I want girls to realise that they too can be heroes in any setting.”

Critics have supported the book overwhelmingly. For example, Kirkus Reviews comments, “In Kelly’s debut middle-grade adventure, a young mermaid princess returns to save her underwater kingdom years after it was taken over by an evil sorceress. A clever, fast-paced story that should delight young readers hungry for magical stories.”

‘Willamina Mermaid & the Quest for the Crystal of Light’ is available now:

About the Author:
J. A. Kelly went to the full time stage school Aida Fosters from the age of eleven studying alongside such celebrities as Barbara Windsor, Shirley Eaton and Jean Simmonds.

She appeared as a juvenile in many shows and films, including The Belles of St. Trinians, The Happiest Days of your Life and the Gilbert & Sullivan Story.  She went on to study voice production at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

She decided that she preferred being on the other side of the footlights and began a career as a freelance director and teacher of theatre skills.

Her job as a drama teacher led her to writing scripts and short plays for children which in turn progressed to her writing a children’s book. This particular story about a mermaid was one she told to her granddaughters several years ago and as they enjoyed it so much she decided to write it down for other children to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Children’s Picture Book with Stunning Artwork Explores the World of a Hopi Indian Girl

 Newly released picture book about a Hopi (pronounced: hope-ee) Indian girl takes readers through many metaphorical doors to explore the different aspects that make each our lives: family, friendship, culture, education, creativity, and nature. 

TALASI... A Story of Tenderness and Love exposes children to new experiences as Talasi explores her native world and later the modern culture of the white man while holding to Native American beliefs and traditions. This charming and lovingly illustrated picture book teaches young readers how love and friendships get us over the rough spots in life and to never stop exploring the world around them.

Many American children are growing up in a multicultural world and are curious to understand all the cultures surrounding them. “Traveling through Arizona, I was terrible curious myself about what life on an Indian reservation was like when I visited a Hopi tribe,” said author Ellen S. Cromwell. “I wanted to understand the culture of these amazing people and visited with a kikmongwi, primarily a religious leader for the tribe. This experience truly touched me.”

TALASI…A Story of Tenderness and Love is about a young Hopi Indian girl named Talasi. Her name comes from corn tassel flowers that surround her pueblo home in Arizona. Tassels are tall, slender flowers clustered at the very top of corn. Corn, in its many forms, provides basic nourishment for Hopi People.

Wonderfully written, this children’s book clearly reflects the author’s fascination with the Hopi people and their history. Hopi means “peaceful person” or “civilized person” in the Hopi language and Ellen S. Cromwell evokes a compelling portrait of the Hopi Indians and how they truly are a peaceful people. “The richness of Talasi’s Indian culture will expand the horizons of any child who reads this book,” said illustrator Desiree Sterbini. “I researched to make sure every illustration was authentic to the Hopi culture. I wanted the themes of love, family, and friendship to be something each child could relate to. The images are personal as they are from actual pictures of my mother-in-law and daughter.”

With the author and illustrator using personal, real life experiences and pictures to draw from, the book exemplifies what it means to value all cultures that make up the world we live in and that no matter what children can solve problems with love and courage. “A lot of the imagery is from personal experiences. I grew up as an immigrant in the Bronx and remember the neighborhood coming together to build this treehouse for all the kids to play in. It was amazing and we felt like we were on top of the world as kids up there,” said author Ellen S. Cromwell. “Those childhood experiences and what I learned from the Hopi tribe and its culture helped me create Talasi and her world.”

Not only does this picture book have multicultural overtones, but parents and educators will find the author used sight words and repetition to make this the perfect book for classrooms and bookshelves.

“Reading a book together as a family or in the classroom is one simple yet very special tradition,” said Halo Publisher Lisa M. Umina. “Readers of all ages will find this picture book is heartwarming and helps keep you and your children connected through the upcoming holiday season.”

You can purchase “TALASI... A Story of Tenderness and Love” through Halo Publishing’s website (, Amazon, and B&N.

Author Ellen Cromwell is the founder of the Georgetown Hill Early Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland and has been an educator of young children since the 1970’s and is the author of three early childhood professional texts including Nurturing Readiness in Early Childhood Education, Allyn & Bacon, 2000. Wiggle-Dee-Dee, Splash Puddle Splash, and Are You Listening, Potbelly? are three recent children’s books she has authored. You can learn more at her website

Artist, Desiree Sterbini creates award-winning works with oil pastels and colored pencils on textured paper and board. Her sensitive compositions are detailed with vibrant colors and strokes, created by stumps of rolled paper and brush. Women of color, children, the simple lives of ordinary people and nature are her primary subjects. Desiree received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and continues to study through workshops and studio classes. Her oil pastel paintings have been exhibited and featured throughout the DC metro area and nationally including, Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire, Fox News Washington DC, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at the Smith Farm Center, Edison Place Gallery, L'Eclat de Verr Gallery, Sandy Springs Museum, Art Expo Las Vegas and 7 Women from 7 Countries exhibition, Doral, Florida. Desiree's works have also been on loan in Port Louis, Mauritius Embassy through the United States Arts in Embassy Program. Along with works held in several private collections, Desiree's talents are commissioned, including illustrated children's books Splash Puddle Splash and Are You Listening Potbelly? written by Ellen S Cromwell.

TALASI…A Story of Tenderness and Love by Ellen S. Cromwell, publisher Halo Publishing, Int., ISBN: 978-1-61244-420-8; Price: $12.99 (paperback)
BlogTalkRadio's featured World of Ink Network 

Live Radio Show on Wed. November 18, 2015 at 3pm Eastern - 2pm Central - 1pm Mountain - 12 noon Pacific

Listeners will get to meet author Ellen Cromwell and illustrator/artist Desiree Sterbini as they chat about their newly released picture book about a Hopi (pronounced: hope-ee) Indian girl who takes readers through many metaphorical doors to explore the different aspects that make each our lives: family, friendship, culture, education, creativity, and nature.
Tune in at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Whimsical Book Details How Curly Hair Creates a Perilous Problem

Multi-award-winning book helps children of all ages embrace being different;a portion of the proceeds go to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation,which supports individuals dealing with the autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss

"This charming, engaging story offers a funny look at what happens when a child’s imagination unfurls."
- Kirkus Reviews

“Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!” received the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Award in two categories, Gold in Poetry and Silver in Cover Design. The book also received the Mom's Choice Gold Award for Children's Picture Book.
In response to the clamor, Rose-Vallee has now created a line of hair accessories, apparel, and a handmade Sabrina doll available at She comments, “Our Facebook page is starting to have children send in their photos holding their dolls, reading their books, wearing their sweatshirts – all with CRAZY HAIR! It truly is a movement.”

Meanwhile, a portion of all profits from the sale of the book goes to support the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). Rose-Vallee explains that while the fictional Sabrina is blessed to have the problem of dinosaurs living in her curly thick hair, over sixty million people in the United States experience some form of hair loss, many of them children. Children suffering from this condition face tremendous challenges, and the NAAF offers support and tools to help them overcome emotional pain and build self-confidence; it also provides classroom education essential to advocating for them.

“Izzy LOOOOOOVES her book; it's one of her favorites to read! It has honestly helped her accept her hair more…She has an easier time with me brushing it. [It] makes Izzy's little heart happy to know she's not the only one out there with curly hair.” ~ Katie Veraldi, Michigan

“My kids had me read ‘Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!’ four times last night. It's such a cute story!” ~ Carly Cazzaza, Michigan

Author: Jayne Rose-Vallee is a writer and the founder of Rosevallee Creations. Growing up on a farm in Battle Creek, Michigan, taught her hard work and a little bit of dirt builds character, and her mother's love of poetry and quick-witted humor sparked an early appreciation for good rhymes. Having raised three children, she found time in this next chapter of her life to follow her passion and write. She started Rosevallee Creations in 2014, and her website offers accessories to the “Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!” (DLIMH) book, which has catapulted her into a new business venture. She has formed a relationship with Jane Tran from LA to create hair accessories designed specifically for the DLIMH brand. The sets include colorful barrettes and clips adorned with dinosaur charms and colored stones. A 12” handmade doll with curls and a face every child would adore is also available. Rounding out the accessory line are hooded sweatshirts, t-shirts, and dresses, with dinosaur tracks running up the sleeves and sides announcing, “Dinosaurs Live in My Hair!” In a world filled with chaos and turmoil, Jayne feels passionately that a good bedtime story should feel like a warm hug good night.

Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!; Author: Jayne Rose-Vallee; Illustrated by Anni Matsick; RoseVallee Creations, LLC; Category: Children’s Picture Book, Poetry; Hard Cover: 978-0986192203, $17.99; Availability:;; Hooked on Books in Islamorada, FL; Ocean Gardens in Islamorada, FL; P.J. Boox Bookstore in Ft. Myers, FL; Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mud on your Face: Thrilling New Adventure Book Helps Children Foster Rock-Solid Happiness & Contentment

If there’s one thing all young children love, it is getting engrossed in a fantasy/adventure story. Ironically, diving into a book is often an escape tactic from a family that can seem crazy, ungrateful and even unfair. In her enchanting and moralistic new book, Rachel McGrath uses the power of story to help children appreciate and embrace what they already have in life.

‘Mud on your Face’ introduces young readers to Gus, a boy so sick of his brothers and sisters that he wishes he was an only child……or so he thought.

Gus is a seven-year-old boy who comes from a very large family with eight brothers and sisters.

Sometimes Gus feels left out, picked on, or even forgotten by his family. He wonders what life might be like if he had no brothers or sisters, and if he was an only child.

On a family camping trip Gus finds himself lost in the woods, left behind by his family.

A different adventure takes place for Gus with a strange new friend.

Be careful what you wish for….

Mud on your Face is a fantasy, adventure story for children, taking the reader through an adventure of ‘what ifs’.  What if you got what you wished for?  Would you be happy?  There is a morale around being content with what you have, and finding happiness.

“This is a very home-centric story that aims to reinforce the importance of family, while teaching children to look beyond the squabbles and quirks to realize that their parents and siblings love them unconditionally,” explains McGrath. “The ultimate message is for them to embrace and love what they already have, even if they think they want something different.”

Continuing, “With such a vital message, my goal is to get a copy of the book into every home, school and community centre in the country. A lot of new fiction for kids these days seems to be based on epic battles and toilet humour – so it’s time we harked back to the days of traditional storytelling with an adventure that is positive, upbeat and carries a pertinent life lesson.”

Emily-Jane Hills Orford reviewed the book for Readers' Favourite and says "Author Rachel McGrath has written a charming story for young readers in Mud on Your Face. Life always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but this story is a great learning tool for young readers to appreciate that perhaps the 'other side' isn't that much better after all. A wonderful, colourfully illustrated story about appreciating what you have and to be careful what you wish for. Beautiful and poignant, a must-read for young and old alike."

‘Mud on your Face’, from McGrath House Limited, is available now:

About the Author:
Rachel McGrath grew up by the seaside in Redcliffe, Australia, where she studied business, before moving to the United Kingdom in her early thirties. She currently lives just north of London in Hertfordshire, where she met and married her husband.

Rachel has always had a passion for writing both fiction and non-fiction. Since her early teens, she has created many short stories as well as smaller pieces that have never been published.

Rachel published her first book in early 2015, Finding the Rainbow, a memoir capturing a difficult time in her life.

Mud on your Face is Rachel’s second published book, and a children’s fantasy fiction novel.  Rachel hopes to continue writing fiction stories.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Perseverance Pays Off, and Patience Does Too!

A young duckling named Quackers learns valuable life lessons about patience, friendship,
and never giving up when he 
embarks on his dream of learning to fly

It’s hard to be patient when your dreams take you places you fear you’ll never go!
In her delightful debut children’s picture book, veteran elementary school teacher Susan Wolff pens a classic tale of fortitude, friendship, and dreams that come true, if you just have the patience to wait.

Quackers is an engaging young duck who more than anything in the world wants to fly. His adoring parents tell him that one day he will, but Quackers can’t wait. Off he goes to visit his friends Ollie the Owl, Gertrude the Goose, and Dena the Dragonfly. To his surprise, Quackers learns that once upon a time, they couldn’t fly either!

After Quackers meets another little duckling with the same problem he has, they resolve to follow the advice of their older, wiser friends. When they do so, they discover that good things come to those who wait.

With bright and endearing illustrations by well-known Canadian illustrator Justin Currie, Quackers Wants to Fly is based on a stuffed duck named Quackers that Wolff used in her classroom.

She explains, “When I was an elementary school teacher, I took a toy duck to class. Quackers became legendary, and my students encouraged me to write his story. I waited until I retired and had seven grandchildren encouraging me before I wrote ‘Quackers Wants to Fly.’”

Author Sue Wolff introduces a delightfully impatient little duck named Quackers and his beautifully illustrated friends. Children will cheer for Quackers as he tries to achieve his dream.” - Brenda Brinkley, author of Albert’s Happy Thanksgiving and Cleveland Turns Green

AUTHOR: Susan Wolff is a retired elementary school teacher living in the Chicago area. She loved reading to her students and continues to read to her grandchildren. She hopes her debut story inspires young readers to spread their wings and try new things.

Quackers Wants to FlyAuthor: Susan Wolff; Illustrator: Justin Currie; Category: Juvenile Fiction; Soft Cover: 978-0692429327, $12.95; Availability:,, Independent bookstores, and


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