Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Green Bay Packer's Donald Driver Pens Third Children's Book

Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver has introduced his new children’s book, “Quickie Goes to the Big Game,’’ and his first children’s calendar at the Packers Pro Shop in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

Donald Driver's new book, “Quickie Goes to the Big Game’," is an inspirational story about a little boy learning the values of honesty and hard work. The 32-page hardcover book features illustrations, official NFL photos of Driver, a family portrait and a letter Driver wrote to readers.“Quickie Goes to the Big Game’’ is an inspirational story about a little boy learning the values of honesty and hard work. The 32-page hardcover book features illustrations, official NFL photos of Driver, a family portrait and a letter Driver wrote to readers. This book joins his previous books, “Quickie Makes the Team’’ and “Quickie Handles a Loss.’’

driverbookThe Quickie 2012 Calendar contains illustrations of the Quickie series characters set

 to real-life lessons and teaching moments.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Donald Driver Foundation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Loggerhead Turtles Showcased in Sea Turtle Summer

Loggerhead sea turtles are an ancient species, having been on this earth for up to forty million years.  These turtles have very large heads and strong jaws. They can weigh up to three hundred pounds as adults.

(Please view the sea turtle hatchling rescue at the bottom of the post.)

Loggerheads spend most of their lives in the open ocean and in shallow coastal waters. They rarely come ashore, with the exception of the females' brief visits to build nests and lay eggs.
This turtle is endangered worldwide. Their main enemy is human.  Because of pollution, reduction of habitat, fishing trawls, the population is dwindling.

Many people and organizations are trying to help these majestic creatures. They are protected by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In the US and in many other parts of the world, disturbing a nest carries large fines. 

I hope my new children's book, Sea Turtle Summer, can do its part to help bring the turtles' plight to the attention of kids and their parents.  Education is the number one factor in conserving our planet.

Sea Turtle Summer is the second book in the Bella and Britt Series. The girls find a female sea turtle laying her eggs on the busiest beach in their town.  They see the female safely back into the sea, but what can they do to save the nest? 

This is not only an ecology book for children.  It is about kid empowerment as well.  Bella and Britt find themselves disagreeing with adults, and that makes for a sensitive situation. 

I would love for your children and grandchildren to read Sea Turtle Summer with you in the hope it will enlighten and uplift everyone who reads it. The book was launched on November 14 and can be found at: 

Sea Turtle Summer can be found at: Guardian Angel Publishing,, barnes &, Fictionwise and at my web and blog sites, where autographed copies can be purchased: and

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gorgeous Thanksgiving Books for Kids

Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving more than a beautiful and festive holiday meal with family and friends.  And for the kids, a good and fun Thanksgiving book might enhance the day as well!

I have included a few suggestions of terrific books for kids and the holiday.  How about a book and a chat around the dinner table?  Grandma and Grandpa would, I know, love to hear about the first Thanksgiving, Squanto, planting corn with a fish and so many other tales of that first Thanksgiving.

Here are a few samples of what is out there for your kids to read!

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Theresa Bateman

A Plump and Perky Turkey
 Turkeys around Squawk Valley just don't jump into pots anymore -- they are way too smart for that.  So the townspeople hatch a clever plan. They host a turkey-themed arts and crafts fair and lure a vain bird into town by advertising for an artist's model. Peter the Turkey, proud of his well-stuffed form, takes the bait but doesn't fall for the trap.

P is for Pilgrim:  A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane

From the lives of our early settlers, who established the foundations for American freedoms and ideals, to today's celebrations, P is for Pilgrim colorfully examines the history and lore of Thanksgiving. Educators will find the inclusion of the Core Democratic Values of valuable use for the classroom while kids of all ages will enjoy the bright, engaging illustrations and fascinating sidebar text.

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving - sm
The incomparable Dav Pilkey adapts Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem to tell his wacky Thanksgiving tale. The day before Thanksgiving, eight boys and girls take a field trip to a turkey farm. They have fun playing with eight exuberant turkeys but are shocked to learn that Farmer Mack Nuggett plans to kill all the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. So the children decide to smuggle all the turkeys home, and all their Thanksgiving dinners become vegetarian this year. The turkeys' lives are saved!

I want to wish my US readers a marvelous and Happy Thanksgiving. (Our Canadian neighbors celebrated their Thanksgiving on October 10).  For you US expats and others who celebrate the holiday around the world as well, I wish the same to you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Pelican at a Time earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

I am honored to accept the Literary Classics Seal of Approval for One Pelican at a Time:  A Story of the Gulf Oil Spill.  The book was on Amazon's Bestsellers for Children List for 18 weeks. It was also on Amazon's Hot New Releases and Most Wished For in Children's Books.  Pelican was featured on the PBS Tampa (WEDU) GulfWatch Series and was a Global eBook Nominee.

"One Pelican at a Time, written by Nancy Stewart and illustrated by Samantha Bell, is the story of two young girls who frequent a beach near their home. When a gulf oil spill threatens their beach and the animals which inhabit it, they are saddened by the knowledge that there is little they can do to help. 

 But when their old friend, the pelican is put in harm's way after diving into the oil coated water, the girls act quickly to save the pelican's life.

Dedicated to Promoting Excellence in Literature

One Pelican at a Time is a timely book which touches on important issues regarding environmental stewardship and responsibility. Lovely illustrations help enhance this book which would be an exceptional classroom aid for prompting discussion about caring for our planet.  One Pelican at a Time earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval."

Thank you, Literary Classics. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Radio Interview with Me on A Book and a Chat

Please join me on blogtalkradio for A Book and a Chat.  The show is hosted by Barry Eva and will air on Saturday, November 19 at 11am, EST.

(See the PBS video of me talking about the first Bella and Britt book, One Pelican at a Time, at the bottom of this post.)

We will talk about the writing of my series of children's books, The Bella and Britt Series, with special attention paid to Sea Turtle Summer,which will launch in the next three weeks. 

The Bella and Britt Series is published by Guardian Angel Publishing.  The illustrator is Samantha Bell who is famous for her luscious and expressive watercolors. There will be a call-in segment for those with questions. 

The telephone number is:  347- 237-5398

Mr. Eva is a transplanted Brit, having moved to the US in 2000.  He calls Connecticut home and is the author of a young adult novel, Across the Pond.

Please join us for what I know will be a fun chat among friends.  Snag a cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair and let's talk!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roald Dahl: "The Best Children's Books are Funny"

"Humor, Roald Dahl said, is key to children's writing - "It's got to be funny!". That's the idea behind the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, now in its fourth year. This year it went to books about pirate cats and a doodling schoolboy.

children laughingPlease view the You Tube video of the 2011 Funny Book Prize books at the bottom of the post.

Humor is bigger in children's publishing than ever. Comedy often comes from danger, but these books spin it out of safety and familiarity. In other words, kids want to be scared--as long as they know they are safe.

Read Roald Dahl's own words when asked, "What is the secret to keeping your readers entertained?"

 My lucky thing is I laugh at exactly the same jokes that children laugh at and that’s one reason I’m able to do it. I don’t sit out here roaring with laughter but you have wonderful inside jokes all the time and it’s got to be exciting, it’s got to be fast, it’s got to have a good plot but it’s got to be funny. It’s got to be funny. And each book I do is a different level of that.

Oh, The Witches is quite different from The BFG or James and Danny. The fine line between roaring with laughter and crying because it’s a disaster is a very, very fine link. You see a chap slip on a banana skin in the street and you roar with laughter when he falls slap on his backside. If in doing so you suddenly see he’s broken a leg, you very quickly stop laughing and it’s not a joke anymore. I don’t know, there’s a fine line and you just have to try and find it.

Which comedy classics do you remember from childhood, and are they still funny today?

Monday, November 14, 2011

NFL Running Back Danny Woodhead star of new children's book

Jon Goode likes to read his kids bedtime stories about heroes who never abandoned their quest, so he wrote "Danny Woodhead: A Football Dream Come True."

Danny Woodhead bookIllustrated by Boston College junior Rachel Gregorio, Goode's third book recounts the story of the smallest kid on the team who "always tries the hardest and has the biggest heart."

"Danny Woodhead just seemed like a natural guy to write about," said Goode, vice-president of communications for the New England Spinners Baseball Team. "Danny's pro football success is almost like a children's story with the message,Never give up on your dreams. Don't give in. Listen to your heart."'

Illustrated with bright, clear images, "A Football Dream Come True" turns Woodhead's story into a never-say-die fable about the undersized and overlooked kid "with the heart of a champion."

Though written for children from 2 to 8 years old, Goode's book actually mirrors some of Woodhead's personal successes. Though a high school star in Nebraska, Woodhead was not recruited by major colleges to play football. He attended Chadron State College, with an enrollment of 3,000 students, where he set NCAA rushing and scoring records.

Danny Woodhead

Undrafted, Woodhead signed with the New York Jets and played for them for two years. Released by the Jets in September 2010, Woodhead was signed by the New England Patriots.

Goode named several characters in the book after his children. Danny's quarterback is named Brayden like his 7-year-old son. A teammate, Kylan, named after his 11-year-old son, gets the first touchdown, and the cheerleader, Kenzley, is named after his 5-year-old daughter.

Some of the proceeds from book sales will go to The C2 Mission, a foundation created to benefit children and families affect by cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis. Goode, who runs the Mission, overcame the challenges of cerebral palsy, and his niece, Alison Thomas, has cystic fibrosis.

Asked about his next book, Goode said, "I've written about the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Patriots. The next one's got to be about the Boston Bruins."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Books Can Educate and Entertain By Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Author of Little Shepherd

It is my pleasure to host Cheryl Malandrinos, author of the children's book, Little Shepherd.  Welcome, Cheryl.  I know my readers will gain insight from your words.

Some children’s books entertain readers. There are silly stories meant to make readers laugh and those that celebrate the joys of being a kid. Most times there’s a conflict and resolution, but others, you get a zany story that doesn’t follow those guidelines. Who said childhood should be all about following rules anyway?

When I sat down to write Little Shepherd, I knew I wasn’t creating those types of stories. Little Shepherd introduces young readers to five-year-old, Obed, who is in the hills outside of Bethlehem tending his first flock, when an angel appears to announce the Savior’s birth.
After the angel leaves, the other shepherds wish to visit this Savior, but Obed isn’t so sure. He’s heard the wolves howling in the distance. After some wise words from his father, Obed decides to join the others. His anxiety, however, remains. More than that, Obed can’t understand why his father and the other shepherds aren’t equally as anxious about their sheep being left alone where anything could happen to them.

Little Shepherd is the kind of book that educates while it entertains. Young readers have the opportunity to learn several things:

  • The young were expected to assist the family and carried great responsibility.
  • Sheep were depended upon for clothing and food, so it was important to protect them.
  • Children can be confused by the actions of adults.
  • Sometimes we have to step out in faith and hope for the best, despite our anxiety.

That last point captures the essence of Obed’s story. We often make decisions that require us to have faith in someone other than ourselves. We might have to depend on an older person’s wisdom to help us make a decision. We might make a choice that challenges common sense. In the end, like Obed, when we step out in faith, we reap the rewards.

A love of reading and writing is important to our children’s success. The children’s market is filled with so many wonderful types of books that I hope you and your child discover a new one every day.

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.
Visit Cheryl at her newly redesigned website or visit the Little Shepherd book blog at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Goodnight iPad, A Parody of the Children’s Book Goodnight Moon

Goodnight iPad is a new book by children’s author David Milgrim under the pseudonym “Ann Droyd." It’s a parody of the classic bedtime children’s book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  Wise's book was first published in 1947.

(Be sure to view the You Tube video of the book at the bottom of this post.)

Milgrim’s updated story shows a very different homelife 50 years later, with mobile devices, social networks, and non-stop streaming media. Even the cat has headphones on.

The world of technology is morphing so quickly even technology cannot keep up!  It is refreshing to have fun with this fast paced part of modern life.

In a strange way, the video is a bit comforting as well.  In the midst of all the change and sometimes impersonal delivery of technology, comes a voice dripping with warmth, comfort and familiarity to a child's nighttime routine. 

Have fun with it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Publishing Children's Books in France

When asked recently in an informal poll what sets French children’s books apart, French publishers and illustrators agreed: particular attention to design and illustration, as well as editorial and aesthetic freedom.

“Each country is very different in its approach, but in France we are not just about series. We give a lot of weight to texts as well as the images,” said Hélène Wadowski, the director of children’s books at Flammarion. “Our creative drive is what helps us sell.”

Wadowki cites illustrator Olivier Tallec’s work as an example, whose painterly images for Big Wolf and Little Wolf contributed to the book’s success in France; it was also sold to nine countries.

Murielle Coueslan, Nathan’s editorial director for “under 8’s” concurs. “What is unique in France is that there’s a big focus on artwork.”

Coueslan notes that at the Bologna Book Fair “people come over to the French area to see what we’re doing. Illustrators are often artists. A classic road for illustrators when they get out of art school is to go into book publishing.”

But, says Coueslan, part of this creativity is also spurred on by the enormous production of books in France, tough competition and a difficult market. “We’re in a holding pattern right now in which you have to be super creative. We’re all trying to find something original. Books that do well deserve to do so, they are creative and well done and, besides, the public is more educated and more demanding.”

T'choupiOne of the most popular books at Nathan is T’choupi, a penguin who stars in a collection of books and is now an application for iPhone and iPad. “The character appeals to the monomaniacal side of small children,” said Coueslan.

The first author to introduce pop-up books to l’école des loisirs publisher was Kimiko Jurgenson, who grew up in France and was trained as a fashion designer. A popular illustrator and author in the pre-school category, Kimiko (who uses just her first name on books) is part of the stable of authors who work for this family-run independent publisher.

Most école des loisirs writers have “a sort of crazy, unspoken faithfulness to the company,” said Kimiko, who has worked for the publisher exclusively (besides one collection for Gallimard) since 1991 and has published close to 100 books.

“In 1993, I proposed four pop-ups about animals. They said ’series don’t sell, this is a gimmick.’ They tried to discourage me. So I stuck some paper together and presented a sort of glued-up thing. And they agreed to do it, saying all the while that it wouldn’t sell. But the books sold. Thirty more were done in this series.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rumberger's Profound Book About High School--Dropping Out

Russell W. Rumberger is Vice Provost for Education Partnerships, University of California Office of the President and Professor of Education in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).
coverA faculty member at UCSB since 1987, Professor Rumberger has published widely in several areas of education.

 I have believed for some time that dropouts, the 30 percent of students who leave high school before graduation, are the least soluble problem in U.S. education.

 Rumberger has evidenced-based answers on how to approach the issue. He makes the point that progress will be difficult.
Reasons for that are complex — a mix of poverty, culture, politics, administrative priorities and other factors. Among his more disheartening conclusions is that schools can’t reduce dropouts unless they have enough money and personnel and stick with proven approaches.
Rumberger still has hope. He identifies which programs have had the most success keeping kids in school, while noting where their progress was uneven. He suggests five fundamental changes in public education necessary for significant improvements in graduation rates:

Russell W. Rumberger

1. Redefine high school success. The measure of a school should not be just mastery of reading, writing and math, but what are called noncognitive skills, such as motivation, perseverance, risk aversion, self-esteem and self-control. This would help both potential dropouts and kids going to college who need work on their social skills.

2.Change the dropout accounting system so schools aren’t rewarded for transferring problem kids. Even students who spend only a semester in the ninth grade before transferring to another school should be counted when the original school calculates how many ninth-graders completed high school four years later. Otherwise, schools will have an incentive to send students most likely to drop out to other schools rather than try to help them.
3. Stop trying to improve schools by forcing them to change their practices over the short term. Instead, help them build their capacity to improve, with more money and staff, over the long term.
4. Work harder to desegregate schools. Rumberger cites a study that found two-thirds of high schools with more than 90 percent minority enrollment had fewer than 60 percent of their students remain in school from ninth to 12th grade. “In short,” he writes, “it matters with whom one goes to school.”

5. Strengthen families and communities. Compared with other developed countries, the United States has one of the highest rates of children living in poverty. Those are the kids most susceptible to dropping out. Anything that improves the health and job security of school neighborhoods improves graduation rates. More early children education programs and preschool are also useful.
The drop out rate in US high schools is worrisome.  Dr. Rumberger's book deserves to be read and studied by teachers and administrators.  This is a book whose ideas call out for implementation within our public schools. 



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Children’s Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Dogs – November 2011 Issue

 From:  Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine:

This time of the year brings back fond childhood memories of riding bicycles through the neighborhood with the leaves swirling around the wheel spokes and my collie, Champ, running alongside. What better way to spend a crisp autumn day but with the companionship of one’s dog.
Looking back on this memory, the simplicity of the day is what captivates me the most. Time is fleeting and before you know it your children are grown and starting families of their own and that opens a whole other wonderful door for memories to be created. 

For now cherish each moment and take the time out today and visit Guardian Angel Kids Ezine and captivate your children with the November issue of “dogs” with the delightful and unique poetry, stories, and articles that will surely spark up memories of time spent with your dog and times to be had.  

GAP-member-logo-smallFeatured Book and video:
Crash! Flip Book by Mayra Calvani
Poodle and Doodle by Donna Shepherd and illustrated by Jack Foster

Children’S poetry, SHORT STORIES, and articleS:

Dog-Gone Dog,” by Ellen Javernick – get that dog to stop barking.
“My Free Pup,” Carol Zook – the needs of your dog at different times.
“Michael Finds Lonesome,” by Barbara Bockman and illustrated by Rosemarie Gillen – Michael’s determination to adopt a dog.
“Beemer Rings the Bell,” by Allyn M. Stotz and illustrated by Jack Foster – An ingenious idea by a dog owner to get his puppy potty trained.
“Fido’s Long-Lost Resume,” by Jennifer A. Buchet – discover the original reasons why particular dogs were bred and their history.

“A Wolf in Dog’s Clothing,” by Mary Reina – The connection between humans and dogs.
Featured Drawing, Games & Activities:
Visit Guardian Angel Kid today and and enjoy a child safe and ad free Ezine.
We also invite you to stay connected with Guardian Angel Kids through our Facebook Fan Page
Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at and let them know what you think of Guardian Angel Kids and what you'd like to see in the future. They aim to please!
The Guardian Angel Kids Ezine staff and contributors look forward to your visit. Thank you for your time and interest.
CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine