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This is my husband, Tevin’s latest chapter book series, Hairytale Adventures! Thanks Kid Lit Review for the fantastic review!
THE HAIRYTALE ADVENTURES: ALEXIA & MELVIN
Book 1: The Birthday Bear
978-1-947854-88-8 — 108 Pages
Book 2: The Museum Guide
978-1-947854-93-2 — 112 Pages
Book 3: The Zookeeper
9978-1647030087 — 118 Pages
Written by Tevin Hansen
Handersen Publishing 2/03/2020
Chapter Books Age 7—10
Genre: Chapter Books, Fiction
Themes: Brown Bears, Impostors, Bullies
#1 The Birthday Bear 
Can a bully be a friend?
Alexia is the smartest girl in her class, and she knows it. When she is invited to the school bully, Melvin’s birthday party, she has to use all her brainpower to save her classmates from a hungry IMPOSTER. (from back cover)
“My name is Alexia. But all it took was one kid at school to call me ‘Alex,’ and then everyone made fun of me.”
Why I like The Birthday Bear
Melvin and his buddies are bullies and Alexia is one of his favorite…
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THE DAY WE WENT TO THE PARK
Written by Linda Stephen & Christine Manno
Illustrated by Linda Stephen
Handersen Publishing 2/15/2020
32 Pages Age 4—8
DEBUT WRITERS & ARTIST
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Parks, Origami, Outdoor Fun
The Day We Went to the Park takes the reader on a walk around a community park—exploring all there is to see, do and hear. Through rhyming verses and detailed origami paper sculptures, the story invites readers to observe, imagine, and interact with some of the nature at the park including squirrels, ladybugs, pine trees, prairie flowers and a painted turtle. The origami illustrations featured in The Day We Went to the Park reflect the rich diverse communities in which we all live and includes people of different ages, ethnicity, ability and gender. (from publisher)
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This series is FABULOUS!!!
Prince Emric does not wish to inherit the throne. He yearns to make music and explore the world. Soon he escapes to a life on the road with the Travelers.
When the kingdom is in crisis, and on the verge of war, only Emric can unlock the deep earth magic to reunite them all.
As I may have mentioned, Awakening Magic is my favorite of the Karakesh Chronicles. Why do I like it best? Maybe it’s the music that flows throughout the story. Certainly its partly the surprises I got while I was writing it. I still ask myself, “Did I really think of that?”
I don’t remember how the twists in plot appeared. For me, the writer, that is the excitement of making a story. The characters go off in a different direction. The plot tangles and winds into complicated knots that somehow weave together at the end.
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So excited to be a small part if this project with our indie kids press, Handersen Publishing!
I’ve drawn up the tile pages for Elizabeth J.M. Walkers fairy tales. Just a few more pictures to finish off by the end of the month.
The it’s up to Handersen Publishing to make some sort of sense of my mess. At least the stories will be good.
Then I can rest. Until the next thing.
It’s May . . .
-End of Year Field Trips
-Endless Laundry (I don’t think this has anything to do with May)
It’s the calm before the summer storm, if by calm you mean a schedule that has you driving to Family Fun Night, Girl Scouts, a field trip at the Children’s Museum, a field trip at the Nature Center, end of year Preschool celebration. On top of orthodontist appointments, work meetings, swim lessons, checkups, and the constant question (because it’s finally nice outside) “Can we go to the park? Not the one by our house, the one CLEAR across town that we haven’t been to in forever because it’s been snowing for the last six months!”
My husband’s latest song keeps playing over and over in my head:
Let’s face it, we’re all exhausted!
So, what do you do when the school year is almost at an end? You plan to send the kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s the day after school is out.
The best part is, they’re really excited! They get all the spoiling: chocolate, no bedtime, one on one attention, candy, and snuggles, what’s not to love?
We get a few days to regroup before starting the summer fun.
I think we’ll all be in a better place for starting our summer apart.
When the kids come home we’ll be ready for popsicles, and trips to the park. It will be time to go to the beach, have picnics, visit the zoo. There are so many things we want to do this summer, and by starting it apart we will have time to appreciate each other more. The kids can leave the school year behind, and mom and dad can take a breath to regroup and be present for the next few months of “vacation” . . . at least that’s what I’m telling myself!
It’s the last day of April, and time to say goodbye to National Poetry Month. April really is my favorite, and to end it, I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite people, my amazing cousin, Sandra.
As you can see, if anyone is deserving of their very own poem, it is her. She dances in her chair with amazing tutus (in various colors depending on the season), she always has a smile (which is contagious), and her hugs are beyond compare. I love you Sandra, and I am so glad that you are a part of our family. I wrote this poem just for you. Next time we are together, we will wear star-shine glasses and sing this song to everyone that walks by!
Obviously, poetry has been an important part of my life. Both reading and writing have gotten me through some tough spells.
As punishment, my mom once made me take my journal outside and write. I was taught to work through difficult situations and emotions by expressing them, owning them, and figuring out a way to deal with them if they decided to stay.
When I lost my grandfather words poured out onto paper. If I had trouble with a boyfriend, best friend, work colleague . . . I would grab my laptop and type. When our family moved across the country to a state I had never even visited, far away from known relatives, I wrote . . . usually in rhyme.
Journaling isn’t something that I do anymore (although, I should probably pick it up again), but if I’m somewhere and something hits me, I immediately search for the closest scrap of paper and begin to write. Then, I try not to lose it, so that piece of paper can make its way to the folder that contains these bits of my soul.
But what I’m finding, as I grow older is that sometimes you indirectly write about a problem. And if, with age comes wisdom, then wisdom also comes with a sense of humor.
My first collection of children’s poetry, was filled with silliness of childhood. I had moldy dancing food, dust bunnies, and smelly brothers. PS, I’m pretty sure I’ve got one of these dancing green guys in my fridge right now!
When I started my latest book, though, I still wanted to capture those moments of childhood, but I wanted them to be real. I wanted this book to represent lots of different children, not just the ones in my house.
I’m having trouble with one poem in my book. It’s my favorite, and it gets very real, very quickly. I’m wondering if it’s too real for a children’s book. I think that kids can handle it, in that obscure positive way that they tend to look at the world.
But as a parent it breaks my heart. I’ll paste it below, and you tell me what you think.
Counting stars up in the sky, close your eyes and wonder why.
Feel the fear, and maybe cry, it’s okay to wonder why.
Counting stars up in the sky, close your eyes and dream today,
Picture someplace far away, free from questions, free to play.
Counting stars up in the sky, close your eyes and make a wish.
Imagine floating through the night in a giant rocket ship.
Take a breath, count down from ten, feel the rocket trip begin.
See the planets, see the moon, see adventure coming soon.
Counting stars up in the sky, imagination overdrive.
Take you where you want to go, when life gets tough and you don’t know.
When questions don’t have simple answers,
When days are long and time has stopped.
Counting stars up in the sky, helps when you are wondering why.
If you Google the top five questions that authors are asked one would probably be: Where do you find inspiration?
For me it’s a combination of a lot of things. Things that are happening in my life, people I’ve met, places I’ve been, the world around me . . . all of this inspires me. But I’ve also found inspiration in other poets.
I’ve mentioned Robert Louis Stevenson and Shel Silverstein in previous posts. I will always love these poets, but as I grew older, I found myself drawn to female poets. Emily Dickinson and Maya Angelou being the two most prominent. I even painted a “Hope” mural on my bedroom wall.
The picture above is not my artwork, I’m no artist, but the poem inspired some of my best awkward high school/college poetry. I fully intended to open up the old journals and spill my 16 year-old heart out, but alas the notebook cannot be found. I am so sad because there were some doozies. For now, you will have to use your imagination, or maybe break out your own journal to rediscover your own teenage angst.
I did find this picture of me with two of my amazing grandparents, yet another inspiration, but totally underappreciated in my youth. I’m sure I wrote a poem that went something like:
Cold day, Easter egg hunt,
Hawaiian shirts, and family fun.
Wish I could feel the sand on my toes.
Had to put sunscreen on my nose.
Instead I’m helping kids hunt eggs.
Running on their little legs.
Next time let’s just hit the beach.
Skip the eggs and have a retreat.
Fast-forward to 2018, and I’m helping my own kids hunt eggs on an equally dismal day. There weren’t any Hawaiian shirts, though. My, how times have changed.
Today is also Earth Day, so I thought I’d share a poem from my new book, Bumble Bee Sneeze, that was inspired by a nature scene. Thanks again, to my amazing husband, Tevin, for the illustrations. I gave him a challenge this time around. The illustration that follows this one is a “finding/counting things” that are from the poem.
In the grass down by the lake.
Flowers full of bumble bees.
Fish are splashing,
Birds in trees,
Thankful for this nature scene.
Happy Earth Day!
It’s week two of National Poetry Month, and I’m still excited!
The first poetry I remember hearing was Robert Louis Stevenson. My favorite was The Swing. I remember getting lost in my mom’s voice while she read it to me. I loved to swing, and this poem captured the movement and the joy. I don’t think I really understood the language, but the feelings were there. This poem is one that I share during events, and love reading to my own children. I even captured a bit of the magic in my children’s counting book, Kids Count.
Kids Count is a repeating, rhyming picture book that teaches counting. There is a character that is the age of the number they represent. Livingston is one, Clementine is nine, etc. For number three we meet Annalee, and just like me when I was small, she loves to swing!
Poetry can be a great way for children (and adults, too) to connect with emotions and feelings. It can be something as simple as the love of swinging. But sometimes feelings are more complicated like anger, sadness, or loss. A few of the poems in my upcoming book hint at these feelings. What happens when a new baby sister suddenly appears? Or when you get into a fight with your best friend? What if mom says, “no” when you want a pet, or maybe she says, “yes” and you don’t know which one to choose? Emotions and feelings are hard to process, but by talking about them, sometimes through poetry, they can be easier to manage.
I’ll be back next week with more poetry!