Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nicole Weaver - Author Highlight

Kristi's Book Nook is proud to present trilingual author Nicole Weaver.

Nicole weaver was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti. She came to the United States when she was ten years old. She is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish and English. She is a veteran teacher of French and Spanish. She is the author of a children's trilingual picture book titled " Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle." The story is about a Haitian little girl who resided by the beach in Haiti. Her second trilingual children's picture book will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. The book titled, " My sister is my Best Friend " will be published 2011.

Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
I have one trilingual published book and a second trilingual book due to be published in 2011. My first book was illustrated by a friend of mine. My second book is being illustrated by an illustrator in Australia.

How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
My first book is based on my childhood experiences. I got the idea for my second book after meeting my half sister from my father’s side. We did not grow up together. I wrote the script in one day during lunch. I was so very moved emotionally after meeting my sister that I began imagining what it would have been like if we were raised together. I wrote the script in English first, and then translated it into French and Spanish. I submitted to a publisher who gave me a contract after making a few revisions.

What will kids love most about your book(s)?
Kids love my first book because it teaches about having compassion. It also introduces kids to a new culture and languages. I am confident my second book will be well liked by kids, especially girls. The illustrations are simply the very best. My publisher has done a great job matching my manuscript with the perfect illustrator. I can’t wait for the book to be published.

What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
Parents and teachers love that my books are written in English, French and Spanish with the text side by side on each page. My books are intended to introduce kids to a foreign language in a fun way. I have received a lot of positive feedback from both parents and teachers. My books are also intended to teach and encourage positive self-esteem in all children no matter what part of the world they are from.

What's your next project?
I am currently working on revising several manuscripts. It is always a work in progress when writing for children.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Nicole. To learn more about Nicole please visit her site at You can also learn more about Nicole at Get Kids To Read and The Neophyte Writer.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book Review: Frankly Frannie, Check Please!

Frankly, Frannie: Check Please
AJ Stern
Illustrated by Doreen Mulryan Marts

Frannie is a go getter. She definitely wants to grow up and have a job in which she will carry a briefcase and business cards. She uses grown up words like concentratey, twentyteen, jobbish and whispery to name a few. Frannie and her best friend Elliott get themselves into a mess and it all started with a raffle ticket during the Spaghetti Lunch at school. Frannie's mother has won the ticket and the family visits the restaurant with the hopes of seeing the famous food critic, Maria Cross. Frannie and Elliot mistake snails (escargot) for bugs the excitement begins when they slip a note to an unsuspecting patron whom they believe to be the critic. Screams and shouts create chaos and the crowd leaves the restaurant. As the incident unfolds Frannie and Elliot are forced to do the right thing and apologize for the mishap publicly.

This humorous tale of a young girl finding her way to professionalism will keep readers chuckling and giggling to the very end. Stern does a great job of inventing words that spiral from the tongue in addition to allowing children a moment to imagine they can be whatever they choose when they grow up. Teachers and parents can discuss various careers and the path needed to achieve a dream job.

BIBLIO:2010, Gross & Dunlap/Penguin Group, Ages 6 to 9, $4.99 and $5.99
REVIEWER: Kristi Bernard
FORMAT: Early Reader


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review: That Pesky Dragon

Title: That Pesky Dragon
Author: Julie Sykes
Illustrator: Melanie Williamson
Hardback: 28 pagesPublisher: Tiger Tales Books 2007ISBN-10: 1-58925-069-9ISBN-13: 978-1-58925-069-7
Ages: 5 and Up

On Izzie's Dad's farm there were some goats, cows, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats and a dragon. It roared fiercely and that's how they all knew it was a dragon. They didn't dare look at it because it was too dangerous. Every morning the roar of the dragon would awaken Izzie.

The farmer did not like this dragon's roar. It made the eggs the chickens laid rock hard, and the cows milk had become yogurt. Izzie wanted to see the dragon, she thought it seemed sad. The next morning the farm was awakened by the dragon. The air smelled of toast thought Izzie, but it was the farmers prize wheat that was burning.

The farmer and his wife were to afraid to ask the dragon to leave, so they decided to call Remove-A-Dragon. Izzie pleaded that the dragon must be hurt and needs some help. She ran towards the dragon in spite of the farmers warning. You will have to read the story to see if Izzie is eaten by the dragon or if she saves the dragon.

This book is a very funny read. Kids will be excited to turn the page. They will actually feel everything that Izzie does for this poor little dragon. Parents and teachers can use this book in reference to a lost child looking for its parents.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Janet Halfman - Author Highlight

 This week I am proud to host author Janet Halfman. Her books Good Night Little Sea Otter and Fur and Feathers are a joy to read.

Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
I have written more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books for children. I have two new fiction picture books out this fall: Fur and Feathers (Sylvan Dell Publishing) and Good Night, Little Sea Otter (Star Bright Books).

Fur and Feathers, which recently won Gold in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, is a fun story of creativity, friendship, and animal coverings. When whipping winds whisk the clothes off Sophia's animal friends in a dream, she shares her clothes with them. But the animals can’t walk or fly in the kid clothes, so Sophia comes up with a creative plan, thanks to her grandma's huge sewing box.

Laurie Allen Klein illustrated Fur and Feathers. She also drew the pictures for my first book for Sylvan Dell Publishing, Little Skink’s Tail. For fun, Laurie included Little Skink in the storm that whisks off the animals’ coats in Fur and Feathers. She also put the earlier book on the bookshelf in Sophia’s bedroom. Laurie is so good at giving the characters personality! She talks about the fascinating art journey for Fur and Feathers on her blog:

Good Night, Little Sea Otter is a soothing and fun bedtime story featuring a baby sea otter who stalls going to sleep by saying “good night” to each and every one of his ocean friends. It seems like he'll never close his eyes! But finally he settles down to sleep cuddled in his mama’s loving arms in a cradle of kelp.

The art for Good Night, Little Sea Otter is just amazing. One reviewer said: “Is this not the cutest cover you've seen on a kid's book?” The colorful inside pages show a wealth of ocean life. I do not actually know who the artist is because she used a pseudonym, Wish Williams.

How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
Fur and Feathers was one of my quicker books to write. It took about a month. I wrote the book after noticing on the publisher’s website that they were looking for a story on animal wraps. Right away that topic fascinated me, so I started researching and brainstorming. After I submitted the manuscript, the publisher asked me to add two more animals, including an insect; but beyond that there were only minor revisions. I submitted this story only to Sylvan Dell Publishing, and they bought it about ten months after I sent it.

The inspiration for Good Night, Little Sea Otter came while writing a magazine article about two young girls scuba diving in a kelp forest off the coast of California. In researching the animals that the girls met, I fell in love with the sea otters. I was especially fascinated by how the mother otter wraps herself and her baby in kelp strands to keep them from drifting away during the night. I thought the otters would be perfect to star in a bedtime story!

I originally wrote the otter story in 2001 and over the years submitted it to several publishers, fine-tuning it several times in the process. Star Bright Books bought the manuscript in April, 2008. Yeahhh!!

What will kids love most about your book(s)?
Kids love the animals. I try to use telling little details about the animals’ behavior to make them come alive for the child and to make the reader care about them. In Fur and Feathers, kids also enjoy trying to come up with their own ideas of what would work for the various animals’ coats. One young reader suggested dryer lint for a bunny coat and another toothpicks for a porcupine. How creative! Kids also like the friendly, caring relationship between Sophia and the animals, and the loving relationship between Mama and Little Sea Otter.

What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
Parents and teachers like that besides the fun story, the books also contain lots of science. In Fur and Feathers, kids see how each animal’s coat is different and why that is important. In Good Night, Little Sea Otter kids learn a lot about sea otter behavior and the variety of life in the ocean, and specifically the kelp forest. Parents and teachers also like the “For Creative Minds” activity section at the back of Fur and Feathers, plus the many free educational resources online: a 57-page Teacher’s Guide, reading and math quizzes, English and Spanish audio, alignment to state and national standards, etc.

What's your next project?
I have two nonfiction picture books coming out this spring. Garter Snake on Willow Creek Lane will release from Soundprints/Smithsonian Institution in April, and Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish, will come out from Henry Holt in May. 

Although most of my books are about animals and nature, that is not always the case. My work in progress is a Civil-War-era biography similar to my book Seven Miles to Freedom: the Robert Smalls Story (Lee & Low Books 2008). The new project will spotlight an amazing but little known woman from that time in history.

Here are some other links that may be helpful:
Janet’s website:
Laurie’s website:
Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Fur and Feathers page: 
Star Bright Books Good Night, Little Sea Otter page:

You can learn more about Janet at Get Kids To Read for parent tips and The Neophyte Writer for writing tips.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gwendolyn Hooks - Author Highlight

Gwendolyn Hooks has written eleven books and several magazine articles for
children. She writes in a variety of genres including eight fiction easy
readers and three nonfiction books and sells articles to magazines such as
Highlights for Children and JAKES. In 2011, Stone Arch Books, Red Chair
Press, and Bebop Books will publish seven more of her easy readers. Her
Mystery of the Missing Dog, Three's A Crowd (Scholastic Book Fair
selections) and Can I Have a Pet (Bebop Books) have sold over 230,000
copies. Gwendolyn lives in Oklahoma City. She writes to encourage young
readers to explore their world.

Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
I have 11 published books with seven more scheduled for 2011. People are surprised when I tell them I don’t know the illustrators. I think my editors have done an amazing job of finding the perfect illustrators for my books. My four latest books are part of a new series, The Pet Club Stories: The Best Trick, Find the Cat!, The Noisy Night, and Pets at the Party. They’re all illustrated by Mike Bryne. He did a fabulous job. He made the kids and their pets fun to look at and I hope I made the books fun to read.

How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
The books are easy readers with about 300 words each. I am a plotter and an outliner. Once I have those two things in place it doesn’t take me long to write the story. I knew there would be four books, so I decided to focus each book on a different character and their pet, but all of the kids would be in each book.

What will kids love most about your book(s)?
The books are a fun read. And they feature pets. I don’t know if I ever met a kid that didn’t want a pet. I even stretched myself and included a pet that I’m too scary to have in my house—a rat!

What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
Because they’re easy readers, kids will be able to read the books themselves. The illustrations will help. Each book introduces the characters and their pets which means a person can read them in any order. Plus there is a word list in the back of each book that parents and teachers can use to strengthen the reader’s vocabulary.

What's your next project?
I am working on a picture book biography. I watched an HBO movie, Something the Lord Made and fell in love with Vivien Thomas. I had never heard of him before. Vivien was an African American man who lost his college savings in the Great Depression and became a laboratory technician instead of a medical doctor. At Johns Hopkins Medical School during the 1940s, he developed the equipment and technique that made open-heart surgery on Blue Babies possible. In 1976, Johns Hopkins finally honored with an honorary doctorate degree of medicine. His portrait now hangs in the university.

 Thanks Gwen for sharing with us. If you would like to learn more about Gwen please visit her at:

The Neophyte Writer, Get Kids To Read and at


Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Snowy Day

Title: One Snowy Day
Author: Tammi Salzano
Illustrator: Hannah Wood
Padded Board Book: 24 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales Books 2010 
ISBN-10: 1-58925-857-6
ISBN-13: 9781589258570
Ages: 2-5 yrs



This cute penguin tale helps kids count to ten. Play along with Penguin as he joins his friends on an adventure in the snow. The soft colorful illustrations will have your kids wanting to read this story over and over again. 


Have it delivered right to your door.


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