Sunday, January 26, 2014

Author Highlight: Teko Bernard

Introducing Teko Bernard author of 
The Hoopkid From Elmdale Park

Sports in children's books isn't always a common thing to see on the shelves at libraries or bookstores. This has been corrected with The HoopKid From Elmdale Park, written by Teko Bernard, which shares that kids who dream big can make their dreams come true with hard work and effort.

Teko is also giving away a book and a t-shirt.  Find out how you can win at the end of this post.



About the Author

After an exciting career in the sportswear and sports event market, Teko set out to pursue his lifelong dream of creating the original kid's lifestyle character brands Elmdale Park Kids™ and Hoop Kid®. Elmdale Park currently produces a unique brand of middle grade chapter books & active-wear.

As a kid growing up, much like my book’s protagonist Bernard Jones, I always loved books and playing basketball. Two of my favorite places were the basketball court and the library. Both places were my personal sanctuaries that gave me lots of joy and peace. While also, unbeknownst to me was enriching my life. Reading was exercising my mind and imagination, while playing basketball was keeping me physically and socially active,” says Teko.

However, by the time I reached middle school and then high school, my involvement in team sports began to monopolize my time. I had gotten so consumed with improving and getting better at basketball, I had almost totally lost site of the benefits and pleasure that books had always provided. Sadly, this pattern of more basketball, less reading would continue until the fall of my freshman year in college when I suffered a back injury that ended my college basketball career. Two life-changing things occurred after this, I started re-directing my intentions and focus towards things other than basketball for the first time in many years. I began reading more and re-discovered the pleasure and life changing effects that reading books provided. Reading has helped me so much throughout my life, that I felt compelled to create the Elmdale Park Kid’s brand and book series.
The idea was to help advocate the importance of a healthy, life-long, balanced diet of reading books and physical exercise. So kids who love sports are also benefiting from the magic of reading and kids who love to read are benefiting from the thrill of getting out there to play and being physically active.
Elmdale Park Books are created to entertain, educate and encourage kids. We want to give them access to books about the sports and activities that they love. We deal with a variety of themes including: courage, friendship, sportsmanship and teamwork to name a few. Elmdale Park Books reach out to a broad spectrum of kids from all backgrounds and experiences and cover a wide variety of stories, subjects and activities.

Currently, Teko Bernard resides in Overland Park, Kansas, where he works on his Elmdale Park brand. Find The HoopKid From Elmdale Park (ISBN:978-0-9860593-0-8, paperback, $7.19; ebook $2.99) at Amazon. Learn more at www.hoopkidonline.com and www.elmdalepark.com.

Q&A

What is The HoopKid From Elmdale Park about? The story revolves around Bernard Jones, a smart and courageous 12 year old basketball fanatic who is visiting his Grandparents for the Summer. While he’s there he forms a basketball team and goes to battle against the local bullies in a high-stakes, inter-neighborhood tournament, to stop the ruthless Victor Franco’s cruel plot to shut down the historic Elmdale Park and turn it into a city dump for his own personal gain.

The title indicates the book has a sports based theme. Is this a book for both boys and girls? Yes, this book will appeal to boys and girls. In fact there is a really great girl character [Layla] on the team who is smart, funny and athletic.

What age group does it target? This book is for kids of all ages, but more specifically 8-12.

Why will children enjoy reading The HoopKid? It’s just a fun and book. We mixed the fun of cartoons and fantasy/science fiction with the exciting realistic action of basketball and applied it to a modern day David vs. Goliath story.

What will children learn from the book? Children will learn the importance of teamwork, overcoming defeat, community and having courage to stand up for yourself and others.

Do you feel the story could help readers deal with bullying? Absolutely. Bernard has to deal with bullies in the story. And serves as an example of how speaking up, friends and family can help.

What experiences did you have in your own hometown recreation center that were similar to the story? While growing up, me and my brothers spent a lot of our days at the local community centers and playgrounds playing basketball. But fortunately we never had to play in a high-stakes game to save any of them from being turned into a city dump.

In what other ways do you encourage girls to participate in sports? We have a great girl character [Layla] in this story who exhibits a talent and passion for sports. We have another character named Nina who will also be in future stories who also loves to stay active playing sports.

Are you concerned that some children will not be encouraged or motivated by your characters? Yes, but I look at it as a challenge. My main goal is to create interesting and fun characters to resonate and connect with kids from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and experiences.

What will parents and teachers like most about this book? That our characters are creative and productive kids who have hobbies, interests and passions that don’t always involve a playstation.

What do you have next for The HoopKid? We are developing fun interactive programs to support the Hoop Kid book including a Hoop Kid reading club, Summer reading program and on-site Hoop Kid basketball clinics. We are actively seeking partners to work with. 


KBN Book Review

Title: The Hoopkid From Elmdale Park
Author: Teko Bernard
Illustrations: Gabriel Diaz
Text By: Wayne L. Wilson
Publisher: Elmdale Park Productions
ISBN: 9780986059308




Bernard Jones was a basketball fanatic. He knew all things basketball and could often be caught daydreaming on his home court, in the yard, playing with the greats. He longed to be great on the court, but unfortunately he was height challenged. To perfect his game, Bernard saved up his pennies for what he thought would be some much needed help from the G5000. This high-tech basketball from the Fukazawa Sporting Good Equipment Institute in Japan, could be the key to his success.

Upon discovering that he and his family would have to spend another summer in Elmdale, his dads hometown, Bernard decided to take his G5000 along and practice at Elmdale Park. He could show his grandpa and cousin Maurice this latest technology. As Bernard adjusted to his new environment he made some new friends and even a few enemies. Layla worked at the library and Bernard made a point to visit her often, but he wasn't the only one trying to make a play. Big Al, the local basketball talent and bully, was there with his goons harassing Layla. In an attempt at chivalry, Bernard lands himself into a basketball challenge that could cost Elmdale their park. Bernard is faced with the biggest challenge of his life. He must put together a team, train them and win the game or Elmdale Park becomes a new dump site. Can Bernard pull it all together by himself or will he get a little help? You'll have to read this exciting story to find out.

Teko Bernard has created an exciting basketball adventure both boys and girls will love. Readers will find basketball trivia along with familiar shenanigans that happen on the court. The characters are lively and young readers will relate to them and come to love them. This fast-paced middle-grade read has cool graphics depicting all the action of the characters throughout the pages. This story isn't just about sports, it covers crucial topics such as standing up for what's right and utilizing your voice. Parents and teachers can use this story as a tool for opening up dialogue regarding family, friendship, sportsmanship and bullying.



For a chance to win a copy of this fun middle grade read and a t-shirt too all you have to do is:

Visit Teko's websites
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