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Volume 4, Issue 9

The Literary Resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents

Ainsley Earhardt

Captures Our Hearts with Literary Lullabies Gene Luen Yang

A Literacy Superhero

Meet Masha and the Bear

Henry Herz

Scribes a Clever Tale for Little Mateys

#CaughtReading Join the Fun



L2M Brings Girl Power to a New Generation

One to Watch

Sage Correa

Reading Fiction Helps Bully-Proof Your Kids


with Emily K. Neuburger

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Our Fall Reading List

Movie Review:



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Cover photo courtesy of Brian Tully Story Monsters Ink magazine and are trademarks of Story Monsters, LLC. Copyright ©2017 Story Monsters Press, ISSN 2374-4413, ISBN: 9781338199932: All rights reserved. Contents may not be published in whole or in part without the express written consent of the bylined author and publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual writers and are not necessarily those of Story Monsters Ink or its advertisers. Story Monsters Ink is published by Story Monsters Press Postal mail may be sent to Story Monsters Ink 4696 W. Tyson St., Chandler, AZ 85226 Phone: 480-940-8182


Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

Honor Roll Gold Award Recipient, Mom’s Choice Awards. Named among the “great magazines for kids and teens” by School Library Journal. 2016 Irwin Award winner for “Best Publisher of a Literary Magazine” and “Best Editorial Director.”

Volume 4, Issue 9

In this issue 04

Ainsley Earhardt


Henry Herz

Captures Our Hearts with Literary Lullabies

Scribes a Clever Tale for Little Mateys



Gene Luen Yang A Literacy Superhero

L2M Brings Girl Power to a New Generation


One to Watch Sage Correa


Reading Fiction Helps Bully-Proof Your Kids



Meet Masha


and the Bear

with Emily K. Neuburger

Breaking News!



featured in Story Monsters Ink ••• Ainsley Earhardt featured in Story Monsters Ink ••• Ainsley Earhardt featured in S

31 Caught Reading

38 Fall Reading List

50 Book Reviews

32 Conrad’s Classroom

42 Monsters at the Movies

56 Storytime Pup

34 Kids Can Publish

44 School Bookings Directory

60 Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

36 How Does Your Garden Grow?

46 Liv on Life

62 Kids Corner

Tell us what you think of this issue! Email your comments to | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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photo credit: Pasha Belman Photography

Ainsley Earhardt

Captures Our Hearts with Literary Lullabies by Melissa Fales

With all of the hopes and joyful anticipation that come with being an expectant mother, Ainsley Earhardt wrote her first book, Take Heart, My Child: a Mother’s Dream in 2015. Now, after two years of parenting her daughter, Hayden, the Fox & Friends co-host is releasing her second book, Through Your Eyes: My Child’s Gift to Me. 4

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

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“I’ve learned a lot about life over the past two years,” Earhardt says. “Hayden has taught me so much. Being her mother truly is a gift.” Earhardt grew up in South Carolina and initially pursued a career in dentistry. She was studying biology at Florida State University when she had a change of heart. “I realized that I didn’t love it and I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Earhardt says. She was already considering moving back home to be closer to family when she saw a TV interview with Leeza Gibbons talking about the journalism program at the University of South Carolina. Something clicked. “I went for an interview at the school, met with the professor, and enrolled,” Earhardt says. “I knew I was in the right place.” After graduating, Earhardt spent five years as a reporter and news anchor for her local hometown TV station. “I loved it,” she says. “It was a thrill to be able to broadcast in front of my grandparents, my family, and friends.” She later spent two years working for a CBS affiliate in San Antonio, Texas. In 2007, Earhardt got a life-changing call from her agent. Fox News was interested in hiring her and wanted to fly her in for an audition. She got the job and for the past 10 years, she’s been one of Fox’s most popular reporters, with appearances on numerous shows and her own segment, Ainsley Across America. Earhardt says she loves her adopted hometown of New York City and the excitement of working for Fox. “It represents all of my dreams coming true,” she says. “It’s working really hard and crazy hours, but it’s all worth it.” Despite the demands of her broadcasting career, Earhardt had been feeling the urge to write a book for a number of years. “I remember sitting in church when I was living in Texas and the idea came to me,” she says. Growing up, she was encouraged to read, particularly by her mother who was a teacher for 33 years. “Reading was a big deal in our house,” Earhardt says. “We had many books at home and we were regulars at the library. I’m grateful that the love of reading was instilled in me at a very young age.” Earhardt eventually came up with the idea for a children’s book about a little dog being bullied by a much larger dog and submitted it to Simon and Schuster. “They weren’t crazy about the idea, but they still wanted to meet with me,” says Earhardt. During the meeting, Earhardt shared stories about her father,

photo credit: Brian Tully

who left notes next to her cereal bowl every morning when she was a little girl. “Sometimes it would be a poem, or a verse of Scripture, or a famous saying,” she says. “I told them that now that I was having a baby, I was eager to pass on all of my dad’s advice that had helped me so much to my own child.” The publishers told Earhardt to nix the dog story and run with that idea. “They told me, ‘That’s your book,’” she says. Take Heart, My Child is a collection of life lessons and advice carefully curated by Earhardt for her baby. She teamed up with illustrator Jaime Kim, whose beautifully simple illustrations complement the positive messages of the book. Earhardt remembers holding the finished book in her hands for the first time. “I was still pregnant,” she says. “I walked into the nursery, sat in a chair, and read it. I remember weeping with joy. Then I called my parents and read it to them and we were all crying. To know that the lessons they taught me would not only be passed down to my child through this book, but to kids all over the world was very touching.” Take Heart, My Child made it to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for several weeks. As many parents do, Earhardt envisioned the type of life she wanted for her unborn child. “I thought, | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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“I’ve learned a lot about life over the past two years. Hayden has taught me so much. Being her mother truly is a gift.”


shares how motherhood has changed Earhardt for the better. “Thanks to Hayden, I’ve learned to take a breath and slow down,” Earhardt says. “I try to enjoy every moment. I want to share in the sense of wonder she’s experiencing at the beauty of the world around us.” For example, Earhardt treasures the memories of Hayden laughing the first time she saw a dog up close and how fascinated she was when she first saw and felt raindrops falling from the sky. “As her mother, the opportunity to experience these moments with her is so precious to me,” says Earhardt. “It’s magical. That’s what this book is about.”

she’s going to do this and that and have this type of personality and be involved with these activities,” Earhardt says. “I had it all planned out. But when she was born, all of that went out the window. As they say, we plan and God laughs. Now, no matter what she decides to do, I just want her to know that she’s loved.”

As she did with Take Heart, My Child, Earhardt is donating a portion of the proceeds from Through Your Eyes to Folds of Honor, an organization that awards scholarships to families of military personnel who were disabled or killed in service to their country. “I wanted to support a cause I believe in,” says Earhardt. “I love the military and I love this country. Reflecting on the theme of my books, it made sense for that cause to be a military organization that benefits children and helps make their dreams come true.”

Earhardt was so delighted with becoming a mother, she decided to write a second book. Through Your Eyes, with its tender illustrations by Ji-Hyuk Kim,

For more information about Ainsley Earhardt or to pre-order Through Your Eyes, visit

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

rom the very first Kindergarten book, hints are given that point to a seer mystery which gradually builds through the years at Pagic Elementary School under the guidance of a mysterious teacher, Mr. Wackenteach. As the years seem to quickly pass, the slowly brewing mystery grows and grows, and everyone has a secret feeling that finally, in sixth grade, the mystery will be revealed! R.WACKENTtACH TEACHES SECOND GRADE

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"Spoiler alert: be forewarned. The series, from start to finish, is a tour de force. As a parent of an elementary school child, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone." -Educator Michael Elia

-James Magnus, Readers' Favorite

Amazon and Ingram Spark | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Feature Story

Gene Luen Yang A Literacy Superhero by Melissa Fales

Cartoonist Gene Luen Yang was in fifth grade when he purchased his very first comic book, one with Superman dominating the cover. Yang quickly became enamored with not only the “Man of Steel” character, but of the entire comic genre itself. Soon he was making his own comics and selling them to his classmates for 50 cents. Little did Yang know that someday he would be working for DC Comics and have the chance to create a character called The 8

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

New Superman, reimagining the iconic superhero as 17 year-old Kenan Kong, a Chinese boy living in Shanghai. “If you had told me then that I’d be working for DC Comics someday, I would have freaked out,” Yang says. “To have gone from buying my first DC comic book about Superman to working with DC on The New Superman is just crazy good.” Yang’s passion for comics led to an interest in graphic novels, where he found exceptional success. In 2006,

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his book American Born Chinese, published by First Second Books, was the first graphic novel ever to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award, given annually to the book the ALA deems the best book for teens. “It’s probably my most well-known work to date,” Yang says. “I pulled pretty heavily from my own life for one of the book’s three storylines. There’s a Chinese-American boy growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood. That’s based on my own experiences.”

The fellowship, which includes a sizeable, unrestricted monetary award, is given to select people who display talent, originality, and dedication in their chosen fields.

In addition to his work on The New Superman, Yang is currently teaming up with First Second Books again for a six-volume series called Secret Coders with his friend, illustrator Mike Holmes. “It’s the first explicitly educational book I’ve done,” he says. “We’re trying to teach kids the fundamentals of computer science and get them excited about it. When I was a high school computer science teacher, I taught in a very visual way. I made good use of my whiteboard. I’ve been thinking about it a long time and I thought it would work well in a graphic-novel form.”

Yang has continued to work in comics and graphic novels. Since 2012, he’s written the Avatar: The Last Airbender series for Dark Horse Comics. Yang’s twovolume graphic novel, Boxers & Saints, released in 2013, was also nominated for a National Book Award and received the LA Times Book Prize. In addition to his cartooning, he also teaches Creative Writing at Hamline University. In 2015, the Library of Congress chose Yang to be the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He’s the first graphic novelist to hold that title and will serve until December 2017. “I’m not sure how I got picked,” says Yang. “It was a phone call that came completely out of the blue. But I was obviously excited about it and it’s been a fun term.” As if Yang being named a “National Ambassador” isn’t enough, go ahead and toss in the term “genius” too. In 2016, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly referred to as a “Genius Grant.”

who are doing amazing work.” Yang was humbled and intrigued by the ambitious projects of his fellow fellows. “There’s a Native American from a small tribe whose language died out two generations ago,” says Yang. “He’s reviving it and reconstructing it from notes written by European settlers in the 1800s. Another person is working to turn CO2 into a reusable fuel. They’re doing incredible things.”

Receiving the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship was a complete shock for Yang. “That was another call that came out of the blue,” he says. “The money is awesome, but the best part was that I got to go to a retreat for all of the recipients and meet folks

Another of Yang’s current projects is one more “first” for him. “I’m working on a graphic novel about basketball,” he says. “I’ve never done a sports book before.” Based on a true story, Dragon Hoops is set at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California, where Yang used to teach and follows the story of Lou, a 17-year-old African-American junior point guard on the school’s basketball team in the late 1980s. “I’m very interested in the way sports intersect with culture,” says Yang. “For example, when Lou was a freshman, the varsity team only had two black players. By the time he was a senior, there were only two white players on the team. The | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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“If you had told me then that I’d be working for DC Comics someday, I would have freaked out. To have gone from buying my first DC comic book about Superman to working with DC on The New Superman is just crazy good.” transition of that team mirrored the transition that had happened ten years before in the NBA.” The story transcends its racial component. It’s also about the human spirit. With his team down by one point in the state championship and seconds left on the clock, Lou put the ball through the hoop just as the buzzer went off. His teammates began celebrating, hailing Lou as their hero until, in a controversial decision, the referee invalidated the play, saying another player had his hand on the ball as it went through the hoop. Lou never recovered from the loss and watched a tape of the game over and over again, haunted by what almost was. 10

Fast forward to the 2014-2015 basketball season. Lou is now the head coach of the Bishop O’Dowd High School’s men’s basketball team and the team is once again heading to the California state championship. “It’s been a long time, but Coach Lou is obviously still thinking about that loss,” says Yang. “I think the whole story, with its cultural history and the thrill of the sport, is particularly suited to a graphic novel.” Dragon Hoops is due to be released in 2019. As the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Yang chose the theme “Reading Without Walls” as his platform, promoting his belief that books have a unique

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

ability to break down the cultural barriers between people. Yang’s agenda presents kids with three literary challenges. “First, they should read a book where the characters look or live differently from them,” he says. “Secondly, they should read a book on a topic they don’t know anything about. And third, they should read a book in a format they don’t normally read for fun. The whole point is to get more kids reading and to get kids reading more.” For more information about Gene Luen Yang, visit | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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photos courtesy of Animaccord Animation Studio

Meet Masha and the Bear by Melissa Fales

They may seem like an odd couple, but 3-year-old Masha and her best friend, a former circus performing bear, are one of today’s most popular cartoon pairs. Masha and the Bear is a 3D animated children’s show created by Animaccord Animation Studio in Moscow. It’s in syndication in more than 100 countries, with one episode boasting over 2 billion views on YouTube.

Audiences around the world are responding to Masha’s gregarious personality, her curiosity, and her innate ability to form fast friendships with the characters she meets along the way. “I like to be friends with everyone,” Masha says. “Animals, people, even aliens!” 12

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Masha and the Bear met by accident when she inadvertently followed a butterfly into his home. Despite the fact Masha nearly destroyed the Bear’s house and yard in the process, they’ve been the best of friends ever since. The Bear is very protective of Masha

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and spends much of his time keeping her safe and sound during her daring escapades. “Bear is really big,” Masha says. “But although he’s big, he’s very skittish. When I met him for the first time, he was frightened of me! But I like him very much because he’s fluffy and caring.”

Dog, and Panda, but they aren’t as multi-talented as Bear. “They are not so brave either,” says Masha. “They always run away and hide when I want to play with them. However, when I do catch them eventually, they’re very nice! Rosie is my baby! We play so much, but Panda only visits every once in a while.

Fans of the show enjoy watching this unlikely pair and the amusing situations Masha gets them into. “Bear and I have so many adventures together,” Masha says. “We have made movies, and cooked lots of food, and we even do magic! I have learned to play the piano and we dance, and one time, we even did a science experiment that made me grow really, really big and then really, really small! But the real adventures are coming soon.”

When Masha isn’t playing with her friends, she often spends time daydreaming about the future and imagining what she might do when she grows up. “I dream of becoming a clown or … wait, an astronaut,” she says. “No … I want to be a teacher, or maybe, I want to be a doctor. Or I want to be the Bear! Or a ballerina. Or it’s better to construct and build something, maybe? Or play football or be a pilot? Hmm…”

Bear is remarkable in that he can juggle, perform magic tricks, and ride a unicycle—all things he was taught when he was part of the circus. Masha has other animal friends, too, including Rosie the pig,

Recently, Masha and the Bear earned the distinct honor of being the first preschool cartoon to be seen in space. “Who was watching us in space?!” asks Masha. “There is no one except astronauts there and

“I want to be a teacher, or maybe, I want to be a doctor. Or I want to be the Bear! Or a ballerina. Or it’s better to construct and build something, maybe? Or play football or be a pilot? Hmm…” astronauts most probably don’t watch cartoons because they don’t have time.” The milestone occurred when Animaccord Animation Studio supplied a brand-new, alienthemed episode of Masha and the Bear to the International Space Station and a Russian astronaut got a sneak peek of the show. “I hope the man in the moon got to see it too,” says Masha. When asked why she thinks so many kids like to watch Masha and the Bear, Masha—true to character—points out that her show is also very popular with | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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grown-ups. “What about adults?” she asks. “They also like the cartoon so much. Especially grannies and granddads. Above all, pets also like to watch Masha and the Bear. Pets of any age, by the way. Everyone likes Masha and the Bear because we have so much fun, it is hard not to smile and laugh while watching it, too!” Masha says she’s grateful for all of her fans and is especially thrilled when she gets a chance to meet them. “Usually it happens virtually,” she says. “Look, what a cool word I know. Virtually! I like meeting fans online or in real life too because it gives me new friends to play with! If you want to be friends, I have a Facebook and an Instagram, and I like to meet people there the best!


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For more information about Masha and the Bear, visit, mashaandthebear, or | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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Henry Herz

Scribes a Clever Tale for Little Mateys by Melissa Fales

When he’s not writing fantasy and science fiction books for children like his latest, Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew, Henry Herz is a process engineer, helping companies boost their productivity and become more efficient. Herz says he enjoys writing for kids because it balances out the extremely technical nature of his other job.

“It’s very analytical,” he says. “I’m glad to have a creative outlet. It helps me exercise both halves of my brain.” He began writing children’s books in hopes of getting his two sons, Josh and Harrison, interested in the fantasy books he’s always enjoyed. “I wanted to share my love of the genre with them, so I came up with a short story that I thought was appropriate for their age range,” he says. Herz was delighted when the boys not only liked the story, but offered feedback on how they thought it could be even better. After revisions that incorporated his sons’ suggestions, Herz shared the story with family and friends, who encouraged him to self-publish it. He did and Nimpentoad reached #1 on the Kindle bestsellers list. “I don’t recommend self-publishing for everyone,” says Herz. “There are clear advantages and disadvantages to it, but I ended up being bitten by the writing bug because of the experience.” Herz also self-published an anthology he edited called Beyond the Pale. It’s a collection of short stories by some of the biggest names in fantasy, such as Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, and Jane Yolen. “In the pantheon of fantasy novelists, these are some amazing writers,” Herz says. 16

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Eventually, after a number of submissions, Herz’s work was accepted by a traditional publisher. He offers advice to other authors who are frustrated by receiving regular rejections from publishing companies. “Even successful authors get turned down all the time,” he says. “Often, a perfectly viable

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“I love to take a classic story and put a strange spin on it. Kids seem to respond to that approach, too.” book just isn’t what they’re looking for at that time. A rejection could be based purely on market conditions. It’s all very subjective. You can’t take yourself too seriously. Be persistent and thick-skinned. Take solace in the fact that even J.K. Rowling was rejected many, many times.” Herz’s sons joined him for additional books, as well. Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, published by Pelican in 2015, features fantasy versions of classic favorites. “It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Herz says. “We took nursery rhymes and inserted mythological creatures into them. After all, everything is better with a minotaur.” For example, they offered a unique take on the well-know rhyme Hey Diddle, Diddle. “Instead of a cat, a cow, and a dog, we had a centaur, a fawn, and an imp,” says Herz. “In fact, we liked the imp so much we made him the star of our second traditionallypublished book, When You Give an Imp a Penny.” Other books by Herz and sons include Mabel and the Queen of Dreams and their unique take on Little Red Riding Hood, called Little Red Cuttlefish. “I like riffing,” says Herz. “I love to take a classic story and put a strange spin on it. Kids seem to respond to that approach, too.”


faced with one obstacle after another,” says Herz. “Every time they get to the point where they think they can’t possibly go any further, the captain gets right in their face and says, ‘Can’t ye?’ And they look at all of the teeth in his mouth, and the added motivation of fear of becoming his lunch inspires them to persevere. They quickly realize that there probably is a way to solve whatever problem they’re facing that is much preferable to being eaten.” In conjunction with the book’s release, Herz’s website includes a number of pirate-related activities for children, including jokes and recipes, as well as a study guide parents and educators can use alongside the book. Next year, Herz will be releasing a number of books, including How the Squid Got Two Long Arms, which he says is both a tribute to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and an homage to one of his favorite picture books of all time, Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat. Herz says another, Alice’s Magic Garden, was written as a prequel, of sorts, to Alice in Wonderland.

For Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew, however, Herz started from scratch. “The genesis was thinking about what would make an interesting story for kids,” says Herz. “Kids love dinosaurs. At least I know I loved dinosaurs as a kid. They also love pirates, so I came up with the idea of mixing the two together to make dinosaur pirates.”

Herz says he thrives on having the opportunity to write for children. “It’s a challenge,” he says. “You really have to hone your craft. I like how many different options there are. There are so many different knobs and dials you can twist to see what will happen. You can play with words or character development. You can use alliteration. You can make everything rhyme. You can have a narrator tell the story or you can use a lot of dialogue. It’s like experimenting by mixing different ingredients into the cake batter. Sometimes it doesn’t taste too good, but sometimes it’s absolutely delicious.”

The story follows Captain (Tyrannosaurus) Rex, who’s the leader of a ship’s crew in search of booty. “They’re

For more information about Henry Herz and his books, visit

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

New for Fall from Red Chair Press Ick and Crud

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Check your local bookstore, or Save at: | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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photo credit: Ashley Frangie

L2M Brings Girl Power to a New Generation by Melissa Fales 20

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There are at least five good reasons to admire Warner Music Recording Artists L2M. Jenna, Lexi, Mariangeli, McKenzie, and Tati are a diverse group of young women who are out to prove to the world that smart girls are cool girls. The group’s mission, through their music and through acting, is to build up girls’ confidence in their own abilities and encourage them to get interested in subjects that have long been considered more suitable for boys, such as science, technology, engineering, and math. The members of L2M are showcased in the new Disney-presented series for YouTube Red called Hyperlinked. “We each bring something so unique to the group,” says Tati. “We have so many similarities, differences, and multiple talents. But we are definitely better when we are together, which also happens to be the title of one of our songs in the show.” In Hyperlinked, the members of L2M are shown using their computer programming and technical skills to create their own website, by girls for girls, while at the same time navigating the complex daily

social issues and pressures that affect all young people. Since they are a musical group, every episode of the series also features L2M singing and dancing in their unique style. “It’s a story about five girls going through life as normal kids, all while having a website to run, which is dedicated to help and empower girls to be who they want to be,” says Mariangeli. Hyperlinked is loosely based on the story behind the creation of the Miss O and Friends website (, which is designed as an online hangout for girls where they can chat about the tough social issues they’re facing in their daily lives, while making friends and having fun. “Hyperlinked is a true story about Juliette, her little sister, and her three best friends,” says Jenna. “They all create a website together and go through some tough times that teens tend to go through.” Becoming a member of L2M and appearing on Hyperlinked has been a dream come true for Mariangeli, who says she’s always had a passion | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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“I think it’s important because there needs to be younger role models for little girls to show them that we can do the same things boys can do.” for singing, acting, and dancing. “I really started to take it seriously after I joined a performing arts studio called Broadway Kids Studio,” she says. “I’ve been attending this studio since I was about six or seven, and it has become my second home.” For Mariangeli, being a role model for other girls is a big responsibility, one that she takes seriously. “It means so much that girls look up to me and the rest of the girls in the group,” she says. “I love giving girls advice on life and making them smile with our projects! Jenna didn’t start taking voice and dance lessons until she was 10 years old. “Although, I was singing since I could talk and dancing before I could walk,” she says. Like Mariangeli, Jenna recognizes that having younger girls looking up to her for guidance comes with an obligation to be a good leader and someone worthy of their trust. “It’s amazing,” she says. “I never dreamed I would be a role model, but I love it and it makes me want to work harder.” According to Jenna, it’s time for mainstream media to take a stand in breaking down antiquated stereotypes and to actively portray girls as being strong, competent, and intelligent in areas that have long been seen as the male domain. “I think it’s important because there needs to be younger role models for little girls to show them that we can do the same things boys can do,” she says. Being a member of L2M has helped Tati grow and expand her range as a performer. “I started dancing when I was two and I have been singing for about three years,” she says. “Being with L2M has really 22

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helped to push me as a singer because I was used to rapping.” Fittingly, L2M stands for “Listening to Music.” You can hear L2M singing their new song “Girlz” in the animated movie, Lego Friends: Girlz 4 Life and their single “Living for the Rhythm” on your favorite music app. Fans of these talented tweens should get ready for some new music coming their way. “We are working on some songs at the moment with our producer, Dawin, and hopefully from there, once we get an album out, we would love to go on tour,” says Tati. As much as Tati enjoys being in Hyperlinked, she says nothing compares to being live on stage in front of fans. “I love that I can be myself and do what I love to do,” she says. “I have always enjoyed dancing and performing in front of a large audience. The adrenaline and rush I get from seeing and hearing the crowd is always overwhelming and I love that feeling!” Whether they’re singing, dancing, or acting, the members of L2M always try to stay positive and embody the group’s motto, “Be Who You Are.” Tati says she believes in that message and she hopes the kids who watch Hyperlinked take that motto to heart. “It means to not change for anyone or anything,” she says. “To be yourself and dream big because the sky is the limit and you can do anything you put your mind to.” For more information about L2M, visit their website,

Riddles & Giggles Q: Which school supply is king of the classroom? A: A ruler! | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Feature Story

One to Watch

Sage Correa by Melissa Fales

Sage Correa is the bespectacled 9-year-old actor starring in the new Aviron Pictures movie, Kidnap. Correa plays Frankie, whose abduction and mother’s subsequent efforts to get him back form the basis of the plot. Even with starring alongside Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry, who portrays his mom, Correa manages to steal the show in this suspense-filled, action-packed film. “People are going to be on the edge of their seats the whole time,” Correa says. 24

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Feature Story

photo credit: Darrin VanGorder

A Los Angeles native, Correa got his first taste at performing during a concert at his school. “I really liked being on stage, but I was just a horrible singer,” he says. “So, I decided to try acting instead. I’m glad I did. I love it.” Correa started out appearing in plays, including Grease. “I like acting because I don’t want to just be watching something,” he says. “I want to be in it. I want to be a part of the action.” Having taken to acting quickly, Correa started auditioning for commercials, appearing in ads for brands such as Lysol, Quaker Oats, and Kay Jewelers. As much as Correa enjoyed acting in plays, once he got in front of a camera, he was hooked. “It’s even better to be on camera because if you make a mistake, you can just do it again,” he says. “If you’re acting in a play and something goes wrong, you can’t fix it.” Correa has been featured on TV shows such as Uncle Buck, Life in Pieces, Grey’s Anatomy, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He’s also the voice for the character of Pig-Pen in the new animated TV show Peanuts, based on the classic comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. “When you

do voice acting, it’s different because you’re not in front of the camera,” Correa says. “There’s a screen that shows the character talking and you have to speak at the same pace. Sometimes it’s hard to match how the mouth is moving.” Correa says he and Pig-Pen are very different. “We both have kind of raspy voices, but he talks very slowly and I tend to talk kind of fast,” he says. “The other big difference is that I’m clean. There’s one episode where he shows up clean but he gets messy really fast. He’s only clean for about five seconds.” Filming for Kidnap took place in New Orleans. According to Correa, it was fun to play the role of Frankie. “For most of the movie, he’s a scared little boy,” he says. “Most of the time, he’s in a car and his mother is trying to save him.” He says he enjoyed working with Berry but didn’t get to make the first impression he was hoping he would. “When we first met, I tried to do a magic trick for her and I failed,” he says. “I felt bad but she was so cool about it. She’s very, very, very nice.” When he’s not acting, Correa is a typical 9-yearold boy. He likes to play video games, basketball, | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Feature Story

“I really liked being on stage, but I was just a horrible singer. So, I decided to try acting instead. I’m glad I did. I love it.” and spend time with his Springer Spaniel, Gracie, a rescue dog. “My agent had posted something on her Facebook page about adopting rescue pets,” he says. “I’ve always wanted a dog to follow me around. When my parents saw the photo, they said, ‘This is going to be the right dog for you.’ She was rescued from a kill


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shelter on my birthday, so that was pretty cool. I got her as an early Christmas present. The first thing she did was jump on me.” Dressed in a custom-made tux, Correa recently attended the movie’s premiere at the ArcLight Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard where he got a true feeling of being a movie star. “It was such a great experience,” he says. “I had a driver and everything. I was so surprised because when I got there, people were holding up pictures of me and wanting me to sign autographs for them. I couldn’t believe it. I never thought that would happen. I knew it would happen for Halle, she’s a big star, but I didn’t expect it would happen to me. It was so cool.” Kidnap is Correa’s second movie. His first film, Tempting Fate, was released in 2014. “I like doing movies but what I really want is to be a star of a big TV show someday,” he says. “Someday soon!” For more information about Sage Correa, visit his website at | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Feature Story

Reading Fiction

Helps Bully-Proof Your Kids by Michele R. Blood, Ph.D.

On good days, it’s someone else’s kid. On bad days, it may be your own. But we’ve all seen it, cringed, and vowed to take action. Even kids raised in loving homes by wonderful people may bully their peers. When it happens, parents are understandably shocked and horrified by behavior they never dreamed their child would display. If you can be the best role model in the world and your child can still end up with a bullying résumé to rival Draco Malfoy, what’s the point in trying? Is it just the luck of the genetic draw? Not necessarily. 28

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Science has found a way to help ensure you never receive that call from a concerned school principal, an angry parent, or a law enforcement official who isn’t playing around anymore. And as an extra bonus, this method is deceptively simple. It’s also cheap (sometimes free!). And you can implement it right away. Ready? Take your kids to the library and encourage them to read. Specifically, encourage them to read fiction, and preferably a wide variety of it.

Feature Story

Emerging research out of London’s Kingston University suggests that reading fiction is strongly associated with higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence. Empathy and emotional intelligence are traits which are highly incompatible with bullying. In her postgraduate research at Kingston, doctoral student Rose Turner anonymously surveyed 123 participants regarding their media consumption and their self-reported interpersonal skills. What she found has the Internet buzzing, and with good reason. People who preferred reading fiction were more kind and more emotionally in tune with others than those who preferred to consume their fiction via screen time. Ms. Turner’s analysis of the results of this prepublished study were fascinating, to say the least. They should, with some important reservations, serve to give parents hope on the bully-proofing front. Encouraging kids to read fiction may be a fun, simple way to bolster empathy and emotional intelligence. To help ensure that your kid doesn’t become the neighborhood bully, encourage him or her to read widely and read often. As with any research based on correlation, inferring a causal relationship isn’t necessarily appropriate. It is entirely possible, for example, that adults who are kinder naturally gravitate toward favoring reading over television. It is also possible that Turner’s results do not apply directly to children. However, other rigorous studies bolster the gutlevel interpretation of Turner’s results. For example,

scientific research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that children who read excerpts from Harry Potter improved their attitudes towards disenfranchised groups, including immigrants and refugees. Scientists from The New School for Social Research in New York City found that reading literary fiction enables adult readers to embrace the idea that others can espouse beliefs and desires that differ radically from their own. When kids read stories about fictional characters who struggle, they subconsciously develop an affinity for the character’s very real counterparts they see every day on the playground. When those characters differ in significant ways from the reader him/herself, the positive, anti-prejudicial effect is even more profound. So when you’re planning this year’s back-to-school schedule, include trips to the library, to the bookstore, or to children’s book festivals where kids can meet their favorite authors. Not only will your kids be taking a solid whack at conquering the summer slide, they’ll also be taking a whack at bullying.

Michele R. Blood, Ph.D. is a community-minded freelance writer with a passion for children’s literature. She leverages her academic background in psychology to craft sizzling copy for a variety of businesses and NPOs. If she’s not online chatting it up on social media, you’ll probably find her at an amusement park scouting out bigger, better, faster thrill rides. @KidlitTidbits; | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink



Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

Have you been #caughtreading? Send your photos to and we might publish it in an upcoming issue! | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


aF . Ra dke

Science & Nature




This Bighorn was seen just below the summit of Mt. Wheeler in New Mexico. (photo by Jwanamaker)

Bighorns Don’t Honk! by Conrad J. Storad Ever get the lyric from a song stuck in your head? How about a stanza from a poem or a certain passage from a book? Sometimes that particular gaggle of words just pops into your mind. The trigger can be a scent or an image or the view spread out in front of you. During the cross-country drive home from my “Snowbird Author” duty in Arizona this past March, my wife and I spent a few wonderful days relaxing in beautiful Taos, New Mexico. I know, tough duty, indeed. We were standing at an observation spot on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge along U.S. Highway 64 enjoying a spectacular panoramic view. Some movement on the left rim of the chasm caught my eye. 32

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At first, I thought the movement came from a group of skinny cattle grazing on scraggly high desert grass. A closer look through my camera lens corrected that thought. Goats? No, sheep. Specifically, the grazers were Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. That’s when the following passage leaped to the front of my brain. We’re horns that don’t honk Nope. Not even a beep We live in the mountains We’re called Bighorn Sheep.

: by

Science & Nature

The words were the repeating stanza from Bighorns Don’t Honk, a picture book written by Stephen Lester and illustrated by Nathaniel Jensen published in 2010. I had the fun job of being the editor for that book. I had seen smaller desert bighorns while backpacking in the Grand Canyon, but never the full-size Rocky Mountain bighorns. But here they were, lazily grazing near the edge of the gorge, giant curved horns and all. Those large, curved horns on the males, or rams, are spectacular. The horns can weigh up to 30 pounds. That is as much as all the rest of the bones in a ram’s body, combined. The biggest rams have massive horns that can grow more than 3 feet long. At their base, those horns might be more than a foot in circumference. Bighorn sheep are one of two main groups of wild sheep that live in North America. There are thinhorns and bighorns. The thinhorn family includes the Dall’s sheep and Stone’s sheep. Both kinds live in Alaska and parts of Canada. Bighorn sheep are a separate species. But scientists have identified three living subspecies. I’d seen desert bighorns in Arizona. Another type is the Sierra Nevada Bighorn. Here in front of me was the Rocky Mountain variety. Bighorns have lived in North America for thousands of years. At one point, there were millions of these big sheep living in the western high country. For Native American people, bighorns were almost as important as bison. They provided meat for food and fur for clothing. Their tough horns and hooves provided material for tools. By 1900, the growing population of settlers had hunted the big sheep to near extinction. There were only a few thousand animals left. But bighorns have made a comeback. Still, there are only about 70,000 bighorns alive today. They survive and thrive thanks to the establishment of national parks and other conservation efforts. Many people and lots of animal conservation groups continue to work to help the bighorn sheep. All animals are important. I’m glad I got a chance to see bighorns in the wild. Keep your eyes open and your camera ready on your next trip to the western mountain country.

Honk if you like these bighorn facts: »»Bighorn sheep weigh from 115 to 300 pounds. They have very muscular bodies. The animals are about 3 feet high at the shoulder. »»Bighorn sheep have two coats of fur. The outer coat is rough and brown. The inner coat is short and gray. The fur of a Bighorn is a lot like a deer’s fur. »»Bighorn sheep are social animals. Sometimes more than 100 bighorns can be found living close together in one area. Groups of eight to 10 animals are more common. »»Bighorns are fast. They can run up to 30 miles per hour in flat places. They can scamper up a rocky mountainside at a pace of 15 miles an hour. »»Bighorns are expert climbers. They can leap 20 feet in a single jump and land on ledges that are only 2 inches wide.

Resources to learn more about bighorn sheep: Books: • Bighorns Don’t Honk by Stephen Lester • Bighorn Sheep (Animals of North America) by Tammy Gagne

Websites: • National Bighorn Sheep Center • National Wildlife Federation Bighorn-Sheep.aspx • Defenders of Wildlife • Bighorn Institute

Conrad J. Storad The award-winning author and editor of more than 50 science and nature books for children and young adults, Conrad J. Storad expertly draws young readers into his imaginative and entertaining “classroom” to help them better understand and appreciate the natural world. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Kids Can Publish!

Mr. Behnke by Lucas Rowe, grade 11

Making my way up to middle school at North Lake, I was terrified of getting to fifth grade. Now I would be upstairs with the other middle schoolers. Then I got placed into Mr. Behnke’s class. He started off class cracking jokes and making sure that the students in his class were feeling involved. He made me feel more comfortable and relaxed. Mr. Behnke was a great teacher to introduce me to middle school. Mr. Behnke could fix every problem that his students brought to him. For example, if a student in one of his classes would get the hiccups, he would send them to get exactly 15 sips of water. Somehow it made the hiccups disappear. “That will always work, and if it doesn’t, I want you to come and tell me.” Mr. Behnke was confident in his ways. He wasn’t a traditional teacher. He had his own way to perform tasks (and somehow they worked). Mr. Behnke’s ideas ranged from simple ideas such as bringing the class outside on a nice day to an insane idea to let the fifth graders plan the holiday parties. At my elementary school, we had cards that we pulled when we did something bad. That gave Mr. Behnke another wacky idea. He thought of a better way to “punish” us. If somebody had to get a book out of their locker, Mr. Behnke would give them a choice to either pull a card or have them do 10 push-ups instead of pulling a card. It was a fun and creative way to make sure his students were prepared for class. Mr. Behnke was also the fifth grade basketball coach. I was on the team and during the season, he formed a great relationship with each of the people on the team. He wanted to make us better while still having fun. He made the practices and games enjoyable for the team. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach than Mr. Behnke, he was an impeccable coach for fifth grade students. Mr. Behnke was a great teacher, coach, and friend. I have had many teachers before him and I have had many since, but none of them have quite lived up to Mr. Behnke. I was lucky to have such an amazing teacher.

Hey Kids! Visit and click on “Kids Can Publish” for instructions on how to submit your work! 34

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Recycle Your Garden! by Rita Campbell Abracadabra! Recycling turns things into other things, just like magic. Recycling seeds can be just as magical. The term “harvest” refers to collecting the food you have grown. However, there is another type of harvest. This harvest can be fun and educational as well. Teaching children about how and where food comes from can be done in harvesting and collecting seeds.

I’ve said many times, there are many lessons to be learned in gardening. The garden can be a classroom and a magical one at that. Once again, respect for nature can be utilized when children learn where their food comes from, how it is grown, and why we should respect the land and people, like farmers, who produce the food we eat.

Imagine what could have happened to our forefathers. They didn’t have a garden store or nursery to purchase their seeds for next year’s garden. So you could say they needed to recycle seeds if they wanted to have food for their families. They were dependent on the seeds from last year’s garden. Saving seeds year after year can also be a great way to save money. Recycling last year’s seeds can preserve the most premium specimens—those that produce the most and were the most flavorful. But especially, the seeds you harvest from this year’s garden will produce plants that will grow best in your growing zone and your soil.

Harvesting seeds can be done in a multitude of ways. Remove seeds from the garden in late summer and fall. After flowers are finished blooming, wait for some heads on the plant to turn brown and dry. Then collect the seeds. Many items such as plastic bags, film containers, and especially paper envelopes can be used to store your seeds. Simply make sure they are well labeled. If seeds are damp, be sure to dry on paper towels so they will not mold. Keep them in a cool, dry place. The refrigerator is a great place to store seeds.

So a lesson in sustainability as well as self-sufficiency can be emphasized when collecting seeds for next year’s garden. Seed harvesting can also be an opportunity to teach children about history, geography, genetics, biology, and math when you consider the money you’ll be saving for next year. As 36

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Garden crops can be categorized as dry-fruited or wet-fruited. With dry-fruited seeds, simply go out to the garden and handpick a few nature seedpods and bring them in for further drying and cleaning. Seeds from wet-fruited crops must be picked when seeds are mature. After the fruit is harvested, the seeds are extracted from the pulp and then dried. Some seeds naturally live longer than others. Tomato seeds and

beans can be kept for many years if stored properly. Onion and carrot seeds are short-lived.

to go to. Harvest your seeds and watch the magic unfold in next year’s garden!

Collect ripe seed on a dry day when seed heads or seed pods are visible. Pick seed heads singly or by the stalk and then lay them out to dry. If they don’t open on their own, you will have to crush the pods or capsules to get the seed out.

Plant of the month: Zinnias are a very easy

Collecting seeds with your child can be fun as well as a learning opportunity. It can also be an economical way to grow plants for your garden. I start much of my garden each year and reap many plants from seeds as opposed to paying $4.00 and sometimes more for a plant. Once you figure out your own method, you will ensure a cost-efficient way of growing your own garden. Having plants started from last year’s seeds from your garden will ensure beautiful blooms as well as high production. It will also give you an opportunity to share your garden with friends and family members. So don’t live on this planet as if you have another one

flower to grow. They are annuals, meaning that they go from seed to flower to seed quickly. Zinnias’ pointy seeds, shaped like little arrowheads, require only basic garden prep to sprout: Sow them in well-drained soil, where there’s full sun and lots of summer heat, and you’ll have tiny seedlings in days, with flowers powering up in just a few weeks. No perennial can claim that speed!

Rita Campbell is a passionate teacher and master gardener. She is also a fairyologist and new author. Her love for gardening and interest in fairies has inspired her to marry the two concepts and create a series of books on learning about gardening with the help of fairies.

BOOK GIVEAWAY Enter to win

Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning Giveaway!

Email and be sure to put “giveaway” in the subject line. Include your name and mailing address. One entry per person. Winner will be notified by email on September 13. (US residents only). Sponsored by Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Fall Reading List Pibbin the Small: A Tale of Friendship Bog by Gloria Repp

Pibbin, smallest of treefrogs, is desperate to get the doctor for his injured turtle friend. The other frogs say, “It’s a dangerous journey! You’ll run into snakes and that giant bullfrog! Black Snapping Crabs might eat you!” But his friend’s leg is still bleeding, so Pibbin finds a pal and they hurry off. No one knows to warn them about a crazy toad-driver and stolen leaves—or a terrible, misted swamp— and the two pals end up in more trouble than they ever expected. Easy to read. Illustrated. Available in paperback, eBook, and audio on See more at

Ginger and Moe and the Incredible Coincidence by Linda DeFruscio-Robinson

Everything was perfect at first. Linda had wanted cats—two of them—so they would have each other for company. And Ginger and Moe, two beautiful cats born in an animal hospital, had wanted a loving home. But one day, Linda begins to feel sick, and when she learns from her doctor that she is allergic to her two cats and would not get better until she got rid of them, she is forced to find a solution, quickly. A heartwarming true story with lessons about love and sacrifice. And a wonderful coincidence happens at the end! Website purchases include a free coloring book.

Voiceless Whispers by Jane Frances Ruby

Three years since her fateful Grand Canyon field trip, Desiree has kept secret the presence of an ancient wilderness tribe that had helped her. When she returns to the canyon, she encounters the tribe’s medicine man, searching for a sick tribal youth. Desiree discovers that she is the only one who can help cure the youth. But it risks exposure of the tribe as well as Desiree’s life. Is it worth the risk? Available in paperback and Kindle on

Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! by Jayne M. Rose-Vallee

In this debut rhyming picture book, Sabrina has masses of wild, curly blond hair and worries there may be animals—like dinosaurs—living in there. The curls make it tricky, to comb out for school. At the top of her head, it’s simply a mess. Do creatures hide out there? The answer is YES! “This charming, engaging story offers a funny look at what happens when a child’s imagination unfurls.” - Kirkus Reviews. Dinosaurs never go out of style! Loved by boys and girls. Satisfaction guaranteed! Hardcover first edition multi-award-winning children’s picture book.

Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! 2 by Jayne M. Rose-Vallee

In a world where so much attention is spent focusing on differences, Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! 2 is an opportunity to focus on what we have in common. First grade challenges. Curly Hair. Friendships. Mean Kids. And yes … dinosaurs who stir up drama and add flavorful imaginative chaos. Now that’s the recipe for a great book. A magical combination of rhymes and water-color illustrations. Fiction, for sure, but if imaginations are large enough, children will ask themselves, “Could it be true?” Release date: September 2017. 38

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Fall Reading List I See the Sun series by Satya House

Explore the world! Life in different countries told from a child’s point of view. I See the Sun books are an award-winning series of bilingual picture books, each focused on one country and one day in the life of one child with a story told from the child’s perspective. Every book introduces the culture, family life, and language of one particular country in a way that is sensitive to each culture. Includes age-appropriate (5+) country facts and a glossary for extended learning. Books include I See the Sun in: Turkey, Nepal, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Mexico, and Myanmar (Burma).

Max and Bear by Pam Saxelby

Bear is given to Max’s dad at a very special party, but Max isn’t there yet. He is still growing in his mommy’s tummy! When Max is born, Bear is so excited! But when Max’s mommy gives him Sophie the giraffe instead, Bear is disappointed. He decides to wait for Max to grow up a bit. But when his mommy gives Max Turtle to play with instead, he is again disappointed. Will Max ever notice Bear? Max and Bear is a sweet story written with young readers in mind … and teaches them that good things do come to those who wait.

Josie the Great by Pam Saxelby

So many things are changing for Max and Bear. They’ve moved into a new house in a new neighborhood and now ... a new baby? Max’s parents keep talking about someone named Josie, but who is that? With his trusty friend Bear by his side, Max navigates the changes in his life and wonders what it all means. Written by Pam Saxelby and illustrated by her daughter, Anne Saxelby, Josie the Great explores how young children come to understand their ever-changing world. Josie the Great is a sequel to the author’s Max and Bear. Young readers and those who have yet to learn to read will enjoy the further adventures of these two characters.

Gracie Lou

by Larissa Juliano

Gracie Lou is bored. And lonely. What is a little girl to do when there’s nowhere to go and no one to play with? Wish upon a star! As Gracie Lou travels through the starry sky to magical lands, she experiences exciting and whimsical adventures that ignite all her five senses. Larissa Juliano delivers a captivating, imaginative, and thought-provoking story inspired by a childhood favorite: The Little Prince. Readers will delight in the vivacity of Gracie Lou’s imagination (or is it?) as they anticipate where the curly-haired cutie will head to next.

The Tale of Prince by Bianca C. Staines

It’s a dog’s life, but Prince couldn’t have asked for a better one. An unblemished pedigree, a loving family, weekly grooming, and a bowl always full of Auntie Cher’s delicious amazing biscuits. What more could a pompous pooch want? That is, until she arrives. When a flat-faced stray comes trudging through his territory, chewing his toys and stealing his beloved humans’ hearts, his perfect life turns to mush! Prince wants it all back, just the way it was. Yet, despite all his efforts to make her life miserable, getting rid of her seems harder than getting cat pee out of the carpet. Winner, 2017 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Fall Reading List Ace, King of My Heart: An Assateague Pony’s Tale of Strength and Survival by Lea Herrick

Ace, a tiny, wild colt born on Assateague Island, struggles to survive (with a little help from his animal friends) as he grows into a magnificent stallion. The story is interwoven with the living creatures that exist on the island. Celebrates the 50th birthday of Assateague Island National Seashore and the 100th anniversary of the National Park System! Educational activities included! Recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award and 2017 Green Earth Book Award “Long List” Honoree for environmental stewardship. Teaches children life lessons of perseverance, optimism, and hope, with a larger message for all ages: the need to preserve our beautiful natural habitats and ecosystems. Available on

Jockey Hollow—Where a Forgotten Army Persevered to Win America’s Freedom by Rosalie Lauerman

Jockey Hollow has all the makings of riveting works of fiction—treason, mutiny, enemy attacks, extreme weather conditions, unpredictable personalities, shortage of supplies—but what happened at Jockey Hollow in the winter of 1779-80 is entirely and monumentally true. This book brings to life a little-known Revolutionary War encampment near Morristown, New Jersey, where tenacious soldiers persisted despite all odds. It spotlights the depth of the soldiers’ conviction that America should be a free country and the price they were willing to pay to win that freedom. Jockey Hollow received the 2016 IPPY Bronze Medal for Best Mid-Atlantic Region Nonfiction.

Cornered: Dr. Richard J. Sharpe As I Knew Him by Linda DeFruscio-Robinson

In the year 2000, Linda DeFruscio was forced to make an unthinkable decision. Someone whose genius she admired immensely, a business associate and dear friend, committed a terrible crime. In response, she could cut off their friendship and avoid the risk of losing friends, clients, and her own peace of mind—or, she could trust her gut and try to save some aspect of her friend’s humanity. She went with her gut. Cornered casts a light on how one woman’s refusal to turn her back resulted in momentous changes in her own life. Surprise postscript never talked about in book. Author explains by request. Great Read!


by Jane Alvey Harris

Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, 17-year-old Emily slips into the elaborate fantasy world she created as a little girl. Emily is powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment and lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale.They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality … and time is running out. For readers ages 13+.


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Fall Reading List The Tinker and The Fold: Problem with Solaris 3 by Evan and Scott Gordon

They have been watching … and because of him, they are coming. Jett Joseph Javelin Junior is enjoying eighth grade until his scientific tinkering goes dangerously wrong and attracts the attention of The Fold, an extraterrestrial force tasked with keeping peace in the galaxy. When The Fold comes to collect him, Jett’s life is thrown into disarray. From alien abduction, to life in Tower 100, to flooding the White House with living alien pom-poms that eat everything in sight, Jett’s adventure to save Earth from The Neutralization Protocol and integrate it into The Fold is fraught with peril and will keep you guessing all the way to the end!

The Roni Children’s Book Series by Roni Roth Beshears, EdD, RDN

The Roni Children’s Book Series is an engaging and educational teaching tool for school-age children and their families, based on the author’s own struggles as a young girl. Titles include Roni Takes Action, Roni Goes to Camp, and Please Don’t Call Me Chubby Roni! The books serve to open communication with children, parents, and teachers about negative body-size talk and bullying and the impact it can have on children. Helpful online resources and questions for discussion are included in each book. Available through or

Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver by Lorri Horn

Dewey Fairchild isn’t just good with parents, he’s great with them! He can solve any problem parents might cause their child, from an overprotective mom who won’t let you go to class on your own, to a dad who can’t stop picking his nose any chance he gets. In fact, he’s so good at handling parent problems that he runs a secret business from the attic of his house, and he doesn’t lack for customers. But what will Dewey do when the parents that are causing problems are his own?

Click on the book cover to purchase any of the above titles. To list your book in our Reading Guide, contact Cristy Bertini at | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Monsters at


Reviewer: Nick Spake

Grade: B

STEP is a wonderful documentary that centers on a group of Baltimore high school girls as they strive to get into college and take their dance team to the top. The film has a fair deal in common with Steve James’ Hoop Dreams, which revolves around two inner-city boys who aspire to make it big on the basketball court. STEP might not leave as much of an impact as the aforementioned documentary. However, it will speak to any student who has had to overcome extraordinary obstacles, as well as any parent or teacher who has gone the extra mile for somebody under their wing. In an age where many underestimate the power of education and the arts, STEP is a highly relevant picture that schools and families should definitely seek out. The film comes from director Amanda Lipitz, whose background includes Broadway productions such as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Legally Blonde. In STEP, Lipitz finds herself helming a different kind of musical as she surveys the Lethal Ladies of The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women throughout their senior year. For the school’s step team, dancing is so much more than a casual hobby. It’s a way of life, giving each of them the drive to make their dreams come true. Promoting teamwork and perseverance, they manage to inspire a hurting community following the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who was killed while in police custody. Lipitz primarily follows three students on their road to the Bowie State step championship. Blessin Giraldo stands out as the captain and founder of the Lethal Ladies. Although she lights up the stage and screen with passion, Blessin struggles to juggle schoolwork and a difficult home life. Through step, however, she emerges as a more responsible person with the determination to defy expectations. Stepping alongside Blessin is Cori Granger, the class valedictorian who motivates everyone around her to reach for the stars. Finally, there’s Tayla Solomon, the team’s resident wisecracker who shares a strong bond with her single mother, Maisha. As you might expect, Maisha is her daughter’s biggest fan, never missing a dance practice. 42

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In due course, she becomes something of a surrogate mother to the other step girls. Masiha isn’t the only supportive role model that the steppers have to look up to. Leading the team is Coach G, a.k.a Gari McIntyre, who maintains the authoritative nature of a drill sergeant while still fueling her steppers with high spirits and a strong sense of sisterhood. Paula Dofat, the Director of College Counseling, takes it upon herself to make sure every student finds success after high school. In a perfect world, every school would have educators as attentive as these two. While that’s sadly not the case, the BLYSW staff at least gives us all hope for a brighter tomorrow. Aside from being the definition of a crowd-pleaser, STEP is a film that schools and dance programs should consider playing as part of curriculum. It embodies truly uplifting messages for young adults and that’s largely thanks to its identifiable ensemble. Although we only spend 83 minutes with these people, it feels as if we’ve gotten to know each of them on a meaningful level by the time the credits roll. Many will be able to see themselves in Blessin, Cori, and Tayla, whether their goal is to make a splash on the dance floor or get accepted into their dream college. Above all else, these young ladies leave us with a valuable message: When you’re part of a team like step, you’re never dancing alone.

Nick Spake. Arizona native and a graduate of Arizona State University, Nick Spake has been working as a film critic for ten years reviewing movies on his website:

Frilly & Trilly

Frilly & Trilly are a scholassc series of children's books, about twin girls learning invaluable life lessons that bring the ennre family together for pracccal soluuons.

Find the Frilly & Trilly books at or | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink



New Jersey

Sharon Wozny: As an educator for Mesa Public Schools

Mary Ann Castagnetta: Mary Ann Castagnetta’s

Kathy Peach: The tiniest tumbleweed is small for her



Meaghan Fisher: A children’s author who has over 10 years’ experience working with children. She has a BS in psychology and a minor in women’s studies and lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. Her hope is to inspire children through the moral lessons in her books. Meaghan has several published books with five star book reviews and awards.

for 30 years, I instructed my students to write from their hearts, to write about topics that spoke to them and ignited a passion within them. I followed my own advice. Drawing on my experience volunteering with the Children’s Cancer Network, I have written Jamie’s Journey: Cancer from the Voice of a Sibling especially for siblings of pediatric cancer patients.

age. So is her Sonoran Desert neighbor, a baby sparrow. Through the incorporation of proven concepts in helping children believe in themselves and their capabilities, The Tiniest Tumbleweed shows how the desert companions work together and within their limitations to become their best.

Teresa Power: Teresa Power’s 16+ years of teaching

yoga in schools, yoga studios, and local organizations has helped thousands of kids develop healthy attitudes towards their bodies. She is also a keynote speaker, bestselling author of The ABCs of Yoga for Kids product line, and founder of International Kids’ Yoga Day, an annual event that takes place each April.

Carole Lieberman, M.D.: Since 9/11, bestselling author, radio host, and board-certified psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H. has been helping families overcome their fears of terrorism. She has written a book— recommended by leading experts and top educators—for parents and teachers to share with their kids to give them a gentle introduction to terrorism and ways to keep them safe.

Nebraska Barbara Freeman: Former educator Barbara Freeman

has turned her passion for writing about American Pit Bulls to educating children about them. With two books in the series so far, Sugar: A Princess Pit Bull Finds Her Family and Super Smart Sugar, Freeman’s books/visits promote love, self-acceptance, and positive self-esteem.

Visit to learn more about these authors and artists and invite them to your school or library! 44

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colorfully illustrated children’s books are warm and humorous stories to delight children ages 3 to 10. Her presentations are 30 to 40 minutes in length, depending on the age of the group, and include a reading, followed by a discussion of the importance of perseverance and the process of writing and publishing her books. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Liv on Life Discrimination Must Stop! by Olivia Amiri Discrimination in today’s society happens far too often. We see people being discrimated all the time because of their race or ethnicity. Sometimes people talk about someone else as if that person is lower than them just because their skin is a different color or they have an accent. Everyone is beautiful in his or her own way. Just because someone has an accent, different features, or speaks a language that’s different than yours, don’t let fear of the unknown scare or inhibit your interaction with this person. Yes, everyone is different, but at the same time we are all the same. I’ve seen people purposely putting down other people, making fun of them and saying discriminating remarks againist them just because of their skin color and race. One small remark may seem small to you, but it can be VERY HURTFUL to the person who is receiving that remark. Always think about what you’re saying before you say it. People also discriminate against religious cultures and traditions. They make fun of people who act differently because of their cultural lifestyle. Be KIND to everyone, no matter what they look like or what religious cultural practices they prefer. When someone asks me what race I am, I say, “I’m human!”

10-year-old Olivia Amiri is a little girl with big advice! Sharing insights and observations on the world around us, her message is clear: kids are still the best teachers to remind grownups of the simple joys in life.

Meet Liv... The Liv On Life Series features Olivia (aka Liv) and her best friend, Bowie, a Boxer dog. Liv is the go-to girl for kids and parents looking for advice on how to navigate our fastpaced, technological world. Keep on the lookout for upcoming titles in the Liv On Life Series including: I Love to Read What’s In My Backpack? I Don’t Wear Jeans I Know What Time It Is Just Smile! You Go, I Go SUNday! Scootie and Me

Visit for recipes, coloring pages, and more! Available on, and most major retailers.


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“Perfect for children in transitional stages.” Foreword Clarion Reviews


“An appealing tale for an expanding family…this one breaks the mold…” Kirkus Reviews


Foreword Clarion Reviews Mom’s Choice Award Reader’s Favorite | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


You’ve got a friend in me… by Linda Wescott Photos by Linda F. Radke

Petra first met Story Monster at the Payson Book Festival when she was only 2 years old. Without a hint of shyness, she had cuddled right up to him and before leaving had spread her arms wide around him, into a great big hug. She loves Story Monster. But why she had thought of him again with such perfect timing will remain a mystery for us. “Remember the Story Monster?” Her question had come at a time of no recent conversation that would have prompted it, and when Mom had almost forgotten that the Payson


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Book Festival was just a few days away. But soon Mom, Dad, and Petra were on their way to Payson. This time it was a 4-year-old Petra who arrived, and with a gift bag of her drawings for Story Monster. A friendship was renewed. And Petra was very pleased when she received a box in the mail just for her, with gifts from Story Monster and his friends. Of the Story Monster t-shirt (that now fits her like a nightgown) Petra said, “I’m going to wear this next year … when I see Story Monster.” | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Book Reviews Kisses for Kindergarten by Livingstone Crouse Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is simply adorable! I can’t wait to add it to my family bookshelf. Stella Isabella and her pup win your heart instantly! The rhythmic text and amazing illustrations fill not only the story, but the entire atmosphere with great joy, satisfaction, and triumph. Three cheers for Livingstone Crouse and Macky Pamintaun! It’s lively, endearing, and captures the very best of childhood. And, it even gives you a kindergarten checklist to help set the stage for your little one’s biggest day!

Frilly & Trilly: Where does all the money go? by Nickie Hough Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is an adorable way to teach children the reality that finances play in their daily lives. At times, while seeking heartfelt desires, children may find themselves up against opposition. Often, attributing it to the meanness of those who unfortunately have to say no. This thoughtful approach allows for understanding and appreciation in a hands-on visual way. A great experience that should be incorporated into every childhood.

The Bad Book

by Jessica R. Herrera Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The Bad Book is on a mission to destroy all the other library books! This clever approach will make you chuckle as the pages turn, but it will also sneak in a heart tug here and there. Understanding is such an empowering tool. Sharing is so liberating. And together they make a perfect story!

Ace, King of My Heart: An Assateague Pony’s Tale of Strength and Survival by Lea Herrick Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The wild horses of Assateague Island National Seashore are known by many. However, Herrick brings us in closer and provides a personal peek into this unique wild horse society, from the perspective of one particular pony. The horses, strong enough to survive the hardships of the island’s scorching heat, many mosquitoes, stormy weather, and poor food quality, have formed a distinct horse society. There is much to learn of these true magnificent creatures, and the amazing island on which they live.

Edison’s Overnight Bag by Meghan Colvin Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Family is the balance and strength of home and life, and extended family is like the sprinkles and toppings we add to an already delicious treat. Grandparents can add such a special sparkle that rounds out a solid self-appreciation. Edison is becoming quite a little packer. Love, experience, and a subtle awareness of those he shares his time with help him prepare for the MOST of his experiences. Whether going fishing or to a sleepover, he knows just what he needs. And, as a grandma, I can tell you he knows well the answer to his mom’s parting question. 50

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Book Reviews The One Eyed Pug

by Deborah Hunt Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Giving a pet its forever home gives us serious thought and consideration. We realize it is an adjustment for all involved, and enter into it with determination. In this story, the light is cast on a new perspective, finding the same determination on the side of the pets we choose. Little Pug is moved about, and finds many new places and people in her life. She discovers not all is as she hoped, and though she may long for better things, she is determined to make the best of her situation. Even if it means dealing with difficult adjustments. We look on as this loving little pug navigates her way through disappointment and hardship. In these relative issues, we observe it is possible to find a lasting balance.

Same Inside, Different Outside by Deborah Hunt Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The students in Emma’s kindergarten class don’t understand how they can all look so different on the outside, but look very similar on the inside. So Dr. Shaw is coming to visit, and she’s bringing Mr. Bones, who is a real life-size skeleton. Mr. Bones is going to help Dr. Shaw teach her lesson about the human body. I enjoyed the educational approach of this story that also provided an early moral awareness of individual uniqueness, as well as the basic sameness that unites us altogether as one.

Sir Kaye: the Boy Knight by Don M. Winn Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

In the fourth and final episode of this multi-awarded series of Sir Kaye, we find Kaye and his two best friends caught in a dangerous adventure to save his father. Father/son relationships can often be filled with misunderstandings and unnecessary striving. Sir Kaye is driven by his need to prove himself, a validation never truly needed in the eyes of his father. This is a great chapter book series, filled with adventure. Its content is inspiring and relatable. The chapters and book length are well paced and hold the attention to its finish. A great rite of passage experience for all awaking youth.

Jim Rat

by Ann Marie Gillian Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

A rat who is also a scientist? An avid reader? A workout enthusiast? Jim Rat has a rather enlightened view of himself. Void of stereotypes or bullied impressions of others, he has quite a healthy awareness of who he is. He is a very different kind of rat. This enjoyable introduction to Jim will encourage children to look beyond definitions and mindsets, to uniqueness in self-discovery. Lighthearted with a weighted message.

Moon Princess

by Barbara Laban Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Moon Princess is a heartfelt, adventurous, imaginative story. Sienna and her invisible dog, Rufus have moved from London to Shanghai with her dad. Her dad said they moved to China for work, but it was China where her mom has disappeared. Now Sienna is stuck with a mean housekeeper who starts acting suspiciously. Along Sienna’s adventure to find her mom, she makes friends, meets dragons, visits temples, travels on buses and trains, and meets other invisible animals. But will she find her mom? | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Book Reviews DK Readers L2: The Story of Coding by James Floyd Kelly Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

DK Publishing brings us another fascinating book on coding. In this technology-based society, our children are incorporating its devices at astounding rates. Though there are debates regarding the impact of this technological takeover, it is a reality of our time. Kelly’s book takes us through a history of programming, bringing to light amazing techniques that only few were aware of at the time. This light has broadened our intellects and stimulated our creativity. Books like The Story of Coding break down complex theories into understandable and achievable possibilities, even for the young. I find them fun, challenging, and empowering.

Tripi Takes Flight: The Amazing Adventures of Tripi The Fly by Lori London Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Tripi Takes Flight is a wonderful story. Faced with a major challenge, Tripi is able to draw upon his many other great skills and abilities and overcome his one lack that threatens to hold him back. Tripi learns there are many ways to do things, and if the obvious way is hindered, we can always find another. The challenges of life are only limited by the inability to see beyond them. Necessity, they say, is the true mother of invention. This story also provides an audio version.

The House At 758

by Kathryn Berla Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This YA novel takes us on the long and winding path of forgiveness and healing. Never an easy journey, yet one filled with hope and possibility. Narrated by 16-year-old Krista, we follow her through the pain, confusion, and dreadful sense of loss as she faces the effects of a fatal accident of close loved ones. Recovery is a desperate road, and the wisdom and kindness of those who accompany us can often lead to safe passage.

No More Noisy Nights by Holly L. Niner Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This adorable book grabbed me right at the cover. Illustrator Guy Wolek captures the warmth, patience, and overall heart-winning personality of Jackson the mole with perfection. We can all learn a thing or two as we watch Jackson cope with his new noisy neighbors. Its so much easier with kindness.

The Elephant Who Tried To Tiptoe by Andrew Newman Reviewer: Julianne Black

The Elephant Who Tried To Tiptoe is an adorable story about a sweet and curious elephant that worries that she isn’t enough because she can’t do some of the things other animals can. It is only after recounting her many positive attributes and blessings that she finds peace and happiness with being who she is. Calming yet fun illustrations and rolling rhythm seem to float the reader through this one and it makes a great pick-me-up bedtime story after a rough day or a reminder to love ourselves and appreciate our own unique abilities at school story hour. A meaningful and inspirational story. 52

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Book Reviews Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint Reviewer: Diana Perry

This book is an uplifting and inspiring story and a tool of encouragement and peek into history. It takes place in Kuantan, Malaysia, where 11-year-old Maya dreams of being a soccer star. Unfortunately during this time, only boys are budgeted for soccer equipment. Maya has too many stresses to deal with—her parents fight, she feels like an outcast being the only Muslim in her new school, and she has no idea how to convince the school to find a way to provide equipment to start up a girls’ soccer team—that is, until she convinces enough girls in school to sign up for it. This book inspires young readers to overcome events in which they are helpless to overturn and empower themselves to prevail.

Our Dog Benji

by Pete Carter and James Henderson Reviewer: Diana Perry

Benji is a very lovable dog but his young owner doesn’t like everything that Benji chooses to eat. This is the tale of a typical day in the life of Benji—where he goes, who he meets, and especially what he eats. Early readers will find this story funny as they bond with the lovable Benji and will be surprised to learn that there is one human food that Benji won’t eat, which is the same one his owner refuses, too. Kids will wish they had a dog just like Benji.

Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver by Lorri Horn Reviewer: Diana Perry

What kid can’t relate to having parent problems? Middle-schooler Dewey Fairchild hates that his mom makes him take a bath every day. When he confides in his friends, each of them has a complaint about their parents, too. Dewey realizes that he has a knack for solving problems anyway, so he sets up his “business” and solves parental problems for all his client friends. Dewey can solve any problem parents may cause, but what will he do when the parents who are causing problems are his own? I thought this was a beautifully spun tale. Parents, I advise you to read this book. It makes you wonder just who is training who in the parent-child relationship. Such a fun read!

Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins by Suzanne Selfors Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins is an entertaining story about family and friendship. What I liked about the story most is that it shows with courage and integrity we can face challenges in life and move forward. A sheltered girl, Lucy moves with her father to the Wild West and finally gets to experience the adventures that she had only read about in books. Lucy meets Spirit, a young wild horse. Both spirited, together they face challenges with courage and honesty. 

Goldie Blox and the Three Dares by Stacy McAnulty Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Goldie Blox and the Three Dares proves with determination and focus you can successfully complete almost any task. This book is encouraging to girls to look at engineering as not just a “guy’s job.” Goldie’s favorite place on the earth is the BloxShop. The BloxShop is an engineering workshop filled with tools and recycled materials. Goldie always loves a challenge, but doesn’t realize what she is getting into when she finds her grandma’s book of dares. Goldie’s determined, along with her friends, to complete the last three dares in the book before her Gran’s 77th birthday, but can they do it? | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Book Reviews The Hug Who Got Stuck by Andrew Newman Reviewer: Julianne Black

The Hug Who Got Stuck is an amazing visual telling of what happens in our hearts when we withhold love. In a totally fresh allegory, the book creates a visual narrative for our emotional reactions to that moment we are too upset to apologize, forgive, or just love who we want to love. When the hug gets stuck in the icky web of negative feelings, the whole hug factory shuts down, and the heart grows dark. But when the hug lets go and releases itself from the negativity, it can fly out to love its intended recipient and the hug factory starts to whir back into business. The illustrations are as unusual as the story itself, full of detail and meaning wrapped up in a gorgeous layered and multimedia collage. Complete with a hug meter tucked thoughtfully at the end, The Hug Who Got Stuck is another big winner!

Families on Foot

by Jennifer Pharr Davis and Brew Davis Reviewer: Julianne Black

An outdoor family’s must have! Written in conjunction with the American Hiking Society, Families On Foot covers a lot of ground—from trail mix recipes to first aid what-ifs, this book is a true companion. Compact enough to toss in a backpack but straightforward enough to read in a sitting or two, authors Jennifer Pharr Davis and Brew Davis take you on their own adventures with breakouts from other families on the tips and tricks that make their adventures the most memorable. Cranky teen? Family member with disabilities? Backpacking your baby? It’s all here. No matter what your background is in hiking, there is something for everyone. Now get outside already!

Rainbow of Friendship by Joni Klein-Higger Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

The heartfelt message of Rainbow of Friendship is of upmost importance as readers are transported on an emotional journey with ‘Red’ and her apprehension of going to different places with different looking people in Rainbow Row City. Her sweet friends come in the form of colors. What an engaging and inspirational read to reinforce kindness and acceptance of others—especially in today’s world. Rhyming and poetic text flows and includes fun and eccentric names of Red’s new acquaintances (Blue Betty, Pink Patty Puff, Orange O’Shea, and Yellow Yasmina). The colorful ending leaves the reader with a lovely message.

I Have a Voice

by Joni Klein-Higger and Flora Zaken-Greenberg, Ph.D Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

One of my favorite parts of reading is relating to the character in some kind of way, having my feelings validated and not feeling alone in whatever struggle I might be experiencing. I Have a Voice encompasses all those qualities and more. The colorful story begins with sweet Jamie, who wants to talk, wants to share, and wants to connect verbally with her friends, but can’t. Her loving and supportive mom takes her to Dr. Faye, who is wonderful at validating Jamie’s feelings and offering her strategies to cope with her anxiety. The last few pages of the book even provide parents and teachers questions and answers about selective mutism. An inspirational, educational, and uplifting book for many children in our communities.


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Book Reviews The Lemonade Stand Cookbook by Kathy Strahs Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

An absolute must-have for every foodie, craftie, and aspiring young entrepreneur. Kathy Strahs shares how to create yummy concoctions from lemon-orange limeade to cold brew iced tea. Not your typical recipe book though! The whole premise is to spark assertiveness in children to set up and sell these yummy treats. The table of contents is easy to read with recipes in one section, and crafts in the next. Love the encouragement, strategies, and testimonials from other young chefs and artists! The crafts are cute, creative, and use many materials easy to find at home or the dollar store. Gorgeous graphics accompany each double-page spread and steps are easy to follow. Bonus facts are included on cute lemon wedge pictures.

The Secret Island of Edgar Dewitt by Ferrill Gibbs Reviewer: Diana Perry

Fourteen-year-old Edgar DeWitt is distressed when his parents move from Alabama to Mount Lanier, Washington. Right off the bat, his Southern accent attracts bullies who relentlessly mock and attack him. During one of these chases, Edgar escapes by running off in the forest where he discovers a longforgotten old cabin with a hole in the floor. There is something magical about this hole and Edgar’s curiosity overcomes common sense and fear as he jumps in. Readers will find themselves lost in the magical world along with Edgar, who must make the most serious decision of his life when a wildfire breaks out and his father’s life is in grave danger. Edgar is endearing and the other characters he encounters are perfect for the adventure. A terrific book for any young reader who feels they don’t fit in.

Mango Delight

by Fracaswell Hyman Reviewer: Diana Perry

Seventh-grader Mango Delight Fuller, normally shy and withdrawn, had no idea that she had a talent for running until she beat out Brook in the school race. Brook changed instantly from being Mango’s BFF to her actual enemy. To make matters worse, Brook decides to get even by forging Mango’s name on the sign-up sheet for the school play. Mango, realizing that this may be the excuse she needs to come out of her shell, shows up for the tryouts and to her surprise, gets the lead. Shy kids can use this book as encouragement to try new things and discover their hidden talents. This is the perfect book for all kids to read—kids who bully others, kids who get bullied, and those who witness it all. Not just an entertaining story, this is an educational book parents will want to buy.

Shadow of a Pug (Howard Wallace, P.I., Book 2) by Casey Lyall Reviewer: Diana Perry

Eleven-year-old Howard Wallace and his friend, Ivy Mason, are private investigators. Their principal, however, has forbidden their detective escapades on school grounds. That is, until the school mascot disappears and Coach Williams gets the principal to allow it just this once, provided no one else finds out. Howard and Ivy are thrilled to take on the case until they learn that Carl, the school bully, is not only Coach Williams’ own nephew but is also the one accused of the theft … and they’re the ones who have to prove it’s not him. There are many twists and turns and surprises as this plot unravels as Howard and Ivy put aside their hatred for Carl and find a way to prove his innocence. This story will have readers cheering Howard and Ivy as they follow the clues, including the false leads, to prevail in the end. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Pick of the Litter

Priceless Penny This month’s Storytime Pup Pick of the Litter is Priceless Penny, a heartwarming book written by Lauren Kramer-Theuerkauf and illustrated by James Sell. Penny is a dog living in a shelter that has been anxiously awaiting adoption day. The day finally arrives and she just knows she will find her forever home. She makes sure she looks her best and flashes her biggest smile as the doors to the animal shelter burst open. One by one, people come up and peer into Penny’s cage, only to turn around and leave. Penny is puzzled. Then some children make fun of her leg. Poor penny was born with a deformed leg, but she is still a wonderful dog. A group of boys call her a freak and say she is ugly. They make fun of her leg, ears, and tail. This makes her very sad. At the end of adoption day, Penny still finds herself without a forever home. A couple of days later, a nice lady picks up Penny at the shelter and takes her to the Second Chance Animal Rescue. Penny is happy at the rescue, where she lives with other dogs and is accepted for who she is. One day, Penny is put into the car and is taken away from the Second Chance Shelter. Where is she going? Will she ever find a loving home? Read this wonderful book and follow along on Penny’s journey. Priceless Penny is based on a true story of a sweet little dog named Penny that was abandoned by her owners in California and left to wander the streets alone. This book helps bring awareness to the reality that many shelter animals face, especially those that may be “different.” It also contains hidden lessons on bullying, acceptance, and compassion for young readers. This is a well-written and touching story about dreams and acceptance. The illustrations are wonderfully done, very colorful, and bring Penny and her friends to life. They make you want to pull them 56

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from the pages, hold them, love them, and give them a forever home. Lauren Kramer-Theuerkauf lives in southern Illinois with her husband Matt and their five rescued dogs and three cats. She is an author, public speaker, and an animal advocate. She enjoys writing children’s books and hopes to teach children that being different is beautiful.

Click here to watch the video.

WIN a Story Monsters Ink Reading Buddy! Every month, Storytime Pup has a drawing for a Story Monsters Ink plush reading buddy. Click to enter. If you are a children’s book author interested in having your book(s) considered for the Storytime Pup Channel, you can contact the Storytime Pup staff at: Bill McManus is a children’s book author and creator of the Storytime Pup Children’s Book Channel. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Q&A with Julianne Black

Q& A with

Emily K. Neuburger by Julianne Black

The school bus is in the passing lane folks, and we are in a free fall to autumn already! If you are spending your last summer evenings scouring the Web for new lesson plan ideas, look no further! Journal Sparks is one big open-faced sandwich of all your creative project idea needs! I had the privilege to speak with author Emily Neuburger about the book, her own art, and whether poetry can be counted as a sport.

Q: You have so many amazing ideas in Journal Sparks, but on your own when you sneak off to create something just for yourself, what are you drawn to? Any specific techniques or mediums that are calling you these days? A: Oh! Thank you! I am drawn towards working in a stream of conscious, messy, unstructured way with a focus on imperfection and experimentation. I am always playing around with abstract shapes and motifs derived from nature as well as layers of colors and textures, hand printing with found objects, and illustrations of tiny, random things. I love creating tiny pieces of mixed media art, arranging them in all sorts of different ways, and then ultimately making bigger pieces of art with them. Lately, I’ve been having fun with my Winsor & Newton ProMarkers, POSCA markers, Sennelier oil pastels, and Jack Richeson Shiv Artist’s Paintstiks. Q: Creativity comes to people in different ways. Some swat away the multitude of ideas so they can concentrate on one project at a time, and others linger forever in the shower turning into prunes waiting for that next big pop. How do you find ideas and when/if you hit a block, what do you do to recharge?  58

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

Feature Story

A: So many of my ideas come to me in the shower and on car rides when I’m driving alone. I often pull the car to the side of the road and scribble notes in my journal. Or, sometimes, I’ll send cryptic voice messages to myself. Ha! I have to remind myself to offer some context in the messages because something like, “raindrops running down windows, orange glowing street lamps, gravel in my shoe, and a hot pink stripe” will not make sense a few weeks later. I am an idea collector. I use my journals to collect ideas, and I use my computer and big file box to store them. Over the past few years, I’ve created a nice, tidy system for categorizing and filing my ideas, so I can easily return to them later. When I’m stuck and in search of an idea, I look through a stack of journals, open a field guide and look at drawings of weeds, go for a mystery walk in search of curious things, or read something that someone else has written. Q: I’m forever seeking out tidbits of inspiration to turn over to young creators. Do you have any words that were passed down to you that stuck? A: My advice: When you are writing and making art, pay attention to your mistakes. Hold on to them. Look back at them. Think about them. They represent your process, and your process carries lots of meaning and wisdom. Q: Any words of wisdom for those starting or growing in the creative field? A: Find people who inspire you and follow along; share your ideas with other people; be consistent; develop a routine around doing your creative thing; take breaks, but do your best to come back to it; keep a journal or sketchbook so you can reflect on the way your process has changed, evolved, and stayed the same; and collaborate! Share ideas and work on projects with other people in the creative field. Q: Your website is a treasure of projects. Are there any you are most proud of or represent the purest version of you and your vision? A: I am particularly fond of projects where I’m collecting things and ideas. I’ve been a collector my whole life (mostly tiny things and treasures found in nature), so my work tends to revolve around gathering.

Q: Journal Sparks is a beautiful and incredibly comprehensive book, but flipping through it, I can’t help but feel that these ideas come very naturally to you. Do you see a second volume in your future? A: YES! I am already working on ideas for two new books. I can’t say anything about them yet, but I’m super excited. Q: And I have to ask, coming from New England originally myself, Red Sox or Celtics? A: Can poetry be a sport? If yes, Emily Dickinson! Her homestead is in my town.

Emily Neuburger is an artist, writer, and teacher with a particular interest in imperfection and artistic experimentation. She is the author of the awardwinning book Show Me a Story (Storey 2012) and Journal Sparks (Storey 2017).

Julianne Black is an internationally recognized graphic artist, fine artist, and author. She has illustrated several books, including Sleep Sweet, the multi-award winning augmented reality picture book. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

¡Hola, Amigo!

Mandatos de la clase = Classroom Commands 1. Levanta la mano = raise your hand 2. Baja la mano = put your hand down 3. Toma asiento = sit down 4. Levanta = stand up

5. Cierra la puerta = close the door 6. Abre la ventana = open the window 7. Apaga la luz = turn off the light 8. Enciende la luz = turn on the light

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner! ¡Bienvenidos! Just because it’s time to go back to school doesn’t mean all fun and games are over. Juicy Jack loves to play “Simón dice” or “Simon Says” using classroom commands. He prides himself on being prepared and this will help you to be ready for your first day of Spanish class. ¡Buena suerte! Good luck!

Practice with Juicy Jack: Make a set of flashcards using the classroom commands. Study them and then quiz your family or friends. When you feel confident that you know the words, play “Simón dice” (hint: dice is pronounced DEEsay). Take turns being Simón.


Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

9. Saca el libro = take out the book 10. Saca un lápiz = take out a pencil 11. Toma apuntes = take notes 12. Mírame = look at me 13. Ven aquí = come here 14. Dame (DAH-may) = give me 15. Dime (DEE-may) = tell me 16. Vete (BAY-tay) = go away 17. Presta atención = pay attention 18. Contesta la pregunta = answer the question

Leigh Carrasco is an educator and author of the wildly popular Juicy Jack Adventures series about a spunky guinea pig who travels to Peru with his human. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


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Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 9 |

I See the Sun in . . .

“It’s a great concept for a book series, and it seems to me that it is one that would be as at-home inside the classroom as it is in a child’s bedroom.” — Education Week “A fine addition to geography and bilingual collections.” — School Library Journal “A gentle, intimate glimpse into the parallels and differences in the lives of children around the world.” — Publishers Weekly “Kids may easily recognize the connections with their own families and with the stories of relatives far away.” — Booklist (American Library Association) “This is more about commonalities of feeling and experience than cultural differences.” — Kirkus Reviews “Providing a learning tool with recognizable characters and surroundings . . . now that’s a true (and useful) gift of education.” — Book Dragon, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program

NEW in August 2017

I See the Sun in Turkey

ISBN: 978-1935874348 • Price: $12.95 Available wherever books are sold. | Volume 4, Issue 9 | Story Monsters Ink


Profile for Story Monsters Ink

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The Back to School Issue is Here! This month's features include: Ainsley Earhardt Captures Our Hearts with Literary Lullabies; Gene Luen Yan...

Story Monsters Ink magazine September 2017  

The Back to School Issue is Here! This month's features include: Ainsley Earhardt Captures Our Hearts with Literary Lullabies; Gene Luen Yan...