Page 1

January 2018

One to Watch:

Jeff Ward

One Warm Coat

Aims to Reach 1 Million in Need

Backstage with

NATHAN

LANE Dan Santat

Creates an Inspiring Postscript to a Beloved Nursery Rhyme

Katherine Paterson

Recounts a Little-Known Literacy Campaign

Behind the Mic:

Adam McArthur

Mustaches for Maddie:

An Inspiring Story of Courage and Compassion

Twice Upon a Time:

Giving Old Tales New Life

Richard Valicek

Invites Readers into a 23rd Century World of Fantasy Q&A with

Elly Mackay


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Melissa Fales

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Science & Nature Editor Conrad J. Storad

COLUMNISTS

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Story Monsters Ink magazine and www.StoryMonsters.com are trademarks of Story Monsters, LLC. Copyright ©2018 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 Contents may not be published in whole or in part without the express written consent of the bylined author and publisher.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

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Issues of Story Monsters Ink are recorded by the Arizona Talking Book Library!

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.”


January 2018

In this issue 04

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28

Backstage with Nathan Lane

One Warm Coat Aims to Reach 1 Million in Need

Mustaches for Maddie: An Inspiring Story of Courage and Compassion

08

32

Dan Santat Creates an Inspiring Postscript to a Beloved Nursery Rhyme

Twice Upon a Time: Giving Old Tales New Life

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34

Katherine Paterson Recounts a Little-Known Literacy Campaign

Richard Valicek Readers into a 23rd Century World of Fantasy

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24

58

One to Watch: Jeff Ward

Behind the Mic: Adam McArthur

Q&A with Elly Mackay

44 Winter Reading List 48 Monsters at the Movies 50 Liv on Life

52 Book Reviews 60 Kids Can Publish 62 Kids Corner

36 Conrad’s Classroom 38 How Does Your Garden Grow? 40 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

Tell us what you think of this issue! Email your comments to cristy@storymonsters.com. StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Feature Cover Story

Backstage with

Nathan Lane by Melissa Fales

Nathan Lane’s literary career has gone to the dogs. Actually,

just one dog: a mischievous French bulldog named Mabel who lives a life of leisure in the Hamptons. She is the star of Naughty Mabel and Naughty Mabel Sees it All, co-written by Lane and his husband, Devlin Elliott. “I love these books,” says Lane. “They’re charming and fun and cheeky and beautifully illustrated. There’s always something to keep the parents amused. Of course, they’ll also have to explain who Bette Davis was, but I think that’s something all children should learn early anyway.”

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photo by Luke Fontana StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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The books were inspired by the couple’s own dog, Mabel. “Devlin and I joke about our overprivileged dog, ‘Mabel of the Hamptons,’ all the time,” says Lane. “Sometimes we travel in black Town Cars and Mabel has become very accustomed to that mode of transportation. When I would take her out for a walk, very often she would see a black Town Car and every single time, she would start to drag me towards it, as if she were late for a movie premiere. I said to Devlin, ‘She’s so pampered, she thinks every black Town Car in the world is there for her.’ And he thought it was a good idea for a children’s book.” The pair decided to run with the concept and shopped the idea to publishers, eventually signing a two-book deal with Simon and Schuster. In Naughty Mabel, she crashes her parents’ fancy party. In Naughty Mabel Sees it All, she finds out that she needs glasses in order to see correctly. The message of both Naughty Mabel books is about family, togetherness, and unconditional love, even for fancy canines who misbehave. “I loved the first book and I’m equally proud of the second one,” says Lane. “The illustrations are amazing. Dan Krall is just so incredibly talented.” Working so closely together on a project can be stressful for couples. Lane says he and Elliott kept things light when it came to writing. “It was fun for

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us because we didn’t take it too seriously,” Lane says. “It’s a book about a glamorous little French bulldog. How serious can you be? He would sit down and write a draft and I would sit down and write a draft and then we’d share our versions and sort things out.” Lane says his biggest challenge in writing the story was his tendency to play to the adults who would be reading the book to children. “I really wanted to entertain the parents,” he says. “Devlin would have to remind me that I had to make some concession to the fact that children are going to be reading the book. He said we couldn’t keep making references to Martha Stewart.”


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There’s plenty of material in both Naughty Mabel books to keep children entertained. In particular, they will undoubtedly giggle when Mabel passes gas in a particularly voluminous way that sends the party guests in a mad dash for the door, gasping for air. “French bulldogs are infamous for their flatulence,” says Lane. “It’s part of the breed, along with snoring. To us it’s funny, so we put it in the book. We deal with it all the time.” Lane says the way Krall illustrated the noxious gas, depicting it as a green fog, was especially effective. “Of course, the kids love that,” Lane says. Lane says he’s enjoyed his foray into writing for children, but he’s eager to return to the stage. He’ll be appearing on Broadway in March, portraying the complex and controversial Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Set in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS crisis, the play blends factual history and characters with other-worldly forces of ghosts and angels. Lane says he’s thrilled to be involved with the play, which is written in two parts: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. “It’s one of the greatest plays of the 20th century,” says Lane. “It’s a masterpiece. That type of thing just doesn’t come along every day. When you get these opportunities, you leap at them.”

villain of the week,” he says. “I had a great time doing that. I’m a big fan of James Spader.” According to Lane, more and more film and television stars are venturing onto the stage. “Everyone winds up coming to the theater because the greatest writers in the world are in theater,” he says. “From William Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams to today, theater has the best writers and the most interesting roles.” Additionally, says Lane, theater tends to be more forgiving about the aging process. “Hollywood is much tougher on older actors,” he says. “In theater, there are tons of great parts, even as you get older. I’m asked to do roles in the theater that I wouldn’t get asked to do in a movie or on TV.” Lane simply thrives in the theater. “It’s where I feel the most at home,” he says. “It’s the most satisfying for me as an actor because there’s a live audience and because you’re in control. You tell the story from the beginning to the end. No one can yell, “Cut!” No one can edit you. To make it seem new and fresh and authentic over and over again, seven or eight times a week, is the most thrilling challenge as an actor.” Naughty Mabel and Naughty Mabel Sees it All are available on Amazon.

Inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2008, the Tony, Obie, and Olivier Award-winning actor is right at home on the stage, most notably in The Producers, The Iceman Cometh, The Addams Family, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Guys and Dolls. Equally impressive is his list of film and TV roles, which has garnered him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and numerous awards. He has captured our hearts in over 35 films, including The Birdcage, The Producers, The Lion King, MouseHunt, and Stuart Little. He’s had recurring television roles, such as the flamboyant Pepper Saltzman on Modern Family and as prominent defense attorney F. Lee Bailey in the FX series American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Lane was also recently featured on the 100th episode of The Blacklist in a role written especially for him. “I’m the StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Dan Santat

Creates an Inspiring Postscript to a Beloved Nursery Rhyme by Melissa Fales

The latest book from Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat is a take on the classic nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, with particularly personal significance. Santat was in art school when he first toyed with a book about what happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell. The idea was tucked away for years while Santat worked on video games, created an animated TV show, and wrote several New York Times bestsellers. When his wife, Leah, began to piece her life back together after years of debilitating anxiety, Santat was reminded of Humpty’s story. “I decided to make After the Fall a metaphor for my wife overcoming her anxiety,” he says. “I couldn’t be more proud of how well it communicates my love for her.” Santat studied microbiology at the University of California, San Diego because his parents wanted him to be a doctor. “I had absolutely no interest in becoming a doctor,” he says. His roommates intervened during his senior year, convincing Santat to follow his heart and find work he was passionate about. Santat decided to apply to art school despite never having taken an art lesson in his life. “I just wanted to see if I could get in,” he explains. 8

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Accepted into the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Santat took a children’s book illustration course and fell in love with the medium. Author and illustrator Peter Brown was a fellow student and the two became friends. “We used to dream about becoming children’s book writers,” says Santat. “Now, when we get together, we reminisce about being in art school wishing we were doing kids’ books.” When Santat graduated in 2001, he took a job as an art designer with video game giant Activision. But what he really wanted to do was draw children’s books, which he did at night after a full day’s work. Santat started doing work for magazines and illustrating book covers. “I had a five-year plan,” he says. “I told myself I wanted to get a book deal within five years.” Santat achieved his goal with four years to spare. At a conference in 2002, a man admiring his work offered him a two-book deal on the spot. Having already had another editor express interest in his book, and having no idea who the man was, Santat declined. Luckily, Santat’s teacher was there to intervene. “Do you know who that man is?” she asked. “That’s Arthur Levine!


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He’s an editor at Scholastic! He edits Harry Potter! Go back and tell him you want to work with him!” When Santat finished the first book of the two-book deal, The Guild of Geniuses, he felt it was exactly the type of book he would’ve wanted to read as a kid. When the reviews were disappointing, Santat was devastated. He decided to hold on to the Activision job in case children’s books didn’t work out. A Hollywood agent who did like the book contacted Santat about doing a pitch for a TV show with the Disney Channel. Santat pitched The Replacements, a cartoon about a world where kids can order replacements for the adults in their lives if they choose. “Two weeks later, Disney optioned it,” he says. Santat was given a team and a limited budget to put together a storyboard to present to Disney in the hopes The Replacements would become a show. For a year he worked at Activision during the day and worked at Disney at night. In 2006, Disney gave the show the go-ahead. Santat was elated that his hard work was paying off. “I was five years out of art school and I already had a book published by Arthur Levine and a cartoon on the Disney Channel,” he says. “But the funny thing was, I was so busy with Activision and The Replacements that the second book in my two-book deal was just sitting off to the side.” When Santat was eventually laid off from Activision, he was relieved. “I didn’t want to work there but I didn’t have the nerve to quit,” he explains. He began spending more time at Disney but didn’t like that, either. Santat gave up creative control of The Replacements but continued to receive a steady stream of income from it. “I thought it would buy me two or three years to get my feet firmly


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“I loved the message that all along, the character had the ability to evolve into something bigger and greater. That’s exactly what happened with my wife.” embedded in children’s publishing,” he says. “And by then, I hoped I’d do well enough to do only that.” In 2010, Google pursued Santat to become a creative director for their Google Doodlers. Trying to keep an open mind, he interviewed for the position. “A part of me wanted to see if I could get the job,” he admits. “I wanted to know if I was good enough to work at Google.” He was. They offered him the job and a very lucrative salary. “I remember thinking I can either pursue my passion and try to make a living writing children’s books, spending more time with my wife and kid or I can work at Google and be set financially.” Santat chose books. “It was a big moment for me,” he says. “I sort of promised myself that I would work so hard in children’s publishing that I would never regret turning down that job.” When Sidekicks was released to rave reviews the following year, Santat’s confidence was slightly bolstered. You’d think that winning the Caldecott Medal for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend in 2015 would clear up any insecurity Santat was grappling with, but it didn’t. “It was amazing, but it left me feeling empty, too,” he says. “I felt like a mountain climber who dreams of reaching the summit. And then he gets there. I had this existential crisis. What do I do now? Where do I go from here?” Santat felt the award came with pressure to maintain a certain level of illustriousness. “From now on, all my books were going to say ‘by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’ and be compared to Beekle,” he says. “To an extent, I suffered from impostor syndrome. I wanted to feel like I earned it, but I didn’t.”

Postpartum depression after their first son was born intensified following the birth of their second. Santat didn’t understand what was happening to her and it put a tremendous strain on their marriage. Eventually, he gave his wife an ultimatum, and she finally got the help she desperately needed. “She’s a completely different person,” says Santat. “I’ve found my wife again. This is the woman I met in college and fell in love with. People tell us we’re like newlyweds.” Santat says her recovery made winning the Caldecott Medal all the sweeter. “It wasn’t just my accolade,” he says. “It was something we could all enjoy as a family.” Santat set out to commemorate Leah’s triumph over anxiety by revising his art school idea. “By using Humpty Dumpty as a device for the story, I’d already set up half the book,” he says. “Everyone knows he falls. The beauty of that is I can spend the rest of the book talking about his resolution. That’s the best part of the story.” After the Fall is ultimately a love letter to Leah. The paper airplane Humpty lofts into the air that lands on the wall symbolizes the ultimatum Santat delivered. Humpty must choose whether to face his fear and climb the wall to retrieve the airplane or risk losing it forever. At the very end, after taking on the challenge and conquering his fear, the character morphs into something entirely new, a representation of hope taking flight. “I loved the message that all along, the character had the ability to evolve into something bigger and greater,” says Santat. “That’s exactly what happened with my wife.” For more information on Dan Santat and After the Fall, visit afterthefallbook.com.

While Santat had been working feverishly on his books, his wife, Leah, was suffering from intense anxiety. StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Feature Story

Katherine

Paterson Recounts a Little-Known Literacy Campaign by Melissa Fales

Honored as a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2000, Katherine Paterson is best known for her heartrending classic, Bridge to Terabithia, which she wrote in response to a real-life tragedy. In contrast, her latest book, My Brigadista Year, was inspired by an invitation to speak in Cuba, a chance conversation, and a thrilling revelation about a friend’s past.

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“For a number of years, I didn’t write any novels,” says Paterson. “But then this story came along and it was so exciting, I had to write it. I had forgotten how much I loved to write. I had forgotten the joy I felt while writing.” Paterson has come a long way since her first book was published, written to teach fifth and sixth graders about the Presbyterian faith. “I wrote because I wanted to keep my brain from turning into mush,” says Paterson, a young mother at the time. Seven years later, her first novel, The Sign of the Chrysanthemum, was released in 1973. “It felt good after seven years of practically nothing but rejection,” she recalls. “I did sell one short story in those seven years. The magazine it was published in folded shortly after that.” The book was based on the ancient Japanese culture that fascinated Paterson during the time she served as a missionary in Japan. “I had no idea that novels set in 12th century Japan might not be what people wanted to read,” she says. “That’s what I wanted to write. That’s been the story of my whole career. I’ve written the books I’ve wanted to write.” Paterson wrote Bridge to Terabithia in 1977 after her son David’s best friend, 8-year-old Lisa Hill, died after being struck by lightning. Paterson says she wrote the Newbery Medal-winning story as a way to process her own grief. “I was just trying to make sense of photo by Randolph T. Holhut

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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“Reading demands something of you. Reading demands your active participation and requires you to think. We need to have a population of people who can think.” something that didn’t make any sense,” she says. She was surprised the book was so well-received. “The reaction to it over these 40 years has been astounding to me,” she says. “Grief is such a private thing. I think what I learned is that the deeper you go inside yourself and the more willing you are to reveal that in your writing, the more likely the reader is going to meet you at that deeper level.” According to Paterson, people have compared every book she’s written since to the story about two children who share a secret, imaginary world until tragedy strikes. “When someone says, ‘It’s not Bridge to Terabithia,’ I always ask, ‘And wouldn’t it be very strange if it were?’” says Paterson. Some of her other books include The Great Gilly Hopkins and Jacob I Have Loved. Paterson’s longtime editor, Virginia Buckley, retired around the same time Paterson’s beloved husband, John took ill. “I lost my two main supports at once,” says Paterson. She took a break from writing novels, working on her autobiography Stories of My Life, and two books with renowned paper cutter, Pamela Dalton instead. John passed away in 2013. Paterson had no intention of writing a novel in 2015 when she was invited to Havana, Cuba to give a speech at a conference of the International Board of Books for 14

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Young People (IBBY). At a previous IBBY conference in 2001, Paterson had met Emelia Gellago. “She’s a very strong, shall we say opinionated woman who has accomplished a great deal in her life,” says Paterson. “Her English was very poor, my Spanish was nowhere near fluent, and so we needed an interpreter to help us communicate. I could tell, however, that she was special and we became friends. Everything she does is for a good cause and the right reasons. I admired her greatly. We kept in touch through email, but I was eager to go to Cuba and see her in person again.” Before her trip, Paterson bumped into her friend, Vermont literacy advocate Mary Leahy, and mentioned her impending journey. In response, Leahy hailed the achievements of Cuba’s 1961 literacy campaign. Paterson had no idea what Leahy was talking about. “I said, ‘What?’” recalls Paterson. “Then Mary said that was how Cuba became a literate nation in one year. Again, I said, ‘What?’ That’s when I knew I needed to learn about this.” Her interest piqued, Paterson learned all she could about the literacy effort initiated by Fidel Castro. Believing that a strong nation required literate citizens, Castro launched a campaign in the fall of 1960, declaring that Cuba would become a literate nation within one year. He called for volunteers, known as brigadistas. “The idea was if you could read and write,


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you needed to teach someone else,” says Paterson. “Of the 250,000 volunteers, more than half were female. And many were between the ages of 12 and 18. They left their homes to live in the mountains with no running water and no electricity. They would work during the day and at night, under huge lanterns, they taught the peasants how to read and write.” Paterson was especially interested in how this campaign affected a generation of young female Cubans. “They had been shy, sheltered girls but this movement transformed them into strong, accomplished women.” Paterson was also astounded that she had never heard about this massive effort. “It’s been a well-kept secret,” she says. The success of the campaign was impressive, and lasting. “To this day, over 99 percent of the Cuban population is literate,” says Paterson. “Here in the States, it’s 86 percent.” Paterson believes that literacy is a key component in developing a strong society. “Reading demands something of you,” she says. “Reading demands your active participation and requires you to think. We need to have a population of people who can think.” Literacy is a cause near and dear to Paterson’s heart. She serves as co-vice president of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. Energized by what she had learned, Paterson began to think she might have the makings of a book. But

first she had to prepare for the Havana conference. She wrote her speech, lauding the 1961 Cuban campaign and praising the brave young people who participated. She sent it to the interpreter she and Emelia used to communicate. After reading it, the interpreter asked Paterson, “You did know Emelia was a brigadista, didn’t you?” That’s when Paterson knew she would write the book. She pitched it as a nonfiction work with lots of photos, but her publisher, hearing the excitement in Paterson’s voice, convinced her it should be a novel. The result is the story of 13-year-old Lora. Rife with Cuban history, My Brigadista Year celebrates the transformation of a young woman coming into her own. Although Paterson is thrilled with My Brigadista Year, she says books are devoid of meaning without an audience. “As a writer, you can’t do it by yourself,” she says. “You have to have the reader. I always tell children that they are my co-authors.” Much like sheet music doesn’t have any sound on its own, Paterson says a book doesn’t have any meaning on its own. “Until you take it off the shelf and bring it into your life with your abilities and your experience and imagination, it’s nothing but black squiggles on a page,” she says. “It’s up to you to make a book something special.” For more information about Katherine Paterson, visit her website at katherinepaterson.com or find her on Facebook.

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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JEFF WARD ONE TO WATCH

by Melissa Fales

photo by Yasmine Kateb

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Actor Jeff Ward is the newest cast member of our favorite Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division. Debuting in the fifth season of the popular Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Ward says he’s intrigued by his character’s dark past and the circumstances that forged him into the person he is today. “Even as a kid, I’d watch a movie and form strong connections with the characters and their stories,” Ward says. “You can learn a lot about yourself through others’ stories. I’ve gotten through some really tough situations in my life and felt like I understood them more clearly because of a book, movie, TV show, or play. I think that’s why I’m an actor. I believe in stories as an agent of change and self-reflection.” Ward fell in love with film at a young age. “I loved movies and watched them all the time,” he says. Ward’s grandmother signed him up for Stagedoor Manor, a summer camp designed to introduce children to acting. “She told me, ‘The kids there will like movies as much as you do,’ Ward recalls. “Where I grew up

“They initially compared (Deke) to Han Solo. I grew up a gigantic Star Wars fan so I could not have been more excited. And it has rung true. There are a lot of similarities between the two characters.” outside of Philadelphia, nobody my age liked movies as much as I did. I was very much an odd duck.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D cast members Jeff Ward, Chloe Bennet, Clark Gregg, and Elizabeth Henstridge (photo courtesy Marvel/ABC) StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Through Stagedoor Manor, Ward appeared in his first play, which was a life-changing experience for him. “I had never even considered acting,” he says. “I certainly had never thought of it as a potential career where I could make money. It stuck with me that this was something I could actually do as a job.” When he was 14, Ward had his first professional audition and won the part of Jem Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. “I read that book in ninth grade and later that year this opportunity randomly came up,” he says. “It’s such a poignant, beautiful story. It still resonates with me.” From then on, Ward knew he wanted to pursue acting as a career. After graduating from the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University, Ward went on to be seen in guest roles on television series including Rosewood, The Mentalist, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He also appeared in the psychological thriller SyFy series Channel Zero: No End House and earned rave reviews for his convincing portrayal of Charles Manson in the Lifetime Channel’s 2016 film Manson’s Lost Girls. Last year, Ward returned to the stage for a play called Gruesome Playground Injuries. “It was the first time I’ve ever done a play with just me and another actor,” he says. “It was 90 minutes of being on, never leaving the stage. It was very intense but it’s a brilliant play about two people who meet in the nurse’s office when they’re in kindergarten. They continue to run into each other at different ages, up to age 38, so the audience watches them grow up.” Ward’s latest project is about a group of law enforcement agents who serve on a global and, in this season, an intergalactic level. “If there was an F.B.I. division for superheroes, that would be S.H.I.E.L.D.,” says Ward. His character, Deke, is still surrounded by mystery. “He’s a bit rough around the edges, but that’s because he grew up in a harsh and dangerous environment,” says Ward. “He’s had to look out for himself a lot. It’s instilled in him a very specific moral compass. He’s gotten very good at self-preservation.” According to Ward, Deke shares some traits with a character from an iconic American film. “They initially compared him to Han Solo,” says Ward. “I grew up a gigantic Star Wars fan, so I could not have been more excited. And it has rung true. There are a lot of similarities between the two characters.” Ward finds theater and film very different but says each art form has its own merits. “Film lasts 18

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forever,” he says. “There’s something wonderful about that.” However, he finds that the fleeting nature of theatrical performance is part of its allure. “Theater is incredible because when it’s over, it’s like a ghost,” he says. “It’s just gone. It’s ephemeral. That makes it special, whether I’m on the stage or in the audience.” In particular, Ward recalls Philip Seymour Hoffman performing Death of a Salesman, an experience he describes as “epic,” and seeing Billy Crudup and Jeff Goldblum in The Pillowman, which was written by his favorite living writer, Martin McDonagh. “I’m deeply affected by plays I’ve seen because I can’t revisit them,” he says. “The thing is, they continue to live so strongly in my mind, both the memory of the play itself and my reaction to it. There’s a sense of electricity to that.” When it comes to the differences between acting on stage versus on screen, Ward appreciates the virtues of both. “One thing I love about theater is that you get to live out an entire character’s journey in chronological order as it happens,” he says. “You know the ending. You’re taking one step in front of another as a certain character, going towards their destiny.” It’s a sharp contrast from his TV role. “I have no idea what’s coming until I get the next episode’s script,” he says. “In some ways, that’s exciting and fun. As useful a tool as it is for an actor to have a road map about what’s going to happen with your character, it’s also exciting in a different way to have no clue what’s going to happen until you’re blindsided with it. After all, that’s what happens to us in real life.” Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was co-created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, who also serve as executive producers along with Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb.


StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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ONE WARM COAT Aims to Reach 1 Million in Need by Melissa Fales

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Feature Story

Twenty-five years ago, a woman named Lois Pavlow organized a small coat drive at the Macy’s store in her San Francisco neighborhood over Thanksgiving weekend. She and her friends had coats they no longer wore and they wanted to give them to people in need. That single event marked the inception of what would become the non-profit organization One Warm Coat, which has since hosted more than 27,000 coat drives in all 50 states and 10 countries, and has given away over 5 million coats. “Truly, it started in 1992 with a single coat,” says One Warm Coat president Jennifer Stockard. “Our goal this year, for our 25th anniversary, is for one million people to receive a coat.” The drive Pavlow started became an annual event and was held for 10 years before Pavlow’s friend Sherri Lewis Wood decided to try to grow the effort. In 2002, Wood organized One Warm Coat as a non-profit. Over time, Wood, who is currently the chair of the board of directors, saw the organization expand into the

large-scale program it is today. “In 1992, we had one coat drive in one city,” says Stockard. “Fast forward to today, where we’re looking to have over 4,000 drives this season.” It might seem odd for One Warm Coat to have begun in sunny California, but Stockard says winters can get bitterly cold in the City by the Bay. “San Francisco has its own particular climate, she says. “One reason that coats collected with One Warm Coat stay in the community where they are donated is that local organizers are better able to understand the need in that area. We have coat drives that happen in Florida and Hawaii. There, it might be a hoodie or a raincoat that people need.” One Warm Coat serves as a support StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Feature Story

“We’re asking for people to help us help 1 million of that little boy who slept with his coat or 1 million of the teenager who had never had a new coat before. Those are the people we’re trying to help. They’ll not only get the feeling of warmth from wearing the coat, but they’ll also get the warmth of knowing that someone cares about them.” center helping individuals and organizations hold successful coat drives in their communities. There is no charge for their services. Stockard noted that for those who want to help but aren’t sure where to start, there are six easy steps for hosting a coat drive spelled out on the One Warm Coat website. Once an individual or organization registers their coat drive with One Warm Coat, they receive materials and resources to make their drive successful. “When someone registers a coat drive with us, we send out a whole kit of marketing materials such as banners, posters, and stickers,” says Stockard. “There are also a number of tools and resources on the website, including press releases, posters, and social media posts to help local coat drives collect more coats.” All registered coat drives are posted in a searchable database on the website. The organizers of each drive are allowed to distribute the coats they collect as they see fit, but if they are looking for 22

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a place to donate them, social service non-profit agencies in need of coats are also posted on the website. “The only requirement is that the coats are given away for free and without obligation or discrimination,” says Stockard.

and now they can’t even enjoy their recess time. Think about the feeling that must create in a child. But it’s really a simple thing to solve. The solution is a coat.”

Stockard says that throughout One Warm Coat’s 25 years of existence, the number of people needing coats has increased. “Over 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year,” she says. “That’s an enormous number and that doesn’t include the 15 percent of Americans living in poverty who are struggling to pay their bills. Too often for these families, a coat is seen as a luxury item. The need is there.”

Some of the grateful people who have received a coat through One Warm Coat stand out in Stockard’s mind. “One little boy who received a coat never had one that fit him before,” she says. “He was so excited about his coat and so worried he wasn’t going to be able to keep it that he was sleeping with it. Yet, as thrilled as he was to have it, he said that if someone else really needed it, he would give it to them. It was a pretty powerful show of empathy from such a little person.”

In some cases, says Stockard, a coat symbolizes more than staying warm. Some schools don’t allow children to go outside for recess without proper outerwear. “They have to stay in their classrooms while their friends get to go out and play,” says Stockard. “There’s already a stigma attached to them

Stockard shared another touching story, this one taking place at a school that had received a number of donated coats and the principal’s office was being used as a distribution area. “One young man thought he was in trouble when he got called down to the principal’s office,” she says. “He


said it was incredible to receive a blessing when he initially thought he was in trouble. He said it was the first new coat he had ever had in his life and he was a teenager.” One Warm Coat has been named a “Top-Rated Non-profit” by Great Non-Profits. It works closely with its corporate partners and supporters, including Coca-Cola, J. Crew, Delta, and Cabela’s. However, Stockard says One Warm Coat relies on community volunteers in order to help people stay warm this winter. “Look in your closet,” says Stockard. “Do you have a coat, or coats, you’re

not wearing anymore?” Consider donating them to a local One Warm Coat drive. Or better yet, register with One Warm Coat to hold your own coat drive. Monetary donations are also accepted. As temperatures drop, there will be many people who won’t have a coat to wear. “We’re asking for people to help us help 1 million of that little boy who slept with his coat or 1 million of the teenager who had never had a new coat before,” says Stockard. “Those are the people we’re trying to help. They’ll not only get the feeling of

warmth from wearing the coat, but they’ll also get the warmth of knowing that someone cares about them.” To find out more about One Warm Coat and how you can make a difference, visit onewarmcoat.org.

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Feature Story

Behind the Mic:

Adam McArthur by Melissa Fales

photo by Yasmine Kateb

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Considering actor Adam McArthur’s love of animation, it’s no wonder he’s chosen a career that allows him to immerse himself in the genre. McArthur is currently featured in the popular Disney XD animated series Star vs. the Forces of Evil as the voice of overly-cautious teenager Marco Diaz.

Adam is the voice of Marco Diaz

“I’ve always been a huge cartoon nerd,” McArthur says. “I was the kid who would put the cartoons on mute and do the voices for all the characters. And here I am today, voicing a character in this really fun show and appearing as the voice of the Disney XD channel.”

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Feature Story

Star vs. the Forces of Evil is about a princess who comes to Earth from another dimension. “Star’s kind of like a foreign exchange student,” says McArthur. “I play the 14-year-old son in the family she stays with while on Earth.” Despite their interplanetary differences, the two become great friends. “Star doesn’t know how to control her powers and since she’s new to Earth, she doesn’t always understand how to act,” says McArthur. “It’s Marco’s job to show her the ropes, and he gets pulled along for all of the adventures at the same time.” This is the third season of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, but McArthur says he’s related closely with Marco from the start. “He wants everyone to think he’s this bad boy, but he’s the safest kid imaginable and follows all the rules,” he says. “It’s me in a nutshell. I like to think that I could go out and ride a Harley and be all tough, but I’d really be more concerned about the safety rating of my helmet. He’s a character I’m very comfortable portraying.” McArthur grew up in a small town in California and heard Hollywood calling him from a young age. “I just always had this bug to be in entertainment,” he says. When he was 16, his parents enrolled him in his first acting class. “It was everything I dreamed of,” McArthur says of the instruction he received from Judy Berlin at the Kids on Camera school in San Francisco. He credits Berlin with getting him into the business after she suggested he do a particular audition. “It turned into about 30 radio commercials for Macy’s,” he says. “It’s what got me into the union and jump-started my career.” In addition to being an accomplished actor, McArthur is also an internationally-recognized martial arts competitor who’s been studying Kung Fu and Judo since he was 11 years old. After earning a bachelor’s degree in theater and TV production from Pepperdine University, McArthur was invited to be in a PBS documentary film about Chinese Martial Arts. Kung Fu: Journey to the East was released in 2006. For McArthur, it was a dream come true. “I got to travel around China and learn from different masters,” he says. “The idea was to see how a non-Chinese person would fare in the birthplace of Kung Fu.” In 2014, McArthur was featured in a similar, second PBS documentary called Shaolin Kung Fu Monks. “What was most incredible to me is that some parts of China are so untouched,” he says. “When you get out to the 26

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remote villages where these old masters live, they look like they’re straight out of the movies.” In addition to appearing in both documentaries, McArthur has been in films, voiced characters on other animated TV shows including Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: the Clone Wars and Netflix’s The Adventures of Puss in Boots, and has done over 50 radio and TV commercials. Another one of McArthur’s recurring jobs is to imitate celebrity voices in order to clean up the language in big-screen movies to make them suitable to air on television. “I’ve said ‘Shoot!’ and ‘Gosh dang it!’ so many times,” he says. For McArthur, doing voiceover work off camera and acting on camera demand a similar approach. “It all comes from the same place emotionally,” he says. “I always try to commit to a character, learn about that character, and live in that character whether I’m working on or off the camera.” McArthur can’t decide which he likes better. “It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and trying different kinds of food,” he says. “Just because you liked your appetizer doesn’t mean your entrée can’t be delicious, too.” Recently, McArthur has introduced his voice to the world of video games. He’ll appear in the upcoming Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 as well as Final Fantasy Type-0. He says voicing video games can be intense. “Today’s video games are very cinematic,” he says. “From an acting standpoint, the work can be challenging. It’s all very dramatic.” What McArthur likes best about doing voiceover acting is the variety of jobs he’ll be asked to do. “Some days I’ll have three recording sessions back-to-back,” he says. “I’ll start out doing all the promos for Disney XD, saying things like, ‘Coming up next…’ or ‘Now, back to the show...’ Then I’ll do an episode of Star vs. the Forces of Evil and I’ll be doing the voice of a teenager. And then I’ll be doing a video game and they’ll tell me my character gets stabbed in the throat and I’ll have to do a blood-curdling scream. It’s all in a day’s work. I love it. I never get bored.” For more information about Adam McArthur, visit adam-mcarthur.com.


StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Mustaches for Maddie An Inspiring Story of Courage and Compassion by Melissa Fales

Even the smallest (and silliest) of compassionate gestures

can have a big impact on the recipient. That’s the message of Mustaches for Maddie, written by husband and wife authors Chad Morris and Shelly Brown. The book is based on the true story of their daughter, Maddie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the ensuing social media campaign that helped to brighten a time of dire medical concerns and turn a little girl’s frown upside down. “What I love about the book, and about the real life story is that it’s a lot funnier than most people expect,” says Morris.

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Feature Story

Today, Maddie is a healthy 14-year-old. “She’s doing great,” says Morris. But there was much uncertainty about her future five years ago when she began having trouble with simple motor skills. “One day Maddie was helping my wife cook and my wife tossed her an avocado,” says Morris. Maddie watched the avocado hit her and then land on the ground. Concerned, her parents asked why she didn’t even try to catch it. For the first time, Maddie told her parents that she was having trouble using her left hand. “She was able to open and close it, but not without it trembling,” Morris says. They scheduled a doctor’s appointment right away. Doctors discovered that Maddie had a craniopharyngioma, a brain tumor the size of two and a half golf balls, pressing against the right side of her brain. Remarkably, she hadn’t suffered any headaches or other symptoms that typically accompany a tumor that size. “The day we got that news was one of the worst days of our lives,” says Morris. In the weeks they waited between Maddie’s diagnosis and her scheduled brain surgery, the family tried to maintain a normal lifestyle. “We decided that Maddie would still go to school and I’d still go to work, but we’d try to sneak in extra vacations and fun to keep our spirits up,” says Morris.

and holding it up to her face, were especially hysterical to those around her. “Mustaches happened to be popular at the time,” says Morris, adding that Maddie often carried a stash of the fake ’staches with her, waiting for the right moment. “They made her laugh. She saw a photo of a baby wearing a fake mustache one time and she couldn’t stop giggling.” During the surgery, doctors were able to remove 90 percent of the tumor. While Maddie was recovering, a family member posted a photo of herself wearing a fake mustache on social media. “She used the hashtag, #MustachesforMaddie,” says Morris. “When other family and friends saw it, they started posting pictures of themselves with mustaches, too. It took off from there.” Over the next few days, as Maddie was recovering, #MustachesforMaddie photos continued to pour in, not just from the family’s friends in Salt Lake City, but from all over the country. “It was awesome,” says Morris. “There were hundreds

if not thousands of photos posted. Some of them were from people who didn’t even know Maddie. They had heard about the movement and wanted to be a part of it.” Morris says some of Maddie’s favorite photos were of pets and beloved stuffed animals wearing mustaches. “One guy even sent a photo of his car wearing a giant cardboard mustache,” says Morris. Morris believes the #MustachesforMaddie movement caught on because it was a lighthearted way for people to deal with a serious situation. “Sometimes people want to express support but they don’t know what words to say,” he says. “Humor means hope in a lot of ways.” Both Morris and Brown were previously published authors before writing Mustaches for Maddie. In fact, Morris was in the hospital with Maddie the day the first book in his Cradbridge Hall trilogy, The Inventor’s Secret, was released. “Getting that book published was a dream for a long time,” Morris says. “But when you set that up against the dream

Maddie happens to be an expert at keeping people’s spirits up. “She’s funny, but shy,” says Morris. Since Maddie tends to be quiet and reserved, those occasions when she would step out of her shell to do something funny, like pulling a fake mustache out of her pocket StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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“Sometimes people want to express support but they don’t know what words to say. Humor means hope in a lot of ways.” of your daughter having a good, healthy life, it really helps you get your priorities straight.” Following the release of the third Cradbridge Hall book, Morris was approached by his publishers with an idea. “They were obviously very aware of what was going on with Maddie and said they wanted me to tell her story” says Morris. He decided to work with Brown, whose own book, Ghost Sitter was released in 2016. “It was a little tricky at first working with my wife, but we both knew Maddie’s story so well,” he says. “We came at it from different perspectives.” Mustaches for Maddie is written for a middle grade audience, but people of all ages will appreciate the story. “It’s similar to Wonder by R.J. Palacio in that it’s about a kid going through something tough,” says Morris. Morris and Brown took some artistic license when writing the book. The character is slightly older than Maddie was and the names of some people have been changed. But the trials Maddie experienced when she began attending a new school are true and the strength Maddie showed while facing such a formidable medical issue is very real. Today, Morris and Brown visit schools to share Mustaches for Maddie, and talk about what they like to call Compassion in Action, or “the CIA” for short. “Kids have really responded,” says Morris. “We talk about reaching out to those around you. We just got an email from a teacher who said that after reading the book in the classroom, the students had a noticeably positive change in behavior.” The Mustaches for Maddie website has learning aids for both teachers and parents to use as a launching pad for discussions about being compassionate. During a second surgery, the remaining 10 percent of Maddie’s tumor was removed. She’s doing well, but 30

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doctors continue to monitor her health. According to Morris, the ordeal has been especially tough on Maddie’s four brothers, who experienced emotions ranging from jealousy over the attention lavished on Maddie to being terrified of losing her. “In general, it’s made us a little more grateful and a little braver,” Morris says. “Once you have to face brain surgery, or watch as your daughter or sister faces brain surgery, other things just don’t feel as important.” Morris says he and his family will never forget how people reached out to them when they needed it the most. “Having received so much help and love and mustache pictures, I hope we’re more likely to spread kindness and humor and love to other people,” says Morris. “One of the best things about going through a big trial like this is that you get to see people rise up to support you, and you just hope that you can be one of those people for someone else.” For more information about Mustaches for Maddie, visit mustachesformaddie.com.


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Feature Story

Giving Old Tales New Life by Noelle Sterne, Ph.D. Maybe you loved fairy tales as a kid but dismiss them or have never considered them for your children’s writing projects. These stories, though, are worthy precursors of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter empire. Re-tales can help you break into publishing and lead to startling success. Gail Carson Levine won the Newbery Award with her Cinderella adaptation, Ella Enchanted (1997), followed by a movie and DVD (2004). Snow White gets ninja training in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), with a sequel in 2015. In one of the classics, Jack and his beanstalk adventures have inspired a decades-long spate of books and films to rival his 32

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proliferating stalk. Movie versions range from Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) to eight more, the latest being Jack the Giant Slayer (2014). I’ll compare several aspects of the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk story (Jennifer Greenway, Classic Fairy Tale Treasury, Andrews and McMeel, 1995) and other versions, variously irreverent:

Different Characters: In the traditional version, Jack’s poor, widowed mother shouts at him for trading the cow, their only possession, for a few beans. A variation: Val Biro (Treasury of Children’s Literature, Hutchinson, 2000)


Feature Story

shows Jack’s mother verging on hysteria. “Beans? You are an idiot! Nincompoop! Dunderhead!” In the traditional version, the bean-trader is described as a “strange little man … about four feet tall and dressed in a bright green suit.” Variations: In Biro, he’s “a gnarled old man with twinkly eyes.” Steven Kellogg (Jack and the Beanstalk, Harper Trophy, 1997) transmutes the old man into a wizard who gives Jack the beans and watches his adventures from a hot-air balloon. In Andrew Lang (The Red Fairy Book, Dover, 1890/2000), the bean-giver is a butcher. In Greenway’s tale, Jack tries to help his mother, even with his impulsive decision to sell the cow. He later shows his resourcefulness and courage. In Lang, “Jack was a giddy, thoughtless boy, but very kindhearted and affectionate.” Ann Beneduce (Jack and the Beanstalk, Philomel, 1999) shows Jack as too curious: “If he had one fault it was his curiosity.” Biro provides a mathematics lesson and shows us Jack’s sassiness. The gnarled old man asks, “I wonder if you know how many beans make five?” Jack replies instantly, “Two in each hand and one in your mouth.” Gender switch! In Denise Vega’s Jill and the Beanstalk (Newfangled Fairy Tales, Meadowbrook, 1998), Jill, like Jack, sells her poor mother’s cow for the magic beans and climbs up the beanstalk to a magnificent castle. Once there, Jill ignores the giant’s threatening appearance and asks him for a tour of the castle. She gently counsels him to stop eating little boys, and he is surprisingly cooperative. Jill then befriends the giant and his wife. They climb down the beanstalk together and settle peacefully among the people. Equally spunky and daring, Kate in Mary Pope Osborne’s Kate and the Beanstalk (Atheneum, 2000) sees the beans and admits, like a possible shopaholic, “I don’t think I can live without them.” When Kate enters the castle, she sees the giant’s wife and her enormous cooking duties and sympathetically offers to help. Finally, after vanquishing the giant, Kate and her mother take rightful possession of the castle, and Kate employs the giant’s wife, now a widow, as their chef.

Plot Variations: In the traditional version, Jack steals the golden egg-laying goose from the giant’s castle and trades the eggs for food. Jack, his mother, and the goose live happily ever after. In Lang and Biro, Jack makes three trips to the castle: He steals a hen that lays

golden eggs, many bags of gold, and a bejeweled singing harp. In A.J. Jacobs’ version (Fractured Fairy Tales, Bantam, 1997), Jack joins the Boston Beavers, the chronicallylosing baseball team. In yet another game the Beavers are losing, the coach motions Jack to the outfield. In center field, Jack pulls a magic bean from his pocket, quickly plants it, and waters it. The bean instantly sprouts and grows into a high, sturdy stalk. The opposing slugger hits a homer, surely the winning run. But Jack jumps on the beanstalk and, wavering in the air, catches the enemy’s high fly. The Beavers win! With Jack’s magic beans, the team—renamed the Boston Beans—continues to win. Raymond Briggs’ sequel, Jim and the Beanstalk (Putnam, 1970/1997), shows Jim visiting the nowaged and infirm giant. He has weak eyes, bad teeth, and little hair. Jim, like a budding and compassionate social worker, gets him bifocals, false teeth, and a wig.

Writerly Ever After These examples show how you can remodel any pretold fairy tale you choose in ingenious, funny, and even wild ways. Today, as Jack ascends the beanstalk, he might call his mother on his cell phone, send out a tweet, or “friend” us on his Fee-Fi-Fo-Facebook page. When you write new twists on old tales, you’ll stretch your creativity, challenge your writing boldness, and connect with and delight today’s children. Your new-old tales will increase your possibilities of publication, surprise editors into acceptance, and entice kids and parents into buying your books. Noelle Sterne, Ph.D. has published over 400 articles, essays, and fiction in print and online periodicals. She is also a Children’s Book Insider contributor. trustyourlifenow.com

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Advertorial

Richard Valicek Invites Readers into a 23rd Century World of Fantasy by Melissa Fales

Luckily for fans of science fiction and fantasy literature, Richard Valicek had a change of heart regarding his avocation. Despite having earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, after some soulsearching and an honest assessment of where his true talents lay, Valicek decided that he wanted to write stories, not just illustrate them. “I realized I would much rather immerse myself in the world of writing,” he says. Today, he’s the award-winning author of The Dead Path Chronicles series. When Valicek graduated from high school in Toronto, he wasn’t sure what kind of career he wanted to pursue. His mother urged him to choose an area of study and attend college, fearful that if he waited too long to decide what to study, he would never get a secondary education. Although he was unconvinced it was the right path for him, Valicek decided to follow in the footsteps of his older sister, who had enjoyed studying graphic design at George Brown College. Valicek earned his degree, but his heart wasn’t in it. “To be honest, I wasn’t a very good artist,” he says. “I 34

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never liked my work. It was time-consuming as I was quite slow at it.” Over time, Valicek found he was much more suited to writing. “Literature is more refined,” he says. “I can describe a scene just the way I want to in literature, whereas with illustration, I was never able to show the scene the way I wanted. I love creating worlds. I love words. Writing is my forte.” Valicek’s first love was the movies, and this great passion for films is reflected in Valicek’s books by his vivid, expansive writing style. “Growing up, movies were a big part of my life,” he says. “I was influenced by the great cinematic performances and the vast epic scenes on the big screen.” In particular, Valicek was drawn to the original 1933 version of King Kong. “I consider it a cinematic breakthrough in special effects and adventure storytelling,” he says, adding that it and other movies like it have been a major inspiration to him in his efforts to craft engaging stories. Eventually, books began to replace films as Valicek’s preferred pastime. “It wasn’t until my late 20s or early 30s that I started becoming an avid reader,” he


Advertorial

says. He’s been making up for lost time since then, voraciously reading not only for enjoyment, but also in an effort to hone his own craft, strengthen his own skills, and bolster his creativity. Among Valicek’s biggest literary influences are Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, and J.R. Tolkien. In 2001, Valicek began taking courses in writing and he later graduated with a diploma for liberal studies in literature from George Brown College. “I decided to pursue a writing career because of my love for good stories,” he says. “A good friend told me how hard it would be, but regardless, I went after it.” His first book, Alamptria: Red Moon Rising was released in 2010 and the following year it received the Buzzillions Reviewers’ Choice Award. Since then, Valicek has released two books in his Dead Path Chronicles series; Quantum Heights, released in 2015, and Serenity Incident, released in 2017. Described on Valicek’s website as “a sci-fi, cyberpunk, vampire fantasy, the Dead Path Chronicles are set in the 23rd century with elements of medieval times thrown in for good measure. Valicek weaves between intricate storylines in his multi-dimensional, multi-layered tales. “I love plots that make readers have to put on their thinking caps, so they can dissect the diabolical scheme that a villain has orchestrated and thus uncover the truth,” he says.

he says. “I thought to myself, Well, maybe next time. But then I saw that books one and two of The Dead Path Chronicles took second place in the book series category. I was ecstatic.” Further down the list, Valicek saw Quantum Heights won first place in the Fiction and in the Science-Fiction/Fantasy category while Serenity Incident took second place in both categories. “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he says. “I thought they were playing tricks on me. Words can’t express how excited I was. I want to thank the judges of the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards and congratulate all the winners.” Valicek has recently completed his third installment in The Dead Path Chronicles series, Grim Seeker, and is currently looking for a publisher. Next, he’ll be writing book four, Dead Flowers Have No Mourning. Valicek says he envisions The Dead Path Chronicles as a 10book series. “I need that many books to tell the entire story,” he says. “I have so many ideas going through my mind.” For more information about Richard Valicek and his books, visit richardavalicek.com.

In The Dead Path Chronicles, Valicek presents readers with a bevy of complex characters, good and evil, male and female, human and not so human. He deftly mixes true history with creatures from his own imagination such as the Goncools, a race of people trapped in a sort of limbo between human and vampire. There are elves, kings, knights, dangerous journeys, hidden secrets, and a dashing protagonist named Caprius Seaton. When the winners of the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards were announced recently, two of Valicek’s ebooks were on the list. “The day the winners were announced, I—like any other author—scrolled down the list,” StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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CONRAD’S CLASSROOM

A Walk in the Woods by Conrad J. Storad

Take a hike. A simple phrase. Just three words. However, depending on the context and tone in which the phrase is delivered, the meaning can be negative or positive. I’m a positive guy. Let’s focus on that version. Everyone needs to take a hike now and then. Often is better. Taking a hike is good for the body and the soul. A hike need not be something major. It does not have to be a strenuous multi-day backpacking adventure along the steep trails of the Grand Canyon. Taking a hike can be as lovely as a breezy walk along a sandy beach. It might be a stroll through a local meadow. A hike can be a simple jaunt around the block in your neighborhood. You don’t need the latest hi-tech gear to go hiking. And a hike need not be a blister-inducing marathon of miles and miles. The best hikes are just a mile or two. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes, comfortable clothes, some water, and an open mind ready to enjoy the beauty of nature. One of my favorite hikes is a walk in the woods. This type of hike provides the best chance to employ my mantra of “Stop. Look. Listen.” Living here in Northeast Ohio, my wife and I are lucky. The Summit County Metro Parks system was established 95 years ago. Each year for the past 53 36

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years, the Parks have sponsored an annual Fall Hiking Spree. The Spree is the largest and longestrunning event of its kind in the nation. My wife and I took on the Spree this fall with enthusiasm. Frankie, our miniature wiener dog, went along for most of the hikes. Of course, a 2-mile trail was more like 20 miles for her short little legs. She hiked every one with gusto … and also slept well most of the rest of each of those days.

We got to choose from a list of designated hikes in a variety of parks. The trails ranged from easy to challenging.

During the Spree, we had to complete eight hikes between September 1 and November 30.

Hiking this fall gave us the chance to get back in tune with the amazing woods and meadows in

First-time hikers received a hiking staff made of sturdy Ohio poplar wood for completing the Spree. A metal shield is attached to the staff to designate the year of participation. We met many hikers on the trail with hiking staffs lined with shields from top to bottom.


CONRAD’S CLASSROOM

Focus on the big picture. Stop and soak in the vista spread out in front of you. Enjoy the panorama of a wide open meadow, or the vertical beauty of tree trunks reaching toward the sky.

Focus on the smaller picture. Look at the micro-environment through which the trail winds. Take a close look under a rock or at the oddly shaped fallen log. Enjoy the artistic patterns of fallen leaves. Zoom in on the colors of odd formations growing on the bark of trees. What the heck are those colors on the tree bark? Lichens, of course. I like lichens. I saw plenty of colorful lichen formations on rocks during my years hiking the canyons of the desert Southwest. But lichens on trees are different. Some people, like me, find them colorfully enchanting. Others consider them a pest. For the scientist, lichens are a wonderful example of symbiosis. They are two organisms living together, often for the mutual benefit of each.

Lichens are not plants. They are a combination of fungus and algae. The fungus grows on the tree. It collects moisture, which the algae need to grow and survive. The algae does its part by creating food from the energy of the sun. It uses the power of photosynthesis. (I’ll write about that “Power of Green” in a future column). The food feeds the fungus. Lichens on tree bark are harmless to the tree itself. Lichens have rhizines, which are like tiny roots. The rhizines help the lichen attach to a tree. But they do not penetrate deep enough to harm a tree in any way. Hiking in the woods offers plenty of amazing sites to see. You simply have to slow down, relax, and look close enough. Fall. Winter. Spring. Summer. The season does not matter. In fact, each change of season brings new sites to see. What are you waiting for? Go take a hike!

RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE BOOKS • Fifty Places to Hike Before You Die by Chris Santella and Bob Peixotto • Lichens (Smithsonian’s Natural World Series) by William Purvis • Lichens of the North Woods by Joe Walewski

WEBSITES • American Hiking Society – Hikes Near You americanhiking.org/hikingresources/#hikes-near-you • Walking Trails by State traillink.com/activity/walking-trails • All Trails – Find Hikes in Your Area alltrails.com

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.

photo by Linda F. Radke

our county. You can do the same. Here are a couple of tips from a veteran hiker:

photos by Conrad J. Storad

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Grow

A Windowsill Salad by Rita Campbell Daylight savings time is great for us gardeners, but when we have to set our clocks back and it gets dark so early, it makes our days too short. Gardening is just not possible. Or is it? There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh-picked greens, straight from the garden. For most of us, that’s

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a pleasure reserved for spring through fall. However, salad lovers can grow lettuce indoors, all winter long. Depending upon available sunlight, even urban gardeners can raise a steady supply of their favorite greens on a windowsill or beneath grow lights. So let’s start a windowsill salad garden. Growing greens


How Does Your Garden Grow?

indoors not only provides delicious salad ingredients, it can be a conversation starter for you and your child about where food comes from. Talk to your child about how the taste of your homegrown greens compare to the taste of the store-bought greens. Make a connection to the farmers who grow our greens and the advantages and disadvantages of buying and shipping food across the country as opposed to eating locally harvested foods. Choose the best place to set up your garden. After walking around your living space, choose a suitable sunny spot. It should be a window that gets 4-5 hours of bright light each day. A south facing window is best. Grow your crop under lights if you don’t have enough light on a windowsill. During winter months, the sun is at its lowest angle in the sky and its lowest intensity of the year. Good plant growth needs longer days and brighter light. However, if you use a simple shop light or a grow light system, you can increase the light intensity indoors enough to grow greens even during the darkest months. Purchase a 2- or 4-bulb fixture and use either full-spectrum grow lights (the best option) or a combination of cool-white and warmwhite fluorescent tubes. These bulbs will give your seedlings the right combination of light wavelengths and intensity to grow strong and full. Your chosen location must also be a safe one. Pick a spot away from a heater and cold drafts, and a place not accessible to mischievous, hungry pets. Be sure to place your pots on saucers or dishes so the extra water will not stain your ledge or table. Choose your container, growing medium, and seeds. Flat, fairly shallow containers with good drainage are best. Other options include 4-inch to 6-inch plastic pots. You can also recycle produce containers or takeout dishes, some of which come with clear covers handy for seed starting. Wash them well and make a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Children can be creative about the types of containers they want to use. Some of the best vegetables to grow in a windowsill salad are green onions, loose-leaf lettuce, spinach, beans, and peas that are the dwarf and bushy type and don’t require support, radishes, sprouts, and microgreens such as herbs. Beginners may want to just start with lettuce and spinach. When you are successful with this you will be hooked and can try other things.

Any grower’s indoor mix makes growing small lettuces and microgreens inside a success. Soil used for seed starting is also a great median. One of the keys to success is to ensure they have adequate drainage and adequate light. Water your herbs to keep soil moist but not soggy, and drain saucers after watering. To prevent injury to foliage, don’t allow leaves to touch the cold windows. Fertilize every two weeks with a half-strength solution of an all-purpose fertilizer. If you are growing herbs, pinch back branching plants, such as basil, to keep them shrubby rather than leggy. A day of trimming herbs might be a good day to create a fresh basil pizza or some fresh seasoned spaghetti sauce. Your child will be excited to see how these herbs are picked and used in cooking. Indoor baby lettuce should be around 4 inches tall and ready to harvest in about three to four weeks. Lettuce is perishable so only cut what you need. Starting with the outer leaves first, trim each leaf at the plant’s base, about an inch from the soil. Leave the remaining leaves to grow for a few days longer. As you cut off leaves, more will grow. Enjoy your harvest! With nothing more than a windowsill, you will have all the greens you need for a luscious salad every day. And the dark days of winter will be filled with garden greens and treats. A windowsill garden becomes a friend you can visit anytime.

Plant of the Month

Lettuce is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds. There are five kinds of lettuce: leaf, romaine, crisphead, butterhead, and stem. They are a cool weather vegetable.

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. spritealights.com StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Book Awards

Grand Prize Winner

$100 drawing Winner

October Song: A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time

Cub’s Wish

by David W. Berner

by Angie Flores

First Place WINNERS Rufus Finds a Home by Theodore Jerome Cohen Elf Olaf, Santa’s Magical Gift by Sherry L. Hoffman, illustrated by Dietra DeRose Beyond the Cabin by Dana Ridenour Zuzu’s Petals: A Dream of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Karolyn Grimes and Karen Deming October Song: A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time by David W. Berner 40

Praxx and the Ringing Robot by Paul Ian Cross Nickerbacher by Terry John Barto If You Don’t Take a Bath by Sally Hutchins Willett, illustrated by Benjamin Norcross Sir Walter Farluba by Donna LeBlanc, illustrated by Anton Servetnik Chuck’s Journey Home by Anne E. Soares

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A Star Full of Sky by Raven Howell, illustrated by Caryn Schafer Same Inside Different Outside by Deborah Hunt, illustrated by Xavier Pom How Autism Is Reshaping Special Education: The Unbundling of IDEA by Mark K. Claypool and John M. McLaughlin More Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind by Steve M. Reedy Aunt Sookie & Me by Michael Scott Garvin


Book Awards The Art of Stereography: Rediscovering Vintage Three-Dimensional Images by Douglas Heil Recipes from the Other Side by Carole Mann Cub’s Wish by Angie Flores, illustrated by Yidan Yuan The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Breast Cancer: Take Charge of Your Recovery and Remission by Janet Maker Ph.D. The Old Cape Hollywood Secret by Barbara Eppich Struna Iggy Loo by Maria Ashworth, illustrated by Sunny Choi Living Where Land Meets Sea: The Houses of Polhemus Savery DaSilva by John R. DaSilva Career Killers/Career Builders by John M. Crossman Coping with Ash by Michael Scott Curnes Broken Bridges by Roy Kindelberger LETTERS lost then found by Amy L. Johnson The Weight of Living by Michael Stephen Daigle Riven by Jane Alvey Harris Joseph’s Journey: When Dad Left and Never Came Back by Christina Nicole Smith, illustrated by Dolores Melgar Tandem: Adopting with God in the Lead by Alison England

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins, illustrated by Helene Magisson Disinheritance by John Sibley Williams Reflections of a Soul by June Marie Davis When Your Heart Breaks, It’s Opening to Love: Healing and finding love after an affair, heartbreak or divorce by Joey Garcia Forever Thankful, Good Night! by Sherry L. Hoffman Seeking Father Khaliq by William Peace Hold Me Again by Rory Church Icing by Debra Sue Brice Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by Scott M. Graffius Jewel of Inanna by Hannah Desmond He’s My Brother by Debbie Roppolo Children Don’t Come with an Instruction Manual by Wendy L. Moss, PhD Driver Dad: Towman to the Rescue by Sherry L. Hoffman, illustrated by Megan, Jocelyn, and Sawyer Hoffman The Burning Hour by Jessica Barksdale Inclan Voiceless Whispers by Jane Frances Ruby

Tower of the Arkein Series by Chase Blackwood Library Lust by N.S. Navla Herakles by Simon Spence Quantum Heights: Book One of the Dead Path Chronicles by Richard A. Valicek Adelia of the Coliseum by Cynthia Morrison Lights Out (Book 1) by Nathan Maher Angel Curs: The Trilogy by Michael Griswold Moving Beyond the Unspoken Grief: A Doctor’s Memoir of Her Own IVF Journey as a Patient by Sarah Lnyy Poetry and Ponderings by Diamante Lavendar Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy after Loss by Alexis Chute The Whizbang Machine: Tunney’s Curse by Danielle A. Vann The Adventures of Camellia N. - The Arctic by Debra Wideroe, illustrated by Daniela Frongia Glitter the Unicorn Goes to the Beach by Callie Chapman, illustrated by Bronwyne Chapman Sir Kaye the Boy Knight by Don M. Winn

SECOND Place WINNERS You Might be a Crazy Cat Lady if ... by Janet Vormittag Tripi Takes Flight: The Amazing Adventures Of Tripi The Fly by Lori London, illustrated by Heather Bonnstetter Books for Nourishing Friendships Series by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Steve Mack Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins, illustrated by Helene Magisson

Bounce Back: How to Be a Resilient Kid by Wendy L. Moss, PhD So Many Smarts! by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown I Can Be by Felicia Lee, illustrated by Bryan Tagalogon Princess Inkala and the Last Inka Dynasty by Judith G. Leifer, illustrated by Ruth Araceli Rodriguez

Children Don’t Come with an Instruction Manual by Wendy L. Moss, PhD Christmas in My Heart by Leslee Breene The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense by John Houde When a Child Cries by Cassie Lee, illustrated by Reginald Byers

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Book Awards Home by Christmas by Rory Church Hosting Cask Ale Events by Randy Baril The Final Rue of Naveena Bleu by Pamela Hartley The Case of the Ex Who Plotted Revenge by Georgann Prochaska Grateful for You, Good Night! by Sherry L. Hoffman, illustrated by Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill Unaccounted For by Paul Scollan Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints That Matter - A Journey Through Toxic Relationships by Nina Norstrom

Tandem: Adopting with God in the Lead by Alison England Kindred Spirits: The Healers by Rory Church Arising, Prophecy of Hope Book 1 by Sarah Kennedy Revelations of a Real Man (or Woman) by Marq E. Redmond How Autism Is Reshaping Special Education: The Unbundling of IDEA by Mark K. Claypool and John M. McLaughlin Icing by Debra Sue Brice Level Up Your Teens: A Guide To Hack Your Life by Darren Horne

Quantum Heights: Book One of the Dead Path Chronicles & Serenity Incident: Book Two of the Dead Path Chronicle by Richard A. Valicek Angel Curs: The Trilogy by Michael Griswold Aimee and Divine Inspiration: On a Journey by Diane Bourgeois The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One) by Elliott Baker Biome by Ryan Galloway

HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS Whack, Whack, Whack, Goes The Tail! by Mark Rouillard, illustrated by David Burk Chuck’s Journey Home by Anne E. Soares Glitter the Unicorn Goes to the Beach by Callie Chapman, illustrated by Bronwyne Chapman A Homeland Dell: Volume Three of the Pond Ghost Trilogy by Alene Adele Roy Who’s Changing the Meaning? by Dana Lynn Pope Letters To Alice by King Grossman Cosmic Wizard by Jeff Anthony Reflections from the Man in the Mirror by Timothy A. Natale The Repatriate: Love, Basketball, and the KGB by Tom Mooradian Craniama: My Skull’s Remedy An Ethnography in Survival by Bryan Sisson Planet A: A Mother’s Memoir of Autism Spectrum Disorder by Diane Mayer Christiansen The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing by George Chiang

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The One Eyed Pug by Deborah Hunt, illustrated by Thinker Goat Grateful for You, Good Night! by Sherry L. Hoffman, illustrated by Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill Andi’s Perfect Toy by Rae Abshire, illustrated by Kelsey Wilson I Can Be by Felicia Lee, illustrated by Bryan Tagalogon My Daddy Loves Me: I’m His Little Girl by Shanalee Sharboneau, illustrated by Israel Dilean Do You Speak Fish? by DJ Corchin Grandma’s Face Tells her Story by Elaine McKay, illustrated by Lynne Bendoly Think a Thank by Tricia Fontaine, illustrated by Visnja Pokorni My Little Angel by Sherrill S. Cannon, illustrated by Kalpart Tripi Takes Flight: The Amazing Adventures Of Tripi The Fly by Lori London, illustrated by Heather Bonnstetter

Priscilla Pack Rat: Making Room for Friendship by Claudine Crangle Henry and the Hidden Treasure by B.C.R. Fegan, illustrated by Lenny Wen Princess Inkala and the Last Inka Dynasty by Judith G. Leifer, illustrated by Ruth Araceli Rodriguez Sir Walter Farluba by Donna LeBlanc, illustrated by Anton Servetnik Tommy James: The Littlest Cowboy in Reckon by Maria Ashworth, illustrated by Andrea Peixoto Emmerick Pedro and the Puzzle Palace by Marisol Rodriguez Smile Big Dream Bigger (Sonrisa Grande Sueña en Grande) by Andrea Scott, illustrated by Davion Coleman HEROES by Van White Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins, illustrated by Helene Magisson Aunt Sookie & Me by Michael Scott Garvin


Book Awards Career Killers/Career Builders by John M. Crossman 12 Random Words/12 Palabras Al Azar by Fabiana Elisa Martizez, illustrated by Rob Wilson Beyond the Cabin by Dana Ridenour The Last Year of the Season by John M. McLaughlin A Crowded Heart by Andrea McKenzie Raine A Bridge Back by Patrick M. Garry Voiceless Whispers by Jane Frances Ruby The Toilet’s Overflowing and the Dog is Wearing My Underwear by Debbie Roppolo The Republic of East Florida: Culture, Faith, and Lore by Dr. Bran M.P. Brooks

Dam Witherston: A Witherston Murder Mystery by Betty Jean Craige Danni Girl Mysteries: The Complete Series by Debra Sue Brice Revelations of a Real Man (or Woman) by Marq E. Redmond Level Up Your Teens: A Guide To Hack Your Life by Darren Horne Spice Secret: A Cautionary Diary by Billie Holladay Skelley Kindred Spirits: The Healers by Rory Church Some Thoughts on God and Other Things by Jerome Gleich Ask God by Kyle Morey

Riven by Jane Alvey Harris The Blood Wielder: Dark Origins by Vidhi Patel Deep Black Road: The Head of the Snake by Allen Scovil Angel Curs: The Trilogy by Michael Griswold Tomorrows End by G.R. Morris Meet ClaraBelle Blue by Adiba Nelson, illustrated by Elvira Morando Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure Somnium by Kristy Kamin The Price of Guilt by Patrick M. Garry

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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READING

LIST

A Tale from a Foxhound Beagle Named Bailey: Siblings Are Your Best Friend by Kristina Wolf Dreisbach

When Bailey the Beagle’s daily routine is interrupted by an unexpected little Beagle sister named Bella, his world and emotions are turned upside down. Will he be able to regain his control and ego again? The surprise Bailey learns in this painful transition is the greatest joy of all: Siblings are a blessing, not a curse, and they truly can become the greatest gift of all when we realize the power of acceptance and love.

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). www.satyahouse.com

Dam Witherston: A Witherston Murder Mystery by Betty Jean Craige

The third novel in the Witherston Murder Mystery series. The mayor of the north Georgia town of Witherston and one of its prominent attorneys are being blackmailed by a mysterious Donna Dam, who threatens to expose the two men’s shameful activities. Blackmail leads to murder, and when Detective Mev Arroyo and her two teenage twins investigate, they discover some dark secrets … putting all their lives in danger. Winner, 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Award.

Jewel of Inanna by Hannah Desmond

Jewel of Inanna artfully weaves the magic and romance of the New Orleans French Quarter into a metaphysical tale that entertains and informs. Lilly LaCouer, a young woman from the Dark Bayou enters the enticing cauldron of sex, rock n’ roll, magic rituals and visionary journeys when she enters Panthea’s Pantry and meets the witches, druids, Vodou mambo and Atlantian Priestess who help her awaken to her own powers and aid her as she battles an ancient nemesis. 44

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WINTER READING LIST

Sir Walter Farluba by Donna LeBlanc

Since Sir Walter, the Earl of Karother, is never invited to play in the town band, he assumes that none of his subjects like him. And the townsfolk, never seeing Sir Walter, assume that he doesn’t care about them. Then one day, a horrible noise filters down from the Earl’s castle. And it takes one brave young girl to find out what it is! Story Monster Approved winner! Purple Dragonfly and Royal Dragonfly Book Awards winner. Available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Nocturnals: The Moonlight Meeting by Tracey Hecht & Rumur Dowling

In The Moonlight Meeting, the Nocturnal Brigade introduces their nighttime world to early readers who discover the meaning of friendship and sharing. The Grow and Read book program was developed with free online printable storytime activities including coloring pages, animal mask crafts, bookmarks, story and character maps, science cards, and more. We believe the activities help strengthen the understanding of the books for emerging readers while instilling confidence and a lifelong interest in reading. Join the Nocturnal Brigade at NocturnalsWorld.com.

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? A sweet story to show young readers 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. 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.

The Bigfoot Paradox by Rebecca Coyte

J.T. Meeks is a shy, 12-year-old kid who has always been interested in finding a bigfoot. When infamous bigfoot hunter Billy Matrix invades his town, J.T. gets involved in a hunt for bigfoots that quickly spirals out of control. J.T. must dig deep within himself to find the courage to do what’s right and stick up for his friends, both human and sasquatch. 2016 eLit Award winner for juvenile/young adult fiction.

The Bigfoot Rebellion (The Bigfoot Paradox Book 2) by Rebecca Coyte

People vanishing from the forest without a trace. Reports of large, hairy beasts stalking hikers and campers. Sensationalist news shows blame it all on bigfoots, but J.T. Meeks doesn’t believe it. He’s on a mission to find out the truth, and only hopes he makes it to “Ground Zero” before famed bigfoot hunter, Billy Matrix, arrives. Join J.T. as he traverses time and space, joins up with other colorful characters along the way, and discovers his “gift” as he tries to save the bigfoots—and the world.

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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WINTER READING LIST

Luisita Rides Her Bike/Luisita monta en bicicleta by Dora Przybylek

Luisita gets a big surprise from her dad. He has an enormous box waiting for her. It’s a box all wrapped up in pretty paper of many colors. And inside is something that will make Luisita very happy: a bike! Her dad is going to teach her how to ride it. She’s so excited and learns very quickly.

Luisita Cooks/Luisita cocina by Dora Przybylek

Luisita asks her mom to teach her how to make fruit salad. Together, they choose different fruits, wash them, peel them, cut them, and mix them all together in a bowl. Luisita’s mom tells her exactly what to do and Luisita follows every direction. She is very proud and happy because now she knows how to cook!

Click on the book cover to purchase any of the above titles. To advertise your book in our Reading list, contact Cristy Bertini at cristy@storymonsters.com for rate information.

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Award-winning multicultural children’s books I See the Sun in . . .

. . . China ISBN: 978-0981872056 English/Mandarin Chinese

. . . Nepal ISBN: 978-1935874270 English/Nepalese (Devanagari) . . . Russia ISBN: 978-1935874089 English/Russian . . . Afghanistan ISBN: 978-0981872087 English/Dari (Afghan Farsi) . . . Myanmar/Burma ISBN: 978-1935874201 English/Burmese . . . Mexico ISBN: 978-1935874140 English/Spanish . . . Turkey ISBN: 978-1935874348 English/Turkish

Coming in 2018

I See the Sun in the USA • I See the Sun in India

Softcover • Price: $12.95 For ages 5 and up Available wherever books are sold.

www.satyahouse.com

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Reviewed by Nick Spake

GRADE: A The Force Awakens offered everything Star Wars needed to get back on track: the return of fan-favorite heroes, engaging new players, a refreshing sense of humor, thrilling action, and the best effects the franchise has ever seen. Of course the one complaint many seemed to have is that the story followed the same formula as A New Hope. Considering that the prequel trilogy was such a massive step backwards, though, it made sense for Disney and Lucasfilm to revisit something familiar before trying something completely different. While The Last Jedi has echoes of The Empire Strikes Back, it manages to capture the same spirit without being a rehash. It’s a stunning blockbuster that takes chances with the source material, expanding upon its lore, characters, and galaxy far, far away. Just as Luke Skywalker asked Yoda to train him in the ways of the Force, this film finds Daisy Ridley’s Rey seeking out Luke for guidance. Where Yoda seemed to have all the answers, however, Luke appears more conflicted than ever. Having lost Ben Solo to Supreme Leader Snoke, Luke is convinced that it’s time for the Jedi to end. As Rey demonstrates her natural connection to the Force, Luke isn’t sure if she might be a new hope or another Padawan destined to turn to the Dark Side. The dynamic between these two is the highlight of the film as Ridley continues to grow as an actress and Mark Hamill gives his best performance as Luke. It’s intriguing to think how Hamill’s career has paralleled Luke’s character arc. Both started out as young kids virtually nobody had ever heard of. Then all of a sudden, they became household names everyone celebrated and idolized. After Return of the Jedi, Hamill pretty much disappeared from the public eye, primarily doing voiceover work as apposed to live-action material. Now much like Luke, Hamill has been called back to aid in 48

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the rebellion and pass on the torch to a new generation. Hamill does so with wit, class, and a dominating screen presence that results in several applause-worthy moments. The late Carrie Fisher also has her fair share of gripping scenes as General Leia, who leads the Resistance in an unyielding fight against the First Order. We additionally get strong work from John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe while Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren battles his


own inner demons. Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro have memorable supporting roles as well, but the standout newcomer is Kelly Marie Tran as a Resistance maintenance worker named Rose. While the filmmakers do a commendable job at juggling all of these characters, there are a few that never quite meet their full potential. Even after two films, Andy Serkis’ Snoke and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma feel underdeveloped. Then again, you can only flesh out so many people in 152 minutes. Speaking of the runtime, The Last Jedi has the distinction of being the longest Star Wars movie and writer/director Rian Johnson puts almost every second to effective use. The action sequences are brilliantly shot, edited, and choreographed, often leaving you reaching for the arm of the person sitting in the neighboring seat. While there are a couple set pieces that probably could’ve been cut down by a minute or two, it’s hard to complain when there’s always something visually interesting on display. As is the case with the best Star Wars films, the action

works here because we have such a strong attachment to the people in the line of duty. Luke tells Rey at one point in the film that this is not going to go the way she thinks. Likewise, The Last Jedi is full of twists and surprises that feel natural rather than forced. This not only makes for great drama, but also creates a legitimate sense of dread. There are several times throughout the film where you seriously contemplate the fate of these characters. When all is said and done, you’ll be left out of breath and contemplating what lies on the horizon. In any case, the future of this franchise still shines bright.

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: nickpicksflicks.com.

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Liv on Life Be Grateful for You! by Olivia Amiri

One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to be grateful for who we are. I believe if we all knew ourselves better and were more grateful, life would be happier. Taking time to know yourself is important. Some ways to do this could be to make a list. Who are you? What do you like? What are your qualities that you like and are grateful for? Reflecting on oneself can help you grow, and make the world a better place. Start the New Year with this challenge: Find the best part of you! Think about it, write about it, and celebrate it! I took this challenge and this is what I wrote: I am a musician. I play piano and guitar, and I’m a singer. My hands are a part of me that help me do the things I love. My hands help me gently move across the piano keys, playing from classic ballads to my own pieces. I am also an avid writer, and I love creating my own characters, stories, and snapshots. My hands help me create my stories and put them on paper. My hands grip the tennis racquet as I go in to the hit the ball. My hands are tapping on the computer keyboard this very second. My hands turn the page of my favorite novel. My hands give me confidence, strength, and make me feel secure. I am grateful that I have the privilege of hands. My hands are the ones that shake people’s hands on the start of new friendship. That is why I believe my hands are the best part of me. I’m extremely grateful for my hands. I’m going to continue to challenge myself and write about what I’m grateful for. I hope you do the same!

Olivia Amiri 11-year-old Olivia Amiri is a little girl with big advice! Sharing insights and Vobservations on the world around us, her message is clear: kids are still the best teachers to remind grown-ups of the simple joys in life. livonlife.com

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BOOK REVIEWS

BOOK REVIEWS

The Festive Frolics of Panda And Owl

by Frank Lewis, Autumn Brook. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Panda and Owl are the truest of friends. No matter what the day or activity may be, it’s their friendship that brings the very best out of it. The five stand-alone stories provide lots of fun time to spend with these delightfully quirky buddies. A sure reminder that the details aren’t so important, but the ones we share them with are the best treasure and adventure of all.

The Bath of Least Resistance

by Gregory E. Bray, Steve Page. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Bogie, an inquisitive pup, has gotten himself in a real mess. Will Henry be able to coax him into a bath? And, will he be able to keep him clean once he does? Sometimes, our best efforts are no guarantee of the desired outcome. Illustrations by Steve Page are comical and endearing.

Lights Out: Book 1

by Nathan Reese Maher. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Something very strange is going on in Applewood. Mysterious disappearances, monstrous happenings, and newly acquired abilities leave the children of the town in a frightful state. Can they survive alone? Can they band together, putting their differences aside? Can they figure out these strange happenings and find “normal” again? What would you do if you woke up one morning and all the adults in your town were missing? Note to parents: The author utilizes the Open Dyslexic font, which helps and encourages readers who may be struggling.

Yo Soy Muslim

by Mark Gonzales, Mehrdokht Amini. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

From Muslim and Latino poet Mark Gonzales comes a touching and lyrical picture book about a parent who encourages his child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identity. This tender story is a father’s letter to his daughter that flows with encouragement and heart. In a diverse world, identity can become confusing, and this father builds a gentle undergirding to lift his child to her greatest potential.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming

by Chris Harris, Lane Smith. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This delightfully amusing poetry will provide hours, days, even a lifetime of laughter. From chuckles to uproarious guffawing, this book is filled with hilarity’s calling. Though page after page is really outrageous, tucked among them are those that will truly engage us. (Page 116 is simply my favorite). Illustrations by Lane Smith are as raw and entertaining as the text itself. This is a great book to create fun days and lasting memories. 52

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BOOK REVIEWS

Gulliver’s Travels: Voyage to Lilliput Retold by Martin Jenkins. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil 

In the best-known tale from Jonathan Swift’s classic satire, Lemuel Gulliver survives a shipwreck only to find himself on a strange island with even stranger inhabitants: miniature humans, no bigger than his hand. Since 1726, the amazing travels of Gulliver have thrilled audiences of all ages. Martin Jenkins’ retelling of the famous story brings fresh joy to a new generation. Illustrations by Chris Riddell are full of life, revealing the true whimsy of the original tale.

Sammy the Seahorse

by Martha Driscoll & Ann Driscoll, Ed.D, Susan Andra Lion. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Is it a horse? Is it a fish? It’s a Seahorse! Take this amazing journey under the sea and discover fish that look like a horse prince. This watery world is filled with fascinating creatures, males that give birth, and fish that look like plants. Explore and enjoy this educational wonderland. Illustrations by Susan Andra Lion are creative, bright, and whimsical.

Reena’s Rainbow

by Dee White, Tracie Grimwood. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet story reminds us there is a place for everyone. Reena is deaf, and Dog is homeless, but together they fit just fine. This story of diversity and acceptance opens the eyes of possibility, and broadens our opportunities.

I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

by Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Being present in the moment sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But, how many times do you misstep because your mind is racing ahead of you? Mindfulness can be unruly at times, and we may need to stop and let the mind and all her feeling companions catch up so we can start in unison again. The sooner we learn to recognize these awkward missteps, the sooner we can restore pace and presence. Illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds are sweet and peaceful.

Who Killed Darius Drake?

by Rodman Philbrick. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Arthur “Bash Man” is the school thug, paid with candy to bully and threaten other students. When genius orphan Darius Drake employs Arthur to help him discover the origin of a suspicious threat, written in blood, they uncover a mystery that involves Darius’s estranged grandfather, who was imprisoned for forging evidence in a search for a long-lost diamond necklace worth millions. The boys make the dangerous decision to search for the jewels themselves and in the process, discover that the car crash that killed Darius’s parents was not an accident at all. Who will be next? I found Darius to be a character much like a young Sherlock Holmes and was delighted that this story was written from the point of view of Arthur, not Darius. What kid doesn’t enjoy a good mystery?

Raymond

by Yann and Gwendal Le Bec. Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Raymond is a good and happy dog—the best kind of dog his owners could ask for! But one day, Raymond has a “big thought” about engaging in his world in a bit more of a human way. Sitting at tables, going to movies, and sipping on cappuccino are all pleasures that Raymond is finally able to enjoy! He soon lands his dream job of working at DOGUE magazine and while he loves the exclusive interviews of acrobatic canines and painting pups, he soon realizes that while human adventures are fun, snuggling, scratching and sniffing are his true doggy desires. The tone of this story is so playful and readers will laugh out loud at all the canine escapades, clever illustrations, and heartwarming ending.  

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BOOK REVIEWS

Valedictorian

by Guy Lodge. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

When do we begin to strive for perfection? How do we groom our lives for success? Guy Lodge answers these questions in his book Valedictorian, and maps out a simple path to achieve it. If we start our children out right, teach them how to set and achieve goals, we are securing them a future. There’s an old saying, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” This seems to encapsulate the message here. Posters are included sharing many famous Valedictorians of our time.

Longfellow Finds a Home

by Linda Shayne, Art Leonardi. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Longfellow is a blue Dachshund that has trouble fitting in, and it really gets him down. He has nowhere to call home. He’s short and he’s long. He’s not tough or strong, and he is often passed over by those who are. This story encourages us in dealing with our own awkward issues, and promotes family, loyalty, and finding our special place where we always fit in.

Barnaby Never Forgets

by Pierre Collet-Derby. Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Oh, the Barnabys of the world. They are the forgetters—whether it’s remembering where the glasses are left, library books are tucked, wet bathing suits sit or dollar bills misplaced. Barnaby Rabbit is the sweetest character, and thank goodness his confidence does not seem shaken as he reminds himself of things he does remember: writing Christmas lists, feeding his grasshoppers, and ice cream night. Author and illustrator Pierre Collet- Derby shares an easy to read “sing song” text accompanied with bold and engaging illustrations. Coming from a family of forgetters (but married to a family of rememberers), Barnaby Never Forgets is very endearing and relatable. Now, where did I leave the book?

La La La: A Story of Hope

by Kate DiCamillo, Jaime Kim. Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

This beautiful book by author extraordinaire Kate DiCamillo and talented illustrator Jaime Kim depicts a little girl finding her voice in a big, big world. The hues of purple, navy, and white background showcase a little girl expressing herself throughout nature. As her journey progresses, she connects with the moon … and realizes that she might have been heard after all. Reading the author and illustrator’s note at the end of the book will also provide a beautiful insight into the background of the story and how ultimately all of us desire companionship and to be heard.

Feeling Worried!

by Kay Barnham, Mike Gordon. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Growing up presents challenges from our first cry in the delivery room. Survival depends on how we meet those challenges. Many are aced by sheer growth and time, but one can challenge us into adulthood. Emotions, and how we deal with them, can undo the best of us. This great teaching series about everyday feelings is a fun introduction to a lifelong quest of self control. The illustrations by Mike Gordon are delightful.

Hubble Bubble: The Wacky Winter Wonderland! by Tracey Corderoy, Joe Berger. Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 11

The Wacky Winter Wonderland is a fun and imaginative book. Pandora’s Granny, with one wave of her wand, can make a lot of great magic: cookies with sprinkles, snowflakes, and a magical winter wonderland to name a few. Pandora loves to be with her Granny, because everywhere they go becomes magical and fun. I wish I had a grandmother like that, too!

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BOOK REVIEWS

Spy School Secret Service

by Stuart Gibbs. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley goes undercover in the White House to take on a SPYDER operative determined to assassinate the president in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series. Kids will just love this action-packed story that starts with a bang and doesn’t even slow down right up to the end. I loved the many ‘covert’ layers to this story; I found it hard to tell the good guys from the bad. It also describes the inner workings of the West Wing. Just don’t pick it up late at night to read a chapter or two—you won’t be able to put it down!

Digby of the Dinosaurs

by Linda Yiannakis. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Sixty-five million years ago, a meteor struck the earth and all the dinosaurs went extinct. Or did they? Digby Darby has no idea about the extraordinary turn his young life is about to take when he runs off one afternoon. He tumbles into a hidden canyon and finds himself among dinosaurs that escaped extinction and survived to the present day in their secret domain. Young readers will love learning the Haanasasen language and pronunciations of the names and words that are found in the back of the book. This story has a wonderful underlying message about adoption: Family is family if they love each other, even if they are different.

The Chocopocalyse

by Chris Callaghan. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Life for Jelly Welly—or Jennifer Wellington—is totally and utterly normal in Chompton-on-de-Lyte. She lives with her mom and dad and gran, has nosy neighbors who like to gossip, and really needs to think of a science project that will get her a good grade. But when news breaks of an impending chocopocalypse, her whole world—and the world at large—is thrown into utter chaos. But Jelly has a sneaking suspicion that something isn’t right. She and her gran investigate, picking up on a mysterious trail of clues. This is a great, exciting, and fun mystery with an unforeseen twist that kids will love to sink their teeth into. Includes fun chocolate facts at the end.

The Incredible Magic of Being

by Katherine Erskine. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Julian is definitely not your average kid. He has two moms and no dad and suffers from a heart condition. Julian has one more thing that makes him different: sensory perception. He never thinks of himself and has the ability to practically read others like a book. This story is unlike any other I’ve read. The book has twists and turns I didn’t see coming and will definitely make readers think as they realize how Julian heals and fills the needs of anyone he meets. I wondered if it’s to forget about his own pitfalls in life or if he is just a blessing among us. Either way, kids will enjoy Julian and learn the meaning of his incredible magic of being.

The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King by Max Brallier. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Life after the zombie apocalypse is pretty good for 13-year-old Jack Sullivan: He lives in a mindclobberingly cool tree fort with his best friends, speeds through town playing Real-Life Mario Kart, has a crew of monster buddies, battles zombies on the regular, and generally treats life like it’s a videogame! But then Jack’s friends make a startling discovery: They may not be the last kids on earth, after all. This is great news for everyone… except Jack. Just like the other books in this series, this story hits the ground running and never stops. Young readers will love the illustrations of the layout of the town and the magnificent tree fort, and the terrific cliffhanger ending.

StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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BOOK REVIEWS

The Secret Keepers

by Trenton Lee Stewart. Reviewer: Diana Perry

When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch with a secret power, his life takes an intriguing turn. As one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his honest nature and the lure to be a hero. Now he is on a dangerous adventure—full of curious characters, treacherous traps, and hairsbreadth escapes—as he races to solve the mystery before it is too late. This story has so many twists and turns and a little magic weaved throughout. It kept me guessing from start to finish. Another great book by Trenton Lee Stewart!

Emily Windsnap and The Falls of Forgotten Island by Liz Kessler. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Emily is headed to a tropical island for a relaxing vacation with friends and family. And this time, Emily promises her best friend, Shona, there will be absolutely no adventure, just plenty of fun. But adventure always seems to find Emily, and before she knows it, she ends up on the other side of a powerful waterfall on a forgotten island no one else can get to. This book has it all: tested friendships, danger, young love, fantasy, adventure, and mystery and all of this is wrapped up in secrets that are strategically revealed. Young readers won’t be able to put this one down.

Suee and the Shadow

by Ginger Ly, Molly Park. Reviewer: Diana Perry

Twelve-year-old Suee wears her hair to the left in a point, favors a black dress, has no friends, and she likes it that way. When Suee transfers to the dull and ordinary Outskirts Elementary, she doesn’t expect to hear a strange voice speaking to her from the darkness of the school’s exhibit room, and she certainly doesn’t expect to see her shadow come to life. Then things start to get really weird. I found this book to be an entertaining story to show young readers why they shouldn’t be dark, moody, angry, and unfriendly. A wonderful bedtime read.

Gamer Squad: Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind by Kim Harrington. Reviewer: Diana Perry

After their scary adventure, Bex and Charlie have sworn never to play Monsters Unleashed again. Then Veratrum Games Corp releases a new augmented reality game featuring aliens instead of monsters, and the best friends just can’t resist. This is the stuff great kids’ books are made of: science fiction, fantasy, adventure, danger, typical school stuff and a bit of young love. A fast and exciting read.

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart

by Dion Leonard, Lisa Manuzak. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is an incredible true story of love, friendship, and chance. The fact that this amazing pup survived China’s Gobi Desert alone with its tremendous heat, and endured a 77-mile race along her newly found friend, brings warmth to your heart and a cheer upon your lips as they cross the finish line as true forever friends.

The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird by Kim Smith. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Best pals Dana (Scully) and Fox (Mulder) have pitched a tent in the backyard for a sleepover. But the night is full of strange sounds, lights, and shadows. Surely there’s a rational, scientific explanation for everything … or is there? With beautiful illustrations of pint-sized Dana and Fox, this humorous and notscary-at-all story will introduce the TV show to an entire new generation of fans.

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StoryMonsters.com | January 2018 | Story Monsters Ink

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Q&A

Q&A with

Elly Mackay by Julianne Black

Have you ever been sucked into the tiny quiet space inside a snow globe? Or got lost in the details of miniature train sets or holiday villages? Elly Mackay’s new wordless picture book Waltz of the Snowflakes is all that plus a heaping dose of magic, wrapped in a delicious Nutcracker bow. The images are so tactile and emotionally responsive, there is simply no need for words. The viewer follows along the action, experiencing each moment in time as if they were peering into a little private movie screening. The overall effect of the layout and art selection really got my attention, so I went and pestered Elly Mackay for some backstory on her unusual process.

Q: How was your storyboard process broken down? Did you map out the whole book as a complete story or go mood to mood until it felt finished? A: I began with the overarching story of the girl and her grandmother. Then, I broke the ballet down into different scenes. Once I had that figured out, I created thumbnails on a 32-page layout, figuring out where the scenes would fit within the overall book. I had such fun imagining how the kids in the audience might respond to the ballet. Once I did that, I started on a book dummy. There were quite a few changes though, from the initial thumbnails. I was originally going to have the girl back at her grandmother’s house, looking in the mirror and seeing herself as Clara. But in the 58

Story Monsters Ink | January 2018 | StoryMonsters.com

end, a dance in the snow seemed more fitting. If you look closely at her reflection, you’ll see a more subtle version of this first idea. Q: The atmosphere in each shot gives the illusion of peering into a secret moment. There is such a beautiful dream state to it—almost stop-action in nature. Any major influences for that ethereal floatthrough style? A: Thanks! Have you ever seen a tunnel book? They were popular in the Victorian era. They are little accordion books that you can open and peer down a hole in the end to see layers of images. They are small and intimate. I’ve always loved them and used to make them as a teenager. This style developed from making these books. I wanted more light in my tunnel books so I started adding transparencies to the back. I then noticed that the stained glass windows in the old church I grew up in had the most beautiful shadows of branches and leaves behind them, so I started working with that frosted shadow effect by using translucent paper like a shadow puppet theatre. Q: The warmth and texture that takes over the pages when the ballet begins are so deeply from the heart. I know from my own childhood that the moment that curtain opened was magic. Your own first trip to The Nutcracker must have made such an impression on you as well! Can you describe your biggest takeaways from that memory and which of them found their way into Waltz of the Snowflakes?


Q&A

A: I’m so glad you connected with it. Yes! My heart still skips a beat when the music starts before a performance. The first time I saw The Nutcracker was with a big group of kids I grew up with. We all took a bus to Toronto so it was quite an event. It’s funny, I can’t recall particular things about the performance, just the feeling I was left with. I know it made an impression. My mom met Karen Kain shortly after and she signed one of her ballet slippers to me. I tried it on so many times, hoping my foot had grown big enough to fit it. I guess that feeling of wanting to dance after seeing something so beautiful is what was important for me to put into the book.

Q: The relationship between the girl and boy in the audience is one we can all relate to—bonding over an exceptional moment in time. Did you have two specific people in mind for those characters or are they a melting down of all kids that age? A: That’s funny. I don’t know if it is specifically based on my daughter, but I used her as a model to draw from for the book. But yes, more generally, I think shared experiences can really change the way we feel about people. When we laugh together, we are disarmed. We have something in common, a connection we can build on.

Q: I know as an artist myself, that sometimes special little “Easter eggs” are hidden within works as a nod to certain influences or people. Any special insight you would like to personally share? Any particular details that are unique to your own experience viewing the ballet as a child? A: It is so much fun to add little details. When I met Charlotte Dematons, I asked if she had any advice and she told me to include my family, places, and things that were important to me in my books so that when I read it, it would have that extra meaning. So, I always do this now. My parents, in-laws, brother and his wife and my family all went to see The Nutcracker together, so I made little tiny versions of us. We are extras in the scene of the little girl coming down the steps with her grandmother. It was such fun to make a teensy version of us and it is nice for my kids, too. In my next book, Red Sky At Night, I asked my kids to pick out a few of their favorite things (toys, books, art) and I made little versions and set them in the miniature cottage. Hopefully, it will spark something for them when they read the book to their own kids years from now.

Waltz of the Snowflakes is published by Running Press Kids and makes a beautiful gift for any Nutcracker fan, and hopefully some soon-to-be fans as well!

Elly Mackay works out of her home in Owen Sound, Canada and attended Nova Scotia College of Art. Visit ellymackay.com to learn more about her illustration work with paper and light, and to view her other titles. 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. julianneblack.com

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Kids Can Publish!

Positivity by Erin Eldredge, age 11

Every single time a smile goes on your face, it shows true kindness and believing in yourself. Smiling carries happiness and expresses your focus on how you create your shares with God and how you want to put your feelings in life. You’re probably asking, “What’s the meaning?” It means so much to everyone and puts kindness into your mind. Your mind is an imagination of positivity and trust me, every single day a little glow stick will be in your hand trying to point out, we always break before we shine. Your feelings depend on how you want to act and why. Positivity is a big part of your life and it’s great. It’s going to be alright in the end, if it’s not alright, it’s not the end. When you share your feelings with other people, what do you think that they will do? Will they catch on to your attitude and make their life more dependent on them? That’s why most of the time you have to stay positive. Not even one person has ever had a perfect life. They have had bumps and bruises that they need to get through thick and thin. But if you always have an unhealthy, bad feeling trapped inside your body like a caged animal trying to rip the cage open, it’s going to get free someday and everyone is going to catch it. Have a positive attitude and never give up because you have already made it this far! You can’t just stop now because to me, it’s worth it. Every little thing you do, someone could remember and deep thoughts become formed into actions and can sometimes create problems. But you can’t just run away from them. Everyone wishes they could, but that’s not the way to do it. Just believe in you and deliver positive messages throughout your life that people will remember.

Hey Kids! Visit www.StoryMonsters.com and click on “Kids Can Publish” for instructions on how to submit your work! 60

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Kids Corner

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Story Monsters Ink magazine January 2018  

Happy New Year! This month's features include: Backstage with Nathan Lane; Dan Santat Creates an Inspiring Postscript to a Beloved Nursery R...

Story Monsters Ink magazine January 2018  

Happy New Year! This month's features include: Backstage with Nathan Lane; Dan Santat Creates an Inspiring Postscript to a Beloved Nursery R...