M. EARL SMITH
Illustrator E. A. SANTOLI
Little Karl is a curious child, always wanting to know everything about the world around him. As he walks through the city with his mother, he asks question after question about what he thinks is wrong with the world and offers his own solutions to make sure everyone has shelter, food, education, work, and comfort.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It’s morning and you step outside your house and see lush green grass, sunlit bright blue skies. You smile because the world is a great place, but not for everyone. That’s what Little Karl noticed when he went walking around town with his mother. He saw this and asked why it was that way. Then he saw that and again he asked his mother why it was this way. Oh, you want to know what this and that is? You know me by now, you have to find out for yourself. I will say that it is something very valuable. What makes Little Karl a UNIQUE read? It’s all about the ending. With its diverse characters, Little Karl is also an ETHNIC read.
Little Karl is recommended for First Time Readers, Middle Grade Readers to age 10, and curious readers of all ages.
BUY IT HERE: AMAZON
Author Bio: With work for children and adults, M. Earl Smith is a writer who seeks to stretch the boundaries of genre and style. A native of southeast Tennessee, Smith moved to Ohio at nineteen and, with success, reinvented himself as a writer. After graduating from Chatfield College in 2015, Smith enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to study creative writing and history. He is the proud father of two wonderful children and, when he’s not studying, splits his time between Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Chattanooga, with road trips to New York City, Wichita, Kansas, and Northampton, Massachusetts.
Illustrator Bio: E. A. Santoli is an illustrator and teacher. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His inspirations are bridged between academic painting and Japanese manga and anime. He currently resides in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
HOW KING MONTEZUMA GOT HIS REVENGE
ANNALISA NASH FERNANDEZ
ILLUSTRATOR PILAR CASTILLO LAYOS
Montezuma’s revenge is more than just a legend; it’s legendary for its stinky curse. Centuries after King Montezuma was defeated by Hernán Cortés and his Spanish army, a strange illness befalls legions of people arriving to his land. But this illness isn’t anything ordinary. It leaves a putrid smell in the air and gassy people racing for el baño . It is a battle – a battle your butt won’t win!
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It has many names because it happens in many places. For me, I had Mummy’s Tummy in Egypt and I’m not sure what they call it in France, but I had it there too. In Mexico, it’s called Montezuma’s Revenge. That bellyache and gas that sends you rushing to the bathroom when you eat the food in another country. Now you may wonder what’s this got to do with How King Montezuma Got His Revenge. Well, you know it’s a legend don’t you? You don’t!? Stop everything right now and get this book, because the story behind the legend is astounding.
The UNIQUE thing about How King Montezuma Got His Revenge was how the illustrator incorporated historical pictures (gathered from public media) into her illustrations in the form of a book. This book was being shared by the book’s main character, a little girl of Mexican heritage. Thus, How Montezuma Got His Revenge is also an ETHNIC read.
This book is recommended for First Time Readers (7-8) and Middle Grader Readers (9-10). However, it a great read-to book for any child.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
Annalisa Nash Fernandez is an intercultural specialist and mother of three children. She lives in Riverside, CT.
LET’S GO BUNGEES
ILLUSTRATED BY KEREN ALMOG
We are so happy to have you with us on this marvelous adventure to explore the world.
Together we will go places, see new faces, learn a lot, and have tons of fun.
Hidden in our books are secret links. Find them, and with one click you will be up high, looking out at new horizons.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Let’s Go Bungees is the first in a series of interactive books that take children on an adventure around the world. As they learn about different places, people, and cultures, children will be able to get an animated version of their journey through links that are hidden (in plain sight) throughout the book. For me it was an exhilarating experience and a UNIQUE way to see the world. Your tour guides in Let’s Go Bungees are Ming, his wife Sheen, and their friend Yoga. Because they are Japanese ladybugs, Let’s Go Bungees is also an ETHNIC read.
Primarily, Let’s Go Bungees would be recommended for First Time Readers (0 – 8), but with the interactive links, I also recommend this book for Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12).
BUY IT HERE: AMAZON
Nava Almog was born in Italy, raised in France, Israel, and Africa. She spent her childhood traveling the world in the company of her parents, Nava fell in love with the wonder and adventure of discovering new people, places, and cultures.
As far back as she can remember, Nava has written or drawn the stories of her journeys, and she has passed on these passions to her children.
Nava and her daughter Keren (who also loves to travel) have written and illustrated stories based on their own experiences so that children all over the world can discover new places, cultures, and friends through the adventures of the BuggeesBunch.
Keren Almog-Shalem came into the word in a whirlwind of happy enthusiasm. She has been a creative adventurer since she was a child, and loves to travel the world searching for the most unique, special and daring experiences. She climbs the highest mountains, bungee jumps, sky dives, and generally seeks the most daunting challenges.
As an artist, Keren is a marvel at transforming an idea into a project or product, and it is she who has infused the Buggees with such humor and joy.
Like her mother, Keren loves to cook and to paint. She also plays beach volleyball and tennis and loves a day in the sun.
THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR
ILLUSTRATED BY KEVIN CANNON
Lost in a strange land where everything is gray, Alvin must find the true color thieves to save the princesses and restore the color to the kingdom.
Floating into the air with an enormous gum bubble, Alvin lands in a strange world where everything is gray. The trees, the flowers, the dirt, the sky, the animals, and even the people are all missing their color.
Confronted with the mystery of the missing color, Alvin teams up with some unexpected friends to battle man-eating plants, outsmart the bumbling Crimson Guards, cross the Sugar Desert, overcome the two-headed dragon, and find the color-stealing goblins to restore color to the kingdom.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It starts off with a simple game of kick the can. but with Brandon and Steven being the only ones free, it was bound to end in a tie. And…it almost did. You see they both reached the can at the same time, they both kicked it up into the air at the same time, but when it came down, somehow it landed in front of Steven making Brandon and all the other kids the winners.
As they celebrate the win, Paul and Derek, two brothers, drop by and asked them to go fishing. However, they can’t find anything to cut the spool of fishing line. Wait! Brandon’s grandfather lives near the pond, They can get something from him to cut fishing lines for each of them.
Grandpa Alvin, pulls out a pocket knife and not since the Wizard of Oz has such an adventure been told. A wad of Never Pop bubble gum lands twelve-year old Alvin son of Jack in a place that is all gray. The grass, the road, the sky, everything, Well not Permy of course, but everything else is gray. Together, Alvin and Permy set out on a trek across THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR simply to find out what happened and change everything back to its normal self.
Did I say simply. Nothing is ever simple and THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR doesn’t disappoint. First there’s…, then… well next… Shucks, I can’t tell you about any of that. You’ll just have to find out for yourself as you read THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR. I can say that there is one wicked twist that will have every parent cheering.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR and which makes the story UNIQUE is that it had lots and lots of pictures. Something that is very rare in a Middle Grade Book. However, its main character, which turns out to be Alvin, provides an ETHNIC read.
THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR is primarily recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9-12) especially those boys and girls who are reluctant to read. However, because of the illustrations, I also recommend this book for first time readers who show advanced reading skills.
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon
BIO Benjamin Ellefson loves writing whimsical adventures for children of all ages.
Childhood was a magical time for him. Benjamin grew up in a neighborhood full of kids. Every day was filled with imagination, adventures, fantasy, and wonderful stories. In school he loved any project that let him explore his creativity.
When Benjamin was older, he traveled across the country to study story telling at the University of Southern California in their school of Cinema/Television. While in school, he had the amazing opportunity to work on several film productions and saw stories coming to life first hand.
Over several years after school, Benjamin had four beautiful daughters. When they were little, he spent all of his creative energy giving them the magical childhood that he had when he was small. There was nothing as exciting to Benjamin as watching their imaginations flourish as they explored the world.
Now that they are older, he wants to give that magic to all of the children of the world. Benjamin focuses his writing on modern fairy tales that are fun for kids and thought provoking for adults. Each adventure celebrates important values of self-reliance, preparedness, and diversity. He hopes with each book to spark imagination in each reader.
K. M. ODDECK
It’s midsummer. David Elbert’s final semester at the university comes to an end. For this fresh Engineer, the daunting task of saving a company from imminent disaster soon pales in comparison to the multimillion-dollar stash of drugs and money found in a luxurious property he comes to own. His nerves start to singe. Criminals come out of the wood work. Escalation is imminent. When police and drug enforcement agents pop onto the scene, all hell quickly breaks loose. At this point, pure survival instinct takes over.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
When I started reading Intrinsic Encounters I expected mystery, intrigue, espionage, and a spy thriller. Why? I’m not sure, that’s just what the cover spoke to me. Instead, I got the longest most hilarious first chapter I’ve ever read. It gave you all of David’s backstory. And the things he did as a kid. Hm, hm, hm. His parents way of resolving the problem–priceless. I’m still laughing.
Getting over my initial shock that this was not a mystery was replaced by some well written humor. This hype was immediately replaced as we returned to the present and David presented a more somber mood.
Then Elise came into the picture, David’s girl friend. No, not girlfriend, his friend that is a girl. That is until David realizes his like for her has moved into love. Aaaah, a budding romance. This is a romance novel. Of course not! Let me be clear that relationship does develop throughout the novel, but—there was that thing you know, that thing that centered around Displaytek (the place where David did his internship). That engineering thing that got him there in the first place and was the primary story of the book. Right, Let me explain it more clearly, It was that thing that some of us would label as technology. While others would call it geeky and nerdy. Oh! Or science fiction as those of us who must categorize books into genres would call it.
No mystery! I should have really been let down. But, I like humor. I like romance. Wait, I even like science fiction. Besides, there was a little bit of mystery with that drug thing. Yet, you already know about that.
The UNIQUE thing about Intrinsic Encounters is the suspense. Yes, you heard me, it is a suspense thriller, (my mystery) with lots of action and adventure. When David walks into Displaytek on the first day, and talks to Anje Tille of Human Resources, he asks her what is expected of him as an intern. Her answer is what kept me turning the pages of this book. With characters like Henrik Wang and John Nwosu, Intrinsic Encounters is also an ETHNIC read.
This book is recommended for Young Adults from age 16 and Adults.
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BIO: K. M. Oddeck received his degree in Business Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Jena. Upon graduation, he started writing Intrinsic Encounters. He currently lives in Germany.
C. T. MARKEE
Verónica pushes through the other seventh grade kids in our breezeway, speaking over the noise, “María! What’s wrong with Hannah?”
What does she want? Like she suddenly cares about Hannah, cares that the nurse sent her home, cares that her eyes were glassy, her face swollen and her whole body sagging. I begged Hannah to stay home, but she wouldn’t listen.
Thus begins a multicultural novel set in Salinas, California, in which 12-year-old María Cortez discovers her inner strength and uses it to save her best friend, Hannah, a Caucasian girl who lives next door. As the story unfolds, a presumed enemy becomes a friend, a mysterious old women, a curandera, becomes her mentor, she learns why the space on her birth certificate for father is blank, she discovers her Huichol roots and in the end she choses a life career.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
When I started reading María’s Beads, I thought I knew a lot about Hispanic culture, I was pleasantly surprised to know that I didn’t. I loved the storytelling aspect of María’s Beads, and the way in which certain things were presented in the story. What certain things you ask? You know I can’t tell you, that would spoil the story for you.
I can tell you that she used the same method of an important historical figure to solve the problem of Hannah’s illness. What, you want more information about this historical figure and what she did? Really! So you can be mad at me later for giving away the story. Lets go on.
The UNIQUE thing about María’s Beads is the power Maria receives from the beads and from her lessons with La Curandera. María’s Beads is also an ETHNIC read because Maria learns that her Hispanic roots are a mix of Huichol and Brazilian.
I really, really liked this wonderful, amazing, historical story for Middle Grade Readers 10 – 12 and Young Adults to age 14.
BIO: One evening my wife told me the story of her 13-year-old best friend who lived next door to where she grew up in Salinas, California. One day, she contracted kidney disease, her parents refused medical intervention and the girl died. I was struck by the emotional impact of such an event on a pre-teen. It propelled my wife out of a near-poverty existence and into a life-time career as a medical professional, impacting hundreds of patients. This book is my attempt to capture that motivation for pre-teen girls without the death.
Charles is coordinator and meeting moderator for the Sonoma County Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). He has published three middle-grade novels as well as work in three literary anthologies, Tiny-Lights literary website and the Santa Rosa Press democrat newspaper. He was co-editor of the Redwood Writers 2012 anthology, Call of the Wild, and is an active member of the Redwood Writers a branch of the California Writer’s Club (CWC).
THE NEVERNIGHT WARS BOOK ONE: TOBY’S GIFT
The weirdest, most horrible week in Toby Stevens’ life starts when he hears a voice no one else can hear. The voice tells him that he has been Chosen to fight in a thousand-year-long war. It says that he’ll be given a Gift, a superpower to help him save the world. Terrified, Toby tries to ignore the voice, to pretend that everything is normal. But his friends keep catching him talking to himself. And the voice keeps saying stranger and stranger things. It tells him that he has to go to the middle of the Nevernight Forest, the giant woods that surround Toby’s town. In the Nevernight, the voice almost screams, all of your questions will be answered.
By the end of the week, Toby can’t take it anymore. He jumps up in the middle of class, races past the school security guard and runs straight into the Nevernight Forest. As the shouts of “Stop!” and “Come back!” fade behind him, Toby almost runs headlong into a fight between an old man with a silver sword and a huge man with a black axe. The two men stop fighting long enough to turn to look at Toby. As they drop their weapons and start walking toward the frightened boy, Toby’s normal life ends and the Nevernight Wars begin.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Imagine sitting in your basement on a dark and stormy night secretly looking at a forbidden scary movie with your best friends Kirsten Roberts and Billy Delancy when you hear a voice. “You have to help her,” it pleads. You look around, did the others hear it? No, they are focused on the screen where Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is chasing some girl. In confusion, you wonder if this is part of the movie. No . . .it’s not his voice. Freddy’s voice is deeper and scary. This voice is soft and gentle and . . . it’s outside. Slowly you look towards the window. There’s nothing there but your backyard. Yet, beyond that lies—the Nevernight Forest. Someone in that forest is asking you to help her because, “she’s drowning.”
Who is she? Who’s talking? Why are you the only one that can hear him? Yes, that soft gentle voice is male. At your hesitation, it becomes commanding. “TOBY! LOOK OUTSIDE!” What are you going to do? What any curious sixth-grade boy would do. Ignore the wet and wild weather and step outside.
The brilliant thing about Jeff Trussell’s The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift, is:from the moment that you discover the voice in the woods is Cayman, a black man with a Jamaican accent who tells you the history of the Nevernight Forest, and the war that has been going on for centuries to save it from destruction; from the moment that Toby’s gift (superpowers to you), which is achieved by an ancient process handed down by the Goddess Isis, begins to grow and you find yourself trying to scrat—no, no, no–no spoilers from here; from the moment, the very touching moment (I’m a girl what do you expect), that Toby asks Billy, his best friend who is in a wheelchair to teach him how to use his gift, you are part of the story both mentally and physically.
The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is a fantasy story with a little bit of science fiction and a lot of mystery thrown in. The way that Toby defeats Mr. Skinner, the antagonist, makes this a UNIQUE read. With the inclusion of Cayman (not to mention Isis, my favorite Goddess) and Billy, The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is also an ETHNIC and SPECIAL NEEDS read. I can’t wait to see where the next adventure will take us.
The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12). First Time Readers (8 -12) with Parent assistance. Girls will also enjoy this book.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
BIO Have you ever had a story you just had to tell? Something you ran home from school, burst in the front door and started blabbing to your parents before they even knew who was talking to them? The Nevernight Wars is that story for me. And like any good story, The Nevernight Wars has become more that just a story. In a weird way, and I wouldn’t admit this to just anybody, the characters are real. Toby, Kirsten and Billy aren’t real in the same way my wife Jennifer or baby Silas or our funny looking basset hound Luke are real. But real in the way Halloween or what you wish for on your birthday is real.
And for everyone who keeps asking when the next Nevernight will be ready, the answer is very soon. I won’t say what’s going to happen, but I will say that even I was surprised.
THE STRUGGLE: MOM AND THE SUMMERTIME BLUES
Patrice Smith, Donna Smith, Shannon Smith, Charity Smith, and Faith Smith
Illustrator/Artist Patrice Smith
Editor Jermaine Smith
The school bell rings and school’s out. It’s time for summer! You rush out into the hall, say goodbye to your friends and run to the school bus. You just can’t wait for summer to begin. But for these four girls, it’s the complete opposite…
Meet four sisters: Diamond, Sheila, Crystal, and Felicity
Nice girls who loofa school and dread summer. Yeah, you heard right dread summer. Read about this comical tale of how their mother makes their lives miserable during their “fun” summer.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Many, many, times over the last 23 years, my son has accused me of being from another planet. However, there have been too many times to count that I’ve wondered if that was true about him. Okay, yeah, I was there when he was born so,iIn reality this is just the difference in thinking between parent and child. The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues is about such a difference. It is written by four sisters (age 10 – 13/14) who hate summer vacation. Really! They hate summer vacation. Why, you wonder? Everyone knows that summer is all about fun.. You have all these plans in your mind that you’re gonna do this and you’re gonna do that but then Mom has all these things for you to do. Right?
As you start reading Diamond’s story, you find yourself laughing a few minutes later. This theme of gut busting laughter continues on through Sheila, Crystal, and Felicity. Felicity—Oh, I have to stop, no spoilers here.
I will say this, the one thing that makes this book UNIQUE, is that it’s based on fact. As I mentioned before it’s quite hilarious and a lot of fun to read. Kids will identify with everything that has been written by their age appropriate counterparts while parents will enjoy Mom’s redemption.
Another thing I found interesting about The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues was how after being given the project of writing a book about their summer, each girl took on a different identity, and made mom the villain. Why is it always the moms? I guess it’s because we give out the orders, schedule the activities, make the food choices, and—well the list goes on.
Here is a little insight for you kids of eight to thirteen, Mom, in this ETHNIC read featuring African-American characters, gives you a warning to let you know that an adult is now writing the book.If you want to know what your parents are thinking and how they come to some of the decisions they make about your life. READ ON!
The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues is recommend for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers to age 14. However, parents will love it too.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
BIO(S) The Smiths (Patrice, Donna, Shannon, Charity, and Faith r – l) are a Christian family that reside in the south.
Faith Smith-She is the writer for the character, Felicity. She is 10 years old and a Fourth grader who loves to draw and have fun. She also likes to read books and watch movies.
Charity Smith-The writer for the character, Crystal. Charity is 11 years old and a Fifth grader who loves math, trivia, origami, reading, writing, and dancing.
Shannon Smith-The writer for the character Shelia. Shannon loves all things fashion and like her character, she enjoys playing her clarinet. She also loves to eat almonds every day. She is 13 years old and a Seventh grader who can’t wait until she can buy her own house. She also likes to read in her free time. Arts and crafts are her favorite things to do.
Donna Smith-The writer for the character Diamond. Donna loves fine arts like singing, acting, dancing, and cooking. She is 14 years old and in the Ninth grade. She is a very outgoing and creative person who loves to create new things, meet new people and write songs and poems.
Patrice Smith-The writer for the character Mom. Much like Mom, she is a wife and mother of four. She loves to learn and make new things. She is also interested in healthy living, gardening and technology. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana with a B.S. in Human Resources and Family Studies where she studied Marketing of Textiles and Apparel. She is a Master Cosmetologist, an author and a health coach.
AN ODE TO MY MOTHER
This is a heartwarming story about the power of a mother’s love; truly an ode to women and mothers all over the world. It is a captivating and emotional story that talks about love and loss!
Follow Yetunde as she narrates her mother’s ode to her grandmother. It is the Yoruba praise poetry for a mother known as Oriki Iya. Yetunde is also thrilled and delighted by the ancient Yoruba tale passed down to her by her mother about Labakẹ, a young maiden who was kidnapped to be forced to marry a warrior king. Will Iya Labakẹ save her child in time? Is Iya Labakẹ just a simple defenseless mother? Or . . . ?
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
The most fascinating thing about this book is that Yetunde, is nine-months old and very, very funny. On this day, she’s playing with the computer when she notices her mother’s sadness. Being the girl she is, she toddles over and tries to cheer her up. Beaming proudly that she made it on her own, she grabs her mother’s leg.
Looking down on her beautiful child’s face, what mom isn’t going to sweep her up into a loving cuddle after such a big accomplishment. But, looking into her mother’s eyes, Yetunde sees that she is still sad so she takes her mother’s face in her hands and gives her a little kiss. It was so precious, and….
However, this moment led up to an even more heartwarming and touching event…storytelling. Yes, Yetunde’s mother cradled her on her lap and passed on one of the many folktales that her mother had shared with her to honor her mother’s passing.
Yetunde – An Ode to My Mother, brought back so many pleasant memories of storytelling with my mother, as I’m sure it will for you. It seems to be the backbone of African culture as it is with many others. Naturally, Yetunde – An Ode to My Mother is an ETHNIC read. But, it is also UNIQUE in the way Segilola Salami marries both Yoruba words with English.
Although the main character is nine months old, I recommend Yetunde – An Ode to My Mother for all children from the ages of infant to twelve years old.
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BIO From the dawn of time itself African folktales have been passed from generation to generation – in a way that’s almost as timeless as the stories that have survived through the same centuries.
Where once the village fire was the lynchpin to the fables spoken around it and from adult to child, author Segilola Salami now uses the written word to do the same – with first her novel Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba girl in London.
With the rise of digital media in this most technological of ages, Segilola goes against the grain and vanguards traditional storytelling through Yetunde. In the same way that African folktales have helped prepare young people for their life ahead, so does the novel by the way of life as seen through the eyes of 6 month old Yetunde.
Nigerian born and London bred author Segilola Salami intrinsically knows the heartfelt stories woven through her eagerly awaited novel. With an undeniable heritage and unwavering passion to pass on the tales, she began compiling African stories to tell to her own then new born daughter.
With interest mounting from Nollywood investors, all talks are still open and enquiries still welcome for those wishing to turn the book into a 3D animation.
Even in these heady times of increasing success Segilola stays true to both her roots and passion of writing. She is available to hold book reading events and give creative writing workshops to those budding writers that wish to follow in her footsteps. Similarly she is now available to take speaking engagements and write custom pieces for enquiring publications.
Since releasing her first book Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London in 2015, Segilola Salami now has a number of other books under her belt and is the host of her own podcast show called The Segilola Salami Show. The show is a round table discussion where she has a number of other self published authors discuss the business of self publishing and review a self published book. If you would like to be a guest on the show or be in the audience, then please contact her now. Segilola Salami is also a self-publishing strategist and provides one to one support to aspiring authors to self publish their own books and make a success of it. Over a number of weeks, she helps aspiring authors navigate the minefield that is self publishing to enable them publish their own book successfully.