Featured Author - Andrea Vaughan
We spotlight a new author or illustrator every month.
Andrea Vaughan earned her master's degree in clinical social work from Boston University and spent the majority of her career working in higher education. She has also been teaching the public about the prevention of child sexual abuse for the past fifteen years. Andrea is a key member of the speaker’s bureau for S.E.S.A.M.E., a national organization dedicated to preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and school staff.
As an author, Andrea's award-winning book, Invisible Target: Breaking the Cycle of Educator Sexual Abuse, details the account of one girl's experience of ultimate betrayal. She also hosts the podcast, Andrea Speaks Out, which shines a light on healing from and prevention of sexual abuse. Her hope is that with education and prevention, every child will live in a world safe from abuse.
Andrea's passion for helping children, background in social work, and sound healing joined forces to create her first children's book - Victoria and the Big, Brave Breath. In this award-winning book, we're introduced to Victoria who worries ... A LOT! She worries about trying new food, playing in the park, her hands sweating, her tummy hurting, and her knees shaking. But with the help from her favorite teddy bear, Baxter, Victoria learns that her BIG worries can get much, much smaller.
This beautifully illustrated book will teach young children the importance and benefits of mindful breathing. Teachers, parents, clinicians and other helpful grown-ups can practice this easy technique with their children to create calmer families, schools, and communities. Andrea's dream is for children everywhere to have calmer, more peaceful childhoods.
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Thanks for learning more about our Feature of the Month - Andrea Vaughan. Visit next month as we spotlight a new author/illustrator.
Kretel Arzola grew up in a small town on the island of Cuba. As a child, she loved painting on scraps of canvas and found her inspiration everywhere. She also loved reading and spending time at the library, where her mother worked. Kretel wrote her first story at the age of six, and she never forgot the excitement of her newfound passion.
Kretel's children, like herself, love bedtime stories with sprinkles of magic and adventures. That is when she decided to write again. Kretel knows how vital literature is for a child's development and how big of a role our imagination plays in our creativity and how we view the world. She tells tales in English as well as her native language, Spanish. Her books feature magical dreamland visits, unique and unconditional friendships, and more.
Kretel's life experiences have shaped and molded her style and creativity. Her vision is to inspire and create positive change in the world through her books. Kretel truly believes every child is unique and is worth celebrating.
In Like My Dad!, little Abel explains why he believes his dad is secretly a SUPERHERO with incredible SUPERPOWERS. He's strong, intelligent, and courageous. Hmm. Maybe Abel's dad is a superhero. Read and decide for yourself.
After reading this book, kids can write letters and draw pictures on the last pages of the PAPERBACK edition and present it as a gift for dad. Younger children can print their hands and feet instead to show their LOVE.
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Alyssa Nicole is an elementary school teacher with a passion for the environment and marine life. She has always been a big fan of Disney movies and inspirational stories with powerful messages. Nicole was inspired to write the Protector of the Ocean to raise awareness of the effects of pollution on our environment and to inspire children (and adults!) to protect our world.
Protector of the Ocean follows an adventurous girl named Kai who loves to spend time by the ocean. As a young child, she meets a sweet turtle friend named Bella, and they play together in a beautiful, clean ocean. As Kai gets older, she witnesses the effects of pollution on the habitat of her friend and comes back to help protect and preserve the ocean for her and all the other creatures.
The story shares important messages about friendship, protecting the environment, helping others, and empowering children to follow their dreams and make a positive impact. The female lead character who pursues a STEM career is a great role model for girls. The book is perfect for preschool and elementary school children (ages 3-8), but the powerful messages of protecting our planet and making a difference will resonate with any age. With colorful and vibrant illustrations and endearing characters, this book is sure to be a children's favorite that they will want to read over and over again!
For more information: www.alyssanicolebooks.com
Lauren Grabois Fischer is the founder and author of The Be Books. The Be Books is a children's book publishing company that believes in empowering and educating our youth to be proud of who they are and to live a positive and peaceful life.
From a very young age, Lauren dreamed of becoming a children's book author. As soon as she was able to lift a pencil and a crayon, she began writing poetry, short stories and drawing illustrations to all of her work. Throughout her childhood, she continued to write, imagine and create. Lauren later graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. She taught for nine wonderful years, six of them in Arizona and three in south Florida where she currently resides. After almost a decade of teaching, Lauren decided it was time to stay home. Being a mom and spending quality time with her two children was what mattered most.
With her husband's encouragement, Lauren transitioned and achieved her goal to becoming a children's book author. Lauren's work focuses on empowering young children to love who they are, to be kind to everyone that they meet, to respect all living creatures, to feel like they can make a positive change in this world, and to always be true to themselves. As an elementary educator, she knows how important reading is and how an inspiring book can make a huge difference. As a mom to two amazing kiddos, Lauren is always looking to create books that she would want her children to be reading. Every book that she writes has a positive message and an inspirational lesson to learn.
The fifth book in The Be Books series, The Light Within Me, is an inspirational book that empowers children to find the light within themselves and use that light to make a positive change in this world — something our world desperately needs right now. Through kindness and acceptance, we can make this world a more peaceful place.
"We cannot fully control our thoughts, but we can control what we choose to put our focus and energy on. Every person has the challenge of learning whether to focus on the positive or the negative. It is very easy to see the pain and hurt in the world, but it is also just as easy to focus on the love and beauty around us. When enough of us work on seeing the good and being the kindness and light in the world, we will see a dramatic shift in positivity in our news and in our daily lives. Teach your children. Empower your children. Inspire your children. They are our future. They are the ones that will make this world a better place." - Lauren Grabois Fischer
Writing has been part of Temístocles Díaz's life since his younger years growing up in Panama City, Panama. That passion shaped his professional career as an author, writer, and film producer and resulted in Inner Truth Books. This series of children's books help strengthen emotional intelligence through stories that teach self-empowerment, authenticity, empathy, and other important values. Temi believes everyone is unique in this world, so it is essential for kids and adults to preserve their authenticity to be able to achieve their full potential.
The first book in the series, An Inner Truth, demonstrates the power and influence of words. Words can cause children to doubt and feel insecure. But they can also build, encourage and empower, giving them the necessary tools that will allow them to overcome and face challenges in life with bravery, optimism and confidence. In this book, you will meet Rachel, a young girl whose feelings become influenced by a family member's personal fears. Rachel begins to feel insecure, thinking that nobody wants to be her friend. Her mother and her teacher work together to help Rachel see that her strength lies in the light that she carries within. This book shows kids that by being themselves, they will always belong!
Check the links below to learn more about Temi and the newest edition to the series - Who Would You Rather Be?.
For more information:
A schoolteacher and an avid children's book author, Alicia Ortego, has a wealth of experience spanning over 20 years working with children. Alicia is a mother of two and a firm believer in the power of educating children at home to cultivate their character and create awareness in them from an early age.
Alicia's books about empathy, kindness, and compassion are an embodiment of her vast experience as a teacher and mother, her love for kids, and an overpowering passion for instilling in them a reading culture.
In Kindness is My Superpower, little superhero Lucas will learn what kindness means and understand what it is like to be kind, sensitive, caring, and generous. This charming story with peaceful rhymes and colorful illustrations will explain to your child that it is okay to make a mistake and say I'm sorry. Lucas will teach your child good manners and positive behavior at home, at school, in the store, and on the playground.
Learn more about Alicia below and check out her second book in the series, Breathing is My Superpower, teaching children how to control their emotions, especially when they are feeling upset, angry, or anxious.
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Cynthia Levinson was in high school when Audrey Faye Hendricks marched to jail, and she knows she would not have been as brave as Audrey. But when Cynthia met Audrey forty-five years later, she knew she had to write a book about her for young readers. Cynthia spent more than three years interviewing marchers and researching the events.
The Youngest Marcher retells Audrey's story when she becomes the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963. This moving picture book proves you’re never too little to make a difference!
Nine-year-old Audrey intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!
Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident, bold and brave as can be, and hers is a remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Cynthia's book We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March tells this story for older readers. She has also written about social justice in Watch Out for Flying Kids: How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community. Her books have won numerous awards, including the Jane Addams Award, the NAACP Image Honor, and recognition from states and national teacher organizations. She and her husband divide their time between Austin, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts.
For more information: www.cynthialevinson.com
Delanda and her husband Terrence have one daughter, who loves to have a bedtime story read to her every night! After years of reading, the couple began searching for books with more diverse characters in topics focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). They found very few options in these categories and decided it was time to create their own story. The wife and husband duo are excited to create stories and experiences highlighting inclusive images all children and parents will love.
In More Than a Princess, you will meet Princess Kiana. Guided by her fairy godmother, Kiana receives a chance to explore life outside a castle. She explores a future career as an astronaut, a doctor, an engineer, and a designer - because who says she can't be more than just a princess?
More Than a Princess is a fairy tale, aiming to show girls worldwide all they can achieve, with vision and dedication, focused in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Through the lens of an African American / Black princess, this book offers the reader a rhyming kids’ book that showcases careers in a modern way.
Are you looking for STEM books for girls? More Than a Princess is the perfect educational gift for young children and early readers of all races. It is engaging, educational, and inspiring!
A native and resident of Boston, MA, Delanda holds an MBA from New York University and a Bachelors' from Northeastern University. She is an avid reader and world traveler.
For more information: sydneyandcoleman.com
As a children's picture book author, teacher, parent, and grandparent, Professor Stork believes picture books can help change the world for the better. They can help make the world a friendlier place by empowering children to make a difference. Leading the charge will be children ages five through eleven. During these formative years children are most excited to learn how they can, individually and with friends, make a difference. The tools we give them during these years last a lifetime, and when the time is right, and their interest rises to the surface, they will know how to make a positive difference in the world. Professor Stork's mission is to provide parents with picture books that deliver messages and entertainment they'll be proud to place in the hands of their children.
Penelope and Jack, Together Apart is a children’s book that takes place in the time of the pandemic during social distancing, mask wearing and all of the uncertainty that comes along with it. It is also a beautiful story about friendship and kindness that teaches children to see the good and positive in the different situations they may face in life. It is fun and empowering and reminds us we can still smile behind our masks. It also explores the power of family and how sticking by one another helps us achieve our dreams. With a little bit of love and ingenuity covid doesn’t stand a chance!
Reading Together Apart is the perfect way for parents and children to have a positive experience sharing their feelings about facing tough times, and seeing the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel. While social distancing on the 147th floor of his family’s 'above the clouds' apartment, Jack develops a close friendship with Penelope, who lives in the building across the street. Cleverly communicating across the empty space between their balconies, Jack and Penelope launch a friendship in the most unlikely of scenarios. With a little help from their families, human connection and kindness prevail. Together Apart reminds us that even in challenging times there is no stopping a child’s ingenuity and love. Parents will be reminded of the spark of optimism and joy we all felt as children. Now is the perfect time to share these feelings.
For more information: www.madstorkpublishing.com
Pragya Tomar is a passionate children's author and the founder of PenMagicBooks Publishing. She has a love of storytelling, imbuing her stories with a magical touch and fantastical adventures that quickly make them favorites of kids of all ages. She believes that stories are a wonderful way of inspiring kids and introducing them to reading at a young age, and she hopes that her books will touch their hearts and make their childhoods that little bit more special.
In Pragya's It's Not Easy Being a Lazy Bug, Bug loves doing nothing. He never gets dressed, or makes his own food, or even goes to school! But when his parents decide to stop doing everything for him, Bug soon discovers that being lazy isn't such a good idea after all… and that becoming independent is fun after all!
It is a hilarious and enjoyable tale that inspires kids to do things for themselves and not be lazy. Featuring vivid illustrations and an upbeat theme, Bug's delightful story is perfect for teaching young children about the downsides of being lazy and the rewarding satisfaction that comes from taking control and being independent.
When not writing, Pragya works in the Animation Industry as a Visual FX Artist. There she's brought her magic touch to critically-acclaimed feature films and shows including Disney's Bolt, A Christmas Carol, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Star Wars, Transformers 3, Kungfu Panda, Nickelodeon's TV show WallyKazam and Shimmer and Shine.
Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Pragya came to the US to study film, and she now enjoys living in California.
For more information: www.penmagicbooks.com
Laurie Wright is a bestselling children’s author on a mission to empower people from around the world one book at a time. She empowers children through her books, that gently and with humor coach kids in self-regulation. She empowers writers by getting them to step up, take action and publish those books! In a weekly podcast 'The Writer’s Way' she shares stories of other everyday authors for inspiration.
“The most important thing I do is raise my three kids. They make me laugh, make me tired, and occasionally make me hide in the closet with Doritos. But they are still the most important thing I do.
The second most important thing I do is to help children around the world learn how to handle their emotions. I’m thrilled to share that my books have been, or are currently being, translated into 8 other languages and sold all over the world. EEK! It’s still hard for me to believe!
Thirdly, I help writers to create and grow strong book businesses. No matter what stage you’re in, I can help! I geek out about all things publishing, so you don’t have to. See the courses I offer HERE!
I do all of these things while trying to maintain harmony in my life and trying to pee alone!
The days fly by, and I try to capture the beautiful moments as they happen, as often as I can.”
For more information: www.lauriewrightauthor.com
https://youtu.be/FZOtXCJ4TjYRead by Walter Koenig (Chekov from Star Trek).
Julia Inserro is a mom of three littles, living abroad with her husband and a handful of cats. She is a writer, reader, photographer, and explorer. Her first book, Nonni's Moon, was awarded the Readers' Favorite 2018 GOLD medal winner for children's books (K-3).
Now Julia introduces us to Lindy Loom and her fantastical, imaginative adventures in A Unicorn Ate My Homework. Lindy sees stories everywhere, and she loves to share them with everyone!
Julia shares her inspiration for creating Lindy Loom.
"Kids these days are much savvier than when I was growing up. The imaginations they have seem limitless, especially when coming up with excuses, right? I mean, it was the poor dog who always got blamed for eating one's homework when I was a kid. But now, the sky's the limit. Maybe it was an alien, or a fire-breathing dragon, or yes, even the mystical unicorn.
For most kids, imagination has no bounds, but as we grow up, that fun, wild part of us seems to get buried. It gets lost under the worries of adulthood. Pushed aside for grocery lists, bank balances, car repairs, career goals, and parenting concerns. But once in a while, when we sit still and let our imagination rise to the surface again, we can be transported anywhere we want to go.
Encouraging our kids to use their imaginations will create better scientists, engineers, teachers, doctors, innovators, artists, parents and people.
Hope and dreams live in imagination. Let them soar."
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Author Misty Black enjoys picture books as much as her children do, if not more! Why? Because a good book can take you anywhere in the world! (No need to get out of bed!)
Misty has been winning awards for writing since fifth grade. She enjoys reading, playing board games, gardening, and spending time with her husband and 3 children. She is secretly a part-time tooth fairy--and so her inspiration for My Mom the Fairy was born.
When asked why she writes, she said, "Books should be fun and exciting. Children deserve to love reading, and I want to be a part of that."
Misty's newest book, My Mom the Fairy, Book 2 in the Fizzle Fun series, is full of fun and adventure. Join Sage, her unicorn Daisy, and her part-time fairy mom in their quest for more magical Fizzy Flakes. Will they be able to complete their journey and return home, or will the mischievous pixies stop them?
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From Me to We: Sharing Your Happy teaches children important life lessons. Together, we can achieve so much more. Together, we’re stronger. Together, we’ll succeed. Young children and their loved ones will revel in the encouraging rhymes and beautiful illustrations of this Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient.
Writing under a number of pen names, Eevi Jones is a multi-award winning & bestselling children’s book author, and the founder of Children’s Book University™, where she teaches loving moms, dads, grandparents, and teachers how to write & publish their own magical story.
Eevi has helped aspiring authors from all walks of life––from lawyers, neuroscientists, and filmmakers to parents and grandparents––at all stages of their writing careers. Her signature method draws from the writer’s own experiences and past circumstances to influence children’s lives in an incredible and positive way.
For more information:
Click here to purchase From Me to We: Sharing Our Happy on Amazon.
(Eevi dedicates 50% of all proceeds to Pencils Of Promise to help provide little ones with access to quality education, regardless of their gender, race, or social-economic backgrounds.)
Claire E. Hallinan, 5th-grade teacher and the author of My Breath Loves Me, comes out with her newest release Where My Breath Loves Me. Claire started working on this project because she cares about the well-being of children. She teaches mindfulness in the classroom, along with regular subjects in elementary school.
“Mindfulness is a tool for everyone in the world. With daily practices, we become curious to what is happening right in the moment. Clarity of the moment helps our mind to be calm, gentle, and compassionate. Best of all, recognizing each moment enhances our lives. With mindfulness, young children maximize learning experiences and that enriches their personal discovery.”
Claire is a writer, an entrepreneur, a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor, and a National Board Certified Teacher. Claire has many published works and her first children’s book, My Breath Loves Me, is an award-winning finalist in the Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit category of the 2019 International Book Awards.
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Henry Cole. I love his art! From adored elementary school science teacher to an author and illustrator with over 100 published works, Cole's artwork is simple yet stunning. Cole’s black-and-white artwork provides so much depth and detail that color is an afterthought. One of my favorites is Try a Little Kindness, a book about different animals helping each other in various humorous situations. From books that capture your attention with no words and only illustrations to colorful books that bring the joy of science and nature to children, Cole’s work has influenced millions globally.
For more information: www.henrycole.net
Jacquelyn Stagg's work has cultivated kindness in a generation of children and adults. We believe in her message that “kindness is the single most powerful thing that we can teach our children.”
A new mother and freelance graphic designer by trade, Jacquelyn Stagg set out to write a series of children's books on a topic near and dear to her heart. Kindness.
In the "Kindness Starts With You" series, your child will learn how easy it can be to spread kindness throughout their day. From taking turns on the swing to including everyone in the game - these storybooks show that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted!
Jacquelyn is someone I look up to in high esteem. Beside kindness, she is teaching her daughter and children everywhere to think outside the box, to take risks while finding ways to continue doing what you love.
“Here’s to accidentally becoming a Children’s Book Author!”
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CyAn Platas, an Argentinian illustrator/graphic designer and art teacher, loves creating children's books. She enjoys digital art but also loves pencils, watercolors, ink and oil painting.
"Anytime is the right time to draw: in the bus, in the park or while my little baby is sleeping at home."
You can see some of her art here:
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