"Joni Loves Her Macaroni" is a short, entertaining and rhythmic children's book sharing the love of a mother-daughter duo spending quality time together. It is a great book for early readers. The bright and colorful illustrations make reading fun and engaging. The strong, female protagonist captures Black girl magic. It is strongly recommended for children 2 to 5 year olds to develop vocabulary, learn about ingredients, how to make one of America's most loved dishes, and how to rhyme!
Amanda Kirkland is a communication expert, writer, and entrepreneur. Amanda decided to venture out on her own and start her own business Simplee Made PR. She oversees the media and PR efforts for the company and its programs. Amanda works closely with staff and community partners to promote and advocate for all of her clients through the media and in the marketplace. Multitasking a full time job, small business and family.
She was inspired by her daughter Naomi (Nomi), who was 3 years old at the time. Her absolute favorite meal is macaroni. Naomi is now in Kindergarten and loves the story "Joni Loves her Macaroni." She's super proud her mommy made a book about her and loves to share the story with all of her friends.
Get your copy at https://www.facebook.com/Joniloveshermacaroni/
Anne Sibley O'Brien, the keynote speaker, discussed her research with Krista Aronson and the website: https://diversebookfinder.org/
Melissa-Sue John, mother, psychology professor, diversity expert, researcher, children’s book author, and a publisher at Lauren Simone Publishing House (www.laurensimonepubs.com), had the privilege of meeting like minded authors, illustrators, publishers, editors and librarians who are invested in increasing and promoting diverse children’s and young adult literature.
On the panel, experts were asked to share about diversity in children's literature...
Diversity refers to an inclusion of age, gender, race, color, culture, language, weight, socioeconomic status, religion, sexuality, intellect/education, weight, and ability/skills. Diversity in children’s books is important because it
Reaction to Diverse literature
Some agents, publishers, distributers, librarians, and book buyers discriminate against diverse authors because
Purchasing Diverse books
What can be done to make them easier for purchase?
#WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign initiated in 2014, founded by Ellen Oh (Korean American) and Lamar Giles (African American) has brought about a significant shift in publishing trends.
#EqualRead, founded by Taun Wright, builds broadly diverse book collections and provides teacher professional development, parent education, and author events for more identity-safe classrooms in schools. Berkeley Public Library is growing its Equal Read collection!
#1000BlackGirlBooks. Eleven-year-old Marley Dias went on a quest to collect and donate 1,000 books with a black girl as the main character. Create categories in library searches for #kidlit
Should authors not write characters that aren't their experience?
Authors desire to tell their stories and share their own experiences.
The Fart fairy
This book was written by Bobbie Hinman. It is about a fairy that farts. I find this book interesting because it discusses fairies of all shapes and sizes. The part that I disliked was I didnt see the moral of the story. I give it 4 stars. - Olivia Lauren
The Fart Fairy is a beautifully illustrated book filled with diversity of its characters, human, animal, and fairy alike. It is a book for people with a special sense of humor, hearing, and smell! It also does a great job with rhyme. I absolutely loved everything about it. It was a pleasure to read. It was funny looking at the characters. At the end is a song to the tune of Pop goes the weasel. I give it 5 stars. - Dr John, author and psychologist.
The Sock Fairy is a book that tries to explain why we can never find our socks or why they get holes in it. It is very imaginative and creative. The illustrations are very pretty. I give it 4 stars.- Olivia Lauren, 10
This book demonstrates that no matter what your story is about you can still have diverse characters! I saw children of all shapes, sizes, cues, and abilities. Bobbie Hinman never fails to amaze me with her creative and skillful way with words and rhyme. I give this book 5 stars. - Dr. John, author and psychologist.
This was the first book I read from the Best Fairy Series. I thought it was so adorable. Kids go to bed with hair brushed, and in some cases protected with satin headscarves and when they wake up their hair is a mess. There can only be on explanation---the knot fairy! Very clever and cute story. Another 5 star book rating. I am actually really in awe of Bobbie Hinman. Her work is amazing, carefully thought out, and emphasizes children's needs. She teaches other authors that they must think like a child and write like an adult. And she encourages inclusivity, not just for having a wider audience, but so that the readers can relate. I love the book mark and that she signs her books when you order from her website. I wish her continued success!
Popcorn behind the bush is written by Grace LaJoy Henderson. The book is about Gracie looking for a gift from her grandma. I liked this book because it is realistic and fun. It is from the genre called realistic fiction or mystery. The part I disliked was there could be more to the story. I recommend it to younger children.-- Olivia Lauren, age 10
Popcorn behind the bush by Dr. Grace LaJoy Henderson, is a short story about a little, African American girl named Gracie. Gracie lives with her mom, dad, and little brother and lives in a beautiful. She has a great relationship with her grandma who lives on her own. Her grandma sent her a gift through the mail. The postal worker delivers it and leaves a note on the door. The point of the story is for Gracie to decipher the note. At the end of the book, the author provides reading comprehension questions (What do you think?), About the Book (The Gracie series) and an about the author section. It is a sweet book for beginner readers. I give it 5 stars.- Dr. John, author, publisher, social psychologist and mom of two daughters (10 and 16 years old)
Hello readers!!!! Welcome to LSP Blogs. My name is Olivia Lauren. I am a child author and publisher. My mom, sister, and I created Lauren Simone Publishing House to provide a place for talented youth to share their stories and their art. Today I am interviewing my friend and fellow mini-author, Imani Ariana Grant.
Olivia: Hello Imani. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Imani: I am a nine-year-old girl who loves to dance, sing, do art, play the violin, and play with my friends. I also love fairy tales, myths, and animation. So far, I love to write! I also love my new book!
Olivia: What inspired you to write a book?
Imani: My baby brother inspired me to begin to write and still does! One day, I was sitting on my porch and I saw my brother watching a show about planets. And that is who inspires me and why.
Olivia: How did you come up with the title?
Imani: At the moment, I was thinking of something fun. Like a party. That's how I came up with "Disco balls of the Universe".
Olivia: What inspired you to write this book?
Imani: My teacher, my brother, and my mother. When I was in third grade, I had an assignment where I had to write a poem for each season. Then, one summer day, I was sitting on my porch and my mom told me to write a poem for her. Then, when I was thinking about what to write, I saw my brother watching a show about planets. That's when it all started.
Olivia: Are any of your characters based on real people?
Imani: The main character is me!
And Venus was based on Venus, the tennis player. It was just funny that the planet named Venus and the actual tennis player Venus had similar speed lol!
Olivia: Where do you write?
Imani: In the summer, I love to sit outside and write, read, or play with my brother. When it's cold, I like to sit in the family room because that is where everyone gets together. I like to sit outside because I get a good view.
Olivia: What is your favorite book?
Imani: Well, I don't have 1 specific favorite book, but I do love mysteries, science, and funny books.
Olivia: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself, your book, or your family?
Imani: I love my family a lot. I also love my book and so does my brother. I am also the owner of Magitots and I am currently learning how to run it. Magitots is an online store that features children's fashion and educational toys and books such as Disco balls of the Universe.
Olivia: Will you have a party to celebrate?
Imani: Yes, Saturday March 3rd 2-4pm at The Harvesters located at 54 Granby St. Bloomfield, CT 06002. Here is the event link.
Olivia: I am so proud of you, Imani. You are going to be a very successful author. You can be anything you want to be. Just keep working hard at school and building your career as an author and entrepreneur. Thanks for accepting this interview. Lauren Simone Pubs wishes you the best of luck!
Imani: Thanks Olivia.
As you know here at Lauren Simone Pubs, we blog about children's books written by talented youth or indie authors. Today, one of our very own advisory board members published her first book. We wanted to share the good news with you. I purchased a copy on Amazon. Here is my review below and a little bit about the author.
Faith Clarke in her book, Parenting like a ninja: An Autism mom’s guide to professional productivity, uses a fun, casual, and conversational tone to help the reader learn methods to see clearly and strategize ways to live in harmony while parenting a child with autism. While she understands not every child diagnosed with autism is the same, she argues that the principles for living a harmonious, productive, and fully integrated life apply. She is authentic and relatable in sharing her personal experiences with her son. In addition, she gives the reader time to digest the content and reflect on their own experiences as a mom of a child diagnosed with autism in each chapter (a section called Your Turn). Although this book was written specifically for moms of children with autism, I believe this book could be and should be read by all working mothers. If you have ever completed undergrad, pursued graduate school, and aimed towards a successful career, and something life altering changes those plans such as the birth of a special needs child, having to care for a sick or elderly parent, a spouse’s loss of income, or whatever the challenge you may be facing, this book puts life into perspective. The good news is you can still achieve professional goals with these strategies she puts in place and achieve work-life balance. Success is continually redefined as our mindsets are changed and our vision becomes clearer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. – Dr. Melissa-Sue John, author, social psychologist, and professor.
Faith Clarke is formally trained in Computer Science, Adult Education and Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Performace Psychology where she focuses on stress management and well being. In addition, she homeschools her three children, one of whom was diagnosed with autism. She is the author of Parenting like a ninja: An autistic moms guide to professional productivity and the CEO and founder of Melody of Autism, which is a program to support families caring for loved ones with autism by connecting them with trained care specialists with nuanced insights into their family's needs. Designed and implemented a comprehensive curriculum for autism care specialist training and autism sensitivity training that reflects cutting edge perspectives on autism and approaches to building deep connections and facilitating learning and development in people with autism.
Melissa: Hello Elijah and Sabrina. I would like to introduce you to the Lauren Simone Publishing House readers. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Elijah: Hi! I am 4 years old and I love dinosaurs. I love going on adventures using my imagination. Sometimes my sister Madison is with me on my adventures.
Melissa: Where were you born? Where have you lived? And where do you call home?
Elijah: I was born in Florida, lived in Al Ain, UAE, and Abu Dhabi, UAE. Homestead, Florida is my home.
Melissa: What or who inspired you to start writing?
Elijah: Mom and Dad read stories every night. One night mom told me to create my story and from there I just started to create more and more stories.
Melissa: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Elijah: When my mom showed me the first sample of what my book would look like. I got excited and told all my friends at school.
Melissa: How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
Elijah: All, we didn’t change much. The illustrator drew our pictures from real pictures my mom took of me in action.
Melissa to Elijah’s mom: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Sabrina: We have read all the reviews so far. It is very exciting to read how people feel towards our book. The positive reviews gives me the strength to continue to document Elijah and Madison as they go off on their adventures. I have yet to read a negative review and I hope we do not receive one.
Melissa: I am so glad to hear that! Please tell us about your current release.
Elijah: It’s about my favorite animal, I have a collection of dinosaurs that I enjoy playing with. Rex and I tend to go on adventures even though he is invisible.
Melissa: Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Elijah: Yes, the entire book is based on real people. My mom and sister is mentioned in the book.
Melissa: Is this book a part of a series? If so, what is the next book going to be about?
Elijah: I collaborated with my sister Madison on this series. The next book that will be released is about my sister Madison and how she evolved in her painting.
Melissa: If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Elijah: My book. My mom reads it every night before bed.
Melissa to Sabrina: If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
Sabrina: J K Rowling - her story was quite inspirational. She went threw several disappointments before getting her big break, her accomplishment allows me to have the dream that Elijah will excel with his adventures through children’s book. Terry McMillan - how Stella got her grove back is my favorite. She demonstrated that age is just a number, it’s love that overcome any obstacle in life.
Melissa: Thank you Sabrina and Elijah for taking the time to share your book. We wish you both much success and can't wait to see the other books in the Madison and Elijah series.
Hi Lauren Simone Pubs Readers,
I would like to introduce you to Childrens author, Wanda Luthma!
She has her Masters of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest.
Wanda, please tell us your story of how you began writing.
Wanda: Do you have a picky eater in your family? Are mealtimes a battle?
I can completely relate. My daughter was super picky as a child and when she was about to be school-aged, I wanted to figure out something she could take for lunch. She liked peanut butter, she liked jelly, and she liked bread so I thought, naively, that she would like a PB&J sandwich. Oh my goodness, did we have a standoff? Sound familiar?
My newest picture book, Franky the Finicky Flamingo, was inspired not only by my child's pickiness but my own. I know that's not a very "grown up" kind of thing to admit but alas I am picky. Most of it is due to texture issues but some of it is actually due to taste. Now, don't get me wrong, I was a much pickier eater when I was a child. So, I've outgrown a lot of it. And if you have a picky eater, I believe they're going to grow out it as well.
When I was in Elementary School, I didn't eat the school lunches so my Mom packed me exactly what I wanted every single day and that was a cold hot dog. Not the healthiest food, but I was happy. Somewhere around Middle School, I started eating school lunches. I know she was relieved.
I can honestly say that vegetables are just not my thing. I found out as an adult that I actually prefer my vegetables raw. Part of that is definitely texture, I don't like mushy vegetables but the other more surprising thing is taste. I find vegetables in the raw are much tastier than after they have been cooked. I have even been told they are better for you. So, who's picky now? Am I right? LOL
The other types of food that I really don't like are citrus fruits. They have those strings in them. I choke on them. Still to this day! And I don't like orange juice with pulp in it. Other fruits are all good though. What about you—do you have any foods you don’t like?
One time I heard a story about a set of twins that were separated at birth. One Mom said their child was a difficult eater because they wouldn't eat anything unless she put ketchup on it. The other Mom said her child was the easiest child to feed because she would eat anything as long as she put ketchup on it. Maybe it's all in perspective.
I just want to challenge you today as you think about your child's picky eating--what battle do you want to pick?
And just maybe Franky the Finicky Flamingo might help encourage your picky eater to try new foods. You can check it out today at myBook.to/Franky
To download a free exclusive children’s ebook by Wanda Luthman’s visit her website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and sign up for her newsletter (it’ll be in a pop-up box)
Follow Wanda Luthman at
Other children’s books by Wanda Luthman (available on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/wandaluthman)
The Lilac Princess
A Turtle's Magical Adventure
Little Birdie Grows Up (won 2017 Readers' Favorite Silver Medal)
Gloria and the Unicorn
If you love adventure and are looking for a detailed oriented book to read in the new year, I have a suggestion for you. Kevin D. Grant, author of Nelish Daring Quest, writes about Nelish, a peacock who defies tradition and is courageous and survives the odds. You will find yourself enthralled by the village of Malihayah, and Nelish and his friends working together to defeat their enemies. The characters and the communities are well developed and Nelish inspires the reader to be adventurous, brave, and committed to a cause. I recommend this book for 4th grade and up due to its density, length, and vocabulary. I think this book can be enjoyed by children and young adults.
What is it like living in a family of 6? Bigger families than that have existed, of course. However, can you imagine sharing one bathroom with your three or even four sisters? Ask Patrice, Donna, Shannon, Charity, and Faith Smith. If you don't know them well, you can learn alot about them through the characters they write about (Diamond, Sheila, Crystal and Felicity) found in The Struggle: 4 Girls and 1 Bathroom. This book has 13 chapters, 161 pages and was written and illustrated by the girls, preface by their Mom who encourages them to self-publish and edited by their Dad.
The book is written more like a journal. It has random thoughts and covers topics such as Egypt, healthy snacking, Juneteenth day, Disney World, holidays and birthday celebrations. Instead of reading like characters in a story, it reads as a conversation between you and the characters. However, the characters are also authors, as the introduction begins with if you havent read our first book, go ahead and do so. The girls are quite hilarious and with much practice and intrinsic motivation, I believe they will become great writers and illustrators. I wish them the best of luck for 2018!