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Honoring Veterans Day with Mascot Books

On Veterans Day, we recognize our United States military veterans for all of their sacrifices and contributions for our country. To honor this special day, we’re highlighting some of our notable wartime and veteran titles. 


By Erin Morris

About Who is Sam the Solider?
Ever wonder what a soldier actually does? Why does he dress that way? Could I be a soldier one day? Private First Class Sam Smith is a soldier in the U.S. Army. Come along with Sam as he tells all about what it’s like to live, work, and (even) relax like a soldier.

Why We Love It
Author Erin Morris served as the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps and did one tour to Afghanistan with the 201st Airborne Division. When talking with children about her experiences, she found that many of them did not understand what exactly a solider does, and did not realize that a woman could serve in the military. This book provides children with insight into the duties of a soldier, and showcases soldiers from different backgrounds, genders, and races. 


By Karol Nielsen

About Walking A&P: A Vietnam War Memoir
Her father was part of the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. Now, 40 years later, Karol travels to Vietnam to retrace her father’s footsteps. This is a touching, and inspirational story about one man’s journey through one of the darkest times in world history.

Why We Love It
Karol Nielsen provides a harrowing and unique account of her father’s experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War. This compelling wartime title is full of personal anecdotes, photographs, and raw emotion.

Is Your Dad a Pirate? Cover
By Tara McClary Reeves

About Is Your Dad a Pirate?
Her daddy went away to fight for our country. And he came home changed.

What’s a young family to do when a parent is injured? How might they respond to curiosity? In this tender account based on her childhood experiences, beloved author Tara McClary Reeves shares how her family adapted to the extensive physical losses her father, Marine Corps Lieutenant Clebe McClary, sustained.

With warmth and humor, this book encourages children and spouses facing similar trials to cherish the gift of family. To hold on to faith. And to choose to be loving heroes on the home front. Is Your Dad a Pirate? will challenge your perspective and deepen your commitment to love.

Why We Love It
Is Your Dad a Pirate? highlights the importance of faith and family, while teaching children in a lighthearted way how to cope with a parent who has been injured in war. Based on the childhood experiences of author Tara McClary Reeves, this personal account uses beautiful illustrations to showcase the brave sacrifices of our soldiers and the unwavering support and love of their families.


By Laura Bogan

About Homecomings

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron—better known as the Blue Angels—is one of the most iconic and respected aerobatics teams in the world. For years, photographer Laura Bogan has been chronicling the Blues as they return to Pensacola, the team’s beautiful seaside home on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Through moments both triumphant and poignant, Bogan has captured stunning scenes that, until now, have only been enjoyed by those lucky enough to be there. This is Homecomings.

Why We Love It
Homecomings is filled with stunning and majestic photographs of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration, and is sure to leave readers full of pride and respect for our nation’s soldiers. 


By Kristin Ayyar

About Countdown ‘Til Daddy Comes Home and Countdown Til’ Mommy Comes Home
Countdown ‘Til Daddy Comes Home and Countdown ‘Til Mommy Comes Home are stories of a young boy waiting for his parent to come home from a trip. To make their separation easier, his family creates rituals to stay connected and make the countdown fly by. Inspired by her experiences, Kristin Ayyar shares how her family copes with the separations that are part of everyday life.

Why We Love Them
These books are perfect for any military family. Told from the perspective of a child, these titles show readers how military families can stay connected with their loved ones who are serving overseas. 

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National Bullying Prevention Month

It’s National Bullying Prevention Month! We are sharing some of our favorite anti-bullying titles that are sure to warm the hearts of readers everywhere. 

A Goat Named Joey

A Goat Named Joey

By Tom Nochera

Herein is our story of Joey LeGoat,
A bullied kid living on the Isle of Oat.

A mean flock of geese drive him to hide in his barn
And Joey starts to wonder why he ever was born.

If he goes outside, will he face fresh attacks?
Shall he hide inside forever? Should he fight back?

If he can reach inside and ignite his own flame
His destiny on Oat will never be the same.

Enjoy our tale of hate, forgiveness and love,
And the brave goat who strove to rise above

Why We Love It

An empowering and entertaining tale, this title teaches victims of bullying to be proud of who they are and to “strike their own note”. With short chapters and catchy poetry, this is a perfect title for young readers.

Bernard the Sneezy Dragon

Bernard the Sneezy Dragon

By Christopher Strain

Dragons haven’t breathed fire in centuries, except Bernard. What if he can’t control when it comes out? It starts with a sneeze, but where will it end? With the whole town at stake, will Bernard finally master his ability?

Why We Love It

This title uses colorful and adorable illustrations to teach readers that their differences can be their strengths. It also promotes healthy coping mechanisms and how to best control your emotions, even in the face of bullying. 

Barnyard Bully

Barnyard Bully

By Dawn Marie Thompson

Barnyard Bully is a children’s book by Dawn Thompson. All around the farm, the animals aren’t getting along. Learn with the animals how to spot and stop bullying.

Why We Love It

It can be sometimes difficult for children to fully understand the concept of bullying. This title helps readers to identify, understand, and stop bullying in a clever way!



The Argyle Crocodile Learns About Being Different

By Elizabeth Martinez Cornetta, PhD

Haven’t we all worried about what others think and how we can fit in? The Argyle Crocodile is a charming, rhyming story sure to delight children and adults alike! The Argyle Crocodile will make you feel good about yourself and inspire you to help others feel good about themselves.

Why We Love It

The title says it all- this creative read teaches children that it’s okay to be unique, empowering them to flaunt their differences!

Being Small

Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All)

By Lori Orlinksy

Being small is the worst! No one ever picks me for their sports team and my feet hurt from standing on my tiptoes all the time. There can’t be anything good about being small…right?  

Being Small is a picture book about a little girl who is scared to go to school because she’s the shortest kid in the class. She talks about all of the reasons that being short is a challenge, but her mother presents to her funny and unique advantages that only she has because of her height, instilling self-confidence in her.

This book is a must-read for any child who has ever fallen behind the curve on the growth chart.

Why We Love It

This adorable title uses rhythmic poetry and imaginative illustrations to demonstrate that with the support of family and friends, we can learn to be proud of what makes us unique. Instead of dwelling on all of the things the main character cannot do because of her height, she learns to love herself and all of the perks of being small.


Better than Best: Be a Friend

Better than Best: Be a Friend

By Jim Waite

Being a good friend is more than just being kind,
it means reaching out to those who others won’t find.

They may be alone, afraid, or have even lost hope.
They may look different, feel sad, or are unable to cope.

Look for all those who need a good friend,
and be that for them from now ‘til the end!

Why We Love It

Everyone knows what it feels like to be excluded by your peers. It is during these times of loneliness and insecurity that you need a friend the most. This book encourages readers to befriend those who need it, and to stand up for victims of bullying!

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October Book Releases

Fall is officially here, and so are our October releases! From touching, personal memoirs to adventurous children’s tales, our new releases are perfect for a cozy, autumn reading day. Curl up with a blanket, brew some tea, and get reading!

October Featured Title: Voices of Cancer

By Lynda Wolters

“I don’t know what to say” and “I don’t know what to do” are common responses to a life-threatening diagnosis. Voices of Cancer is here to help.

Every cancer story is different, but there is one commonality: both patients and the people supporting them often struggle to properly articulate their wants and needs through particularly challenging—and in many cases, uncharted—territory. Lynda Wolters knows firsthand: she was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal mantle cell lymphoma in August of 2016.

Voices of Cancer offers a candid look into the world of a cancer patient, informed by Lynda’s own story and conversations had with dozens of patients weighing in on their needs, wants, and dislikes as they navigate the complex world of diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. With comprehensive and accessible insight from people who’ve been there, Voices of Cancer helps educate, dispel fears, and start positive conversations about what a cancer diagnosis truly means, while shining a light on how best to support a loved one on their own terms. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Tom Nochera

Herein is our story of Joey LeGoat,
A bullied kid living on the Isle of Oat.

A mean flock of geese drive him to hide in his barn

And Joey starts to wonder why he ever was born.

If he goes outside, will he face fresh attacks?

Shall he hide inside forever? Should he fight back?

If he can reach inside and ignite his own flame

His destiny on Oat will never be the same.

Enjoy our tale of hate, forgiveness and love, And the brave goat who strove to rise above

Click here to purchase this title. 

By Dwight Harshbarger

After seizing Europe, the Nazis begin to execute the final solution by conducting a census of Jews in each of the Occupied countries that is driven by IBM technology. After the census in Holland, the Nazis murdered 75 percent of the Dutch Jews. After the census in France, 25 percent of the country’s Jews are murdered. What made France different?

At Vichy Frances National Statistical Service headquarters in Lyon, General René Carmille and his aide Miriam Dupré know spies are everywhere. They race against time to sabotage the census-based lists of Jews and mobilize the Resistance to combat the Nazi death machine. In this novel, Miriam tells the true story of General René Carmille’s leadership in saving the lives of thousands of Jews the story of A Quiet Hero. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Miguel A. Faria, JR., M.D.

Dr. Miguel Faria’s journey into politics and the public health and gun control movements began when, as editor of the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, he studied the problem of gun violence and discovered the gun research conducted by the medical establishment was not scientific research as claimed, but politicized, result-oriented propaganda designed to bolster the preordained conclusion that guns should be eradicated from the general population. Faria and three other experts testified before a congressional subcommittee, exposing the pseudoscience of the gun research conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and proposing the elimination of funds for such research. Congress agreed and passed the Dickey Amendment, restricting CDC gun research that advocates for gun control.

America, Guns, and Freedom outlines why the Second Amendment and armed self-defense are still needed in modern society, debunks the arguments that the U.S. should follow the path of European social democracies by enforcing draconian gun control, and expounds on how civilian disarmament in Australia and Great Britain, despite media hype, has not decreased violent crime in those countries. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Sucheta Rawal

Beato is a curious cat that explores different countries around the world. On this trip, he sets out on an adventure to Brazil, where he plays different sports, dances at Carnival, and encounters wild animals in the Amazon rainforest. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Christoper Strain

Dragons haven’t breathed fire in centuries, except Bernard. What if he can’t control when it comes out? It starts with a sneeze, but where will it end? With the whole town at stake, will Bernard finally master his ability? Click here to purchase this title. 

By Jim Waite

Being a good friend is more than just being kind,
it means reaching out to those who others won’t find.

They may be alone, afraid, or have even lost hope.
They may look different, feel sad, or are unable to cope.

Look for all those who need a good friend,
and be that for them from now ’til the end!

Click here to purchase this title. 

By Tanya Kondolay

Tanya Kondolay’s wonderfully wise Beyond the Stars is a book that leaves a lasting impression for children, parents, grandparents and beyond! Young and old will cherish the simple yet meaningful concepts about life sprinkled everywhere throughout the verses and illustrations. 
 
The main character is an astronaut, Wonder the Astro, allowing the readers mind to wander with much imagination. A refreshing concept, giving the reader complete freedom to manifest as many possibilities of whom they believe could be the astronaut, even including themselves! The book addresses many of life’s lessons while encouraging readers at the end to have the confidence to find and believe in the success that lies within them. 

This is a perfect gift for parents, for grandchildren, for nieces, for nephews, birthday celebrations, graduation and happy occasions of all kinds. This book is ideal for reading alone or aloud. Begin a child on the adventure of a lifetime with Beyond the Stars by Tanya Kondolay!

Click here to purchase this title. 

By Taryn Crowder

Buckets is a curious French Bulldog, and he’s determined to find out where snow comes from! One wintry day, Buckets runs away from his home in Brooklyn in hopes of finding its origin…but what happens when he gets lost along the way?

Buckets Goes on a Winter Adventure is a story of friendship and determination, and will encourage readers of all ages to explore the mysteries of the world around them. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Pascha Adamo

They say that when the cat’s away, the mice will play. But what about when the family’s away? What does Roxy do all day? Click here to purchase this title. 

By Jill McGlaughlin

DD was a sad and lonely little pup living all alone, deep in the

Mississippi countryside. That is, until the day she met a little girl and her grandmother walking down the road. She trotted after them, and soon met a family she thought wanted to call her their own…but after some time, DD’s new family left her behind. Even though she was lonely once again, DD never gave up hope that, one day, a miracle would occur and her family would come back for her.

This is a story of love, hope, and the unshakable bond between a dog and her true family! Click here to purchase this title. 

By Courtney Montepara

Eli the elephant was new at the zoo,
Who was caught telling stories that were not true.

Eli just wanted friends, but now he had none,
So he promised to start being honest with everyone.

Will Eli be able to tell the truth each and every day?
Join him on his journey to hear what he has to say.

Click here to purchase this title. 

By Kristi Sabbides

Rick Sabbides had gone to the emergency room for stomach pain when he was ultimately diagnosed with inoperable Stage IV cancer. In this collection of journal entries, Kristi Sabbides catalogs her father’s three-year, three-month battle with cancer and shares how his steadfast faith enabled him to touch many lives, even in the face of fear.With admirable strength and immeasurable love, Kristi celebrates her father’s life and documents his gracious legacy. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Sylvia Baffour

No matter how old you are, where you come from or what you do for a living, the desire to have satisfying and meaningful relationships is one we all share. Relationships are key to everything we do, and the bonds and connections we make with others is what gives us the greatest sense of meaning, happiness, and fulfillment. Nothing interferes more with your ability to enjoy rewarding relationships than an inability to understand your own emotions and manage their impact on you and those around you. Emotional intelligence, the currency of the 21st century, is the essential skill set that separates those who fail in their personal and professional relationships from those who succeed. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Bradley Weldon

When you stumble across a troll, remember that trolls can be grumpy and their business is none of your booger eatin’ business.

Maybe being kind will soften their tone. And, maybe it won’t!

Click here to purchase this title. 

By Taylor Potter and Marjori Krebs

Take a tour of UNM with Lobo Louie and Lobo Lucy! Introducing children to the idea of going to college helps them picture themselves continuing their education throughout their lives. Literacy is the key to all learning. Read to your child every day! Click here to purchase this 

By Anthony L. Manna

While Loukas is playing his flute at the seawall one day, he befriends a mysterious talking, dancing snake that rewards him with fortune and favor. Some years later, tempted by greed and pride, Loukas loses all his riches and his family. He must now set off on a treacherous journey through a frightening forest filled with suspense and strange creatures to find Destiny, her son Ilion, the Sun, and her daughter Luna, the Moon. These celestial guardians will surely allow him to reverse his misfortune, restore his honor, and win back all that he loves and treasures, won’t they?

A reimagined Greek folktale, Loukas and the Game of Chance is illuminated with dramatic and evocative pen and ink drawings that provide an ideal backdrop for the dark intrigue that fills this haunting story of human struggle, courage, and resilience. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Kelli Jaecks

WELCOME TO YOUR ADVENTURE OF SELF-DISCOVERY

Martinis & Menopause: Strategies, Science, and Sips that Empower Women to Beat the Hormone Groan encouraged women everywhere to conquer fear with facts and live their best life. This companion workbook was written to continue the conversation on the journey through menopause. It can be a guide and a resource to use for yourself, and to share with others along your path. Most of all, it is designed for you to continue to empower and inform yourself about menopause.

For some of you, what gets written on the pages in this workbook will be for your eyes only. For others, this workbook can help inspire conversation and help make a long airplane ride not so long! However you choose to use this resource, we hope that you find the questions and exercises fun and you find yourself more inspired to “feel better and live better!” Click here to purchase this title. 

By Elizabeth Peña

Matthew is a grumpy baby walrus. But even a grumpy baby walrus can have fun with the help of a few good friends! Click here to purchase this title. 

By Andrea Lardner

“You can’t treat them badly just because they’re girls,” Taj said. “Your mom is a girl. How would you feel if someone treated her cruelly just because of that reason?”

Follow along as Taj learns to stand up to bullying using empathy as a tool.  Click here to purchase this title. 

By Nikki DeBartolo and Benjamin Heldfond

From weeknight dinners and homework sessions with their son to Christmas card photos and vacations, Nikki DeBartolo and Benjamin Heldfond have created a tight-knit, enviable family. They work and play well together, from the smallest daily tasks to the biggest life events—and it only took a divorce to get them there. Though their marriage has been over for nearly a decade, they still share a happy life with each other and their son Asher, along with their new amazing spouses and children.

Ben and Nikki had hoped their wedding would start their happily ever after—but seven years, one child, and countless financial and familial entanglements later, their I do-s had turned into We can’t-s. Armed with their fierce love for their son and a desire to give him the best, they realized they needed to find an alternative to the seemingly inevitable toxic divorce that loomed over their lives.

Refusing to participate in the standard litigious legal divorce process, they devised a new strategy and worked to confront their hurt feelings and fragile egos head-on. Committed to putting Asher’s needs first in every decision, they helped each other heal and build a future. Their happily blended family today is a testament to their commitment to a few core principles and their incredible son—during the divorce and beyond.

In this stunning book, Ben and Nikki elaborate on the difficulties of their divorce experience, their individual pains and triumphs, and their unique approach to relationships and blended families. Their story is sure to inspire others to pursue something few believe possible…a happy divorce. Click here to purchase this title. 

Cover for the Amazing Adventure of Super Dreidel

By Howard Eisenberg

Rachel and her brother Randy didn’t know when they built a Super Dreidel for Hanukkah that it would fly them thousands of years back in time and into the middle of a war. They didn’t know it would help the Maccabees win it. But then Super Dreidel crashed, and suddenly there was something else they didn’t know: how in the world they could ever get home to Mom, Dad, and their dog Spot.

A Write-Your-Own-Ending Book! With a Write-Your-Own-Ending book, you can be your very own author! Each book comes with blank pages perfect for you to write out how YOU’D end it. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Elizabeth Martinez Cornetta, Ph.D.

Haven’t we all worried about what others think and how we can fit in? The Argyle Crocodile is a charming, rhyming story sure to delight children and adults alike! The Argyle Crocodile will make you feel good about yourself and inspire you to help others feel good about themselves. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Kelly Jean Lietaert

What exactly are your pets doing all day? I’m a cat named Ron, and I’d like to take you through a day in my life! I’ll be sharing all kinds of inside details about being a cat, such as the best ways to sneak outside, the importance of looking extra cute to get treats, and how to find the softest blanket for my fourth nap of the day. My humans are the best, and I love to write about all the fun we have together. So grab your favorite cat (or dog, they’re pretty cool, too) and start reading! Click here to purchase this title. 

By Ann Davison Sattler

What feeling shirt are you wearing today?

Christi is frustrated with her younger brother, Jack, because he wants to borrow some magnetic tiles from her castle that she built oh-so-tall. Follow along as she learns how to work through her feelings to reach a solution! The Feeling Shirt is at once an engaging story and helpful tool that shows children and adults alike how to actively identify and name their feelings, take time to consider each one, and figure out how to work through emotions in a positive, tangible, hands-on way. It also helps start conversations about emotional boundaries and proportional responses to challenges. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Isy Abraham-Raveson

Oh no! Elephant is looking for a friend to play with, but can’t seem to find one who wants to play the way Elephant wants to. What will Elephant do?

In this book for all ages, follow Elephant and Meerkat as they learn about power dynamics, recognizing nonverbal cues, setting and respecting boundaries, and that consent yesterday does not guarantee it today. Click here to purchase this title. 

By Joe Bunting

Everything you thought you knew about the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is WRONG. Come along the exciting journey and experience what really happened. Deep in the enchanted green forest, you will find the truth, the REAL victim of this tale…
Click here to purchase this title. 

By Jerome Jones

Abby and Tommy are back for another adventure to promote healthy living and fun for kids of all ages. Today, they are having a debate about what the best part of P.E. class is. Will Abby and Tommy agree, or are there too many fun P.E. activities to decide? Click here to purchase this title. 

By Keri Powers-Pye

What do you do when an annoying gaggle of geese is messing with your inner peace?

The Zen Hen heads to her rest nest for some mindful quiet time! What will she find when she tunes in to listen to her amazing body?
Click here to purchase this title. 

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September Book Releases

Summer may be winding down, but our newest titles are hot! Whether you’re heading back to school, gearing up for football season, or just looking for a new read, our latest releases have something for everyone.

Featured Title: L.A.  Football Confidential 


By:
Wayde Byard

In this definitive guide to the history of Los Angeles football, Wayde Byard spotlights the Rams and the transients (Dons, Chargers, Sun, Express and Xtreme) who have made SoCal football unique. He recounts stories of the city’s teams, heroes, and most infamous players—the true legends of Hollywood. Click here to purchase this title.


By: Arthi Gokarn

This is a story of unconditional love, hope and healing, depicted through a glimpse of Sai Baba’s life on earth. The artist’s illustrations lead the reader on a journey through India, witnessing key events in the amazing life of this great saint. Follow along as he’s abandoned at birth and compelled to become a foster child with unconventional customs, ultimately growing to be a gift to his community. Click here to purchase this title.

By:
Sudio Sudarsan

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a calligram is worth a million.

A Word to the Eyes is a revolutionary mnemonic tool used to boost vocabulary development and retention. Enhance your lexicon starting with the visuals within, which serve as an introduction to thousands of associated words and meanings. Click here to purchase this title. 

By: Jennifer Hughes

‘Twas the night before Halloween,

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, except the mad mouse.

Read on to learn of tricks that deceive

Children seeking treats on All Hallow’s Eve!
Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Doug Reynolds

What is a family? Is there only one kind? Are they all just like yours? Are they all just like mine?

An Actual Family tells the story of Agatha, an otter adopted by two penguin dads who starts to question whether or not she fits in. After being teased for being different than her parents, Agatha sets off with her best friend to find her “actual family”. On her journey, Agatha meets animals of every type, in families of every sort, and begins to re-think her idea of what a family must be. Perhaps she will discover that her actual family has been right in front of her the whole time…

From the author and illustrator of A Normal Turtle comes another modern-day fable for children in the queer community! Written as a flexible allegory, An Actual Family is a story applicable to every child who feels that their family might be a little “different”. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Carrie & Katie Weyler

When a squirrel-chasing adventure takes a turn, Pickles winds up getting into the neighbor’s garden and digs up some of the plants. Now, Charlie must learn how to clean up his dog’s mess. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Brendan Leonard

In this collection of his charts and drawings, Brendan Leonard simply illustrates the funny and strange things we do as humans: how we can confidently navigate in the wilderness but get lost in suburban parking lots, how long-term romantic relationships are a few months of trying to act cool and then slowly revealing how uncool we actually are, and how every day is the best day of our dog’s life. One or more pages will remind you of a friend, spouse, relative, or your dog, and most will remind you of how ridiculous we all are. Click here to purchase this title. 


By:
Joyetta Murphy

As long as you have close friends at heart, you will never be apart.

Join Pig, Zebra, and Mouse on their second adventure together in karate class. They’ll need to work together to master all the moves and impress Master Cat. Click here to purchase this title.


By: Candice Pyfrom

Could anyone ever have imagined that pigs could swim? Inspired by the luxurious, blue waters of The Bahamas, an elusive group of island pigs have decided that swimming isn’t just for the fishes.

Combining local island expressions and way of life, Miss Cocoplum takes you along on her unique journey to meet the famous Bahamian swimming pigs. What will it take for Cocoplum to take her first plunge into the magical blue waters of The Bahamas? Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Beverly Pennington

Join us on our newest adventure

To learn about different creatures!

From where they play, sleep, and move around,

To whether they live in trees, on land, or underground.

Pictures, activities, and other attractions

Help us learn through interactions!

Oh, what fun this is going to be—

Come and share this journey with me!
Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Mindy Porter

Piper and Tara are best friends! But when Piper accidentally hurts Tara, Tara gets upset. Piper doesn’t understand why Tara’s feelings are hurt, and that makes her sadder. Will they be able to make up? Follow along as Piper and Tara learn about friendship and forgiveness! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Angel L.J. Aranha

What do you do with a butterfly who can’t paint flowers?

Try as she might, Dot the rainbow butterfly can’t paint flowers like the rest of her butterfly friends. Even Miss Benditwig doesn’t know what to do with Dot and all her colors.

Come along with Dot as she learns that being different isn’t necessarily bad. Who knows what beautiful surprises may await you! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Mark Walter

At last, the perfect book for proud Golden Bears of all ages!

Golden Bears A to Z is filled with fun facts about the people, places, and traditions that make Upper Arlington such a special community.  Keep an eye out for a hidden bear paw in each beautiful watercolor illustration. After you read, explore the city with the activity hunt in the back of the book. Happy reading, and Go Bears! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Bella Weidman

Hedgie’s Nantucket Dawn poetically depicts some of the island of Nantucket’s ethereal beauty through the eyes of a washashore artist, Hedgie the hedgehog and his island native friend, Bluejay. The characters as well as the playful watercolors familiarize readers with some of Nantucket’s beautiful botanical landmarks. The scrub oak trees, daisies, and Queen Anne’s Lace flowers always seem to float through the memories of anyone who experienced Nantucket even once. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Erik Kincade

Ralphie is a little bulldog who dreams of exciting adventures. His imagination takes him on many journeys, but Ralphie soon decides that nothing could be cooler than becoming a tiger. Join Ralphie as he finds out what it takes to earn his stripes. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Aaron Fox

Every True Son and Daughter knows the University of Missouri and its lovable mascot, Truman the Tiger. However, few know the story of how Truman found his roar… until now. Follow a young Truman on his journey across Tiger Country in search of his roar and learn how he became the mascot he is today. Plus, look for Mizzou and Columbia landmarks along the way! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Denise Tobin

Hydro the Raindrop is the first in a series of the adventures of the Raindrops, a group of fun droplets who live high in the sky. Hydro’s determination to grow up too fast gets him into a serious situation, and he soon wishes he had listened to his mama. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Mickie Kraatz

When Matty hears his mommy whistle, he sets out to master the skill for himself! But he just can’t seem to get the hang of it, even as he tries and tries. His mommy gives him hints and explains how it’s done, but he still can’t do it like she does.

Follow along as Matty goes through the ups and downs of learning something new, and discover that as long as you never give up, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to! Experience the power of determination with Matty, and earn with him the reward that follows when you persevere. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: John Barrows

Follow Charlie as she makes a plan to sell cookies around her neighborhood. Sales isn’t as easy as it looks, but with some practice, Charlie is on her way to making a difference and learning the true meaning of what sales is all about. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Jackie Meyers

Loving an Older Dog by Jacqueline A. Meyers, PhD, is a book about guidance on living with senior pets. Dr. Meyers runs her own animal rescue, which specializes in taking care of senior animals, with her husband. She knows that older animals have a lot of love to give and are still great pets, and this collection will give you an insight as well as advice on taking care of older pets. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Perry Anderson

Mr. Green and Mr. Blue are at it again on their spontaneous trip to Farmer Brown’s farm. They can’t resist playing with all the animals and throwing a little party for them, but will the animals on the farm take advantage of the opportunity to horse around? Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Perry Anderson

Mr. Green and Mr. Blue had always loved animals, so one day, they decided to treat the animals at their local zoo to a party. But what will happen when the caged creatures are left to their own devices, free to roam? Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Elizabeth McKinney

Carson narrates the story
With a simple moral in the end.
We need to accept other’s differences
So we don’t miss out on a friend.
Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Karen Márquez Morales

Follow the Pac-12 Mascots as they share their game plan of life’s most important lessons. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Lucia Hur

NEVER NEVER GIVE UP! This is not just a true personal story of brain injury. This is a story that brings new meaning to the adage never give up. In her debut book, Lucia Hur chronicles how she made a miracle happen by actively engaging and participating in the aftermath of a car accident that changed her son Bobby s life and her family forever. When Bobby was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury that medical professionals knew little about, Lucia began chronically their life-changing journey of recovery from his comatose state to becoming a functioning, independent adult. In this inspirational memoir, Lucia narrates the trials and tribulations she faced, and shows that being a part of every aspect of Bobby’s recovery was essential to connecting with and caring for her son in navigating the confusing world of TBI. An absolute testament to the power of faith, perseverance, and hope, Perfect Love explores how love in various forms allowed Lucia to transform and adjust to a more productive meaning of life, doing her best always, and constantly enriching her soul along the way. Click here to purchase this title.


By: Phyllis Bordo

Have you ever had a special pet you love to the moon and back? Quincey the Chinese crested dog is Lilly Esther’s best friend. His big ears and even bigger heart have always cheered her up and helped her conquer her fears. So, she is terribly sad when he passes away. Can Lilly Esther learn how to remember and celebrate Quincey after he is gone? Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Claire May
Christmastime is here and Santa’s Fairies have taken flight. They’re looking for good girls and boys all day and all night.

What can you do to make Santa’s Fairies happy as can be? Read this book before Christmas and you’ll surely see! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Mark Corallo

It’s another day at School La Ootie where all the little Ooties go to learn how to make wishes come true for children throughout the world. One little Ootie named Spootie needs your help. You see, he takes things literally and misunderstands the true meaning of many words. Will Spootie be able to make a wish come true? Join Spootie, Hootie, Rootie, Tootie, Miss Patootie, and Magic Toy Box as they all learn lessons about social skills, words, and the true meaning of friendship. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Jessica Shrum

Got problems? We can solve them!

Squeak and Jumbo will guide you through the problems that might be conflicting you. Are they teeny, tiny mouse problems or big, enormous elephant problems? The dynamic duo is just getting started! Join along in their problem-solving adventure and see if you can help them unravel the mysteries troubling their community! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Quinn Buffandeau

“There’s been a thief on my boat!” T-Rex O’Hoolihan shouted as he prepared his ship for a new adventure. “I’ll cross every ocean if I have to!”

Follow T-Rex O’Hoolihan on his quest to find the mysterious backpack thief and get back what’s his in this high-flying adventure across the ocean. Set sail for a story filled with twists, turns, and excitement! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Cynthia Hartman

In a dream world of tooth decay, gingivitis, and devilish bacteria, there’s only one hero who can save the day—Doc Molar! When a gang of bad bacteria besieges the town, can Doc Molar and his trusty sidekick Bristles save the day? Brace yourself for this oral health adventure! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Jewel Sweeney

Join Bugaboo and Ladybug as they face a ferocious dragon! As the dragon roars through Buggleland, Knight Bugaboo has to get Princess Ladybug to safety. Will Knight Bugaboo be able to defeat the dragon and save the day? Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Trent Grundmeyer

Join Eli and Lincoln as they learn and play on their geode adventure! While you learn about geodes, keep a sharp eye out for the special pick ax hidden on each page. Will you find them all? Read and find out! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Cathy Ghattas

When Zar overhears his mom complain about not having anything besides corn, rice, and potatoes for dinner, he’s determined to hook her the biggest fish in the lake. But each fish he catches promises that a bigger fish awaits—will Zar find the biggest one?

A story about being grateful for the truly important things in life and remembering that what you want is not always what you need. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Jennifer Cheek

After the sudden and unexpected loss of Griffin’s Papaw, moving on was difficult and hard to understand. Griffin couldn’t stop wondering where Papaw went or why he didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. After saying a special prayer, Griffin may finally find the peace he was looking for. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Edie Delp

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

Bella and her dog, Walker, decide to set off for an adventure in the park. What they don’t know is that they’ll meet a very special someone along the way who will grant Bella one wish, if only she can decide what to wish for…

Follow along with Bella and Walker as they discover the magic of dreaming BIG and learn the true secret of a wish. Click here to purchase this title. 

By:  Michel Zajur & Lisa Zajur

**Please note: this title will be released on September 17, 2019.

Today, piñatas are sold to celebrate holidays and birthdays all over the world. Do you know what the piñata and the candy inside really represent and why it was broken?

The Piñata Story is an interactive bilingual book written by Lisa and Michel Zajur that transports its readers on a cultural journey, which highlights a story about the meaning of the piñata while teaching Spanish. Plan to interact and engage on a bilingual path within The Piñata Story through:

  • Tips to Sounding Out Words in Spanish
  • Bilingual Glossary
  • Making a Piñata
  • Piñata Song
  • History of the Piñata

The Piñata Story offers the gift of language by sprinkling Spanish words that enrich the story onto its pages. Children learn by seeing and doing, and The Piñata Story offers the combination of reading with interactive learning.

Continue the language and cultural journey by visiting CasaMosaic.com. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Joe Bunting

Everything you thought you knew about the story of Hansel and Gretel is WRONG. Come along the exciting journey and experience what really happened. Deep in the enchanted forest, you will find the truth about who the REAL hero and victim of this tale is….
Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Joan C. Yingling

Can’t feels like there’s nothing he can do. But when he meets a wee little elf, all of that changes. Can’t soon discovers that with a little confidence, he CAN do so much! Follow along on his journey to becoming a Could! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Scarlett Hayes

When Hayden and Avery’s parents take them on an adventure to Italy, they discover how magical the country really is! Follow along with the traveling children and their dog Max as they experience Italy and its history firsthand. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Sandie Knox

Imagine a school where the ZOO visits YOU! A streak of tigers, a parliament of owls, and many others invade the classroom in this light-hearted modern classic that teaches your child animal group names in a fun and creative way! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: John McEveety Woodruff

In the third and final volume of The War at Home series, author John Woodruff sees the Prescotts off as they maneuver into adulthood during an era in which the Vietnam conflict seems endless. And as some of the family continue to navigate the material world, so do two of their own in the afterlife. Patiently waiting to be accepted into the Elysian Fields, Emily and Bartholomew Prescott explore Metacosma, the space and time held in between mortal death and eternity. Working toward an ending that crescendos with every passing page, Woodruff weaves together the earthly and otherworldly with searing prose and cutting imagination. The War at Home: Skirmish for the Upper West Side is a masterful conclusion that will leave you breathless long after the last page is turned. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Emily Chabot

What happens when light and dark collide?

I couldn’t live with myself knowing she was no longer here because of me. It’s why I did what I did. Sacrifice, selfish cruelty—call it what you will. I couldn’t let them win. Damian Cauldera lived a simple, albeit miserable life, until the day he decides to seek sanctuary in Paris…and before he knows it, everything he has ever known has suddenly, dangerously changed. He finds himself held captive by a group that calls themselves Hunters and, at first, Damian laughs at their outrageous take on the world. But as time goes on, he realizes they’re not as crazy as they seem, and he’s quickly thrown into a fantastical world he never knew existed.

As he sinks further and further into his new life, a strange and dangerous power begins to emerge from within him. With a threatening darkness looming on the horizon, Damian is forced to find the meaning behind his unnatural existence and reckon with both the man he is meant to be and the man he wants to become. As he works to conquer his demons and quell the darkness that is fighting for control, he must remember to have faith in his own strength…or risk casting the world in Shadows. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Carol L. Huston & Pamela Pittman

When little girls dream, anything is possible! Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Erin Morris

Ever wonder what a soldier actually does? Why does he dress that way? Could I be a soldier one day?

Private First Class Sam Smith is a soldier in the U.S. Army. Come along with Sam as he tells all about what it’s like to live, work, and (even) relax like a soldier. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Bonnie Mackey

When Beau Bear receives a special present from his aunt ShaSha for his birthday, Nana Bear knows just how Beau Bear can thank her. Follow along as Nana Bear teaches Beau Bear the importance of kindness. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Jerome Jones

Abby and Tommy are back for another adventure to promote healthy living and fun for kids of all ages. Today, they are having a debate about what the best part of P.E. class is. Will Abby and Tommy agree, or are there too many fun P.E. activities to decide? Click here to purchase this title. 


By: George A. Isaac

**Please note: This title will be released on September 17, 2019.

You’ve spent the majority of your career building your family business. You’ve learned what works, endured lean years, enjoyed booms, and watched your company grow, but now it’s time to think about what’s next. Consultant George Isaac has been helping families start, build, and maintain their enterprises for more than forty years. Whether you’re getting ready to retire, about to assume a new leadership role, or are looking for ways to run your business smarter, Your Business, Your Family, Your Legacy is the comprehensive guide you need to build a family business that lasts. Using real-world, experiential examples, Isaac introduces:

  • Seven essential initiatives for business survival and growth
  • Techniques to navigate family dynamics and prevent conflict
  • Strategies for establishing effective governance
  • A road map to forming and executing a workable succession plan
  • Practical approaches to multi-generational wealth management

Avoid the pitfalls and traps that keep most family businesses from surviving past the current generation. Build a multi-generational business legacy that lasts with this indispensable guide. Click here to purchase this title. 


By: Anita B. Adhikary

Get ready for lots of laughter and fun with these three folktales set against the colorful backdrop of Nepal. From gliding with balloons, rascally radishes, and one very big bear, there’s all sorts of good times to be had in these timeless tales children will want to read over and over again! Click here to purchase this title. 

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August Featured Title: When You Lived in My Belly

Our August featured title is a special children’s book that teaches kids about the pregnancy journey. When You Lived in My Belly by Jodi Meltzer Darter debuted as the number one new bestseller in the Children’s Sexuality category on Amazon. Jodi kindly answered some of our questions about her inspiration and writing process, as well as life as a mom.

 


A Q&A with Jodi Meltzer Darter

  1. When You Lived in My Belly explains pregnancy to children. Why do you think this is such an important journey for children to know?

I never quite understood the depth of my mother’s love until I had a child of my own. I loved my son beyond compare before I ever laid eyes on him, and that shed light on my mom’s feelings about me during my pregnancy. I finally understood, at age 37, the depth of our innate bond.

There’s an indescribable connection between mother and child that is not always explored or celebrated. I wanted to bring it to the forefront of children’s minds, so they could better comprehend the incomparable journey they went on with their mom, and how those precious foundational months informed their relationship and shaped their lives.

  1. The book chronicles your own pregnancy with your son, Alex. When did you know you had to write this book?

I knew I had to write a children’s book after my beloved mom died of ovarian cancer in 2013. It was always her dream to publish a children’s book, though I don’t think she made any real attempt to realize it. I scoured through half-written journals and miscellaneous scraps of paper filled with her perfectly passé cursive handwriting, and I didn’t find any evidence of brainstorming or sketches.

I do vividly remember fleeting late-night conversations when she would discuss her love of children’s books—she was an animated storyteller who delighted in reading to my son—and how much she would want to contribute to the genre. She just didn’t take that first step, so I knew I had to take it for her.

Still, I was trying to wade through the dense fog of crippling grief, which diminished by ability to come up with ideas. I spent countless hours thinking and researching possible children’s book angles, but I was stuck for months.

When my son finally gave me the winning idea by randomly asking, “What was it like when I lived in your belly?”, I devoted every minute of my free time to answering his question.

  1. What was writing the book like? Do you think writing in verse made the process more difficult?

My son was a toddler when I began writing When You Lived in My Belly. At that age, he was positively enamored by books written in verse. When he discovered one, he would run over to me triumphantly, with his arms outstretched, and offer the book as a temporary gift (he’d always want it back). “It rhymes, Mom!” he’d say, with a spotty-toothed grin on his face. He regularly quoted Dr. Seuss rhymes. It was a no-brainer that a book based on his question had to be written in verse.

I broached the idea of writing in verse to some in the industry and they advised me against it at the time. Verse was “out of vogue”, but I went with my gut—and my son’s preference—regardless of popular opinion. I am so glad I did.

Writing in verse was definitely more challenging. I not only had to research and synthesize a lot of information about fetal development and pregnancy, but also make it rhyme in digestible and intriguing couplets for young readers. It took a long time to get it right.

  1. Your illustrator is a longtime friend. Was working on a book together easy or did it present some challenges?

I wrote multiple drafts at various coffee shops, between nursey school drop offs, pick ups, and work projects, before I got the book to a place where I felt others could read it. The first person I called was my best friend since kindergarten, Jody King Camarra. Jody is not only an incredibly talented illustrator, but she is also a mom extraordinaire. I knew she would be a perfect second read, and she would see my vision better than anyone else.

I asked Jody to illustrate the book and she readily agreed. I didn’t have any money to offer her. I didn’t have anyone backing me or believing in me. I had no guarantee the book would ever be published. All I had was my word—a mutual trust earned through more than 40 years of friendship–and that was good enough for her.

We effectively worked together despite multiple obstacles, zero funding, and almost daily tests of patience, perseverance, and emotional fortitude to bring this book to life. There were some differences of opinion and some strain caused by illustration delays but, mostly, there was synergy, shared commitment, and resolve to see it through. I am immensely grateful she lent her talents towards illustrating my book alongside her mom, Caryn King. Both of them knew and adored my mom and they cherish my son, so this truly was a collective labor of love.

  1. You’re a prolific blogger and writer and have quite a following. Do you consider yourself an Influencer? What responsibilities do you feel to your readers?

I have a commitment to myself to be honest, and that effortlessly resonates with my readers. I don’t sugarcoat my life one bit. I have endured multiple heartbreaks, from illness to death to divorce, and I bare the unfiltered ugliness of it all to connect with others who may need to hear my truth.

I can’t adequately express how much it means to me when someone reaches out to tell me a post I wrote gave them hope or made them feel heard. It’s the reason I peel back the protective layers and expose my most vulnerable thoughts through writing. It’s often cathartic for me and healing for them at the same time.

I feel so fortunate that I have bylines on Huffington PostScary MommyThe Stirand The Mighty, and Swaay, among others, because they help expand my reach tremendously and better position me as an influencer.

  1. What is the best part of being a mom?

It’s surreal to me that my son once lived in my belly, that I had anything to do with the little masterpiece of a man he’s becoming. Of course, if I take a look at my belly I am quickly reminded that he did, in fact, take up residence there—I am not one of those celebrity snapback queens, even nine years later!

I have choked back tears during all of his immunizations, agonized over the smallest of decisions, and spent every waking minute trying to achieve the artful balance of keeping him safe while giving him the space to spread his wings. I have laughed and loved harder than I ever imagined, all because I have been blessed as his mom.

My son is genuine, kind, personable, hilarious, and loving despite the occasional attitude or eye-roll. He is my greatest contribution to the world; living proof I am doing something right.

The best part is savoring the gift of time to experience his growth, as it is a gift denied to many (including his father). It’s amazing to me that he came out of the womb utterly defenseless and can now stop a hockey puck with force and precision. And I get to witness it all.

 I love watching my bonus children mature, dream, and achieve alongside my son.

  1. Your son loves to ask questions. What are some of your favorites?

“Do you think Dad is hanging out with JFK in Heaven? I hope he tells him he’s one of my favorite presidents.”

“Why is the letter “T” in Home Depot silent? Wouldn’t it just make sense to spell it the right way?”

“What makes a swear word a swear word? And who decided we shouldn’t be able to say swear words?”

“Mom, Do you think Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins goalie) will give When You Lived in My Belly to his girlfriend? What about [insert celebrity name of the day here]?”

 

 

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When It’s Smart Not to Sell Your Book on Amazon

Uncommon Grit

By Naren Aryal, CEO and Publisher of Mascot Books and Amplify Publishing


Customers love Amazon. The company started as an online marketplace for books, but it soon expanded into just about every product category, from A to Z, offering low prices and an incredibly efficient shopping and home delivery experience.

At Mascot Books, we love the access to potential readers Amazon offers our authors. However, that access comes at a steep cost. Amazon buys books from publishers at a whopping 55% off cover price. Amazon also requires that suppliers like Mascot pay freight to get inventory to Amazon distribution centers. Books are heavy, and therefore, costly to move around.

So why is everyone obsessed with selling on Amazon? Because that’s where the customers are.

We know that for every book sold direct-to-consumer, we have to sell three on Amazon to achieve the same level of profit. Let that sink in.

But every once in a while, we’ll work on a project that doesn’t need Amazon. It’s rare, but when it happens, it’s a beautiful thing.

We recently published Uncommon Grit: A Photographic Journey Through the Eyes of a Navy SEAL, an amazing coffee table-style book by 24-year Navy veteran, retired SEAL, and professional photographer Darren “McB” McBurnett. The book is a beautifully raw collection of photos taken during Naval Special Warfare Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training (BUD/S), which is widely considered to be the hardest nine months of all military training.

We priced the coffee table book at $49.95 and a limited edition collector’s version at $124.95. We launched it on the most patriotic day of the year — July 4th — on Fox & Friends in front of a national television audience.

The only purchasing option we gave viewers was the author’s website, which was linked to the Mascot shopping cart. The response was incredible, and as a result, we’ve now sold out of the initial print run. A resounding success all the way around.

If Uncommon Grit has you rethinking your desire to sell your book via Amazon, you should know this approach isn’t right for all projects. It worked in this case because the book’s content is incredible, the subject matter struck a chord with the intended target market, and the national television exposure gave the project an unparalleled platform. It was a perfect storm.

Although McB only gave his website during the interview (and it appeared on the crawl at the bottom of the screen), we suspect most buyers first took a detour to Amazon to see if they could find the book there at a discount and with free shipping. Actually, we know this happened. If you go to Amazon and start typing “Uncommon Grit book” the title autofills (meaning it has been searched for numerous times). But once you get to the product page, it’s not there.

Of course, no need to feel bad for Jeff Bezos here. He’ll be fine. Instead, we should take notice that, in some cases, it’s a good idea to bypass Amazon entirely. 

Connect with our CEO Naren Aryal on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter at @MascotNaren.

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Writer’s Tip: How To Make Compelling First Chapters

By Acquisitions Editor Jess Cohn

Everyone has had a favorite book that when they cracked open the spine, smoothed out the first page, and starting reading, they just couldn’t stop. The first chapter sucked them in and carried them all the way to the last snap of closing the book. And I bet they wondered “How?” How did the first chapter make them keep reading? There’s no formula for writing a compelling first chapter, but there are tricks you can use to captivate your readers and get them to crave more.

The function of a first chapter is to draw the reader in and get them to continue on to chapter two, chapter three, and so on. If the book is fiction, you need to establish who the main character is, the point of view, give snippets of the conflict, and establish the setting—all without an overload of exposition. Easy, right? Not always. So here’s a tip: don’t have your character wake up at the beginning of the chapter. Instead, show them doing a normal task like washing dishes, chatting with a friend, or eating breakfast with the family. That way you’re not immediately launched into the conflict of the book, but you’re introduced to the character(s) and have a chance to establish a good sense of voice. If your book is in an abnormal world where monsters rule the streets, well, what’s their normal?

For nonfiction titles, a compelling first chapter is even harder to write. Depending on the subgenre, first decide on what point of view the book will be in. First person doesn’t always work for business books, just like third person isn’t great for memoirs. Once you have that, establish the why of the book. Why do the readers need to continue reading? What are you planning on teaching them or helping them with? Making sure readers know this right off the bat sets up the rest of the book for them. Don’t overload it with statistics, but instead open the book as if you’re going to have a conversation with a friend. This works for almost every subgenre except memoir. For that, follow rules more aligned with fiction.

As an Acquisitions Editor, there are three main things I look for in a first chapter:

  1. Originality
  2. How the author established voice, and
  3. The ultimate question: Do I want to keep reading?

If the book is a concept that’s been done before (like zombies, for example), what’s the author’s take on it? If it’s a nonfiction topic that has a lot of books published on it (like politics), how does the author make the book different? The author’s voice needs to come across clearly and their style should be evident on the first page. I should realize that I want to read this book—or better yet, that I need to read it. My job is to find books that readers are going to love, and that always starts with the first chapter.

My best advice to you, dear writer, is to ask for opinions on your first chapter. Whether it’s from family, friends, or strangers you meet on the Internet, they’ll tell you if they want to keep reading. No matter what area of publishing you decide to pursue (hybrid, traditional, or self), a compelling first chapter will do your book a world of good.

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June Featured Title: Hart and Seoul

Every month we feature a title we think really shines. This month’s featured title is Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham which releases today!

Cover image of Hart & Seoul.


Why We Love It

Hart & Seoul is a stunning YA romance that’s both modern and current, drawing inspiration and arriving just in time for the buzz that’s been building around American pop culture’s latest sensation: Korean Pop (also known as K-pop). Even if you’re not caught up with K-pop groups like BTS and EXO, you’ll still enjoy the characters’ journey as they navigate complicated issues to which most of us can relate: tumultuous friendships, uncertain futures, broken hearts, chasing dreams, and finding purpose. Up-and-coming author and youth services librarian extraordinaire Kristen Burnham took some time to share her thoughts on the creation of this fresh new take on the YA genre.


From Librarian to Author: Writing Hart & Seoul

From author Kristen Burnham 

“Oh honey, you can do better than that.”

I was in seventh grade, and the teacher had asked each of us to stand up, introduce ourselves, and say what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had proudly jumped from my seat and proclaimed to one and all that I, Kristen Mary Margaret Mary (it’s a long story) Burnham, was going to be a librarian…and got that response. No wonder I quickly moved on to the next dream of being a nurse, even though I hate needles and the sight of blood. Fast forward about eleven years, and I was facing graduation with no clue as to what I was going to do (spoiler alert: I had changed my major from nursing to English), until a chance encounter with a friend who had just gotten accepted into grad school set me on the path of becoming a librarian. A year later, I had earned my M.L.S.; six months later, I landed my first job, and I’ve never regretted it.  

I have always known that I wanted to be a published author, but the trick was that I would actually have to sit down and write a book. I tried—boy, oh boy, did I try—but I could never get beyond the first three chapters; I would run out of ideas, get discouraged, take a break for a few months, and then get all excited and start all over again. Looking back, I realize that the idea I was trying to force into a story just wasn’t ready yet, and that I needed the experience of being a librarian in order to not only write a complete book but also successfully publish it.

Being a librarian has given me the perfect look inside the genre of YA Fiction: I have a front row seat to all the latest books being purchased, I know which books are being checked out more than others, and I can say with 100 percent certainty which book covers work. I’ve watched teens light up when I hand them a book (my greatest moment was when one kid enthusiastically dabbed in the stacks when I found his favorite book), talked to parents about how to have conversations with their teens about their reading interests, and watched as the paranormal subgenre morphed into dystopian, then fantasy, then contemporary, and then into sci-fi. So when I finally approached Mascot Books, I knew exactly what I was looking for—from cover design to the book layout to the book description. And they listened! After a year of querying agents and being told that my book just wasn’t the right fit, I stumbled across Mascot Books and finally found people who read Hart & Seoul (which, by the way, is not the idea that I’d struggled with years earlier) and loved it almost as much as I do. And, just as with obtaining my M.L.S., I’ve never regretted my choice.

I think the greatest thing about being both an author and a librarian is that you are right there in the thick of things. Publishers see things through the lens of marketing and selling, and authors see through the lens of the story—I see both. More importantly, I am often the one that helps connect those two elements: I help market the books that I love by putting them in the hands of those who I think will appreciate the story. Librarians work tirelessly to help people discover their passions—from the programs we plan to the hours spent working with customers to find the one book that we just know they’ll love. It’s a fantastic, albeit exhausting profession, and I’m so grateful that I’m a part of it, both as a librarian and an author. As my main character discovers, life is filled with choices, and you have to decide how you are going to not only handle the consequences of your actions, but also the actions of others. My choices ultimately led to this exciting new journey, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

So, in a way, my teacher was right. I could do better than just being a librarian, and I did. I became a passionate librarian. Oh, and author… got to remember that part now!


About Kristen Burnham

Headshot of author Kristen BurnhamKristen Burnham knew that she was destined to be either a world-famous paleontologist or a writer. The dinosaur gig never took off, so it’s a good thing she had a back-up plan. When she’s not writing, she is hunting around for the best Korean BBQ food, reading, watching dramas (Korean, Chinese, British…if it’s dramatic, she’ll watch it), listening to music in foreign languages, and having arguments with her menagerie of imaginary friends (a.k.a. book characters). Find her at seoulofawriter.home.blog or on Instagram and Twitter at @seoulofawriter. 

Read more about Hart & Seoul in new interviews and review from blogs Cover to Cover and 

Check out these other titles releasing in June:

Cover Image for Beyond the Finish  Cover image for Power & Ore 

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New Releases for June!

Summer is finally here, and there’s no better time to pick up a great book! It’s time to celebrate our newest releases, and there’s something for everybody this June from a touching YA romance to a personal finance guide to a children’s book about a regional cuisine. Check out the full list below! 


June’s Featured Title




Hart & Seoul

By Kristen Burnham

Merilee Hart has been doing her best to keep things together since her mother left, her art a welcome escape from her depressing new reality. But things seem to go even more awry the moment her next door neighbor’s enigmatic and mysterious nephew arrives from South Korea. Lee is moody, cocky, and utterly infuriating.

But when Merri’s closest friends betray her and her father crushes her dream of going to art school, Merri finds herself drawn to Lee, who seems to live within even greater shadows than her own. And just when she thought things couldn’t get crazier, Merri’s world is upended when she discovers Lee’s big and bizarre secret…he is none other than a runaway member of the K-pop mega-group Thunder.

It’s not long before Thunder’s fans, the Storm Chasers, begin to close in on Lee, ready to do whatever it takes to return their favorite idol to his rightful place in the band. Faced with the prospect of even more heartbreak and caught up in an international whirlwind that has a life of its own, Merri realizes that she must find a way to mend herself, gain control of her life, and pursue her dreams—her heart and soul depend on it.


Fiction



Power & Ore

By David H. Hanks


A nuclear pulse driven explosion in Turkey has caught the attention of the International Nuclear Weapons Agency and Carson Griffin has been assigned the challenge of determining its source. At the University of Bucharest, entrepreneurs have joined forces to create a mode of transport so powerful and unique that, once discovered, the world’s governments and terrorist organizations will all vie for control of its technology. The Jihad Terrorist Symbol will stop at nothing to get their hands on a discovered plutonium sphere and set to work allocating assassins and spies to locate a potential weapon. In this story of kidnapping, murder, double crossing, and high espionage, who would you believe or trust?

Memoir and Biographies




Beyond The Finish

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, Kyle Pease had grown up supporting his athlete brothers Brent and Evan from the sidelines. While his condition limited his ability to play sports, it didn’t dampen Kyle’s passion for them, nor did it stop the Pease family from including Kyle in various excursions. From rolling his wheelchair up Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite National Park to zipping down Colorado snow slopes, there was never a dull moment with the Pease brothers. Where there was a wheel, there was a way to adventure.

Upon witnessing Brent complete his first IRONMAN competition, Kyle asked Brent a life-changing question: Can people in wheelchairs do IRONMAN? Brent never hesitated with his response. The answer was a resounding yes. Learning from others and through their own hard work, the brothers competed in IRONMAN competitions around the country and were ultimately awarded the opportunity to participate in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. In this memoir that interweaves both their perspectives, Kyle and Brent recount the experiences that shaped the strength, tenacity, and undying bond that has resonated between them since childhood.




Carpenters: An Illustrated Discography

By Randy L. Schmidt

With more than 100 million records sold worldwide, the Carpenters are among the most beloved and enduring musical acts of the last 50 years. Randy L. Schmidt, author of the acclaimed bestselling biography Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter has assembled a team of commentators—journalists, authors, musicians, and other entertainment industry figures—for a series of in-depth, insightful, and opinionated conversations on every release. Beautifully presented with more than 200 images, many never before seen, the result is a must-have for pop music lovers.


Self-Help



After the Cut: How to Prepare For and Recover From Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

By Nicole Psomas

Have you ever seen a picture of a celebrity who recently had liposuction? In the picture, their stomach is lumpy and rippled. The first thought is to blame it on the doctor or “bad plastic surgery.” Nicole Psomas, the author shows the reader that this is not because of bad plastic surgery, but rather, bad care after surgery.

After The Cut is a comprehensive how-to guide for preparation and recovery after cosmetic plastic surgery. The author begins by explaining how to determine if surgery is the right choice for you. She describes the realities of plastic surgery that many people do not know. The book goes on to teach you how to prepare your mind, body, and home for surgery; those best prepared for surgery have better results. A typical “surgery day” is described to the reader, so they know what to expect.

Once out of surgery, and recovery begins, the reader is given a detailed guide of the author’s innovative method on how exactly to recover after any cosmetic plastic surgery procedure. Some typical procedures she discusses are: liposuction, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, body lifts, face lifts, buttock lifts, and more. Her method will teach you how to prevent complications, reduce swelling, increase range of motion, decrease pain, increase sensation, decrease scar tissue, and ultimately maximize the results and appearance after cosmetic plastic surgery.

Like any surgery, plastic surgery should be made with serious consideration and not entered into lightly. The choice to have plastic surgery is a personal one that will have a significant impact on a person’s future. The steps illustrated in this book empower the patient to play a substantial role in their recovery. With this knowledge, the patient can feel confident about making one of the most personal decisions of their life.





Middle-class Millionaire: Surprisingly Simple Strategies to Grow and Enjoy Your Wealth

By Clark Kendall

The middle class makes up most of the population. Defined as a household that earns a yearly income that hits above the poverty line but falls shy of the upper class, people in the middle class come from all walks of life, hold various types of jobs, and lead vastly different lives. One aspect does tie them together: they work hard to live well, and without realizing it, may be on the path toward becoming a millionaire.

In this day and age, millionaires aren’t as rare as they used to be, with many individuals possessing at least one million dollars of amassed net worth by the time they retire—including the value of their home(s), cars, financials, and other assets. By living within their means, saving well, and spending wisely, members of the middle class can soon be part of a group that is growing by the day: the middle-class millionaire.

In this informative and comprehensive guide, Clark Kendall, CEO and founder of the successful investment management firm Kendall Capital, shows you just how to secure your financial future. Middle-Class Millionaire is full of applicable insight into the ins and outs of short- and long-term saving, spending, and investing, for those working toward a safe and comfortable retirement. Living well in the years up to retirement and beyond depends on your financial preparedness. Let Middle-Class Millionaire help get you there.





The Gap

By Douglas Vigliotti

Meet the Gap: the little space between what you know and don’t know. It’s the thing sitting between you and what you want; it’s a small thing that amounts to everything. Are you stuck in your career, relationships, education, or business? Maybe you’re frozen by the same old habits and opinions or trapped in the story you’ve been telling yourself for the last 20, 30, or 50 years? That’s okay. It’s normal. We only know what we know. We’re all stuck on something.

In a world overflowing with competing information, knowing who to turn to, what to watch out for, and what to focus on has never been more difficult.
The Gap will help you turn obstacles into opportunities by identifying hidden forces and blind spots that prevent you from achieving your goals. Drawing on real world examples, Douglas Vigliotti empowers readers with thought-provoking questions and simple strategies to cut through the noise of the information age, challenging you to look at the world from a whole new perspective.


Sports



The Desert – A Dirtbag Climbing Book

By Luke Mehall

The Desert is Luke Mehall’s fifth and final offering in his series of dirtbag climbing books. The book begins with Mehall’s first trip to The Desert, a visit to Indian Creek in 1999, and chronicles nearly two decades of experience. Over time, the author grows from thinking that the red rock desert of the Colorado Plateau is just another stop along the way, to finding himself more and more at home there. Ultimately, the author’s passion for first ascents with his best friends fuels his desire to get to know the area in an intimate way. At the same time that this transformation occurs, the Bears Ears National Monument is created by the Obama administration and then ultimately dismantled by the Trump administration. While the final decision by the courts is awaited, Mehall contemplates the importance of public lands for the soul of America. He also pulls no punches with his thoughts on Trump’s decision. The Desert is a definitive, independently published account of a dirtbag climber searching for love, passion, fresh air, and an escape from the electronic hyper connectedness of the modern world.


Children’s


#JustaChickenLittle

By Preston Thorne & Langston Moore

The roof is swaying, and CJ thinks it has to do with a dreaded chicken curse that will destroy the coop! He rushes to warn his friends, but will he find some hidden strength along the way? Watch CJ as he learns that he can be more than #JustaChicken.




A Bean Named Red

By Dori Hernandez

Red beans and rice were meant to be, but how did they find each other? This New Orleans-based children’s book spills the beans!

Red is just a lonely little bean in a big old soaking pot. One Monday morning, she finds the courage to begin a journey to search for more. It’s a big world out there for a small bean, and Red meets a lot of silly friends. Join Red as she explores the world around her, finding love along the way.




B is for Bilingual

Leila Diaz

Learn the ABCs by identifying an object that starts with the same letter and sound in both languages! May this be your first step to mastering the building blocks of the English and Spanish language.

Aprende el abecedario identificando un objeto que comienza con la misma letra y sonido en ambos idiomas. Que éste sea su primer paso para dominar los componentes básicos del idioma inglés y el español.




Brains and Beauty

By Steve Wachtel

Brains and Beauty could not get along. If one was right, the other must be wrong! So Fox and Owl came up with a suggestion. There was to be a contest, a kind of election. They’d act as the judges, for they were wise. Would there be one winner, or might they share the prize?




Buster, The Delicate Doodle

By Jennifer Beland

Buster is a delicate Goldendoodle pup! After Buster’s mom gets fed up with his rigid tendencies, he begins to take walks with a supportive and encouraging dog walker named Kim, who encourages him to dig deeper into his quirkiness and pull out all his strengths and talents.

Can Buster find what he has to offer the world?




Chicken Girl

By Bonnie Rosario

Bonnie is a girl, a curious girl who loves reading and learning about animals, especially chickens. That’s how she got the nickname Chicken Girl. When her family goes on a trip to a nearby farm, Chicken Girl is in for quite the feathery treat! Join her—there are many chickens to meet! Chicken Girl proves that research, patience, and perseverance can help you achieve your dreams.

A portion of this book’s proceeds will be donated to Coops for Troops, which provides chickens, a coop, a starter pack of feed, and supplies to returning veterans, the families of deployed military personnel, military schools, VA hospitals, and retirement homes. Chickens have been shown to be great therapy animals.



Colonial Klaus

By Laura Macaluso

Klaus, a black-and-tan long-haired dachshund, is walking the grounds of historic Poplar Forest, where Thomas Jefferson lived more than 200 years ago. The little dog follows a scent into a rabbit hole and, when he pops out at the other end, finds himself wearing a tricorn hat. He meets Thomas Jefferson and his granddaughters, Ellen and Cornelia, and realizes he has been transported into the past. The book follows “Colonial” Klaus as he inspects the landscape and octagonal house at Poplar Forest, meeting members of the enslaved community of people who labor on the plantation to make Jefferson’s life and legacy possible. Intertwined with this story are Jefferson’s recollections of the special year 1776, when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and helped create a new country. The writing and illustrations evoke a historic sense of time and place that can still be found today at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.




Freeda the Frog Says Farewell to Her Fish

By Nadine Haruni

In this fourth book of the Freeda The Frog Children’s Book series, Freeda the Frog Says Farewell to Her Fish, Freeda and her family suffer the loss of their pet fish, Goldie. This book helps kids deal not only with the loss of a pet, but how to say goodbye to any beloved friend or family member.



Frogs in the Cistern

By Deirdre Potter

A strange noise becomes the subject of a mystery in this story about a family and their cistern! Written by Deirdre Potter and illustrated by Srimalie Bassani, this book is a great way to teach your child about frogs and the different uses for storage tanks.



Grandma and Me Go to Mill Mountain Zoo

By Alice Flora

Come along on a trip to Mill Mountain Zoo! Visit all the cool cats and other animals that live at the zoo and learn all sorts of fun facts along the way!



If The Moon

By Bernadette Drabek

Would you eat the moon if it was made out of your favorite food? This book invites children to look up at the night sky and use their imagination when it comes to eating! Written by B. Lombardo Drabek and illustrated by Jonathan Jones, If the Moon is sure to capture your child’s attention at bedtime, lunchtime, and any other time you can think of!



Keep Walking

By Will Mason

This beautiful poem teaches us when times are tough, just keep walking. In loving memory of Kamil Patel.




Mother Of Many

By Pamela M. Tuck

Judah Tuck has ten siblings, and he’s on a mission to give the old woman who lives in a shoe some advice on how to manage a large family! Although a typical day in the Tuck family may contain some chaos, Judah and his siblings find a way to pull things together before Daddy comes home. Join Mom, Judah, and his brothers and sisters as they work through the day. . .and learn what family is truly all about.



Sometimes With Ghosts

By Charlyn Wee

With kind words and charming illustrations, Sometimes With Ghosts… promotes key components of the Mindfulness Self-Compassion program. Young readers will learn that it’s okay to have uncomfortable feelings, which in the end aren’t so scary after all.




The Crowned Kids

By Terrence Terrell

The Crowned Kids at the School of Freedom come from different places and cultures, but they share the same feelings of self-love and respect for individuality. They are proud of who they are, and see their differences as unique qualities. But when bullies come around to bring them down, they have to stick together and show that diversity makes them stronger than negativity ever could, and that there’s nothing wrong with being different. An uplifting story about confidence and the importance of community, The Crowned Kids will encourage readers to learn the power of self-love and diversity to embrace the qualities that make them stand out.



The Yard: North Carolina A & T

By Latrice Collins

Come along as we explore North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. From being at the forefront of civil rights, politics, and space exploration to having the greatest homecoming on earth, learn about the rich heritage of this Historically Black College and University (HBCU) as you take a tour of the yard. Can I get an AGGIE PRIDE?




Too Many Raindrops

By Kylie Yapp

No matter how old you are, we all feel a little grey and have really bad days sometimes. It can be difficult to express unpleasant feelings, especially at a young age. Just like the little cloud in our story, learning to talk about these feelings is key to being healthy. Too Many Raindrops is the perfect chance to begin discussing a difficult topic. Read along with the little ones in your life and get the conversation started!



Twinkle Twinkle Little Mermaid

By Janet Beaulieu

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a mermaid? Do they twirl and sparkle or maybe splash and giggle? This delightful story based on a favorite nursery rhyme will ignite the imagination of young readers leaving a sense of curiosity and mystery.



The Squiggle Book

By Elizabeth Correll

Look up at the sky! Look down at the ground!

There’s always a squiggle dancing around!

Whenever you find one, draw what you see.

It can be whatever you want it to be.


Back by Popular Demand! 



Chicken Lips

By Kristy Hamby

Who’s ever heard of a cow named Chicken Lips?! Join this special, silly cow on his quest to discover the meaning behind his name and meet some farm friends along the way!

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Mascot Books’ Outstanding Author Awards 2014

Congratulations and Thank You to All Mascot Books’ Authors!

Mascot Books is thrilled to announce the winners of our 2014 Outstanding Author Awards! It’s hard to believe, but 2014 was our eleventh full year in business.  Time flies when you’re doing what you love…and working with amazing people along the way.  We’re passionate about great content, and again this year, our authors have produced just that.  It’s gratifying for everyone at Mascot to work with so many imaginative and creative storytellers. You continue to enrich our lives and the lives of our readers. As we continue to publish more quality books in all our favorite genres (fiction, non-fiction, biographies and memoirs, science fiction, sports-related, children’s books, and cookbooks), honoring just a few authors has proven to be a daunting task.  After much debate, passionate back-and-forth, lobbying, and some politicking among the employees, we’ve cast our ballots and are pleased to announce the results below. The 2014 Mascot Books Outstanding Author Awards are presented to: Children’s Picture Books: Since Rebecca Crownover’s launch of the Texas Farm Girl series, Rebecca has been all over the state of Texas in a big way meeting with the Texas farming community and excited children to share her book! Rebecca even had a song written about her and the series by country music recording artist Billy Dawson! Stephanie Sorkin is the author of two amazing and successful children’s books and has a third coming out in the very near future. With her book, “Nutley: The Nut-Free Squirrel” about a squirrel allergic to nuts, she takes delight in helping children with nut allergies and also has a knack for reaching out to create meaningful relationships through social media! Denise Barry has done an excellent job vividly answering the question, “What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth?” and continues her success with Soap on a Rope. Look for Sweeney Mack and the Slurp and Burp Competition coming in 2015! Roselyn Kasmire is a native of Buffalo, New York. She wrote a wonderful and exciting children’s book for the Buffalo Bills in addition to her Mage Magnus series. Fiction: Tom Fitzgerald crafted a suspenseful thriller, Defector in our Midst, that grabs you from the first page and reels you in throughout the book. If your favorite book genre is suspense and thrillers, this one should be on your list of must-reads. J.R. Reiling is a fiction-thriller writer that makes you dig deep into the depths of your mind while clenching onto this book in wonder. Everyone remembers September 11, 2001. J.R.’s book, “Ordinary Day: A Novel of 9/11”  is the story of “what-if” on that deeply tragic and historical date in our country’s history. Non-Fiction: Sean Stellato wrote a true life, inspirational story called “No Backing Down” about his own high school football team, one that overachieved in the face of great adversity. Sean has now become an agent for the NFL. Arlene Krieger wrote two outstanding biographies in 2014. One is about the life of the legendary Las Vegas entertainer, Tony Sacca, called “Tony Sacca, Las Vegas Ambassador of Entertainment” . The other titled, “Little Anthony: My Journey, My Destiny ” is about Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Little Anthony. Look for more excellent writing from Arlene in 2015! Deena Baxter opened up her heart in her book “Surviving Suicide“. In this thoughtful book, she shares the story of her stepson’s suicide and how she and her family coped with the tragic loss. She brings light to the subjects of suicide and mental illness in order to help others cope with similar situations. Cookbooks: Excited for the professional football playoffs as much as we are? Paul Swaney’s Stadium Journey Pro-Football Cookbook will provide you with mouth-watering recipes that are sure to win! This book shares recipes and captures the regional food traditions of every single city in the National Football League. Carla Litrenta, Courtney Matinata, and Matt Matinata created two great cookbooks for hungry fans of both “At the Table with NC State“, a North Carolina State University Cookbook  and the University of North Carolina Cookbook, “At the Table with the University of North Carolina“. Take a culinary adventure through Chapel Hill and Raleigh, North Carolina! Roya Gharavi is the proprietor of Gourmet Pantry on Main Street in Blacksburg, Virginia. She is a connoisseur of tasty food and offers unique and clever ideas for hosting parties and events. Inside this wonderful recipe book titles “Roya’s Recipes” you’ll find healthy, international cuisine!

We’re Proud to be Your Book Publisher and Look Forward to Publishing More of Your Exceptional Writing in 2015!

     

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