Trisha Rao



June 2016


Great Reads for Growing Minds

Arizona Talking

Book Library

Gives the Gift of Reading to

the Visually Impaired

9-Year-Old Author

Trisha Rao

Delivers a Message of Hope

to Refugee Children

Frank Clark

Takes Kids on Warehouse

Adventures with Frankie

Forklift series

Billy Phillips

Empowers and Entertains

Teens with Once Upon a

Zombie series


Children Cultural


Get Ready

for Summer


$9.95 US $12.95 Canada



Linda F. Radke


Cristy Bertini


Melissa Fales


Jeff Yesh

SCIEnce & Nature Editor

Conrad J. Storad


Nick Spake

Leigh Carrasco

Rita Campbell


Debbie Greenberg


Linda F. Radke

Cristy Bertini

Special ContRIBUtoRS

Kenya Wright, Shirin Zarqa-Lederman,

Darleen Wohlfeil, Diana Perry, Olivia Amiri,

Jennifer Bisignano, LitPick reviewers

Distributed by Publishers Distribution Group

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of Five Star Publications, Inc.

Copyright ©2016 Five Star Publications, Inc., ISSN

2374-4413: All rights reserved. Contents may not

be published in whole or in part without the express

written consent of the bylined author and publisher.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of

the individual writers and are not necessarily those of

Story Monsters Ink or its advertisers.

Story Monsters Ink is published by

Five Star Publications, Inc.

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Issues of Story Monsters Ink are recorded by the

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2 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Story Monsters Ink




Nine-year-old Trisha Rao

was horrified when she

first heard about the

atrocities taking place in

Syria and the impact its

civil war was having on

millions of children, so she

decided to do something

about it. She thought the

best way to help would

be to send a message of

hope to them in the

form of a children’s

book. Believe in

Yourself has received

high praise from

reviewers and earned Rao a 2016 gold medal from the Independent

Publishers (IPPY) Book Awards. Meet a very special little girl who

inspires us all to believe in ourselves.

Also in this issue, school is almost out, and summer reading is in!

Many public libraries have extensive programs to motivate children

to continue to read during the summer months, and thanks to

places like the Arizona Talking Book Library, people with visual and

physical disabilities can enjoy all the benefits a good book can offer

all year long!

Through his Frankie Forklift and Friends book series, Frank Clark

takes young readers on some fun warehouse adventures, Billy

Phillips presents a very different kind of zombie than the ones

typically seen lurching across movie screens in his Once Upon a

Zombie series, and in an effort to educate and dispel the myths of

Islam, our special contributor Shirin Zarqa-Lederman introduces

some children’s books that address the basic and universal tenants

of the Muslim faith.

Tell us what you think of this issue! Email your comments



04 9-Year-Old Author

Trisha Rao

Delivers a Message of Hope

to Refugee Children

08 Get Ready for

Summer Reading!

12 Arizona Talking

Book Library

Gives the Gift of Reading to

the Visually Impaired

16 Frank Clark

Takes Kids on Warehouse

Adventures with Frankie

Forklift series

20 Billy Phillips

Empowers and Entertains

Teens with Once Upon a

Zombie series

24 Teaching Children

Cultural Competence

28 Conrad’s Classroom

32 Kids Can Publish

34 Monsters at the Movies

36 Summer Reading Guide

40 Book Reviews

47 Monster Munchies

48 How Does Your Garden Grow?

50 Story Monster Approved! Books

52 School Bookings Directory

53 Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

54 Activity Pages | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 3

Feature Cover Story

9-Year-Old Author

Trisha Rao

Delivers a Message of Hope to Refugee Children

by Melissa Fales

4 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Feature Cover Story

Last year, eight-year-old Trisha Rao was feeling anxious about

her upcoming school exams, so she turned to poetry to help work

through her feelings and bolster her self-confidence as she prepared

for the tests. “It was a good way to remind myself to stay calm, be

confident, and believe in myself,” Rao says. Since then, inspired by

news reports about the Syrian refugee crisis, Rao has expanded the

verses of her original poem into a heartfelt book entitled Believe in

Yourself. In it, Rao offers the same positive message she created to

comfort herself in the hopes it will soothe the innocent, displaced

Syrian children she’s developed such compassion for.

Rao, now nine years old, was born in San Diego and

currently lives in Hyderabad, India with her parents.

Like many other girls her age, she likes to spend her

free time doing things like swimming and playing

sports and video games. She’s a fourth-grade student

at a Montessori school and loves to learn new things.

Exceptionally curious about the world around her, Rao

has a wide variety of academic interests. “My favorite

subjects are English, history, science, math, matter and

astronomy, and physical geography,” she says. “And I

love to read.”

Thanks to a routine established by her father where

they read the newspaper together every day, Rao is

knowledgeable about and interested in current events.

“It helps me understand what I’m learning at school,”

she explains.

Rao was horrified when she first heard about the

atrocities taking place in Syria and the impact its civil

war has had on millions of children. “I learned about

the Syrian refugee crisis while reading the headlines,”

she says. Touched by the stories of the young people

and their struggles, Rao felt compelled to help them

somehow. The best way to do that, she felt, was for her

to extend her words of comfort to them. “I feel that

the Syrian refugee children are going through a very

tough time, and they need to hear a message of hope,”

she says. “I’m happy that I was able to write this book

and share this message with them.”

With the help of family and friends, Rao transformed

her poem into a full-fledged book, edited by Anjali

Kariappa and designed by Pranati Khanna. Believe in

Yourself follows the tales of Sunshine the pup (based

on Rao’s real-life Cocker Spaniel of the same name)

and Papa Dog. Each page presents a lesson on topics

such as overcoming challenges, persevering under

pressure, and of course, believing in one’s self.

According to Rao, the story came from her heart.

However, her cheerful, brightly-colored illustrations

of nature’s creatures in all shapes, sizes, and shades

came from a natural artistic talent her parents first

discovered when Rao began painting at a young age. “I

have more than 300 acrylic paintings,” says Rao. “I love

to paint because I love colors and the magic they bring

about. All the illustrations in the book are collages of

my drawings from the animal kingdom overlaid by my

acrylic paintings that I’ve been making since I was two

years old.”

Trisha (with spokesmodels Dwight and Maggie) accepts her gold

medal at the IPPY awards in Chicago. Photo by Melissa Morley. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 5

Feature Cover Story

Trisha shares her books with refugee children in Istanbul.

“The Syrian refugee children

are going through a very

tough time, and they need

to hear a message of hope.”

Believe in Yourself was launched in Turkey, where

Rao recently had the opportunity to meet Syrian

refugee children currently living in Istanbul and read

her book to them. She says the face-to-face encounters

she had with these fellow children who have been

through so much during their short lives made a lasting

impression on her. “It was an amazing experience to

meet the refugee children,” she says. “I was sad that they

lost their homes, homelands, and families.”

What particularly impressed Rao were the upbeat

attitudes her peers possessed despite the ordeals

they’ve faced. “They taught me that you can be

positive in difficult times and have hope and believe

in yourself,” she says. “While these kids had lost so

much, they were still positive and playful. It made me

feel grateful for the things that I have in my life, like a

home and my family.”

The refugee children have embraced Rao’s

encouraging message so much that the Istanbul

Centre for Support to Life has begun translating Rao’s

book into Arabic so they’ll be able to read it in their

own language. Believe in Yourself has also received high

praise from reviewers and earned Rao a 2016 gold

medal from the Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book

Awards for Best Children’s eBook.

In an effort to get Believe in Yourself into the hands

of as many children as possible, Rao and her family

have pledged to donate a copy of the book to a refugee

child for every copy sold. This isn’t the first time Rao’s

talents have been put to use in support of a good

cause. When India’s Andhra Pradesh was severely

flooded in 2009, Rao’s paintings were made into

greeting cards which were then sold and the proceeds

donated towards scholarships for the children affected

by the disaster.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Rao is already looking

ahead to what’s next. “I’m working on writing my

second book,” she says. “It will take a while, but I know

it will be an exciting story.” Rao is too young to have

any concrete career plans just yet, but the future looks

bright for this gifted young girl with a big heart and so

many reasons to believe in herself. “I want to be many

things when I grow up,” she says. “I want to paint and

write more and be happy.”

To purchase a copy of Believe in Yourself, contact

Sumana Rao at The book

is also available at •

6 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 7

Feature Story

Get Ready for



by Melissa Fales

8 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Feature Story

As schools are closing for the summer, public

libraries are gearing up for their summer reading

programs. These programs are designed to encourage

children to make the most of their newfound free time

during summer break by reading. Many public libraries

have extensive schedules of hands-on activities, special

guests, games, and prizes to motivate children to

continue to read during the summer months. “Your

public library is the place to go this summer,” says

Sherry Siclair, executive director of the Collaborative

Summer Library Program (CSLP).

The CSLP is a group of librarians from all over the

country who work together to create a comprehensive

set of materials for public libraries to use for summer

reading programming. Since the American Library

Association doesn’t establish an official summer

reading theme, many public libraries choose to adopt

the annual theme suggested by the CSLP. This year’s

CSLP theme for children’s summer reading is “On Your

Mark, Get Set ... Read!”

According to Siclair, one reason the CSLP chooses

a summer reading theme each year is to unify the

programs thousands of local libraries are hosting

nationwide and help further promote the value of

summer reading. “We always hope that children see

the theme and artwork in different libraries if they

travel over the summer, so they get the feeling of the

importance of summer reading,” says Siclair. “If they

see the same artwork when they visit grandma in

another state, we hope they get the message that it is a

national program and very important.”

To that end, the CSLP also selects a National Summer

Reading Champion each year. This year’s champion

is Kate DiCamillo (profiled in the May issue of Story

Monsters Ink), the bestselling author of Because of

Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and her latest

Raymie Nightingale.

Each year, the CSLP develops a theme, generates

artwork, and produces manuals to support librarians

with their summer reading programs. “For more than

two decades, these dedicated, highly-experienced

librarians have volunteered their time to create the

summer reading program because librarians have

always known the value of summer reading,” says


According to Siclair, by continuing to read over the

summer, students are able to maintain those reading

skills they’ve worked so hard to hone throughout

the school year. “It’s been well documented that kids

experience learning losses over the summer,” she says.

“Summer reading helps them return at grade level or

reduce those losses.”

Underprivileged youths are particularly at risk

of losing their reading ability during the summer

months. “Summer learning losses are especially true

for lower-income students, who, over the school year

progress as well as their more advantaged peers,”

Siclair says. “However, over the summer, lower income

children’s skills do not progress as do their more

advantaged peers. We know this from research shared

by one of our allies, the National Summer Learning


Siclair urges parents to add reading to the list of their

family’s planned summer activities. “It’s important

for parents to continue to support their children’s

educational growth over the summer,” she says. “One

of the best places to do that is at your public library.

Programs are free and easily accessible.” | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 9

Feature Story

“It’s been well documented

that kids experience

learning losses over the

summer. Summer reading

helps them return at grade

level or reduce those losses.”

In addition to fighting what teachers often call the

“summer slide” in reading skills come September,

summer reading programs have other benefits.

Children who have decided that they don’t like to

read are often willing to give it another try in order

to participate in the program’s special activities. The

library can also be a social space where friends who

haven’t seen each other since the last day of school can

reconnect and have some summer fun together.

Contrary to popular belief, summer reading

programs are not just for kids. Some public libraries

offer summer reading programs for the whole family.

For adults, this year’s CSLP theme is “Exercise Your

Mind. Read!” While adult participants might not

receive special stickers on a reading log, they’ll likely

enjoy carving out some well-deserved “me time” to

read. If a local library doesn’t offer a summer reading

program for adults, there are plenty of do-it-yourself

ideas to get reading. A group of friends could start a

summer book club. Someone going on vacation could

bring along some books to read on the flight, during

down time at the beach, or at night to bring some

comfort to an unfamiliar hotel or motel room.

Summer is all about having fun. All summer long,

public libraries will be demonstrating just how much

fun reading can be. For more information about

the CSLP, visit

Many summer reading programs are starting soon.

Contact your local library about its summer reading

programming today! •

10 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 11

Feature Story

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan

(front left) with volunteers and staff.

Photos courtesy of Linda F. Radke

Arizona Talking Book Library

Gives the Gift of Reading to the Visually Impaired

by Melissa Fales

There is nothing like a good book. Reading can teach, soothe, entertain,

and even transport us to another place or time. Thanks to places like

the Arizona Talking Book Library and its dedicated team of staff and

volunteers, people with visual and physical disabilities can still reap all

the benefits a book can offer. “We record books digitally, so people who can’t see or

hold a book can still enjoy the experience of reading,” says Janet Fisher, administrator

of the Arizona Talking Book Library.

Issues of Story

Monsters Ink are

recorded by the

Arizona Talking

Book Library!

12 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Feature Story

The Arizona Talking Book Library was founded

in 1970. Like other talking libraries across the country,

it’s part of a program run by the National Library Service

for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a

division of the Library of Congress. Eligible, registered

people nationwide can access the NLS’s collection of

digital books, magazines, and other resources at no

charge through the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading

Download) system.

Many of the books recorded at the Arizona Talking

Book Library are available to people nationwide digitally

through BARD. Recordings are also put on USB flash

drives and cartridges for free local and interlibrary

loan use. “We specialize in books about Arizona or by

Arizona authors or the Southwest in general,” explains

Fisher. For example, the Arizona Talking Book Library

will be recording audio issues of Story Monsters Ink

magazine, which is published by Arizona-based Five Star

Publications, Inc. Talking libraries in other states offer

their own regional content. “The National Library Service

does the overlap,” explains Fisher.

Talking libraries will also often create special niche

recordings. For example, the Arizona Talking Book

Library offers the Foreign Policy Associations’ annual

Great Decisions series in a digital format. This political,

historical information is widely anticipated to the point

where Fisher receives calls from people in other states to

see when it will be available. “It feels good to know that

people are eagerly anticipating using a service we offer,”

says Fisher. “Knowing that something we do adds value

to their life and enhances their knowledge of the world

means a lot to us.”

There are three recording studios at the Arizona

Talking Book Library, plus an additional studio in

Mesa, a short distance away. A studio manager works

with volunteers interested in narrating. “We have so

many volunteers who want to narrate, we have to

audition people,” says Fisher, adding that narrators select

the book they’ll be recording. “If they like the book, we

tend to get better results.”

The studios are constantly producing new audio material.

According to Fisher, as of 2015, the Arizona Talking

Book Library held 125,960 digital audio cartridges. “We

record as much as possible,” she says. Each recording is

an extensive process, typically taking three months to

complete. “A volunteer narrator might record 20 to 30

pages each time he or she comes in,” says Fisher. “That

Volunteer narrator Pam Fischer

will be recording future issues

of Story Monsters Ink for the

Talking Book Library.

might be for two or three hours once a week or every

other week.” Once recorded, each tape is reviewed and

edited as needed. “Our goal is to have a quality product,”

says Fisher. “We strive to meet National Library Service

standards so our recordings can be put up on BARD and

many people can hear them.”

Talking libraries fulfill the needs of book enthusiasts of

all ages and abilities who are unable to read conventional

printed materials. While many books are widely available

in Braille, Fisher says it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

“Not every visually impaired person knows Braille,” she

says. Talking libraries are also utilized by sighted people

with other limitations. “They might not be able to pick

up or hold a book,” says Fisher. “We’re also an option for

someone with only one hand who can’t position a book

or turn pages. There are a lot of reasons someone might

need to ‘read’ books in a digital format.”

Like any library, the Arizona Talking Book Library has

a system that lists all of its books. However, technology

allows for a much more detailed inventory. “If one of our

users requests a western, for example,” says Fisher, “the

computer can quickly scan what’s available, detect which

ones the user hasn’t read yet, select one of those to send

out, and print out a mailing label. It’s incredible.” Because

of this system, the Arizona Talking Book Library sends

out a whopping 2,000 to 3,000 digital books per day.

Fisher raves about her small, devoted staff. Of special

note are the reader advisors who help users select books | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 13

Feature Story

“It’s such a pleasure

to know that we’re

truly helping people.

If we’re able to

give back some of

the tremendously

positive feelings

we get from the

people who use our

service, then that’s

a success.”

to read. It’s a crucial service

since, unlike traditional

library patrons, talking

library users aren’t able to

examine book covers, peruse

dust jackets, or thumb

through pages to determine

if they want to read a certain

book. In order to offer the

most personalized service

possible, each reader works

exclusively with a limited

number of users. “People

get comfortable with their

reader advisor,” says Fisher.

“Their conversations allow

the advisors to develop an

understanding of a user’s

interests and taste in books.”

Roughly 200 volunteers

donate their time to the

Arizona Talking Book Library,

working in the recording

studio reading, editing, duplicating, and reviewing

books, repairing digital equipment, doing community

outreach, and offering clerical support to the staff. “I

think our volunteers like it here because it gives them

the opportunity to learn something new,” Fisher says.

“It’s a social experience. They meet new people and they

feel good because they know they are helping people. My

hope is that they recognize how much we value them. We

couldn’t do this without them.”

Recorded books are stored and shipped

to patrons in specialized blue containers.

Fisher, the staff, and the volunteers are constantly

thanked by those who use their services. “We get several

letters a week,” Fisher says, recalling a letter from a

lifelong reader who wrote, “When I lost my vision, I

thought I couldn’t read anymore. Now I can read again.”

Fisher says letters like this are the biggest reward.

“It’s such a pleasure to know that we’re truly helping

people,” she says. “If we’re able to give back some of the

tremendously positive feelings we get from the people

who use our service, then that’s a success.”

For more information about the NLS, including a

directory of talking libraries and how to register as a user,

visit For more information about the

Arizona Talking Book Library or to volunteer, visit •

14 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 15

Feature Story

Frank Clark

Takes Kids on Warehouse Adventures with Frankie Forklift series

by Melissa Fales

For years, Frank Clark has been making special trips to his

company’s warehouse on the weekends, bringing his twin boys in

to see the powered industrial equipment used in material handling.

Now, through his Frankie Forklift and Friends book series, Clark is

able to share the experience of visiting a warehouse with children

all around the world. Calling upon his 25 years of experience in

the forklift manufacturing business, Clark’s books feature a cast of

anthropomorphic machinery characters and provide a glimpse into

the industry his family has been a part of for nearly 100 years.

16 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Feature Story

Clark says he’s excited to introduce this topic into

the children’s book genre and believes children will

be curious about these specialized machines. “Not

very many kids know the equipment my characters

represent,” he says.

Clark was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where his

father was stationed during a two-tour deployment

to Vietnam. When his father retired after 21 years

of military service, his family settled in Memphis,

Tennessee. Clark’s father took a job at the Lilly

Company, a forklift equipment company founded by

Clark’s grandfather in 1919.

Clark started working at the Lilly Company in 1991

and today serves as the vice president. “I never

thought about forklift equipment or any type of

material handling equipment growing up,” says Clark.

“As do most boys, I liked Hot Wheels, dump trucks,

and other vehicles, but nothing related to the industry

that I’m in now.”

In 2011, Clark and his wife, Ashley, welcomed

twins Christian and Hudson. “Like many dads, I like

to take my kids to work with me on the weekends,”

he says, adding how much he enjoys showing them

around the 85,000-square-foot building where the

forklift equipment is stored. “I take them up on a

boom lift, ride electric carts, and put them on anything

we have in inventory,” he says.

One day, two-year-old Christian asked if a particular

forklift had a name. Clark quickly came up with the

name “Frankie” and from then on, instead of reading

the twins books at bedtime, Clark would tell them

about Frankie’s adventures in the warehouse. “I

would make up stories,” says Clark. “I’d simply use my

knowledge of the industry and things that I have seen

over the years and tell them about Frankie’s friends

and what they did in the warehouse.”

Clark had to be careful to keep the stories and

characters at a level his young sons could relate to. “I’d

use a descriptive word for their last name,” he explains.

“So a pallet became Petee Pallet, and so on.” Clark says

he never thought about writing the stories down until

one night when Hudson asked him to read a book about

Frankie. “That’s when the idea was born,” says Clark.

The first book in the series, Frankie’s First Day at

Work, introduces kids to the basics of the material

handling field, explaining what a warehouse is and

what Frankie Forklift does there. Throughout the

story, young readers meet some of Frankie’s friends.

“I chose the most common characters a forklift would

run into in a warehouse,” says Clark, who developed

Tony Towmotor and Sally Shrink Wrapper.

Books in the Frankie Forklift and Friends series also

promote life lessons that extend beyond the limits of

the warehouse floor. “I want to reinforce the simple

responsibilities all kids have to learn when they’re

growing up, such as picking up your toys, brushing

your teeth, and cleaning your room,” Clark says.

“My hope is that kids will embrace the stories and

characters and learn something from each book and

that parents will enjoy bringing a new world to their

kids through the eyes of a forklift named Frankie.”

Clark says he has plenty of ideas for future books in

the series. “Coming up with story lines is easy for

me,” says Clark. “I just take what a forklift does in

a warehouse and think about what other types of

equipment the forklift might come in contact with and

imagine how that interaction would take place.”

There’s no shortage of friends for Frankie, either.

Clark says he’s already developed about 20, including

Gary Guard Rail, Clarence Clamp Truck, and Boo

Boo Boom Lift, just to name a few. “The next book is

going to be about Frankie’s interaction with Dudley

Dump Hopper, Stevie Stinkie Truck (a garbage truck),

and Stewie Street Sweeper,” says Clark. The story

will be about trash and will help teach children the

importance of not littering. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 17

Feature Story

“My hope is that kids will embrace the stories and

characters and learn something from each book

through the eyes of a forklift named Frankie.”

According to Clark, creating the Frankie Forklift and

Friends series has truly been a family effort. Inspired

by his children to write about his grandfather’s

business, Clark brought the text of his book to his

niece, Lilly Scheibelhut, a graphic designer, for the

illustrations. “Lilly translated what I wanted and how

I wanted it into exactly what I asked for,” he says.

With his Frankie Forklift and Friends books, Clark

says he hopes to familiarize children with the

material handling industry and promote the many

opportunities available in this field. “There’s nothing

teaching kids about an industry that employs millions

of people in the U.S. alone and offers very good

paying jobs for many people,” Clark says. Additionally,

he hopes that the millions of parents who work in

warehouses will enjoy sharing the books with their

children, just as he has. “With so many people who

interact with forklifts on a daily basis, this is a great

way for them to read to their kids about what they do

at work.”

For more information about the Frankie Forklift and

Friends series, visit •

18 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Meet Liv...

The Liv On Life Series features

Olivia (aka Liv) and her best

friend, Bowie, a Boxer dog.

Liv is the go-to girl for kids

and parents looking for advice

on how to navigate our fastpaced,

technological world.

Keep on the lookout

for upcoming titles in

the Liv On Life Series including:

I Love to Read

What’s In My Backpack?

I Don’t Wear Jeans

I Know What Time It Is

Just Smile!

You Go, I Go


Scootie and Me

Visit for recipes, coloring pages, and more!

Available on,

and most major retailers.

Prepare to Launch!

Join the lovable Josh, who uses his brilliant

imagination—and his mother’s laundry basket—

to take off for the stars and sail on the high seas!

Story Monster Approved and Purple Dragonfly Award-Winning Author

Donna LeBlanc crafts unique worlds in which readers can play and explore,

with the promise of many more adventures to come!

Available on and | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 19

Feature Story

Billy Phillips

Empowers and Entertains Teens with

Once Upon a Zombie series

by Melissa Fales

20 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Feature Story

In Once Upon a Zombie: Book One: The Color of Fear,

author Billy Phillips presents an utterly different

kind of zombie than the ones typically seen

lurching across movie and TV screens. Instead,

his zombies are the fair and familiar princesses

of classic fairy tales, such as Snow White and

Sleeping Beauty.

Phillips’ fresh approach to

including zombies in his story

uses their undead condition to

symbolically represent difficult

experiences and challenges young

adult readers often have. “I like

to say that this is a zombie book

that’s not just about zombies,”

says Phillips. “The zombies here

are a metaphor for the fears and

anxieties that people face in their

daily lives.”

Phillips is the president and CEO

of the Toon Studio of Beverly

Hills, which holds the rights to a

vast library of vintage children’s

artwork, including classic fairy

tale images, which Toon Studio

licenses to companies around the

world. “We began our collection

way before the current fairy

tale phenomenon hit its stride,”

Phillips says. “We were years ahead

of the TV shows like Once Upon a

Time and Grimm.”

While Book One: The Color of

Fear is the first book that bears

Phillips’ name as author, he’s

been ghostwriting books for

many years. He created the Once

Upon a Zombie series and decided

to write it under his own name

at the insistence of his children.

“My kids were driving me crazy,”

Phillips says. “We were licensing | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 21

Feature Story

“I want to empower

teens and young adults

with the tools to deal

with these complicated,

complex social issues

they’re facing.”

our artwork to many companies

but we had no content, no original

stories, nothing to drive the


It was Phillips’ son, David, who

convinced his father to write a

book based on the characters

whose images they own. “He

got me thinking about how we

could re-imagine these classics

for today’s world,” Phillips says.

The result was the idea behind the

Once Upon a Zombie series. “With

the first book, I incorporated fairy

tales, I got to use zombies as a

great metaphor for all of these

raging feelings teens and tweens

may have, and it even satisfied

my son.”

Phillips plans for the Once Upon A

Zombie series to be a trilogy. “I’m

currently writing book two,” says

Phillips. “I already know what’s

going to happen in book three.

Yes, there is the potential for more

books if there is a demand for


The story in Book One: The Color

of Fear centers around heroine

Caitlin Fletcher, who has recently

moved from New York to London

with her father and sister. Fletcher

has problems with anxiety, which

were sparked by her mother’s

mysterious disappearance four

years earlier and heightened by

the stress of trying to fit in at a

new school and make new friends

in a new country. “I’ve always

wanted to deal with fears and

phobias,” said Phillips. “I want to

empower teens and young adults

with the tools to deal with these

complicated, complex social issues

they’re facing.”

The fact that fairy tales were

originally written as moral

lessons isn’t lost on Phillips.

“Teaching children how to behave

was the intent of these stories

from way back,” he says. “There’s

a lot of meaning behind them

and a lot of social commentary

and insights on human behavior.

I wanted to capture that original

goal and build on it. I wanted to

bring forward a modern version

adapted for today.”

Phillips says he was also eager to

bring his personal life experiences

into his work, sharing what he’s

learned from his own triumphs

and trials. Born in Toronto,

Canada, Phillips moved to Los

Angeles in 1994 with his wife and

four children. “I went to pursue

money,” he says. “I was making

a ton of money in sales. That’s

what it was all about for me. I had

everything. I had all the toys. My

philosophy was ‘Why be a starving

artist when you can be a rich


It all came crashing down

around Phillips when he lost

everything financially. “When

you lose your business and you go

from being a multi-millionaire to

having $20 in your pocket, you get

humbled pretty quickly,” he says.

Reflecting on that tumultuous

time in his life, Phillips believes

that while taking that big financial

hit was a huge blow, it was also

the best thing that ever happened

to him. “It taught me that there

is an order beneath the seemingly

chaotic events of our lives,” he

says. “You realize that there are

other forces out there. When I lost

everything, I found my humanity,

and the meaning of life.”

Through the Once Upon a Zombie

series, Phillips says he has a

chance to delve into meanings that

are deeper than they appear at the

surface. He’s found that writing

is giving him a chance to share

his message to the masses not

through preaching or teaching, but

entertaining. “Entertainment has

the ability to enlighten, to inspire,

and to transform,” Phillips says.

“That’s the power of a story. That’s

what I want to do with my books.”

For more information about the

Once Upon a Zombie series, visit •

22 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

“Two thumbs up for these GREAT additions to any family library.”

-Story Monster Review, May 2016

A grand journey

of inclusion and

accepting differences.

An adventure

in good

choice making.

Use the code: SMInk

and save $3.00 when you order

BOTH books!

“We can all benefit from a

journey through the canyons

of the Land of OR, where

we learn to choose like never


There are so many new things

to experience when we open

ourselves to inclusion. The

artistic rhythm again carries

the enchanting little craft as

it grows, accommodates, and

teaches acceptance.”

Story Monster Review,

May 2016 | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 23

Feature Story

Teaching Children

Cultural Competence

by Shirin Zarqa-Lederman, BCPC, LCADC, LPC, MA, MS

As a child, my parents raised my siblings and me

with the tenants of Islam. I have often said I must

have received the “hippie version” of Islam because

neither of my parents presented any of the negative,

violent, and intolerant teachings that we often see as

images in the mainstream media. My parents taught

us that Islam was a religion of peace, and focused

on the similarities between the Quran, the Old

Testament, and the New Testament. My parents gave

us their teachings on the Quran, not the common

interpretations of the Quran that are often used as a

political tool in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran.

24 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Feature Story

Much like Christianity has several sects such as Eastern Orthodox,

Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant, Islam also has several sects

based on the interpretations of the Quran. Islam is often separated

into two sects as well; Sunni and Shia, which occurred after the

death of Prophet Mohammed. One of the fundamental differences

in the two is the position of their clergy. In Shia Islam, the Imamate

is the political and spiritual leader. In Sunni Islam, the Imam is the

spiritual leader, but not necessarily the political leader. These two

sects are further broken down into a series of movements that

contain their own interpretations and practices of either Sunni or

Shia Islam.

Unfortunately, the interpretations and teachings of the Quran

are often complex and therefore misunderstood. Much of this has

led to a collective notion that all forms of Islam are extremist and

violent. Furthermore, the fear surrounding the unknown of Islam

has led to an increase in Islamophobia.

Growing up with an understanding of Islam, I can attest to the

subtle existence of Islamophobia dating back 30 years. Islamophobia

was always prevalent. Now, however, as violent attacks in

the name of Islam increase all around the world, the verbal

harassment that Muslim children experienced 30 years ago

has now escalated into violence.

The increasing dissemination of misconceptions

surrounding Islam has compelled writers and authors in

the Islamic community to use the power of the pen to

educate and dispel the myths of Islam. As the Muslim

month of Ramadan is approaching, I felt it fitting to

introduce some of the children’s literature that addresses

the basic and universal tenants of the Muslim faith:

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, a Muslim Book of

Colors by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht

Amini accentuates the cultural traditions of Islam using

the colors of the rainbow. In a matter of a few pages,

Khan and Amini manage to cover many of the five

pillars of the faith in simple and colorful language.

One of the pillars of the faith is prayer, which is demonstrated

in this book through the colors of prayer rugs, head-coverings

and Mosque, which is the Muslim house of worship. Another

pillar of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan, whereby

Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. As demonstrated

in the book through color, it is customary to break fast with dates.

Furthermore, after the 30 days of fasting, Muslims celebrate with

the Feast of Ramadan, which can include decorative body art, such

as “henna” and gifts for children. This adorable picture book even

describes “Zakat,” or alms for those who are less fortunate, which is

also one of the five pillars of the faith. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 25

Feature Story

“The increasing

dissemination of


surrounding Islam has

compelled writers and

authors in the Islamic

community to use the

power of the pen to

educate and dispel the

myths of Islam.”

Ilyas & Duck is a series created by Omar S. Khawaja

and illustrated by Leo Antolini demonstrating

elements of the Islamic faith through humorous childlike

curiosity. In the first book, Ilyas & Duck Search for

Allah, a boy and his best friend who is a duck go on a

quest to find “Allah,” which translates to God in Arabic.

On their quest, Ilyas & Duck journey to the top of a

mountain, the depths of the ocean, the rainforest,

and even to outer space in search of Allah. After the

journey, the two recognize that “Allah was all around

them,” which aligns with the Muslim belief that God in

omnipotent and omniscient.

In the second book, Ilyas & Duck: the Fantastic

Festival of Eid-al-Fitr, the characters find the best

way to celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan

known as “Eid-al-Fitr.” Duck, though excited, does not

know how the holiday is celebrated. Duck therefore

brings Ilyas a “pine tree and a sack of presents,”

assuming that this is how the holiday is celebrated.

Once Christmas is explained to Duck, Duck runs back

out only to come back with dreidels and a menorah.

Ilyas then explains Chanukah. To better understand

the Feast of Ramadan, Ilyas and Duck fly over town

in their hot air balloon to the mosque or masgid and

discover how the holiday is celebrated with the help

of a robin. At the end of the book the author includes

“Professor Duck Lesson 1½,” which provides a simple

yet complete glossary of the foreign words used in the

book. This book has become a family favorite, and we

cannot help but chuckle each time it’s read!

In addition to the three children’s picture books,

I felt it was necessary to include a book for older

children that can provide an understanding of the

Islamic religion as a culture to demonstrate how much

of our daily lives are a product of the contributions

that Islam has made to civilization for centuries.

National Geographic Kids released 1,001 Inventions

and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization. From the

golden age of Muslim civilization, which is considered

the 7th to 17th centuries, Muslim inventions spread

all over the world in various fields, including “science,

math, medicine, technology, and architecture.” The

book is actually an initiative with National Geographic

and the Foundation for Science, Technology and

Civilization that is part of a series of exhibits to bring a

new found appreciation for those who have created or

innovated many of the modern conveniences we enjoy

in this day and age.

Perhaps what I enjoyed most about this book was the

portrayal of the Muslim community. We are often

inundated with barbaric stereotypical images of

Islam that exploit a minority of Muslims. This book

demonstrates the contributions that the Muslim

world has brought to the modern world, including

zoology, biology, botany, geometry, algebra, and

engineering, particularly in water transmission and

windmill energy.

For more information on Islam, The Institute for

Social Policy and Understanding provides thorough

and objective information regarding the Islamic faith,

culture, and people. •

26 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 27

Science & Nature

Living the Dry Life

by Conrad J. Storad

Photo by: Linda F. Radke

The Sonoran Desert near Maricopa, Arizona.

(photo courtesy of Highqueue)

I am a lucky writer. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to live and

work amidst the raw beauty of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert for more than

33 years. Now I’m back in Ohio, my home state. What a contrast. I’m

surrounded by trees and grass and plants so green it makes my eyes hurt.

One forgets what real green is like when living in the desert.

28 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Science & Nature

The American Southwest, especially Arizona, is a

land of many contrasts. The spaces are wide open

with only a few large cities. The deserts are hot and

dry. There are tall mountains with snowy peaks

and pine forests. The spectacular rocky depths of

the Grand Canyon separate vast stretches of rocky

plateau and rolling prairie.

One thing is certain. Arizona is a dry place. Scientists

prefer to use the word “arid.” That means it just does not

rain very much in Arizona, no matter which part you

visit. Parts of Arizona can get very hot. Other parts get

very cold. Some might call that a harsh environment.

It’s true; Arizona can be a rugged place to live.

But plants and critters of all kinds live just fine in

Arizona, including the Sonoran Desert. The area

covers most of the southwestern part of Arizona and a

huge chunk of northern Mexico. Believe it or not, the

Sonoran Desert is NOT a scrubland filled with rocks

and sand dunes. It’s a living desert. In fact, except for

the tropical rainforests of South America or Africa, the

Sonoran Desert is home to more species of plants and

animals than any other area of its size on Earth!

People have lived in Arizona and throughout the

Southwest for thousands of years. Native Americans

of many tribes, including the Apache, Navajo, Hopi,

Pima, Papago, Pueblo, and Zuni are living ancestors

to the people who first learned how to survive in this

land of many colors and extreme temperatures.

Plants were very important to the tribes who

roamed and settled in all corners of the Southwest,

just as they are important to people in all parts of the

world. People need plants. Without plants, the Earth

would be a bleak, barren, rocky place.

Plants of many sizes and shapes grow well in the

different habitats of the Southwest. The shrubs, trees,

grasses, and cacti are adapted to survive and flourish

in conditions that range from hot and dry to cold and

wet. Some have roots that are shallow nets. Others

have large single roots that burrow deep. All act like

straws to slurp up as much moisture as possible from

the soil after rare rainstorms. Most have small waxy

leaves. Others protect themselves with stickers or

nettles or sharp spines and thorns.

Southwestern plants include the towering, spinyarmed

saguaro cactus. But there are also big bushy

A saguaro cactus outside Cave Creek, Arizona.

(photo courtesy of Andrew Horne)

Organ pipe cactus flowers.

(photo courtesy of National Park Service Digital Image Archives)

palm trees, yellow sunflowers, and fields of golden

grass. There are squat, gnarled pinyon pine and

juniper trees. In the spring, the deserts and mountain

meadows often erupt with the purple, red, blue, and

white blossoms of wildflowers. Orange, blue-green,

and yellow lichens grow thick along the surface of

rocky crags and canyons. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 29

Science & Nature

Thousands and even hundreds of years ago,

there were no stores or supermarkets filled with

food, clothing, and supplies for sale. Native people

had to learn how best to identify and make use of

the plants around them. The people relied on plants

to provide the food, fiber, fuel, medicine, cleaning,

and construction materials they needed for day to

day living.

At first, the people learned how to recognize and

gather edible wild fruits, nuts, herbs, and berries.

Over time, their knowledge of plants increased. They

learned how best to grow and harvest the most useful

types of plants. For generations, people treasured

the knowledge of how to use plants. The knowledge

was passed on from father to son, from mother to

daughter. This knowledge of plants was important. In

most cases, it meant nothing less than the survival of

the people themselves.

Following are some fun facts about a few of the most

well-known plants of the Sonoran Desert. In a future

column, I’ll share some interesting tidbits about plants

most important to Native peoples and how they put

them to use.

• Fun fact: The funnel shaped flowers of an organ pipe

cactus only open at night. The plant’s round, red,

spiny fruit is considered the best tasting of all cactus

fruits. The Pima and Tohono O’odham people would

travel hundreds of miles to harvest organ pipe fruits.

Resources to learn

more about Sonoran

Desert plants:


• Sonoran Desert A to Z by Conrad J. Storad

• Sonoran Desert Spring by John Alcock

Iconic plants of the Sonoran Desert:

• Desert Giant – The giant saguaro cactus is the most

recognized plant of the Sonoran Desert. It is a living

desert hotel. A saguaro can grow more than 50 feet

tall. It can weigh 12 tons or more and will live for

hundreds of years.

• Fun fact: The giant cactus has a woody skeleton.

The “ribs” expand like an accordion to store water in

the plant’s trunk and many spiny arms. A full-grown

saguaro can hold enough water to fill 1,000 bathtubs.

• Organ Pipes in the Desert – Take a hike in the far

southwest corner of Arizona and you might come

across plants that look like giant pipe organs. Guess

what? That is exactly what they’re called: organ pipe

cactus. You are probably hiking in Organ Pipe Cactus

National Monument. The spiny plants grow in large

clumps. The spines are long and sharp. As many as 20

columns will grow from a single stem. The columns

are 12 to 20 feet tall. Each spiny green column can be

as thick as your leg.


• Desert Botanical Garden

– Phoenix, Arizona

• Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

– Tucson, Arizona

• Desert USA

Conrad J. Storad

The award-winning author and editor of more than 50

science and nature books for children and young adults,

Conrad J. Storad expertly draws young readers into his

imaginative and entertaining “classroom” to help them

better understand and appreciate the natural world.

30 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 31

Kids Can Publish!


Baby Brother

by Kenya Wright

The Big Day! I couldn’t believe it, it was finally happening! This would be the best

day ever! I couldn’t wait to meet him! I was so antsy, I thought I might jump out of

my skin! This is the day I would meet my baby brother.

I was at preschool when my dad picked me up. I knew exactly what it was for, my little

brother was being born today!

When we approached the hospital I had mixed feelings. I was excited to meet the baby but it

occurred to me, what if I’m not the cute one anymore? What if the baby hates me? Nah, that

couldn’t happen. I’m pretty likeable. When I walked in the room I heard some loud snoring. Is

that the baby? I wondered. Nope my mom. They were both asleep. I accidently woke them up.

Gasp! I can’t believe it! A tiny little boy crying! “What’s his name?” I asked. “Isaiah,” she replied.

“Can I hold him?” my sister asked. Finally it was my turn. “He’s adorable,” I said to myself.

Three days later my mom came home, and I was excited to live with a baby. He was so

chubby! I asked to feed Isaiah, and I sat on the couch and held him gently. After that

my sister got to burp him. I knew then that having Isaiah as a little brother would

be awesome!

When Isaiah was a baby, I loved giving him kisses all around his face.

I wasn’t scared any more about not being the cute one. I accepted

my place as the big sister as well as Isaiah stealing all the

attention. Now, my baby brother is five years old. He’s

bossy. He’s whiny. He’s loud and I love him.

He’s my baby brother.


Hey Kids! Visit and click on

“Kids Can Publish” for instructions on how to submit your work!

32 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 33

Monsters at

the Movies

Captain America: Civil War

Reviewer: Nick Spake Grade: A-

34 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Captain

America: Civil War has a fair deal in common

with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Both

films center on two superheroes butting heads over

their different ideologies. They additionally feature

extensive supporting casts, vast running times, and

numerous subplots. Where Batman v Superman felt

rushed, overstuffed, and dramatically uneven, though,

Civil War is almost perfectly paced, well-adjusted, and

thought-provoking throughout. It’s further evidence

that Marvel understands how to produce a great

crossover, not to mention an outstanding superhero

movie overall.

Like Batman v Superman, Captain America:

Civil War delves into whether or not

superheroes have too much power.

While the Avengers have saved

countless lives, they’ve also caused

mass destruction. After Scarlet Witch

(Elizabeth Olsen) accidentally gets

several innocent souls killed, the

United Nations decides they’ve had

enough of vigilantism. Thaddeus Ross

(William Hurt) presents our heroes with

a new law that will require them to comply

with the government. A guilt-ridden Tony

Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) views this as a

justified compromise. Steve Rogers/Captain America

(Chris Evans), however, views this act as a violation of

their rights.

What makes the contrast between Captain

America and Iron Man so compelling here is that

neither man is wrong. On one hand, we can see why

Stark would want to limit his authority after making

undeniable mistakes in the past. On the other hand,

we can see why Rogers would want to protect his

friends from the government and their agenda. This is

especially personal for Rogers, since his old pal Bucky

Barnes (Sebastian Stan) remains a wanted man after

the whole Winter Solider fiasco. Every action Stark

and Rogers take is 100 percent earned, never coming

off as forced. Even when they find themselves fighting

on opposite sides, our heroes still manage to sustain

respect for one another and a meaningful bond.

Those two are far from the only major players in the

film. Heroes are divided as Black Widow (Scarlett

Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Vision

(Paul Bettany) side with Team Iron Man while Falcon

(Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and

Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) side with Team Cap. We also get

a couple new faces, including Chadwick Boseman in

a strong debut as Black Panther. Of course the scenestealer

is the hero we’ve all been waiting to join the

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Tom Holland as Peter

Parker/Spider-Man. Equally humorous and just plain

awesome, 19-year-old Holland gives us what might be

the finest depiction of Spidey ever put on film. That’s

right, better than Tobey Maguire.

While Captain America: Civil War juggles just as many

characters as Joss Whedon’s two Avengers films,

everybody is given the proper amount of screen

time. As we’ve come to expect from this

franchise, the entire cast shares marvelous

chemistry. Some interactions are witty,

and others are genuinely moving.

Each relationship feels authentic and

simply watching these characters

play off each other is always a

delight. The middle act in particular

is an incredible feat of action,

choreography, and effects, putting

nearly every Avenger to impeccable use.

It’s arguably the most exhilarating sequence

in the entire MCU, which keeps finding new

ways to top itself.

If there’s a problem with the film, it’s that the villain

who’s behind everything is kind of a bore. Come to

think of it, outside of Loki, the bad guy is usually the

weakest part of any Marvel movie. Captain America:

Civil War really doesn’t need a domineering antagonist,

though, as the conflict between Rogers and Stark is

more than enough. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo

keep the focus exactly where it should be, turning in a

gripping blockbuster with a heart pounding final act.

I won’t give away what ultimately happens, but let’s

just say it’ll take you by surprise and leave you wanting

even more. This isn’t just the best Captain America

movie, but quite possibly Marvel’s best outing yet. •

Nick Spake. Arizona native

and a graduate of Arizona State

University, Nick Spake has been

working as a film critic for ten years

reviewing movies on his website: | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 35

Summer Reading Guide

Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

by Shana Gorian

Ten-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister, Mandy are off to summer camp with their

loyal German shepherd, Rosco. While Mandy struggles with homesickness, James’s week is

threatened by a prank-playing bunkmate’s antics. But during an unexpected thunderstorm in

a game of capture-the-flag, the troublemaker finds himself lost, alone, and injured deep inside

the forest. Rosco must play the hero and save the boy, but not before he teaches him a hardearned

lesson about friendship. Join Rosco and the gang in their third adventure, this time out

in the woods! *Recommended for ages 6-10. Grade level K-4th. 136 pages. 17 interior blackand-white

illustrations. *Readers’ Favorite 5 stars.

A to Z Character Education for the Classroom

by Sherry Hoffman, B.S., M.Ed.

A valuable resource for parents and educators! A to Z Character Education for the Classroom is

an award-winning activity book that teaches key social skills through fun activities and poetry

while developing positive character traits. Written by Sherry Hoffman, K-12 reading specialist

and author of other classroom stories, this book can be used to encourage readers to be the

best version of themselves. 2014 Mom’s Choice Award: Gold, 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Awards:

Honorable Mention, 2014 Story Monster Approved (Grades 4 - 6), 2014 Purple Dragonfly

Awards: Honorable Mention, Second Place.

Cole’s Perfect Puppy

by Frances M. Crossno

Cole’s Perfect Puppy is the first in a series of Perfect Puppy novels filled with action, moral concepts,

and, of course—puppies! Book one revolves around a boy named Cole, his brother Caleb, their

friend Rachel, and a golden retriever puppy named Scarlet. As the story progresses, they all learn

about friendship, sacrifice, and love.

A Whirlwind of Discovery

by Darleen Wohlfeil

Baseball season was winding down, and all-stars and championships filled the hearts and

minds of kids and adults alike. Jackson had high hopes of his team leading to victory when

suddenly the air shifted, hope fell, and loss darkened his emotions. Overwhelmed, his

thoughts swirled until he and his grandma were caught up into a whirlwind of discovery,

landing them in the most amazing adventure of all. In an unknown land of time forgotten,

incredible creatures, and wounded people, Jackson is challenged in depths he didn’t know

he had. Could he make a difference? He’s just a kid! Yet, the future of this powerful place is

in his hands.

36 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Summer Reading Guide

The Bigfoot Paradox

by Rebecca Coyte

Onion Weed, Tennessee. Population: 839 … or more if you count all of the bigfoots living in the

woods, and all of the bigfoot hunters who have invaded the town searching for the creatures.

J.T. Meeks is a shy, 12-year-old kid who has always been interested in finding a bigfoot. When

infamous bigfoot hunter Billy Matrix invades his town, J.T. gets involved in a hunt for bigfoots

that quickly spirals out of control. J.T. must dig deep within himself to find the courage to do

what’s right and stick up for his friends, both human and sasquatch.


by Mary T. Kincaid

Mortimer is born under the batter’s eye at the Shamrock Snakes ballpark. The first thing he hears

is “take me out to the ballgame.” His dad was busy teaching everyone mole stuff. Mortimer learns

how to dig tunnels and eat worms. But the singing continues and Mortimer plans to go to the

surface and look around. He wants to see for himself. At the surface he meets Ralph the Rat who

knows about baseball, solving problems, and different foods, not worms or grubs. Can Mortimer

talk his family into letting him be a mole and something else, a baseball fan?

Leyni’s God Adventure

by Sandy Hill

Can a five-year-old make a difference in our world today? Can she dream a big dream and

make it come true? Follow Leyni as she explores the possibilities of her dream in Leyni’s God

Adventure. Leyni’s true experiences inspired this story. This award-winning picture book with

delightful illustrations entertains and opens the possibility to children that they can make

a difference and their dreams can be endless! As an added benefit, all profits from Leyni’s

God Adventure are donated to keep kids safe. Visit for more

information or other books by Sandy Hill.

Xalien the Purple Alien

by Michelle Path

Xalien the Purple Alien is written in a fun, humorous style suitable for young children to enjoy.

It would make an entertaining story for parents to read to their children, or for children with

some early reading skills to read to their parents! Xalien crashes to Earth and finds herself

befriended by three children: Jessica, Adam, and Sarah. Whilst on Earth, Xalien learns all

about the planet and the strange habits humans have, often resulting in funny and unusual

situations as she tries her hardest to fit in. Along the way, Xalien teaches the three children

about life on her own planet. Earned 2016 Story Monster Approved designation. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 37

Summer Reading Guide

Jockey Hollow – Where a Forgotten Army Persevered to

Win America’s Freedom

by Rosalie Lauerman

Jockey Hollow has all the makings of riveting works of fiction—treason, mutiny, enemy

attacks, extreme weather conditions, unpredictable personalities, shortage of supplies—but

what happened at Jockey Hollow in the winter of 1779-80 is entirely and monumentally true.

This book brings to life a little-known Revolutionary War encampment near Morristown,

New Jersey, where tenacious soldiers persisted despite all odds. It spotlights the depth of the

soldiers’ conviction that America should be a free country and the price they were willing to

pay to win that freedom. Jockey Hollow received the 2016 IPPY Bronze Medal for Best Mid-

Atlantic Region Nonfiction.

Click on the book cover to purchase any of the above titles.

To advertise your book in our Reading Guide, contact Cristy Bertini at for rate information.

Two of the Most Beautiful

Books You’ll Ever Own

White Butterfly and Her Wings of Many Colors

$18.99 ISBN: 978-0-692-54362-7

Written and illustrated by Susan Andra Lion | Story by Arnold Bustillo

White Butterfly is fast as lightning and valiantly heroic. But the one thing

she wants more than anything is brilliantly colorful wings. This tale of

a little butterfly’s magical journey provides a charming and lovingly crafted

message of self-acceptance and humility.

How the Trees Got Their Voices

$16.99 ISBN 978-0-9832687-5-8

By Susan Andra Lion

A stunningly illustrated, beautifully written tale about trees, Mother Earth and

her many life forms, and the relationship of all living things. An instant best

seller, winner of 14 national awards. Children will cherish it for years to come.

White Butterfly

and her many-color wings

and Her Wings of Many Colors

Story by Arnold Bustillo

Written and Illustrated by Susan Andra Lion

Available from,

Amazon, or a bookstore near you




38 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 | | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 39

Monster Reviews

Goodnight, Campsite

by Loretta Sponsler

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Fresh air, campfires, and starry skies make for happy summers and childhood memories.

Goodnight Campsite brings to life all the fun that’s tucked away in campgrounds all across

the land. Adventures waiting to be explored for young and old alike. It seems the air is

alive, and breathing is a little easier. Smells and sounds mingle as they waft overhead

from campsite to campsite. Yet, as I would sit and take in my surroundings, as I listened

in the night, there was always one common sound that rose in every campsite: laughter.

Goodnight, Campsite stirs the mind and brings hopes of excitement alive. Happy Camping!

Trombone Shorty

by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Troy Andrews, better known as Trombone Shorty, is an inspiration to children and adults

alike. His story is filled with heart and determination. Growing up in Treme’, New Orleans,

his life was filled with music. It was the center of his neighborhood and the very center of

his being. When he didn’t have an instrument, he made his own music, and when he found

an old discarded trombone, he made it his life. Seeing his life unfold as his love of music

led him, you find your own heart cheering him on. Real photos add a personal touch to the

story and its author. Illustrations by Bryan Collier adorn the text with artistry, bringing a

visual appreciation that lends to the imagination the sound of its music. The book’s warm

colors, text, and illustrations are inviting from cover to cover. A good gift choice to inspire

that special someone to reach for their dream.

My Dog Holly

by Kristin Maggio and Sally Baldwin

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Kristin Maggio is 9 years old, and has always found drawing as a personal outlet. After

the loss of her BFF (Best Fur Friend) Holly, Kristin found comfort in drawing the many

memories she shared with her loving Australian shepherd. The loving bond they had for

each other fills her heart and easily guides her creative hand in this heartfelt tribute to their

time spent together.

Are There Dinosaurs In Space?

by Kristin Maggio and Sally Baldwin

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

A children’s book about all the fun things dinosaurs could do if they lived in space! Success

returns to Kristin Maggio once again. Are There Dinosaurs In Space? is yet another lighthearted

glimpse into the heart, talent, and imagination of our young author/illustrator.

Together with Sally Baldwin, they bring fun stories to life.

40 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Monster Reviews

Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

by Shana Gorian

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The author’s personal love for summer camp and her great German shepherd dog flows

through the story loud and clear. The daily details so orderly laid out will make children

hopeful for such a fun summer experience. This is a great bridge book that will carry

young readers further into their literary journey. The theme is pertinent, the characters

relatable, and the outcome substantial. It will carry a love for reading into a more personal

focus, developing an interest for novels. A young girl accompanies her older brother for

her first big sleep-away adventure at Camp Hickory Ridge. Timid and unsure, her brother

comforts her with the assurance she will enjoy herself so much that she won’t be able to

wait until next year comes again. Many may fondly remember the growth, the development,

and solidifying of our sense of self that came in those times of a peer society. Challenges,

victories, even failures, that brought us home champions.

The Egg Thief

by Alane Adams

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The Egg Thief takes us back to Pennsylvania’s farm life in the year 1929. This fun story

opens to the reality of hard work on the farm. No one is exempt, and young Georgie

struggles to keep his eyes open as he rises before the sun to do his share of the chores.

Mama directs him to the porch for a bucket, and he’s off to gather eggs from the

henhouse, only to find someone, or something, had beat him to it. He couldn’t go back

to the house empty handed, and there the adventure begins. In the attempt to recover

his losses, Georgie finds himself on a wild egg hunt that ends in an opportunity to help

another in need. It’s really true: one good turn leads to another, and Georgie finally

returns home with a new friend and a bucket full of eggs. The illustrations are warm and

the color palette inviting, depicting the storyline with wholesome charm.

Beyond the Laces

by Bob Salmon and Rick Young

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Beyond the Laces is a collaboration of hearts. It speaks to a familiar storyline of child

illness, but echoes the personal cry of every character. It’s message of hope, strength,

and courage is unmistakable. Pay it forward has become a concept that has captured the

heart of our nation, and has been seen in a vast scale of magnitude. From a free drink at

Starbucks, to the selfless giving of one’s time and talent, we’re becoming a more sensitive

society. Great men have always grasped the gratitude for their greatness, and passed on

in kindness its blessings. Bob Salmon is no stranger to the ranks of such men, and has

rallied professional athletes from all fields to strengthen and inspire struggling children to

overcome. His heartfelt stories capture and relay empathy, creating a powerful platform,

a true pro bono publico. There is power in community, strength in numbers, and times

when the caring hearts of others can quicken the beat of our own. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 41

Monster Reviews

Before I Wake Up...

by Britta Teckentrup

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Before I Wake Up… is a dreamy journey into slumber’s dark night and out again into morning’s

bright warmth. Written in poetic form and carried by the illustration’s shadowy

collage effect, a dreamland beckons its reader to follow. The soft color palette and soothing

style create a gentle, ethereal beauty.

Silly Willy Winston series

by Donna M. Maguire

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Author Donna Maguire’s main character Silly Willy Winston draws from the comical

antics of her family’s pet basset hound. With his long ears, short legs, and often clumsy

manner, he is able to disguise his true superpowers. At any moment, Silly Willy Winston

is prepared to help his friends in need. Whether it’s overcoming fears, finding something

lost, or just enjoying a day of discovery and play, his adventures are filled with fun and

education. Children will enjoy following the super sleuth as he takes them on a journey of


Martian Mustache Mischief

by Brian Rock

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Martian Mustache Mischief is a perfect book for those silly, happy days when hopping on

one foot and reading stories that make you snort when you laugh are a must. We all seem

to know that one person who smears ketchup on EVERYTHING! Do you think? Could it

possibly be ... there’s a Martian right here with you and me? Joshua Dawson’s illustrations

are as big and bold as the story, and together they make a fun reading experience. Kids will

wiggle with giggles while reading this story.


by Laura Jensen-Kimball

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

MOMSTER is a book of accountability. We are never too young to learn there are

consequences to our actions, and the story opens with the cries of a young boy who has

learned his lesson and shares his story with anyone who will listen. Having ignored his

mother’s repeated requests, he witnesses the transformation of her otherwise peaceful self

into ... a momster! Quickly assessing his part in the horrible ordeal, he apologizes, curbing

the terrible momster hidden within his mother. Everyone carries a silent load. Sometimes

careless words or actions may just be the last straw that weighted the load beyond bearing,

and terrible outbursts may occur. Kindness and respect are small gifts we can all offer

regularly to keep the momsters contained.

42 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Monster Reviews

Lonnie the Loon series

by Barbara Renner

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Barbara Renner’s enjoyable summer home on the Minnesota lakes has brought her a

fond fascination with its beautiful water birds, inspiring her to create the loving stories

of Lonnie the Loon. Her award-winning stories are a fun introduction for preschool and

elementary age groups into the life of the common loon. We follow Lonnie as he grows

and learns to fly, and learns the meaning of the many calls he hears upon the lake. We take

flight as he begins his first journey south for the winter. Renner brings us many interesting

facts and provides interactive opportunities using a QR Reader App.

Still a Work in Progress

by Jo Knowles

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Young Noah is a kid who readers will relate to as he and his friends contend with daily

obstacles in the journey of growing up. Rough days are intertwined with fun times with

friends in school and at home. I think any child can put themselves in Noah’s place and

learn through him how to get through the bad days.

Tomas and the Galapagos Adventure

by Carolyn Lunn

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The mind is an amazing thing. It knows no bounds and limitations, and when the

imagination becomes its portal, the impossible can happen. What starts out as an ordinary

day for young Tomas suddenly turns into an extraordinary adventure. Tomas and his

much loved horse, Bonito, set out for a ride. Passing friends with cheerful greetings, they

ride through town. They ride past fields, along rivers, and into the countryside where they

pick up speed. Bonito is fast and the scenery blurs beside them as they catch the wind.

Suddenly, a dog appears in the path and Bonito rears, throwing Tomas from his back. The

portal opens, and the adventure begins! This is a fun story that awakens the imagination

and salts the lips with whispers of what if?

Xalien the Purple Alien

by Michelle Path

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Sometimes situations and circumstances can hit a glitch and bring some very unwanted

results. Xalien finds herself in just such an occasion when her spaceship crashes on Earth.

Although she is not hurt, she is stranded all alone in a strange place until her distress call

can bring rescue. Being discovered by three children, Xalien learns that when you’re open

to new discoveries, even mishaps can have a good outcome. This is a story of friendship,

tolerance, and sharing. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 43

Monster Reviews

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse

by Brian Farrey

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Twelve-year-old Jeniah has her life turned upside down when she learns that her

mother, the queen, has but days to live. Not only will she lose her mother but she will be

immediately faced with becoming the queen, an overwhelming task that she’s not prepared

for. She is taken to the top of one of the nine towers in the castle as her mother, barely able

to walk, points out a dark spot on the otherwise lovely kingdom. It is called Dreadwillow

Carse and Jeniah is warned never to enter there. Of course, any parent who has ever

warned their child not to do something will find that it’s the very thing they will choose to

do. I can’t recall reading a children’s book that I’ve enjoyed more. This book was a nonstop

discovery of delight that adults and kids of all ages will enjoy. I am now a die-hard Brian

Farrey fan. Read this book—you will love it!

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? Tales from

Deckawoo Drive, Volume Three

by Kate DiCamillo

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Sometimes you just have to take a necessary journey. The poignant story of Baby Lincoln

brings us all face to face with the looking glass. Baby had been nicknamed so by her sister

at the onset of life, and here she is in later years, hearing the sound of her given name. Oh

what a joyous ring it had. So caught under the dubbing of others, her own sense of self was

lost. Baby has had enough and determines its time for a necessary journey. Sometimes,

that simple distance between the forest and the trees is all we need. Baby Lincoln has a

wonderous trip as she meets others, and discovers herself. Written for ages six to nine, but

a delightful story of self-discovery, no matter how old you are! Illustrations by Chris Van

Dusen are warm, comforting, and inviting. The perfect topping to a delightful treat.

Playing Juliet

by JoAnne Stewart Wetzel

Reviewer: Jennifer Bisignano

Twelve-year-old Beth Sondquist is heartbroken when she hears that the children’s theater is

going to be shut down. Beth and her best friend, Zandy, are willing to do whatever it takes

to save the theater, but their plans quickly go awry. The author takes us vividly through the

eyes of Beth to have a familiarity of the hallways of a children’s theater. The theater itself

becomes a major character in the book. The building has life breathed into it through the

backstage hands, actors, and support of everyone who loves it. The author not only makes

Shakespeare fun, but approachable. She lets us in behind the curtain of improvising when

things don’t go accordingly and the 13 superstitions every theater kid should know (never

wear real jewelry on stage, bad luck). This book has prompted numerous conversations with

my afterschool kids (something I cannot say with every book) and left me wanting more.

Bravo, JoAnne Stewart Wetzel. Take a bow.

44 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Monster Reviews

Cheyanna and the Holey Horse

by O.L. Shepp

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Cheyanna gets a new horse, Bighorn, to train as a rodeo roping pony, but her dad learns

that the horse has a tracheotomy hole in his neck and wants to have the horse put to

sleep or given away. He orders her not to ride him and gives her Rocky, their cow pony, to

train. She wants to save Bighorn by proving to her dad that he would make a great rodeo

horse but can’t do this without riding him. Her little brother Jackson, who made fun of

the “holey horse,” starts to bond with him also. Without letting his dad find out, he begins

to train Bighorn to show that the horse can be a great rodeo performer. I feel that kids

will really love this story. It made me remember when I was a kid and wanted that special

animal that I wasn’t allowed to keep.

Judy Moody and the Bucket List

by Megan McDonald

Reviewed by Olivia Amiri, 3rd grade

I really liked Judy Moody and The Bucket List because it opens up one’s mind to things that

are possible to do in life. I love the relationship that Judy has with her Grandma Lou and

how Grandma Lou reminds Judy to use her imagination in making her bucket list. Judy

dreams of what would be on her list then actually figures out how to make the things on

her list come true. It makes me want to make a list too!

Critter Litter: See What Critters Leave Behind!

by Stan Tekiela

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Award-winning author, naturalist, and photographer Stan Tekiela’s fun, interactive book

brings children and wildlife together in the wildest scavenger hunt yet. Tekiela introduces

12 common animals, sharing their basic behavior patterns, and how we can read the

environment and discover just who has been prowling around. And with his interactive

lift-the-flap activity, you just might hear an old familiar shout. “Scat!” | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 45

Monster Reviews


by Sam Trull

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Some of us have experienced that unseen blow to the back of our knees that life

throws at us, and felt our legs buckle. A curve, a distraction, and life is gone. How does

one come back from that? Sam Trull found her way back in her work, in an amazing

opportunity to transform her loss into love again. Only this time it was the soft, furry,

wide-eyed love of a sloth. Sam shares her story of pain and loss with these creatures

who were as in need as she was. Together they both not only survive, but thrive! Trull’s

passion, talent, and love fills every page of her book, and every photograph. She teaches

and informs our wounded lives of things beyond our self-constructed walls. Time spent

in this book is real, refreshing, and yes, healing. Thank you Sam Trull for sharing your

grief, and offering your hand to lead others back.

Dolls of Hope

by Shirley Parenteau

Reviewer: lovereading, age 11

This book is one of the most concise novels I have ever read. The combination of

adventure in a new place and the exciting mysteries of what is to come makes a book

that grabs your attention and holds it there. Chiyo is this high-spirited, brave girl

who comes to a strange school to learn new things and tries to make the best of any

situation, even in the worst of times! This is a book I would read over and over again

because I feel a connection with the real world, with history, with fantasy, and with the

heart, soul, and mind the author put into this book that makes it worthwhile to read. I

guarantee you, the second you pick this book up and start reading it, you won’t be able

to put it down. Happy Reading!

Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls

by Raymond Arroyo

Reviewer: Jonah Ross, age 14

This was an exceedingly good book. This is definitely a great new addition to the genres

of fantasy, fiction, and adventure. It has suspense, adventure, fantastic characters, and

witty dialogue. The author wrote the book based on the Catholic faith and added some

interesting twists as well. He combined sharing the beliefs of many people with a good

story that calls for attention and will be a great success. This book will serve as a model

for good literature in the future.

46 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Monster Munchies

Lemon Bars

The perfect summer treat! These refreshing sweet and lightly tart

lemon squares will surely add a ray of sunshine to your day!


1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1-1/2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 lemons, juiced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour,

and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased

9 x 13-inch pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm

and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1-1/2

cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.

Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The

bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another

pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green

food coloring to make it a very pale green. After both pans have

cooled, cut into uniform 2-inch squares and arrange in a checkerboard


Recipe by: Patty Schenckv

Photo by: CC

How does your garden grow?

Gardening with Fairies

by Rita Campbell

“Do you believe in fairies?

Say quick that you

believe. If you believe,

clap your hands!”

- James M. Barrie

How many of you are clapping your hands right

now? For centuries, man has been fascinated by the

legends of fairies, or so-called “wee folk.” Fairies,

whether they are called fae, fairies, elves, sprites, or

nymphs are recognized in many cultures all over the

world. Fairies are actually earth angels that have been

placed here on Earth to protect and teach humans

about our planet. Of course, you don’t need to actually

believe that these legendary creatures exist, but with

a little imagination, you can bring much joy and fun

to your gardening. So let’s use some imagination and

begin with some magic in our hearts.

How do we welcome fairies to our gardens? Well,

how do you invite anyone to come to your house? You

ask them! Make a sign welcoming them using glitter.

Sparkle makes you happy whenever you look at it and

it will welcome the fairies, too. It will also remind you

of their shimmering presence.

You can decorate your garden with wreaths and

garlands made of natural things like pinecones.

Hiding in rocks is a favorite pastime of fairies so

it is important to arrange stones to create places

for them to tuck themselves away in. Painted rocks

can be used to create fairy rings or walkways. Just

like glitter makes you happy, sprinkle some crystals

along a walkway to add a bit of magic to the fairies’

steps. These crystals could be beach glass or tiny

sea shells that you have collected as a family on

your next vacation. This will make your garden even

more special.

Choose a place in your yard, whether it be tucked

away in the woods, in the yard outside your bedroom

window, in a flower garden, or in a container. Old

wheelbarrows, wagons, birdbaths, and broken flower

pots all can be made into tiny landscapes. Fairy

gardens are actually a form of miniature gardening.

You may not know how your fairy garden will turn out

while you are planning it, but if you are a gardener,

you know that no respectable fairy would live in a

garden without flowers. Snapdragons and foxgloves

and poppies, oh my! Does anyone know what these

are? These are names of flowers that are pleasing to the

48 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

and fun things to buy for your fairy garden. The joy of

miniature gardening involves not only gardening but

crafting as well, meaning you can imagine an idea and

put it together yourself.

Gardening can teach us so many things, and

creating a fairy garden is no different. The fairies will

help your flowers to bloom but you will need to learn

how to feed them, water them, and take care of them

to help them grow. Together with the fairies, you can

create a garden full of whimsy and magic. You can

learn how to plan a garden and create accessories for

it using your imagination. You might even learn some

math or a new word. You definitely will learn what

is involved in having a garden. So, if you invite the

fairies to come, you will create some magical moments

and learn a great deal as well about gardening and

many other things. Look for more articles to come on

learning how to garden.

Flowers and herbs that attract fairies or

other winged creatures like hummingbirds

and butterflies:

fairies. Lavender and chamomile and thyme are great

choices too. See the list of flowers and herbs you might

also use in your fairy garden in the box below.

Of course you will need some kind of shelter for the

fairies as well as furniture. Some trinkets you might

want to put in the garden for the fairies to enjoy

are things like Matchbox cars for the fairies to drive

around at night. You might create some dresses from

flower petals for the fairies to wear. Hang them in the

trees for the fairies to find them. Marbles are another

treasure that the fairies would enjoy. Many things in

your fairy garden can simply be made by you. There

is so much available online to learn about creating

things for a fairy garden. It is not necessary to spend

a lot of money, although there are many beautiful









Lady Slipper





Elfin Thyme

Wooly Thyme

Creeping Thyme



Mints of all kinds

such as peppermint,

spearmint, apple



Lemon balm

Rita Campbell is a passionate teacher

and master gardener. She is also a

fairyologist and new author. Her love

for gardening and interest in fairies has

inspired her to marry the two concepts

and create a series of books on learning

about gardening with the help of fairies. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 49

Story Monster

Approved! Books

The Secret Drawer

by Nancy Gee

The Secret Drawer, based on a true story, was written by Nancy Gee after a real flying squirrel

found its way into her bedroom and into her sock drawer. The adventure began when her cat,

Odis, refused to budge from the front of the dresser for two long days. Readers of all ages will

find this story fascinating and informative. They’ll also learn that kindness to animals is returned

by them in many unexpected ways.

The Secret Path

by Nancy Gee

Flying squirrels, Al and Sal, introduced in The Secret Drawer decide to return home with their

friends to share their special news with Maddie and Kitty. Along the way, Sal becomes dangerously

trapped and determines that only Kitty can come to her rescue. Written in rhyme, the

story ends on a happy note when good news is announced.

Little Peach Pit

by Grace Nava

Little Peach Pit confronts bullying and other difficulties during its growth, but overcomes them

with the help of a higher power, perseverance, and hard work.

Emma’s Dilemma

by Molly McCluskey-Shipman

Have you ever felt like others would think that you’re different? That’s exactly the way Emma

feels when her teacher announces the class project to create a family tree. Emma is certain that

everyone in her class won’t understand and accept what it means to be adopted. Can she solve

her dilemma?

50 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Story Monster

Approved! Books

Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind

by Steve Michael Reedy

Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind is a collection of stories for monkeys of all ages. Each story will

take the reader on a whimsical journey through the puzzling world of humans with hypnotic

prose and fairytale fantasy.

Are There Dinosaurs in Space?

by Kristin Maggio and Sally Baldwin

A children’s book about all the fun things dinosaurs could do if they lived in space. Created by

a nine-year-old girl, this book is filled with her colorful dinosaur illustrations that your child

will love.

Ben the Dragonborn

by Dianne Astle

Few people know the location of a mysterious school where heroes of the past train those who

belong to the future. Ben Taylor only learns of the school’s true purpose when he is sent to the

Principal’s office to talk about his fear of water. Miss Templeton gives him a simple test to see

if he is a Chosen of the Guardian. That very day Ben is sent through a portal to a watery world

of mermaids and monsters. Ben’s only chance of success depends on discovering the secret of

his own true self in a terrifying world where nightmares come to life.


& Giggles

Q: What do you call an alligator in a vest?

A: An Investigator! | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 51


Jane Ruby

Why should young children have all the fun learning facts from books?

Why can’t young adults have the same fun? My award-winning novel,

The Azurite Encounter, makes learning facts fun for the young adult reader.

Geology, Meteorology, Herbal and Wilderness Medicine, Arizona History

and Folklore are just a few topics wrapped around this high school Grand

Canyon field trip gone bad.,



Maggie van Galen

I have read to over 4,000 children, and haven’t lost one yet! School and

library visits are my favorite part of being a children’s author! A typical

presentation lasts an hour and includes a reading of the book(s), Q&A,

crafts, and fun stories. The age range is preschool to elementary. Website:, email:


Gray Levy

Gray Levy, author of Big and Bright: Deep in the Heart of Texas High School

Football has coached football for over two decades. His talk covers the

importance of extra-curricular activities as part of a well-rounded education

and Texas’s unique and fascinating model for prep athletics. www.

New York

Peggy Thomas

Cultivating wonder with a variety of programs for K-6. From first idea to

last revision, learn how an award-winning nonfiction author researches

information and shapes a compelling narrative with figurative language.

Explore tall tales; discover our founding farmers. All programs aligned

with CCS. See website for more.,


52 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |



¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to

Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner!

¡Bienvenidos! Juicy Jack wants to know what

your friends are like. Describe them using the

phrase below.

¿Cómo es (name of friend)?

Answer Jack using the phrase below.

Use words to the right.

(name of friend) es (personality characteristic).

Grammar tip: If your friend is female and the

descriptive word ends in “o,” change it to “a,”

otherwise keep the ending as is.

Practice with Juicy Jack:

Make a list of 10 friends or family members and

then describe them to a parent or friend. For extra

practice, cut out photos of people from magazines,

glue them onto paper, and write how you would

describe them. (You can look back to “Juicy Jack’s

Spanish Corner” in the March issue of Story

Monsters Ink for more descriptive words.) Example:

Liam es serio. Sara es simpática.

¿Cómo eres?

What is your personality?

1. simpático = friendly

2. amable = kind

3. antipático = mean

4. divertido = fun

5. interesante = interesting

6. aburrido = boring

7. serio = serious

8. cómico = funny

9. organizado = organized

10. desorganizado = unorganized

11. inteligente = intelligent

12. listo = smart

13. tonto = foolish

14. generoso = generous

15. tacaño = stingy

16. tímido = shy

17. extrovertido = outgoing

18. perezoso = lazy

19. bueno = good

20. malo = bad

Leigh Carrasco is an educator

and author of the wildly popular

Juicy Jack Adventures series about

a spunky guinea pig who travels to

Peru with his human. | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 53

Activity Page

Activity courtesy of Loretta Sponsler, author of Goodnight, Campsite

54 Story Monsters Ink | June 2016 |

Activity Page

Activity courtesy of Loretta Sponsler, author of Goodnight, Campsite | June 2016 | Story Monsters Ink 55

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