The Feeling Empty Series
After a young friend of mine experienced the loss of a family member, and a pet within the same month I felt it important to create a whole series of books to help children deal with grief.
I decided that the Feeling Empty series will include, The Empty Crib, on infant loss; The Empty Cage, about pet loss; The Empty Swing, about loss of a friend; The Empty Rocking Chair, about loss of a grandparent and The Empty Heart, about the loss of a parent. All covers will be drawn by children who have experienced that specific loss and a dedication will be included in the book.
The Three Little Pigs and the Not-So-Bad Wolf - inspired by the original classic of the Three Pigs but presented with an ending that shows compassion and understanding.
Little Chicken - inspired by the original classic Chicken Licken (or Chicken Little) but with a focus on the consequences of telling a lie.
The Golden Eggs - inspired by the classic The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg but with a focus on appreciating what you have.
The Gingerbread House - inspired by the classic Hansel and Gretel but with a focus on family and traditions.
Coming Soon - Little Red - inspired by the classic Little Red Riding Hood with a focus on fears.
Inspired by my dinosaur-loving twin grandchildren the first book Dinosaur Twins Explore the Woods was created as a gift for their 3rd birthday. Designed as a colouring and story book this story allows the reader to be part of the adventure.
Dinosaur Twins Make New Friends - another adventure, another story to colour - and even more dinosaurs! The Dinosaur Twins are at the park when three new dinosaurs come to play. They aren't sure what to do next but soon find ways to make new friends!
Coming soon - Dinosaur Twins Play Hide and Seek!
Middle Grade Reads
The first book I put into print was my chapter book Ghosts on the Soccer Field which is a story about a a new school, a school bully and some ghostly soldiers who have a message to share. Geared to ages 8-11 it is an easy to read book that can help reluctant readers feel accomplished at having read a chapter book.
The Way I See You is a chapter book geared to ages 9-12 and features a young girl with an eating disorder. Although it is a fictional story there was a lot of research as well as ideas from Katarina, the story advisor and someone who has lived with an eating disorder for some time.
The Rabbit's Survival isn't really a chapter book but it is meant for ages 8-12 as it deals with survival and life and death. Each page offers the reader options and how they choose to follow the story will determine if they (as the rabbit) will survive!
Kindness Kangaroo Project
This Project has me working with groups of children to gather story ideas and get student-drawn illustrations for each story. These stories involve topics and scenarios that reinforce inclusion, acceptance, kindness and friendship in an age appropriate context.
Since 2016 I have been visiting schools, daycare centres and community groups to talk about how a book is written, and topics like emotions, bullies, the environment and problem-solving. These visits have resulted in books for the Emotional Animal Alphabet series, Super Kids Save the World series, Unpleasant Pirates series and Robot Rules series.
to learn more about the Kindness Kangaroo Project check out the project section that talks about the books, features the cover artists and more!
Beyond the Kindness Kangaroo Project I have worked with other groups, some children, some adults to create more stories. These ventures work similarly to the Project where we all brainstorm ideas together (in person or online), the ideas are used to write a story and then all participants contribute a drawing to illustrate the final book.
These books include the COVID series, all done online with a focus on topics that were very needed during the beginning of the pandemic lockdown and The New Back-to-School which had a similar need. The Purrfect Place, created with the help young women from In Her Shoes employment and entrepreneur program, brings hope to street cats when they find a place they are welcome and free to be themselves.
Most recently I paired with illustrator Jayson Tench to create Gnomes of the Round Mushroom which is a fun story that takes place in the wooded realm and features gnomes with virtuous qualities.
Although I wrote stories all my life I didn't get any books into print until 2013 when I chose to become a self-published author. After that first chapter book (see Middle Grade Reads) I decided to have some kids illustrate some of my old stories and create a few picture books. These include Friends: A Cat and Mouse Tale which is a simple story, one I original wrote and illustrated as a teen as a gift for a friend. I'm Still Here which is an encouraging tale about a bird that struggles to learn to fly and Courage for Carly, a special book to honour a special girl, Carly, who lost her battle with Cancer at age 14, but inspired so many while she was here (and now through her book).
Being in the book world often gives me the opportunity to be involved in other book projects in some way or other. These are some of the books I have been lucky to be a part of either as a contributing author or illustrator.
Contributing author with my article Words are my Superpower. Available from the One Thousand Trees Bookstore
Contributing author with my article A Special Kind of Love. Available from the One Thousand Trees Bookstore