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Posts tagged ‘Children’s Picture Book’


Sixty-six (66) 5-Star Reviews for Award-winning Picture Book AMAZING MATILDA!

MATILDA expertly as a cirus acrobat... 2016

About the book

This “Gem of a Tale” about a Monarch Butterfly teaches kids lessons in friendship, patience and persistence as AMAZING MATILDA transforms from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Children’s Picture Book/Ages 5-11).

Order your copies today:

AM Celebrate Season MATCHBOOK bas 2016

Related Sites:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

MEET THE AUTHOR: Victoria C. Ames

I Can Dance, Too!

by Victoria C. Ames and Lynette Toma


goldPraise  from a  Happy Mom

“Victoria and Lynette,

Thank you for the book. I can do lots of things too! The book the two of you wrote couldn’t have come at a better time. Our daughter had experienced exclusion during an activity and her self-esteem was greatly affected. Although all of us close to her were trying our best to make her feel good about herself, nothing was really working. The book really made a difference; it prompted her to think about all of the things that she can do.

Thank you!”


Hi, Victoria. Welcome to 4writersandreaders—It’s great to have you with us today.Tell us about how you came to co-author your wonderful children’s book.

Lynette and I lived at the same apartment complex in San Diego, CA.  One day, Lynette walked over to me and asked if anyone was sitting on the pool lounge chair next to me. I invited her to sit down and I noticed that we each had a book in our hands, one describing the strengths and needs of an individual with a speech and language impairment and one guiding us through a woman’s journey to create a better life for herself.  An instant connection. We were both speech therapists, we both grew up far from California, we both loved books and we both said, “Why not?” Within an hour we had decided to write a book together to combine our dreams and passions.

That is so exciting, beginning a book project as a team. Give us a brief synopsis of “I Can Dance, Too!”

Mia would love to dance, but she cannot hear the music unless she wears her hearing aids. After questions by the other children, Mia proves that she can dance and that she is not different from the others.

Co-authors Lynette and Victoria attending the Orange County Book Festival.

Co-authors Lynette and Victoria attending the Orange County Book Festival.

What do  you enjoy most about being an author?

Every time I read the book to my students, or to any child, I get a rush of adrenaline. Whether it’s in front of a filled auditorium during a performance or the small setting of my office at school. It is incredible. The children have such a good time reading the words, commenting on the beautiful illustrations, and trying to find the dragonflies on every page. Many of the kindergartener through second graders can read the words or confidently attempt to read them with support as needed. Almost all of them did not know what a hearing aid was and most of them did not think Mia could dance with them in her ears. Both boys and girls get to share Mia’s enjoyment when she explains that she can hear the music and move her body to the song. Even the boys get up and stretch their legs, turn, leap and say, “Look at me—I’m dancing!”

Walking down the hallway at my schools I can hear, “Miss Ames, I can dance, too!” I was recently working with a student, who struggles with literacy and is getting to the point that when asked to read, she tears up. She noticed I Can Dance, Too! sitting on my desk. First, she flipped through the pages, discovered all the dragonflies and volunteered to read the book with me. Then, she asked if she could take it home and share it with her mom. I could not ask for a more thrilling and rewarding experience.

That is incredible, Victoria. Rewards don’t get better than that. What was the most challenging part of writing your book?

The most challenging part of writing the book was that very first step, overcoming the fear of rejection from potential publishers. Our thoughts and questions: The idea becoming words written in a notebook, sharing our Mia with someone else, making our vision vulnerable to the world, subjecting our selves to critics, will people love this as much as we do? Could this really happen? Deep breath in… Exhale. Send the manuscript and wait. The most challenging part of anything is waiting, isn’t it?

During this time I read my laminated, personal bound, photo-stock-imaged manuscript to my students. After all, they were the target audience. Their opinion was the most important one. What age group was best? Was it too difficult? Were they interested? Did the boys like it? I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback. Not only did they enjoy it, most young children could pronounce the name Mia, as we intended. (Try saying Mia without smiling, go ahead, try…) It was also very challenging to keep it so simple. It was a priority for us that the words were age-appropriate and the sentences were not too long. We wanted the concept to be direct and not overwhelming to little ones. The simplicity was with purpose.

What was your favorite part of writing your book?

Watching Mia come to life. Our illustrator is amazing and she created exactly what we envisioned. I still find it entertaining to flip through the pages of my writing journal (given to me by my co-author, Lynette) and read through the funny comments describing our journey to becoming published. The different ideas we had, how Mia had physically changed, every thought, different places we met to write.  Organizing our ideas at the park, coffee shops, restaurants and even at the beach. What was going on in our personal lives at that time. I wanted to make sure that I captured every step along the way because I knew how important this was to Lynette and to me.

What is your favorite line in the book?

“My ears may be different but I can still dance, let me show you!”

It is the moment that she wipes away the doubt of the other students and proves that she belongs in that group—her Mia Moment!

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Absolutely. Both reading and writing have been a significant part of my life from before I was born to the moment I was strong enough to sit up independently and hold a book in my hand, as reported to me by my mother. Literacy was always encouraged by all of my family. You could always find my mother, my sister and my grandmothers reading. I had very good role models growing up. Actually, let’s rewind to first grade. My teacher, with whom I still keep in touch very closely, has recently reminded me of how I loved reading so much and always loved to ‘perform’ and read out loud to my classmates.

I remember my fifth grade teacher giving us a writing assignment. Upon my initial review of her feedback, I noticed at the top of the paper it stated she wanted to see me. What is the first thought we have when the teacher requests to see us privately? Yikes! Standing outside her door, she handed me a brand new journal and asked that I not tell the other students because this was a special gift just for me. She told me that there was something very special about my writing and she hoped that I would continue throughout my life. I smile today, 20 years later, just thinking about how much that meant to me. The simple gesture of presenting me with that blank canvas was unforgettable and perhaps an incredible catalyst that ignited my passion for written expression.

Victoria E. Ames reading "I CAN DANCE TOO!" with one of her students.

Victoria E. Ames reading “I CAN DANCE TOO!” with one of her students.

How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

I am a Speech Language Pathologist. Throughout my career I have worked with both children and adults. I genuinely enjoy my profession. How do I spend my time when I am not working? Quite frankly, it depends on where I am. Living on the East Coast, I competed in and taught all types of dancing, including ballroom, jazz, tap and acrobatics. I always found myself outside somehow enjoying the beach and the fresh air or watching the sunset. On the West Coast, I was a Zumba instructor at a hip hop cultural center as well as a tap and ballet teacher at a performing arts academy. I have also been known to choreograph my friends’ wedding dances or give piano lessons to colleagues. Free moments in San Diego, California were spent at the beach lying on my towel, listening to the waves, reading or writing until the sun set over the Pacific. In my new state, I hike, run up and down trails, rock climb, snowboard, mountain bike, and basically look for any reason to be outside and up in the mountains. And yes, watching the sunset over the Rockies reminds me everyday that life is beautiful here in Colorado.

Who is your favorite character?

Of course I love Mia! However, after reading and presenting my book to numerous audiences, I am starting to become fond of the little boy who questions her. He changes his mind after a bit of social education and then welcomes her to the group. Simply put, that’s the point, educate and hopefully elicit a positive response.

What originally inspired you to write your book?

In my profession as a speech and language pathologist, I can provide services to children or adults in a one-on-one setting, a small group of two to four, or a whole classroom of approximately 20 children. After a few years of experience in the field, I wanted to figure out a way to help more people, as many as possible. What can I do to reach children and their families that I have never even had the pleasure of meeting? I will never forget the first email I received from a mother who had purchased I Can Dance, Too! from our website. This woman had written a message describing how the book had helped her little girl overcome feelings of rejection from classmates and encouraged her to think about all of the things that she can do! My reaction? Tears dropped, goose bumps appeared and my heart jumped! That one email, the first of many, was confirmation that my dream and vision had become a reality.

What is next for you, Victoria?

  • I am in the process of converting the book to an eBook that will be available on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble, in addition to the paperback copies that are currently available online.
  • I am working towards creating interactive technology that will assist the children and their reading partners.  It will increase their communication and creativity and help them get practice answering comprehension questions to encourage their overall success.
  • We will be publishing the remaining stories so we can introduce the rest of Mia’s friends.
  • It was the original vision to have I Can Dance, Too! in the preschool or elementary curriculum to promote literacy and acceptance while meeting academic requirements.
  • I hope to continue our involvement in dance productions or dance studios. Please stop by our  I Can Dance, Too! Facebook Page for pictures. https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Can-Dance-Too/211393855603764?fref=ts
  • I will be speaking at the 2014 conference for Zonta Professional Women’s Service Club.

You sure do have a full schedule, Victoria. Is there anything else that you would like to say to our readers?

Our book is more than just pages bound together, more than illustrations and words presented on a kindle and more than a tangible product to sell. It is a mission to encourage literacy, respect, acceptance, connections, passions, discoveries, self-esteem, self-worth, belonging, and trusting yourself when those around you are doubtful. Face challenges with confidence, overcome obstacles, and realize that you can… Always believe that anything is possible!


I highly recommend “I Can Dance, Too!” to all of our readers who have young children. Where can they find a copy of your book?

They can purchase it directly from our website or through Amazon and Barnes & Noble:


Thanks so much for  joining us today, Victoria. It’s been a pleasure learning more about you and your most amazingly co-authored book for young children.


Mom’s Choice Gold Award Recipient-Inspirational and Motivational

Social and Emotional Encouragement Book Set: Kaplan Early Learning Companyhttp://www.kaplanco.com/store/trans/productDetailForm.asp?CatID=6%7CCB1070%7C0&PID=51187&WT.mc_id=KAFB

American Speech and Hearing Association; Books About Communication: Hearing Disorders


GOOD NEWS: New book inspires kids to meet challenges with patience and persistence

One concern parents have is how to inspire children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. That is the plot of this new book.

One concern parents have is how to inspire children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. That is the plot of this new book.

This story is a true gem…

“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way… “This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, award-winning adult and children’s books author. Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

Matilda becomes discouraged when she is unable to fly during the early stages of her metamorphosis. But, this Amazing Monarch never gives up on her dream. Unlike her friends, Matilda doesn’t want to leap onto ledges or bound across fields, she only wants to fly. Matilda’s friends laugh at her because she doesn’t have any wings. They wonder: How can a creature without wings ever hope to fly? While Matilda progresses from egg to butterfly, her friends recall how they felt before they were able to do all of the things they had dreamed of doing. Encouraged by her friends, Matilda learns that if she keeps trying, she can do anything that she really wants to do.

Watch the video:

  • AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale by Bette A. Stevens
  • Paperback for your child’s bookshelf or classroom: http://amzn.to/YJVVOk
  • Kindle version for your PC/MAC, iPad, tablet or  eReader: http://amzn.to/Xf97aU

Bette A. Stevens received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Maine at Orono before embarking on graduate courses in Curriculum Studies at Chapman University in California. She has taught in elementary and middle school classrooms in California and Virginia. Stevens is retired and living in Hartland, ME. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. Her love of children, of literature and of learning inspired her to write her first children’s book, The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! Find out more about Bette Stevens and her books at http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens




Sixty-six (66) 5-Star Reviews for Award-winning Picture Book AMAZING MATILDA!

MATILDA expertly as a cirus acrobat... 2016

About the book

This “Gem of a Tale” about a Monarch Butterfly teaches kids lessons in friendship, patience and persistence as AMAZING MATILDA transforms from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Children’s Picture Book/Ages 5-11).

Order your copies today:

AM Celebrate Season MATCHBOOK bas 2016

Related Sites:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

“AMAZING MATILDA” FREE February 17-19: Children’s book inspires young readers!

"Matilda's story is my story. It's you story too. It's everyone's story. Meeting the challenges of life at every stage of life is no easy task. Matilda and her friends encourage readers and listeners to meet those challenges."  (Bette A. Stevens)

“Matilda’s story is everyone’s story. Meeting challenges of life at every stage of life is no easy task. Matilda and her friends inspire readers and listeners to reach for their dream.” ~Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale is a story filled with excitement and adventure. WATCH THE VIDEO below to find out more!

FREE FOR 3 DAYS: February 17-19!

That’s this week, Sunday – Tuesday

There’s a new book out that inspires kids to meet challenges with patience and persistence AND it’s FREE on Amazon for 3 days.

AMAZING MATILDA– FREE DOWNLOAD http://amzn.to/Xf97aU Feb. 17-19, 2013

“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way…This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, award-winning adult and children’s books author. Renee Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

Watch the video:

Get your FREE Download NOW! http://amzn.to/Xf97aU

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries… Download Amazon’s FREE APP http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771 Kindle Reader for iPad, smart phones, tablets, PCs and other devices. Start your own digital library and read AMAZING MATILDA and other great books instantly!

Share great news with friends!

Grab your copy of AMAZING MATILDA and share the great news with your family and friends! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Get your FREE copy of AMAZING MATILDA and share the great news with your family and friends!  Drop me a line and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to download and save my Monarch Freebies Facts and Fun. I designed it especially for my readers. HAPPY READING!  ~ Bette A. Stevens

  • Sign up for email updates from author Bette A. Stevens (click on the blue box on the right column of this blog)

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More Freebies MONARCH FACTS & FUN for home and classroom learning

Award Winning Author & Local Hero!

Award Winning Children’s Book Author/Illustrator and Local Hero!

Meet the Author/Illustrator:
Uncle Dave Howard

Award-winning author Dave Howard, "Everyone's Favorite Uncle."

Uncle-Dave Howard holds his award-winning, rhyming children’s picture book LADY’S DAY, while his main character, pup and pal shares the spotlight!

Everybody’s Favorite Uncle!

“Howard’s seemingly simple illustrations that fill each page and sometimes spill over the edges are filled with texture that speaks a language all its own.” — C.R. Nelson, Observer-Reporter

Hello and welcome, Dave. I’m so glad you could drop by 4writersandreaders for a visit. Can you tell us a little about you and about your life?

I was born in the small town south of Pittsburgh. I was put into L.D. (learning disability) classes when I was in fifth grade. I could not read or write. I have Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D). I graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with an associate degree in visual communication.

How about your family life?

I am very close to my family. Most of my ideas come from my family.

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I started writing poems when I was ten years old. I continued writing horror stories through junior high; but, the only ones published so far are children’s books. My children’s books all rhyme.

Tell us about Lady’s Day to Play and your Mom’s Choice Award.

I have several books, but my award-winning children’s book Lady’s Day to Play is about a day in the life of my dog Lady. It follows her from play time, to bath time, to nap time in a rhyming format.

I love children’s books that rhyme. What prompted you to write your book? .

Lady’s Day to Play was a baby shower gift for my niece. Her baby died of S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) when she was only two months old. I rewrote the story and made it better. I also donate one dollar per book to S.I.D.S. research.

Do you have a favorite line from Lady’s Day to Play?

“Watch her shiver watch better shake;
better dry it off before it’s too late.”

Who is your favorite character and why?

There are only two characters in the book, but Molly is in three of my other books and she has come to life. I am adding more and more to her character as I go.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

In one word— finishing.  My mind never seems to be happy with anything and is always tweaking and fixing things.

Do you do anything besides writing?

I illustrate. Sometimes the illustrations inspire the book and sometimes the writing inspires the illustrations. I self-publish my own books as well as illustrating and publishing other authors’ work. I also work in a factory that makes outlet boxes. That is my full-time job. The books are just a hobby that pays for now.

How can my readers get a copy of your book?



What’s next for you?

I am working on several books all at the same time. Some of them I am illustrating for other authors and one of them will be one that I illustrate and write.

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Uncle Dave Howard. It’s been a pleasure having you. I’m including one of the many YouTube videos I found about you, so that my readers can get to know you even better. After all, many in your community and beyond consider you a local hero. You certainly know how to help kids and adults cultivate their creative side. KUDOS, Uncle-Dave Howard! — Bette A. Stevens 4writersandreaders

“Dave Howard is a larger-than-life children’s book author: With his industrious work ethic and his dedication to bringing art back to the children, Dave brings hope and encouragement to kids and adults alike to be creative and imaginative…” – Larry Pishko, Heraldstandard.com

Watch the video and learn more about Uncle-Dave Howard’s role as a local hero:


You can also find Uncle Dave Howard and his award-winning books here:


UncleDaveHoward on twitter @uncledavesbooks

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale | Book Club Reading List

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale | Book Club

One concern parents have is how to inspire children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. That is the plot of this new book.ub Reading List.

A short Q&A with Author Bill Harley

A short Q&A with Author Bill Harley.

Amazing Matilda: A Monarch\’s Tale – YouTube


Author Bette A. Stevens debuts her latest picture book, ‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ on YouTube.

Amazing Matilda: A Monarch\’s Tale – YouTube

AMAZING MATILDA makes her debut on YouTube

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale  is my latest children’s picture book. I wrote the story when I was teaching fourth and fifth grade students. I wanted to inspire my students and my grandchildren, who were young at the time, to meet their challenges with patience and persistence. MATILDA helped me do just that!

Watch the show and let me know what you think. Here’s the preview link to view MATILDA:

via Amazing Matilda: A Monarch\’s Tale – YouTube.



Author Interview: Bette A. Stevens « jnaomiay

J. Naomi Ay interviews Bette A. Stevens

Author Interview: Bette A. Stevens « jnaomiay

via Author Interview: Bette A. Stevens « jnaomiay.

Find out more about Stevens and her latest book, AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale.

MATILDA will inspire readers and listeners alike to reach for their own dreams and encourage others to do the same.

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