About Me

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Penelope Anne Cole has taught at every grade level,K to 12 and community college. She enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. Ms. Cole is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club (Fremont Area Writers and South Bay Writers), and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at

http://pennyreviews-chat.blogspot.com/

See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at

http://reviewsforpenny.blogspot.com/

Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Reviews by Mary Esparza-Vela

MAGICAL MEA
 
Magical Mea is a charming story--the second in the "Magical Series" by Penelope Anne Cole. Like her big brother, Matthew, Mea also has the unique ability to fix things that are broken simply by staring at them; however, Mea does not want to use her powers wisely. She seems to enjoy hiding things and playing pranks on others. At the end of the story Mea learns that it is better to do good than bad. 
 ************
MAGICAL MATTHEW
 
Magical Matthew is a charming story--the first in the "Magical Series" by Penelope Anne Cole. I found the story a delightful read and would highly recommend it to elementary school children. Matthew is special and unique because he has the power to fix things that are broken simply by staring at them. The story deals with love and friendship, as well as the disappointments we face while growing up. Matthew’s desire to help a disabled friend was really touching. The lesson here is that not everything that is broken can be fixed but as a group we can accomplish anything.

Both Book Reviews by GAP Author Mary Esparza-Vela
Award winning author of:

Purchase her new book, You Can't Take the Dinosaur Home, and one of the Space Tot Plush Dolls, by contacting Mary Esparza-Vela at:   www.luv-beams.com

 
 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blog Hop Interview



 

My fellow GAP Angel, Donna Shepherd, invited me to participate in a “blog hop interview.” Donna sent interview questions to answer on my blog. I then tag back!
 
Donna posted her interview on her blog at http://www.donnashepherd.blogspot.com/ If you get a minute, drop by to get to know Donna better and leave a comment letting her know you connected to her through my link. 


Here are the questions and my answers:


1. What are you working on right now? 

I've just finished the next two books in my "Magical" series, Magical Mea Goes to School, and Magical M and M. These will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, and take their place alongside Magical Matthew and Magical Mea.  I've also got Magical Matthew coming out in Spanish!

I’ve got a remembrance of my childhood visiting my Grandma finished -- a "colorful" seasonal story poem waiting to be illustrated, My Grandma’s Pink House. I’ve also started a new children’s picture book on different food and dress from other cultures and countries, Oh No, I’m Going to Dinner at My Friend’s House.

I have two middle grade chapter books/novellas working, The Raccoon Witches of Calhoun County, and The Case of the Missing Lollipops, and also two YA novels in process, The Young Amazons, and The Perfect Home.
 
2. What experiences have influenced you? 

I write about things close to me:  my family, people I meet or have known, places I’ve been, ideas that interest and excite me. Some stories practically write themselves. When I’m out walking, my mind is freer to think of story ideas. At night -- in dreams -- I get a lot of story ideas.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I’m a story-teller. I want my readers to see the stories I see. Most of my stories have lessons and morals. I have fun parts in my stories – usually I have a surprise or twist at the end. One of my novels, The Perfect Home, is a novel set after the Viet Nam War.  It deals with growing up and working through hurt, pain, and loss, to forgiveness and acceptance. That one has been the hardest to write, because it deals with so many emotions. My other novel, The Young Amazons, is about a group of teens from the past who have to time travel in their quest to save their own civilization. I got that idea from reading other fantasy novels.
 
4. How does your writing process work?
 
I write when I can and when I have the time. Usually I write in the afternoons and evenings, and sometimes late at night. Often a story presents itself and I have to write it quickly. Other times it percolates awhile, or I struggle and wait on the story to unfold and reveal itself. Now that my teen is graduated from high school, I expect to have a lot more time to write. And then after the fun (and sometimes torture of writing), I have to get on to the hard part of marketing, getting the word out.

***
And now I'm tagging back to Donna Shepherd:  
http://www.donnashepherd.blogspot.com/


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

To encourage reading to children. . .



Author, Richard PeckI was reading about author Richard Peck and his books, 

 

when I came across this poem and I had to share it:  

 

 

Twenty Minutes a Day

  by Richard Peck

Read to your children
Twenty minutes a day;
You have the time,
And so do they.
Read while the laundry is in the machine;
Read while the dinner cooks;
Tuck a child in the crook of your arm
And reach for the library books.
Hide the remote,
Let the computer games cool,
For one day your children will be off to school;
Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice;
Let them hear their first tales
In the sound of your voice.
Read in the morning;
Read over noon;
Read by the light of
Goodnight Moon.
Turn the pages together,
Sitting close as you'll fit,
Till a small voice beside you says,
"Hey, don't quit."
 
(copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.)

Books by Richard Peck:

  • Don't Look and It Won't Hurt (1972)
  • Dreamland Lake (1973)
  • Through a Brief Darkness (1973)
  • Representing Super Doll (1974)
  • The Ghost Belonged to Me (1975)[b][c]
  • Are You in the House Alone? (1976)[b]
  • Ghosts I Have Been (1977)[b][c]
  • Monster Night at Grandma's House, illus. Don Freeman (1977)
  • Father Figure (1978)[b]
  • Secrets of the Shopping Mall (1979)[b]
  • Amanda/Miranda (1980)
  • Close Enough to Touch (1981)
  • New York Time (1981)
  • The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp (1983)[c]
  • This Family of Women (1983)
  • Remembering the Good Times (1985)[b]
  • Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death (1986)[c]
  • Princess Ashley (1987)
  • Those Summer Girls I Never Met (1988)
  • Voices After Midnight (1989)
  • Unfinished Portrait of Jessica (1991)
  • Bel-Air Bambi and the Mall Rats (1993)
  • Lost in Cyberspace! (1995)
  • The Last Safe Place on Earth (1995)
  • The Great Interactive Dream Machine: Another Adventure in Cyberspace (1996)
  • London Holiday (1998)
  • A Long Way from Chicago (1998)
  • Strays Like Us (1998)
  • A Year Down Yonder (2000)
  • Fair Weather (2001)
  • The River Between Us (2003)
  • The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts (2004)
  • Here Lies The Librarian (2006)
  • On the Wings of Heroes (2007)
  • A Season of Gifts, illus. Brandon Dorman (2009)
  • Three Quarters Dead (2010)
  • Secrets at Sea, illus. Kelly Murphy (2011)
  • The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail, illus. Kelly Murphy (2013)

On October 9th, at 3 PM, Richard Peck will be at Hicklebee's, 1378 Lincoln Ave. San Jose, CA 95125 (408) 292-8880 hicklebees@hicklebees.com 

 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Land of Lost Socks, a Children’s Musical by Jane Tesh Music & Lyrics by Joni Klein-Higger



Jane Tesh’s new children’s musical, Land of Lost Socks, with music and lyrics by Joni Klein-Higger, is a total delight. My only complaint is it’s listed as 25 minutes run time – shorter than I want, and you’ll want more, too. The story idea is simple: Joel wants to be with big brother Bart, who wants to hang out with his friends -- without Joel tagging along. When Bart tells Joel to “Get lost,” whoosh, he does.
about
Joel ends up in the Land of Lost Socks, and, well, lost everything. There are lost socks, keys, hats, umbrellas, shoes, overdue library books, Atlantis (the Lost Continent), and even worse -- lost people. We meet the famous lost pilot, Amelia Earhart, the Dares from The Lost Colony of Colonial times, and even the Mayans! 

In Song#3: “Flying, the Ensemble sings of Amelia:
THOUGH YOU MAY BE GONE
YOUR DREAMS STILL LIVE ON
FOR YOU WERE FLYING HIGHER
THAN ANYONE THOUGHT YOU COULD

Joni Klein-Higger was kind enough to share three of the songs with me and they are wonderful. They present more history snippets in one of the best ways for children to learn – through music. These are toe-tapping, hop and dance along with tunes that will please performers and audiences alike. Although I can’t share the music in this review, here are some lyrics to give you a sneak peek:

Song #4 : “No One’s Found Out”
THE DARE FAMILY SINGS:
FROM THE SHORES OF ENGLAND
WE DID TRAVEL ‘CROSS THE SEA
TO A BRAVE NEW WORLD
THE FIRST TRUE COLONISTS WERE WE
BUT A STRANGE THING HAPPENED
POOF! ONE DAY WE ALL WERE GONE
JUST A WORD CARVED ON A TREE
IS ALL THAT CARRIES ON
WAS IT WAR
WAS IT DROUGHT
OR NATIVE AMERICANS
NO ONE’S FOUND OUT

ANASAZIS SING:
AH, AH, AH
AH, AH, AH
WE’RE THE ANASAZIS
FROM AMERICA WE CAME
OUR VILLAGES WERE EPIC
OUR GREAT CULTURE WAS OUR FAME
BY THE SANDSTONE CANYONS
WE DID DWELL AND FLOURISH, TOO
BUT WE DISAPPEARED
WE LEAVE OUR MYSTERY TO YOU
WAS IT WAR
WAS IT DROUGHT
WHY WE DISAPPEARED
NO ONE’S FOUND OUT

These lost folks share their stories with Joel, but no one has any idea about getting “un-lost” and going home. Since it’s a children’s musical, there is a happy ending. Still, it does give you pause to imagine a place where our lost things from this world find each other in another world.

This musical is sure to be a hit wherever it is performed. There are many parts for children to play, the scenery is simple, but effective, it helps history to come alive, and the music will keep things jumping and moving along smartly. There are some life lessons here that will resonate with children and parents:

BART, JOEL, TUBE, ARGYLE, DARES, MAYANS ,
ANASAZIS SING:
WHAT A HAPPIER PLACE
THIS WORLD WOULD BE
OH, WOULDN’T IT BE FINE
ENSEMBLE SINGS:
WHEN WE RESPECT ONE ANOTHER,
ARE CAREFUL WHAT WE DO AND SAY
WE’LL MAKE A BETTER TOMORROW
WHY, WE COULD EVEN BRIGHTEN THE DARKEST
DAY
COME ON AND JOIN IN OUR JOURNEY
TO ALWAYS BE GOOD AND KIND
SUCH A HAPPIER PLACE
THIS WORLD WOULD BE
OH, WOULDN’T IT BE FINE

It is my pleasure to recommend this musical to schools, teachers, and home school parents.


 Jane Tesh  
Joni Klein-Higger

 
Available from:

Monday, July 15, 2013

"You Can’t Take the Dinosaur Home" by Mary Esparza-Vela with Art by Mike Motz



In You Can’t Take the Dinosaur Home, by Mary Esparza-Vela, with art by Mike Motz, we have the classic childhood conflict – “Mommy, can I bring him home? Can I keep him?” But in this case, it’s a little more complicated. Three space tots are going on a day trip to a nearby planet, which just happens to be our own ancient Earth during the time of the dinosaurs. The littlest tot, Hunee, wants to come along.
 
Reluctantly, his older sister, Kyzzie, and brother, Sweetz allow him to tag along, knowing that they’ll be responsible for him and what a bother that will be. Naturally, Hunee gets lost and Kyzzie and Sweetz search all over for him. Finally, they give up and wait for him to come back to them. Hunee does return, but not alone – he’s riding a young, playful dinosaur. And he wants to bring his “treasure” dinosaur home with them!

Of course, we all know that would be totally unacceptable. Little Hunee, argues with Kyzzie and Sweetz, and like many little brothers (and sisters), he throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. The older tots placate Hunee by trying to get the dinosaur, part by part, into their tiny flying saucer, but he’s way too big. So they have a sulky, pouty little brother all the way home. The ending is priceless!
 
The art by Mike Motz, is perfect for the story. It’s simple, expressive, and upbeat – appealing and appropriate to the story. Kids will surely enjoy this colorful book. Too bad we don’t get to see the expression on the mother’s face in the end. But parents and teachers can discuss what the mother might think when asked, “Can I bring him home with me?” What would you do?




You Cant's Take the Dinosaur Home has also received a Reader's Favorite 5-Star Review.  


Some of Ms. Esparza-Vela’s books are also available in Spanish, as is this one.  Also available are huggable plush stuffed dolls of the three space tots. 
  














This book is available from:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ava's Secret Tea Party by Donna J. Shepherd, Illustrated by Bella Sinclair



Donna J. Shepherd’s new book, Ava’s Secret Tea Party, illustrated by Bella Sinclair, is every little girl’s secret dream! Who wouldn’t want to invite the Sandman, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus to come for tea? This is another one of those books that children’s book writers see and say, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” It’s also one of those delicious little books that children will scoop up and demand for a bedtime story again and again.

Ms. Shepherd handily scoops us up for a magical romp through the nighttime mysteries that parents don’t have to explain to children. Yes, the Sandman exists – who else puts the sand in our sleepy eyes? You know the Tooth Fairy brings you money for baby teeth – who else could fly so softly and silently? Of course, the Easter Bunny brings all the Easter candy – who else could do it so hoppity fast and well? And, we all know Santa Claus brings toys to good girls and boys in his huge sleigh pulled by magic flying reindeer. Ava wonders if these magical beings have ever met all at one time and decides to remedy the situation by asking them to come for tea through a note to the Sandman.

Bella Sinclair’s artwork is pure delight. Every picture is fun and engaging, especially coupled with Ms. Shepherd’s rhymes. We have no trouble imagining being in the story with little Ava – hopping with Easter Bunny, flying with Tooth Fairy, riding along with Santa Claus, scooping sand with Sandman, and helping them all out so they’ll have time to come to her tea party. 















At the end of the book are other special treats:  recipes for the goodies Ava serves her magical guests at her secret tea party. Plus, there are crafts to help kids decorate for their own tea parties. This is a very special, not-to-be-missed children’s book.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Kangaroo Clues by Margot Finke, Illustrated by Mustafa Delio─člu



Margot Finke’s new release, Kangaroo Clues, is a sneaky book. You think it’s going to be a rhyming ode to Kangaroos and other Australian Outback critters. But no, it’s an exciting survival story of how tough life can be for these amazing animals. The “clue” here, is that this is another book in Ms. Finke’s “Wild and Wonderful Series.” Along with her Mama Grizzly Bear, this story takes the reader to the wild world – animals in their natural habitat.

The story opens innocently enough. There’s a mother Kangaroo with her baby joey in her pouch. We are introduced to the Dreamtime Spirits, also called Aboriginal Spirits -- which I remember from Ms. Finke’s Taconi & Claude: Double Trouble story. 
 

We meet some more Outback animals as we get further into Kangaroo’s world. A kookaburra, an emu, a koala, an echidna, a frillneck lizard, a galah, a platypus, a goanna -- all make their appearance with footnote explanations. But the creatures they all dread are a pack of wild dingoes. It is up to Old Man Kangaroo to fight these deadly animals. Now comes the real excitement and adventure.

aboutThe cover art is also a clue. There you see a fierce kangaroo, kicking with his powerful back legs. This shows the strength and determination of the kangaroo -- to protect his home and family from the marauding dingoes. All of the artwork by Mustafa Delio─člu is totally appropriate to the story. As you move through each page, reading the rhymes, it’s the artwork that grabs and holds your attention.

This book is not for the faint of heart. This is a story with powerful images and strong action. Ms. Finke is famous for coaxing the reluctant boy reader. With this book, no coaxing is necessary. It’s an exciting story, with strong images, yet softened somewhat by rhyme and references to the Dreamtime spirits. Perhaps it was all a dream. You’ll have to get it to see for yourself. However, be forewarned, the lovely artwork and descriptive rhyme harbor a sneaky, true-to-life story that’s educational and entertaining
.
 Available from:  http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/kangaroo-clues.htm

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

JUNE 2013 RELEASES FROM GUARDIAN ANGEL PUBLISHING

Kangaroo Clues
Academic Wings
by Margot Finke, illustrated by Mustafa Delioglu
about
Land of Lost Socks:  a children’s historical musical
Angelic Harmony
by Jane Tesh and Jonie Klein-Higger
about
Scriptures for Kids hardcover and softcover
Wings of Faith
by Barbara Arbo, illustrated by Melissa Ross
 about

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

GAP KIDs eZine - July 2013 "Ice Cream"

This month's Guardian Angel Kids eZine- 
a free online magazine for Kids
JULY 2013
"Ice Cream"

Book Feature
JAMIE’S DREAM Flip Book
by Susan J. Berger
artist Kim Sponaugle

Features
POETRY
Ice Cream by Lisa Hart
SHORT STORIES
It Never Stops by Jacklyn Yuhanick
An Ice Cream Smile by Felicity Nisbet
ARTICLES FOR KIDS
The Presidential Sweet by Catherine May Webb
Ten Tips on Treats by Shari L Klase
ACTIVITY FOR KIDS
Make Your Own Ice Cream Delights! by Jennifer A. Buchet
Ice Cream Trivia by Juliana M. Jones

please share!

LYNDA S. BURCH. Publisher
Guardian-Angel-Kids.com A free online ezine for kids!