The Wheelbarrow Puppy Club – an Interview with Christina Valenti

Four paws up for authors who expand our world through stories of cultures different than our own! We are excited to welcome children’s book author Christina Valenti to the Family Bookshelf. After graduating from James Madison University and working in the media industry for several years, Christina moved to China, where she taught English for two years. As Christina explains in our Reading Tub interview, every night, as she walked home from work, she would pass a wheelbarrow full of puppies for sale. She bought and adopted Wu (renamed Varly), eventually bringing him to the United States. Christina has always loved reading, writing, and dogs. When she discovered and fell in love with Varly, it rekindled a love of writing. … Read more

Hooray for Gollywood! An Interview with Terry John Barto

Those in “The Biz” may recognize the name Terry John Barto. Having choreographed and directed more than 200 stage productions, Terry John Barto knows a thing or two about storytelling. Now he’s showcasing that talent as a children’s book author. His children’s books, combines his knowledge of the business with stories for children. Gollywood Here I Come! is a window into the world of creating a movie. Nickerbacher the Funniest Dragon (2015) introduces children the world of comedy performance. For Terry, Anamazie (Gollywood) and Nickerbacher are more than children’s book characters. They are central figures in his bigger storytelling goal: re-introduce kids and their parents to the joy of *just* reading a book together. Terry is passionate about not only creating … Read more

Diverse Reading: Spiders, Aliens and Faiz Kermani

Diversity is where you find it. Just ask award-winning author Faiz Kermani! He has written three books for young readers, each one opening their minds to new worlds. With My Alien Penfriend (2005), readers followed along as Darius Chevalier and Zmod Tarib communicate across the galaxies as space-mail pals. Next, Ambassador Tickleydung gave us a tour of his Space Creature Sanctuary, a safe place for endangered and rare species, in A First Guide to Space Creatures (2010). Most recently, Faiz has returned to earth, where he shares the story of Golbo and Spognot, two spiders in search of a peaceful existence far from the evil vacuum cleaner. Faiz Kermani has been writing children’s fiction for about ten years as a … Read more