Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review | Susan's Shadow by Dr. Julia E. Antoine

Drawing inspiration from the very illustrative poem My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, author Julia E. Antoine writes the eleventh and final installment in the Too Clever series.

Twelve year old Susan, who is on the brink of adolescence, hates being called Peter’s shadow. At the rate at which Susan is growing, it seems as if she’ll never catch up in height to her brother Peter and his friends. However, when she looks at her shadow, it seems to be as tall as Peter’s! As a result of this, Susan wants to get to the bottom of the puzzling mystery of the height of the shadow.

The book highlights Susan’s desire which is to appear as a real adolescent in the eyes of her brother and his friends. In an underlying tone, the book further highlights the struggle pre-teens face as they are caught between two worlds – the world of childhood and the world of adolescence. We can see this in Susan’s refusal to play with her best friend Marcie and her dolls, and her need to fit in with Peter and his friends. Hence, the struggle Susan faces is fostered in her curiosity to understand how the shadow works. Believing that her shadow seems taller because she had miraculously grown an inch is a subconscious yearning to actually be as tall as her shadow portrays. Her shadow was doing for her what her body had failed to do.

The information she picked up from her research on shadows for her class project casts light on the subject, and she found that the position of the sun determines the length and the size of her shadow. Realizing that in fact the truth lies in the light source and not her body actually growing was a real eye-opening experience for Susan. What she couldn’t make up for in height, she made up for in knowledge. That evening at the dinner table when she spoke about her project, even Peter had to admit he didn’t know the sun’s position determines the height of the shadow. Susan felt taller then.

Susan’s Shadow by Dr. Julia E. Antoine is a fun and lively read, with subtle undertones about pre-teen struggles which can be seen in the constant tug-of-war between childhood innocence and puberty.

This final installment brings to a close the Too Clever series, and as usual, Antoine brings the plot to an end with the warmth of friendship, an underlying thread that runs throughout several stories in the series.

Collect all eleven installments! Visit the author’s website for more details at www.too-clever.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Author Interview with Christine Cruz

1. Congratulations on both your books, Can I Always Come Back Home? and ABC Questions! We've had the pleasure of reviewing Can I Always Come Back Home? and find the book quite charming. Tell us about the inspiration behind this book.
I wrote Can I Always Come Back Home? after speaking with my youngest. I have three children, all boys. By the age of five, they all seemed to ask the same question, just presented in different ways. They all wanted to know if they left home, could they come back? I thought how wonderful it would be to answer this question in the form of a book.

2. Will we be seeing the main character Tyler in any future series?
Can I Always Come Back Home? was created as a stand alone book. However, based on the reactions I have received, there's a possibility we will see Tyler again.

3. The book offers assurance to sensitive children experiencing anxiety. How is the feedback so far on this book? Do you think parents and teachers find the book helpful?
I have received wonderful reviews. Teachers have used Can I Always Come Back Home? at circle time to reassure new students. I had a Family Worker approach me at a school I was working at. He told me he bought Can I Always Come Back Home? for his Mother. He explained that he was moving out and it was hard on her. He bought her the book to reassure her he knew where his home is. She loves the message Can I Always Come Back Home? sends. The moment they both shared over my book is priceless.

4. Tell us a little about your recently released ABC Questions, and how is it different from other alphabet books?
ABC Questions is about a girl named Beverly, who is starting school for the first time. One of her first lessons is the Alphabet. Beverly is filled with amusing questions about her ABCs. Instead of a traditional A is for Apple book, I take the letters of the alphabet and make them a part of the story highlighting the alphabet in color and capitalization.

5. What do you want young readers to learn from this book?
I want them to learn that learning is fun. Their ability to imagine can take them through anything.

6. What's next for Christine Cruz? What are you working on now?
I am working on three bilingual books (English and Spanish) that celebrate Grandparents. I am hoping that all three will be out in 2017. I am currently researching book charities in Honduras, Ecuador and Puerto Rico. I will be donating books to each charity. If anyone knows of a charity, please take a moment and email me at c.cruzbooks@gmail.com

See our Book Review of Can I Always Come Back Home?, here.
Check out the author's website for upcoming new releases.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Author Interview | Diane Solomon - What to Expect When Adopting a Dog!

1. Congratulations Diane on your recent book release, What to Expect When Adopting a Dog! We've had the pleasure of reviewing two of your previous books, which were quite charming as we met JJ the American Street Dog. Tell us a little about this new book.

JJ was the inspiration for this new book too. When we accidentally adopted him 21 years ago, I learned all about animal rescue, which ultimately led me to writing the JJ series. I was speaking at schools and over time I became the “go to gal” for all things dog and rescue related in my community. I realized that if the people I knew had these questions, what about the thousands of people that I didn’t know? Surely they had the same and plenty of other questions. I had so much experience and access to other professionals, so I wrote What to Expect When Adopting a Dog to answer many of the questions that come up before, during and after adopting a new dog.

2. As a Certified Humane Specialist what do you wish for readers to take away from the information you've provided in this book?

There are so many loving people that can offer great homes to a currently homeless dog. If it’s not the right time then people need to be responsible and wait until their circumstances are more favorable. But the majority of people who are ready that don’t have experience can save themselves and the dogs a lot of angst by reading this book. And even experienced dog parents might learn something they didn’t know before. I’m constantly learning! Ultimately, Humane Education Specialists want people to know how to treat animals (and other people of course) with kindness. That means that not only are their basic needs met, but they live in a warm comfortable home with a loving family, quality food, regular veterinary care and a whole lot of love. This book offers tons of suggestions on how to achieve that. In 5 modules, I take you through the whole process from that first question “Am I ready?” all the way through advanced dog parenting even if you’ve already adopted a dog.

3. As a Specialist you've seen the growing number of stray and abandoned pets. Other than adopting (some children have allergies), how else can families offer their help?

The numbers of animals being euthanized in the shelters has gone down significantly over the last 20 years - in large part due to education, spay and neuter programs and adoption events. But there still are millions of animals that enter the shelters that never leave so there’s still more work to be done. Families can foster a dog in need - there are many breeds that are hypo allergenic too. You can volunteer or take up a collection of blankets, towels or food to donate to your local shelter. And you can donate money to rescue groups and shelters, which allows them to continue education and adoption efforts in every community.

4. Your books are quite informative. What has been the response of your readers so far in regard to pet adoption? Do you find children and parents find the books helpful?

People are so excited that a book like this finally exists. Professionals in the rescue arena want everyone who comes through their doors to have access to this book. The cool thing about this book is that if anyone is just considering a new dog, they need only check out the first part of the book to get started. And if they already have a dog, the latter part will be helpful. So it doesn’t need to be read all at one time. Busy families appreciate that! And parents love that there is information about safety for humans - especially children.

5. Will there be any future series on cats?

I love cats and used to have cats, but we haven’t had a cat in a while. I should probably stick to what I know best for the moment, but never say never!

6. What are you working on now?

I’m mostly blogging since this book is brand new to help get the word out. I do hope to get back to a human animal bond project I started last year but had to shelve while I finished up this book.

See JJ the American Street Dog book review here. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

DB-R Designs on Facebook

Hi there!

DB-R Designs is now on Facebook! Yesterday we officially launched our Facebook page and we are excited about it! Here's your invitation to LIKE us on Facebook.

Our new Facebook page will keep you in the know of what's happening at DB-R Designs and DBRBooks. We'll also keep you updated on new and exciting products and new book releases. Be in the know and sign up for our latest news, offers, and products on our website.

We look forward to hearing from you!

DB-R Designs

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cannon & Durnam Textile Legacy - Books 1& 2 Now Available!

Now Available - The Virtuous Husband, Book One in The Cannon & Durnam Textile Legacy romance series!

The series begins with the letter which Elizabeth Durnam had been dreading to receive for the past three years. Now it has finally turned up on her doorstep, and her fear becomes a reality. The choice is hers, choose to live life on her own terms or carry out her father's dying wish and marry the rogue Rhys Cannon, to secure the future of her family's company!

The request is a hard one to fulfill. It goes against every grain in her body to wed the egoist Rhys Cannon. However, to complete the merger of Durnam Fabrics and Cannon Textiles, Elizabeth and Rhys must put their differences aside. But not before Elizabeth gives Rhys a lesson in virtue! 

On their wedding day, it’s no deal until Rhys signs The Virtuous Husband Clause, and may God help them to learn to love each other for better or for worse.

The saga continues!
Now Available - The Love Inheritance, Book Two in The Cannon & Durnam Textile Legacy romance series!

Going along with a coup d’├ętat to conquer armed with the love of 1 Corinthians 13 seems to be the only way textile heir Hunter Cannon of Cannon & Durnam Enterprise can get his hands on his inheritance. The Love Inheritance, that is. But is Hunter a match against Myra Durnam, dubbed The Ice Princess, whose defensive wall against love appears to be an impenetrable fortress?

Suddenly Myra’s world is turned upside down when she contemplates entering into a love contract that is attached to the acquisition of a small knit company. The Ice Princess is caught in the rogue’s lair and resisting The Love Inheritance seems futile.

They say love never fails, but can love really conquer all?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Review | Megan's Troublesome Pronouns by Dr. Julia E. Antoine

Once again, Dr. Julia E. Antoine creates a story that resonates with readers. In her tenth book Megan’s Troublesome Pronouns, in the Too Clever series, Dr. Antoine uses a very interesting mechanism to help her eleven year old character, Megan Moffat, deal with the loss of her father – association. Association causes triggers to be ignited in our brain, thereby affecting our responses or answers to certain events, incidents, or questions. Megan Moffat uses association, a trick she learned from her father, not only to help her with those troublesome pronouns but also to keep the memory of her father alive.

Appropriately titled, Megan’s Troublesome Pronouns gives the reader a detailed analytical view of Megan coping with the loss of her father through mastering her understanding of pronouns. It may seem unrelated and one may wonder what does understanding pronouns have to do with coping with loss? Writing and reading were the common thread that connected Megan and her father. In developing her writing skills and mastering the English language, Megan felt she was forever linked with her father and that she was making him proud.  Also, in choosing the topic “Coping with Change” for her writing project, Megan is able to use the method that allows her to express her feelings freely. Here she chronicles the memory of a father who had impacted her life greatly.

Megan’s Troublesome Pronouns educates readers on the healthy ways of coping with the loss of a loved one, and this is especially seen in Megan’s connection with others around her. Megan was able to see that her actions also affected those around her; that while she grieved, others like her mother and brother Dilan, and her best friend Hailie were grieving too, each in their own way.  Antoine shows that coping mechanisms vary and children should be encouraged to embrace what works for them, as long as the coping mechanism is not a destructive one. The book deals with death, a delicate subject matter, in a very age appropriate way. By highlighting Megan’s struggles and emotions, a touching realistic story emerges, and Antoine once again captures the hearts of her readers. 

Megan’s Troublesome Pronouns is available, along with other books in the series, on the author’s website, http://www.too-clever.com .

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review: Can I Always Come Back Home by Christine Cruz

What child doesn’t wonder if he/she can always return home? Christine Cruz’ illustrated children’s book Can I Always Come Back Home? relieves such fears and ease the worrying minds of young readers.  

As far as a child’s imagination soars in conjuring up all the places he can possibly go and wonder if he can ever return home, Cruz has creatively tapped into that sphere setting a loving tone to her book which parents will appreciate.

Appropriately written for preschoolers to first grade, Can I Always Come Back Home? not only makes for great bedtime reading, but it helps parents reaffirm security and stability in their young child’s mind. This book is great for preschoolers especially those entering daycare for the first time and experiencing anxiety issues. Having such assurance makes the transition from home to daycare a bit easier. 

The book is interactive too! During readings, parents can supplement or encourage their children to stretch their imaginations to the places they may go. This kind of interactive reading encourages bonding. 

The plot and language are simple, appealing to kids because the story is child-like, familiar, and an easy read. Amidst soaring imaginations, there is no shortage of artistic appeal thanks to the illustrator's (Daniela Frongia) vibrant, bold, colorful illustrations, which are definitely part of the appeal and charm.  A wonderful addition to your summer reading collection!

Check out the author’s website for more about her upcoming books.

Happy Reading!