BLUE AND RED MAKE PURPLE: A Musical Journey with Grammy-winning Children’s Artist, Jennifer Gasoi

NEW RELEASE

BLUE AND RED MAKE PURPLE

A Musical Journey with Jennifer Gasoi
Illustrated by Steve Adams

Available on October 1, 2016 from The Secret Mountain

Blue and Red Make Purple

This new book with CD offers young listeners a musical journey through the different colors of Jennifer Gasoi’s multi-layered and playful music. The colorful picture book, featuring original illustrations by Steve Adams, highlight the history, instruments and unique characteristics of each musical genre along with listening suggestions accompanying each song. Along the way, Gasoi offers readers a chance to create their own sounds, and discover more about the songwriting process itself.  Full lyrics are also included in this delightful music-forward title.

The accompanying CD features 12 original songs that meld styles ranging from bluegrass to Dixieland swing, folk to calypso to Cajun and klezmer.

Featured is Gasoi’s GRAMMY Award winning hit “Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well,” and traveling tunes like “Little Blue Car” and “Goin’ on a Trip,” all of them with a positive message underscored in “Bright Side of Life.” Gasoi hopes that readers will be inspired to “express themselves, tap into their own mastery, and embrace their unique gifts.”

Jennifer Gasoi is a GRAMMY and Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner. She is one of Canada’s most acclaimed children’s performers and recording artists, offering upbeat, intelligent jazz and world beat influenced original music with all-ages appeal. In addition to her frequent sold-out performances throughout Canada, the Vancouver-born singer-songwriter has garnered fans at her concerts in the United States, Brazil, Israel, Singapore, India, the U.K. and Japan. Steve Adams has collaborated with many publications over the years, such as The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and The Globe & Mail. He has also illustrated several books for children, including the award-winning picture book “The Boy Who Grew Flowers” (Barefoot Books). Both live in Montreal.

The Secret Mountain, celebrating 15 years of publishing music-forward children’s storybooks, has released popular titles focusing on classical music, including Amazing Water, Listen to the Birds, Simply Fantastic (all three by Ana Gerhard) and Sleep Softly. The extensive catalogue of award-winning storybook-music CD titles for children includes It’s Raining Cats and Dogs, Songs from the Baobob (African Lullabies), Dreams Are Made for Children (Classic Jazz Lullabies), A Duck in New York City by singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor and Tomorrow is a Chance To Start Over (Hilary Grist). The publishing house also has an impressive enhanced ebook list.

BLUE AND RED MAKE PURPLE by Jennifer Gasoi; illustrations by Steve Adams / Children’s Picture Book with Music CD (12 tracks, 34 minutes) / Hardcover, 44 pages, 8″ x 8 / Ages 5 to 8 / ISBN: 978-2-924217-79-5 / $22.95 CDN / Distributed by Independent Publishers Group represented in Canada by The Manda Group

Review Copies and Media Enquiries

Ruth JosephThe Secret Mountain logo
Tel: 514.804.4379
ruth@thesecretmountain.com
http://www.thesecretmountain.com

 

Sneak Preview: Tomorrow is a Chance To Start Over Bedtime Story and Dream Songs by Hilary Grist

Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over by Hilary GristEscape from the city on a musical dreamboat

AVAILABLE ON JUNE 2, 2015

Adding to their growing catalog of Parents’ Choice Award-winning storybooks with CDs for children, The Secret Mountain will release Tomorrow Is a Chance To Start Over on June 2.

Hilary Grist wrote the story, created the clay characters and performs her original songs, to offer a soothing, restful experience for the whole family to enjoy together. Her smooth rhythmic text and stunning artwork cast in a soft light between sleep and waking, make for a perfect summertime treat, wafting listeners into a reposeful musical world reminiscent of Norah Jones and Feist.                         

The story is about Ira and Isabelle, two siblings living in a little red house by the sea, who decide one night to escape the sound of the city’s beeping cars and sail off to a faraway land. On their journey, they learn from a newly-made friend, a robin with a soft voice, that dreams really can come true. In addition to the narrated story, the CD offers nine heartwarming dream songs followed by an ethereal rendition of Johanne Brahms‘ classic “Cradle Song.”

The best part is that on Saturday, June 6th at 2:00 pm, Vancouver’s Book Warehouse (4118 Main Street) will host the launch of this new release, just in time for summer! In the area? Then here’s the chance to bring the kids out for a musical afternoon of live storytelling and songs. Hilary will be performing some featured selections from this new release.

CD Track Listing
1. Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over (Narration)
2. Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over
3. Fall in my Loving Arms
4. Swallow Me Up
5. Float Away
6. Le petit oiseau
7. Say Goodnight
8. City of Green and Blue
9. I’ll Be There
10. Still
11. Cradle Song

Hilary Grist is a singer-songwriter from Vancouver, notable for her song placements that have been part of nine major television shows. Not only is she a talented musician, but also a gifted visual artist who (with her creative team including her producer and husband, Mike Southworth) created the 3D clay characters shown on the book’s cover. As well, Grist has built an international following from tours across Japan, South Korea and North America. She is a graduate of the Capilano University Jazz Studies program in North Hilary GristVancouver. Her influences are as diverse as Ella Fitzgerald, and Tom Waits, along with Debussy. Accordingly, her songwriting and performance style incorporates elements of jazz, folk, pop, and classical. Grist has performed in many Canadian festivals including the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and North by Northeast. Grist recently released her fifth studio album entitled Come and Go.

The Secret Mountain is a Montreal-based publisher of beautifully produced children’s books and music from around the world, in French and English. Several of their titles, including Songs from the Baobab, A Duck in New York City, and Listen to the Birds, have won international acclaim and Parents’ Choice Gold Awards.

PRESS CONTACT
Ruth Joseph
Tel: 514.804.4379
ruth@thesecretmountain.com 

www.thesecretmountain.com

Queen Vernita Explores The Oceaneer’s Coastline by Dawn Menge

Queen Vernita Explores the Oceaneers Coastline by Dawn MengeBOOK PREVIEW

Prolific Author Dawn Menge Presents Queen Vernita Explores The Oceaneer’s Coastline

The latest installment in her acclaimed, award-winning educational series  is illustrated by Pam Snyder.

Prolific author Dawn Menge is proud to announce the official publication of Queen Vernita Explores The Oceaneer’s Coastline, the latest installment in her acclaimed, award-winning educational series.

About The Book

Queen Vernita and Carl take a coach trip to explore the coastline of the Oceaneer’s kingdom. Along the way they explore caverns and learn about stalagtites and stalagmites, sea lions, jelly fish, and the Redwood forest.
They camp on the beach and in the forest, swim in the ocean and feed Sproket the pet Pelican. Queen Vernita and Carl learn from their twelve wonderful friends an appreciation for nature and exploring the world around them.

Queen Vernita Explores The Oceaneer’s Coastline is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. For more information, please visit www.queenvernita.com.

Reviews for Queen Vernita’s Educational Series

Christine Bode of Scully Love Promo reviewed three of the children’s picture books in Queen Vernita’s Educational Series including Queen Vernita’s Visitors (Illustrated by Bobbi Switzer), Queen Vernita Visits The Blue Ice Mountains (Illustrated by Bobbi Switzer / Silver Winner in the Mom’s Choice Awards), and Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean The Astronomer by Dawn Menge and Heath Rhoades (Illustrated by Bobbi Switzer).  There is another book in the series entitled Queen Vernita Visits The Islands of Enchantment which was also a Silver Winner in the Mom’s Choice Awards.

About The Author

Dawn Menge has a Bachelors Degree in Human Development, a Masters Degree in Special Education, and a Clear credential as an Education Specialist. She is currently a doctoral student specializing in Curriculum and Instruction.

Dawn has worked with the severely handicapped population for the past fourteen years. Her experiences include teaching from the elementary level up to adult education in special needs. She has been nominated for teacher of the year by SBCSS, awarded a Learning Leader by Leapfrog, served as a lead teacher, and she has been a BTSA support provider. The disabilities she has experience with include Autism, Visual Impairments, ADHD, Seizure Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairments, and Down Syndrome.

Dawn has won fifteen national awards as a self-published author of the Queen Vernita’s Educational Series, including Reader Views, Readers Favorites, a First Place Evvy, a Scooter Award, a Purple Dragonfly award, and an A+ rating from the American Children’s Book Society.

Dawn is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren.

To learn more about Dawn Menge, visit www.queenvernita.com.

Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean The Astronomer by Dawn Menge and Heath Rhoades

Book Review
Title: Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean The Astronomer
Authors: Dawn Menge and Heath Rhoades
Illustrator: Bobbi Switzer
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Released: 2010
Pages: 34
ISBN-10: 1432731203
ISBN-13: 978-1432731205
Stars: 3.5

Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean The Astronomer is the third installment in the engaging and intelligent Queen Vernita series written by Dawn Menge. With this book, she has a co-author: Heath Rhoades, an Astronomy Team Leader at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Table Mountain Observatory. He is obviously the inspiration for the character of Sir Heathybean and as always, the book is delightfully illustrated by Bobbi Switzer, but this time the illustrations are somewhat juvenile for the text.

This volume is a little different from the first two, which include the award winning Queen Vernita’s Visitors and Queen Vernita Visits The Blue Ice Mountains, in that the size of the book has changed from 8.2 x 8.2 to 8.5 x 11 and the reading age level has switched from ages 4-8 to 9-12 in this latest book. I must confess that I didn’t read the book ahead of time when I read it to my niece and nephew who are 8-years-old because I expected it to be more like its predecessors and I did feel a bit awkward. My niece enjoyed the photos as well as the story, asked some questions about a couple of astronomy facts (that thankfully I was able to answer), and was especially interested in how fast the Earth rotates around the other planets and the reason why each year has 365 days. My nephew seemed more interested in playing with his re-discovered Tamagotchi.

However, this is still the quality children’s book that I’ve come to expect from Dawn Menge, and it was filled with so many interesting facts about the solar system, planets, asteroids and comets, that I learned things too. The average parent will as well I suspect, because not many can claim to be experts in astronomy!

Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean The Astronomer is written in the same style as the previous books, with Queen Vernita of the Land of Oceaneers inviting 12 different friends to visit her for one month during each month of the year. Each day of the week they learn a new fact and this time, they were all treated to astronomy lessons from Sir Heathybean The Astronomer and Cora the Teacher. The authors have included some Greek and Roman mythology in their descriptions of the solar system as well as a lot of numerical facts including temperatures in Fahrenheit which can be a mouthful when reading aloud.

Queen Vernita’s visitors are people of all ages from many different ethnicities and include a child with cerebral palsy and one with Down’s syndrome to establish the concept of lack of prejudice and that anyone can enjoy learning new things. At the end of Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean The Astronomer, Menge (who is currently working on her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction) reveals that the next book in the series will be about the sea and plant life of the Oceaneer islands. I’m probably looking forward to that as much as my niece and nephew are!

Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali: A Father and Son Story by Felix Manuel Rodriguez

Book Review
Title: Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali
Author: Felix Manuel Rodriguez
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Released: May, 2009
Pages: 108
ISBN – 1440146241
ISBN – 9781440146244
Stars: 4.0

It is not often that I can say that I am truly honoured to write a review for an author whose acquaintance I made on the Internet, but in this case, I most certainly am.

This weekend, I read an absolutely wonderful, positive story about the relationship between a father and his son, to my 7-year-old niece and nephew (who came to my home for a sleepover) and we all loved it! Although I must report that Ethan was disappointed that the Blue Jays didn’t win the baseball game against the Yankees in the beginning of the book – we are after all, Ontarians!

Felix Manuel Rodriguez of Waterbury, Connecticut wears many hats. He is a writer, state child welfare employee, vice president of a local non-profit human service organization, and professional boxing inspector. He is also an assistant youth coach, police commissioner, but most importantly, he is a proud father of two children, Felix Joezā (a.k.a. Jo-Jo) and Jalissa, who are featured in Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali, and who are very fortunate to have such a loving and interactive father; one who is described in detail in the book.

In Felix’s words:

“…the story is based on true events involving my son and me in Harlem, NY. Read my bio on my website www.dadmeandali.com. I wrote this book because I value fatherhood. I grew up a fatherless child along with my six siblings living in the public housing projects. I am the youngest of the boys and it was tough growing up without a dad. So I made a promise to my kids that I will always try to be there for them. That is a big reason why I wrote this book. I wanted to share a father and son story sprinkled with Latino culture flavorings.”

Honest and sentimental without being syrupy in any way, Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali tells the story of young Jo-Jo, who learns a valuable lesson the hard way when while playing ball with his sister Jalissa in their father’s sports room, the unthinkable happens! They accidentally hit one of their father’s prized collectables that’s hanging on the wall: an autographed photo of Felix’s hero, Muhammad Ali; which falls to the floor, crashing the glass frame, and damaging the photo. Realizing what he’s done, Jo-Jo is sick with worry and expecting the worst when his father gets home.

Felix, who does everything he can to promote respect and sportsmanship, realized that the event was an accident, but also that the children should have listened to what they had been told. He exhibits understanding under the circumstances but Jo-Jo feels so guilty about ruining his father’s cherished photograph that he decides, with the help of his mother, to come up with a way to make it up to him even if it means spending his very last dime and then some. Father and son end up having an adventurous journey to Harlem, New York where Felix finally gets to meet his hero.

This heartwarming story is about the importance of being a good father and a hero and describes exactly what being a hero means. I was able to explain that concept to my niece and nephew who didn’t understand it when I began reading the story and asked, “What’s a hero?”

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside…a desire, a dream, and a vision. They have to have the skill and the will…but the WILL, must be stronger than the SKILL.” – Muhammad Ali

Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali has lots of great facts in it about The Greatest of All Time including Ali’s professional boxing record at the back of the book, a questionnaire for budding “Aliologists”, and a Certificate of Aliology for those who can answer the questions correctly. It is an excellent educational book that would fit in well in sports collectibles shops and every public school’s library in North America, as well as a charming tribute to the importance of being a father and being there for your children.

“Life is like boxing, it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. What matters most is how many times you get back up.” – Felix Manuel Rodriguez

Illustrators Noé Peralez and Francis Philibert contribute excellent black and white sketches, primarily of Muhammad Ali, at the beginning of every chapter and Erika and Ethan’s favourite is the one of Jo-Jo being hugged by Ali. They thought that was just great!

I highly recommend the fun-to-read Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali to parents of children ages 6-12, as well as boxing fans and budding Aliologists everywhere. This is a book that the great Ali himself would be proud of.

For more on Felix Manuel Rodriguez and Muhammad Ali, visit www.dadmeandali.com.

Listen To Children’s Author Camille Blue Amy on Book Bites For Kids!


Host Suzanne Lieurance of Book Bites for Kids talks with author Camille Blue Amy about her adorable picture book featuring a sweet little mouse who is an only child, entitled ‘Marshall and his green high-tops’ as well as Camille’s upcoming children’s books and other interesting things too, on Blog Talk Radio!

Queen Vernita Visits The Blue Ice Mountains by Dawn Menge

Queen Vernita Visits The Blue Ice Mountains by Dawn MengeBook Review
Title: Queen Vernita Visits The Blue Ice Mountains
Author:  Dawn Menge
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Released: 2009
Pages: 32
ISBN-13: 978-1432711696
ISBN-10: 1432711695
Stars:  4.0

SILVER WINNER IN THE MOM’S CHOICE AWARDS

Children’s author Dawn Menge is a smart woman. She has a Masters Degree and Clear Credential in Special Education and is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Through her character Queen Vernita (who now officially has a series of adventures in print!), she has created an absolutely wonderful storybook teacher for young children (ages 5-9) that is once again spectacularly illustrated by the very talented Bobbi Switzer. One of the reasons I love the Queen Vernita series so much is because of the bright, bold colours that are used in the pictures, and the other is that the stories are so fun and intelligent.

Every year Queen Vernita of Oceaneer (first introduced in Queen Vernita’s Visitors) writes to twelve of her closest friends and invites them to come to visit her. In this installment, the Queen has requested that her friends go with her to see the Blue Ice Mountains in the Land of Quails. Each month of the year she takes a different friend and together, on each day of the week, they experience the fun of adventure and education. Queen Vernita’s January visitor, Debbie, learns all about crabs! In March, Queen Vernita and her friend Christopher take a boat to see some tidewater glaciers and learn all about them. August weather encourages the Queen and her friend Marcella to visit the temperate rainforest of the Blue Ice Mountains where they meet park ranger Larry who tells them all about the flora and fauna of the region. In September, Vernita and Virginia discover the wonders of the Aurora Borealis and in November, Vernita and Dylan go snorkeling in the freezing glacier water and uncover the mysteries of underwater life.

Every day of the week Queen Vernita does something different with her friend who is visiting her that month and she shares so much joy with them that I find myself being envious and wishing I had a friend like Queen Vernita myself. Or better yet, perhaps I could become Queen Christine and create a similar environment for my own friends to enjoy! However, I must say that I would be very tired of having company for a whole year, no matter how much I enjoy the camaraderie of friendship!

Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains is another splendid children’s book by Dawn Menge and I hope that her audience continues to grow because the premise of this series is truly enjoyable and shouldn’t be overlooked. Parents and teachers everywhere will love teaching the monthly calendar, days of the week, and the changing seasons through the exciting activities of Queen Vernita and her visitors.

A Frog Named Waldor by Jacqueline Rankine-Van Wassenhoven

Book Review
Title: A Frog Named Waldor
Author:  Jacqueline Rankine-Van Wassenhoven
Illustrator: Annie Zhang
Publisher: PublishAmerica
Released: January 14, 2008
Pages: 16
ISBN 10 – 1424199263
ISBN 13 – 978-1424199266
Stars: 2.5

A Frog Named Waldor is a sweet children’s picture book about a little girl named Jennifer who loves to read, particularly books about water fairies. Now, as I do love fairies and talking frogs are quite irresistible, I was very intrigued by the premise of this story. On a hot July afternoon, Jennifer takes her book to a favourite spot by a pond near the village where she lives, to enjoy some quiet reading time when she is quite surprised to make the acquaintance of Waldor, the talking frog. They talk about water fairies and through a magical twist of fate, Waldor, is just the creature with the power to introduce Jennifer to some real, charming water fairies that he knows!

I believe that author Jacqueline Rankine-Van Wassenhoven had wonderful intentions for this book and there are some lovely illustrations by Annie Zhang (my favourite being the one that depicts Jennifer and Waldor dancing at a musical fairy jam amongst the toadstools), however, the story ends very abruptly, seems unfinished, and just doesn’t quite hit the mark, although it is clear that the author has a lot of love for the subject matter.

The book is only 12 pages long and of those 12 pages, there are five adorable, colourful, full-page illustrations. That being said, my niece and nephew who are 7-years-old, enjoyed it and thought that Waldor was pretty cool, but they wanted to know more about him. This story is more about Jennifer and the fairies than it is about Waldor, so the title of the book is a tad misleading. They also liked the idea of the magic bulrushes that allow Jennifer to ride on the back of Mrs. Nightingale, who carried her home.

For some reason, this book is listed on Chapters.Indigo.ca as costing $32.95 which is an extraordinarily high price to pay for a 12 page picture book. It also seems very overpriced at other online booksellers sites. If those prices are correct, I cannot recommend that you buy this book.

Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting by Jennifer Swanson


Illustrated by Rosita Schandy & Neal Wooten
3.0 stars

Being a longtime dog lover, I couldn’t helped but be charmed by the premise of the 2008 children’s book, Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting, which is a story based on the real life lovable dogs – of the same names – once owned by author Jennifer Swanson.

Penny is adventurous, naturally curious and loves to explore and dig in the dirt, while her sister Rio prefers to sunbathe on the deck of her master’s home and spends a lot of time sleeping.

One evening Penny watches animals convening in her backyard and becomes convinced that they are conducting a covert meeting, which makes her determined to find out what’s going on. For a couple of nights, Penny wakes her owner to let it be known that she needs to go outside and the minute the door is opened, she races out into the night! It doesn’t take her owner long to realize what she’s up to, and before she knows it, Penny is banished to the garage so that everyone can have a good night’s sleep. Not long after, Penny’s owner installs a doggie door which is just the thing Penny needs to keep an eye on those dubious critters; namely, Buster the cat, Feathers the owl, Shadow the groundhog, and Nutty the squirrel.

Penny uncovers the neighborhood animals’ plan to break into French Poodle Fifi’s house to retrieve a toy belonging to Buster the cat and decides to take matters into her own paws and warn Fifi of the impending intrusion. Throughout all the commotion Rio acts disinterested in what Penny’s discovered, and continues to prefer to rest.
Penny soon figures out a way to thwart Buster’s plan, only to discover that things are not always as they seem.

Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting is a sweet, enjoyable tale that chapter book readers and dog lovers alike will savor and Rosita Schandy and Neal Wooten’s cute and colorful illustrations will surely delight everyone who reads Jennifer Swanson’s Mom’s Choice Award winning book. Be sure to look for more adventures of the crime-fighting doggie duo in Penny & Rio: The Locked Doghouse Mystery!

Children’s Author Camille Blue Amy’s Latest News


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Photo Description: Mickey and Molly at her cottage in Portland, Ontario

Hello friends!

I saw Camille (a.k.a. Mickey) yesterday and she’s been busy working on her second children’s book, FISH FACES, and as well, is creating a gift in stained glass for friends who recently celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary. She’s multi-talented, I’m telling you! She works in stained glass and paints in oils and watercolours as well! We went shopping together to The Glass House in Kingston for supplies and got caught up.

She told me that the readings this past week at St. Ann’s Separate School in Cornwall went very well and she read to seven classes and sold 15 books. The kids were really sweet and asked some great questions. She was pooped afterwards!

Camille has finally secured at distributor for Marshall and His Green High-tops and it will hopefully be available very soon through BarnesandNoble.com, as well as other fine booksellers. In the meantime, you can still purchase copies through her official website at www.marshallmouse.com or at the stores listed there, on Amazon.com, and if you live in Canada, you can get a copy directly from me – Christine Bode – as I have a supply. If you’re interested, simply email me with your request at scullylove@cogeco.ca.

Camille will be reading at the Prince of Wales Public School, 201 Pearl Street West in Brockville, Ontario at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 25th, 2009.

She will be leaving Ontario the weekend of October 3rd to head back to Punta Gorda, Florida, as it’s getting pretty chilly at the cottage on Big Sheep Island. Jack (her husband) and Mickey got some renovations completed this summer at the cottage, entertained lots of guests and endured a lot of rainy weather, so they’re ready to enjoy some warm temps again as we didn’t have much heat this summer in Ontario.

We both wish you all a wonderful autumn!

With gratitude and joy,
Christine and Camille