ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT BROUGHT TO LIFE FOR MIDDLE GRADERS: Striking Terror by Denis Lipman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT BROUGHT TO LIFE FOR MIDDLE GRADERS
Striking Terror by Denis Lipman to be released Oct. 2016

Striking Terror by Denis Lipman

Piscataqua Press has announced the upcoming release of Striking Terror, a thriller by Denis Lipman that will, for the first time, bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to life for middle grade readers in an accessible, entertaining way. “We’re very excited about Striking Terror,” says Piscataqua Press publisher Tom Holbrook. “We haven’t seen anything like this for middle graders and teens—a fun, real-life thriller using a real-world conflict as a backdrop.”

Author Denis Lipman says this is what drove him to write Striking Terror. “When I was a kid, I loved reading about spies, detectives and mercenaries. When I looked for a contemporary thriller to share with my daughter, I couldn’t find any. So I wrote one that hooks into one of today’s important issues—it just took longer than I’d expected, as I wanted to research everything thoroughly.” Creating a hero who uses his magic skills to get out of trouble was an added bonus, the former magician says with a smile. “Think Harry Houdini, not Harry Potter,” he hastens to add. “I’ve been thinking for years about a boy who will use tricks to get out of scrapes.”

Striking Terror is the fictional story of Micah, a Jewish teen sent by his parents to stay with relatives in Israel. While settling down to a new life in Jerusalem, the amateur magician befriends a troupe of performers—and a Palestinian girl, Shireen, who is training to blow up the bus he rides to school. When Shireen chooses to abort the attack, her handlers turn on her and the two teens must run for their lives. Using every trick he knows to stay alive, Micah helps Shireen escape the alleyways of old Jerusalem into the Negev Desert. Here in a remote farmhouse, Micah and his friends have only illusion, luck and courage to fight a well-armed and murderous enemy. Then, beyond the desert, Micah and Shireen are pulled into a plot that will rip the peace process apart.

Before emigrating to the U.S. from his native England, author Denis Lipman was a professional magician for several years. His first book, A Yank Back to England (GemmaMedia 2010), is a travel memoir now in its third printing. Before moving to New England, Lipman and his wife Frances
Erlebacher ran a small advertising company in the Washington, DC area for more than 20 years, where he was also active in theater.

Piscataqua Press is a small, independent publisher that focuses on New England authors.

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PRESS CONTACT: Tom Holbrook
Piscataqua Press
info@piscataquapress.com
(603) 431-2100

AUTHOR INFO: Denis Lipman
dklipman@verizon.net
(603) 319-8852
denislipman.com

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

Coming Soon From The Secret Mountain: Sleep Softly: Classical Lullabies by Brahms, Schubert, Satie, Debussy…

NEW! FROM THE SECRET MOUNTAIN – AVAILABLE ON MAY 1, 2015

Sleep Softly:  Classical Lullabies by Brahms, Schubert, Satie, DebussyThe latest picture book and classical music CD in the award-winning and internationally acclaimed series, created for babies, but for the whole family to enjoy!

Sleep Softly:  Classical Lullabies by Brahms, Schubert, Satie, Debussy…

Performed by Ensemble Agora; Illustrations by Élodie Nouhen

Soothing and entrancing melodies from beloved composers are collected in this newest addition to The Secret Mountain’s acclaimed book-and-CD series. The hardbound book features whimsical, dream-like illustrations by Élodie Nouhen and brief explanatory notes describing how the song was composed and how it was arranged for this recording. The accompanying CD, recorded in France with the acclaimed wind and harp quintet Ensemble Agora, features 16 soft and sweet masterpieces that will send everyone in the family—including the crying infant—off to dreamland.

The gently rocking rhythm of Offenbach’s “Barcarolle” launches listeners into the magical world of Venetian gondoliers, and other familiar pieces, including Schumann’s “Of Foreign Lands” and Satie’s “Gymnopédie,” convey a sense of timeless voyage through cadence and instrumentation.  Fauré’s famous melody, “Après un rêve” demonstrates the power of melody and harmony to create an otherworldly experience.  The most famous track of all was composed in 1868 by Johannes Brahms: “Wiegenlied,” better known in the English speaking world simply as the lullaby song. The final piece, “Brezairola,” is a traditional song which French musician Joseph Canteloube arranged in the 1920s; this recording strips the melody to its essence, adding the drone of a bassoon in the background. The result is a relaxing 34 minutes of sound and visuals for all ages to enjoy together.

In 2014, The Secret Mountain, publisher of beautifully produced children’s books and music from around the world, released the Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning storybook-music CD Simply Fantastic: An Introduction to Classical Music. The first title from that collection, Listen to the Birds, also won international awards and acclaim the previous year.

SLEEP SOFTLY – CLASSICAL LULLABIES BY BRAHMS, SCHUBERT, SATIE, DEBUSSY… / PERFORMED BY ENSEMBLE AGORA / ILLUSTRATIONS BY ÉLODIE NOUHEN / CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK WITH MUSIC CD (DURATION: 34 MINUTES) / HARDCOVER, 36 PAGES, 8” X 8″ / AGES : BIRTH – 3 / ISBN: 978-2-924217-24-5 /$ 22.95 CDN /  DISTRIBUTED BY INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS GROUP REPRESENTED IN CANADA BY THE MANDA GROUP

Sleep Softly:  Classical Lullabies by Brahms, Schubert, Satie, Debussy…

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.

The Dream Stowaway by C.J. Pumpkins

Book Review
Title: The Dream Stowaway
Author: C.J. Pumpkins
Illustrator: Feras Nouf
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Released: 2008
Pages: 44
ISBN-10: 1425176011
ISBN-13: 978-1425176013
Stars: 4.0

All children sleep, except for one…The story begins when you start to read, the adventure begins when you fall asleep.” This is the premise of the enchanting children’s book, The Dream Stowaway, by author C.J. Pumpkins. Mr. Pumpkins has skillfully weaved a most infectious, fun-filled tale of the magic that occurs when a little girl named Mary has trouble falling asleep. One night, she encounters a mysterious boy who appears at the foot of her bed, scaring the wits out of her! He then blows something like sand into her eyes and the next thing she knows, it is morning again. When Mary tells her mother about the strange boy in her room, she doesn’t believe her, so Mary is determined to catch him so she will have proof of his existence.

The next night, the Dream Stowaway appears again but this time Mary has set a trap for him. After recovering from her surprise, he tells her, “All night I have traveled to rooms just like this, to bring kids to a place where no rules exist”, and then proceeds to fly her to a land where children play while their parents think they are sleeping. It is an adventure that children will want to have over and over again. My six year old nephew loved the part when the Dream Stowaway flies Mary off to Dream Land and his twin sister loved the part where all the children got to eat all the candy they wanted to. After all, what’s not to love about that?!

Illustrator Feras Nouf has created colourful, vibrant, cartoon-like pictures sure to stimulate the imagination and make you and your children smile. Mr. Nouf is a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, Syria and he has become an internationally sought-after illustrator who has worked on several projects with C.J.

Pumpkins originally wrote this story when he was only eight years old and revealed that it was inspired by Peter Pan and Dr. Seuss. Each line rhymes making for a perfect bedtime story to read aloud and one which children ages 3-8 are bound to love. If you have trouble getting your children to go to sleep at night, this is the perfect story for them!

The Adventures of Butterbean and the King by L. Michael Hellums

The Adventures of Butterbean and the King by L. Michael HellumsBook Review
Title: The Adventures of Butterbean and the King
Author:  L. Michael Hellums
Illustrator: Malachy McKinney
Publisher: Xlibris
Released: 2007
Pages: 106
ISBN-13: 978-1425772338
ISBN-10: 1425772331
Stars:  2.5

Children’s author L. Michael Hellums has created two immensely likeable lead characters in his book, The Adventures of Butterbean and the King. Best friends, Rufus Jingles, also known as Butterbean because of his large girth and obvious passion for food, and King Tissell, so named for his beer bottle cap hat, which he wears wherever he goes, are ants from South Texas. Their “story begins in an ant mound far, far away…two miles west of Crown, Texas.” Butterbean and the King, who were never cut out to be worker ants, decide to spend their summer investigating the world outside their ant mound.

So begins the adventure, as they set out for Crown, Texas “to find out what King Tissell is actually the king of.” Along the way, they make friends with the likes of Dottie the dragonfly, Pepito the pill bug and Mundo the mythological Mexican wish beetle, whose “sole purpose in life is to grant one last wish to terminally ill insects.” Butterbean and the King also encounter enemies along the way, in the form of poisonous plants (fortunately King paid attention to the dangerous-plant book in Mrs. Delmont’s class!), ant lions, a Southwestern zebra scorpion called Socrates the Sorcerer and a couple of fierce horny toads called Gizmo and Otis who would like nothing better than to make a meal of them.

Upon discovering the disappearance of Butterbean and The King, Queen Vida enlists General George, Lieutenant Harrisant and Major Rudolf to send out a search party of army ants to find the missing juveniles before the predators of South Texas get to them first.

“The fireflies split up with the separate parties, lighting the way to the battle royal where the forces of good and evil collided to occupy the same position at the same time. It was a small stampede of the queen’s army tromping through the mud and rain to tackle a couple of monsters they hoped they would never have to meet. Fortunately for Butterbean and the King it was the soldiers of Queen Vida’s army with the most heart, the bravest of all her forces.”

Will Queen Vida’s army save Butterbean and the King? Will they make it to Crown, Texas and find out what King Tissell is really the king of? Will Mundo’s gift of a magic matchstick save the ants from unknown danger? These questions and more are answered in The Adventures of Butterbean and the King.

Hellums’ story, which is suitable for children ages 8-12, is engaging and delightful but seriously hampered by the lack of a professional editor as his numerous spelling (i.e. queen’s “thrown” instead of “throne” and sunshine “shown” instead of “shone”), grammar and sentence structure errors make for a largely distracting read and not one that could be easily read aloud as a bedtime story.

Malachy McKinney’s illustrations are wonderful but would have been far more effective if they had been printed in color. I understand how expensive self-publishing can be, but in order to be a successful self-published author, one must ensure he puts forth his very best effort and doesn’t take detrimental shortcuts that could lead to the downfall of the book’s success. That being said, Hellums’ story, once edited by a professional, should be good enough to attract a publisher and earn him a 3.5 star rating from me.

The Adventures of Butterbean and the King continue in volume two, entitled “The Tale of the Crown Jewels.” Discover more about Mikey’s world and author L. Michael Hellums at http://www.storiesfrommikeysworld.com and view the book’s trailer on YouTube here: