Monday, January 25, 2010

Andrea Zimmerman - Children's Book Author

Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat

by Andrea Zimmerman

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, family friend or teacher, most of us are always looking for ways to help us raise the special girls in our lives from the inside out. Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat? is a book that can help you do just that. It's a fun read with whimsical color illustrations. The book guides the reader through addressing the serious issues of negative self-talk, self-confidence, poor body image and bullying in a way that young girls can relate to without feeling preached at.

What's especially wonderful about this book is that it engages girls ages 6-13 as well as adults. It gives the readers a valuable tool to create fun, proactive dialogue around these very important topics. As an extra value, the book includes a helpful discussion guide that can be used to create a constructive conversation around these topics.

Andrea Zimmerman lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota with her daughter Zoie and a very sweet Havanese dog nicknamed "Cha Cha". Andrea finds that raising her daughter as a single mother is a very fun, but often enlightening endeavor. From her adventures, trials and parenting tribulations, Andrea is often inspired to share her experiences with others through creative writing.

Andrea grew-up very close to where she lives today in Maple Grove, but she spent a couple of years away in Grand Forks, North Dakota for her undergraduate degree (and pilot's license) and ultimately she finished her B.S.B. from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Writing has always been a favorite activity; Andrea was first published in high school for her poetry. She spends her day job as a successful small business owner working with real estate companies and financial institutions and she enjoys writing articles for related industry magazines.

Why the book was written
Andrea wrote the book after a particularly trying morning with her nine year old daughter, Zoie -- the drama of the day was clothing with Zoie being afraid if she wore one of her Abercrombie outfits again the girls in her class would make fun of her (again). There was much crying and frustration involved and after Zoie was finally on her way to school, Andrea headed to the bookstore.

Why the bookstore?
Well, like any girl from the age of 6-20, Zoie was prone to say "Enough talk Mom!" after about a minute of listening to Andrea trying to walk through issues that needed to be addressed. Andrea needed some help, something she could give Zoie to initiate conversation without all the words coming from "Mom".

Unfortunately, it was not the first time that she came back blank without a book that might help her sit down with Zoie to address the mornings issues in a more constructive way. The bookstore had lots of books, but the ones she found were either too babyish or directed at adults/psychology. So, this book is the start of Andrea's journey into author hood - to deliver a solution that she and others can use to initiate tough conversations with our wonderfully complex pre-tween/tween girls.

Self-publishing Experience
So far, the self-publishing experience has been fun and informational for Andrea. At the start, Andrea knew she didn’t want to wait to see if a publisher would pick up her book. Writing a book was a “bucket list” item for her – something she had always aspired to do. She didn’t expect her inspiration would come in the form of a children’s book – that was a surprise!

It took Andrea from May to December 2009 to complete the book – she feels that was quite an accomplishment given she is a single mom and runs a successful small business. Andrea believes everyone has at least one book in them and with the tools available today – why not!

Her purpose for writing the book wasn’t motivated by money, Andrea feels very strongly about the book’s message and that we need to do more proactively with young girls’ attitudes with their own bodies and how they address other girls in their lives. The level of verbal abuse associated with what one is wearing, who one is talking to, how one looks, etc., that goes on even between friends by the age of nine is almost incomprehensible. She hopes this book will be used as a tool to change these attitudes in a fun, respectful way.




Friday, January 22, 2010

Peter Bundy - The Wild Garden

The Wild Garden

By Peter P. Bundy

North Star Press

Lyrical, practical and filled with insight into environmentalism, nature and healing, this is Peter Bundy’s second book. As a sequel to Finding the Forest, Bundy takes us further into the woods as he shares personal stories on the role of disturbance in shaping the forest landscapes that we love.

“Bundy writes so beautifully that some paragraphs read like prose poetry…his writing is clear as he examines our feelings about forests ( we love trees, but we also love wood floors).” —Mary Ann Grossman, Pioneer Press

Peter is a native of New England who has been living in Minnesota for the past 36 years. Northfield, Minneapolis, St Paul and Crosby all claim portions of his lifeline.

Peter is a writer and forester. When he isn’t working quietly with words, he spends his time as a consultant helping landowners and land managers restore the health of their forestlands. This is a passion, as well as a livelihood, and both of his books, Finding the Forest and The Wild Garden share stories from this woods experience.

Professionally, he has served as State Chair for the Minnesota Society of American Foresters, and as the State Coordinator for the Forest Guild. He is also a member of the MN Society of Arboriculture and the MN Association of Consulting Foresters.

On the personal front, he has a grown son, Shawn, who is a teacher and resides in Oregon with his two daughters (too far away!) Peter’s favorite hobbies include travel and cooking.

Finding the Forest – This book received a National Arbor Day Foundation Media Award in 2002 and was a finalist for a MN Book Award.


February 25 – 4:00 PM
Long Prairie Library

March 13
Sinsinawa, WI, Tri State Forestry Meeting

Late Spring
McCawbers, St. Paul

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sheila DeChantal - Book Reviewer

I’ve often wondered how book reviewers select what they review, if they’re bombarded with requests, and how they deal with books that don't satisfy.

Sheila DeChantal is a book reviewer from Brainerd, MN, and hosts
One Persons Journey Through A World Of Books. The blog site not only features reviews, it offers an author chat, giveaways, awards, guests, kids books and more.

Join Sheila as she tells us about her journey:

I started reviewing for my own enjoyment as an online journal. In June 2009, I discovered blogging for publishers and authors and my blog took off from five visits a day to its current 460+ unique visitors a day. I love to read and I love to talk books and I’ve met so many wonderful people talking about what I love. Book reviewing really feeds my love to write and read. I never dreamed how much I would enjoy doing this.

Ups and downs of reviewing:
I love to talk books and when I love a book it shows in my review. I think a good book review consists of letting you know how a book made the reviewer feel. When the book is described well, and sounds enjoyable, others join in this enthusiasm and want to read it too. I love it when a book I review becomes a "must have" for my readers. The flip side of this is books that really don’t hit home for me. I know the author has put their heart into the book and just because I didn't like it, doesn’t mean others will agree. Yet, as a blogger, my integrity toward my readers is very important and I have to be honest. When a book wasn’t a good fit for me, this is the hard part of reviewing. I want to write an honest review and at the same time be respectful.

Selecting books to review:
I try to be careful on the books I accept for review. When I first started, it was exciting to be offered a book to review, but I learned quickly that I need to be selective. I have turned many books down due to content I know I would not enjoy or time constraints. My review policy on my blog helps to deter some of the requests that would not be a fit for me or my blog. It’s not an exact science, but I rarely receive a book that I do not enjoy. In the rare case I can’t get through a book, I email them to let them know why and that I will not be posting a review.

Quantity of review requests:
Review requests are an amazing thing. Currently I receive about 6 a week from authors and occasionally a publisher. This week was a little busier. When it comes to turning books down, I need to be selective, and yes, it’s hard to decline when it’s a new author and they are excited about their book. If it’s a book I don't think I will have time to read, or isn't a good fit, I try to connect them with other appropriate reviewers. I also have several publishing groups I work with and I let them know which books I want to review.

A truly memorable read:
Ahhhh...great characters! In fiction, if the character is someone I wish I could hang out with or have coffee, that is a great character. There are books that stick with me for years because of the characters. In non-fiction, it is the people. I read a lot of books on homeless children or countries that are extremely poor. When I read Jantsen's Gift in 2009, author Pam Cope spoke of a young boy who was a slave on the river. When they were taking children for a chance for a better life, he was not chosen. She described his eyes as their boat disappeared around the corner, and to this day, I can picture that boy’s eyes, that look of utter despair.

I read so many books it’s hard to have favorites. I can tell you that in 2009 discovering Michelle Moran's books, Cleopatra's Daughter, Nerfetti, and The Heretic Queen, was wonderful. I recently reviewed Michelle at One Persons Journey Through A World Of Books. The Help by Kathryn Stockett was also incredible, as was Dragon House by John Shors... but that is just one year! Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins blew me away. An all time favorite series comes from 2001, The Three Sisters Trilogy by Nora Roberts. Normally I am not a Roberts fan, but these books are different. I read that set about every three years. I love books with strong, independent, women characters. I also have fun conversing with my readers. Because I respond to most comments on my posts, my readers know me well and it’s like chatting with a friend. There are times when comments are so funny I have actually spit coffee on my keyboard.

I am a forty-two year old Minnesotan born and raised. I have two sons, a nineteen-year old in college and a twenty-two year old in the Navy. I enjoy riding bike and participate in six bike tours a year. Last year I did my first 150 mile bike ride, two days from Blaine, Minnesota to Duluth. It was a blast! I love adventures, exploring, rollerblading, and working out.

I’ve been to Honduras eight times, my last time was in November of 2009. I go with a group of friends and we work with children who live on the streets or who live in the dump.

My husband and I own our own company, DeChantal Excavating, and I help with paper work. I also work twenty hours a week as the Office Manager for The Journey North Community Church.

I volunteer locally for the Homeless Program in our area (IHN), and am a member of the Mid Minnesota Builders Association. Prior to that, I worked as a manager for Wal-Mart for fourteen years before I left to help with our business. I like to stay busy. My husband and I enjoy breaks of spending time at our cabin in Finland, Minnesota.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jodi Hills - Author and Illustrator

heart on my sleeve…Times change, people change and lives change, just as sure as styles change. Jodi Hills encourages readers to let go of the “what was” and the “what could be” and to embrace the beauty of what is today. Written for anyone who has looked into their closet and exclaimed “I have nothing to wear!”

I’m not too busy is a story about taking the time to notice people, to care, to have relationships and to see the present. Life tends to get busy and this uplifting book provides a way to tell a friend or loved one that we offer our gift of time.

In today’s fast-paced world, sometimes when you are not looking, hours, days, weeks and years go by. And we haven’t made the time to spend with the people we care about. I’m Not Too Busy encourages us to take the time to recognize the important people in our life.

Slap on a Little Lipstick…You’ll be Fine celebrates the beauty of all women…their triumphs, their tears, their strengths and struggles, their journeys and joys – and through it all the smiles that mark survival.

This sassy gift book empowers women with thoughts on daily survival with fun and inspiring verse and art. Hills shares with us some of the empowering messages she learned from her mother and delivers it in a fun and empowering way. This book is the perfect book to share with a girlfriend, mother, sister, day care provider, teacher and more.

Jodi Hills operates her own design studio – Studio J – in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The studio features her collection of “visual verse” -- all created with the intent to keep people guessing, praying, hoping and laughing. Through her books, Hills explores the days we thrive…and the ones we survive…finding the beauty of both the tears and laughter along the way.

Hills makes her living as an author and artist. She grew up in Alexandria, Minnesota and currently resides in Hopkins, Minnesota. She is devoted to her family and you will often see Hills at appearances with best friend and mother, Ivy.

Hills has a degree in English with a minor in Art from the University of Minnesota at Morris. Prior to owning her own studio, she worked in advertising and graphic design.

Jodi Hills’ other well known titles include an imperfect life, which is a compilation of her most beloved works available in one collection, I am Amazed, Believe and Hope-so Too.

For more information on Jodi, her books, and her appearance schedule, visit

Monday, January 11, 2010

Greg Budig - STILL (A Winter's Journey)

Still (A Winter's Journey)

by Greg Budig

Stemmer House Publishers

ISBN: 9780916144876

Through beautiful poetry and illustration, Greg Budig guides the reader through falling snow with Still (A Winter's Journey). Passing through woods, fields and snow covered streets, be prepared to encounter both wildlife and your own sense of awe in a world made new. Put on your boots and mittens and experience a walk in the snow any time of the year.

Greg Budig grew up in western Minnesota where the ever changing seasons left a life long impression on him. He gave voice to the mysterious night wind in his first book, I Hear the Wind, and has captured the dreamlike qualities of a walk through a peaceful winter landscape in his newest book Still (A Winter's Journey). Greg currently lives with his wife and three children in St. Cloud, MN where he still draws inspiration as an author and illustrator from the world around him.

"Who we are and what we do for a living can be two different things." Greg has spent a lifetime working at jobs totally unrelated to writing or illustrating, but has always kept alive the hope that someday his talents would be recognized.





Check the Bookin' It Bookstore website for Greg’s upcoming book signing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christine Petersen - Rock On

Rock On!: A Look at Geology

by Christine Petersen

ABDO Publishing

Fantastic Fossils
Groovy Gems
Mighty Minerals
Outrageous Ores
Rockin' Rocks
Super Soils

Sparkling diamonds, oozing lava, giant crystals, and… dinosaur bones? How could these strange and special substances have anything in common? Find out when you examine the world of geology in the Rock On! series. Uncover how fossils form and what they can tell us about the past. Chip away at the three types of rock and unearth the importance of ores. Be dazzled by gems and discover Earth’s many minerals. Then, get your hands dirty with experiments you can do at home! With full-color photographs and easy-to-read text, you’ll dig the science of Earth.

I grew up exploring tidepools in a small town along the California coast. My parents encouraged my long, rambling stories during our evening beach walks. Along the way, both nature and narrative became integral to my awareness of the world.

My career began in the early 1990s, while I was employed as an assistant museum biologist. I loved the quiet museum work by day and was exhilarated by nighttime fieldwork on bats. A request to do public programs about my work made me nervous. I’m a bit of an introvert and expected to dislike this aspect of the job. But it was a perfect fit. I soon decided to make a career change into K-12 science education.

For nine years I taught at the Blake School in Minnesota. Writing children’s educational resource books became a summer occupation, but gradually encompassed more of my interest and time. In 2007 I decided it was time to try writing full-time. Educational literature remains my primary focus, but I’ve also recently begun to write a blog called "Intelligence with the Earth.” I look forward to finding new ways to merge nature and narrative in my life and work.



Friday, January 1, 2010

Warren Hanson - Author - Illustrator

TRISTAN Publishing features:

Warren Hanson

Author & Illustrator Biography

Warren Hanson grew up in Yankton, South Dakota, and currently resides in Houston, Texas. He earned his theater degree at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and pursued his art education at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul.

Hanson is an artist, writer, speaker and musician. He is the illustrator of A Cup of Christmas Tea, a bestseller which has sold more than 1.7 million copies. He illustrated Tom Hegg’s holiday classic, PEEF The Christmas Bear, as well as the PEEF series, which has reached more than 500,000 copies sold.

Hanson’s newest book, Everything Happens For A Reason encourages readers to celebrate both the hoped for and unexpected events of life whatever they may be. The book is written for anyone who has ever asked the question, Why?

Hanson’s brightly illustrated book, Kiki’s Hats, tells the charming story of a generous woman who knits hats and gives them away. The book’s pay-it-forward message inspires readers of all ages to share their special gifts with others. The book has its own website,, where readers are invited to share their personal stories of giving.

Hanson illustrated Reading With Dad, written by Richard Jorgensen, a beautiful story of the love that grows between father and daughter as they read together through the years. Hanson is the author and illustrator of the children’s book, Raising You Alone, a title that thoughtfully addresses the joys and challenges faced by single-parent families.

Since its release in 1997, Hanson’s book, The Next Place, has brought peace and hope to more than 550,000 people across the country. It is one of the most embraced books on bereavement in the country and speaks to all ages and faiths. Paw Prints in the Stars helps pet lovers who have loved and lost a beloved pet celebrate the life they shared together. Older Love is a gentle celebration of lasting love that grows joyfully through the years and Beginning is a message of encouragement at the start of something new.

For more information on Warren Hanson, his books and his appearance schedule, visit


Author Warren Hanson and TRISTAN Publishing
Address the question “Why?”

There are times we change our lives and there are times life changes us.

Warren Hanson encourages readers to celebrate both the hoped for and the unexpected events of life, whatever they may be with his newest title Everything Happens For A Reason. Through the pages Hanson helps the reader embrace living a life where
sometimes one must simply trust.

This book is written for anyone who has asked the question “Why?” and who boldly looks with hope and confidence to the future knowing everything really does happen for a

Publisher Brett Waldman knows this book will speak to many, “Our times are right for
this title. Warren is the perfect author to say so eloquently what we all need to be
reminded. We are so proud of this collaboration and excited to introduce Everything
Happens For A Reason as another of our TRISTAN treasures.”

Warren Hanson’s books published by Minneapolis based TRISTAN Publishing:
The Next Place (author/illustrator)
Paw Prints in the Stars (author/illustrator)
Kiki’s Hats (author/illustrator)
Raising You Alone (author/illustrator)
Beginning (author/illustrator)
Older Love (author/illustrator)
Everything Happens For A Reason (author/illustrator)
A Cup of Christmas Tea (illustrator)
PEEF The Christmas Bear (illustrator)
A Silent Night for PEEF (illustrator)
PEEF and His Best Friend (illustrator)
PEEF and the Baby Sister (illustrator)
Tell Me What You Did Today (illustrator)
Mark of the Maker (illustrator)
Reading With Dad (illustrator)
Up to the Lake (illustrator)

The Next Place Touches Lives!

Written & Illustrated by Warren Hanson
- Best–selling bereavement book for all ages and all faiths.
- Brings a comforting message of hope and compassion.
- Uses gentle verse to reveal a safe and welcome destination free
from earthly hurts.

Quotes from those who know…

“We are honored to place The Next Place on the bed of each patient who passes. The book is an everlasting gift.” -- Hospice RN

“The concept of timelessness, perfection, love…eternity are all brilliantly and literally portrayed.” --Hospice Chaplain

“I love the book and I am very choosy about what I pick out for our resource center. This book is a treasure!” --Director, Fernside, A Center for Grieving Children

“The Next Place is beyond words. Everyone I have shared this book with has said that a great sense of peace is experienced. My hope is that this book will be available to all across the country.” --Director, St. Vincent’s Services, Inc.

“Mr. Hanson gives patients gentle permission and encouragement to welcome the full range of conflicting feelings that arise when facing death. He reinforces the reality that we don’t really know what exists on the ‘other side’ but can rely on carrying our memories of love and joy.” --Director, Cancer Care, Inc.

“The Next Place is, dare I say, the most beautifully illustrated book I have ever come across. At first glance one might assume this is a children’s book, and though it absolutely serves that purpose, I would strongly urge adults to pick this up for themselves as well.

I use this book to close a graduate level class I teach on death and dying, and I could not have asked for a more loving, accepting, calming, peaceful narrative for students to leave with after a weekend intensive dealing with an oftentimes painful and difficult subject. The “story” if you will is told from the perspective of someone who is imagining what life will be like after they die. The message within is poignant, impactful, reassuring, and simple, and I have no doubt that once you read it you will want to give a copy of it to everyone you know. Thank you to Warren Hanson for writing such a remarkably profound book, and to Tristan Publishing for making it available to the masses.” --
Stacey K. Wood, MACP Adjunct Faculty, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology

TRISTAN Publishing is based near Minneapolis, in Golden Valley, Minn. A specialty book
publisher, TRISTAN Publishing focuses on producing books with inspirational themes and
messages at their core. “My goal is to publish books of extraordinary quality,” says publisher
Brett Waldman. “We provide books that touch our readers’ hearts and make a positive difference in their lives.