Thursday, May 26, 2011

The LAST Day of Kindergarten - Nancy Loewen

The LAST Day of Kindergarten

by Nancy Loewen

The LAST Day of Kindergarten is dedicated to my daughter, who loved kindergarten and didn’t want to let it go. After the graduation ceremony, most kids seemed happy enough saying goodbye, but she was sobbing. She understood that growing up meant leaving things behind.

That got me thinking. There are lots of books to help children prepare for the first day of kindergarten. But what about the last day? For children like my daughter, this day is even more confusing. It brings excitement and pride, but also a sense of loss. And that’s why I wrote this book. I hope this story will allow children to stop for just a few moments and reflect on the routines and people they’ll miss—before tossing their funny flat hats into the air in celebration.

The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort.-- Kirkus Reviews

Yoshikawa’s irresistibly sweet illustrations are perfect for children ready to emerge from the kindergarten cocoon and rejoice in their achievements.—School Library Journal, Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT

Nancy Loewen has published more than 100 books for children. Her books have received awards from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, Parents’ Choice, and the Association of Educational Publishers. Four to the Pole! (Linnet Books), co-written with polar explorer Ann Bancroft, was a Minnesota Book Award finalist. Other work has appeared in Mid-American Review, Child, and Minnesota Parent.

Nancy has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Hamline University. She lives in Prior Lake with her husband and two children.



Marshall Cavendish

Even if you're sharp as a tack, the English language can be confusing! From ants in your pants to talking turkey, this silly and entertaining set will engage readers, while teaching them about various figures of speech.
Grades 2-4
Picture Window Books, 2011

You’re Toast and other Metaphors We Adore
Illustrated by Donald Wu
ISBN 978-1404862708

Talking Turkey and Other Clich├ęs We Say
Illustrated by Adam Watkins
ISBN 978-1404862722

Stubborn as a Mule and Other Silly Similes
Illustrated by Adam Watkins
ISBN 978-1404862715

She Sells Seashells and Other Tricky Tongue Twisters
Illustrated by Donald Wu
ISBN 978-1404862739]

Grades 2-4
Picture Window Books, 2010
Turn readers into writers! Each title carefully examines one or more genre-specific writing examples. Readers will discover the tools and techniques that writers use to create plays, poems, fairy tales, journals, picture books, and more. Each title includes a review list of key concepts, at least four exercises for getting started, and numerous writing tips.

Action! Writing Your Own Play
Illustrated by Dawn Beacon
ISBN 9781404860179

It’s All About You: Writing Your Own Journal
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles and Todd Ouren
ISBN 9781404855205

Just the Facts: Writing Your Own Research Report
Illustrated by Dawn Beacon
ISBN 9781404855199

Make Me Giggle: Writing Your Own Silly Story
Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
ISBN 9781404855182

Once Upon a Time: Writing Your Own Fairy Tale
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles
ISBN 9781404853355

Share a Scare: Writing Your Own Scary Story
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles
ISBN 9781404855175

Show Me a Story: Writing Your Own Picture Book
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles
ISBN 9781404853416

Sincerely Yours: Writing Your Own Letter
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles
ISBN 9781404853386

Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing Your Own Poem
Illustrated by Christopher Lyles
ISBN 9781404853447

Four to the Pole! the American’ Women’s Expedition to Antarctica, 1992-93
Ann Bancroft, co-author
Grades 4-8
Linnet Books, 2001
ISBN 0208025189

On January 14, 1993, four women made history by becoming the first women to reach the South Pole on foot. For sixty-seven days and 660 miles they skied, dragging heavy sleds, challenged by the bitter temperatures and strong winds on the white plains of Antarctica. But the greatest hardships they faced were internal, as each one struggled to keep mental focus, emotional perspective, and physical wellbeing in the face of nearly unyielding stress.

This is the true story of the American Women’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition, known as AWE. Told in a patchwork of diary excerpts, dispatches, letters, and narrative, it is an in-depth, intimate account of four very different people aiming for a single goal.

Finalist for the 2002 Minnesota Book Award in Youth Literature
2001 Honor Book by the Society of School Librarians International

Walt Whitman
“Voices in Poetry” series
Ages 12 and up

Parents’ Choice illustration award
Distinguished Achievement Award, Association of Educational Publishers, 2010
Share a Scare included in The Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education, 2011

Creative Editions, 1994
ISBN 088682608X
Selections from Leaves of Grass are juxtaposed with biographical vignettes and illustrated with sepia-toned photographs.

New York Public Library’s “Best Books for the Teen Age”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once upon a Neighborhood - Evelyn Klein

Once upon a Neighborhood
by Evelyn Klein
Once upon a Neighborhood depicts the changing nature of Neighborhood in the Twin Cities. Neighborhood can be an important place of home and nurture, the pivotal point from which we embark on daily demands, responsibilities, adventures, and diversions of our lives. But the every-day stories that shape neighborhoods often remain unsung, unrecorded, become lost in storms of sensationalism. This book aims to depict the reality of ordinary living, “moments of being,” as it moves from Saint Paul to Minneapolis and areas in-between. Only some people’s names were changed for privacy. Told in prose and poetry, meant to be easily accessible, the stories combine memoir, history, and observation.

Because neighborhood and community are not only about people but about places as well and because words are not always enough, I sat in my car to draw pictures of places where the stories occurred. To represent unity, at least in the social sense, I designed a montage of skylines, Saint Paul at sunrise, Minneapolis at sunset, joined by a historic view of Fort Snelling. Inside the book, each of the five sections is also introduced by a drawing. The book was recently added to the Minnesota Historical Society’s permanent library collection.

Having lived in various parts of the Twin Cities most of her life, Evelyn Klein is a freelance writer, author, teacher, and visual artist as well as a frequent writing judge and editor. She holds a B.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an M.S. in the Teaching of English from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She taught in the public schools, at the Loft Literary Center and currently teaches at Century College. Her articles and poetry appear in numerous newspapers, journals and other publications, including the Saint Paul Almanac. She published the poetry anthology, Stage Two: Poetic Lives, in 1994. Sine 2005 her prizewinning poem, A Place Called Home, is still touring the Twin Cities area in the Home Sweet Home Again exhibit of poetry and art with the Minneapolis Family Housing Fund. She published the poetry memoir, From Here Across the Bridge, illustrated by her father, Wolfgang Klein, in 2006 with Nodin Press, winning a cover award. Her latest book of prose, poetry and her own art, Once upon a Neighborhood, was published in 2009 with North Star Press. Evelyn Klein’s upcoming events are regularly published in her newsletter, The Write Connection.

Classes and Workshops

Century College
3300 Century Ave. North
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Getting Started Writing: Short Shorts
Thursday, June 23, 2011, 6:00-9:00 p.m., 1 session

Finding Voice in Memoir
Thursday, July 21, 2011, 6:00-9:00 p.m., 1 session

Speaking and Reading
Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum
Hosmer Public Library
36th Street at 4th Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Poetry Reading and Discussion Featured are Morgan Grayce Willow and Evelyn Klein
Saturday, April 16, 2011, 10:30-12:00 noon

Pilgrim House Church
1212 W. Highway 96
Arden Hills, MN 55112
Finding Neighborhood and Community in Changing Times, Evelyn Klein guest speaker
Sunday, May 8, 2011, 10:15 a.m.

Mississippi Valley Poets and Writers
Venue to be announced
Spirit of the Muses
Saturday, May 21, 12:30-3:00 p.m.

River Falls Area Retired Educators Association
The West Wind Restaurant
Main Street, River Falls, WI 54022
Publishing Your Manuscript
Wednesday, October 19, 2011, ll:45 a.m.

For more information see
See also: Nodin Press at
North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. at

In the final stages of completion – are Evelyn Klein’s next two books. Power Behind Your Writing, a writer’s reference book in three parts, including historical background on language, an easy-to-understand parts of speech section, and a sentence structure section, all designed to give writers of all backgrounds a better grasp of language as it relates to writing. It is presently in the final stages of editing. Seasons of Dreams, a book of prose, poetry and her own visual art deals with hope, renewal, spiritual growth and development. The author is currently working on illustrations to round out the reading experience.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Outwitted - Beth Solheim


by Beth Solheim

A death coach is expected to counsel patients experiencing life-threatening illness. But that’s not the case for sixty-four year old Fifi Witt, owner of the Witt’s End Resort, because her clients are already dead. They checked into Cabin 14, where no guest leaves alive. To add to Fifi’s quandary, she assumes the role of funeral director’s assistant after the untimely murder of the previous assistant.

Unexpected mayhem abounds when Fifi’s resort manager unwittingly rents Cabin 12 to the funeral director’s ex-husband, Clay, a raucous character who causes embarrassing funeral mishaps. Fifi attempts to help resurrect the respectability demanded by the profession, but only adds to the chaos caused by Clay’s high jinks.

When the uninvited guests in Cabin 14 suspect that an adjacent cabin houses a missing child, and after one of her guests discovers skeletal remains under Cabin 12, Fifi and her sister set out to solve an infant abduction and reveal the secret that ties a prominent judge to a notorious crime operation

Beth Solheim is the author of Outwitted and At Witt’s End, the first two books in the Sadie Witt Mystery Series. Like the main character in her Sadie Witt mystery series, Beth was born with a healthy dose of imagination and a hankering to solve a puzzle. She learned her reverence for reading from her mother, who was never without a book in her hand.

By day, Beth works in Human Resources. By night she morphs into a writer who frequents lake resorts and mortuaries and hosts a ghost or two in her humorous paranormal mysteries. Raised and still living in Northern Minnesota, she resides in lake country with her husband and a menagerie of wildlife critters.

“Not since Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, have so many quirky characters inhabited one book. A definite enjoyable read!” — Jean Henry Mead, author of Diary of Murder

“The Witt Sisters are back—with mayhem, humor, spirits and murder. When Sadie and her crew pick up the scent there is no stopping. A book you will NOT put down!” -- Nora Adrienne, Book Reviewer


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill - Bob Fulton

Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill

by Bob Fulton

In his first picture book for children, Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill, Bob Fulton uses a variety of pickle and olive characters to help young children understand the importance of accepting and supporting those with differences. His book is a fun, colorful and beautifully illustrated story about Baby Dill, who was born without pickle bumps. The book fits nicely into the current concern about bullying in schools, because diversity and encouraging young children to accept and support those with differences is the story’s important message. A diverse cast of pickle and olive characters, with fun names like Gert and Mertin Gherkin, Olive Pitt and Karl Kalamata, play important roles as the story develops. The end result is a humorous story, full of tongue twisters and fun for readers of all ages. For more information about the book, please visit the book’s website:

Bob Fulton is a Professor Emeritus at Saint John’s University in Central Minnesota. Before his retirement in June of 2008, he taught in the Saint John's University/College of Saint Benedict joint chemistry department for 39 years. In addition to providing him the time to write and publish Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill, he also finds time for traveling, visiting children, and telling stories to his grandchildren. He and his wife, Jackie, reside on Middle Spunk Lake in Avon, Minnesota. Bob can be contacted at:

ILLUSTRATOR BIOGRAPHY Melissa Meyer is originally from Saint Joseph, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts, and currently resides in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She continues work as an artist and hopes to inspire many with future picture books.


Bob Fulton has always enjoyed reading books to his four grandchildren and Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill originated as a response to a grandson’s request to “tell us a story about a pickle.” At first, Bob wondered what he could say about pickles. The old adage “about as useful as a bump on a pickle” came to mind and became the focus of the initial story. The story rapidly became one of his grandchildren’s favorites, and the story continually evolved with each retelling. Eventually his oldest grandson suggested that he “make a real book out of the story,” and so he did! His four grandchildren were involved with book project from the very beginning, providing children’s viewpoints for the story, helping to select the illustrator and providing insights about the illustrations. The involvement of his grandchildren has made the book project an especially rewarding one.

"Bob Fulton's Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill is a bright, colorful story of a young pickle's journey to self-acceptance. This book is full of original ideas, tongue twisters, and fun for all ages. I highly recommend it!" - Seal Dwyer, North Star Press

"Fulton delivers a strong message via the Dill family and Baby Dill’s friends. His book offers encouragement. “We like you just the way you are,” Baby Dill’s friends tell him. That’s a message that needs to reverberate throughout our schools, our homes, our communities." - Audrey Kletscher Helbling, Author/Photographer, Minnesota Prairie Roots Blog and Minnesota Moments

"This story gave me the inspiration to write a book for my grandchildren about the stories I have shared with them and that they can pass on to their children." - Susan Nordang, Grandmother

"I thought that your book was exquisite. My favorite part was when Baby Dill learned that he does not have to look like everybody else and that different is good."

"I liked the way you rhymed on some pages. The words were very interesting. To me it was kind of like a tongue twister. It was an awesome book."

"I did like the kinds of friends that cared about Baby Dill. Also, because the parents were worried he didn’t have any pickle bumps. I love that book."

"Thank you for coming to our classroom. I loved the story, the whole story and I hope you write another book!"

"Thank you for coming to our room. That book rocks. I love the book. I hope you come again."

“I loved the book. I like the words and the pictures."

"I love the story. The book was very awesome. Do you know I loved it?"

Book Signing, Avon Spunktacular Days Craft Fair Date: Saturday, June 18, 2011
Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Place: Avon City Park, Avon, MN

Book Signing, 38th Annual Lemonade Concert and Art Fair
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2011
Time: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Place: St. Cloud State University Mall
6th Street S and 1st Avenue
St. Cloud, MN