It’s been a while since we had a Small Press/Indie author spotlight, so let’s dig in.
Just Like Magic, by Victor D.O. Santos/Illustrated by Iryana Kazakova, (Jan. 2022, Linguacious LLC), $13.99, ISBN: 9781649621184
Nico is a young platypus who gets bullied by the other animals in Animalandia, until he meets a Genie who offers to help him be brave, but as Nico finds his voice and learns to stand up for himself, we wonder: what is the genie’s real gift?
A gentle story about tapping into one’s inner strength for kids, with colorful cartoon art illustration.
Treasure Hunt (Grandma’s Closet #4), by Lois Wickstrom/Illustrated by Francie Mion, (March 2021, Look Under Rocks), $12.99, ISBN: 9781954519022
Carrie is back and she’s still discovering things in Grandma’s closet in the fourth installment of Lois Wickstrom’s Grandma’s Closet series. This time, Carrie finds a box of dowsing rods, which she uses to find something valuable. The rods tell her where to go, with the promise of finding helpful things, including a sewer line leak that could pose a big problem if it were discovered later on! The dowsing rods lead Carrie to the best find of all – but you’ll have to read it to find out for yourself. A fun story in a cute series, The Treasure is an additional purchase suggestion. Visit Lois Wickstrom’s website for more about her series.
You are You, by Cassidy Burke/Illustrated by David Gnass, (Aug. 2021, Mascot Books), $14.95, ISBN: 978-1-64543-231-9
Tackling a complex and scary issue, You Are You tackles childhood mental health and bullying. Pennelope the giraffe loves going to school and playing with her friends at recess until the morning where her “friends” make fun of her laugh. Their unkind words and actions hurt Pennelope, who goes home and stays in bed, turning their words over and over in her head. Her friend Phoenix reaches out, sending her an encouraging note that lets her know she isn’t alone. Pennelope returns to school, learning to tune out the mean kids and celebrate her support system. Back matter includes “Challenge Letters” to parents, friends, teachers, and the world at large, raising suicide awareness and encouraging readers to know that they are not alone. Colorful cartoon animals add a light to a potentially dark subject, and the story gets its point across in a way that younger readers will understand and appreciate.