Featured Book: Sofie at Bat

imageedit_54_3654444608Perseverance and Practice in Picture Book for Kids

Eight year old Sofie learns the importance of practice, perseverance and letting go of fears in a charming picture book for young readers. When t-ball player Sofie is unable to master hitting, she becomes consumed with fears about an upcoming game against the Sharks. So much so, that she consults her best friend. When that conversation makes things worse, Sofie even has nightmares about her performance. It takes reassurance from her father, plus lots of practice, for her to learn to loosen up enough to do well at the big game.

Written by Suzan Johnson, with bright, appealing illustrations by Susan Shorter, Sofie at Bat features a young girl excelling at sports and learning about the importance of not giving up and of positive thinking in any task you’re afraid to undertake.

Sofie at Bat is vividly illustrated, with colors and images that pre-readers will enjoy. The text is suitable for early to mid-readers of about second to third grade reading levels, and the story will equally entertain kids and the parents reading to them.

From Inside the Book

Sofie 1  Sofie 4

sofie 2  sofie 3

Buy Sofie at BatSofie At Bat on Amazon

About the Author

Suzan JohnsonSuzan Johnson has been the Media Specialist at an elementary school for the past nine years. She is a voracious reader of books of all genres. Growing up, she loved and enjoyed participating in sporting activities such as cheerleading and softball. As a teacher she encourages her students to read a variety of books and participate in sports. Johnson currently lives in the south Florida area.
Author WebsiteJamila T. Davis on Facebook

Nicky NoFace and the Face Critters, by Vimal Vaz

nickynoface1The illustrations in Nicky NoFace and the Face Critters: The boy who lost his senses, are the first things that make this book a standout.  They are of the caliber of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” and Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon.” They’re quirky, colorful and funny and both children and adults will find them enchanting.  The story is charming, fantastic and filled with a band of kooky characters, including the hero, Nicky, a twelve-year-old boy with 2 different colored eyes and a slightly wonky ear.  Nicky finds that his eyes, ears, nose…all of his nickynoface2senses…have been kidnapped by a band of malevolent circus performers bent on getting revenge against his sick father, who put them out of work. He can no longer control his ability to see, taste, or hear and if he doesn’t get his senses back by midnight, they will all shrivel up and die.  In order to save his sick father, Nicky must find a way to gather the “face critters” back up and get them back where they belong: on his face.nickynoface4

In the end, this is a story of the love of a child for his father and the lengths that we will go to in order to aid the ones we love.  It is hard to imagine a child (or parent reading to one) who wouldn’t love this book.   This book is suitable for  young children or slightly older children who are at the intermediate stage of learning to read on their own.

Vimal Vaz

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Vimal Vaz is an author of both children’s books and psychological thrillers for adults.  Born in Kenya and raised in London, he now lives in Hong Kong. Vaz says, about his creative process, “I write stories from my heart. What that means is my creative processes do not work in terms of selecting a genre to write in. Stories get formed in my head from all kinds of sources and if they gather enough momentum then I’ll start to write.”

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The Honk of Zagonk, by Pat Hatt

Honk of Zagonk CoverIn “a land afar,” we meet a group of dragons, each with his or her own very special feature and ability. They all assemble on one special day of the year to compete in the fire breathing games, where each dragon’s capacity for fire breathing is assessed.  Zagonk, a purple dragon who has never competed before, is dismayed when his turn to compete comes and only a loud honking noise, not fire, comes out. The subject of ridicule by the other competitor dragons, Zagonk slinks off and runs into The Frost Giant, who has crashed the fire breathing games in order to freeze the assembled dragons and carry them away with him and declare himself the winner of the dragon games.

Zagonk 1In a panic, Zagonk tries to breathe fire to melt the ice he’s encased in but is able to produce nothing but the ridiculous honk that made him a laughing stock earlier.  As he keeps honking, though, he notices that the vibrations from the noise he’s making are cracking the ice and soon Zagonk not only escapes from his own ice confinement, but manages to free the other dragons and send The Frost Giant packing.

Author Pat Hatt uses simple but clever rhymes to tell this charming story of accepting who you are and seeing the value in the strengths you have, rather than bemoaning the ones you don’t.  This book would be a wonderful opening for adults to talk to the children in their lives about accepting each other’s’ differences, making the most out of what you have and self-esteem.  The elaborate and richly colored illustrations in this book will fascinate younger kids, as will the various dragons, the menacing Frost Giant and the story of perseverance in the face of adversity.

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Patt Hatt Pat Hatt is a prolific author of both children’s books and novels for adults.   His cat maintains a website where he posts information about Pat and his work.