Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Author's Show Interview about The Crypto-Capers Series

Hello Everyone,
I am going to be on The Children's Author Show with Don McCauley on December 21st and 22nd to talk about my Crypto-Capers Series which is perfect for children 8 and up. Feel free to check it out and learn more about me and my new series. The link is, then click the link for the Children's Author Show and I am there. Also check out my website at

Renee Hand

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Virtual Advent Blog Tour Favorite Christmas Memory

Everyone has traditions, even if they know it or not. Something they do every year that is special to them, or maybe just habit. For years, ever since I could remember, on Christmas Eve, we would go to church, the sermon usually filling me with hope. We would spend time together with family. I would always take the time to look up into the sky at the blanket of stars and wonder what life had in store for us. We would go to bed early and on Christmas morning my brother, sister and I would line up like a train and work our way to the living room where presents and glorious Christmas music awaited. We would all have our eyes closed until we were all in position, then my parents would tell us when to open them, and we would uncover our eyes and see the wondrous sight before us. Then chaos ensued and wrapping paper would be everywhere.

The train tradition stopped when we had our children, at least for us anyway. Our children now continue with the tradition. On Christmas Eve all of our families arrive and spend the next few days over at my parent's house together. Which can make for a full house of 14 people. We watch Christmas movies and make cookies for Santa, leaving carrots for the reindeer. Each child has to write a note to Santa. We read The Night Before Christmas. We answer any questions they may have and tuck them into bed. Before church the guys get together and go last minute shopping. They can say what they want about finding last minute deals and so on, but we all know that they really just want to spend time together, laughing and having fun, which they do every year. It's that male bonding thing. At night, we snack on cookies and play Euchre.

On Christmas morning, my chest is a flutter. The children line up from oldest to youngest and with eyes closed, make their way to the living room. When we tell them to open them, their eyes and ears a filled with the sight of presents and the sound of Christmas music. Then chaos breaks loose as everyone sits and gets into position. We always wear our Santa hats and then we begin to pass out the gifts. I honestly could not care if I receive a gift, it is more important for me to watch the looks on my children's faces as they open theirs. That is priceless. Then we all hug and thank each other, our hearts filling with love and appreciation. Family is what Christmas is about for me. I am thankful everyday for them. I usually sit down with my children and play with them. Then help prepare Christmas dinner. I am responsible for desserts. The day is a relaxing and happy one. Then we have dinner, which usually consists of ham or turkey, city chicken, pierogi's, deviled eggs (which I make), polish sausage, and various other foods. The day after Christmas is family time, and we will either go to relative's houses to visit or do something fun together with all of us and the kids. After that we just relax and enjoy time together. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but for me, the feeling lasts all yearlong.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Review for When Santa Turned Green

Today is a review for When Santa Turned Green by Victoria Perla.


A creative holiday story that introduces kids to environmental awareness with ways that they can make a big difference.
It's November up in the North Pole. Everything's going along smoothly at Santa's workshop until he discovers a leak in his roof. Santa soon learns that this little leak is connected to a far bigger problem. The North Pole is melting because of something called global warming! Faced with the reality of what this could mean for Christmas, not to mention the planet and the future, Santa is determined to turn things around. To do so, he calls upon the people he knows better than any other-the children. Much to Santa's joy, they respond in a way that makes all the difference . . . in the world.


This is another great story that puts a different light on Christmas but also brings attention to global warming and the changes to our environment. The great thing is that the story shows children how they can make a big impact right from their corner of the world just by making a few simple changes in their lives. Such as recycling, composting, changing light bulbs, planting a tree, and so on...This is a great way to get children involved and into thinking more environmentally friendly. Which is something everyone needs to do. most importantly the story brings hope and the idea that we can make a difference. The artwork is delightful and explains thoroughly what Santa is discovering. As the elves work busily trying to get ready for Christmas Santa discovers a leak in his roof. As he discovers why this is happening, he finds that the snowmen are melting as well as the polar ice caps. From there he ponders what to do, then it hits him. He needs to bring the information to the children for they are our future. The story brings attention to the issue of global warming without being political and confusing. A good story that can be used on various levels.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400313848
ISBN-13: 978-1400313846

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Review for The Story of Christmas

Today is another wonderful christmas story. This one is called Read and Share The Story of Christmas by Gwen Ellis and illustrated by Steve Smallman.


The Story of Christmas from the Read and Share™ Bible is a colorful retelling of the birth of Christ and the events surrounding it.

Based on the International Children's Bible, this book begins with the birth of John the Baptist. Next comes the angel appearing first to Mary, then to Joseph, the trip to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the angel's announcement to the shepherds, the wise men and their gifts, fleeing to Egypt, and at last heading home to Nazareth. The "Can You Retell the Story" activity at the end of the book is a fun way for children to learn to tell the story themselves.


This wonderfully illustrated picture book is a great addition to any Christmas library. The author uses sections of the bible to retell the story of the birth of Jesus. At the bottom of each page the reader is asked questions based on the text so the reader can understand the content better. I really like this because it makes the reader think. This book can be used in a matter of ways for children of all ages to understand the birth of Jesus. The text is simple to understand and the retelling section at the back of the book was a great idea to test the child's comprehension. My children and I enjoyed reading this Christmas story.

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400314682
ISBN-13: 978-1400314683

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Book Review for Merry Creature Christmas

In honor of Christmas, everyday I am going to post a new Christmas book my children and I have read. This one is the first. I hope everyone enjoys this collection of books as much as we have enjoyed reading them.

Here is a summary and review for Merry Creature Christmas by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Gene Barretta.


It's Christmas Eve, and all the animals in the forest are decorating the trees, hanging icicles, and building a nativity to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But Star, a wild colt, is too joyful to be still. In his excitment, he decides to be brave and wake up Big Bear, who is sleeping soundly in his cave. Soon all the animals are dancing together on the night of the Creature Christmas.


This time of the year should not only be about gift giving, but about remembering the birth of Jesus. This is a delightful book that expresses the true meaning of Christmas through some of the woodland creatures. As the animals prepare for Christmas, they are filled with excitement of the season as they build a nativity scene. However, not everyone is awake. There is a bear nearby who the animals are trying not to wake. The wild colt, Star, cannot help himself as he wanders close to the cave. Why should any animal be left out at such a wonderful time as this? Star yells to the bear, not thinking that he shouldn't, and the bear wakes up. As the other animals fear the bear's wrath for being woken up in the winter time instead of spring, they are pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Instead of running away, Star stands firm and wishes bear a merry Christmas, and in return they are given a heartfelt merry Christmas as well. In the end, the animals rejoice and celebrate together.

My boys and I enjoyed the story very much. This is a board book and fits nicely into a small childs hands. The art work is beautiful, giving lots of room for discussion as the story unfolds. There is also a read along activity CD included with the book which we have listened to many times all ready in the car. This is a story all children will love and enjoy for many years to come.
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (October 7, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400303907
ISBN-13: 978-1400303908
Product Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 0.4 inches

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Book Review and Interview for Sadie the Skunk

Today I am reviewing Sadie the Skunk by Meaghan Fisher, a new picture for children.


Sadie the Skunk is a wonderfully written story of a skunk and her journey to find her family. Sadie lived in the woods with a family of black cats, so naturally she thought she was a cat. However, one day one of her siblings commented on how different she looked in comparison to the others. It concerned her, so she went straight to her parents who told her that they had taken her in and cared for her as one of their own when she was younger, but as to what kind of animal she was, they could not answer, so they took her to Mr. Groundhog. Mr. Groundhog, who the cats thought was all knowing, wasn't really sure what she was so sent her on several wild goose chases. Each time it produced no results as to what kind of animal Sadie was, but then "Poof" Sadie sprayed a foul stench into the air. Mr. Groundhog began to realize what she was and took her to see her real family. They were so happy to see her.


Overall, my children and I liked Sadie the Skunk. The story talks about finding ourselves and discovering who we really are. With family and friends to help her on her journey, Sadie finds out where she really belongs. However, it was also comforting to know that the family she had been living with all this time was willing to accept her for who she was and love her unconditionally.


Joining us today is Meaghan Fisher, author of Sadie the Skunk. We’re going to talk to Meaghan about her new picture book.

Welcome, Meaghan. It’s great to have you with us.

Q: Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

A: I am a former nanny and currently a substitute teacher for Troy City schools. I have a BS in Psychology and a Minor in Women’s Studies. I live in Troy, Ohio with my husband, Tim, and two collies, Sadie and Lexi.

Q: How did your writing career begin?

A: I had been contemplating a story about a little bunny that lived in the forest and finally decided to sit down and write it when I was on a business trip with my husband in Reno. I sat down and wrote four hours straight until I couldn’t see anymore. When my husband got back to the hotel, I told him about the silly thing I had done. I thought he would laugh but he asked to see it. So I let him read it and to my surprise he loved it. I know my husband is a tough critic and if he liked it, I thought that maybe I stood a chance. That is how it all began. I had been writing poetry for years and I had been published many times before, but I never thought that I would write for children. However, after this story came to me, others followed, and now I write a story or two every week.

Tell us about Sadie the Skunk.

Q: What age group is this book for?

A: Ages 2-11.

Q: This is a beautiful picture book. What inspired you to write it?

A: My dog, Sadie. She is a tri-colored collie and my inspiration in life. She is my best friend and the most beautiful dog I have ever seen, but of course I am biased because I love her so much. After I completed my first book which turned into a series of four books, I decided I needed something completely different, but traditional, and thought of a skunk because I have always loved skunks and think that they are really beautiful. Then I thought of my dog and the name, “Sadie the Skunk”, flowed together. After that the story just popped into my head.

Q: In what forms is your book available? Is it available in e-book, hard cover or traditional paperback, or all?

A: It is only available in paperback.

Q: Have you written other books? If so, tell us about them.

A: I have about fourteen children’s books that are not published yet but I am working on it and I am always writing more. My next book that is coming out next April is about a little monkey named Lars. It’s called, “Lars the Monkey Flies a WACO Airplane.” It’s about a little monkey who is a Pitts Special pilot who is learning to fly a WACO Airplane so that he may take children on flights. Lars loved flying in a WACO Airplane when he was a child and now he wants to show kids how fun flying can be.

I also have a book about a little fish that lives in one of our great lakes, a mouse that loves to steal dog food, two book series, and much more. My first series is about a little bunny named Taila who lives in the forest and meets a new friend and learns an important moral lesson in every book. That series has four books and is coming out next November.

The second series I have is about a donkey named Edwin and a dog named Mazy, who live on a farm in Ohio. Together they teach each other how important supporting the ones you love can be. That is a series of three books so far, but I plan to write more.

Q: I have read that you also write short stories and poetry. Tell us about that and where readers can see some of your work.

A: I have been writing short stories for over a year now about personal experiences that have happened to me in my life but they are currently unpublished. I also have been writing poetry since 2001 and some of my work can be found on if you type my name into the Authors Search on the website.

My poetry is mainly about relationships, feelings, and trying to fit in. I don’t really write much poetry anymore because I like to concentrate on children’s stories and I have been working on my first novel called, “Witch”. It’s geared toward young adults and it’s about a young witch whose family gets killed and she must run all her life from people who try to put her on trial or find out she is a witch and kill her.

Q: Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

A: I have a popular children’s blog at: You can also check out more information about me or my illustrator, Marla Fair, on: or and you can order my personally autographed book there.

Q: Are there any activities on there for children to be involved in?

A: I don’t have any games or activities yet, just my stories that you can read online or print to read later. I think they make great bedtime stories and they can be a very useful tool for parents, teachers, librarians, grandparents, nannies, babysitters, uncles, and aunts. And if anyone has any comments or suggestions, they can be put in the comment areas.

Q: Where can readers purchase your books and how much do they cost?

A: Readers can buy through my website, or and I will personally autograph the book. My book is also available in the Troy, Ohio, area. You can find it at: Around About Books in Troy, Ohio; Jay and Mary’s Book Center in Troy, Ohio; Browse Awhile Books in Tipp City, Ohio; Readmore’s Hallmark in Piqua, Ohio; Readers Delight in Vandalia, Ohio; and New & Olde Pages Book Shoppe, in Englewood, Ohio.

Q: What lesson can children learn after reading Sadie the Skunk?

A: I think it teaches children that if they stay true to themselves they will eventually find where they are supposed to be and make good friends.

Q: What's next for you? Is there anything else that you are involved in or working on?
A: I plan on putting out “Lars the Monkey Flies a WACO Airplane” next April and focus on my blog, and I hope to bring out my first series: “Taila and Mr. Farmer’s Forbidden Forest” next November, 2010. In addition, I hope to continue to work on my first novel, “Witch”, in the meantime.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add or share?

A: I would like to thank Renee for reviewing my book and allowing me this experience. I am truly grateful! I would also like to thank everyone for all the support, great comments, and all of my readers for supporting me, and especially my editor, Linda Gallagher, for all her hard work and inspiration. I hope to continue writing more stories for years to come.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our readers today. Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Please check out this picture book by Meaghan. I know everyone will enjoy it as much as I did.