What can one possibly do with a plain, boring old stick? Well listen up because today's book can spark your imagination and give you hope.
Authored by Janice Levy
Illustrated by Simone Shin
Unwrapping inside to take a peek...
Antonio and his Papa run into the courtyard to hear the mariachi band play their music. The little boy is so excited and enthralled by the talent of the musicians that he asks his Papa if he too could get a guitar to play music. His Papa tells him he has no money for a guitar but instead hands him a stick.
Poor Antonio feels so let down and sad because what is he going to do with an old, lifeless stick. He kicks at the stick and walks away. While walking he encounters a shivering cold dog. He takes his stick and places it under some ashes to make a fire burn brighter and it warms the dog up. The dog is grateful and brings Antonio a warm tortilla for a reward for his kindness. What can he do with old tortilla? He hears a small bird weeping because it is hungry...yes for sure, he uses his tortilla to feed the tiny creature and it too gives him a gift. The story goes on and on with Antonio using his earned rewards to help out others in distress. Will Antonio get his heart's desire, a Mariachi guitar? How ever could that happen to a poverty-stricken tiny boy who starts out with nothing in his hands but a worthless, good-for-nothing stick?
This thoughtful, inspirational book is about generosity, kindness and persistence. It has Spanish words and phrases sprinkled throughout the text which makes it educational too. The author cleverly has included a Glossary of those Spanish words and even labelled pictures of the Mariachi band's instruments. I loved the illustrations. They are colourful and expressive and make the text come alive. I am sure you will like the message of the book and I highly recommend it.
Unwrapping the author:
Being a writer is like filling balloons of paint and dropping them from tall buildings. Dribs and drabs, blotches and swatches. Connect the dots - or not. Anything can happen.
To me it’s like doing the hokey-pokey: stuff goes in, stuff goes out, then I shake it all about. I toss in a few characters, plop in a problem, chop up some action, sprinkle with a kiss, a hiss; a hug, a bug, until mmm....it tastes just right. It’s as mysterious as cracking open a safe; I don’t know what I’ll find, but I’m going in. I roll up my sleeves and get to work. Then I never give up.
The pitcher, Bob Feller, said, “You can’t teach someone how to throw a fastball. It’s like trying to teach someone how to grow hair on a bald head.” I don’t care about structure or grammar or endings or beginnings; I spit the rules out like chewing tobacco and just step up to the plate. The author, John Updike, complains that in golf “there’s nothing between you and the hole but what you’ve managed to put there.” I don’t worry if people will like my stories. If someone asks me if I’m famous and if she should know me, I always say “yes.” Forget the sand traps and ponds, the doubts, the pouts. I take a deep breath and relax, then whack! My ball’s on the green.
But how do you do it, people ask. Where do you get your ideas?
When I was in kindergarten, the art teacher wouldn’t hang up my picture. She said the apples on my tree couldn’t be pink. “They’re not apples,” I said. “The tree’s wearing nail polish.” Mrs. B. smelled like moth balls and when she snarled her face creased like an accordion. I heard she slept in a closet, hanging upside down like a bat. Her teeth were chipped, as if brushed with a screwdriver and she left out the all vowels when she spoke. “Stppp! Whtt yrr dng?” she grunted, squeezing my wrist until I dropped the paint brush. But I stared right back, hoping my eyeballs would pop out and bop her in the face. I didn’t like her, not one bit. So I -
Between you and me, none of this happened...I don’t write about myself or people I know. It’s more fun to make everything up. The best thing about writing, besides being able to work in my pajamas, is that I get to be the boss. I can turn a character into an ice cream cone, make volcanoes erupt chocolate syrup, create a new language called Froglish. If what I want lies buried, I dig until I find it. Then like a puppy shaking herself out from the rain, the words slip/slide across the page; backwards, upside down and blurry, until I set them straight. That’s how I write. I just do it.
I write children’s books and adult fiction for magazines and anthologies that sell all over the world.
My work has been published in Glimmer Train,StoryQuarterly,Fiction Magazine, Iowa Review, Idaho Review, Alaska Quarterly,Greensboro Review, Quarterly West,Chattahoochee Review,The Sun, New York Stories,Mid-America Review, North Dakota Quarterly,Confrontation, American Voice,Hawaii Review, Prism International,Saint Anne's Review,Literal Latte,Portland Review,Madison Review,Kalliope,Belletrist Review,The American Way American Airlines,Carribean Review,East Hampton Star, Vincent Brothers Review, Rosebud Magazine,Snake Nation Press,Widener Review,Kit Kat Review,Citizens in America,Arizona Carefree Enterprise,New Frontiers,Buffalo Spree,Puerto del Sol, Washington Square Review,Pulphouse Fiction, New Frontiers,Widener Review,Troika, Americas,Blue Mesa Review,Passionfruit,Nightlife Magazine,Sundry Magazine, Citizens in America, Child Life,Ladybug, Cicada
..... and in the anthologies Peculiar Pilgrims: Stories From The Left Hand of God,If I Had My Life To Live Over, Women At Our Core,Not What I Expected, Just Between Us, Time Of Our Lives, Lovers,Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Gifts Of Our Fathers,Our Mothers-Our Selves, An Intricate Weave,Grandmother Earth, Global City Reivew, Traffic Life, Silver Boomers Anthology,Hunger and Thirst Anthology, Families:The Front Line of Pluralism, Winterhawk Zeus,Main Street Rag, Bullying Beyond The School Yard ... to name just a few.
I’ve won the Writer’s Digest Magazine Competition for best literary short story three times. Finalist in Iowa Review Short Story Contest, Glimmer Train Honorable Mention Short Story
I also teach writing at Hofstra University. I've worked with adults and teenagers in Hofstra's Summer Master Writing Program in the areas of juvenile, adolescent and adult fiction. In my private consulting business, I work with aspiring (and perspiring) writers on all elements of the craft; contact me and we'll take this journey together!
I’ve written 21 children’s books, with more on the way.
They've been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Italian.
Some are part of reading programs and classroom curriculum.
Others are used by social workers and mental health professionals.
My books make you laugh and think a bit. They’re all fun to read!
When I write for children, I pretend I’m a child. When I write for adults, I’m still a child; I just have bigger parts.
Keep scrolling down and you'll see pictures of me and my dog. Zoe is the only one who can enter my office without permission. She sits under the desk and edits my stories. If she likes them, she licks my toes. If she doesn’t, she snores. When she drops her leash on my lap, it’s time to take a hike.
Read my books and tell me what YOU think at email@example.com.. If I don’t get back to you, Zoe will, as soon as her nails dry. She’s learning how to type.
Coming soon! "Papa Gave Me A Stick" (Starlight Books)
Read on and read always!
It's a wrap.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org