Monday, November 5, 2018

Interview with authors Sheri Fink and Derek Taylor Kent and reviews of their new releases!

Today, is a full day here on Bookworm for Kids! Not only do I have reviews for two cute picture books, but the authors have both agreed to answer some questions too.

by Sheri Fink
Illustrated by Lynx Animation Studios
Whimsical World
Picture Book
28 pages
ages 3 to 8

The Little Unicorn lives in an enchanted forest powered by the magic of her inner sparkle. When she begins to doubt herself, the magic within her and her surroundings begins to disappear. She sets off on a journey to save the forest by rediscovering her sparkle, only to find it in the place she least expects. This heartwarming story helps kids realize that we all have an inner sparkle, and we all can create magic when we believe in ourselves.


Little unicorn fans' hearts will pound faster when they dive into this warming read, one where important messages hide beneath magic's sparkle.

The Little Unicorn lives happily in her forest, surrounded by friends and cheerfulness. But even happy unicorns get curious sometimes. So one day, she decides to explore a darker part of the forest and discovers that things aren't as happy and colorful as her home. Anxious to return home, she soon finds herself lost, but worse yet, she begins to loose her sparkle.

The story starts with a wonderfully enchanting and traditional beginning, giving it the immediate flare of a magical journey. The Little Unicorn is introduced as a happy and joyful unicorn, something which immediate draws smiles. Her curiosity isn't a fault, nor does she do anything wrong or really make a bad decision, and it's this which keeps the Little Unicorn easy to love and feel for as things turn against her. The tale seems simple at first, but the author manages to work in messages on several different levels. Younger listeners will see the value of friendship and remembering to look for the best in oneself, while older readers will notice the dangers of self-doubt and depression. It's an unexpected and interesting mix.

The illustrations are bright, bold and simple. While they bring across the story very nicely, a little personal touch would have added to the magic and appeal.

It's an enjoyable read with lovely messages and a fun adventure, one kids are sure to want to hear again and again.

A Bilingual Holiday Tale
by Derek Taylor Kent
Illustrated by Lynx Animation Studios
Picture Book Holiday
32 pages
ages 3 to 8

NOVEMBER 13th, 2018!!!!

A new bilingual (English/Spanish) holiday tale about Santa's dog named Jingle. When Jingle discovers that Santa only delivers presents to boys and girls and not dogs, he takes off on Santa's sleigh, intent to deliver presents to all the dogs, especially ones in shelters with no family. By the end, he learns that there's something dogs want even more than presents on Christmas. 

Un nuevo cuento navideño bilingüe (inglés / español) sobre el perro de Santa llamado Jingle. Cuando Jingle descubre que Santa solo entrega regalos a niños y niñas y no a perros, se quita el trineo de Papá Noel, con la intención de entregar regalos a todos los perros, especialmente a los que están en refugios sin familia. Al final, descubre que hay algo que los perros quieren incluso más que regalos en Navidad.


The idea of Christmas grows in new dimensions thanks to a dog with a golden heart and determination.

Jingle is found on the front step of the animal shelter. A few months later, he's aware that Christmas is approaching and wonders if him and the other dogs will receive gifts. But it soon becomes clear that Santa Claus only delivers presents to good boys and girls. Not dogs. Jingle isn't about to give up on spreading holiday cheer and soon finds himself playing a bigger role in a slightly larger adventure.

This is a cute tale with heart. Jingle is a lovable dog who refuses to let himself loose hope or excitement. In the beginning, he learns that the dogs won't receive presents, but he refuses to let that him get him down and finds other ways to try to keep the holiday spirit. This alone is an inspiration and a message well worth hearing. That the story goes on from here is a bonus and offers a magical touch of adventure. The tale takes a few unexpected twists, especially toward the end, and holds a nice pace the entire way through.

The illustrations are fit the tale nicely and allow the right fun and emotions to come across with every twist and turn. Kids will enjoy flipping through these on their own. As an added bonus, the story is told in English as well as Spanish. The Spanish text appears right below the English one—English in green lettering and Spanish in red.

Especially families with bilingual children will enjoy this holiday story—one which holds a little adventure, a dash of quirkiness and lots of heart.

with Sheri Fink and Derek Taylor Kent!

Sheri and Derek were kind and patient enough to agree to answer some questions for me. After all, reader minds' want to know!

I love the name of your book empire—Whimsical World Books. It evokes just as much bright cheeriness as the covers and books themselves. But there is more behind this goodness than the radiant colors and smiles, isn't there?

DTK: Yes! Sheri's brand was originally called The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink, but when she and I joined forces (both personally and professionally) we changed the name to Whimsical World. Our mission is to inspire, delight, and educate children of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem and high achievement. We found that a fun and rewarding way to achieve this goal was through the power of whimsy, imagination, laughter, and storytelling. The books are just a vehicle for our messaging and our hopes to make the world a better place and help children through some of the difficult times of childhood and help them gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. 

What inspired you two to head into the realm of children's literature?

DTK:  I've known I was going to be a children's author since the age of 15, when I became re-obsessed with Dr. Seuss and decided that I wanted to create my own worlds with my fertile imagination. That feeling got even stronger after Harry Potter, which inspired me to deliver into novels. 

SF: As a kid, I wanted to be a writer, a teacher, a mother, a princess, and a mermaid. I was always creating new worlds, books, art, and things that made me smile. As an adult, I started writing professionally after a successful career in marketing. I worked so hard to climb the corporate ladder only to realize that it was against the wrong wall. I was inspired to write my first book, The Little Rose, after being bullied. When I finally got the courage to release the book, it became a #1 best-seller on Amazon within 2 weeks and then stayed at #1 for over 60 weeks. That's when I officially considered myself a children's author.

What is your favorite aspect of being an author? And, on the other hand, are there things you'd rather eat worms than do?

DTK: My favorite aspect of being an author is traveling around the world inspiring young kids to fall in love with reading and writing through the power of humor and imagination. If kids can have a positive experience reading books in the crucial years between 7-12 when they switch from picture books to more challenging chapter books, I think it sets them up for a lifetime of success. The best part is that Sheri and I get to travel together and share these experiences as husband and wife. 

As Sheri can attest I certainly don't like putting away laundry. After it comes out of the dryer it seems to sit folded in the hamper and not make it's way to the drawers or hangers, oftentimes until it's time for the next load of laundry. I also can't drink soda. Since I was a kid I've had a very adverse reaction to them and was never able to have more than a sip. 

SF: I love connecting with Fans all over the world and hearing that my books and my talks make a positive difference for them. It means so much to know that you inspired someone to believe in themselves and go for their dreams. 

My least favorite part of writing is the editing process. I get very excited when I have a book idea and I want to share it with the world. I respect editing because it's a necessary part of the writing process, but I have to bribe myself to do it (i.e.: if I finish my 20th round of revisions, I get a cookie). That works well for me. 

What were your favorite books while growing up?

DTK: Picture Books – The Little Engine that Could, Green Eggs and Ham, The Berenstain Bears  Chapter Books: Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Dr. Doolittle, Call of the Wild/White Fang 

SF: Leo the Lop by Stephen Cosgrove, Watership Down by Richard Adams, and the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

What books are you reading right now?

DTK: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Excelsior by George Sirois 

SF: Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by A.W. Jantha 

When you aren't writing, what do you like to do?

DTK: I love cooking (Italian mostly), playing basketball, walking our dog, Zander,  playing boardgames, but what we mostly do when we aren't writing is working on our business, which I find to be super-fun. It could be traveling to book festivals, comic-cons, or schools, or coming up with new marketing ideas and creating new materials and products to support the Whimsical World brand. 

SF: I love traveling, having adventures with people I love, reading, dancing, working out, and creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for my friends, family, and Fans. I also love eating Derek's cooking. 

What were your biggest wishes as children?

DTK: I guess my biggest wish has always been to use my creativity to have a lasting positive impact on the world. Hopefully that's already happening! 

SF: I wanted to live in California and to be a writer/mermaid who makes a difference. It's wonderful to see your hard work pay off and your childhood dreams come true! 

Thank you both so much for stopping by and taking the time to answer these! 
To find out more about both Sheri and Derek, head over...

1 comment:

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What an adorable Unicorn and also a Doggy. The books both sound fascinating and exactly what would appeal to young readers. Interesting interviews too. Neat how you work together. Best wishes to you both in the world of writing.