It Came from under the High Chair teaches prepositions in English and Spanish

Multicultural Mystery Book Teaches Prepositions in English and Spanish

My 22nd book, It Came from under the High Chair: A Mystery, almost never got published. I thought the concept of a monster made of spilled food might be too disgusting. Then I saw all those best-selling bathroom/gross humor books and figured the world was ready for my 20-year-old idea. Plus, it’s educational.

LANGUAGE LEARNING

I think kids don’t mind learning if they are being entertained. This children’s picture book teaches parts of speech—namely, prepositions. The bilingual version (out in June 2019) teaches them in Spanish and English with a pronunciation guide in both languages. The English version debuted last month at #1 in its category on Amazon.

MULTICULTURAL

This diverse story book, written in dyslexic-friendly font, includes a counting activity, mixed-race characters (a biracial family—Pacific Islander and Filipino), a wanna-be superhero, a Basset Hound, and a mysterious visitor—all vividly illustrated by Jeremy Higginbotham (for kids ages 4 – 7, plus dual language/ESL/ELL students of any age).

I’ve taught English as a second language as a volunteer for more than a decade; I’ve been a Spanish-English interpreter; and I’m learning German. It Came from under the High Chair is my seventh bilingual book and the fifth in my Mini-mysteries for Minors series (others in the series: Sounds in the House, Crumbs on the Stairs, She Doesn’t Want the Worms, and Why Juan Can’t Sleep: A Mystery?).

I try to include twists and characters of color in all my stories (hey, it’s a competitive genre!). It seems to have paid off. I’ve been fortunate to have my books reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Horn Book’s blog, ForeWord Reviews, and School Library Journal. During the past six months two of my kid’s books have spent weeks at number one in more than one Amazon category (one is currently a free book).

WHERE TO FIND

As before, I have wrung out eight iterations of this single monster book title: English, Spanish, and bilingual versions available in paperback and ebook formats—plus the bilingual and Spanish ones will also come in hard cover. These can be found via Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Brodart, EBSCO, Follett, Gardners, iBooks, Ingram, Library Direct, Walmart.com (perhaps Target.com too), and PremioBooks.com.

You can preview and comment on this book now (free) at https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/167766. See the book trailer video here. Your stars or comments in online venues really do make a difference in our sales. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited starting June 20. Most of my books are free this July on Smashwords.com. Sharing is encouraged!

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Funny Mysteries *One Free* & Halloween Costume Ideas

It seems I’m not alone in having trouble sleeping. As a child I experienced frightening bumps in the night—and an active imagination. Some of my experiences were comical (or, at least, became comical with the passage of time) like being too exhausted to sleep, mosquitoes that buzz the ear before dining, creaking pipes, and bizarre or bad dreams.

Lately I’m kept awake more from restless legs or an overactive brain. The worst thing for sleep is forgetting to silence or turn off my phone. Regardless of age, people can identify with pesky things that keep a person awake at night.

Many of my experiences found their way into a Mini-mysteries for Minors picture book series. My very first book was Sounds in the House: A Mystery about a scaredy-cat dog comically freaking out over nothing (people do this too). After it was made into a Spanish-English app, Kirkus Reviews said it was “suspenseful without ever getting too intense for younger readers.”

Other mysteries followed: Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery (English-Spanish—8,000 in circulation); She Doesn’t Want the Worms – Ella no quiere los gusanos, named in the top 10 “Best Books” of 2011 by ForeWord Reviews and featured in School Library Journal; and Why Juan Can’t Sleep—free now on Kindle. Only mildly spooky, these tales are family friendly. I can’t guarantee they’ll help anyone sleep; laughs don’t usually promote that.

My latest children’s book, Great Cape o’ Colors – Capa de colores, isn’t a mystery; but it gives lots of great Halloween costume ideas for all ages: a judge, a professor, a wizard, a space ranger, superheroes, acrobats, a musketeer, a monk, a magician, a wrestler—among others. It’s child safe, multicultural, and free for Kindle Unlimited users.

Most of these are bilingual books with pronunciation guide. I try to always include characters of color, tame twists, and fun activities in my kid’s books. I hope your family gets a kick out of them—and perhaps some fun costume ideas.

A final warning: If, like me, you still struggle to sleep, don’t listen to Coast to Coast radio or the Mystery Theater before hitting the pillow!

Strange Inheritance

Man inherits–and publishes–manuscript 108 years in the making

MIDVALE, Utah, May 22, 2015 — What would you do if you came across an unpublished mystery manuscript? If it was good, you might just publish it. That’s what publisher Karl Beckstrand did when he inherited the silver rush thriller from his grandfather.

“It was typed and ready for submission to publishers,” Beckstrand said. But while the story, set in 1880s Nevada, was gripping, “there were holes in the plot and the characters needed to be fleshed out some more,” Beckstrand said.

Because Beckstrand’s author-grandfather had grown up in the back country of Northern California in the early days of the last century “his writing was filled with intense action, but also a real care for the land and its creatures,” Beckstrand said.

Being careful not to destroy the story’s folksy vernacular, Beckstrand decided to fill the gaps and burnish it a bit. “The language practically vibrated with authenticity,” Beckstrand said. “I really wanted to preserve that as I worked on it. I think it came out wonderfully.”

The result: “To Swallow the Earth,” by Ransom Wilcox. “It’s a thriller and a romance about man and a woman, each searching for missing family members, who clash amid a Nevada silver rush scheme that leaves both unsure who to trust — and scrambling to stay alive,” Beckstrand said.

“While it has the hardened male players you’d expect in a story about that era,” Beckstrand said, “it also has a strong female lead character.” Beckstrand is proud of his grandfather’s inclusion of a gutsy woman.

Beckstrand, who has more than 20 published titles, kept his grandfather’s name on the western novel. “I think it’s kind of fun that 108 years after his life’s adventure began, my grandfather’s mystery has been published,” he said.

Wilcox also has a book of short stories on the fanciful reminiscences of his early, rugged years in the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada Mountains: “Horse & Dog Adventures in Early California.” Both books may be found via http://www.PremioPublishing.com, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble/NOOK, Amazon.com/Kindle, iTunes, Follett, Ingram, Mackin and select booksellers.

Goodreads giveaway has ended, but ebook will be available at 99¢ through August on most ebook platforms: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25486206-to-swallow-the-earth.

Read a Book with No Words

MIDVALE, Utah, Nov. 26, 2014 — Want to help kids cement their vocabulary skills? A new book—without words—can do just that.  Polar Bear Bowler: A Story Without Words is designed to help children create their own narration to engaging, funny images. It is Karl Beckstrand’s eleventh book.

Illustrated by Ashley Sanborn of Lehi, UT, the story is about a Polar Bear that hitches a ride to Antarctica. He’s never seen penguins before; to him they look like something fun to play with. So, the fun begins. The new title has been translated into more than twenty languages.

What would you do if Old MacDonald’s animals ruined your catering business? Ma MacDonald’s response is pretty clever in Beckstrand’s twelfth book: Ma MacDonald Flees the Farm. Activities include finding and naming animals and foods (for ages 3 – 8). The 32-page, soft cover and ebook was  illustrated by Alycia Mark of Providence, UT.

True to its multicultural tradition, Premio Publishing’s books feature learning activities and characters of color. Premio’s mystery and language books, non-fiction, ebooks and app are nationally-lauded, invite family learning and together time, and often end with surprises. Premio is celebrating its tenth year.

Most titles may be found via http://www.PremioBooks.com, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble/NOOK, Amazon.com/Kindle, iTunes, Follett/Title Wave, Ingram, Mackin and select booksellers.