Wordless Golf Book a ‘Hole in Fun’

Picture book cements vocabulary as kids tell the story

MIDVALE, Utah – Sometimes kids want to tell the story. Today they can — guided by author and media professor Karl Beckstrand’s concepts and art by Jordan C. Brun. Beckstrand’s 23rd book, “Gopher Golf: A Wordless Picture Book,” depicts the joy — and trials — a couple of gophers feel while golfing (with help from other critters).

“Children love to make up stories,” says Beckstrand of his third wordless book, which includes an animal finding activity and online secrets for children ages 2 – 6. The colorful sports book with silly characters definitely has a story progression, “but how it’s expressed in words is up to the ‘reader,’” he says.

“Asking kids to tell what’s happening in the pictures can bring a different story every time you read it,” says Beckstrand. His Stories Without Words series can serve as curriculum for non-readers or early writers because it helps cement vocabulary and sentence structure in young minds. The illustrations by themselves can prompt uncontrolled snorts of laughter.

Beckstrand, who won an International Book Award for his western novel “To Swallow the Earth,” has children’s books on careers, astronomy, immigration and five books on food. His other no-words books include playful “Polar Bear Bowler: A Story Without Words” and “Butterfly Blink: A Book Without Words,” which highlights insect habitat conservation.

Many of Beckstrand’s books have multicultural characters, and many are Spanish/bilingual mysteries with language pronunciation guides. Most have online extras and surprise endings. Beckstrand’s work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, The Horn Book and School Library Journal. All may be found at Amazon, BN.com, iBooks, Ingram, https://PremioBooks.com, Target.com and Walmart.com.

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!