Tag Archives: children’s author

Author of the Month

Tellwell children’s author Rishma Govani talks diversity, equity and inclusion!

Rishma Govani is an experienced communications professional with over 20 years of experience in the media industry.  She is passionate about creating tangible change in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. She is the author of the children’s book, Sushi & Samosas: a trip of tasty transformations, and is currently working on her second children’s book, Bright Lights & Forever Flights, a journey of loss, love and hope around the world.  She is the proud mother of her two kids Khalil, and Mila and their puppy, Hero.

Rishma has been featured by several media outlets, including Global News, Reading With Your Kids Podcast & Salaam Storytime! Her social media presence is booming and her work with popular creators and influencers has provided visibility for her book Sushi & Samosas: a trip of tasty transformations!

Read on to learn what advice she has for authors!

What inspired you to write Sushi & Samosas: A Trip of Tasty Transformations?

The genesis behind Sushi & Samosas is a little dinner club idea called TFLC which stands for Toronto Food Luck Club. The club’s mission was to try a different ethnic cuisine once a month. The club was active for 13 years trying over 100+ cuisines in the GTA with over 150 members.

The dinners started to slow down when our children were born but the essence of the book remained true for our children – try something new and your world expands!

Check out Toronto Food Luck Club.

How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

I was born a traveler, literally and of perspective – of word, of food, of music. I consider myself a world citizen and I am determined to raise our children as growing humanitarians who are open to every possibility that exists globally. 

The book sets out on a journey of changing perceptions by the mouthful. I know first hand that knowing a bit about other cultures, about your neighbours, about different cuisines allows the ease of talking to strangers and bringing the world close together. It connects and unites us by our similarities and does away with our differences.  I personally live by this ethos and my experiences have influenced the book.

What has the author’s journey been like for you? What are some successful and challenging moments?

It’s been a very long journey from start to finish. At times, it’s been exhausting especially during the recent publicity blitz I’ve been on, but I’m very proud of the book and the central message of it. It’s timeless and universal. I’ve been successful getting the word out through school readings and other media opportunities.  

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

In the News and Receiving Excellent Reviews – Tellwell Author Success Stories

Good Morning, Blake: Growing Up Autistic and Being Okay

by Blake “Crash” Priddle

Read IndieReader’s interview with Blake “Crash” Priddle, author of Good Morning, Blake, where he also shares his advice for other indie authors.

Blake also had great interviews in the National Autism Canada podcast, Calgary City News, and CTV News!

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?


I feel that others on the spectrum, their families and those in their lives like teachers, might find comfort in many familiar issues autistic people face. Some may be inspired from reading what I’ve gone through, survived and thrived.  Readers who have little or no experience about autism (besides Rain Man or the Good Doctor), will gain compassion for folks that are ‘different’.

Blake “Crash” Priddle, author
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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Tellwell author success stories: Celebrating milestones in the media

Book marketing is a crucial aspect of a book’s success. It takes a lot of hard work and effort, but the payoff can be worth it. We are celebrating a number of authors this month who have done a wonderful job promoting their book in the media, speaking at events such as TEDx and even starting their own podcast. One of our authors even invested in a huge ad campaign with her local transit line.

Lisa Bournelis’ TEDx Talk is now live. Watch here!

Louie and the Dictator

by Lisa Bournelis

My Life is Nuts! and the Nutmeg the Chipmunk series

by Renata Quattro

Following her release of the Nutmeg the Chipmunk series, Renata Quattro held her second book signing at Chapters – Vega, in Mississauga, Ontario!

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Tellwell author celebrations: reviews, publicity and events

From book signings to rave reviews and exclusive interviews, our authors had a busy end to 2021! Congratulations on your terrific accomplishments, everyone! We’re thrilled to highlight your successes.

REVIEWS

Blake “Crash” Priddle’s insightful memoir, Good Morning, Blake: Growing Up Autistic and Being Okay, received a 4.5/5 star review from IndieReader!

“A clear, thoughtful memoir with an upbeat tone, GOOD MORNING, BLAKE is both a delightful read and a valuable perspective on growing up autistic in a neurotypical world.” – Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader.

You can read the full review here.

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Tellwell News Uncategorized

Tellwell Books on Mental Health

For May’s Mental Health Awareness month, we are acknowledging some of our Tellwell authors whose books include themes of anxiety, depression, insecurities, and emotional expression. These books aim to give the reader a better understanding around mental health and how to recognize and communicate various feelings.

I Don’t Want to Go to School

Abosede Oderinde

I Don’t Want to Go To School is a book that is intended to help children and families deal with separation anxiety, especially when it’s their first time at school. For some children, every day is like the first day because they are afraid their families will not return to pick them up. I wrote this book to reassure children who are still working on a secure attachment, that school is fun and families always come back because they are loved. Most books that address these issues use animal characters, but I chose real-life illustrations that the children can relate to. Lastly, this book will help teachers present classroom transitions to little children more effectively.


Worry!

Karli Coulter Gillespie

A story about a young girl who has a worry bully that keeps visiting and making her tummy and her head hurt. Whether it’s when she’s trying to join a game with friends, speak in front of her class or go for a check-up, he keeps showing up. He seems to be EVERYWHERE! But with help from some people who care and a big dose of bravery, she begins to learn just how to send her worry bully away.

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Book Marketing Tellwell Books Tips & Tricks

How to market and sell your children’s book – book marketing advice for children’s authors

Whether you are published, in the process, or only just thinking about it – here are some tips & tricks for all children’s authors.

1 . YOUR AUTHOR BRAND

Your author brand gives your readers insight into who you are! Creating something that showcases your personality is key. As a children’s author, you may also want to show off a bit more of your goofy side!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your author brand:

  • Make it eye-catching and fun!
  • GET PLAYFUL
  • Use a fun background or bright colors
  • Don’t be afraid to make a silly face
  • Let your personality shine through – both in your photo and bio

2 . YOUR COMMUNITY

The average buyer’s age of children’s books is between 30 and 44.

Females make up more than 70% of these buyers. They are also more likely to discuss and recommend a book they and their kids enjoyed. In fact, buyers of children’s books are more easily influenced by the recommendations of family and friends than any other book category. For this reason, it is really important to build a loyal community of parents and teachers that enjoy and support your book.

Consider building an ambassador program or launch team! Also, get involved in your local community and make time to meet your readers.

Meet your readers!

  • Pursue classroom visits
  • Join children’s book festivals
  • Participate in library events such as a read-along!

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Author of the Month

How Miami-based children’s author Jennifer Segarra gained traction for her children’s book!

For May’s author of the month, we are celebrating Miami-based author, Jennifer S. Segarra!

Over the last few months, Jennifer has successfully been featured on a number of influential #bookstagram pages like @the_bookish_mind and @nerdybibliophilee, interviewed by notable outlets like KidlioMag, Children’s Literature and the Reading With Your Kids podcast, and has connected with readers all over the world through her social media!

Author Jennifer S. Segarra with her children’s hit – El Lechón Choncho otherwise known as Choncho the Pig

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Jennifer S. Segarra. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. My parents immigrated to this country when they were young. My father is from Cuba and my mother is from Puerto Rico but also half Filipino.

I am a married mother of two beautiful children, and have an Italian Mastiff fur baby. I am bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. My husband is from Cuba and we have been married for 15 years.  

I love to cook, travel, discover new things, and LOVE reading books!

What inspired you to write El Lechón Choncho otherwise known as Choncho the Pig?

Since I was a young girl, I always loved reading, and this may sound quite weird but I loved being given assignments where I needed to write book reports, essays and stories in my own words. However, my mother always told me the story, since I was a little girl, of her favorite family pet pig named Choncho. I always told her she needed to make this a children’s book.

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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

10-year-old author Shreya Gupta’s book royalties help improve young girls’ access to education

Our September author of the month, Shreya Gupta, is only 10-years-old! Shreya Gupta’s book Flamingo Feet is the story of a young girl who dreams about becoming a jazz dancer but drops out of a dance competition after being bullied. She learns to stand up for herself and pursue her dreams. The young author has been featured on CTV National News, her local newspaper and her book won the Mom’s Choice Awards! Not only that, all royalties will go towards a charity that helps young girls in India receive better access to education. Shreya, you are an inspiration!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Shreya Gupta and I’m 10-years-old. In my spare time, I enjoy raising money for various charities that help young girls access education in developing countries. My goal is to inspire young girls around the world to always chase their dreams, no matter what. In my spare time, I enjoy sketching, reading, and writing stories. I also take jazz dancing lessons which inspired me to write Flamingo Feet, which is about a girl’s dream to jazz dance.

2. What inspired you to write your book?

About a year and a half ago, I took a trip to India with my parents and family. There were a lot of kids who were coming up to me selling pens for money so they could get food. This made me very sad that many kids did not have access to basic needs like food and clothing. I wanted to do something to help out. My grandfather runs a charity that helps girls access education in developing countries like India. I decided this was a great opportunity to get involved with the charity and write a book to raise money for it.

3. How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

I wanted to help children access education. I also wanted to write a book that inspires kids to always chase their dreams, no matter what. The book is about a young girl named Aria who has to overcome bullying. I wanted to write a book about this topic as I feel it’s a very important issue in today’s world.

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Author of the Month

Children’s author and illustrator Fred Smith on creating cool animated videos of his book highlighting the unique father and son bond

Calgary-based children’s author, Fred Smith, is originally from Santa Maria, California, where he served in the United States Marine Corps, rising to the rank of sergeant. As his military career was winding down, he met his wife and moved to Canada to start a family. He retrained as a graphic designer and photographer. His adventures in fatherhood inspired him to write and illustrate his first children’s book, My Daddy’s Legs. Fred Smith is using his artistic talents to create animated videos of his book on his YouTube Channel, Uncle Freddie’s Courtyard.

1. What inspired you to write My Daddy’s Legs?

I was inspired by playing games with my son and it reminded me how I used to play with my grandpa and uncles.

2. Did you have a number of ideas for a children’s book? How did you decide on this one? 

I had one book idea before this; however, it was too ambitious for my skill level because it would have required its own app to be produced.

3. What are you most proud of in your book?

I am most proud of the rhymes and the fact that I illustrated the book myself.

4. How did you learn to illustrate and animate videos?

I got a diploma in graphic design in 2015, so I mastered Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere Pro. All of those tools talk to each other and allow me the opportunity to do something different.

5. It’s nice to see more books highlighting the unique relationship between father and son, especially with Father’s Day this month. What was your son’s reaction to the book? Does he love reading the story at bedtime?  

My son was excited to see the book but I don’t think he understands that every kid isn’t featured in a book. He knows that he is the lead character of the story and points out what he’s doing on every page.

6. What do you enjoy most about being a dad?

What I enjoy most about being a dad is seeing the world through the kids’ eyes when they experience something new.

7. What have you been doing to market and promote your book?

To market the book, I created a website as well as a YouTube channel called Uncle Freddie’s Courtyard, and I actively post new and original content on Instagram and my Facebook author page.

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Author of the Month

How an anxiety attack turned into inspiration for Jennifer Renieris’ first children’s book, Hawk Eyes

It can be in moments of darkness and fear that we find the inspiration to turn our life around. An instance that shifts our perspective in such a profound way urges us to forge a new path. It was while struggling with debilitating anxiety that author Jennifer Renieris experienced such an ‘aha’ moment. A hawk landed in her yard, and the symbolism of this simple moment shifted her perspective on life, providing the inspiration for her first children’s book, Hawk Eyes. Read about Jennifer’s inspiring journey and insight into the world of children’s publishing in our February author of the month feature.

The hawk’s ability to fly high, and keen eyesight, allows it to see the bigger picture, a new point of view, and a different perspective.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I grew up and still live in Southern Ontario.

Since high school, I have only ever been self-employed in various avenues, from agriculture to green energy. 

I had never viewed myself as a creative person. From my first ideas, to writing, to taking the leap to publish, each phase was a baby step up to the completion of book one, Hawk Eyes. Books two and three have unfolded with the ease of a new found love in the creative and productive process. 

I enjoy living with my blended family which includes three children, two cats, and a puppy. The puppy, Daisy, was an impulse buy while riding the high of my first book being finished and romanticizing my character of Aunt B, the Westie. 

Our home is supportive and, besides the critters, very peaceful. This supportive, stress-free environment has allowed me to open up to this new path and self-discovery. I have a house full of like-minded people to bounce ideas off. 

I love to travel. It is a great way to learn about other people and cultures.  Life has so much to share and to savour. 

2. What inspired you to become a children’s author? What was the inspiration behind Hawk Eyes?

I have worn many hats over the years. From managing my family to managing multiple businesses. Most of my time has been spent just getting &#$! done. Being stretched too thin paired with an unhealthy relationship can have its repercussions, and it did. I began having debilitating anxiety. I had no choice but to finally pay attention to my self-care. To feed and settle my spirit, I began journalling.

It was during one of our usually long winters, as I sat journaling, trying to abate an anxiety attack and praying for a reality shift from a particular situation, that a hawk landed in my yard right in front of me, then left. I had never seen a hawk in my yard before this. My curiosity was triggered, I needed to know more about hawks. Mainly I wanted to know if they were known to fly away with household pets. One of the fascinating articles that popped up was about hawk symbolism. I came to learn that hawk symbolism, among many other aspects, included perspective. This was a huge ‘aha’ moment for me. The hawk’s ability to fly high, and keen eyesight, allows it to see the bigger picture, a new point of view, and a different perspective. “Look at the BIG picture and remember why you are doing what you are doing,” I heard loud and clear. This was a huge ‘AHA’ moment for me; I felt incredible relief. 

How amazing would this be if I could share this experience, translate it into something children could relate to, I thought.

If you change the way you look at something, it can change what you see and can change how you feel about it.

I used this experience to challenge myself to tackle something creative. My intention was to take this ‘aha’ moment, using animal symbolism, and translate it into a story that children could relate to.

3. What message are you sharing in each of your three books? What do you hope children will walk away with?

In book one, Hawk Eyes, I use the symbolism of a hawk flying high, seeing a different point of view, a bigger picture, to share the message of perspective. If we change the way we look at something, it can change what we see and can change the way we feel about it. 

In book two, A Buck and a Puck, I use the symbolism of a buck, a male deer. He is very strong, yet he is gentle and graceful. His grace and kindness are his strengths. I wanted the reader to see that showing kindness to others, especially when we are frustrated, shows how strong we are on the inside. 

Book three, My Fine Feathers, is about embracing our uniqueness that shines from within. I use the Scarlet Macaw as my feature creature. Her bright primary colours scream at us to be unapologetically bold and beautiful just as we are. 

The main message I hope resonates with people sharing my stories, is that we always have a choice. We have a choice in how we look at any situation, a choice in how we treat others and a choice to celebrate our uniqueness, and that of others. This is empowering.

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