Apraxia Monday, Books on Monday
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Dr. Tinita Kearney talks about her new lift-the-flap book designed to help kids with yes/no Questions, WHO+WHAT+WHERE and speech development

By Leslie Lindsay 

Darling lift-the-flap board book for toddlers and their caregivers to teach basics of yes/no questions, receptive language skills, asking questions, more. 


~Books on Monday, Part 1|Always with a Book~

I’m so jazzed about this book! Not only did I love, love reading to my two when they were babies (even in utero!) and afterward, I love working with them on lift-the-flap books, too. The surprise and delight is such a fun way to bring a story to life, to give it a tactile approach and bring the world of the story a little more in grasp…quite literally! When I learned about Dr. Tinita Kearney’s new book, LOLA THE KOALA’S TRAVEL ADVENTURES, I knew I had to get in on the action–and share it with you, too! 

The illustrations are bright and engaging. Plus, this is just the first in a series of Lola Koala travels. Join her as she treks across the globe…you and your little explorer will undercover fun developmental concepts and foundational language skills along the way!

Each “Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures” lift-the-flap book is designed to:

  • Teach your child or student a specific language skill

  • Support your child’s or student’s communication and language skills with each read

  • Encourage creativity and imagination

  • Foster a love of reading and learning

In this adventure with Lola, your child (or student) will learn how to answer ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where’ and yes/no questions. They’ll also enjoy lifting the flaps to uncover clues that will help them figure out where in the world Lola has traveled to this time!

But first, join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Dr. T. to the author interview series:

Leslie Lindsay:

Welcome! I am so excited to chat with you and share LOLA! First, I want to know the inspiration behind the series, can you fill us in?

Titina Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

School year after school year, I am met with a caseload of unique, eager-to-learn elementary-school-aged students with not-so-unique speech and language issues. And while a percentage of these students have difficulties that require intensive therapy (plus the dedicated involvement of the family and school team), a good portion requires much less involvement from me. It’s this group that I aim to help with my books — by empowering their families to build their language skills at home with consistent, fun practice and resources!

“This is such an adorable book. I appreciate the thought that went into creating this story. It will definitely assist parents in becoming intentional with facilitating the asking and answering questions skill with their little one(s). Looking forward to the continuation of this storyline, or additional books.”

 Nikki B., Elementary School Teacher

Leslie Lindsay:

What I find so fascinating is sometimes our passions lead us right to where we’re supposed to be. Can you talk about your education/career background, please?


Titina Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

I have had a desire to work with young children since high school and have done that for every job I’ve had since that time. I am now a pediatric speech-language pathologist and I take great joy in helping little ones improve their speech and language skills both in my private practice and in the public school system that I work with. It is this love of children and my vested interest in their progress that drove me to create the Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures book series. 


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

And along the way…we often meet people who help us along? Who might have helped you the most in your career development?

Titina Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

My third-grade teacher, Kristen Potter, played a crucial role in teaching me that I could achieve anything that I could imagine. She was one of those teachers from the storybooks — patient, kind, encouraging, fun — the kind you think don’t really exist! I wish every student in the world could benefit from the amazing effects of having an awesome teacher who sows greatness into your future. I just love that lady!

person reading a book

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Since we’re on the topic of childhood and books (obviously!), what were some of your literary influences as a kid? 

Titina Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

As a child, I loved the A Wrinkle In Time I also loved the American Girl: Addy book series (and all things ‘Addy’) by Connie Rose Porter.

Leslie Lindsay:

Writing and getting a book into the world is such an arduous process. What was your greatest challenge in writing LOLA KOALA’S TRAVEL ADVENTURES?

Titina Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

Rhyming! It was so much harder than I anticipated — coming up with rhyming words that naturally fit within the story was a huge challenge in and of itself!


Leslie Lindsay:

I have such a special interest in childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), particularly because my oldest daughter struggled with this as a toddler and preschooler. She’s a sophomore in high school now and doing so much better–in fact, you probably wouldn’t be able to discern any problem. But rhyming is a big deal to kids with apraxia. Can you talk about why and how we can help?

Tinita Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

You are so right — rhyme awareness, an early literacy skill, is a big deal for children with apraxia. Unfortunately, the ‘why’ is not clearly understood, but what we do know is that early literacy skills are strong indicators of reading and writing success. Ways that we can help to increase rhyme awareness in kids is to introduce them to rhymes! Using rhymes in your everyday language (e.g., “Okie dokie,” “See you later, alligator!”) and reading stories that use rhymes are great ways to build this skill!

Leslie Lindsay:

How can parents and caregivers use LOLA THE KOALA’S TRAVEL ADVENTURES with their children who have apraxia?

Tinita Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures: Who, What, Where & Yes/No Questions is a great tool to grow phoneme awareness skills! It features 1, 2 and 3-syllable words, which present great opportunities to practice segmenting and blending skills. Parents can also use the vivid illustrations on every page (including the flaps!) to target identifying sounds in words. And since the story of Lola Koala’s exciting adventure is told using rhyme, this lift-the-flap book is an excellent tool to build rhyming awareness as well!

Leslie Lindsay:

What are some other stories or topics you hope to explore in your LOLA series? 

Tinita Kearney, Ph.D.,CCC-SLP:

Great question! As a speech-pathologist, there are dozens of skills that I can think of to target, and narrowing it down has been quite a challenge and I’m still working on it! Some language skills that I’m considering for the next book include following directions, answering ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions and describing, to name a few! Each story will continue to follow Lola Koala, the globetrotting main character, and children can expect to be taken on a journey to another mystery location with fun clues included along the way in the next book.

For more information, to connect with Dr. Tinita Kearney via social media, or to purchase a copy of LOLA THE KOALA, please visit:

Order Links:

headshot2 (1)ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Tinita Kearney (Dr. T) is a speech pathologist who wants to empower kids and their parents by teaching foundational language skills in a way that is fun and interactive. With the first book in her new lift-the-flap Lola Koala Travel Adventures series, Dr. T and Lola Koala teach kids to answer WHO, WHAT, WHERE and YES/NO questions. Kids will be delighted and enchanted as they help Lola pack her suitcase and find clues to mystery destinations.


IMG_1175Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.


f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#lolathekoala #speech #receptivelanguage #SLP #parenting #kids #readingwithkids #kidlit #speechdevelopment #SpeakingofApraxia #PRbytheBook


[Special thanks to PRbytheBook. Author and cover image courtesy of PRbytheBook and used with permission].

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