BookS on MondaY: Certified health coach and plant-based chef Vicky Marquez talks about her newest book for kids, THE ROOTLETS, how eating healthy begins in childhood, kid-pleasing recipes, & more

By Leslie Lindsay 

As a vegetarian momma, I’ve always found it a fun challenge to raise healthy, independent food-conscious kiddos. When they were babies, my husband and I often got the question, “Are you going to raise your children as vegetarians?” Sometimes it came across as simple curiosity, other times, it felt judgmental. My response was always something along the lines of, “We’re providing a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits, and veggies, though I will not be handling raw meat at home.” That said, I was totally fine if my kids wanted to order chicken fingers at a restaurant, or have a bite of grandma and grandpa’s steak. Trouble-at-Plantasy-Land-.png
Food choices, we determined, were to be determined by the person eating them, what he or she felt comfortable with. In no way did my husband and I try to “force” a plant-based diet on our kiddos, but now, at nearly ten years old, our youngest almost exclusively rejects meat, all her choice. The oldest seems to think chocolate is its own food group!
When I came across THE ROOTLETS series of children’s books, about cute little veggies who have myriad adventures, I knew I had to check it out! 
Join me as I chat with nutritionist and plant-based chef Vicki Marquez, on her darling, children’s books about healthy eating. 
Leslie Lindsay: Welcome, Vicki. I’m always curious about what sparks an idea for a story. What inspired you to create the ROOTLETS series?
Vicki Marquez: The idea of THE ROOTLETS popped into my head one day as I was thinking about how I could help inspire kids to want to–and to be excited to–eat their veggies and make good, healthy choices. That thought lit a fire inside of me and I immediately knew that these characters were something special that’s what inspired me to take action, create this series, build this brand and bring these characters to life.
L.L.: How would you describe the dynamic between THE ROOTLETS—Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley?
Vicki Marquez: THE ROOTLETS are best friends, with a special bond and a lot of trust between them. They count on (and value) each others’unique set of talents and strengths, and they operate like a little team…always rooting for and looking out for one another, no matter what kind of trouble their next adventure brings!
L.L.: How did you decide what traits the Rootlets would possess?
Vicki Marquez: It wasn’t actually a conscious decision–they each began taking on certain characteristics with that initial vision I had of them. Right away it was clear who they were and what was important to each one of them. Brocc was smart and into studying, Cornelius was the jokester who loved to have fun. Kaley was a fancy girly-girl and Carrotina was a brave adventure-seeker. It felt like I knew them. A few months after I wrote the first book (Super Rootabilities), my husband said to me that each Rootlet reminded him of me, like they were me–at the core–divided into four. And in retrospect, I can totally see that…
everything that The Rootlets love, I love. So, I guess that maybe I subconsciously selected their traits based on those things…and that each one actually represents a little part of me.
L.L.: I have a couple of little redheads–carrot tops, much like Carrotina–so I have to ask about one of the most distinct aspects of THE ROOTLETS—their vegetable hair. What inspired that idea?
Vicki Marquez: When I first transitioned to a plant-based diet, my best friend kept calling me her “veggie head.”That nickname was running through my brain when I first had the idea of THE ROOTLETS. I envisioned these adorable kids with big, veggie hairdos:a broccoli
afro, carrot pigtails, blonde kernels, leafy green locks…it was how I saw them, and it was absolutely perfect.

“where super-powered adventures and veggies collide!”

L.L.:  The Rootlets features bright and brilliant illustrations. Did the characters look the way you envisioned while writing the book?
Vicki Marquez: [My illustrator] Jeremy and I actually developed the characters long before I wrote the first story, so I was lucky to have a very clear visual reference of these kids as I
was developing the series. But I will say that when Jeremy sent me those very first
sketches of THE ROOTLETS, he 1000% captured on paper what these characters looked like in my head.
L.L.: Since you are an expert in health and nutrition with years of experience, what types of research did you do to write THE ROOTLETS?
Vicki Marquez: THE ROOTLETS series is all about the evolution of these four young kids who learn that they’re superheroes and who now have to navigate the huge responsibilities that come along with that, so all of my research was focused around character and story development, as well as general writing tips and guidelines for kids literature.
The health and nutrition aspects of this series are indirect and expressed creatively, so that requires a lot less research, and a lot more imagination.
L.L.: In THE ROOTLETS, adventurous kids who love to play and a healthy lifestyle go hand-in-hand. Was that connection intentional?
Vicki Marquez: Yes, it was intentional, but also very obvious. The Rootlets are relatable role models who love to play, explore and go on little adventures, just like most kids–and those
are all really great health-promoting activities to encourage.
L.L.: What is the key to inspiring kids to make healthier choices?
Vicki Marquez: There are two keys: fun and familiarity! Fun is the easy one…kids seek it, love it,have to have it…and they’re motivated by it! So, when veggies and fruits are presented in a fun, exciting way, kids are much more interested in them.Familiarity is the other key. Most kids (and adults) prefer to try (and buy) things that they’re familiar with. The Rootlets series introduces and popularizes healthy, plant-based foods, so that when kids see them in the grocery store or at the farmers market,they’re much more curious and excited to try super-rootabilities-coverthem.
L.L.: Why is reaching and educating kids about healthy choices in elementary school so important for lifelong health?
Vicki Marquez: Because so many of the habits that we have as adults stem from the habits that we developed when we were little. Good habits, like brushing our teeth, are gems that’ll
serve us well our whole lives, but bad habits–especially unhealthy eating habits–are
really hard to break and can lead to serious chronic disease and illness. Teaching kids,
from an early age, about the superpowers of veggies and the importance of making good nutritional choices, establishes the foundation for them to build strong, healthy habits that will stay with them as they grow up.
L.L.: What would you consider to be the biggest challenge to raising healthy kids today?
Vicki Marquez: Time…for sure! Parents are SO busy these days that finding the time to meal plan, shop and cook can be a real challenge. That’s why I’m really excited that our Rootlets blog now features quick and healthy kid-friendly recipes that parents can easily whip up and feel really good about sharing with their little ones.
L.L.: You are a certified plant-based chef. What are some of your most popular dishes among kids?
Vicki Marquez: Ooh, there are so many good ones, but I’d have to say that the most popular dishes are the ones that kids can customize on their own or help make. For example: power
bowls (where you start with a grain and then add your favorite toppings and sauces) tacos, wraps, homemade pizzas, smoothies…all of those are always kid-pleasers! And anything with cacao or chocolate, of course!
L.L.: You also host a healthy living cable TV show,“Nourished.”How does the process of preparing for the show compare to writing THE ROOTLETS? 
Vicki Marquez: Every episode of “Nourished” and each ROOTLETS story is part of a larger overarching series, so while each one has to independently stand alone, they also have to be Nourished.pngable to work well within that series. As for the actual prep process,it’s basically the same. I begin with an outline, then I put on my creativity cap and continue to write and expand on
the story or episode. I edit, get my team involved, consider visuals, edit some
more until I have a concrete finished product…then it’s production time!
L.L.: When did your interest in nutrition and healthy food begin? Which authors inspired you as a child?
Vicki Marquez: In my mid-20s, I started paying close attention to what I was eating and how it was affecting me. I cut back on the highly processed junk food that I had been
accustomed to eating my entire life, and I began eating real, whole, natural foods. Becoming aware of that food/body connection, and how my diet had been directly impacting my overall health, was a huge a-ha moment for me! Once I saw (and felt) the correlation between eating well and feeling good, my interest in health and nutrition grew naturally. As a kid, I loved Valerie Tripp, Shel Silverstein, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Peggy Parish and of course, Dr. Seuss.
L.L.: The Rootlets are superheroes with special powers, which contribute to their big adventures. Which superpower would you choose to possess?
Vicki Marquez: Ooh, good question! I’d LOVE some sort of healing touch
power. To be able to free people and animals from pain, sickness and illness…that would be the greatest!
L.L.:What other projects are you currently working on?
Vicki Marquez:Right now I’m devoting the majority of my time to THE ROOTLETS, writing book three, developing our app, attending school events and marketing the brand–
and when I’m not working on that, I’m writing, creating content and testing recipes for
“Nourished” and coaching my private and corporate clients.
  • Hashtag #TheRootlets

  • Facebook: The Rootlets

  • Twitter: @Therootlets

  • Website
  • To purchase THE ROOTLETS, click here

download-16ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vicki Marquez is a certified health coach, plant-based chef, author and TV personality whose passion for living a healthy, vibrant life has become her mission to help others do the same. After earning her degree in nutrition and health science, Vicki continued her wellness education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied over 100 dietary theories with the world’s leading nutrition and holistic health experts. Vicki went on to receive her culinary education and training at Rouxbe Cooking School where she earned her plant-based chef certification. In 2013, Vicki launched Inner Figure – her health coaching practice that offers one-on-one lifestyle coaching, robust corporate wellness programs and a monthly plant-based cooking club all built around her philosophy to “live healthy from the inside out.” As Inner Figure’s client base grew, so did Vicki’s desire to help inspire and empower children to make healthier choices. From this inspiration, The Rootlets were born: four veggie-haired, cartoon superheroes on a quest to promote good nutrition by making veggies fun and exciting. Vicki launched The Rootlets, LLC, and authored the first book in her series, The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities, in October 2014. In 2016, Vicki branched into television as the creator and host of the healthy living cable show, Nourished. The program blends wellness how-to tips and delicious veggie-centric recipes into a series that’s structured much like her one-on-one coaching sessions. Through her private health coaching practice, children’s brand and TV show, Vicki aims to make healthy eating and living easy, accessible and entertaining for everyone. Vicki is a founding member of The New Self-Health Movement; a member of the International Association for Health Coaches and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators; and is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Vicki lives in Chicago with her husband, stepdaughter and two Yorkies. When she’s not writing, coaching or cooking, you can find her on the yoga mat, traveling the world or snuggled on the sofa with her pups and a great book.


You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay at:

[Special thanks to PRbytheBook. All images retrieved from the author’s website on 10.15.16]

BookS on MondaY: Husband-Wife creative team talk about their new children’s book, MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY, the environment, and a mouthwatering discussion on a breakfast staple.

By Leslie Lindsay 

Can a pancake save the world? That’s the question this delightful children’s tale sets out to seek. 

Before going fishing one day, Ethan eats his favorite breakfast–pancakes! As his mom explains how pancakes are made with the help of the sun, clouds, rain, animals, and farmers, Ethan sees the world in a new way. 30764934

While playing outside, Ethan decides to create a big splash by throwing a can of in the lake and accidentally contaminates the environment. Time passes and one day Ethan notices that his pancakes taste different. Could that can in the lake have made that change? Ethan enlists the help of his friends to correct his mistake. Do Ethan and his friends repair that mistake, but most of all–what do they learn in the process?

Today, I am honored to have Bruce Galpert here to chat with us…over a big plate of pancakes! 

Leslie Lindsay: I’m always curious about what inspired the idea behind stories, what drives someone to spend countess hours crafting a story…can you tell us your inspiration behind MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY?

Bruce Galpert: As a young father with two sons, I read a lot to my kids…I also spent most Sundays cooking pancakes with and for them–I ate quite a few myself! Trying to teach my kids life lessons, recycling and protecting the environment were also concepts that were important, but difficult to teach to young kids. I always felt that it was hard for children to grasp how their actions could impact the environment positively or negatively. The idea of MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY! came out of that quest.

L.L.: Tell us more about the character of Ethan. How would you describe him? Is he modeled after anyone in particular, your own son, perhaps?

Bruce Galpert: Ethan is just like my youngest son Evan was at that age. The character of Ethan is built around Evan: Ethan is eight years old, observant, intelligent, fun loving, sweet and kind to nature, animals and others. He loves his pancakes and his mother!  He is smart and funny, has tons of friends, and is always asking questions.  In real life, I now have a three-year old grandson named Ethan by way of my son Matthew, so all bases are covered!

L.L.: Writing is certainly not easy or glamorous–at least not all the time. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY! ?

Bruce Galpert: Getting started, the beginning, the middle, and the end! Writing is not my strong suit! Fortunately for me, my wife Heather came into my life. Not only did she inherit my family, but she inherited this project of 20 years that I was unable to complete, even after attending children’s book writing workshops given by some of the best writers in the business. She is credited for helping me put a structure around the story and move it from an idea to something I can hold and read to my grandkids.

L.L.: What was the most rewarding moment you experienced while writing this book?

Bruce Galpert: Seeing the beautiful artwork that Barbara Cate did, and how it worked in harmony with the writing to really tell the story. Heather and I have had such a wonderful time working on this together – it’s our baby.

204255_origL.L.: How much research did you do for the book? What type of research did you do?

Bruce Galpert: Countless Sundays making all kinds of pancakes: blueberry, chocolate, apple fritters. Flipping pancakes and spending time with my boys, was the extent of my research, the best kind! And sadly, watching the growing environmental stress and crisis we are facing as the years march on.

L.L.: What does your writing process look like?

Bruce Galpert: A lot of hair pulling and the words just fall into place. Heather is the the writer in the family, I’m a numbers guy. She helped me tease out the story.

L.L.: Writers get their inspiration from all places. Where do you turn for inspiration?

Bruce Galpert: Heather

L.L.: I love children’s books and I know exactly why: they were embedded in my young life as my dad read to me after work, his arms draped over my shoulders. Where did your interest in writing–and reading–children’s books begin?

Bruce Galpert: I have always had my favorite books…The 4 Chinese Brothers, Ferdinand the Bull, A Fly Went By, A Fish out of Water, Go Dog Go…many of these were based on cause and effect…progressive events.  I am also a cartoon addict, still to this day I spend more time watching cartoons than any other medium.  My son Evan is a brilliant voice over artist and my dream is to see him as a character in an animated film.

L.L.: Switching gears a bit, what are some ways to get young people interested in the environment and what foods they eat?

Bruce Galpert: Farmer’s Markets, natural groceries, growing seeds from a packet at home. I think getting kids to engage with nature is the best way…sadly this is so hard for many kids around the world. I had the fortune to live in both Japan and the Philippines as a child and young adult, and the differences in the way each of those cultures reveres and cares for their environment is vast. It really begins culturally at a very young age.

L.L.: How should kids be taught about personal responsibility and their role in sustainability?

Bruce Galpert: By their parents, actions speak the loudest.

L.L.: How would you describe the importance of investing in our children?

Bruce Galpert: They are all we have for the future, a dollar invested in them is worth many more dollars in return down the road. You are seeing this in action today with all of the technology innovations from well-educated Millennials

L.L.: So I have to ask, how do you like to eat your pancakes? 

Bruce Galpert: I like putting chopped apples in the batter, adding cinnamon, and then topping with a blend of butter, syrup, and raspberry jam! Don’t forget to sprinkle powdered sugar on at the last minute. [Getting hungry for pancakes?! I am. Check out this delicious recipe from Bruce and Heather] Absolutely-fantastic-peanut-butter-pancakes-with-a-jelly-topping.jpg

L.L.: What do you hope readers take away from My Pancakes Taste Different Today!?

Bruce Galpert: I hope that parents read the book to their kids and that the book is also used as an early reader. This will be the best way to teach children how their actions impact their world.

L.L.: What future projects are you working on?

Bruce Galpert: We have two books in the hopper that we are both very excited about.  One thing at a time I am told by my wife, but creativity has no timeline!

To connect with Bruce and Heather, please visit these social media links:

  • Hashtag #ThePancakesBook

  • Facebook: The Pancakes Book

  • Instagram and Pinterest: thepancakesbook

  • GoodReads Giveaway: Enter to WIN! (Beginning October 10-22, 2016)
  • Book & Author Website

About the Authors & Illustrator: Bruce lives with his wife Heather in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He attended the University of Dallas, where he majored in International Finance and Economics. Bruce has two adult sons, Matthew and Evan, and two grandchildren, Ethan and Avery. Growing up, Bruce lived in the Philippine Islands and Japan. He enjoys traveling, writing, skiing, chess, playing guitar, cooking and entertaining, playing tennis and golf. As a professional, Bruce has been an investment advisor for 32 years, he recommends that the best investment is an investment in our children. Heather thinks Bruce makes the best pancakes in the Whole Wide World!

Heather lives with her husband Bruce in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Heather has worked and volunteered most of her professional career in producing special events and fund raising for non profit organizations such as the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, The Santa Fe Community Foundation, and The Santa Fe Botanical Garden. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College where she studied writing, art and design. Heather enjoys traveling, entertaining, decorating, hiking and playing tennis and golf. Bruce thinks Heather is a gourmet chef and budding tennis star.

Barbara: The Artist

Santa Fe artist Barbara Cate is an illustrator of books and has a greeting card line which may be seen at and at My Pancakes Taste Different Today! showcases her latest paintings. Barbara has lived in Hawaii and enjoys teaching children. Heather and Bruce think Barbara is the bee’s knees. 2892364_orig.jpg

Purchase MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY from these fine retailers: 

You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, through these social media links:

[Special thanks to PRbytheBook for this review copy. Images courtesy of author’s publicist. Interior illustrations retrieved from author’s website. Pancake image retrieved from]

The Teacher is Talking: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

By Leslie Lindsay Product Details

It was a steamy day in Chicgaoland.  Too steamy for the pool, but just the right amount for an air conditioned library.  My 6 year old, 8 year old, and I headed to the library where we stumbled upon this book, MISS MORE THOUGHT OTHERWISE, an endearing story about the first children’s librarian, Anne Carroll Moore.  Written by Jan Pinborough and whimisically illustrated by Debby Atwell, this new book (May 2013) is sure to become a treasure for young and old book lovers alike.

In a time when children were thought to be seen and not heard–or educated–Anne (Annie) Moore grew up the youngest of 7 older brothers.  But she loved to be read to by her attorney father.  As she grew older, her love of learning and reading remained.  Instead of marrying or taking care of the home for her parents as many young unmarried women did, Annie became a lawyer studying the profession at the heels of her father. 

Anne Carroll Moore photo.jpgIt’s hard to believe that books were once kept away from young children…”but Miss Moore thought otherwise!”  (This becomes a sort of mantra throughout the book).  This is the true story of the first children’s librarian-Anne Moore and how she designed the first children’s room at the public library in New York–selecting just the right color for the floor, child-sized tables and chairs, cozy sunny window seats, interesting books, art, and natural artifacts such as shells.

Told in such a way that truly brings history alive, this book is a must for every family’s bookshelf–not just from a historical perspective, but that of women’s studies/rights, and education.

My girls were struck with just how little children of the early Victorian days read and what a luxury books were. 

If you read this book with your kids, here are some questions you may want to discuss:

  • What makes a ‘good book?’  Why would (or, do) hildren’s books have different qualities than an adult book?
  • Why might children–and especially girls–be discouraged from reading in the Victorian times?
  • If you were to design the perfect library or reading space, what would you be sure to include?
  • Do you have a reading nook at home?  What’s it like?
  • Name some of your favorite books? 
  • How do you think books for children have changed over time? 
  • Do your parents have any books remaining from their childhood?  Read them, share them with others.  Discuss their similarities and differences with today’s books for children.
  • Why might books have been considered a luxury?  Are they still today? 

For more information about children’s books/libraries, please see this research article from IFLA:

To learn more about Anne Carroll Moore, see:

The author of MISS MOORE THOUGHT OTHERWISE, Jan Pinborough’s website:

That’s it…class dismissed!!!

[book cover image retrieved from 7.21.13  Anne Carroll Moore’s image retrieved from Wikipedia 7.21.13]

Write On, Wednesday: Inspiration in all the Wrong Places

By Leslie LindsayKeep Calm Poster: Writing Inspiration (by TeddyAndTaft)(image  (by TeddyAndTaft)

We writers look for inspiration in just about everything we do–and everyplace we go.  So, it isn’t all that unusal that I am finding inspiration in all of the wrong places.  Let me explain:

Just this week, the latest Ballard Designs catalog landed in my mailbox.  I haven’t taken the time to flip through it till this morning.  There on page 8 of the catalog is a little ditty about first impressions (it has to do with your entryway/front porch).  Since my book opens with a knock on the door, this was perfect.  Also perfect is that my female character later declares that she is giving up her pharmaceutical sales rep career in favor of becoming a decorator.  I think I just may borrow and recreate a similar statement for my character as the one in the Ballard catalog.  See what I mean about inspiration?

And then last night, reading a book to my kids, I come across all kinds of great alliteration and onomatopoeias….skitter, scurry, skate, slitherthe book was sort of a t0ngue-twister about seeds and flowers no less, but hey–it stoked the ol’ creative brain/word bank. 

Finally, on the way to drop my kids off at day camp this morning, another inspiration when I looked up at the back of a home as I drove past–a tiny window on the third floor, beckoning an attic office.  I think I need to incorporate that in my prose somehow. 

You see…inspiration can come at you in all the wrong places…but it works!

Write on, Wednesday!

For more inspiration on onomatopoeias, see:

The Teacher is Talking: Saying Bye Bye to Binky

By Leslie Lindsay

***Be sure to see the end of this post for details to WIN a FREE copy of Perry Passyflyer!!***

I am happy to share with you three very fun and proactive mommas who have penned a book about the ever-lasting–or is it–pacifier, in the May 2012 release Perry Passyflyer from AuthorsHouse.Baby Pacifier
You know it is a Nuk, a binky, a passy…but whatever the case, it’s probably been a staple around your home, especially if you have kids (and if you don’t, well…I don’t know what to tell ya)! If your kids who have fallen in love with their pacifer, you know the relationship can’t last forever. At one time or another, we all need to say “bye-bye, binky.” Yet there are varied ways to go about this. Here’s the take from co-authors, Katie, Liddy, and Danielle:

L4K: Let’s start with introductions. Can you give us a brief run-down of who you are–your backgrounds, your families and your “day job?”

  • Katie: My day job is a delightful combination of being a stay-at-home mom to my three daughters and a private practice music therapist working with children with special needs. I have always dreamt of approaching the transitions of early childhood through both music and children’s literature as I remember each of these stages vividly and how music and humor facilitated development for both mom and child.Mom And Kids
  • Liddy: Professionally, I am an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Kean University. I have been a nurse for over 12 years, recently graduating with a Master’s Degree in Nursing and slowly returning to school to pursue my doctoral degree. I have been married to a wonderfully supportive man for the past six years and we have a three-year old son named Graeme. It was Graeme’s obsession with his binkie that served as the catalyst for collaborating with my sister and best friend to write Perry Passyflyer.
  • Danielle: I am a licensed clinical social worker and have worked with children ranging in age from 4 to 21 with social and/or emotional disturbances. I am married with one child, and have eleven nieces/nephews ranging in age from infant to 18 years of age. Needless to say, at family gatherings there is alway a binky to be found on the floor or in a couch and perhaps an argument amongst cousins as to whom the binky belongs.

L4K: Can you tell us how the idea of Perry Passyflyer came to be? Who is the brainchild behind the book?

Liddy says, “the concept for Perry Passyflyer came out of a moment of desperation as my son was over 2 1/2 and was addicted to his binkies. In fact, he would sleep with five at a time and would keep one (or two) in his mouth while holding the others. While we were able to help him limit his use, when it came to bedtime and nap time, we were stuck! It was around Christmas when I developed the idea for Perry as I considered the power of the imagination and positive reinforcement coupled together to help us win the “binkie battle.” We collected all of the binkies in the house, 15 in total, and left them out night after night for Perry to pick up and when Graeme awoke, there would be a trinket in it’s place. One the last night, he left his binkie without a second thought and has not used on since!
Katie says, “I remember Liddy calling with the idea and immediately it went into the planning stage. It took two of my daughters until the age of four to relinquish the bink!”

Product Details(image retrieved from 7.10.12)  
L4K: How long did it take you to write “Perry Passyflyer?” Can you give as little glimpse into the publishing process?

Liddy says, “we discussed the Passyfler concept for weeks over many long distance phone calls between New Jersey and Pennsylvania but when we came together to write the manuscript, it came together rather quickly – thanks is part to my sister (Katie) and her rhyming skills.”
Danielle says, “The book was the collaboration of three moms who have spent the majority of their lives together. Since kindergarten, we have been supporting each other throughout our lives . It is only natural that we spent the night giggling, singing, and eating junk food like we were teenagers.”
Katie says, “Once we made a blue print for the story, the rhyming scheme came fairly easily. We really had a wonderful time collaborating but we often did have to re-group after the numerous tangents that occur when three woman who have shared their lives are finally in the same room after many years!”
In terms of publishing. Liddy says “Since we were first time authors, we did not know what to expect from the world of publishing. So after researching and talking with others trying to break into publishing, we decided to go with self-publishing. After researching several companies, we found one that gave us the control we desired in regard to the format and illustrations.”
Katie says, “patience is not my strong suit so when the book was finished I could not imagine the “waiting and wishing” that goes along with unsolicited manuscripts and publishing houses. When Liddy mentioned the idea of self publishing I jumped at the idea.”
L4K: And what about finding an illustrator? Was that hard, easy? The illustrations are so fun, whimsical…and can totally capture a child’s attention. I am sure this was an imporant decision in your search for a suitable illustrator.
Liddy says, “As part of the self publishing process, an illustrator is chosen for you. However, we had ultimate control over what we wanted the illustrations to look like and in my head I had already illustrated Perry Passyflyer. Therefore, I was able to articulate in specific detail what I wanted each illustration to look like and then sketches were sent for our approval.”Adobe Illustrator CS5 screenshot

L4K: Can you share a funny story of your own child’s battle with the binky?
Liddy says, “Wow! It is hard to choose just one! But, at my son’s two year check up I told the physician that we had limited his binker use to bed time, Graeme reached in my purse, grabbed two binkies, and proceeded to put them in his mouth. I was embarrassed to say the least.”
Katie says, “I was worried one of my daughters may eventually walk down the aisle with her binker!”

L4K: What advice would you give to parents about helping their child let go of their pacifier? After all, parents often become just as reliant on the paci as their child. It can be quite a loss during the transition from pacifier to no pacifier.
(image retrieved from Mommy Speech on 7.10.12)pacifier
Katie says, “I think the word ‘transition’ can strike fear and anxiety into the most patient of nurtures and that is exactly what we are addressing with Perry Passyflyer – transition. So I would encourage parents to find strength in one another as sometimes leaving the paci can be a tearful experience for our kiddos. In addition, give your child some choices in regard to where to leave the bink for Perry and perhaps a note of where he/she hopes Perry will bring the binker. We encourage parents to leave a small trinket for the child to find the next morning to signal that the bink has arrived safety at its destination. Read Perry Passyflyer several nights in a row before the “big day” and due to the rhyme scheme your child will be able to “read along” as well. But above all, be patient with yourself as a parent and with your child.
L4K: Finally, what are some other coping skills kids can develop after the pacifier has been sent away to Passyland?
Danielle says, “I have come to realize through my work that most everyone has a transitional object they have held onto for security for one reason or another. This book offers not only families, but day care facilities, foster care homes, schools, and other community organizations the opportunity to make the learning process involved in transition less daunting and certainly more fun!
Katie says, “Our babies are born with an instinctual need for sucking and the binker provides one of the ways in which that oral need is met. But, as the time for the bink comes to an end our children continue to develop the skills for self soothing that eases the road to becoming more independent as they enter the preschool years.”

L4K: And I have to ask…what’s next for you ladies? More music? Other transitional objects you’re planning to write about? Loveys, perhaps?
Katie says ,” Our goal is to continue to address early childhood transitions with humor and heart in upcoming children’s books. We are in the process of seeking a literary agent for our second literary endeavor that deals with the sometimes perplexing world of potty training. I (Katie) also hope to continue to work on DVDs that combine music and speech therapy techniques in order to facilitate language development in a fun, systematic, and success – oriented manner for our kiddos.”

Thanks for the opportunity, all!!

***And now for the give-a-way!!***The co-authors of Perry Passyflyer would like to award one lucky reader a complimentary signed copy of the book.  Here’s what you need to do:  Pick one…1)  Make a comment on how you got your kid to give up the binky, or 2) tell us how this book could help your family, or 3) Post a blurb about the book on your Facebook page. YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE BLOG to be considered in the give-a-way.  You have till Friday, July 13th at noon to enter.  A winner will be drawn at random.  You will be notified by email if you won.  Thanks and good luck!!

The Teacher is on Vacation: Cross-Cultural Book List

By Leslie Lindsay

The teacher may be on summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean you–or your kiddo(s)–have to stop learning, right?!  Exactly.  I was hoping you’d feel that way.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom.  Summer is a great time to get some reading in–for parents and kids alike.  You can go the typical route and read all of the Caldecott Medal Winners or your child’s summer book list, or you go with the International Reading Association (IRA)’s suggested list of Notable Books for a Global Society [Awards].  Wow…this is a category I am not familiar with.  Thought you’d appreciate the heads-up, too. 

You can access the list, dating back to the late 1990’s at

Here are a few to get you started…


  • Minji’s Salon by Eun-lee Choung (Kane/Miller Press, 2008)
  • Chavela and the Magic Bubble by Monica Brown (Clarion Press, 2010)
  • The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Forest by Joy Pratt-Serafini (Dawn Publications, 2008) Product Details(image retrieved from Amazon, 6.25.12)


  • Hachiko:  The True Story of a Loyal Dog by P.S. Turner (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
  • Now is the Time for Running by M. Williams (Little, Brown & Co, 2011)
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  • Between Shades of Gray (Not 50 Shades of Gray for kids!) 


  • Karma by C. Ostelere (Penguin, 2011)
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  • Chu Ju’s House by G. Whelan (Harper Collins, 2004)
  • 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by N. S. Nye (Greenwillow, 2002) 

For more information on reading lists and the International Reading Association (IRA), see:

This article inspired by a snippet in the Webster World, an alumni publication (Webster University in St. Louis Missouri). 


The Teacher is Talking: The Longest Day

By Leslie Lindsay Product Details(image retrieved 6.5.12 from

I came across this book, The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Linda Bleck.  I presented it to my daughters about two years ago as the longest day of the year rolled around.  At the time, they were probably a bit too young to really understand and appreciate the book, but today–at 5 and 7 years old–they curled up next to me as I read from the colorful pages.

And now that most kids are out of school for the summer, it may just be a good time to introduce the reason why we have summer in the first place.  And that is just what the “teacher” will be talking about here on Practical Parenting…with a Twist for the next couple of weeks.

  • The official first day of summer this year is Wednesday, June 20th.  That is, the northern half of the earth tilts toward the sun and so it gets more sunshine than the southern half (that’s why it’s summer in the U.S. and most all of Europe, Africa, and S. America but winter in Austraila)
  • Summer is important:  warm sunshine and extra daylight makes a perfect time to grow the food we all eat all year long.
  • 5,000 years ago, in England “mystery builders” constructed Stonehenge out of huge bluestones and sandstones–bigger than a school bus and heavier than 8 elephants–to create a sort of sundial.  In some cases, the rocks were hauled over a hundred miles to the location where Stonehenge was built using ramps, ropes, and rollers.  But why?!  No one really knows…but they do suspect is all had to do with celebrating the sun.
  • Here’s a tidbit new to me:  America has it’s own version of Stonehenge.  It’s called “Mystery Hill” and is nestled in the woods of New Hamshire.  While Stonehenge is neatly arranged with precision, Mystery Hill is a jumble of stones, many of which are etched with ancient inscriptions.  Perhaps it was built by an ancient civilization?  On the summer solstice, visitors flock to Mystery Hill to watch the sun rise over Sunrise Stone, commemerating the year’s longest day.
  • Yet, in Wyoming, thousands of folks hike up “Medicine Mountain” to see the Bighorn Medicine Wheel.  Scientists and archaeologists believe the Plains Indians cinbstructed this 80-foot wide circle out of rocks between 200-800 years ago.  Twenty-eight spokes radiate out of a central hub.  One spoke points to the summer solstice sunrise, and the other to the summer solstice sunset.  
    Next week, on The Teacher is Talking, we’ll share some more myths and celebrations of the summer solstice around the world.  For now, go out and enjoy some sunshine!

A Little Literacy, Please: Alice Wonders about Science & Fiction

By Leslie Lindsay

You have probably heard of her, too.  Alison Gopnik, a world-renown developmental psychologist who studied at the University of Oxford and now teaches at the University of California-Berkeley has penned such parenting books as The Scientist in the Crib (Harper, 2000) and The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life (Picador, 2010)

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What you might not know is her favorite childhood books were Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.  As an empirical developmental psychologist, it was no wonder  (ha) that Ms. Gopnik identified with Alice’s character.  “I was Alice”  I shared her name, long hair, and dreamy absentmindedness.  I had a preference for logic and imagination over common sense.  I too, was bewildered by the blindness of grown-ups, esxpecially their failure to recognize that children were smarter than they were.” 

Alison Gopnik continues to explain in All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book (Roaring Book Press, 2009) that Alice in Wonderland is the link between logic and imagination, and between those two entities is the time period we all refer to as “childhood.”  It is through our unique ability to understand our world by creating theories, the same as we do when we fall into the fictional world of a book.

Lewis Carroll originally published Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland in 1865.  It nearly immediately made itself a cultural icon, and has never been out-of-print.  The book originated when Charles Dodgson took the Lindell children on a boat trip.  One of those children, Alice Lindell begged him to write down the saga.  And so he did, choosing the pen name Lewis Carroll.  The the zany tale of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, where her world is literally turned upside down, we see how these books not only challenge logic, but exemplify childhood imagination.

Check out my guest blog post today, “Through a Mother’s Eyes: Childhood Apraxia of Speech” on ChildTalk, hosted by Becca Jarzynski, CCC-SLP of Wisconsin. 

A Little Literacy, Please: Mary Poppins

By Leslie Lindsay

When my daughters came back from an outing to the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri raving about “Mary Poppins,” several summers ago, I scratched my head and raised my eyebrows.  Mary Poppins, really?!  Isn’t she kind of…well, old-fashioned?

But they loved her mysterious magic and fun.  They were mesmerized by her wit and charm.  I had to run out and purchase the movie for they wouldn’t stop talking about her.  My oldest even wanted to be her for Halloween that year.  I convinced her, sweetly, diplomatically that maybe she better be something else.  And so she was Strawberry Shortcake.

We definitely went through a Mary Poppins phase and I guess it wasn’t all bad.  There were some good, wholesome lessons from the sassy nanny.

Anita Diamont, a journalist and New York Times best-selling novelist mentioned that this was one of her favorite childhood books in Everything I Know I Learned from a Children’s Book, (Roaring Book Press, 2009).

She says, “Mary Poppins herself was the best magic of all: a free-spirit who comes and goes as she sees fit; a well-traveled person with a fabulous past; an ordinary-looking woman who adores her own appearance and whose self-regard is unassailable as the Himalayas.  She was all that and more.  I never wanted Mary Poppins to be my nanny.  I wanted to be Mary Poppins when I grew up.” 

Great lessons for any daugher…

The author of the Mary Poppins was P.L. Travers.  I often wondered if P.L. was a man or a woman.  I figured it had to be woman.  Back “in the day,” only men were really “supposed” to be writers.  I figured in order to get published, she had to use only intials.  P.L. Travers is indeed a woman–Pamela.  Not sure what the L stands for.  She was a serious journalist and writer who grew up in Austrailia.  She traveled, but eventually settled in London.  (Probably not Number 17 Cherry Lane, like her character’s charges, but I suppose you never do know).

A Little Literacy, Please: Goodnight Moon

By Leslie Lindsay

Seems every parent receives a copy of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, at some point in their parenting journey.  We did.  Wrapped in brown paper packaging was a small board book version of the classic, along with a hand-sewen pillow emblazoned with a moon and stars, “Dear Baby Kate,” the note read.  It was from extended family on my husband’s side of the family.

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We still have the book.  Even though it’s a board book, the last page is torn and repaired by Dr. Mom.  My daughter’s still request it be read on occassion and they always ask about the torn pages.  “Baby Kate did it,” my youngest likes to announce.   She’s right.

We’ve read the book the traditional way–straight through.  We’ve read the book with normal volume of voice at the beginning, getting quieter and quieter until we are whispering at the end.  And we’ve even adapted the book as the girls got older to a more “crude” way of reading, “And the old lady said shut up and go to bed already!”  At 4 1/2 and 6 years, they think it’s hilarious.  (it’s even more fun when we read it sweetly and pop in our crudeness when they least expect it).

So, who cares?!  Scott Simon does.  And he is…?  The NPR Saturday Weekend Edition guy (I had to look it up, too).  I was reading Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book (Roaring Book Press, 2009) again.  Scott Simon (I have listened to the NPR program on Saturday mornings, I just didn’t get the connect with your name, please forgive me) says that he has memories of his mother reading Goodnight Moon to him when he was about 3.  He indicates that the “deliberate, studied, unhurrried tolling of all spots, people, things, and places in the room calms and makes a child feel snug in his or her universe; snug enough to fall asleep.”

I would have to say that Scott Simon is right.  My 4 1/2 year old still requests the book when she feels particularly tired and just needs to be comforted.  Somehow, she miraculously falls asleep.  A magic book?  I don’t think so, but there is something powerful about the moon that gets us all to go to sleep, like the way it brings in the tide.

Goodnight, moon.