Interview with Anita Banks, author of Tanner Builds a Block Tower

AnitaAnita Banks has lived in Alabama since she was six years old, she raised three children and has  four grandchildren. They are the inspiration for her writing. She likes the adventures and escapes that stories allow you to explore and the myriad of emotions you feel. Anita loves to travel, read and has recently started running.

Thank you for joining us today, Anita. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Thank you for having me here. I am a new author with my first picture book titled, Tanner Builds a Block Tower. I am excited as puppy with a new toy. I am a wife, mother, grandmother. My favorite new activity is running, I started because I needed to get some activity from sitting in a chair for more than nine hours for my day job. I started two years ago, and have found the running community where I live to be a great group of people that are passionate about the sport and are supportive of new runners. I started with a training program to run a 5k and have progressed to three half marathons so far. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

          I have loved reading since my introduction to Dick and Jane and Dr. Seuss. I am constantly reading something all the time. When I was in  junior high school, I had a creative writing class. That was when the writing bug stung me. But when family and life took over, I put the dream aside and just occasionally thought of it.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

          Probably for the simple joy children’s books give to a reader. I enjoy reading to children and seeing their smiles and their happiness in asking you to read to them. I wanted to contribute to  that happiness. And it’s fun.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

         I personally have nothing to compare it to, yet. Maybe I will give another genre a try someday. The other writing I do is journaling for myself.

Anita 2What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

          I like the writing, I like putting the words to paper, or rather the screen. They have to be edited  quite a bit before I’m done. But seeing the story unfold on the screen is probably my favorite part.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Tanner Builds a Block Tower is about a little boy who is determined to build a tower with his blocks. But on the way to his destination he get distracted by different animals and insects. He  also loses some of his blocks. So he has to find them to finish what he started. Determination and perseverance is the theme.

What inspired you to write it?

          The inspiration for this book, was my grandson, Tanner. On a visit when he was about three        years old, he loved to play with his building blocks and build towers, over and over. He was fascinated with this repetitive play. We also went on numerous walks, he loved to explore the outdoors, and still does. So it seemed a natural fit to combine the two activities.  

What is up next for you?

I am shopping out two more picture books, and writing a chapter book right now.

Do you have anything else to add?

          Thank you so much for having me. I hope you enjoy my book.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Anita. We wish you much success.


I Want A Pet by Cathy Morrison

petWhen a little boy decides he wants a pet, he knows not any pet will do. But maybe the best pet is right under his nose the whole time.

Author/illustrator Cathy Morrison brings this adorable rhyming story about pets to life with her lyrical prose and charming artwork. The little boy visits the zoo expecting to find the perfect pet, but soon discovers the giraffe is too high and the moles are too low. On he goes through the zoo, until he stumbles upon just the pet for him in an unexpected place.

Morrison gets right to the heart of a child with this one. Kids and pets go hand in hand. I Want A Pet celebrates that relationship in a wonderful way. With silly moles and a swift cheetah, along with other zoo animals drawn to perfection by Morrison’s accomplished hand, this book will be one your child reads time and again. The illustration on the last page is perhaps the best.

I Want A Pet would make a great gift for your little animal lover.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158925113X
ISBN-13: 978-1589251137

SRP: $12.95

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep by Kathy Stemke


Welcoming a new sibling isn’t always easy. Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep by Kathy Stemke is sure to help.

Zachary isn’t always fond of his baby sister, Layla. Everything is always about her. But when Zachary puts on his special black-framed glasses, he can do anything. He turns into a superhero who can protect his sister from anything.

I love this book! It’s delightful. It’s fun. And it teaches kids about consonant blends. This is Stemke’s second children’s book, the first with Guardian Angel Publishing.  Proving its commitment to entertaining and educating children, Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep is the perfect addition to GAP’s Academic Wings line. Readers are treated to an engaging story that helps them deal with introducing a new sibling into the house, while getting a chance to improve their reading skills.

Jack Foster provided the artwork for this one. I’m a huge Foster fan. I have loved everything he has ever done, and Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep is no exception. His use of bold colors attracts young readers. The green in the leaves is so deep, you would swear they were real. The eyes on the characters also have a distinctive shape. All I have to do is look at a character’s eyes to know that Foster worked on a book.

Included at the end of Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep is a Teacher Supplement with questions, a song, games, and other fun activities.

All summer reading should be this fun!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-10:1616331569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616331566
  • SRP:  $10.95

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Nimby by Jasper Tomkins

Young hearts and minds will enjoy this re-issue of Jasper Tomkins’ beloved Nimby. Nimby is a creative cloud who would slid over mountain tops and turn into numerous fantastic shapes. But the old clouds found Nimby’s playfulness a bit too much and he sailed off alone. He went many places, but soon discovers a magical island with which to play.

This classic story of friendship and acceptance will delight your child, ages 4 – 8. Originally published in 1982, Nimby has been reissued by Green Tiger Press, a division of Laughing Elephant Books.  This charming story and Tompkins’ adorable illustrations make this book the perfect gift for the special child in your life. Its compact size makes it perfect for little hands to clasp, and the glossy pages filled with easily read text will encourage your child to pick this book up time and again.

You certainly can’t go wrong if you buy this one!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Green Tiger Press
  • ISBN-10: 1595834281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595834287
  • SRP:  $15.95

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    Author Spotlight: Babysitting SugarPaw by VS Grenier

    A little bear named SugarPaw hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers, by getting her into trouble after making changes to his rules chart. As this fun loving story unfolds, SugarPaw learns about honesty and friendship.

    This book will delight three-to-eight-year-old readers, especially those who like to create mischief.

    Read an Excerpt!

    Bonnie Whiskers never babysat for the Bears before. Hearing SugarPaw cry out, “Don’t go!” made her worry. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

    Praise for Babysitting SugarPaw!

    “Children will love to read about the mischievous antics of SugarPaw, who doesn’t want to be babysat. Will Bonnie, a first-time babysitter, be able to keep SugarPaw out of mischief until his parents return? Bonnie Whiskers finds she is up to the task, teaching SugarPaw about patience along the way. Sweet illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier perfectly capture Bonnie’s babysitting challenges.”

    –Donna Shepherd, author of the award-winning Topsy Turvy Tale series

    “Along with the colorful illustrations of Kevin Scott Collier, VS Grenier brings to life a first-time babysitter’s apprehension and mixes in the high jinxes of SugarPaw into a delightful story of acceptance and understanding. Your personal copy of Babysitting SugarPaw will surely become worn out from reading it many times over.”

    –Donna McDine, award-winning author of The Golden Pathway

    “I recommend the book for parents, children, and everyone who enjoys a good laugh and a little bear with a big heart.”

    –Beverly Stowe McClure, author of Rebel in Blue Jeans, Just Breeze, and Cannons, Caves, and Crinolines

    Follow the Babysitting SugarPaw virtual book tour!

    Tuesday, December 7

    Guest blogging at Life in the First Draft

    Book reviewed at The Phantom Paragrapher

    Wednesday, December 8

    Book reviewed at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

    Book reviewed at Review from Here

    Thursday, December 9

    Book reviewed and giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews

    Friday, December 10

    Author interviewed at The Hot Author Report

    Guest blogging at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

    Monday, December 13

    Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

    Tuesday, December 14

    Book reviewed at Book Reviews by Molly

    Wednesday, December 15

    Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books

    Thursday, December 16

    Book reviewed and giveaway at Candid, Clever & Cost-Effective

    Friday, December 17

    Book reviewed Ohio Girl Talks


    VS Grenier is an award-winning author and editor who learned how to hone her writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature, and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI), the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), the League of Utah Writers (HWG chapter), and Musing Our Children. Her works include Babysitting SugarPaw, the Best of Stories for Children Magazine Volume 1 anthology and over 30 short stories, articles, and crafts for children along with newsletter articles for writers.

    “Having others read what you have written and giving feedback not only makes you a better writer, but you start to understand how a well written story’s voice captures the reader . . . drawing them into your world of ink,” states VS Grenier.

    She is the Founder & Owner of Stories for Children Publishing LLC., and also is a freelance editor for Halo Publishing; in addition, to running her own editorial and critique services. A California girl at heart, she currently lives in Utah with her husband, their three children, and the family’s big fat cat Speed Bump and miniature schnauzer Taz.

    You can learn more about VS Grenier at her author website or her company website You can also follow her on The Writing Mama at