Interview with Barry Rudner, author of ‘Silent Voice’

Author PictureBarry Rudner has been an author/poet of self-esteem books for children for over thirty years, dealing with universal truths such as, reaching for your dreams, homelessness, undying friendships, disability awareness, always being yourself, autism awareness, hope and utter silliness. He firmly believes that we cannot educate our children unless they feel good about who they are; and ultimately, as they grow up, they will not feel good about themselves unless they educate themselves. Please feel free to visit us at our website at

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

I am a product of an incredible education from my parents. My formal education was a double major in biology and religious studies. I thought I wanted to grow up to become a doctor, but I realized I wanted to grow up and try to answer questions in ways that science cannot. But it is this hybrid of both degrees that gives me a certain insight into the world of children’s literature. In other words, as a scientist, I know the grass is green because the chlorophyl absorbs all the wavelengths of light and reflects the green. But as a children’s author, it is so much more poetic to think that the grass is green because it envies where the children have stepped.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I was in graduate school in the late ’70s trying to earn a Masters degree in neuroanatomy in the hopes of being admitted into medical school. I was at a friend’s house, and he had a room mate who was taking a children’s literature course. On the kitchen table was Shel Silversteins, The Giving Tree. That one moment completely changed the path of my life.I knew that I would spend the rest of my life chasing after what I consider to be the most linear thought ever committed to paper for children. I have been pursuing this goal ever since.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I started writing stories for children because I love the way they think. If I may be so bold to quote Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, “…and such things commonly please us best which are most strange and come from farthest off.” And that in essence is our children. Somehow, in their innocence they understand things that we do not even mean. They are living, breathing allegories. Children are that very thing that “comes from farthest off”.

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

I believe that my life would be much harder if I did not write for children. I believe I understand my audience as well as my craft. Children’s literature is no different than taking a felled tree and stripping it of its bark and limbs and whittling it down to the size of a toothpick; and, right when you think you are done you split it in half. That is children’s literature.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

My favorite part about writing for children, especially thirty-two page picture books is to teach them universal truths without ever dealing with what is real. By definition, that is a fairy tale.  Teaching them to reach for their dreams. Teaching them to be themselves. Teaching them to be aware of the less fortunate. The beauty of truth is that it is multi-cultural and I never have to deal with what is real: only with what is true.

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

The latest book is entitled, Silent Voice, and it is a modern day allegory about autism awareness: that the only ought in autism is that we ought not ever give up trying to find the cause and cure. The majority of the world population is not even aware of the pandemic nature of this disorder. But the book is not about finger pointing or blame. It is about educating those who are simply unaware.

What inspired you to write it?

Last year in March I was speaking to a dear friend, Nicole Albert, a licensed therapist, who approached me about writing a book about the lack of awareness of those children that fall under the spectrum of autism: worldwide one in eighty-eight suffer from this disorder. It is a staggering number when you consider the statistics. I simply felt that it needed to be addressed. After three months of researching, I started the process of rewriting.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Silent Voice can be purchased online at our website at in a variety of electronic formats as well as a hardcover version of the book. Our hope is that the book version will become a part of bookshelves everywhere.

What is up next for you?

For an author, even a barely-an-author-type like myself, all that matters is to rewrite a book that is worthier than the one that proceeded it.

Do you have anything else to add?

It took almost eleven years to become published. For anyone aspiring to become an author, do not take rejection personally. Take it as a complement. It means your work is being circulated. You are looking for that one editor who is searching for that very manuscript you have written. Case in point: I once met the editor at a symposium who rejected Richard Bach’s, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, because their was no mass market appeal for it. Need I say more.

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


Interview with Alyson Flippo, author of ‘Addie B. Strong – I Am So Strong’

Alyson_Headshot_01_300dpi-244x300Alyson Flippo is the mother of two children. When she gave birth to her daughter at age 44, she had experienced enough of the challenges placed on young girls to cause her great concern. She has related that she would lie in bed each night and worry about how to prepare her daughter for the array of challenges that lay ahead. It was during those long nights that she realized the world needed to begin sending more positive messages to our girls as soon as they enter this world so they can develop the strength needed to fend off the often negative messages received from the media and other sources. Her book was inspired by her desire to remind each and every reader of their vast potential – the strength that comes from within.

Determined to do something to try to make a difference for all of our young girls of today, the character and story of Addie B. Strong is her way of helping our girls focus on their strength and self-worth, instead of more superficial characteristics.

Ms. Flippo grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, and graduated from New Jersey’s Ramapo State College with a degree in business administration. Thereafter she studied at The New School for Social Research in New York City. Prior to her writing career, she spent 20 years as a paralegal at several East Coast law firms where she spent much time writing legal briefs. She currently lives in South Florida with her husband and children, and is working to develop a line of Addie B. Strong books.

Website Address: 

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

I am an only child, married to a wonderful man for almost 20 years, and mom of two amazing children, ages 13 and 4.  My second child, a daughter, came as a surprise late in life. Since my firstborn was a boy, I had no experience in raising a girl and was truly petrified by the thought of it. I worried during the entire term of my pregnancy about how she was going to navigate through all of the challenges that come with growing up.  I wanted to be able to empower her with the strength and self-worth that I was not able to find until I was well into adulthood.  I wanted to make her strong so she would be able combat all of the negative messages she would surely be exposed to. I wanted her to feel comfortable and happy just by being her authentic self.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I started making infant and toddler clothing that had images of this character (now named Addie B. Strong), and having positive messages written on them, like “Spread The Love,” “Move Mountains,” “Defy Gravity.”  In selling the clothing I would find myself 1having long conversations with people about how I wanted to begin empowering our young girls at a very early and impressionable age.  After having a hundred or so of these conversations, I realized I had a story to tell and a message to send, and that is when I knew it was time to write.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

Again, for me it is about reaching out to our kids as early as we can to provide positive messages of self-worth.  It is so difficult for them to grow up in this world of unrealistic expectations and impossible requirements that I wanted to start getting these positive messages resonating inside of them as soon as possible.

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

No, I believe it is easier.  They are not yet judgmental and rigid as adults. They are like little mounds of clay taking on their own unique shape and are so open and honest.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

Being able to inspire and influence someone so young and helping to develop their sense of positive self-esteem is the greatest joy for me.

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

Addie B. Strong – I Am So Strong is the first in a series.  It is about a little girl who discovers that it is not what you have or look like but who you are inside that really counts.

What inspired you to write it?

My own daughter was the original ”inspiration” for the book but really I want to reach out to all of our young children to help them to believe in themselves and be happy with who they are.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The individual book and book and doll combination package is available at select Learning Express stores, and the individual book will be available at select Books-A-Million locations in the upcoming months.  Both products are also available for purchase on Amazon and through our website at

What is up next for you?

I am actually in the midst of writing a second story in the Addie B. Strong series, and am developing a boy character to spin off and give a life of his own.

Do you have anything else to add?

I just wanted to mention that just as Addie is embarking on her journey, this is a journey for me as well.  I have waited all my life to do something that I consider meaningful and to contribute something positive and special to the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the strong women who I have met during this venture and who have become involved in helping to spread this message because they truly believe in it.  I hope to continue to grow, and, in the words of Addie, “Spread The Love.”

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

Thank you!

Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E. by S. Dodson

A book meant to inspire, motivate, and transform young women is what you’ll find in Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E. by S. Dodson.

Alarmed by so many teens committing suicide after being bullied, Dodson wrote a book to show teens they can overcome any problem that comes their way. From being bullied to peer pressure, from accepting your body image to loving yourself, from owning your future to achieving success and more, young women will get advice on how they can have a L.O.V. E. (Loud Outstanding Voice (that)Echoes).

While I think the book would have been more powerful if it had opened with real teens telling their stories instead of those stories being relayed by the author, Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E. has a lot to offer. It gets teens thinking, and that’s a good start. It’s a short book filled with tons of useful advice that is shared in a style that teens will appreciate. Dodson doesn’t talk down to her audience. She shoots straight with them and meets them where they are.

I’m going to hold onto this copy for when my girls are old enough to read it.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Paperback:164 pages
  • Publisher:Mahogney Ink Publications (June 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10:0982795025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982795026
  • SRP:  $10.95

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

Girlforce by Nikki Goldstein

GirlForce-coverYoung women who read CosmoGIRL, Teen Vogue, Seventeen and Girls’ Life will feel right at home in between the pages of Nikki Goldstein’s new book Girlforce: A Girl’s Guide to the Body and Soul.

Basing her book upon India’s ancient medical system, Ayurveda, which according to Goldstein offers a complete system of living, the author has modernized this ancient system and made it applicable to young women and the situations they are dealing with on a daily basis. Proving her knowledge of the age-group, Goldstein includes quizzes similar to those found in popular teen magazines, which allow the reader to figure out which Body Type she is, how much stress she is under and where she is on the self-esteem meter.

The colorful front and back cover, color photographs and appealing inside design will certainly attract teens to this book and encourage them to read more.

The basic advice found in Girlforce is all stuff we’ve heard before: be happy with who you are, eat right, exercise, and take care of yourself. It encourages yoga and meditation as ways to relax, which are parts of Ayruveda. What Goldstein, does however, is create Body Type specific applications for diet, exercise, stress management, fashion, and beauty techniques.

I have to admit, while I found most of the advice in this book to be helpful for young women, I did have a few challenges as I read it.

The first is that while it does tell the reader over and again how much she should appreciate who she is, most of the photos show girls who look more like professional models than average teens. In addition, Earth girls are said to be “curvaceous” and “…tend to put on weight around the hips and butt.” None of the girls photographed for Girlforce look like that.

As with all general quizzes, you tend to find yourself not always able to locate the right answer for you, so you end up choosing the best answer of those available, even when none of them truly apply. This can skew the results. And for those who don’t land completely in one Body Type, it can be challenging to know which Body Type specific advice to follow because different Body Types, according to this book, should avoid certain things or use them moderately, whereas others should use them more liberally.

This reader would have liked to have seen a bit more information on how certain foods interact with specific Body Types and meditation, along with a few more examples of creative visualization.

Girlforce interested me enough that I wandered out to do a bit of additional research about Ayurveda. What I found at is that this philosophy believes “…the entire cosmos is the interplay of the energies of the five great elements–Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.” Why the other two elements are not included in Girlforce, is not explained.

Overall, Girlforce by Nikki Goldstein will appeal to its target market. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management are good for everyone, not just teens. By encouraging young women to get into this type of daily routine earlier in life, they will have an advantage over those who wait until they are much older to make such lifestyle changes.

Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
  • ISBN-10: 1599903547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903545
  • SRP:  $14.99 (U.S.)