Interview with Tal Yanai, Author of Life Is Not a Candy Store, It’s the Way to the Candy Store

Joining us today is Tal Yanai, author of Life Is Not a Candy Store,  It’s the Way to the Candy Store: A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for Teens.

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

I was born In Israel forty-three-years ago. As a struggling student, I was considered a troublemaker in school. In tenth grade I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained my learning difficulties but it did little to ease my frustration with myself and my everyday struggles. I had no mentors I could confide in or look up to. At the age of twenty-three, after moving to the U.S., I was inspirited and started on a spiritual path, which has led me to align myself with my soul’s essence and mission. 

For two years I worked as an historical analyst at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg. As part of my job, I listened every day to testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Many were children or teenagers during WWII and their stories greatly influenced my decision to become involved with educating youth, and I proceeded to get a Teaching Credential in Social Studies. 

Bringing two wonderful children into the world gave me a new sense of urgency to share and teach everything I learned about God and spirituality. Today, I teach Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village, CA, while continuing my quest to explore the road of life and achieve my full potential as a spiritual teacher. WritingLife Is Not a Candy Store, It’s the Way to the Candy Store (the first in many books to come) was a natural step in this direction.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Eighteen years ago, my heart opened to the world where God, love and my soul co-exist in harmony. For the first time in my life I felt emotional and spiritual freedom. It was then that I knew I wanted to tell my story; however, it was only two years ago that I decided to reach an audience by writing a book, sharing my knowledge with others.   

Why did you decide to write stories for the How-to/Parenting market?

Growing up, I lacked important tools to overcome frustration, pain and the feelings I was trapped. Life Is Not a Candy Store is an attempt to provide those tools to teens facing the same situations I faced. I feel that by helping others to find meaning and a purpose for the life they live, I am able to use my painful experience for the good of society. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I am on a journey of rediscovering God and rediscovering myself. When I come across something meaningful, I write about it and share it with the readers. So in a way, my writing is a “journey journal”. This is an exciting journey, and this is what I like most about writing.  In addition, there is nothing more rewarding than hearing from readers how Life Is Not a Candy Store helped them in their lives.

The greatest challenge in writing for teens is to be able to know what is in their heads, what bother them, so I will be able to communicate with them effectively.  

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

Right know I am writing two new books. One is the second in the series of is Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store.  If the first one is for teens, this one will be for young adults and will look at ways spirituality can help dealing with issues YA face.

I am also in the process of writing another book for teens. This one will deal with the subject of happiness and will help teens to find ways of becoming happier.

What inspired you to write it?

What inspired this book is seeing the pain we cause each other when we act in selfish ways, not thinking about the consequences to others and ourselves.  This is true for people in all ages, but as a father and as a teacher it was important for me to pass my message to teens first. And there is another reason I decided to write this book; when I was a teen, I felt frustrated and trapped. But after finding the road to an emotional and spiritual freedom, I decided to “share the news” with teens who feel the same way I felt. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Readers can purchase a copy of Life Is Not a Candy Store on my website,  They can also go to Amazon, Barnes and Nobles on line, as well as many others online book stores.

Where else can readers find you online?

They can also visit my blog, Road Signs at

What is up next for you?

In addition to being a guest on some wonderful blogs such as yours, I’m also doing radio interviews. My hope is that as the book will continue to do well, I will be invited to speak with teens about the issues I raised in the book. And to keep things interesting, I’m in the process of writing two new books.

Do you have anything else to add?

Like anything in life, we give our writing a meaning and a purpose. If we like it or not, we create every moment of every day, so don’t be afraid to create, love, weep, and laugh. And do it for the love you have in your heart for God, yourself and everything else which is life. 

Thank you for spending time with us today, Tal. We wish you the best.

Book Lovers Blog Hop:

Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!

All you have to do is post the Book Lovers Blog Hop and World of Ink Tour Banners below to your blog. Promote the Book Lovers Hop and World of Ink Tours on any social network. Tweet it once a day, share on Facebook and then follow others back that leave you a comment. By joining the Book Lovers Blog Hop, you are automatically entered in our Book Giveaway!  

There will be two (2) winners for this Book Giveaway.   

Note: One book per winner. 

Hop Rules:

1.      Follow the Top link of the hop! Hop Host: Families Matter

       2.      Grab the button for the hop and place it in a post, sidebar, or on a blog hop page and let us know where it is in the comments section below. This will help the hop grow and gain us all new followers. It’s a Win-Win for everyone!

      3.      Grab the buttons for the World of Ink Tours and place it in a post or side bar. Make sure you let us know where it is in the comments section below.

Book Giveaway Rules:

  • Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)

     ·         Follow the World of Ink Tours and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)

  • Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)

 Follow the rest of Tal’s tour at:

August 29th – Book Review & Giveaway 

August 30th

The Book Faery Reviews – Spotlight 

Book Snatchers – Book Review & Giveaway

Peter: Rock Star from Galilee by Sherree Funk

Peter: Rock Star from Galilee is the latest guided Bible study for teens from Sherree Funk.

This eight-week Bible study for teens combines music, Bible learning, and modern-day applications. Each week begins with a playlist of songs that are a mix of contemporary Christian music and traditional hymns. Various aspects of Peter’s life are covered: his calling by Jesus, his stepping out onto the stormy sea, his denial of Jesus after His arrest, the miracles he performed in the name of Jesus, his legacy, and more!

Readers get a preview of the week’s study to help spark initial discussions. There are questions and exercises along the way. The “Chew on This” moments give teens time to consider things like their blessings, while the “Christian Reality Challenge” blurbs cement learning. The “Jam Session” at the end of each week includes questions to get teens thinking about how the Bible applies to them today. Then the replay wraps the week up for them to round out discussions. Also included are maps and historical photos.

As a Sunday school teacher, I am always on the lookout for engaging new materials for our young people. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee definitely has what it takes. With sound Bible learning and music, this Bible study will meet kids where they are today. I’ve already shared it with our youth group leader and she’s excited about it. If you are in youth ministry, you’ll want to take a peek into this one.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:WinePress Publishing
  • ISBN-10:1414119836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414119830
  • SRP:  $16.99

The author paid me to promote this book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Peter: Rock Star from Galilee by Sherree G. Funk

If the New Testament were a Broadway musical, Peter would be one of the stars. He lived life loud, while making his best effort to be one of the best disciples. Peter was like a modern day rock star, but his struggles were just like ours. If Jesus could shape Peter into a solid rock of a disciple, he can surely do the same for you.

From his first call to follow, Peter was acutely aware of his own sinfulness. He wanted Jesus to go away, but ended up following. What makes people push Jesus away today? What makes them decide to follow? These are the kinds of “chew on this” questions you’ll find in Week One of Peter: Rock Star from Galilee.

Music always speaks to a deep place in the heart. Let music accompany your Bible study. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee will guide you through the ups and downs of Peter’s life story with a playlist of songs and hymns paralleling each chapter.

To better understand the feelings Peter had after denying Jesus three times, listen to Josh Wilson’s “Before the Morning.” Feel the love Christ had for all people even as he died by listening to the lyrics of “Amazing Love” by Chris Tomlin. By the end of the eight week study, you will create your own playlist of at least eight songs to bring back all you learned about Peter.

This eight-week study includes:
• Interactive questions for personal study and “chew on this” questions for small group discussion
• Photographs, maps, and informative sidebars for historical and geographical context
• Hands-on mission activities and discipleship challenges to encourage teens’ growing faith

Read an Excerpt!

If the New Testament were a Broadway musical, Peter would be one of the stars. The superstar was Jesus Christ, but Peter would be a rock star. Peter attracted attention by doing outrageous things; he was a “sinful man” by his own admission. Emotional, impetuous, and edgy, Peter spiced up the stories of Jesus. He thought he could be the best disciple, but even his best intentions led to miserable failure. Then following the resurrection, after a special beach breakfast with Jesus, Peter’s career took off. He performed miracles, drew crowds, preached to thousands, got busted by the Pharisees, and broke down the Jew-Gentile barrier. And he did it all for the sake of Jesus. From a rickety fishing boat on Lake Galilee, to the grand courts of Herod’s Temple, to the villages of Joppa and Caesarea, Peter rocked the world around him.

We love Peter as much for his fears and failures as for the times he got it right. If impulsive Peter could become a rock-solid disciple, maybe there is hope for us too. Join me as we explore Peter’s bumpy road to stardom in light of his tight friendship with the God-man, Jesus.

Each week of the Bible study begins with a list of songs whose lyrics pertain to the week’s study. Listen to them if you can. Five days of guided study follow. It works best if you answer the questions on your own before gathering weekly with your small group. And each week ends with a set of discussion questions for your group. Pray that God will speak to you personally as you study.

Before you begin, take time to get to know the others in your study group. Write everyone’s name on the blank page opposite and jot down whatever short prayer each person requests.

Read the Reviews!

“Peter’s impulsiveness and failures make him an easy character for young men and women to relate to. As your students dive into this Bible study I have no doubt that they will be challenged and transformed by the lessons Sherree has assembled here.”

–Jayson Samuels, Co-Founder and Family Pastor, Northbridge Community Church, Cranberry, PA 

Watch the video trailer on Vimeo!


Peter: Rock Star from Galilee Tour Schedule

Monday, August 1st

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Book spotlighted at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Tuesday, August 2nd

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, August 3rd

Guest blogging at Review from Here

Thursday, August 4th

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Friday, August 5th

Book Reviewed at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Monday, August 8th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, August 9th

Book reviewed at Book Journey

Wednesday, August 10th

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, August 11th

Book spotlighted at Called to Youth Ministry

Friday, August 12th

Book spotlighted at Broowaha

Monday, August 15th

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, August 16th

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Thursday, August 18th

Book reviewed at So Many Books..So Little Time

Friday, August 19th

Book reviewed at A Mom After God’s Own Heart

Monday, August 22nd

Book reviewed at Lynn’s Corner

Tuesday, August 23rd

Interviewed at Lynn’s Corner

Wednesday, August 24th

Book reviewed at Books, Products and More!

Thursday, August 25th

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Friday, August 26th

Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag

Well-grounded in biblical Christianity, Sherree G. Funk is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of God’s Word with the next generation. She has earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and holds a Certificate in Christian Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. Sherree leads small groups of teens at Ingomar UMC. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee is her latest release. Her other teen Bible studies are available at

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.)