Lieve Snellings and Her Beautiful Nature Photography Inspired Picture Books

Lieve Snellings, children's author, wearing glasses and a white turtle neck and dark jacket

My name is Lieve Snellings. I live in Leuven, Belgium. But for the past 11 years, I live about 5 months out of the year in Québec. Once I arrived in Canada, I spent hours, days, weeks to observe and photograph the amazing American wildlife I discovered there.

 

Then, I searched for every bit of information I could find. Watching all these little (and a bit bigger) creatures that visit our backyard and in parks is so relaxing, food for imagination and fun.

Apparently, I have a lot of patience for this nature observation (in Belgium I was/am always busy). I am a professional photographer but did mostly documental journalistic work. In Quebec, a new passion, nature photography, was born.

Inspired by my wildlife images and my godchild’s two little daughters, I started dreaming of writing a picture book. And this is another special story. I think that most (if not almost all) writers start their books with ideas, fantasies which they turn into words and afterward look for illustrations. For me, it was the opposite.

I wanted to make a sort of picture book with Eufrazie, the little American Red Squirrel, and my godchild’s daughters as main characters. I had a vague storyline in mind and wanted to start with my pictures. So I opened my photo library and choose images I could use.

A collection of Lieve Snellings nature photography featuring a woodchuck, a squirrel, several birds and her two god-daughters along with her book cover, Margot Gets An Unexpected Visit

But at that moment snow was melting and Margot the groundhog woke up out of her hibernation. For me that is always an exciting happening, I try to observe her then as much as I can.

 

 

Suddenly she looked me in the eye and she told me ‘NO, your book will not be about Eufrazie. It is about me, Margot the groundhog, you have to tell my story.’

I don’t know how she did this, but the result was that I started to select my woodchuck photos.

And so my books were born, page by page, image by image, and with the photos came the story.

Margot is the main character in both of my books. Little Eufrazie, her cousins the black and grey squirrels Germaine and Philomene and Fiston the little chipmunk got a small supporting role.

I have two books, two stories that take the traditional picture book experience and transform it by replacing illustrations with my own nature photography. The books are written in my mother tongue Dutch and translated into English and French.

Margot Gets An Unexpected Visit by award-winning children's author Lieve Snellings

Margot Gets an Unexpected Visit
A children’s tale where high-quality nature photography meets up with friendship, diversity, fun, education and ice hockey

As all groundhogs, Margot doesn’t like to have others around her. Certainly not humans. But is this also the case when she meets up with two little girls? You’ll find out in this book.
You will also enjoy the unique and touching photo-images of nature in Quebec, and an unpredictable anecdote on the special haircut for ice hockey fans.
age: 5 – 8 year
Asin: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E0FL2HK
Amazon smartly: http://smarturl.it/e7uowx
Universal book link: https://www.books2read.com/u/m2oJNG
ISBN: 978-1532877650

Groundhog Secrets book cover by Lieve Snellings with Readers' Favorite Book Award Seal

Groundhog Secrets – Everything You Always wanted to Know about Woodchucks
Discover the secret world of the groundhog through the eyes of Margot the woodchuck while gaining a close-up view of wildlife in whimsical photo illustrations.

Do you want to know more about the woodchuck? Then this book packed with information about groundhogs (who are also called woodchucks), is for you! Margot the woodchuck reveals all her secrets. She describes how groundhogs are born, what they look like and who is in their family. She talks about how they fill their tummies in summer and autumn, to store fat for the long winter months. Even medical doctors and scientists study the groundhog hibernation. Find out why in this fascinating illustrated book.

Lieve Snellings, award-winning children's author, wearing her Readers' Favorite medal and holding the award-winning book, Groundhog Secrets

This book won a Reader’s Favorite Book Award 2018.

Age: 8 – 11 year
Asin: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071Z35TDB
Amazon smartly: http://smarturl.it/0psllg
Universal book link: https://www.books2read.com/u/m2oJNG
ISBN: 978-1546813033

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Abstract Flamingos – Featured Art Prints

I am sorry that I don’t have a Franky Fun Fact Today, but please enjoy these awesome abstract flamingo pictures brought to you by The Wall Gallery Blog!

thewallgalleryblog

While helping Mom and Dad introduce our granddaughter to animals at the Los Angeles Zoo last fall, the Flamingos caught my attention. I have always loved the look of Flamingos and their coloring. Looking at some of the images I took from a photo shoot, I visualized them in a unique abstract colorful form. I started by drawing the Flamingos in various stages of walking and feeding. I then filled the forms with a variety of vibrant colors. I took those creations and ran them through a digital painting process that creates strong “impasto style” brush stokes. The attached art prints are the resulting images.

Stooped Over Abstract Flamingo

One Step At A Time Abstract Flamingo

Feeding Flamingo In Abstract

Thoughts?

Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $50.00 – free shipping!)

Follow my work:

Facebook: TheWallGallery by Kirt Tisdale. (Page likes are always appreciated!)

Google+: TheWallGallery

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The Enlightenment Adventures by Christopher Locke

Christopher Locke, children's book author, wearing glasses a blue shirt, a tie, and pants with a belt

Hi everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to an author with a wonderful message for both children and adults.

Please welcome Christopher Locke…

We all have things we’re passionate about. My two greatest passions in life are writing and advocating for animals, so I spent years brainstorming different ideas for stories to best combine these two elements. In 2013, I finally came up with my young adult novel series, The Enlightenment Adventures, which takes readers on a captivating journey that educates them about important animal issues.

Persimmon Takes on Humanity by Christopher Locke, book cover

 

The first book, Persimmon Takes On Humanity, follows Persimmon, a clever and compassionate raccoon, who teams up with her loyal forest friends to rescue any creature they see suffering at the hands of humans. What the team doesn’t know is just how rampant this violence really is, and soon their exciting rescue missions turn shockingly dangerous and deadly. The enthralling adventure tracks the courageous critters as they risk their own lives in various precarious situations—on a factory farm, on a fur farm, and in the circus—and challenges readers to examine their own relationship with animals and question what being humane really means.

In the second book, Vincent and The Dissidents, while Persimmon and The Vincent and the Dissidents by Christopher Locke, book coverEnlighteners continue their daring efforts to rescue all animals who are suffering, little do they know that Vincent—the cunning mink who helped the team liberate a fur farm in Book One—has been assembling an army. Vincent and The Dissidents are conducting their own rescue missions, but their violent tactics against humans are quickly leading to catastrophic consequences.

Meanwhile, just as Persimmon and The Enlighteners are mounting their most ambitious rescue so far, a tragic incident alters Persimmon’s life forever and jeopardizes the fate of The Enlighteners.

 

Writing and publishing these books has been a dream come true. I’ve had numerous people write me or tell me in person that the books inspired them to go vegan or that they were already vegan when they read them and the books reinvigorated their activism. That’s the most wonderful response I could receive—to know that these stories are having a real impact to awaken people’s compassion. All of the animal characters in the books represent real animals in the world who are being mistreated by humans. I can’t imagine a better gift than knowing that the books are helping the real Persimmons and Vincents out there.

I am currently working on the third and final book of the series. I’ve grown so close to these characters that it’s sad to be writing their final adventure, but the series has also taken me years to write, so I can’t wait to finish Persimmon’s exciting tale and then move onto the next project!

You can find Christopher’s books at these links below

The Enlightenment Adventures

Persimmon Takes On Humanity

Vincent and The Dissidents

You can connect with Christopher at these links below

Facebook author page

Twitter author page

Thank you, Christopher, for sharing your books with us today.

And thank you, everyone, for stopping in and reading this blog post.

If you liked what you read, please like, comment, and share!!

Who’s In Charge?

Man in suit and tie with finger pointing at you

 

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist. ~

Certified Case Manager

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of the month when we get to hear from our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen!!!

Do you have this issue with your child–sometimes wondering who’s actually in charge?

Read on….

Who’s In Charge?

Parents often describe their child as being out of control. Soon this can become an overall description of their youngsters behavior. It is wise to observe your youngster and identify the specific areas where he or she seems to have difficulty. Self control has three different aspects to consider, impulses, emotions, and movement.

Impulse Control deals with the ability to think before acting. Impulse control on this level provides kids an opportunity to consider alternatives and the possible consequences of their actions. Behaviors exhibited by a child who lacks impulse control include:

 Interrupting others

 Talking too much

 Rushing through tasks

 Beginning homework too close to bedtime

 Inconsistently follows rules

Emotional Control deals with the ability to manage feelings. Emotional control means thinking about goals, creating a realistic plan of action and following through with appropriate behavior. Children who lack emotional control demonstrate these characteristics:

 Easily frustrated

 Give up quickly

 Unable to tolerate correction/criticism

 Difficultly calming self

 Problems completing tasks

 Needs immediate gratification

 Loses temper over minor things

Movement Control deals with bodily movements. Movement control encourages children to regulate their physical actions and reactions in an appropriate manner. Youngsters who lack movement control show:

 Overactive, restless, fidgety behaviors

 Difficulty sitting quietly

 Problems waiting in line or for their turn

 Impulsivity which can be destructive, injurious, or careless

Children need to learn how to regulate themselves in all three areas of control, impulse, emotional, and movement in order to behave appropriately in social situations and gain the respect of others.

# # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends. Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Fun Fact Friday with Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts

Franky the flamingo pictured on a purple background
“While resting, flamingos face the wind. This stops the wind from penetrating their feathers.”

Welcome to Day 17 of Fun Fact Friday.

Franky sponsors Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts. Franky is a beautifully colored flamingo who appears to be a picky eater until he discovers the food that is right for him. His book is called Franky, the Finicky Flamingo and it’s available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Have you ever been outside when it was really windy? It’s hard to stand up sometimes. Those of us that live in Florida know hurricane force winds. Those can be really hard to stand up in. Just notice the weatherman that is out in the winds trying to bring us the latest about the storm while we are all indoors some place far away and safe.

Next time there’s some wind outside (it doesn’t have to be a storm), try standing first facing the wind and then turn away. You might discover why flamingos like to face the wind! 🙂

If you enjoy Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts on Fun Fact Friday feel free to like and share on all your social media channels.

Hugs!

Santiago de Compostela

view of Santiago de Compostela's Chapel from hotel window overlooking other buildings with red terra cotta roofs against a blue cloudless sky

Well, all good things must come to an end, as they say. Unfortunately for my husband and his sister, their walk came to an early end.

A few days ago, they overdid it and wound up getting sunburnt and dehydrated.

The town town they were in didn’t have Powerade or Gatorade so they just drank water.

I was kicking myself for not forcing him to buy the electrolyte tablets that you put in water. I had seen them while we were at REI and asked him if he wanted to take them and he said, “No, we’ll just buy Gatorade.”

Well, see, that wasn’t a good plan!

Because them my sister-in-law started vomiting. I got really concerned because I knew this good go downhill very fast. I texted her husband who called my husband and next thing I know, my husband has called a cab and is taking her to the university hospital.

Thank goodness she recovered with some IV fluids and rest. But, they decided to end their walk.

They took buses/trains to Santiago de Compostela and are just playing tourist for a few days.

They were due to come home on September 29th but yesterday my husband texted that they changed their plane tickets and will be home this Saturday.

While I’m sorry the trip didn’t finish as they had hoped, I’m glad everyone is well. It’s very difficult when someone you love isn’t well and they are so far away.

I have done my fair share of praying for them throughout this trip–mostly that they would have insight and healing, etc. but once I knew they had gotten dehydrated, my prayers changed to focus on them getting well.

I can’t wait to give them both a hug and hear all their stories!

I will share more next Wednesday.

Buen Camino!

Franky Wins Again!

Hi everyone,

I told you I would let you know about the other award that Franky had been nominated for and drum roll, please….

Franky is a Finalist in the 2018 Top Shelf Indie Book Awards!!!!

Here’s the email I received…

Dear Wanda,

We had a staggering 1,023 entries in the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards, and your book Franky the Finicky Flamingo has been selected as a Finalist in the category of Children’s Picture Book (0-5 years)!

Warm Regards,

 

Keith Katsikas

CEO & Publisher

TopShelf Magazine

I’m so excited!!!!!

When I started this journey 4 years ago, I never would have imagined I would be a multi-award winning author. 🏆

I’m humbled and pleased beyond words and for a writer well, that says a lot. LOL

I would not be here except for the people who came along side me and taught me the ropes, encouraged me when I felt like giving up, and those who read my work and gave me feedback, edited, proofread, illustrated, and formatted my books. I love you all! ❤️

And to my fans–thank you so much for reading and reviewing my books and for sharing my books with your friends. And to the teachers and librarians who invited me to speak–thank you so much! 👏

Writing is my passion! Encouraging kids to be the best little humans they can be is my love!

Keep on reading! 📚

Just so you know a little about the judging, here’s what the website says…

“The books are read by a panel of expert judges. Our judges include New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, book and magazine editors, book publishers, Book Designers, and other industry professionals.”

Hugs all!

And Franky the Finicky Flamingo is available on Amazon

And the sequel, Franky the Thirsty Flamingo, is coming out soon!!

Stay tuned for pre-order information.

Fun Fact Friday with Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts

Franky, a flamingo, pictured on a purple background
                                         “Like other birds, flamingos breathe air with lungs.                                               They hold their breath while feeding under water.”

 

Welcome to Day 16 of Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts!

Flamingos are a lot like us using lungs to breathe air. We have to hold our breaths when we go under water too. Can you imagine eating under water while you’re holding your breath?

Thank goodness, we don’t have to do that!

If you enjoyed this fun fact about flamingos, please like and share this post all over social media and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

Hugs!

 

 

Camino de Santiago, what is it?

a brick home with flowers blooming in a flower box out front on a green lawn and two covered siting areas and a blue sky with white clouds skittering across it

 

A couple of years ago, we watched that movie where an older man lived on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and he decided him and his childhood buddy would walk it. I can’t remember the name of it. I’m like that, I just don’t remember details.

Anyhoo, my husband decided he wanted to walk the AT and true to fashion, he read every book on it, watched every YouTube video, bought the backpack, the boots, the walking sticks, the sleeping bag, the poop shovel, etc.

But, then, he actually went on an overnight with some friends up in TN/NC to watch that total eclipse we had last August and well, let’s just say sleeping on a very thin mattress in a very small tent wasn’t his favorite thing.

It’s heck getting old. Maybe when he was younger, he wouldn’t have felt every rock underneath him.

He then heard about the Camino and it piqued his interest. Not only do you not have to carry your own tent and sleeping bag and mattress and poop shovel, you are walking where St. James walked. He was one of the original apostles with Jesus.

The Camino is a Pilgrimage trail and there are places to stay along the way called Alburgues (I may be spelling it wrong). Some are old monasteries. But, these places have beds, showers, a place to wash and hang your laundry, and usually a hearty meal is included in the small price.

The walk begins in several places but my husband and his sister decided to do the one that started in France and go over the Pyrenees mountains. They trained and did all they could in flat ol’ Florida to prepare, but they had no idea what it would actually be like.

They have finished Week 1 of their 250 mile walk. The entire Camino from France is 500 miles. They determined they weren’t going to do all of it, at least not on this trip. They are doing the first part (over the Pyrenees) and the last part (into Santiago).

We have only talked twice because Spain is 6 hours ahead of me and well, I still have to work. By the time I get home, they are fast asleep.

But, I receive many posts and pictures when I wake up in the morning. Something I enjoy waking up to besides my coffee.

I can confidently say that they are having the experience of a lifetime.

The countryside is absolutely beautiful! Untouched, it seems, for the past 1,000 years. They have passed farmers walking their cows or pigs or horses along this path. They have stopped to eat at beautiful places (like the one pictured above).

One place they stopped to eat lunch at actually had pear trees, peach trees, and grape vines and you could pick fresh whatever you wanted to eat. Imagine that! That is truly authentic eating!

Today, he said they overdid it. They walked further than they had been. They must have been feeling strong. But, the son was hot and they got a little burned and overheated.

They are fine. He said they may take tomorrow off. They had built in a couple of rest days.

I will continue to keep you posted on Wednesdays throughout the month of September while they are walking.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I may not know the answer but I can make something up (LOL) or actually ask my husband (who probably does know the answer with all his studying of the Camino and all).

Buen Camino!