Thursday, May 28, 2009

Presentation with Greg Mortenson Tonight!!


Join us tonight at the 92nd St Y in NYC for a presentation with Greg Mortenson and his organization- Pennies for Peace. We are honored to be a part of recognizing Greg and all of his amazing accomplishments to initiate peace through education around the globe!

Greg is also being considered for the Nobel Peace prize. For more information about this event, visit- www.MomsChoiceAwards.com.

It's not too late to attend this exciting event!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Special Event with Greg Mortenson


Peace Through Education
A special event featuring Greg Mortenson
Nobel Prize candidate and
#1 New York Times bestselling author of
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time
Thursday, May 28th @ 7PM
New York City

Across America, people are lining up to hear Greg Mortenson recount the journey that led him from a failed 1993 attempt to climb Pakistan's K2, the world's second highest mountain, to successfully establish schools in some of the most remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mortenson combines his unique background with his intimate knowledge of the third-world to promote peace
with books and successfully bring education and hope to remote communities in central Asia.

Mr. Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time, has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for more than 120 weeks and is currently #1. It is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring true story of how one man really is changing the world one school at a time.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to meet one of the greatest humanitarians
of our time!

Learn more about the event and get tickets >>>
http://www.momschoiceawards.com/EventGuide.php

Read more about Mr. Mortenson's work in Entro, The Mom's Choice Awards Magazine >>>
http://www.momschoiceawards.com/documents/Entro%202009%20Greg%20Mortenson.pdf

Attending BookExpo America?
Greg Mortenson will make a special appearance in the Mom's Choice Awards booth (#345) on Friday, May 29th from 10AM until Noon. Fox News will be on
hand to cover the presentation of the Mom's Choice Award.
Please plan to stop by!

Watch Fox & Friends
Set your DVR's! You won't want to miss Alisyn Camerota's special segment on
Greg Mortenson scheduled to air on Fox & Friends, Saturday, May 30th.

Interview with 2009 Honoree Jeanette Ramnarine


I had the honor of interviewing author Jeanette Ramnarine who has a fabulous children's picture book called “The 4 Little Pigs,” a financial values book for children (where was this when I was younger :o)

Jeanette and her husband own the company Four Piggies Publishing and they reside in Belleville, Ontario which is a city located halfway between Toronto and Ottawa (love both cities!) Jeanette and her husband have been married for 10 years and they have a 6 year old son named Caleb and a 5 year old daughter named Maya. Here are some of the questions I asked Jeanette about her book.

Tara: What was the inspiration for your product?

Jeanette: My book was inspired by my children Caleb and Maya. Teaching them financial responsibility from a young age was something that my husband and I had always planned to do. When we started giving my son an allowance we divided it between four piggy banks named Spending (pocket money), Saving (for a bigger purchase), Sharing (to be used to help society) and Schooling (savings for post-secondary education) we thought the information could be useful to other families and the result is “The 4 Little Pigs” (a financial values book for children).

Tara: Jeanette, what an incredible concept! I have one child who loves to save his money, but another one who spends it faster than he can hold onto it. What a great way to teach children financial discipline (especially with the way things are today!)

When did you first come up with your idea?

Jeanette: I came up with the idea of giving my children an allowance divided between four piggy banks before they were even born. I remember seeing an Oprah show talking about the Save, Spend, Share concept and being a teacher and knowing the high cost of post-secondary education added Schooling as a way to have children start saving and thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.

Tara: Did you have an aha moment; was it inspired by something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

Jeanette: The idea to write the story as a children’s book came from a conversation with our financial planner. I told her that we had started giving Caleb an allowance and how we were dividing it between four piggy banks. I wanted to share the idea with other parents and was looking into having the four piggy banks created. Our financial planner suggested that I write the story as a children’s book and later add the four piggy banks for sale along with the book which is the path we decided to take.

Tara: What a great idea and unique in an impactful way.

Who would you say has been your greatest source of support; why?

Jeanette: My greatest source of support is my husband Richards. He has always given me the freedom to explore new ideas and encouraged my creativity even if he doesn’t always fully understand the “big picture” that I see. He has always believed in me and allowed me the opportunity to explore my dreams.

Tara: I have said this before, but I will say it again. How wonderful it is to have the support of our husbands.. it is truly a great time we are living in!

If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

Jeanette: My one piece of advice would be to follow the dreams of your childhood and go after what you believe in. That’s where you truly find success.

Tara: You bet!

What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

Jeanette: We were ecstatic when we found out that we won a Mom’s Choice Award. To be recognized as one of the best in family friendly products has opened doors to allow us to explore opportunities in expanding our company Four Piggies Publishing and the financial education of children through “the 4 piggies concept”.

Tara: Jeanette, this is wonderful. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your concept and the inspiration you offer to parents and their children. Such a neat idea!

What are your future plans; what’s next for you as an author?

Jeanette: I am currently working on the next book in “the four piggies” series which is due out in Spring 2010. The book will be geared towards children ages 6 – 10 and is a chapter book. I have been in contact with some philanthropic organizations in terms of the “sharing” piggy bank and looking at ideas where children can help in making the world a better place. I also would like to get more involved in talking about “the 4 piggies concept” with the media so that we can reach a wider audience across North America. I plan on giving more presentations of “The 4 Little Pigs” in its digital format on the big screen to children within the school system. I have been exploring the idea of having “The 4 Little Pigs” created into a children’s cartoon series to give children the opportunity to think about how they would use money to Spend, Save, Share, and put some away for School so they could follow their dreams when they get older. Now that we sell the four piggy banks named Spending, Saving, Sharing and Schooling on our website along with the book we would also like to look into marketing them as a package in retail stores.

Tara: Great ideas.. keep them coming. I have no doubt this will be a huge success. Your passion is undeniable!

Will you be attending Book Expo in NYC this year?

Jeanette: Yes, I am very excited about attending Book Expo in NYC this year. I am scheduled for an author signing and looking forward to my interview with MCA founder Tara Paterson. My husband and I will be volunteering some time to help out at the Mom’s Choice Awards booth and will be looking for opportunities to expand Four Piggies Publishing further into the North American market.

Oh hey, that's me! Yes I look forward to my interview with you as well. Great job and can't wait to see you later this week.

Stay tuned for our next interview with author Rosemary Serluca.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Interview with 2009 Honoree Bonnie Wayne


This week I interviewed author Bonnie A. Wayne. Bonnie writes concept books for children which include- Counting with Bella and Finny, Shapes with Bella and Finny, Colors with Bella and Finny and Opposites with Bella and Finny. Her Adventures of Bella and Finny Series won a 2009 Mom's Choice Award.

Bonnie resides in Clifton Park, NY and has been married to her wonderful husband, Tom for 30 years. They have 2 beautiful daughters Tiffany Wayne, Taryn Wayne Shelton and a son-in-law, Scott Shelton. The stars of her books are Bella and Finny, her 2 standard poodles. I asked Bonnie some questions about her series of books and the inspiration behind them. Here's what she said.

Tara: What was the inspiration for your books?

Bonnie: My love for children and to make learning fun through humorous photographs of Bella and Finny.

Tara: One thing I know about children, they love animals!

When did you first come up with your idea?

Bonnie: The very first time I thought about it was in 2004. The first book was on sale January 2006.

Tara: It's amazing how quickly ideas can manifest into reality. How fantastic!

Did you have an aha moment; was it inspired by something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

Bonnie: My aha came while I was laying in bed one morning. I was thinking.... what can I do with these funny pictures of my dogs? Why not turn them into a learning tool for children! Take a new approach to teaching basic concepts!

Tara: Who is your greatest source of support; why?

Bonnie: My Faith, "Everything is possible for him who believes." My Family, their belief in me and their constant love and encouragement.

Tara: If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

Bonnie: You must be passionately in love with what you do and the rest will follow.

Tara: I couldn't agree more. Passion definitely brings out the most creative inspiration and gives it the energy to continue even after you've moved onto something else.

What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

Bonnie: It has been a validation of all my work. I am so honored and humbled. I look forward to all the possibilities that this award will bring.

Tara: We are honored you feel this validates your work. You are the real validation of your work through your efforts and faith. We just acknowledge your accomplishment :o)

What are your future plans; what’s next for you as an author/ teacher?

Bonnie: I want to bring The Adventures of Bella and Finny Series to mainstream publishing along with all the marketing possibilities.

Bonnie, I wish you continued success with your book series' and look forward to our interview at Book Expo. For more information about Bonnie's books visit- www.BellaandFinny.com

Our next interview will be with Honoree Jeanette Ramnarine author and creator of the Four Pigs.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2009 Honoree Interview with Joanne King


I had another special opportunity to interview Joanne King, creator of the Answers CD ROM, a guided journal from parents to their children. Joanne's company is Besoga Dreams, LLC located in Lutz, Florida (a lot of floridians in these interviews...LOL).

Joanne has three beautiful, bright girls; Isabella 7, Sophia 4, Gabriella 4 and a wonderful, caring husband Michael. Her husband Michael, is an accomplished artist who creates home d├ęcor artwork, which is transformed into print form and is sold in fine home stores both nationally and internationally. I love when I have the opportunity to connect with bonded families such as these and here is where our conversation took us.

Tara: What was the inspiration for your CD- Answers?

Joanne: Once I had children, my entire life changed. I realized the tremendous responsibility being a parent brings into our life. Nothing could have prepared me for the depth of unconditional love that would fill my heart. I became so aware of how important my role was going to be in shaping these amazing girls, into the women they would one day become. I knew it wouldn’t be enough to just hope I would always be there throughout their lives. I had to be sure I would. That’s when I took writing personal journals to the next level, by creating Answers.

Tara: Your words touch my heart. I could not be more aligned with your parenting method... thank you for your intuitive awareness.

When did you first come up with your idea?

Joanne: I came up with the idea soon after my first daughter Isabella was born. She is seven years old.

Tara: Wow, sounds very similar to my experience. I really began to reflect after the birth of my oldest son too.

So would you say you had an aha moment; something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

Joanne: I absolutely had an “aha” moment. I had the idea for Answers for several years. I did a charity walk-on role for NBC’s SCRUBS. I spent the day with Angela Nissel, who is the head writer for the TV show. After I became comfortable with her, I told her my idea for Answers. She looked at me and said, “That’s a good one”. That was my first boost of confidence to believe in my idea.

I started writing an outline, but I was very busy being a new mom to our identical twins. Then the next “aha” moment made me stop and get busy. My husband had a high school friend, whose wife died suddenly. She had asked her older son to drive their car around and pick her up. The older son allowed the youngest son to drive the car. He ran over his mother and she died. After I heard that story, I cried for a long time. I didn’t know that woman, but I felt responsible for not making Answers available sooner. All I could think was how would that little boy ever know how much his mother loved him? If she could talk to him, she would probably want to fill his heart with all things I had planned to have in Answers. I knew I needed to be committed, so I could give other children the opportunity to never be left without their parent’s unconditional love and guidance.

Tara: Joanne, your story is so touching. I always marvel at how people come to their creative place. One of the main reasons for the Mom's Choice Awards' was to give stories like this their proper place among the other products out there. A place for heartfelt stories to be showcased. This is certainly one of the most amazing!

Who is your greatest source of support; why?

Joanne: My greatest source of support is God. He inspires me to write and to keep trying. God has helped me through the darkest moments of paralysis and brought me to incredibly lighter moments of love and family. Without a doubt, He has been there to hold me and inspire me to help others through Answers.

It is only fair to also mention my husband. Without his help, Answers would still be an idea in my mind. He has been there every step of the way, by helping with our children, our home and boosting my confidence. I am extremely blessed to have such a caring man by my side.

Tara: Amen sister! In my book, my dedication is to my husband for standing by me; to be strong and yet sensitive enough to allow my light to shine. It's so nice to see more men becoming comfortable in their sensitive role... attractive too :o)

If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

Joanne: It takes commitment. Not just a commitment to the idea, but a commitment to your belief, your idea’s success. The road to public awareness is like planting a tree. As it grows, you travel down new creative branches of inspiration. There are so many different avenues to explore. You grow and learn, just as the tree grows. Through each venture you learn more about yourself and this industry. A tree doesn’t grow overnight. It takes a while. It needs care, but it can weather a storm and the winter, until it reaches the spring! The same is true with writing, believe, learn and be patient.

Tara: Excellent advice and a great metaphor.

What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

Joanne: A Mom’s Choice Award is a tremendous honor. There are a lot of closed doors in this industry. It is wonderful to have a product you believe in, but it’s not enough. The Mom’s Choice Awards gave me inspiration. They gave me opportunity to join the IBPA, to receive a Dove Foundation’s seal of approval and tons of marketing opportunities. They offered a belief in what I had created. Those are priceless gifts to an author.

Tara: Stories like these are the one's that should be recognized. Let's face it, there is a lot of garbage out there that receives tons of exposure because someone has money to buy it. I believe the future of all business will be based on the heart that drives it, not money. (my soap box anyway :o)

What are your future plans; what’s next for you as an author/ creator?

Joanne: We are still knocking on doors and trying to make Answers a household name. As soon as people hear about Answers, they love the idea. There are many parents out there that need Answers, not only for their children’s future, but as a comfort though illness. Our goal is to continue to try to make people aware of that Answers is available and to give parents the opportunity to always be by their child’s side.

Tara: Anything you would like to add?

Joanne: I would love to add that EVERYONE at the Mom’s Choice Awards have been wonderful! They are always bright, energetic and eager to help in any way they can. It is greatly appreciated and noticed!
Thank you so much for this award and your ongoing effort to help your recipients shine!

Thank you Joanne! Visit Joanne's web site- http://www.joannecking.com for more information about her Answers CD ROM.

Join us next time for an interview with author Bonnie Wayne.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interview with 2009 Honoree Susan Heim


I recently interviewed 2009 Mom's Choice honoree Susan Heim, author of Boosting Your Baby’s Brain Power. Susan is an author and editor and resides in Florida with her husband Mike and four sons (whew..I have four, but I always said if I had more than my two oldest boys I would have had to reconsider...LOL).

Her oldest son is a college student with a high school student following closely behind, but imagine this- twin kindergartners!! Wow Susan, how do you do it? I had an opportunity to ask Susan some questions, and here is what she had to say.

Tara: What was the inspiration for your book?

Susan: Like most “mom authors,” I’d have to say that my children were the inspiration for this book and all the parenting books I write. To watch their intelligence and talents develop and blossom is utterly fascinating. And I love to share these wonders with other parents.

Tara: Susan, I can totally relate. My parenting book is based on my journey with my children too. It is SO fascinating to take the knowledge they teach us and turn it into guidance for others.

When would you say you first came up with your idea?

Susan: In 2007, Holly Engel-Smothers – an educator, mother of twins and contributor to some of my books – contacted me with an idea about doing a book about baby brain development for parents. She had noticed in the course of her research that most books of this kind were for educators and medical professionals, so we teamed up to write a book for parents.

Tara: Something else we share in common. It's wonderful when you can relate so closely with another person that the knowledge you share becomes twice as impactful.

Did you have an aha moment; was it inspired by something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

Susan: When Holly and I started taking a closer look at intelligence in children, we were astounded at the complexity of a baby’s brain. We just knew that most people didn’t know, for example, that all the neurons in a baby’s brain would stretch for 62,000 miles if placed end-to-end. Or that parents can play an important role in helping those neurons to connect for optimum brain function. We became inspired to get that crucial information out to parents.

Tara: Ah, ho. What an amazing discovery for you to share with other parents. When I took my infant daughter for a well check up, I asked our doctor when he started babies on food. Our doctor is a holistic practitioner and shared that the way he was going to have us introduce foods to her would be different than most. We are not going to use cereals and will begin by introducing the bitter vegtables. The reason for this is the imprint it will have on her brain. When parents start with sweeter fruits and vegtables it sends messages to the brain that can later translate to impulses for sugar...

Who is your greatest source of support; why?

Susan: My faith is my greatest source of support and strength. The more I turn my worries and fears over to God, the more open doors I find.

Tara: Wonderful how when we get out of the way, things become more clear and effortless.

If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

Susan: Be persistent. If you want to be a writer, you’ll face a lot of rejection. Develop a tough skin and keep going. The first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was rejected by more than 40 publishers, and it’s now a worldwide sensation because the authors believed in their product and didn’t give up.

Tara: I believe when you work from your heart, it will happen regardless of what the outside world says.

What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

Susan: Mom’s Choice Awards are the best-known and most reputable awards in the parenting field. I proudly display these awards on my books. It gives them distinction as high-quality and valuable resources for parents.

Tara: Love to hear that :o)

What are your future plans; what’s next for you as an author?

Susan: As an author, I will continue to write more books! In early 2009, my book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More, was published. This fall, Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family and Moms of Multiples’ Devotions to Go will be coming out. I’m very excited about these new projects!

Tara: Congratulations, we will definitely have to keep an eye out for your upcoming Chicken Soup books.

Anything you would like to add?

Susan: Please visit my blog, Susan Heim on Parenting, at http://susanheim.blogspot.com, where I share parenting advice, product reviews and giveaways!

Thanks Susan and good luck with all of your future endeavors!

Stay tuned as we talk next time with author Joanne King.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mom's Choice Awards Presents Greg Mortenson


General Details:
Thursday, May 28th @ 7PM
Kaufman Concert Hall
(92nd Street YMCA)
Lexington Avenue & 92nd Street
New York City

Program Overview
A 90 minute multimedia presentation given by
Mr. Mortenson followed by Q&A and a booksigning.

A Special Gift
All attendees will receive a copy of Mr. Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea. Attendees may select from the original adult version or the recently released young reader's version.

Read about Greg's work in Entro Magazine.

Everywhere Greg Mortenson goes, people line up to hear his simple message about how to change the world. Standing-room-only crowds have become a trend for Greg Mortenson since the publication of Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time.

Don’t miss his engaging multimedia presentation featuring:

  • Education as a key to promoting peace, empowering women, supporting economic growth and fighting terrorism.

  • How the government, the military and the school system can secure a better future for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  • What we can learn: Cross-cultural lessons from rural Pakistan and Afghanistan

    Ticket Information
    Three types of tickets are available: General Admission, VIP Admission and Student Admission.

    For more information about tickets and details, visit http://www.momschoiceawards.com/EventGuide.php

    **Photo courtesy of Harvard University

  • Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Interview with 2009 Honoree Chariss Walker


    This past week I had the privilege of interviewing Chariss Walker, author of the book- Make a Joyful Noise: Searching for a Spiritual Path in a Material World.

    Chariss' business is Chariss Walker Ministries, LLC, an outreach program for spiritual growth located in Navarre, FL. Chariss is a single grandmother and cares for her nine year old granddaughter, Vivien, who has lived with her for the past 4 years. I asked Chariss to share a little about what inspired her to write her book and here's what she had to say.

    Tara: What was the inspiration for your book?

    Chariss: I wanted to connect the dots between the idea of “being more spiritual than religious” and show that we are all saying the same thing; that it's the terminology that is different.

    Tara: When did you first come up with your idea?

    Chariss: It is something I have been working toward for the last six years, but it sprang forth as a new and living presence in my life demanding to be born about two years ago.

    Tara: I love how we contemplate ideas and then suddenly realize it's time to do something with the creativity.

    Did you have an aha moment; was it inspired by something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

    Chariss: Yes, I was watching an Oprah show. She was presenting some of the speakers from The Secret. I felt that it needed explanation – that the world needed to understand it is not really a secret. It has been with us since the beginning of time and is in the bible if we only know where to look.

    Tara: Probably something we could spend hours talking about, but given our limited time, who would you say has been your greatest source of support; why?

    Chariss: Vivien, my granddaughter, because each day I get to witness the love of God in her. She is such an inspiration to have overcome so much and be such a lovely, little person. It lets me know there is hope for everyone.

    Tara: Kids truly are the light of the planet and are here to teach us so much.

    If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

    Chariss: Love yourself, love your message and then write about it.

    Tara: Absolutely, or whichever creative form feels right to your individual spirit.

    What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

    Chariss: As a self-assisted author, meaning that I am the writer but I hired publishers for my book, the Mom’s Choice Award lends certain credibility to my work. The world still believes that if you are not picked up by a major brick and mortar publisher that your book has no value. I had to believe in my message and gather up the nerve to go it alone. Having a gold seal on my book is totally awesome, believe me!

    Tara: What are your future plans; what’s next for you as a writer?

    Chariss: To write more books! Yes! I have two more in mind that go along with this particular book, Make a Joyful Noise, but I also have some ideas for ’tweens (ages 9 to 12) books and perhaps a novel or two. I hope to find an editor or publisher who will pick me up and realizes the value of my experience.

    Tara: Anything you would like to add?

    Chariss: Yes, I love my life. I love writing and being able to share my message with millions around the world. It is so important to share what we have learned; in the process of that perhaps we save someone else a few steps. In this electronic age, we are growing – expanding our minds and learning at an astonishing rate, we are learning from the past and from others experiences. It is truly a blessing to be part of that.

    I couldn't have said it any better myself. As an author myself, I understand the privilege of sharing your work with people all over the globe and technology sure does help out a lot! Good luck to your Chariss and perhaps we will see you at BEA!

    Stay tuned for my next interview with Susan Heim, author of Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power.

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Interview with 2009 Honoree Shirley Cheng


    I recently conducted an interview with one of the most amazing women I have had the joy and privilege of meeting. Come to find out, Shirley Cheng is from the same part of the country I grew up in, Upstate, NY.

    Shirley has been blessed with the gift of writing and as a blind author, her 4th book Waking Spirit: Prose & Poems the Spirit Sings has been selected to receive this year's Mom's Choice Award. Shirley's company- Dance with Your Heart! Publishing, has produced some amazing pieces and is currently working on publishing Shirley's 9th book. I asked Shirley to share some of her story and here's what we talked about:


    Tara: What was the inspiration for your book?

    Shirley: The inspiration for my book is life, as for all my other books and projects. Life is the most precious present God has given to each and every one of us. Through my writings, I urge people to recognize and realize the importance and blessing of life, of every minute, of every second, so they can love the lives they live and go for their own gold medals as I have gone for mine despite seemingly insurmountable challenges.

    Tara: Life is definitely our greatest teacher and as I've been told more than once, it's not the challenges life hands us as much as how we overcome our many obstacles.

    When did you first come up with your idea for Waking Spirit?

    Shirley: In October 2006, I suddenly had an urge to write and publish Waking Spirit, which is my fourth book. At that time, I had several short writings I wanted to publish in a book, so I decided to put them in a volume called Waking Spirit, which had been a title I was aching to use for a future book. However, the book would be too short if only comprised of those writings, so I wrote many poems (most of which are haiku) all on the theme of loving life, spirituality, delightful animals and nature wonders.

    Tara: Who has been your greatest source of support; why?

    Shirley: My greatest source of support comes from two beings: my Heavenly Father, Jehovah God Almighty, and my beloved earthly mother Juliet Cheng. They are the very foundation and light of my life, the ultimate secret to my happiness, strength, and success. They energize me spiritually by providing me with unconditional love to propel me to the greatest heights.

    Tara: I couldn't agree with you more. As a parent, one thing I recognize is the importance of a spiritual foundation for children so they are confident enough to navigate through life successfully. It may look different for each person, but it's an important part of a child's core values system.

    If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

    Shirley: When your passion and urge to share with others a piece of your heart, to help them live a more fulfilling life, is unconquerably and undeniably strong then follow your heart's desires to make that positive difference in someone's life through your writings. No one and nothing can hinder you from going for your dreams if you do not let them--only you have the power to stop yourself.

    Tara: Absolutely; or whichever form of creativity is your heart's desire.

    What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom's Choice Award?

    Shirley: When people appreciate the fruits of my love, it adds even more bliss to my career. So when I am honored with the Mom's Choice Award for something I love to do, well, it's just like a cherry on top of an ice-cream sundae! Receiving the award for Waking Spirit validates the value of my book and affirms my beliefs and hope in it.

    Tara: Well it means a lot for us to have the opportunity to honor inspirational works that will grace the world and impact people's hearts.

    What are your future plans; what's next for you as an author?

    Shirley: I plan on releasing my ninth book, which is an inspirational book on Christianity that is based on love: love for God, love for fellow creations, and love for life. Afterward, I think I will take a break from writing my own books; I instead will focus on contributing to other people's books (I've contributed to sixteen books thus far), and do more writing for the Internet.

    Tara: You are one busy lady and have earned a well deserved break! Keep us posted as you release your next book. We will also see Shirley this month at Book Expo America in NYC so if you see her wheeling around the building or passing by, stop and say hi!

    Anything you would like to add?

    Shirley: Although I'm blind, I can see far and wide; even though I'm disabled, I can climb high mountains. I let the ropes of hope in Jehovah God haul me high!

    Tara: Amen! For more inspiration, please visit http://www.shirleycheng.com where you can contact Shirley for speaking engagements (she's also a motivational speaker), interviews, book signings, and any inspirational events.

    Our next interview will be with 2009 Honoree Chariss Walker, author of Make A Joyful Noise.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Interview with Book Author- Donna Seim of WHERE IS SIMON, SANDY?


    I recently conducted an interview with 2009 Mom's Choice Award's honoree Donna Marie Seim. Donna's book, WHERE IS SIMON, SANDY? received a gold award in the children's book category- Peoples, Places and Cultures.

    Donna began her business career with the Dragon’s Nest Toy Store, a specialty toy store in Newburyport MA where she resides today, with her husband 27 years ago. The store is now owned and operated by her daughter Kristin, and when Donna is not traveling to promote her book, she works at the store with her daughter. I asked Donna a few questions about her book and here is what she had to say.

    Tara:What was the inspiration for your writing?

    Donna: I came from a large Irish American family and had the fun of growing up with lots of cousins, loving parents and grandparents, whose doors and arms were always open to us kids. Our holidays and Sunday’s were filled with our families getting together; people were always around and so were their stories!

    My daughter Kristin pushed me to write down some of my stories. My first book was dedicated to my Kristin and it was at this point that I decided to take up writing as my second career.

    Tara: When did you first come up with the idea for your book?

    Donna: My husband and I took a trip to visit two of the undeveloped islands in the Turks and Caicos Islands. During the trip we were told many stories, one of which was the story of a little donkey that wouldn’t quit. This is the true tale of a donkey that continued to walk his route delivering water to every gate in town, even when his master was no longer able. I was so touched by the faithful little donkey that I decided to mold it into a children’s story, happy ending and all!

    Tara: What a great source of inspiration for a children's book!

    Did you have an aha moment; was it inspired by something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

    Donna: To answer honestly, I must admit I have experienced many aha moments; I think my life has been a series of them! But the most poignant of these was the very first time I read, “Where is Simon, Sandy?” to primary school children in the Turks and Caicos. The intensity of their faces as the story opens and their smiles and applause at the end, were the most rewarding gifts I could ever receive. I knew this was what I wanted to do forever.

    Tara: Children have such a way of bringing out the purest of joy from our hearts, don't they?

    Who would you say has been your greatest source of support; why?

    Donna: I have a tremendously supportive team to work with, but the greatest of these is my husband, Martin. Without his encouragement and true delight in my stories I don’t think I could have accomplished half as much as I have. He has been my greatest source of moral support and a willing travel companion to the islands and places of research. He is also a superb photographer, a kind adviser, a consoler, a listener, a cheer leader, a savior of unfortunate events, and my dedicated copy editor!

    Tara: Donna, you are blessed to have such an amazing husband who has supported you through the many ups and downs that can come up when you're following your passion.

    If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

    Donna: My one piece of advice would be- Be true to yourself and write about what you know and love.

    Tara: Well put. If that isn't sage advice, I don't know what is!

    What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

    Donna: When I learned WHERE IS SIMON, SANDY? had been awarded The Mom’s Choice Award, Gold, for the category of Peoples, Places and Cultures, I felt a great surge of pride in my work. It meant a tremendous amount to have my work validated by the Mom’s Choice stamp of approval, for excellence in children’s media. The Turks and Caicos National Museum as well as our publisher here in the states, Publishing Works, have taken great pride in the award, sending out press releases and publicizing the fact we have won this grand award.

    Tara: Donna, I am honored you feel so strongly about our award. It was the reason I began this program- to bring works to the forefront which may otherwise not be recognized. I love to hear these stories!!

    What are your future plans; what’s next for you as a writer?

    Donna: I plan to continue promoting, WHERE IS SIMON, SANDY? which will raise money for the children’s programme of the Turks and Caicos National Museum. I have many planned events coming up this spring and summer for, WHERE IS SIMON, SANDY? as well.

    I have just finished my second novel for children ages 8-12 entitled, CHARLEY, and will be busy marketing it to publishing houses. I guess writing for children is my future plan!

    Tara: Anything you would like to add?

    Donna: I would like to thank David Bowen, Director of Culture of the Turks and Caicos Islands, for all of his incredible help and support. He is now writing a musical play based on the story, for the children of the primary schools to perform. I would also like to thank Susan Spellman, our illustrator extraordinaire, who captured the people, the vibrant colors, and the essence of these beautiful islands.

    It has been an enormous honor to win a Mom’s Choice Awards', Gold! Thank you!

    It's our honor and privilege Donna! We appreciate your work and look forward to what you have coming out next!

    Watch for our next interview with 2009 Honoree- Shirley Cheng, author of Waking Spirit, Prose and Poems the Spirit Sings.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Interview with 2009 Honoree Dyan Eybergen

    I recently conducted an interview with 2009 Mom's Choice Award's honoree Dyan Eybergen. Dyan resides in Alberta, Canada and is the mother of three boys(God Bless you for that... I have two boys which is plenty :o) - Kohan who is almost 13, Nolan 10 and Talen 6; and she has been married to her husband Rob for 15 years.

    Dyan's book, Out of the Mouths of Babes: Parenting from a Child’s Perspective received a silver award in the parenting category. I asked Dyan a few questions about her book and here is what she had to say.

    Tara: What was the inspiration for your product?

    Dyan: I worked as a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse for more than 8 years – there wasn’t a behavioural situation that I wasn’t trained to handle. When I began having my own children I thought I was more than adequately prepared for motherhood. I learned very quickly that all my education and clinical experience taught me nothing about being a mother. Children are unique and cannot be parented from a text book.

    Tara: Amen Dyan. I am the mother of four children and couldn't agree with you more.

    When did you first come up with your idea?

    Dyan: Shortly after I gave birth to my first son. I was overwhelmed by how much personality he expressed as an infant and how much I needed to rely on and trust my instincts to care for him.

    Tara: Dyan, in my book Raising Intuitive Children I tell parents to trust their intuition. We could have been cut from the same cloth!

    Did you have an aha moment; was it inspired by something you were doing or someplace you were visiting; a person in your life?

    Dyan: Through the parent education I was providing I was struck by how many parents I heard say “but I tried that [parent strategy] and it didn’t work for me”. I feel that we are a generation of parents’ whose intuition has been undermined by contemporary approaches to raising children. I want parents to embrace and trust their instinctive responses to their children’s needs.

    Tara: Who is your greatest source of support; why?

    Dyan: My mother: She continues to champion my dreams and nurture my individuality but at the same time helps me to stay grounded. But it is my husband who holds me when I am frightened and listens to me when I temporarily lose my mind. Both of them support me in uniquely different ways.

    Tara: Love the men in our lives! My husband is my greatest source of support as well.

    If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking of venturing into this line of work, what would it be?

    Dyan: Brace yourself for ridicule and criticism. When you put yourself in a position of offering an opinion or advice you can expect to be chastised by those who disagree with your philosophy. Having said that though, there are very few experiences more gratifying than publishing a book.

    Tara: Dyan, you couldn't give better advice than that!

    What has it meant to you personally or to the success of your product to have been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award?

    Dyan: I chose to publish independently which for the most part still carries a stigma in the world of mainstream publishing. After receiving a Mom’s Choice Award I found I was taken more seriously in the writing and book community. My credibility as an author has increased.

    Tara: Precisely the reason I created this Awards' program. I love to hear feedback from our recipients about how this has had a positive impact for their business/ product. I am so happy to hear it's helped you as well!

    What are your future plans; what’s next for you as a writer?

    Dyan: I have five other book titles in my head. I’ve been busy with the marketing and promotion for Out of the Mouths. Eventually I have to get back to writing!

    Tara: You go girl!

    Will you be attending Book Expo in NYC this year?

    Dyan: Yes I will. I have never attended Book Expo or been to New York before. I am very excited. I will be working in the Mom’s Choice Awards' booth on Friday morning and I will be autographing Out of the Mouths of Babes on Saturday between 11-12pm at table 19.

    Tara: Well I look forward to meeting you in a few weeks!

    Anything you would like to add?

    Dyan: Having received a Mom’s Choice Award for Out of the Mouths of Babes has been such a fulfilling experience. It has opened the doors to so many other opportunities: interviews, book expo, book sales. I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of being a part of this distinguished award.

    Thank you Dyan! We couldn't be happier for you and wish you the best of luck on this amazing journey.

    Watch for our next interview with 2009 Honoree- Donna Seim, author of WHERE IS SIMON, SANDY?

    Alumni Review- Some Babues Are Wild, Marion Dane Bauer

    Some Babies Are Wild
    Marion Dane Bauer, Author
    Stan Tekiela, Photographer
    Adventure Publications
    820 Cleveland Street S.,
    Cambridge, MN,
    550089781591930846 $14.95 http://www.adventurepublications.net/

    Sara Hassler- Reviewer

    Enjoy a stolen moment in nature with little baby animals in Some Babies AreWild. Magical pictorials present individual stories of Mother Nature's youngest creatures caught off guard. Furry paws, fuzzy faces, prickly bodiesand big round eyes consume each spread with their activity, vulnerability and innocence. Author, Marion Dane Bauer's rhythmic text leads readers down a breathtaking nature trail of remarkable photography. Photographer, StanTekiela and his camera has opened an extraordinary window for readers topeer through. The flash of his shutter has captured animals in their private habitats, on their own and with family, in the wild. Readers will delight with the Animal Extras and Did You Know? educational section included in the back of the book. Fun and surprising baby animal facts highlight each animal pictured in the story. Some Babies Are Wild will fill readers with the joy of nature and family. This is a must have book for animal lovers of all ages and children who are interested in wildlife.

    Contest Giveaway

    Contest Giveaway
    To enter to receive your free autographed copy of my book, send me an email at founder@justformom.com. Each month I will select one email at random to receive a copy.

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    A Certified Coach for Parents of Intuitives, Tara Paterson is raising four highly intuitive children with her husband. She is also the co-author of the book- Raising Intuitive Children, a syndicated columnist, parent advisor, and author of 100 plus parenting and spiritual articles. In 2004, she launched Moms In Print, a publishing company that assists “mom” authors. The following year, she created the Mom’s Choice Awards®, which assists mothers in selecting products and services for their families.

    Paterson has appeared on CBS 48 Hours, the Today Show with Katie Couric, CNN with Anderson Cooper, the Early Show, and she is the founder and spokesperson for the Mom’s Choice Awards and an expert blogger for the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

    She has been featured in the Washington Post, Newsweek, the Loudoun Magazine and quoted in the USA Today and Parenting Magazine. She has also been interviewed on several radio programs and has appeared as a spokeswoman on several national TV affiliates across the country.