Independent writers offer new perspectives


First-time authors will often mention the many times they submitted their work to a publisher, only to be rejected. Because of this, sometimes an author will find other ways to get their book into print using smaller, independent companies.

A VERY LONG TIME, by Geri Timperley and Nikki Arro, illustrated by Marlaina Kopietz, Interface Publishing, $15.95; ages 4-8.

When in Minnesota for a family graduation I had the opportunity to meet Geri Timperley. I heard she had written a book. When her son went to Iraq, she tried to find materials to read to her granddaughter, Kylee, to help her understand how long her daddy would be away. Since materials were hard to find, Geri and her daughter Nikki created one themselves. The story is told from the viewpoint of a child. It is hard for a child to understand when Daddy will be gone for two birthdays and a Christmas. Just how long is"a very long time?” Mommy and Daddy waited"a very long time” for their baby to be born. It took"a very long time” for letters to reach Daddy. When Daddy came home it took"a very long time” to get to the airport to meet him. Kopietz drew the illustrations just like a young child. Anyone dealing with a loved one leaving for a tour of duty will find this book helpful for children to understand that they will be away for"a very long time.” The book can be purchased online at

FOREVER HOME, by Sandra J. Philipson, illustrated by Jenny Campbell, Chagrin River Publishing, $12.95; ages 7-10.

I have been doing a long-term teaching assignment in a junior high library. This age group is a little older than I am accustomed to and the biggest difference is the books they read are much longer. I was pleased to hear that for two days an author, illustrator and three springer spaniel dogs would be using the library space to teach eighth-graders about writing and illustrating books. The first children’s book Philipson wrote, Annie Loses Her Leg but Finds Her Way, was about her dogs Max and Annie, who lost a leg because of cancer. For the next book, Max’s Rules, Tak joins the family and has to learn the rules from Max. Sandy then started looking for another three-legged springer spaniel and she found Trini through a springer spaniel rescue organization. The dog had been abandoned so in her latest chapter book Philipson creates a story of the journey Trini takes before she finds her"forever home.” Her first home was with a retired teacher who everyone called Aunt Dot. Trini’s adventures began when Aunt Dot passed away. When she was found by the springer rescue organization she was cold and sick.

The end of the story deals with the happiness of finally being wanted as Trini and her two brothers get acquainted in the Philipson household. Sandra often hears from parents about how the story of Annie and now Trini have helped their children through the struggles of cancer, amputation and overcoming handicaps. It could also be useful for children who have been in foster care homes and finally adopted. Each of her books includes let’s write pages with suggestions for children to use their imaginations and be creative. Because Trini can’t really tell her story of the lost years, children can create a story of her journey before she reaches her new home. It was really a pleasure watching both Philipson and Campbell inspire children to create their own books as a result of this visit. The books can be purchased at

DOGS, by Matthew Van Fleet, photography by Brian Stanton, Simon& Schuster, $14.99; ages 2 and up. 

If your family is considering getting a dog this book will be fun for little children. This easy board book features 25 breeds of dogs. Children will have so much fun as they pull tabs to make the tails wiggle and feel different textures like fluffy poodle and shaggy sheepdog. The reader learns that dogs not only howl and bark but scratch if they get fleas. The pictures also lead to a discussion for dog care because they can be messy when they eat and, of course don’t forget they poop. Pull that last tab to find out.

Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher who lives with her husband in Addison. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6 in the school where she taught.

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