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American whodunit, “Te High School Crush Murder.” Next
comes a series of four stories in an American summer theater
setting, the “Straw Hat Mysteries,” featuring crimes ranging from
murder to the perhaps even more nefarious attempted theft of a
starring role!
Shepard concludes the volume with fve stories featuring
“Crusher” Davis, a 6’6” former football star who nowwrites an
advice column, “Ask Martha,” for his local newspaper. In that guise,
Davis solves crimes ranging fromblackmail to embezzlement.
Whatever your preference, pour yourself a hot beverage and
open your Kindle for a refreshing cofee break, with a dash of
mystery. You’ve earned it!
Retired FSOWilliam S. Shepard, has written many books,
including most recently a memoir
(see p. 41)
and a history of
“unknown” confict
s (see p. 30).
For more information, visit
Excuse Me, I’m
Trying to Read!
Mary Jo Amani, Illustrated
by Lehla Eldridge, Mackinac
Island Press, 2012, $7.95,
paperback, 32 pages.
Mary Jo Amani’s children’s
Excuse Me, I’m Trying
to Read!
is great fun and very clever. Te illustrations by Lehla
Eldrige are safari-themed—animals ranging from impalas and
rhinos to dung beetles and elephants fll the uniquely drawn
pages, documenting the plight of a young girl’s attempt to read in
the midst of the daily busyness and fascinating distractions of the
African bush.
Te young girl’s struggle to stay focused on her book is in
earnest. Reading is so important that not even zebras should get in
the way! Te unique illustrations of African villages and landscape
add to the appeal of each page.
Tis winner of the 2011 National Association of Elementary
School Principals’ Best Children’s Picture Book Award is a book
that children will love—and one that their parents will enjoy read-
ing over and over to them.
Mary Jo Amani is the wife of USAID Foreign Service ofcer
Todd Amani. She wrote the book as part of a series directed
toward early readers (ages 2 to 8) for a community library program
in Mozambique.
The Ever Part of Always:
Keely Tucker’s First Adventure
Toby K. Davis, iUniverse, 2012, $24.95/
hardcover, $14.95/paperback, 193 pages.
Imagination is a powerful tool. In
Te Ever
Part of Always: Keely Tucker’s First Adven-
, the frst in a series following the life
of Keely Tucker, Toby K. Davis uses her
penchant for lyrical storytelling to reiterate
its importance in building and sustaining self-esteem.
Maine girl Keely Tucker is a 10-year-old who is constantly bul-
lied by a neighborhood boy. Te only thing that keeps her sense
of self-worth intact is her grandmother’s stories of enchanted far-
away places where angels protect children from life’s pains. When
her grandmother passes away, Keely is left to fend for herself.
Eventually, while on a quest to save a friend, she learns to use
Mariah, an aging horse her grandmother left her, and her imagi-
nation to battle the monsters and dragons disturbing both her
fantasy world and reality. She begins to believe in herself.
Toby K. Davis, the wife of an FSO, states that her personal and
professional goals are “to inspire kids to trust and believe in them-
selves and to like who they are every day.” She has presented the
book, winner of the Rising Star and Editor’s Choice awards, to Rep.
Mike Honda, D-Calif., chair of the newly formed Congressional
Caucus on Anti-Bullying, and plans to donate part of the royal-
ties from it to an anti-bullying campaign in the Northern Virginia
area. Toby Davis has worked as a teacher of gifted and challenged
students around the world for more than 10 years. Te Davises
reside in Arlington, Va.
The Seven Fairy Mountains
of Cappadocia
Linda Socha Jaworski, Twinkle Truth
Publications, 2011, $7.99, paperback,
16 pages.
Stir every child’s inner yearning to explore
with a wondrous view of Cappadocia,
Turkey, through the eyes of Kücük, the
smallest of the seven Fairy Mountains,
who desperately wants to save her village from sure disaster.
Her sister mountains each host artistic families, but trouble
is about and unless something big happens, all seven moun-
tains may have to be abandoned. As the only Fairy Sister with-
out a family to shelter, Kücük knows the rescue is up to her.
Te book is richly illustrated by Serpil Ural, an accomplished
Turkish children’s book author and illustrator.