Author and Illustrator Visit: Esseboe Kwami Nyamidie and Pamela Christiansen

Esseboe Kwami Nyamidie has recently published this story for young readers is lovingly illustrated by Pamela Christiansen that will entertain both child and adult alike.

Esseboe and Pam answered a few questions for us.



  1. What is your motivation in creating this book? 

    Night Critters Play is a poem I really love. It is from my earlier book of poems, Ready for your love and other poems.  As a book project, it began eight years ago when I discovered the work of Pamela B. Christiansen. She is a printmaker and art teacher on Bainbridge Island here in the Pacific Northwest. It took Pam several months to illustrate the poem. Then I left it. I revived the project when my partner Michele Plumb Stowell was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In addition to the chock of the news come a sense of powerlessness and death staring you in the face. I decided to revive this one of my book projects in her honor and claim a measure of agency in the situation.
  2. Death has been a major motivation in your writings.

    Yes, it has. I began to write poems seriously in my sophomore year in high school. A brilliant student called Anthony Dzodzoe died during the Christmas holidays. I thought that if he could die as a teenager, then the potential for me to die is always there. Poetry became a tool for me to immortalize myself and my subjects. 
  3. Ready for your love came out in 2004. When are you coming up with a new book of poems?

    I have been engaged in other creative activities since then.  Thirst No More A Fable of Hope and Forgiveness came out in 2017. I have several fiction and nonfiction projects going on. I am also working on a collection of poems that continue to address the problem of death and our human condition. This will be coming out in the next few years.
  4. What will children like about Night Critters Play?

    The book is layered with different meanings and the illustrations have hidden images. Different readers will take different things from it. The hope is that parents and educators will use this as a springboard to introduce children to another way of looking at the natural world. More than anything, Night Critters Play is a meditation on the environment. I also hope that parents and educators will understand the extraordinary skill and energy poured into creating the illustrations and appreciate their depth, beauty, and uniqueness.
  5. Who are the poets that influence your poetry? 

    It’s difficult for me to list all the poets that influence me. I discovered Emily Dickerson in high school. From her, I learned that poetry needs not be complicated to be deep. I studied the John Donne and the metaphysical poets. Charles Baudelaire, considered the consultant poet, has echoes in my writings. I read all the poetry books in the African Writers Series when I was younger so I have all of these influences in my poems in varying degrees.


  1. Tell use about the beautiful illustrations. How did you make them?

    The illustrations are monotypes. Monotyping is a technique that generally yields only one good impression from preparing a plate and running it through a printmaking press one or many times. Monotypes are prized because of their unique textural qualities. They are made by drawing on glass or a smooth plate with printer’s ink.
  2. How long did it take you to do the illustrations?

    Several months
  3. Where else can people find you?

    I illustrated Seasoned with Gratitude, a cookbook, by Kathryn Lafond.  These plates are pen and ink drawings and gouache paintings.

You can pick up this lovely book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

You can find out more about Esseboe at his website:

CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

My Moonbeam Book Award Winner!



I’m happy to announce that Intrigue in Istanbul: An Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure is a 2016 Moonbeam Book Award winner!

Here is Moonbeams press release!

Books to Inspire Children to “Read Early and Read Often”

(Traverse City, MI – Oct. 13, 2016) The results of the 10th Annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards contest have been announced, and this year’s medalists make up an outstanding and diverse reading list. The contest was founded on the notion that childhood literacy and lifelong reading are vital to help children thrive in a rapidly changing world — or to borrow an election season cliché: “Read Early and Read Often!”

The Moonbeam Awards recognize the year’s best children’s books and are chosen by judging panels of book reviewers, librarians, teachers, and students. “This year’s winners are more diverse than ever, with inspiring messages that encourage kids to be kind, courageous, and to live healthy lives,” says Awards Director Jim Barnes.

See the complete results listing here:

The medal-winning books came from authors young and old, such as Little Leaf, by Lily Mae, a 4th grader from California, whose Zen-like exploration of an oak tree’s life cycle won the Best Book by Youth Author gold medal. In contrast, the Best Picture Book Series gold medalist features a new approach to old classics — “early-learning guides” to the likes of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’sand Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

This year’s winners are also a very geographically diverse group: medals went to books from 35 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and six countries overseas. Each of the 159 medalists possesses a distinctive quality that motivated the judges to award them amongst fierce competition, 1,500 entries in all.

Picture Book bronze medalist Nothando’s Journeyis by teacher and yoga therapist Jill Apperson Manly, and uses vivid, handmade paper collages by Alyssa Casey, who studied with papermaking masters in Spain, Italy, Brazil and New York. Health Issues category silver medalist Lisa Maxbauer Price took photographs at farm markets and garden centers to illustrate Squash Boom Beet: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters.

Non-Fiction Picture Book category gold medalist, The Invisible You, by the father/daughter team of NFL Hall of Famer Alan Page and his daughter Kamie Page, portrays multicultural children moving into and adjusting to new neighborhoods. A judge exclaimed, “Every student has the potential to achieve — kudos to the Page Education Foundation for helping all kids succeed.”

Kudos to all of this year’s winners for their dedication to children and literature!

Learn more about the Moonbeam Awards at

For more information about the Moonbeam Awards and the winning books, or to interview their creators, contact Awards Director Jim Barnes at 1-800-644-0133 x 1011 or

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

I had heard that Joan Aiken was a famous author of children’s stories, so I thought I should read/listen to one of her famous stories. This one won a Lewis Carroll Award.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1)

Stats: First published in 1962, print 181 pages, audio 4 discs – 4′ 49″, this version was read by her daughter – Lissa Aiken

Blurb: Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie’s parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease.
With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?

What I liked: The writing was quite good and after a time, when it really took off, it was an interesting story, even for an adult reading a MG book. Aiken also did a good job pulling you into the time that the story took place. One of the best things was the “cruel Miss Slighcarp.” She was a really bad, bad guy. this story was read by Joan’s daughter, Lissa and she did a nice job.

What I didn’t like: The beginning was slow and it took quite a while for it to pick up.

Rating: 3.5/5