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On the Bookshelf: Local authors offer up a bevy of books for kids to adults

By KYLIE McCOOL

Summer is officially here – the perfect to soak up some rays and enjoy a good book. If you and your family are looking for something new to read, consider one of these books written by local authors.

Timmy teacupParents and early readers might enjoy “Timmy Teacup Transforms” by Barbara Daniels.

A Chesterfield resident, Daniels shares an imaginative tale in this story about a young, adventurous teacup who wishes to be something different. Instead of a delicate teacup, Timmy wishes to be a strong, sturdy hot chocolate mug. One day, he gets his wish, but quickly learns that the life he wished for isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Daniels said she doesn’t quite know where the inspiration for this story came from, but she is glad she wrote it because the message of self-acceptance and confidence is one that needs to be spread to everyone. She noted that some of her own family members have experienced bullying and issues with self-esteem and said she is glad to have created a story that can help them and other kids deal with those issues.

Daniels is currently working on a new story in which Timmy learns that sometimes bullies might be found where we least expect them.

This fun story about learning to love yourself and all you have to offer is a sweet lesson for the young and the young at heart.

Another children’s book, “ELSIE,” from a local author Jenne Kostial started out as a bedtime story. Kostial’s daughter Meadow told her that the story should become a book. The rest, as they say, is history.

The book tells the story of Elsie, who wishes to play and spin and dance outside, and makes a perfect read-aloud.

Love Bends: A Forest of Family Trees” by Deanna McClintock Lester brings a fresh perspective on love and family in this children’s book about blended families.

Divorce and remarriage can be a difficult subject to broach with children, but not so in this book that follows the journey of a curious boy who, in an attempt to find his family tree, discovers a magical forest, where he meets friends that teach him why his family tree is extraordinary.

Am I Ready Now?” by Jessica Schneider is ideal for late summer ready.

This book tells the story of Louie, a precocious 5-year-old who is ready and eager to set out on his first day of kindergarten. His mom, on the other hand, isn’t so ready for her baby bird to leave the nest.

Schneider, a kindergarten teacher in the Parkway School District, said that writing “Am I Ready Now” fulfilled her dream of writing a children’s book.

Even children who are not yet ready for kindergarten and those who have already boarded the bus will enjoy this heartwarming story of growing up and exploring the world.

Arch bookLocal history buffs might enjoy “The Making of an Icon: the Dreamers, the Schemers, and the Hard Hats who Built the Gateway Arch” by West Newsmagazine reporter Jim Merkel

In this book, Merkel follows the story of architect Eero Saarinen, who spent 14 years perfecting his design for St. Louis’ Gateway to the West. Merkel also profiles the St. Louis mayor who would do anything to see the monument built as well as other dreamers and schemers.

Merkel has compiled accounts and stories, both well-known and rare, about the visionaries, finaglers, protesters and fearless-but-skilled hard hats that undertook this incredible project and brought the arch to life.

Merkel said growing up alongside the Gateway Arch inspired his work. He was just 11 years old when production on the Arch began and 14 when it was completed.

“My dad used to take us out there every weekend so we could watch it grow,” Merkel said. “Now, whenever I see it, it’s like home.”

Merkel’s fourth book, “The Colorful Characters of St. Louis,” is set to come out in September. In “Charecters,” Merkel recounts the lives and times of the city’s most famous and infamous personalities, such as the Red Fox and Phyllis Diller.

Another one for history buffs, “Why We Fought: Nazi Camp Liberators of St. Louis,” edited by Chesterfield resident Mark Leach recounts the spring of 1945, when American soldiers liberated survivors of the Holocaust from the German concentration camps.

This historical non-fiction tells the harrowing and heroic stories directly from the mouths of those involved: five Holocaust survivors, seven prisoners of war and 27 liberators, all of whom were Missouri natives.

why we foughtLeach is a local author, documentary writer and producer. He said his love of history and working with a local Holocaust survivor to write his biography is what led him to collect the stories contained in “Why We Fought”.

Leach said he hopes this book inspires younger generations to approach older neghbors and friends and learn their stories.

Why We Fought” is available on Amazon, at Chesterfield City Hall and at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum. One hundred percent of its proceeds go to veterans groups, Wounded Warriors, the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and other appropriate charities.

From magic to mystery to romance, local authors have been busy churning out new novels that offer a variety of good reads.

The Rogue Retrieval” by Dan Koboldt brings the story of Quinn Bradley, an aspiring stage magician who is about to hit the big time on the Vegas Strip,

Koboldt, a genetics researcher at Washington University with degrees in computer science and biology, takes readers on an adventure in a world where magic is real and the penalty for impersonating a magic-user is death. Quinn must find an employee who’s gone rogue before his secret is found out and the tricks up his sleeve run out.

Bus Stop Angels” is the second mystery novel brought to life by St. Louis-based author and former West Newsmagazine editor Susan E. Sagarra. “Bus Stop Angels” sees the return of the quirky journalist Meghan Murphy, the heroine from Sagarra’s debut novel “Cracks in the Cobblestone.”

In “Bus Stop Angels,” Meghan must take on a dangerous new mission and tackle a parent’s worst nightmare – sending a child off on the school bus only for them to not return. Terrorism, sex trafficking and the fate of the missing children all rest on Meghan’s shoulders while she tries to find the errant school bus before it’s too late.

Last Year’s Resolution” by Robert Lampros is a romance novel about a novelist, namely Edmund Stovender, who falls for the journalist who interviews him on opening night of his hit play. A Christian romance, this novel follows the pair as they learn more about each other as well as their love and their faith.

Lampros, an author of Christian poetry, essays and fiction, lives in St. Louis and earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Washington University.

From St. Louis native Amy Simpson comes “From Winter’s Ashes,” the second installment of her Girl Next Door Series. The story follows the trials of Joselyn Whyte, an heiress who becomes the target for an arsonist. In order to survive, Joselyn must team up with firefighter Finn Carson, who isn’t exactly her biggest fan.

This and Simpson’s first book, “When Fall Fades,” are set in St. Louis and offer mystery and romance with a dose of honesty and humor.

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Editor’s note: All books are available on amazon.com.

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