black lives matter, children's books, children's writing, early chapter books, eifrig publishing, flattening the curve, hand washing song, homebound, hope, hygene, hygene, Jen Ball, Mark Isherwood, masks, pandemic, Penny Smith Eifrig, quarantine, Racisim, Racism, re-mote learning, re-mote teaching, remote-learning

“Zowie! What an uber-iffic idea!”

Cleopatra W. Darby, illustrated by Jennifer Ball, is at work at another big idea

The title is exactly what Cleo and I thought when, in an effort to reach out to kids dealing with our changed and changing times Eifrig Publishing Company owner, Penny Smith Eifrig, inspired by one of her authors, Mark Isherwood, reached out to her authors about creating free ebook stories that would speak to the conditions and issues that children are presently dealing with. I and Cleopatra W. DArby, who’s in two books published by Eifrig publishing and who is illustrated by Jennifer Ball, were excited to answered the call.

Cleopatra W. Darby is into being “green”. She’s the queen of recycling, reusing and renewing. She has big ideas which many times involve inventions. In her Re-Act-Shack she takes thing-a-ma-jigs, whoosey-what-sis, doodads and what-cha-ma-call-its and turns them into kooky resourceful inventions.

In the free ebook Cleo’s Big Ideas: Flattening the Curve, Cleo finds herself having a hard time coming up with big ideas once the Corona virus hits. She has small ideas like making a mini-mask for her pet tortoise Winston and medium size ideas like converting her haul-and-go to deliver groceries for a homebound neighbor. But it’s not until her friends, Ji Won, Sara, and Albert get involved that she sees a way to pull together small ideas and with everyone’s help make a big difference.

This ebook is meant to be an avenue through which kids can see their feelings, fears, concerns validated. Its my hope that this story will open up discussions between children and their parents that will assist children in coping with, and understanding the difficult issues that currently surround them.

For your free copy please visit

Stay safe, stay well,


children's books, children's writing, creativity, David Gordon, early chapter books, eifrig publishing, interactive story ideas, Jen Ball, Olivia Van Ledtje, picture book author, picture book illustrators, pre-school classroom

Doing What We Can . . .

“Although the world is full of suffering it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller

Olivia Van Ledtje is a young girl who is a great example of what we should be doing to overcome the difficulty we’re all dealing with since our schools have closed. Olivia came up with the great idea of putting together a listing of authors and illustrators, and all sorts of creative people including astronauts, for kids to tune into via a variety of platforms, so that they can stay connected with books, and art, music and science. She calls her project Let’s Keep Reading! Keep Thinking with Interactive Read Alouds! You can find her @thelivbits and her list . . .

So I was happy to add my name to the list and began a read aloud that will happen every weekday at 4:00 on Instagram @janmilusich. I started it off last Friday March 20th by reading my picture book, Off Go Their Engines, Off Go Their Lights and will follow it up on Monday with a chapter a day from my early chapter book Cleo’s Big Ideas: One Thing Leads to Another.

After a few technical difficulties, quite a few . . .

One of them being an out of date phone, followed by my having the camera the wrong way ’round and then not finding the button to save the video so I could post it to my website, for later viewing. But eventually I made it through my first Instagram live event. Phew! Thank goodness my son, for whom my picture book was dedicated, was in the next room with the latest model iPhone. He came to my repeated rescue. Three times in fact.

But it was so much fun to hear that one of my students was tuned in and listening as well as friends from Stony Brook’s Children’s Fellowship and my daughter who’s now living in Ireland. Thank you for your positivity! And I want to thank my student’s mom for reaching out and letting me know how much he enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to virtually seeing him again and hopefully having less technical difficulties and more connections.

In the end, if we can learn anything from all of this is that we all need each other more than we realize.

Stay well, keep your creativity and your connections going, Jan