Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Children – Victoria Zigler, Jann Weeratunga, Janice Spina, Bette A. Stevens and Gigi Sedlmayer

I am going to start the Christmas book promotions with children’s books, as most are in print that are posted and therefore require a longer lead time.  There are many talented authors in the bookstore who write for both children and adults and if that is the case I will also include the covers and the Amazon author page for you to explore their books further.

About Ulrike’s Christmas – Paperback and audio

Ulrike knows all about the Winter Solstice celebrations of the giants, being one himself. But what he doesn’t know is why the humans cut down whole trees, only to take them home to decorate. Other giants tell him to forget about it, but Ulrike is curious; he needs to know why they do it. Finally, when he’s puzzled over it so much his head is sore from all the thinking, he decides that this is the year he’ll figure it out, and risks a return trip to the home of the last family he watched to look for clues, despite almost being spotted last time he was there. That’s how he meets Billy, a friendly little boy who loves stories, and is happy to tell Ulrike all about tree decorating, and Santa Claus, along with a couple of stories he knows about them. Stories which Ulrike loves, and which inspire him to add some of what Billy says are Christmas celebrations to his own this Winter, in the hopes that Santa Claus will visit him too.

Buy the book or audio:

And Amazon US:

A very small selection of other books by Victoria Zigler

A recent review for Rodent Rhymes and Pussycat Poems

Victoria Zigler writes the most delightful stories and poems for young children. This collection of poems is very appealing and teaches children about the lovely animals in Victoria’s household of pets including degus and chinchillas which, I think, are less well known pets. This book features the same little degus that characterise Victoria’s other children’s books about these interesting creatures and I enjoyed meeting them again and learning more about their funny little habits and relationships.

I listened to the audio book of Puppy Poems and Rodent Rhymes, narrated by Carol Weakland and I thought she did a great job. Her reading voice is lovely and clear which is important for young children.

You can download all the other print and audio books from Amazon:

and Amazon US:

Victoria has a great many reviews on Goodreads and I suggest that you head there first to read:

Connect to Victoria via her website:

The next author’s books feature a wonderful parrot who travels, has adventures and often shares an important social message and would delight any child this Christmas is Jann Weeratunga’s seasonal stories – Polly’s Hogmanay Holiday.

Polly’s Hogmany Holiday.

About the book

Polly the Parrot, Captain Hake and the crew of The Thistle take a short break in Scotland before they resume the search for Polly’s friends in Africa. The pirates get to meet the street children and their lives are changed forever. And who is Red?

A recent review for Polly’s Hogmany Holiday

Sep 07, 2018 Kailash Moore rated it Five Stars

Polly’s hogmany holiday is an awesome childrens book, it teaches you not to trust strangers or accept sweets from any one and not to steal. teaches you to be caring and help children on the street and stop them from drug abuse. i believe the lessons in this book will make children street wise about accepting sweets from strangers especially since they look like hard rock candy. i would recommend these book adults to read this to there children.polly’s hogmany holiday is an awesome childrens book, it teaches you not to trust strangers or accept sweets from any one and not to steal. teaches you to be caring and help children on the street and stop them from drug abuse. i believe the lessons in this book will make children street wise about accepting sweets from strangers especially since they look like hard rock candy. i would recommend these book adults to read this to their children 

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

A selection of books by Jann Weeratunga

Read the reviews and link to buy the books Amazon UK: Amazon UK

and Amazon US:Amazon US

and read more reviews and follow Jann on Goodreads:

Connect to Jann via her website:

The next book which would make a great gift for children or grandchildren who love adventure stories and is from from award winning children’s author Janice Spina… It is the second book in her series Abby and Holly: Unfortunate Events.

About the book

Abby and Holly are cousins who are more like sisters. They enjoy doing everything together. Holly lives with Abby and her family in a haunted Victorian. Holly must deal with some difficult decisions in her family when unexpected and unfortunate events come to pass.

Abby is there to lend support to Holly along with two ghostly apparitions, Felicity and Minerva, who live in Abby’s house. These specters provide some magical and helpful advice along the way as they watch over Holly during this difficult time.

The girls’ friends, twins Davey and Derek Donato, from their own series, pop in to support Holly and bring some fun and comical relief to the story.

An early review for the book

I am so excited about the Abby and Holly Series for girls, but it could be equally enjoyed by boys. In Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events, Abby’s cousin, Holly, is faced with some difficult issues. While her parents are away on overseas jobs, Holly is living with Abby. Things go downhill when her parents return for a visit and her mother becomes ill. Throughout this trying time, Holly has a tremendous amount of support from Abby, her Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob, and two ghosts who live in Abby’s house, Felicity and Minerva. Of course, their friends Davey and Derek are there to help, too.

As with all of Spina’s children’s books, Unfortunate Events teaches life lessons such as respect, kindness toward others, and the importance of being polite. This book concentrates on handling the unexpected and overcoming life’s disappointments. The unexpected was Holly’s mother’s illness and hospital stay. With the love of her extended family, Holly was able to cope with her worry for her mother. Disappointment was addressed when her father announced that he was flying out to finish his work overseas. He explained to Holly the importance of fulling his obligations to his employer.

I highly recommend Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events to all middle-graders, both girls and boys. The storyline is one that will keep children interested with its elements of suspense and mystery. Though there are references to a childhood crush, they are not a major component of the story and certainly not enough to deter boys’ interest. And who doesn’t love a friendly little ghost or two! As with all the author’s children’s books, this one is true to her ideals of writing books that encourage children to read while incorporating those all-important life lessons. As a book I think every parent will want their daughters and sons to read, I give Unfortunate Events 5 stars!

Head over and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives: The Case of the Missing Cell Phone is on offer until 18th November 99c/99p: AMAZON (sale begins 11/11/18 through 11/18/18)

Also as J.E. Spina for adults.


Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy

and on Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Janice on Goodreads:

Connect to Janice via her website:

The first author is  Bette A. Stevens who created the magical world of Amazing Matilda the Monarch Butterfly and it continues to delight its young readers of all ages. I think it makes a wonderful gift for any child and introduces them to the amazing natural world that surrounds them.

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.

In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

Get your FREE Autograph for your digital copy from author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens at

One of the recent reviews for the book

I can’t think of a better title for this book because Matilda truly was amazing. This sweet story captured me from the start with one of my favorite lines, “I want to fly! I want to see the world!”

Matilda’s determination, along with her encouraging friends the sparrow, rabbit and frog, is a lesson in going after what you want in life and never giving up. A wonderful story for children and adults, too. The illustrations were precious. I’m hoping there will be more Matilda adventures in the future.

Read all the wonderful reviews for the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads:

Connect to Bette via her website:

The next children’s author, whose books of adventure in the Andes for a small girl and Condors, continues to receive fantastic reviews, and the series would make an amazing gift. Talon; Connected

About Connected

Matica meets with the village eldest and wisest man, Elcano, who tells her ‘we are all connected’ to each other, Matica’s family and the Condors’.

Elcano also shares with Matica that he predicts that the Condors will be protected by all because Matica, her family, the Indians and the Condors are all connected.

It’s a heart-warming and inspirational story, intended for readers of all ages.;

One of the recent reviews for the book

VINE VOICEon October 6, 2018

Talon Connected is the continuation of the story of a young girl named Matica and her beloved condor friend, Talon. The book recaps the problem of the poachers trying to find and kill Talon and the magical leaf that helped heal Matica’s father in the previous installment. The theme of this book is that everyone and everything is connected. Elcano, the oldest man of the Indian village, makes sure that Matica realizes this. There is not a lot of action in this book, but the message of friendship, loyalty, love, and respect is a beautiful one. This is a story that is appropriate for all ages.

The other books in the series

515tsm3dql-_uy250_Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Gigi on Goodreads:

Connect to Gigi via her website:

I hope that you have enjoyed this selection of Children’s books and there will be more later in the week.. thanks Sally.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Children’s and #YA books Special.

A slightly different format today as there are quite a few Children’s and YA books that I have not as yet featured in the Christmas Book Fair… the gift of books to children is one of the most important in my view and I know in yours too. The wonder of seeing images and words brought to life by the skill of the author… opening up worlds and stimulating imaginations, hopefully creating the writers of tomorrow.

Some of these authors do also write fiction for adults in which case you will find details of those on their Amazon Author pages.

A selection of Children’s and YA authors in the Bookstore.

Andrea Balsara, Buy:

An extract from an early review for The Great & The Small

The Great and The Small by A.T. Balsara spins a narrative that intertwines the adventures of Fin, a Tunnel Rat, and Ananda, an adolescent artist, as they negotiate the ups and downs of their respective communities. The framework of Stalinist political oppression and the Black Plague of fourteenth century Europe provide a backdrop for the dramatic, high stakes commentary on interpersonal relationships. Not only is the reader led into the complex intrapersonal angst of the characters in the story which triggers deep reflection along relatable themes of bullying, loyalty and free will, but also led to consider the thread of hope offered by complex iterations of love, sacrifice and service. All this, in an engaging, action driven story that is at once visually stimulating and acoustically active: Balsara’s descriptions and dialogue make the context and characters jump off the page.

Robbie Cheadle, Buy:


An extract from a recent review for Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River.

Paul Andruss on his blog

The concept was the brain child of Robbie’s son Michael. When he was a few years younger than he is now, and learning to read, he cleverly realised he could draw his mother away from dull lessons by weaving tales about made-up characters in a land of chocolate.

Equally clever (like mother like son, no doubt) Robbie turned it to his educational advantage by encouraging him write down his stories. So was born a family–friendly, cross-generational series that combined their love of spending precious family-time together indulging in favourite pastimes such as writing poetry, cooking, and it must be said, eating chocolate.

Colleen Chesebro, Buy:


One of the most recent reviews for The Swamp Fairy

Abigail ,The fairy whisperer and orphaned girl sent to live with an aunt that she didn’t know and an aunt who had no children and was just as nervous as Abigail at the thought of having a young girl coming to live with her.Tragically orphaned Abby discovers a lot about herself and her destiny, a fiesty little soul who is passionate about preserving her birthright and equally passionate about what she knows to be injustice and greed.

This story draws the reader into Abby’s world , the world of buterflies, fairies and magic, but also a world of greed in the shape of Rafe Cobb who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. A book which will leave you wanting to turn the page and if you know a girl who loves fairies and butterflies she will love this book.

Paul Cude, Buy:


An extract from a recent review for A Threat from the Past

on December 6, 2017

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past by Paul Cude is a story set in the present day world where dragons are disguised as humans and have infiltrated the human race to guide and protect them. Peter Bentwhistle and his friends Tank and Richie are three young dragons fresh out of the nursery ring. Peter rises to the head of security at Cromptech; a firm that provides laminium which is a critical resource for dragons. Peter’s boss starts going through his own changes which appear to be due to a security consultant named Manson. The three young dragons get caught up in an evil plot to steal the precious commodity vital to the dragon community. How does Peter and his friends restore his boss to his former personality and old self and thwart Mansion?

Darlene Foster, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Darlene’s blog to view all her books.


An extract from the latest book Amanda in New Mexico

This is the latest installment in a series about a 6th grade girl who is lucky enough to travel, this time with many in her class on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico. They are all students who are artistic, write blogs, take photographs or express themselves in other ways that they are producing each evening after their sightseeing. Taos is a place I have visited and enjoyed so I find it exciting to see it used for the setting of a young adult novel. I also read mysteries when I was young and enjoyed the opportunity to see what is being produced today in this area,and with that hint of the paranormal.

Annabelle Franklin, Buy:

index51xmhphDd0L._UY250_SLAPSTYX cover reduced

A recent review for Slapstyx

Engaging! Great for pre-teens! on August 31, 2017

The Slapstyx is very appropriate for its targeted age. I have a nine year old niece that adores to read. Her sister is twelve and she struggles. As soon as I finished this book I told my sister to get off her but and get a copy for both of them to read!

They story is far fetched and extremely magical, yet clearly and intelligently written in a way that pre-teens can actually grasp and relate to. Not only that, but it has a few educational qualities about pollution and moral values. Ultimately it sends a good message.

I wasn’t extremely fond of the twins, Gem and Gorgie. I felt their characters lacking despite their magic. They were clever enough, but sometime seemed to be missing. But, that being said, the goblins and Mr. Zigstack to make up for the personality lack of the girls. I loved them. Wonderfully engaging. Great for kids!

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, Buy :

Please visit Amazon or Deanie’s website to view all her books.


A recent review for My Life at Sweetbriar on Goodreads

Nov 09, 2017 Sarah Hays rated it it was amazing  ·  Excellent read!

This is a wonderful story about a girl following her dreams! Growing up, Deanie loved to riding horses. It was difficult at first as she was born with cerebral palsy, but her father helped her to become an awesome rider. Deanie began to participate in competition and she became a champion rider! I recommend it to horse lovers everywhere!

Ali Isaac, Buy:

myauthorpic mini51UOEFbKfLL._UY250_51ERbRyflwL._UY250_510r+YST7wL._UY250_51z5skuc3xl-_uy250_

A review for Conor Kelly’s Legends Ireland

Excellent presentation of many Celtic myths and legends. In some tellings, these can be difficult to follow. Here, the author welcomes you into an easy and entertaining story. One is transported back to the days and evenings of the bard singing tales by the firesode. The only thing missing was the harp and feast! A highly recommended resource for any interested in the tales of old!

M.J.Mallon, Buy:

Extract from a recent review for The Curse of Time

Enjoyable on 19 November 2017

The Curse of Time is a young adult fantasy novel set in Cambridge, England. This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up. Amelina is a likeable character. She receives enchanted gifts and dreams about an elusive cottage. Her parents can’t offer her the support she needs, and instead, she turns to Esme, a friend who lives in the mirror.

As a qualified crystal therapist, I liked the inclusion of crystals throughout the story.

Jemima Pett, Buy:

Please visit Amazon to view all of Jemima’s books.


A recent review for Willoughby the Narrator

Jul 09, 2017 Victoria Zigler rated it Five Stars.

I loved hearing Willoughby’s whole story, and thought the addition of some of his tales when he’s telling them was a nice touch.

Teri Polen, Buy:


An extract from a recent review for Sarah

F.R. Jameson Nov 15, 2017 F.R. rated it really liked it

In the day or so since I finished reading SARAH, I’ve been trying to figure out what it does right so as to utterly grip me. After all, this is a YA novel about the ghost of a teenage girl, and the other teenagers who encounter her. Written baldly like that, most people are going to feel that it’s something they’ve seen before/read before. (Teenage girl ghosts seem to be two a penny, why aren’t there more 1890’s escape-artist ghosts?) But Polen takes something that’s in danger of tipping into hackneyed cliché, and creates a book which builds up slowly until its genuinely edge of the seat stuff.

Gigi Sedlmayer, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Gigi’s website to view all her books.

0127 klein51JO3YpDLbL._UY250_514hukB75RL._UY250_51+nIrHb47L._UY250_Talon 5-Encounter front cover copy

An extract from a recent review for Encounter.

Encounter is the fifth and final book in the Talon series. Talon, Tima, and Tamo are in danger as the poachers, Zed and Pete want to capture these birds and kill them. Matica is distraught and seeks the help of the Indian village leader. Things have changed from the first book. Matica used to be an outcast and now that she can fly with Talon, the Indians find her interesting and have accepted her.

Pete and Zed dominate the story with their vicious plot and agenda towards these birds. The story is filled with action and drama as Matica sets her heart in, once again, protecting these birds.


Please visit Amazon or Janice’s blog to view all her books for adults and children.


One of the reviews for The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost.

Sarah Reviews 5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner! August 9, 2017

The wonderful and prolific author, Janice Spina, continues to entertain children with another terrific installment in the Davey and Derek Junior Detectives series, “The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost.” In this, the latest installment, Ms. Spina introduces the twins’ new cousins, Abby and Holly, who moved into a neighboring house that is haunted by ghosts. The frightened girls entreat the help of the now famous junior detectives. The twins, Davey and Derek, are not only excited about their new assignment but are also happy for the friendships developing between themselves and the lovely cousins. The story is most engaging and will entertain young readers going along for the ride, as the junior detectives, helped by their fabulous Aunt Gigi, tackle this new adventure.
Highly recommended!!

Bette A. Stevens, Buy:


An extract from the most recent review for Dog Bone Soup

A delightful story on October 1, 2017

In preparing to write this review, I read a couple of other reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I was interested to note one comment that likened this book to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I can see why this comparison has been drawn as Bette A. Stevens main character, Shawn Daniels, and Huckleberry Finn are both boys dogged by poverty and abusive and alcoholic fathers. Both boys are also fairly resourceful and have survival skills.

For me, however, that was where the comparison ended. Stevens depicts the Daniels family as being tight knit despite their unfortunate father. The children and their Mother work together to salvage their situation to the best extent they can. I really felt sad for the Mother as she was a victim of her own hormones and emotions and could not find the strength to break away from her selfish and abusive husband. She remained in a downward spiralling situation and ended up having a fourth child which was really unwise.


Jann Weeratunga, links to buy:

An extract from a review for Polly’s Piralympics

Gregg Davies rated it Five Stars on October 17th 2017

This review should actually be written by my son, Ryan, aged 8. I’ve been reading a bit of this book to him every night for the past month and through reading to him for years I thought he’d really tuned out and just liked my presence and voice keeping him comfort as he went to sleep and the story had become irrelevant.
Hmm what do dad’s know!!

Victoria Zigler, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Victoria’s website to view all her books.

One of the recent reviews for Witchlet

Natalee Pfeifer rated it it was amazing on Goodreads

This is a very charming story about a very young witch, frustrated with not being taken seriously because of her age and frustrated because she needs to also hide her powers from members of her own family. You will not want to miss this one!

Happy Christmas and I hope you find a wealth of fun and learning in the books I have featured..