Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

A fun new children’s funbook!

It is funny how giddy I feel over this new project!

This is a special funbook edition of the story Winky’s Colours, prepared by the author who is also a teacher and a parent. Apart from the original story about Winky, this funbook is also filled with worksheets, riddles, colouring pages and wordgames, and all the illustrations are black&white. Have fun!

Winky is a little penguin who lives his life with a black&white family in nature filled with black, white and gray. All he dreams of are colours! So one day he decides to leave his home and go on an expedition to find colours. He will meet friends, face life-risking adventure and find more than he expected.
#childrensbook #learning

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Rhino Magic

An excerpt from Rhino Magic, my story in Looking into the Abyss:

‘Mummie, mummie, come here quickly! You’ve got to see this!’

Ginger dragged her feet from the kitchen to the living room for the hundredth time that day. There was no gingerly step left in her to justify her name, not after a sleepless night spent trying to get her son’s fever down.

‘What, honey?’

She struggled to sound interested, and failed miserably. Jake was kneeling on the bed and pointing at the TV, his blurred eyes sparkling with excitement, above the gloomy eyebags and thin cheeks.

He used to be so big and strong that they called him their beast. No seven-year-old should have to suffer kidney problems.

‘The man in the show… the documentary… he said the rhino is considered to be the unicorn’s cousin. Unicorn! Can you believe it?’

Thank you for inviting me onto this project, @Paul White.

#love #education #storytelling #quote #charity #books #teaching #story


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Patches by Kathryn Curzon – my review

What a wonderful, soothing, therapeutic story for children, but also adults, on how to help someone dealing with sadness. A beautifully told narrative about a kind, loving woodland creature who finds someone so sad he or she is practically invisible, and then, bit by bit, day by day, not forcing it but being there… patch by patch, sadness is gone and friendship heals hope. Lovely metaphor with imagery suitable for children. I enjoyed reading this, and I congratulate the author on managing to sustain a picturesque and serene tone, inviting to be read, maybe not out loud, but with a loving whisper. Recommended to all.

This book on Amazon

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Yahooty Who? – my review

I stumbled upon this cute book in my search and downloaded it based on the very optimistic cover and blurb.

Although primarily driven by beautiful illustrations and a cute little house ‘elf’ Yahooty, the wonderful visual aspect of the story is accompanied successfully with lovely rhyme, which flows smoothly for the most part. The story itself does not contain a traditional plot, but is phrased as suggestive questions for the little readers (or listeners). I enjoyed the playful tone, lots of useful vocabulary which will help expand the children’s own, and the repetitive pattern which will definitely engage the kids.

Yahooty must be in kahootz with parents though, especially regarding certain house cleaning tasks, so a parent might even get the idea to get kids to help with cleaning in hopes of actually meeting Yahooty. Just sayin’;).

Book link

PS: found this on their Twitter:

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THE DRAGON DREAMER by J. S. Burke – my review

Combining two of my most favourite elements, the ocean and fantasy, has certainly not put this author in an easy spot with me as a reader. My expectations were really high.

The author’s fascination with sealife is obvious, and it is intriguing how she intertwines it with the dragon world. There is so much lovely detail in the descriptions, and almost a science to it. I enjoyed the author’s comparison of the daily rituals of sea and dragon life with the human perspective. In fact, most of the story can be taken as a metaphor to our world, even the environmental issues, conflict and the importance of stories for the growth of a species. Although there are absolutely no human characters in this story (which took some time for me to get used to), all the characters and their relationships are developed well, with lots of love and respect. The weather threats and action sequences are intense, but it is the life described that I particularly enjoyed. This entire world has been created with amazing consistency and attention to detail.

The admirable symbiosys of skills from completely different creatures, shows us how humans should learn, united by a common goal – life on this planet. And how interesting it is that the author has both species celebrate and encourage art, creativity and healing, in contrast to humans! Dreamers they are, truly.

Any child or adult who loves to explore and go on nature adventures, will thoroughly enjoy comparing this fantasy world to nature lessons at school. Teachers could find it useful in dealing with biology, environment, even art. If your child has the heart of a zoologist, oceanologist, artist, and is a fantasy fan, this book might just be perfect for them.

What I especially liked in the story is the strong emphasis on learning and communication – each species can learn from another when willing to communicate.

Here is an interesting quote, one I wish we could implement to human life more often.

“…crowding can lead to fights. Art is good way to channel all that edgy energy.”

Dragon Dreamer

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Happy World Penguin Day:)

Happy #WorldPenguinDay!

How far would you go in search of your dreams? Winky goes farther than he’s ever been and finds more than he’s expected!

#childrensbooks #kidlit #parenting #polaranimals #envirnoment #educational



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Visiting award-winning author Ashley Uzzell with my book Spikes for Hank

It is such a rare privilege to be a guest on a blog with a children’s book. So happy Hank made it:)

Thank you, Ashley Uzzell!

By the way, if any of you enjoy wordsearches, this book has its own here: and it’s free:)

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Franky the Finicky Flamingo by Wanda Luthman – my review

What a lovely children’s book, fun for kids and helpful to parents whose children are fussy about food.

In a very gentle way, through rhyme and colourful illustrations, without laying blame or preaching, the author guides us, along with Franky, to the realization why food is important (I love the metaphor about the colour fading, which is also why the illustrations are rich in colour elsewhere). Furthermore, the children are shown that not all kinds of food are good for everyone, and the goal is to find what is healthy for your particular body and lifestyle.

Eating suitable and healthy food lets you live an active, fun-filled life, and share your adventures with your friends nd family. And keep your ‘colours’:). I can see this book used by parents, teachers, even nutritionists, especially in kindergartens. Another good one, Ms Luthman!


Have you learned to love your spikes?

We are all born with some part of ourselves we don’t especially like. In fact, sometimes we hate it and wish we were different.

But with time, and a little help from our friends and family, we all discover we are as we are for a reason, and each of us is special and unique in our own way.

Sometimes, quite often in fact, what we thought our weakness turns out to be our most prized possession. Would it not be a dull world if we were all the same?

From the Foreword to Spikes for Hank, #childrensbook



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What do YOU have to say? – interview with Wanda Luthman

A few days ago I had the pleasure of introducing the latest children’s book by award-winning author Wanda Luthman, and today Wanda is here.


Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at and follow her on Facebook at


1. Welcome to Anita’s Haven. Pull up a chair, relax and fire away. Firstly, tell us five things about yourself that you think matter the most.

Hi, thank you so much for having me here today. I think the most important things to know about me are that I’m a mother of one child and a step-mother of four children and a step-grandmother to 2 children. I love my family. My parents are still alive and are married to each other. I enjoy the outdoors and animals, especially dogs and cats. I am a Christian and love God and participate in daily meditation to deepen my walk.

2. When you were a kid, what did you want to do in life as an adult? Can you remember the moment you realized you had become an author? How did it feel to transcend from that point when you just wrote for yourself to the point when you realized this was what you wanted to do full time?

When I was a kid, I went through various ideas of what I wanted to be but finally decided on being a therapist. I went to college for that and then got my masters and worked in the mental health field for 10 years. Then, I transferred to a school setting so I could have a schedule like my daughter’s. I didn’t become an official published author until after my daughter left for college even though I had been writing my whole life. I remember when I first started calling myself an author, it felt strange but also like I had finally come home. I was finally at home in my own skin.

3. Why do you write?What’s the most challenging aspect of your genre? Which genre can you never see yourself writing and why? How do you feel when you write? Is there a special ritual to it, a playlist, place, company, technology?

I write children’s books. The most challenging is to remember to keep my word choices on their level. I don’t see myself writing erotica. I feel it conflicts with writing for children and I just don’t want to. I don’t have a ritual for writing. Inspiration will hit me out of nowhere and I just have to write it down. One time while riding my bike, I became inspired with words to a song. When I could stop and take a break, I sang it into my phone so I would have it for later. I’m no singer either, but that’s what I heard in my head so I tried to approximate it when I was saying it to my phone. LOL

4. Tell us more about your book characters. Who inspired you for the heroes and villains? Who is your favourite character and why?

I have two female heroines and then three animals as main character. Dreama in the Lilac Princess is strong-willed and determined which, of course, gets her into trouble, but is also what gets her out of it and helps to save her kingdom.

Gloria in Gloria and the Unicorn has a facial disfigurement and believes she is unlovable but through the help of a kind unicorn, she sees herself differently and learns to love herself and becomes key in helping to save her unicorn friend from danger.

Tad, the turtle, in A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, doesn’t like his shell because it makes him too slow. He takes some bad advice to go see the wizard to have it removed. He means some other wonderful creatures along the way that help him to see his shell as the blessing that it is.

Little Birdie in Little Birdie Grows Up is a spirited little bird who upon entering the world longs to learn how to fly. He is determined and eventually realizes his dream.

Franky in Franky the Finicky Flamingo appears to be a picky eater because he doesn’t like the food that other birds eat. It takes a wise owl to help him discover the right food for him.

My favorite character is always the last one I wrote about which, right now, is Franky. I love his bow tie and beautiful pink color and that he keeps trying different foods to see what he might like.

5. We all know typing those special words, the end, gives us a priceless feeling, but that is when the actual work begins. How do you deal with the editing process? Are you your toughest editor and beta-reader or do you rely on someone for that?

I edit quite a bit after I’m done and then I have several online programs I use to help me catch weak works, overused words, and to keep my sentences short, etc. Then, I have a few beta readers that help me tweak it even further. Then, off to my editor who is worth her weight in gold.

6. How much do praise and positive reviews help to fuel your creativity and keep you writing? How do negative reviews affect you?

I love positive reviews because it validates me. Since I don’t have formal training, I don’t really know if I’m hitting the mark or not. After winning the Readers’ Favorite Award in 2017 for Little Birdie Grows Up, I finally felt like a real author. As people who don’t know me react to my book in a positive light, I know I’m getting it right.

7. What do you do when you are not writing books? Any hobbies or projects you are particularly passionate about?

I ride my bike. I swim. I walk. I enjoy the outdoors. My two lovable yorkies, Scruffy and Tessa. And I have about 15 feral cats that live outside. All are fixed. My neighbor and I took them on as a project when two female cats showed up pregnant around the same time. It took time to tame them and their babies and then catch all of them and get them spayed and neutered.

8. If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?

My favorite book character is Winnie the Pooh. He’s so cute and cuddly and loving. And he loves his honey which I would have to trade out for chocolate but he’s my guy.

9. What’s the funniest or most interesting reaction you‘ve had from people when you told them you were a writer?

Most people are super supportive and tell me congratulations, but it’s always interesting the people who also want to become writers. They will usually start telling me a book idea. I love being an inspiration to them and offer to help in any way I can.

10. If you could interview any famous person in human history, who would it be and what would you ask?

Jesus and I’d ask how is this thing going to end. I really don’t want to be here for all the trouble, just saying.

11. Would you like to add anything, share a brief sneak peek into your book, or send a message to the readers?

Because of my background in psychology and guidance counseling, my books while being magical adventure stories also include positive social/emotional messages in them such as forgiveness, perseverance, and self-acceptance. I want children who read my book to come away better than they were before.


Dogs or cats Love them both!
Ice-cream or fruit Fruit. I’m lactose intolerant (TMI, I know!)
Meat or salad I’m a meat eater but I eat more salads nowadays
Fact or fiction Fiction, it’s way more fun
Music or silence I prefer silence when I’m writing and often in the morning as I’m just waking up and getting started for my day and especially when I’m meditating
Indoor or outdoor I love the outdoors but I’m definitely not a camper type person. I love the comfort of a bed and air conditioning. I live in Florida after all.
Ocean view or mountains I love the ocean. Water soothes my soul.
Books or movies I love to read, books!
E-book or print I prefer print but have gone to ebook lately because I’m running out of shelf space.
Teach or learn Learn. I’m a sponge. I love to be challenged mentally. It keeps me sharp and on my toes.
Romance or crime Romance. I’m a hopeless romantic.




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