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Former Silicon Valley Recruiter Says Some Schools not Preparing Students to Earn a Living

Doing things for free may not sound like a great recipe for earning; but a new picture book by a former Silicon Valley recruiter shows how providing free service can build skills, ideas and a reputation — all of which can bring income.

“Some people graduate from high school or college and expect to be paid right out of the gate,” said author Karl Beckstrand. “Most employers want experience,” he said. “Seeing problems and providing solutions — even without pay — can give job seekers the edge.”

The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living” (for ages 5 and up) came to Beckstrand after he had visited many schools, observing almost no curriculum on earning money. The State of Vermont now uses the picture book and its online resources in its financial literacy curriculum for primary schools.

Beckstrand’s 18th book (number one in three Amazon categories) shows how a child with an eye for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. This illustrated Asian folk tale comes with ideas for businesses, finding customers and managing finances.

“I hope it helps bridge the gap,” Beckstrand said, “between what kids aren’t being taught and what they need to know in order to make a living. Money shouldn’t mystify.”

Beckstrand, winner of a 2016 International Book Award, says that earners start young — with no expectation of reward. “Doing something for nothing not only helps you feel good,” he said, “it gives you experience, a good reputation and, sometimes, money-making ideas.”

“Many children and adults lack confidence that only comes through experience,” said Beckstrand. “We get experience by finding and filling needs, solving problems.”

While he wanted to be a rock star, Beckstrand’s first job out of college was as a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley. “I got that job because I had worked some summers and semesters doing grunt work as a human resources assistant.”

Some of the people Beckstrand recruited had great ability and egos, some had no ability and great egos, but some had an idea of what they didn’t know,” he said. “The latter group had the best chances because they wanted to learn how to bring value.”

Beckstrand worked in high tech, sales and public policy before publishing his first book. “I did get to sing professionally,” he said, “even if our band was basically a wedding band. The point is, by trying lots of things I learned what I like and developed skills that help in any industry.”

“Maybe you don’t get that Fortune 500 job,” Beckstrand said, “maybe, while you’re serving someone in need, you get an idea that turns into the next Uber or Amazon — only it’s your company.”

After a couple of books through other publishers, Beckstrand now runs Premio Publishing in Midvale, Utah. They specialize in multicultural mysteries, biographies and language books for families. “They’re not about race or ethnicity,” said Beckstrand. “They simply happen to have characters of color.” They have received awards and raves from national publications like School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book’s blog and ForeWord Reviews.

Even after getting a master’s degree, Beckstrand noted that none of his courses taught earning or managing money. He says his most valuable education has come from running a business and living abroad. He has included tips he has learned in “The Bridge of the Golden Wood,” written in dyslexic-friendly font and available in hard cover, soft cover and ebook via major distributors and PremioBooks.com.

STEM Books Pick up Steam

MIDVALE, Utah, Oct. 12, 2016 – Three multicultural books teach astronomy, entomology, zoology (and Spanish) — but kids would never know it from the mysteries, activities and giggles.

Cover contest winner “Butterfly Blink: A Book Without Words” is a new picture book fantasy that helps children (ages 2 – 6) cement vocabulary as they describe the monarch from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Blink — and they multiply! The e-book version is free this month and includes habitat conservation information for all ages.

“Bright Star, Night Star: An Astronomy Story” (also a cover design winner) is a children’s book that accompanies an American Indian child in finding constellations, stars and other heavenly bodies. It exposes children (4 - 8) to the starry skies, Monument Valley, and a little space science. It is available in hard or soft cover — or as an e-book.

“She Doesn’t Want the Worms – Ella no quiere los gusanos: A Mystery” was named in the top 10 best books of 2011 by “ForeWord Reviews Magazine.” It is an educational activity book about a bi-racial girl who responds to some unusual animal gifts — that happen to be alive — and includes full text and a pronunciation guide in both English and Spanish. Kids (3 and up) or language learners can find and count insects, reptiles, a cat, and a bat. Get in Spanish-only, English-only, or bilingual versions as an e-book or in paperback.

The best-selling author of these nature books, Karl Beckstrand, has 17 multicultural books and more than 45 e-book titles – all family friendly. Beckstrand finds that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) books can entertain while they educate (STEAM books include the arts). Beckstrand will present on publishing entertaining literature Tues. Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Weber County Library 2039 W. 4000 South, Roy, Utah and Sat. Nov. 5 from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Viridian Center 8030 S. 1825 West, West Jordan, Utah.

Award-winning Premio Publishing & Gozo Books’ STEM books capture attention, create repeat readers and are nationally lauded (ForeWord Reviews, Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews). Not about ethnic or racial diversity, they simply feature black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and mixed-race characters.

108 Years in the Making, Manuscript wins International Award

MIDVALE, Utah, June 24, 2016 – After being named a finalist — but not winning — the Laramie Award (western novel) and, after getting Literary Classics’ seal of approval, but no award, Karl Beckstrand was beginning to doubt there would be any recognition of his hard work. Last month he learned that his thriller, “To Swallow the Earth,” had indeed won a 2016 International Book Award.

Beckstrand, who grew up in San Jose, California, has won other literary awards, but this one is special. “It’s really my grandfather’s story,” Beckstrand said. “I just reworked it so the characters were developed and the action flowed.” Beckstrand’s grandfather grew up ranching, hunting and fishing around the Sierra Nevada Mountains a hundred years ago and used that setting for a western mystery set in the Nevada silver rush.

“My grandfather explored the mountains on horseback, so he knew the country well,” Beckstrand said. “My challenge was to tighten his story while preserving the plot’s action, suspense and earthy vernacular.”

“The main character is an outcast, half-Mexican, raised by Indians,” Beckstrand said. “But he’s fearless and loyal to his friends and family.” In addition to a tough, dark hero, there’s a gutsy heroine who is unintimidated in the worst kinds of opposition.

“What if you came home after a journey and your family was no longer there?” Beckstrand summarizes. What if someone else was living in your house, running what you used to manage—and trying to kill you? Could a beautiful woman be behind it? Wade Forester must stay in the shadows. His father has disappeared, and his sister won’t speak to anyone. Patricia Laughlin is searching for her family as well. Few people gain her trust or approval. Wade must decide if risking his life to help Patricia means aiding the enemy. And Patricia must choose a killer to trust with her life.

Beckstrand, who has a bachelor’s in journalism from BYU  and a master’s from APU, will present with a panel of authors on Monday, June 27 at the Hunter Library at 7 p.m. and on July 26 at the Kearns Library.

Beckstrand’s fifteenth book may be found via all major distributors and here. A book trailer is here.

More info: What if you came home after a journey and your family was no longer there? What if someone else was living in your house and running what you used to manage? What if they tried to kill you when you showed up? Wade Forester must stay in the shadows because, it seems, everyone has reason to shoot him. His father has disappeared, and his sister won’t speak a word to anyone. Beautiful Patricia Laughlin is searching for her family as well. Few people gain her trust or approval, though powerful landowner Bridger Calhoun just might be the man to do it. After a clash throws them to opposite sides, Wade must decide if risking his life to help Patricia is worth the trouble. Bridger must win Patricia’s heart, and Patricia must learn which killer to trust with her life.

Set in Nevada’s silver rush, and reminiscent of Twain, the writing comes from intimate knowledge of the era and area. Having lived off the land, Wilcox depended on his wit, grit, and strength—and that of his animals—for survival, just as these characters do. Wilcox and Beckstrand weave authentic detail and care for the land and its creatures into a mystery that will make your heart pound and fill your lungs with the “rarefied air” of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Of his grandfather Beckstrand said, “His family ranched and hunted in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Once, when the hunter became the prey -- of a charging wild boar -- my grandfather stuck a pole he was carrying into the ground and climbed straight up to safety.” On another occasion, Beckstrand’s grandfather was saved from a deadly boar by the family dog, an Australian shepherd named Blue. When Blue was later injured in an unrelated accident, Beckstrand’s grandfather was able to turn the tables and save the dog with an emergency amputation. “That three-legged mountain dog was kind of a celebrity after that,” Beckstrand said.

Comes with additional short story. Family safe (ages 14 & up), diverse characters, 54,000 words, 210 pages, 5.25”x8” paperback, simultaneously published as A Sky So Big (also a paperback and audiobook, YA western suspense/romance). Premio Publishing (worldwide rights 2015) PremioPublishing.com, Baker & Taylor, BN, EBSCO, Follett, Ingram, Mackin, Quality Books, Kindle/Amazon.com, Sony, iTunes, Kobo, Diesel, and select retailers. Written by Ransom Wilcox & Karl Beckstrand

Dancing Flamingos

MIDVALE, Utah, Sept. 9, 2015 -- The world is pink. Pink with flamingos reveling on an imaginary lake—the creation of award-winning author Karl Beckstrand. Vivid images for the picture book “The Dancing Flamingos of Lake Chimichanga” were created by illustrator Ashley Sanborn.

“The story is filled with frenetic flamingos diving, dancing and dipping,” Beckstrand said. “I think it will make anyone smile. Kids can count the birds, dances and foods.”

“Diving, dipping, drinking, dripping, flying, falling, flailing, flipping. Strutting, swaying, swooping, sunning, synchronized swimming—they shimmy. It’s stunning.”

The 24-page, 8.5-inch square soft cover picture book and ebook is for ages 3 – 7 (350 words for preschool to second grade) and has online extras. Beckstrand has 15 multicultural books and more than 40 online titles, many of which feature characters of color. Most end with a twist. His nationally lauded books can be found at Amazon/Kindle, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble/Nook, Brodart, EBSCO, Flipkart, Follett, Gardners, iBooks, Ingram, Inktera, Kobo, Library Direct, Mackin, OverDrive, Quality, SCRIBD, txtr, PremioBooks.com and select retailers.

Read a Book with No Words?

MIDVALE, Utah, Nov. 28, 2014 -- Want to help kids cement their vocabulary skills? A new book—without words—can do just that. "Polar Bear Bowler: A Story Without Words" is designed to help children create their own narration to engaging, funny images. It is Karl Beckstrand’s eleventh book.

Illustrated by Ashley Sanborn of Lehi, UT, the story is about a Polar Bear that hitches a ride to Antarctica. He has never seen penguins before; to him they look like something fun to play with. So, the romp begins. The new title has been translated into more than twenty languages and is available in paperback and ebook versions.

What would you do if Old MacDonald’s animals ruined your catering business? Ma MacDonald’s response is pretty clever in Beckstrand’s twelfth book: “Ma MacDonald Flees the Farm.” Activities include finding and naming animals and foods (for ages 3 - 8). The 32-page, soft cover and ebook was illustrated by Alycia Mark of Providence, UT.

True to its multicultural tradition, Premio Publishing’s books feature learning activities and characters of color. Premio's mystery and language books, non-fiction, ebooks and app are nationally-lauded, invite family learning and together time, and often end with surprises. Premio is celebrating its tenth year.

Blink, and You Could Miss 'Em

“Butterfly Blink: A Book Without Words” is a picture book fantasy that helps children cement vocabulary as they describe the monarch from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Blink — and they multiply. Blink — and they’re gone! (Stories Without Words series, Ages 2 – 6), 24-page, 8"x 10", wordless picture book on habitat conservation with Hispanic child, ISBN: 978-0692648599.

New Astronomy Book Exposes Kids to Science

MIDVALE, UT, March 09, 2014 - Want to expose kids to the night sky? A new picture book, Bright Star, Night Star: An Astronomy Story, opens the starry skies to youngsters.

This week Bright Star, Night Star hit No. 2 on Amazon's Hot New Children's Books list. It opened mid-Feb. at No. 5.

The children's astronomy book has activities for finding stars, constellations, planets and other heavenly bodies. Rich illustrations by Spanish artist Luis F. Sanz help identify objects and online secrets add depth and details. The vocabulary is suitable for children ages 5 - 9.

Bilingual author Karl Beckstrand hopes the story and activities spark children's interest in all things stellar. This is Beckstrand's tenth book. He likes to weave language, counting or other learning concepts through his stories. He even wrote a free geography ebook for kids: It Ain't Flat: A Memorizable Book of Countries.

Beckstrand will be signing books Saturday 22 at the Discovery Space Center in Pleasant Grove, UT (886 W. 2600 North) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

True to its multicultural tradition, Premio Publishing & Gozo Books features characters of color in its astronomy book for kids. Premio's activity and language books, ebooks and app are nationally-lauded, invite family learning and together time and often end with surprises.

The soft cover bedtime story and ebook can be found via http://PremioBooks.com, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Bn.com/NOOK, Amazon.com/Kindle, iTunes, Follett Library Resources/Title Wave, Ingram, Mackin, and select booksellers. Customers may pre-order in hard cover from the publisher.

Horse & Dog Adventures in Early California

Sept. 2, 2013, MIDVALE, UT, USA – Animal lovers can get a peek at life in rural California in the early twentieth century when animals played a critical role in human survival. Author Ransom Wilcox knows—he lived it.

Wilcox’s family moved to the Sacramento Valley from Canada in 1907. They farmed, tended livestock, and sometimes got by via hunting and fishing. Once, when the hunter became the prey—of a charging wild boar—Wilcox stuck a pole he was carrying into the ground and climbed up!

Wilcox’s new book, Horse and Dog Adventures in Early California, tells of his great love for a beautiful filly and how he depended on horses in ranching and hunting. He also writes about the devotion of a special dog that saved his life—and how he was later able to return the favor, performing emergency surgery on the injured canine. “Doc” Wilcox, as his friends called him, was a chiropractor by profession, and grateful for his medical training when his rescuer needed help.

Wilcox’s love of animals and the great outdoors is evident in his nature-themed stories (for young and old). They convey courage, devotion, and perseverance with warmth and sincerity.

Also new from Premio Publishing: No Offense: Communication Guaranteed Not to Offend by Karl Beckstrand (also from California). In his ninth book, Beckstrand captures with simplicity and wit the essence of non-offensive, politically correct communication. Funny--and free of degrading bits--this is safe, entertaining reading for the whole family. Beckstrand encourages (in a clever way) the expression of important ideas and respectful dialogue—which often lead to serendipitous solutions that neither side would have arrived at without the other. He makes a strong statement about the problems with political correctness—especially unconstitutional limits on free speech.

Multicultural Publisher Donates Language and Activity Books to Libraries Across the West
Nationally lauded Spanish/bilingual books, activity mysteries and ebooks featuring black, white, Hispanic and Asian children are now available at multiple libraries and web sites.

May 2013, MIDVALE, UT, USA - Parents and teachers seeking more racially-diverse educational books for children have new options—and more places to find them. This month Premio Publishing & Gozo Books has made its multicultural activity and language books available at more than 75 libraries and bookmobiles in the West.

Hundreds of the nationally-lauded English and Spanish books (with pronunciation guide), activity mysteries, ebooks and non-fiction books on immigrants have also been donated around the world. The books feature children of black, white, Asian, Hispanic and mixed races, and come with finding or counting activities, online secrets and even recipes. Surprise twists, vivid images and humor hold student attention and make them repeat readers.

The publisher has also increased the number of web sites that offer its diverse books and ebooks internationally--including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Smashwords and Etsy. Premiobooks.com offers a free geography ebook: It Ain’t Flat: A Memorizable Book of Countries meant to be read aloud. They plan to release interactive book apps later this year.

Premio Publishing’s multicultural books have been praised by School Library Journal, the Horn Book blog, ForeWord Reviews and others. While their educational children’s books may be ordered via Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Follett Library Resources/BWI Title Wave, Ingram, Amazon and others, the publisher will continue to donate books to US libraries and charities. Libraries that did not receive a free bilingual book with pronunciation guide may contact the publisher while quantities last.

Premio's publisher, Karl Beckstrand, will be presenting on Creating & Publishing Children’s Books for Broadest Reach (including ebooks and Print-On-Demand) at the LDStorymakers Conference Friday, May 10 at 10:40 a.m. at the Provo, Utah, Marriott Hotel, USA.

Mini-mysteries for Minors

Oct. 2012 - Not that anyone needs a comprehensive list of what keeps people awake at night, but a new mystery book Why Juan Can’t Sleep chronicles--with hilarity--every possible cause for insomnia. From wild dreams to noisy critters and neighbors, to too much Chinese food, author Karl Beckstrand makes sure adults and kids are entertained at bedtime.

The fourth in his Mini-mysteries for Minors series, this interactive book has finding activities and striking illustrations by Spanish artist Luis Sanz that grab readers and aid comprehension. It’s really a list of what has interrupted Beckstrand’s sleep—with a great reaction from Juan and a twist at the end.

This summer, two of Beckstrand's mysteries were highlighted among the "best of the best" on Barnes & Noble's site. Other praise for Beckstrand has come from the Horn Book blog, ForeWord Reviews, and School Library Journal. Beckstrand's books have Latino flair, minority characters and often end with a surprise twist. Mini-mysteries for Minors help children identify and face fears. Many are available in English-only, Spanish-only, and bilingual versions--with full text and pronunciation guide in both languages--and as e-books. Young and old will identify with this funny, spooky quest for rest (for ages 4 - 10).

One other new title from Beckstrand is Arriba Up, Abajo Down at the Boardwalk--a bilingual picture book of opposites set at the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. All Mini-mysteries for Minors are ideal Halloween books: Sounds in the House - Sonidos en la casa, She Doesn’t Want the Worms - Ella no quiere los gusanos, Crumbs on the Stairs - Migas en las escaleras. Ask for them at: Sam Weller, King’s English, Storybook Nook, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Brodart, Kindle, Follett/BWI Title Wave, select retailers

Media Advisory - U.S. Spanish Children’s Book Sales Climb
Amazon Spain launch and U.S. book sales indicate next big market. November is National Picture Book Month.

Nov. 22, 2011, Midvale, UT, USA -- Publishing is evolving and crossing borders like never before, as is children’s literature. Amazon.com’s recent entry into Spain and the explosion of Spanish-language ebook platforms are indicators of the next big publishing market.

Sales of Spanish language books in the United States demonstrate significant demand--including for children’s literature in Spanish. Bilingual author Karl Beckstrand has seen an increase in demand for his Spanish-language and bilingual picture books and e-books.

This year Beckstrand has had three titles on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” in Spanish list. His Spanish titles outsell the English versions, though most of his titles come with an English/Spanish pronunciation guide. Positive national reviews by the Horn Book blog and ForeWord Reviews don’t hurt either.

During November, National Picture Book Month, Beckstrand expects record sales--not because of the added emphasis--but because, lately, every month is a record sales month. Customers are not all likely to be to Spanish-speakers. It may be that individuals, schools and families agree with Amazon: an additional language is a good idea.

Considering that native Spanish speakers are more common than native English speakers worldwide (the only other native language more common than Spanish is Mandarin, according to Time and Wikipedia), Amazon’s lead should be followed. Beckstrand’s picture books may be a good start.

Premio Publishing has been delighting readers since 2004. Nationally lauded (ForeWord Reviews, Horn Book blog, Midwest Review), our activity picture books--including a cookbook for kids, Spanish/bilingual books with pronunciation guide and English, Spanish or bilingual text, and ebook mysteries--feature minority characters, capture attention and create repeat readers. Distribution via: Ingram, Brodart, Baker & Taylor, Follett/BWI, Amazon, Nook/Kindle/ibooks/Kobo, Premiobooks.com

She Doesn't Want the Worms--but you will

SALT LAKE CITY:  It’s not your typical picture book—but that’s the idea. “If you’re going to teach something you’d better have people’s attention first,” says author Karl Beckstrand of his fifth children’s book, She Doesn’t Want the Worms – Ella no quiere los gusanos. It is Beckstrand’s third bilingual book.
“Who is offering this kid worms?” asks Beckstrand “—and why?” The vivid, sometimes striking, images of creepy crawlies by illustrator David Hollenbach only increase the curiosity. “Once readers are interested in the story, they hardly notice they’re learning,” says Beckstrand.
She Doesn’t Want the Worms’ whimsical story and images stand on their own merits; but kids and adults may go back just to try the words in another language. “It’s pretty interactive,” says Beckstrand; “and that’s what you want in a book.”
Beckstrand’s bilingual books are for people of any age who want to learn English or Spanish, and come with a pronunciation guide in both languages. His first bilingual book, Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras, has been purchased by schools and libraries around the country.

KIDS GO BANANAS FOR COOKBOOK

SALT LAKE CITY:  “It didn’t start as a cookbook,” says author, Karl Beckstrand of his fifth picture book, “but my editor thought it would be the perfect activity book—saving families from those ‘I’m bored’ moments.” Bad Bananas A Story Cookbook for Kids dramatizes the short (shelf) life of a renegade bunch—offering great recipes kids can use, even when a banana starts to go “bad.”
Who knew bananas could be trouble, “sneaking rides on fruit hats—or taking the fruit bowl out for late night spins“? Beckstrand’s bananas, illustrated by Jeff Faerber, have sticker tattoos, pierced peels and wild hair.
“You can throw them in the cooler, but that just makes them more off color,” says Beckstrand. In the end, the worst bananas get fried or put away for good.
But a bad banana can turn out good, “—even delicious!” Bad Bananas has easy recipes that make the most of bananas gone bad, including banana muffins, cookies, smoothies and pancakes. “They’re not only tasty, they’re right carb, low sugar recipes,” says Beckstrand.
This picture book facilitates hands-on family interaction. “What I like most about this book is its message of redemption,” adds Beckstrand, “—that everyone has something valuable to offer.”

Immigrant experience becomes book

SALT LAKE CITY:  It took 120 years, but Anna Anderson’s remarkable story is finally in print. Midvale author Karl Beckstrand and illustrator Shari Griffiths have captured in a beautiful picture book the story of 10-year-old Anna, who arrived alone at the Salt Lake train depot in 1888.

Anderson made the boat journey from Sweden with her sister Ida, but the two separated in Ogden because Ida had to work in Idaho. Anna continued alone to Salt Lake, where her aunt was to meet her at the train station. Unfortunately, Anna’s aunt didn’t receive the letter with the details of Anna’s arrival. It was midnight when Anna arrived in Salt Lake City—and no one was there to meet her.

Alone and unable to speak English, Anna said a desperate prayer for someone with whom she could communicate. The unexpected answer showed Anna that she was never alone. Anna’s Prayer is a delightful tale of courage for all ages.

Published by Leatherwood Press November 2008, Written by Karl Beckstrand, Illustrated by Shari Griffiths, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-59992-113-6, Children’s full-color picture book, 32 pages, 10” x 9” $17.95, Available at Deseret Book, independent LDS bookstores, Amazon.com, gozobooks.com
bookstore orders only, contact Brigham Distributing at (435) 723-6611 (ask about international distribution).

English only debate spreads to children's books

Salt Lake City — A new picture book is taking the English only debate to a whole new arena: young kids.

Crumbs on the Stairs, by local author/illustrator, Karl Beckstrand, is written to help children and adults gain skills in Spanish and English. The text is in both languages.

“Some people don’t like the idea of teaching children two languages,” said Beckstrand, who has taught ESL. “But, even if you want the United States to be an English-only country, you’re still better off knowing other languages,” he said.

Much of the world is bilingual or multilingual. Even in the United States, one in five people speak a language other than English at home, according to MSNBC.

“I’m not trying to change America’s official language,” said Beckstrand. “I want to empower kids and adults to have more options,” he said. “People can only benefit from knowing a second or third language. It helps whether you’re traveling or at home, not to mention increased career options,” he said.

“Crumbs on the Stairs is also a fun mystery,” said Beckstrand. “It has searching and counting activities, all while you’re trying to figure out who’s dropping crumbs everywhere,” he said. “Whether reading the English text or the Spanish, a person can ignore his or her native text and grasp the other language from the pictures,” said Beckstrand.

Ask for Beckstrand's Spanish books in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New York, San Diego, Phoenix, Boston, Albuquerque, Mexico, Salt Lake City and anywhere else you happen to be. Or, order online from the publisher.

DON'T FEAR SOUNDS IN THE HOUSE!
Comic picture book spotlights fear, courage & friendship 

MIDVALE, UT, October 8, 2011—Finally, a book that shows what causes those strange creaks and cracks that scare young and old on dark nights. Sounds in the House! A Fun Mystery is a clever picture book romp that reveals what's behind many, sometimes frightening, noises.

“It’s about facing fear,” says Utah Humanities Council Author on Main Street, Karl Beckstrand. “Once you know what causes those squeaks and bumps, you find there’s seldom a reason to be afraid,” he says. Still, it is fun to see what makes a dog—or a person—howl, given the right start.

Part of Beckstrand’s “Mini Mysteries for Minors,” Sounds in the House is a great Halloween book. It is available in English, Spanish, or bilingual versions—also as ebooks—with a pronunciation guide for language learners.

Young children and adults will enjoy the characters depicted by illustrator Channing Jones. The jittery puppy, at first unnerved when he hears strange sounds, takes action, then finds he is safe and loved. 

"I wanted to explore that spooked feeling that comes to most of us in childhood," says Beckstrand. "I remember lying frozen in bed as a child, imagining all sorts of creepy causes for what turned out to be the furnace heating up. That scenario can make the mind go all sorts of scary directions," he says. “A little bravado may be just the cure.”

But don't take Beckstrand's word for it. The characters have their own opinions about those noises. "I was outside practicing my percussion," says the moth. "It wasn't me! I was out getting a snack," says the mouse. "I don't even play the piano!" says the cat.

Beckstrand’s books have been lauded by reviewers nationwide, including the Horn Book blog, Midwest Book Review, and ForeWord Reviews. Beckstrand is participating in UHC’s Salt Lake Book Festival--making smoothies from his kid’s cookbook: Bad Bananas in the downtown library Sat., Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. and reading Sounds in the House on Tues., Oct. 11 at 3:30 p.m. in Midvale’s Arts Center at 695 West Center St.

He’ll also be reading his books in the Kearns Library at 5350 S. 4220 West, on Thurs., Oct. 27 at 10:30 a.m.

News: Sounds in the House may be heard in any home. The book is available at Eborn Books in the South Towne Mall, at premiobooks.com, Amazon.com, Kindle, Nook, iBooks.