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Seeing Each Other via Books


Keynote address given by publisher Karl Beckstrand to the Utah Educational Library Media Association, Weber State University, 6 March 2020 How important is it that kids see themselves in books? I’m no childhood development expert; I hope you can look past any incorrect terminology I may use and hear what I hope to convey regarding inclusion. I was raised in paradise. San Jose, California was founded by Hispanics while the 13 British colonies were starting a war of independence in the East. Nearly half of my home town was Latino. In my day Silicon Valley was drawing high tech experts from all over the world, so my typical childhood classroom was a mini-United Nations. I was short. I wasn’t on...
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New YA Sci-fi, Fantasy, Curricula & Reference Books


Last year, I surprised myself by creating 17 new multicultural products. This year I got help from amazing authors—and am pleased to announce that Premio Publishing & Gozo Books now offers Young Adult Science Fiction, Y.A. Fantasy, Middle-grade, Reference, and Curricula titles. These are in addition to our Spanish-English picture books with pronunciation guide, e-book mysteries for kids, nonfiction/biographies, romance, western, short stories, humor, wordless books, and STEM activity books. Now our juvenile titles not only feature characters from various racial backgrounds, they include characters with physical challenges. Today we represent six authors and 12 illustrators from various c...
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How Many??


I’ve finished creating my 2020 multicultural children’s books catalog. I really thought I’d been a slacker in 2019, but—HOLY GUACAMOLE—turns out, I created 17 new products this year (for a total of 130 since 2004)! Publishing sure has changed! It used to be that getting books to readers required the vast resources of a major publishing house. Today, technology has almost leveled the playing field. While I currently reside and work in (practically) unheard of Midvale, Utah, my books are found as far away as the Philippines and Africa. The big publishers still have muscle behind their promos. But, with 15 years’ experience, I’ve managed to not only survive in (perhaps) the most competitive gen...
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No Time to Read? Get Western Thrills on Audio


Audiobook sales have jumped 37 percent since 2017, according to the Association of American Publishers. Now busy people can hear an award winning western thriller while on the go. To Swallow the Earth, the novel I co-wrote with my grandfather (and which won an International Book Award), has been available in paperback and e-book formats for a couple of years. Now it transports busy listeners to rough Nevada Silver Rush days as they travel or commute. My grandfather grew up ranching and exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains on horseback a hundred years ago. He used that setting for his western novel. I inherited the manuscript after my grandfather passed away in 1992. My task was to tighten h...
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Multicultural Mystery Book Teaches Prepositions in English and Spanish


My 22nd book, It Came from under the High Chair: A Mystery, almost never got published. I thought the concept of a monster made of spilled food might be too disgusting. Then I saw all those best-selling bathroom/gross humor books and figured the world was ready for my 20-year-old idea. Plus, it’s educational. LANGUAGE LEARNING I think kids don’t mind learning if they are being entertained. This children’s picture book teaches parts of speech—namely, prepositions. The bilingual version (out in June 2019) teaches them in Spanish and English with a pronunciation guide in both languages. The English version debuted last month at #1 in its category on Amazon. MULTICULTURAL This diverse story book...
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Family Stories As Multicultural Kid’s Books!


My mom was an avid genealogist. As a child I found the dry dates and names boring (and I certainly didn’t want to look for them on ancient microfilm reader machines!). But in 2007, a publisher asked me to write a children’s picture book about an immigrant child. I remembered that my great-great aunt had immigrated as a ten year old from Sweden and had a remarkable experience when she arrived. Her story was found in her short autobiography and in my great grandmother’s journal. The hybrid book, Anna’s Prayer, was the result (beautifully illustrated by Shari Griffiths). I became hooked on family stories and digged up/cobbled together biographies on about seven generations of my ancestors. I’m ...
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Funny Mysteries *One Free* & Halloween Costume Ideas


It seems I’m not alone in having trouble sleeping. As a child I experienced frightening bumps in the night—and an active imagination. Some of my experiences were comical (or, at least, became comical with the passage of time) like being too exhausted to sleep, mosquitoes that buzz the ear before dining, creaking pipes, and bizarre or bad dreams. Lately I’m kept awake more from restless legs or an overactive brain. The worst thing for sleep is forgetting to silence or turn off my phone. Regardless of age, people can identify with pesky things that keep a person awake at night. Many of my experiences found their way into a Mini-mysteries for Minors picture book series. My very first book was S...
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How I Made 10 Books out of My 20th Title


Great Cape o’ Colors – Capa de colores (my 20th multicultural book) was going to be a simple bilingual picture book about careers, cultures, and costumes. Because some parents/educators prefer single language books to teach children a foreign language, I also created Spanish-only and English-only versions, as I’ve done with my other bilingual books (each version has a pronunciation guide for either/both languages). For the first time, I made each available in hard cover (usually, I’d just make the bilingual and/or Spanish versions hardback and the English-only version in soft cover). Librarians prefer something durable. So I have the three language versions available in hard and soft cover—a...
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A Magic Cape of Careers, Colors, Cultures & Costumes


When I wrote Great Cape o’ Colors, I didn’t plan on it being about careers—I just wanted a Spanish-English picture book to teach colors to language learners. I came up with different costumes that include capes (costumes kids might try at home). I knew the book would have a pronunciation guide and diverse characters (something I try to have in all of my books). But after getting the artwork back from the illustrator, I realized this was also a book about jobs for kids—and it fit nicely with three other books I’d written on careers. Suddenly, I have a career book series (along with series for STEM, bilingual, food, mystery, wordless, and immigrant books). The Careers for Kids series also incl...
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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018


Tomorrow is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I encourage you to check out the links here and get/give books that reflect our diverse world. MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/ Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta MCBD2018 Book Reviewer Sign-up: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/our-programs/reviewer-tools-works/ MCBD2018 Offline Classroom Celebration sign-up: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/category/offline-classroomlibrary-event-project/ MCBD2018 Book Donator details and sign-up: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/sponsorship/sponsorship-info/authors-donate-a-book/ MCBD2018- Ways to celebrate January 22-27 http://multicultural...
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Holiday Gifts – For YOU!


I have the warmest memories of Christmas at my grandparent’s home in San Jose, California (if you’re LDS, imagine Christmas in the temple—with lots of goodies!). My Grandfather would gather us and read the Christmas story in Luke 2. We would sing, play games, and exchange gifts. My favorite treat was the rocky road candy my grandmother made with marshmallows and nuts covered in chocolate. This year, I’m participating in a Christmas Giveaway Dec. 11th – 18th. You can visit a selection of super authors, download their FREE ebooks, and enter to win a $60 Amazon gift card. You can even enter if you are in the UK! I am offering two free ebooks (pick one): Anna’s Prayer and Muffy & Valor: A Tr...
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Arrival?


I’m privileged to be among several multicultural book authors and bloggers. I’ve also been blessed to work with illustrators from around the world, from Israel to Spain to the USA (and co-author a book with a Canadian author). We are changing the world. I plan to post links to multicultural blogs and sites as we approach Multicultural Children’s Book Day in January 2018—send me your links! Last year I was honored with the International Book Award for a diverse Western novel (clean thriller). This year, the recognition has been wonderful, disturbing, and humbling. Along with presenting on writing and publishing and participating in library author panels from American Fork to Brigham City, I’v...
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3 Diverse Spring Books Make Learning Funny

spring books
MIDVALE, Utah, March 25, 2016 – Award-winning author Karl Beckstrand is from San Jose, California. He has 16 multicultural books and more than 40 ebook titles — all of them educational — but kids would never know it from the mysteries, activities, and giggles. Here are three new ones. “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, ISBN: 978-0692648599) “The Dancing Flamingos of Lake Chimichanga” is a witty...
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