Tag Archives: children’s book clubs

Two New Book Reviews For “Vacation Hiro”

The official book launch is only a few hours away!! As part of the blog tour, two new book reviews for “Vacation Hiro” posted today.

The first review is from Found Between The Covers, and I’m thrilled that Sherrey enjoyed Book 2 even more than Book 1. Click here to see the whole review at her blog, but here’s my favorite part:

“When I finished reading and reviewing Why Kimba Saved the WorldI couldn’t imagine Meg Dendler surpassing that story or the personification of the animals in her first book in the Cats in the Mirror Series. I. Was. Wrong!”

Thanks, Sherrey!

 The second review is from The Styling Librarian, who also thoroughly enjoyed it and recommends the series to her readers. Yay! Thanks, Debbie! Click here to see the whole review all the way from Hong Kong.

Be sure to visit both of their sites and follow them on twitter and Facebook. I’ve loved following them myself.

“Vacation Hiro” hits the world Friday morning!! Watch out world!

Book 2 in the Cats in the Mirror Series

Book 2 in the Cats in the Mirror Series

Cover 2 Cover Book Review of “Kimba” Today

Just a quick shout-out to blog tour host Cover 2 Cover today for her great book review of “Why Kimba Saved The World.” She is also running a free copy giveaway, so be sure to share her link with your friends so they can enter for a free copy. Thanks, Stephanie!!  Click here for the full feature and review, but here’s my favorite part:

“As I was reading this book, I was laughing and thinking about my cat, and how he too is a found stray and how many of his first places and movements were similar to Kimba and Hiro’s. I think Cooper (my cat) may too be communicating with and accomplishing his missions with the strange things he does and things he gets into…”

Yes, Stephanie, watch out if Cooper pays too much attention to YOUR computer. You never know!

There’s another blog tour stop tomorrow, so stay tuned!



Great New Review and Interview

I’m so grateful for my new twitter-connection friend The Styling Librarian and the great new review she gave to “Why Kimba Saved The World.” This blog also includes a wonderful interview with me about my favorite animal-based stories. Click on this link to read her comments and follow her blog too. She recommends fantastic books, and I’m thrilled to be included in her list.

Read Aloud Video Series Now Available for “Why Kimba Saved The World”

I’m so thrilled to be able to share this first parent/teacher resource with you! Over several weeks, I recorded videos of me reading aloud “Why Kimba Saved The World” a chapter or two at a time, and the whole series is now complete at available at my youtube channel. Click here to check it out!

Apologies are probably in order for the “homemade” nature of these videos, but until some publisher wants to pay Morgan Freeman to read it for you in a professional studio this is what works on my budget. The series is designed to feel just like read aloud time would have in my classroom back when I was teaching elementary school. My classes rarely missed a day with a chapter book read aloud time (one year, we did the WHOLE “Little House on the Prairie” series), and I love being able to share “Kimba” in this same way with kids I will never have the chance to meet in person.

Please share the link with your teacher friends, parents who home school, or children you know who just might enjoy it!



Guest Blog Post at Candysraves.com

I’m trilled to have a guest blog up at Candysraves.com today! It is an interview with me about being a writer and “Why Kimba Saved The World.” You can see the interview at Candysraves.com, or it is copied below as well. Thank you, Candy, for helping to get the word out about “Kimba!”

Guest Post by Meg Welch Dendler, Author of Why Kimba Saved the World

Tell us about yourself…

I spent 15 years working with young children, 10 of those as a classroom teacher. I have been writing since I was a little girl and have always wanted to be a full-time author. For many years I did freelance work while I was teaching and raising my daughters. Now writing has my full attention.

What genera do you write and why?

My current series is for middle grade readers, roughly ages 8-12. That is an age group that I really loved working with as a teacher, and this story was perfect for sharing with them. But I will freely admit that I have lots of adults who love the book and read it right along with their kids.

Tell us about your book…

“Why Kimba Saved The World” is about a pampered house cat who wishes she could be wilder and have more freedom, until she suddenly learns that she is really part of an alien race and has a whole huge destiny and big adventures expected of her. It’s exciting at first, but she has some life-changing choices to make about what is important and where her loyalties lie.

What was your inspiration for this book?

The main character is based on one of the cats in our house, Kimba. I had grown up with the idea that cats might just be aliens — my mom read lots of science fiction — so it wasn’t much of a stretch to wonder if that was true of Kimba too. Later books in the series will focus on different characters and how each deals with their own challenges in coming to terms with their alien heritage.

Do you have a favorite character and why that one?

Kimba is definitely my favorite because she is based on the real cat that is mine out of the clowder of cats we have at home. When we found Kimba and her sister Hiro at only a day or so old, we already had four cats. That’s a lot of cats! Kimba is just wild and crazy and totally nutty and an independent cat. She’s my favorite. As I write this, she is sleeping on a chair next to me in a pile of stuffed toys. She’s a real character. The cat on the cover of the book is an actual photo of her.

Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

When I first started writing it, I hoped to have something for an even younger age group — very early readers. But that is limiting for the vocabulary you can use, the length of the story, and technical things like that. As it progressed, I just knew I had to kick it up a notch and hope that those younger kids who are still developing their reading skills will have someone who is willing to read it aloud to them.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

Right now, I am very focused on writing the second book in the series, “Vacation Hiro.” I really want to have that published next spring so I can take both books with me to the fairs and festival in 2014. That is one of the great things about self-publishing. Once you have the text ready to go, getting it into print format can be done in a couple of months.

Right after that, I will be publishing an unrelated book called “At The Corner of Magnetic and Main” that is for a bit older reader and follows the spiritual journey of a young woman who is having trouble moving on from her life here on earth to what lies ahead. That manuscript is in the hands of some much trusted friends and colleagues right now for their feedback and critique.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

I will freely admit to being quirky. I think most writers are! Writing a first draft is hard for me. Just getting it out of my head and onto the paper for some reason is very frustrating. So I reward myself with breaks. If I write a chapter or a certain amount of words, then I can take a break for 10 minutes and play Zoo World on Facebook, or something like that. My office is also filled with my collection of Disney mini-plush characters. I have about 75 of them right now. They watch me write, and that makes me very happy. Kimba has pulled 10 of them down onto her special chair today for her nap. I don’t mind sharing them with her.

Do you have any advice for writers out there?

Write, and then write some more. If you have a book in your head, go for it! But also be sure to get input from people around you that you respect. Join a critique group. Go to conferences. Sometimes I get the best idea on how to tweak a story or “bling” it up some just by listening to others talk about their work. And pay an editor if you are self-publishing. Pay someone to help you make the best cover you can. If it doesn’t look professional in the end, it won’t matter how good your story is. Make it great!

Where can we find you?

My website and my blog are at www.megdendler.com. I am on Twitter @kimbababy and on Facebook at Meg Dendler, Author (there’s a link at my website). You can sign up to follow my blog and get my newsletter. I’m also active on Goodreads and have a YouTube channel with fun videos. I’m in production right now on a series of videos where I read “Why Kimba Saved The World” aloud one chapter at a time and will share fun photos and “behind the scenes” stories. That should be up soon.

And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?

“Why Kimba Saved The World” is available in paperback and ebook through Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. You can also get signed paperback copies directly from me through PayPal right at my web site. I’m happy to personalize it and add a matching bookmark just for fun.

About the Author:
Meg Welch Dendler is a former teacher with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. While over a decade as a freelance writer gave her the chance to interview individuals as diverse as the Archbishop of Cape Town and Sylvester Stallone, in 2010 Meg set her focus on publishing several books for young readers that she had been working on for years. Meg is thrilled to be sharing her first book, “Why Kimba Saved The World,” with young readers worldwide. In this first book of the Cats in the Mirror series, feisty house cat Kimba learns that she is really part of an alien race and has to pick sides between her loyal human family and her feline destiny. The second book, “Vacation Hiro,” is already in the works. Meg and her family (including four cats and her dog Max) live at 1,400 feet in the Ozark mountains on what they call Serenity Mountain, just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Visit her at www.megdendler.com for more information about upcoming books and events.


Hiro: The Cheez-It Lover

We have known this for many years: If you want to find Hiro, just open a bag of cheese crackers or potato chips. She will come running and climb on you until you break off some little pieces for her munching pleasure. None of the other cats are impressed by fish shaped cheese crackers. Frankly, we don’t share “people food” with them, and they are rarely interested. Kimba, of course, must smell everything, but she rarely wants a taste.

Scott has just finished a read-through of the first draft of “Vacation Hiro.” As we were talking about it and sharing bits of Cheez-Its with Hiro, we agreed that I needed to work that in somehow. This will require a photo, which was not hard to get. Leave an open box available, and her head is inside the box in a flash. I’d love to hear from my readers as well. Which photo should I use for the book? Click here for the link to the Facebook album. Leave a comment on this post or on the Facebook page to let me know which one you like better: head in the box or arm in the box. While you are there, “like” my page and follow along with fun photos and book updates!

For those of you who don’t use Facebook, the photos are posted below as well. They are both so cute, I can’t decide. Help!

Cheez-It Photos
Which one should I use? Head in box?
Or arm in box?


Author Interview With Book Club Reading List

I’m thrilled to have another interview posted, this time with the Book Club Reading List web site. 482 people recommended it on their Facebook pages. Who knows what that means in real life, but Kimba and I are happy for whatever attention we can get for our new book! I should add that we would love to Skype with any children’s book club that is reading “Why Kimba Saved The World” for free. The text of the interview is pasted below. Enjoy!

Author Interview – Meg Dendler

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What inspired you to write this book?

I have been writing for years, but this particular story was inspired by the real life Kimba. She is such a kook and is constantly into something. I love her beyond reason in that way that only crazy cat ladies can truly understand. As a child, I had heard a story about cats being aliens and communicating through mirrors with cats on earth, so it didn’t take much for me to start imagining Kimba being a part of that. She and her sister, Hiro, spent the first few months of their lives living in our bathroom, so I just let my thoughts about what they might be up to in there when we were gone run wild.

What topics in your book or background do you think book clubs would find interesting?

“Why Kimba Saved The World” is a children’s book, but I have had many adults read it and be just as interested in Kimba and the choices she has to make. We all have things we want to be free from, to feel independent, but that freedom comes with challenges of its own. It’s not always all we thought it would be. What if that freedom meant hurting someone else? Kimba’s decisions echo the same ones we all face in our lives.

Tell us about your career outside of writing and how it influences your writing.

I spent many years working with and later teaching young children — preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary. I have been certified to teach in two states and hold a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Language Arts and Reading were always my specialties and favorite parts of the curriculum. I always spent way too much money on books when I went to teaching conferences and loved reading them aloud in class and at home to my own daughters. Any time I am working on a book, I try to think about how it would be received by a child just listening to it — not yet able to read it him or herself. For a book like “Why Kimba Saved The World,” it is important to walk that line between the child being able to read it independently and an even younger child listening to it aloud and being absorbed by the characters.

Describe your style of writing?

I consistently lean toward third person omnipotent, the outside source who knows what everyone is thinking and sees all as the narrator. It isn’t that I went through different ways of presenting the text and ended up with that one, it is just what is comfortable for me as a writer. Both the sequel “Vacation Hiro” and an unrelated book “At The Corner of Magnetic and Main,” which I am working on now, have that same style. I also test my text against that read aloud-ability scale that I mentioned earlier. I read paragraphs out loud and edit them when it doesn’t flow well or I find myself naturally using a different word or phrasing than what I originally wrote. I helps me catch mistakes in the text too.

Which authors have inspired you?

I am very blessed to have a mother who loves books. When I was in elementary school, bedtime stories included T.H. White’s “The Once And Future King,” “Watership Down,” and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders series. She continued to read aloud to me long past when I was an independent reader, and that is so important. It allowed me to “read” books that were still a bit beyond me but had amazing vocabulary and stories. We also had all of the Wizard of Oz books (by Baum and his daughter), the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, and Madeline L’Engle. After reading “A Wrinkle in Time,” I insisted that everyone begin calling me Meg (my nickname at the time was Molly), and it stuck. It’s probably not surprising to hear that “Socks” was one of my very favorite books growing up. I read it dozens of times. As a teacher, I grew to love newer authors like Don and Audrey Wood, Lois Lowry, and Jean Craighead George. When I tried to read aloud “Charlotte’s Web” to a group of first graders a couple of years ago, I couldn’t make it through the part where Charlotte dies without crying. To say out loud that she was all alone at the end was so heartbreaking. Now that’s great writing!