Book Title: Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea! by June Foster and Rob Scheer
Category: Children's Fiction (ages 3 to 7), 32 pages
Genre: Children's Book
Publisher: Hubble & Hattie
Release date: August 23, 2022
Content Rating: G. The book is designed for children between 3-7 years of age.
Adventurous friends Lulu and Malek make fantastic discoveries, take care of our planet, and meet new friends as they explore the wonders of the world under the sea. With vibrant illustrations and endearing characters, this fun-to-read rhyming book is sure to be a children's favorite that they will want to read over and over again! Add this fun-filled and inspiring book to your home or class library! It will be enjoyed by children who love adventure, a good laugh, and want to learn more about the sea and conservation.
Just a bit about me. I live in Arizona, but for most of the year, I travel across our beautiful earth as a deckhand and yoga instructor in the yachting industry. I love the serenity of the sea, exploring treasured caves, hiking through lush green forests, immersing myself in different cultures, and meeting new friends. I recently launched an online retail store (www.yachtieinspired.com) that offers conservation and yachtie inspired designs through my Sea Our Love and Silent Whispers Collections. You can also purchase a Personalized Signed Copy of my books on my online store, or please visit junenfoster.com to learn more!
My co-author, Rob Scheer and I have completed two beautifully illustrated, heartfelt children's books. Rob is the Founder and CEO of Comfort Cases. Since 2013, Comfort Cases set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags and provide children entering the foster system with brand new essential and comfort items. To date, Comfort Cases has positively impacted over 110,000 children, and has recently opened a chapter in the United Kingdom. For each book purchased of Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea, we will donate one book to Comfort Cases.
connect with the authors: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ goodreads
AUTHORS Q & A
AUTHORS Q & A
1. In your book you make a reference to pollution on the beach and nets in the ocean, how did you come up with this idea?
JUNE: Having worked in the yachting industry, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of pollution and trash, such as plastics, spilled oil and netting. While the ocean covers 70% of the Earth and holds 80% of all life, it faces overkilling of fish, species extinctions, warm and acidic waters, and coastal erosion. Our story includes Lulu and Malek’s stewardship by picking up trash along the coastline, and saving a small fish entangled with a net—a small, yet gentle way of introducing this subject to young children.
ROB: Well, I have to give credit to my co-author, June. She’s worked in the yachting industry for years, so it came naturally. But beach and ocean pollution is often on my mind, as my family loves going to the beaches near where we live on the Maryland shore. It’s always disappointing to see trash on the beach or in the water. Writing this book with June is a great way for us to raise awareness about what can be done to solve this problem.
2. What is your next project?
JUNE & ROB: Rob and I have completed a second children’s illustration book, full of love and hope. We will begin looking for a publisher in Q1. Additionally, I (June) have completed a short story near and dear to my heart that I hope to publish in 2023. And Rob hopes to have a new addition of his memoir coming out this year.
3. Do you have another profession besides writing?
ROB: Oh yes. I am the founder of Comfort Cases, an international non-profit organization that promotes hope and dignity to youth in foster care. When I was 18 and “aged out” of foster care, my foster parents handed me a black trash bag with my belongings in it. Decades later, when our first beautiful children came to us through foster care, I was appalled that they too had their belongings stuffed into that same black trash bag. How could that be? So, my husband and I founded Comfort Cares to solve that problem. Since then, we have now given away more than 200,000 Comfort Cases, backpacks filled with new essential items for youth in foster care of all ages - items would include new pajamas, a new blanket, an age-appropriate hygiene kit (including a new toothbrush, soap, shampoo, etc.), and a “stuffy”. We’ve given these away to youth in every state in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
JUNE: For eight months of the year, I work as a Chief Stewardess or Deckhand in the yachting industry. I’m able to save enough money to allow me four months on land to complete and publish my stories that I work on throughout the year.
4. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
ROB: My children and all youth in foster care inspire me in everything I do. Don’t we all want our children to have better lives than the ones we live?
JUNE: For me, inspiration comes in many forms, and normally it bubbles to the surface when I least expect it. One time, I came across a quote that touched me to the core. It inspired me to write a short story that will be part of a larger collection. Another example was when a golden maple leaf fell into my hands during a hike in Ohio. This led to my first published novel. In other cases, it could be a series of related news reports that inspire. In the case of Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea, it was Rob’s book, A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time. After reading his heart wrenching, yet inspirational story, and learning more about Rob and Comfort Cases, I was inspired to collaborate with Rob to write two children’s books.
5. When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
ROB: I never knew that I wanted to be an author, but I’ve always loved books. As a youth growing up in foster care, books were always a huge comfort to me. They were an escape from my reality that I really needed. As the father of five children, all who were in foster care, I try to pass my love of books on to them. I always have a stack of books by my nightstand as well as in my office. They are easily recognizable, as I’m always sticking little yellow “post-its” in them to track passages I find memorable and that I want to revisit. When I was asked to write my memoir, Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time, I said: “But I don’t even know the difference between ‘there,’ “their’ and ‘they’re’!” Now I know that writing is just as important to me as reading.
JUNE: I’ve always loved storytelling, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I pursued publishing. There were a series of memorable moments that led me in this direction. During college, I enrolled in many global sociology courses. For the first time in my life, I read about the multitudes of international social crises. The material introduced me to the vast inequalities, rights violations, and perpetual intergenerational cycles of poverty. Children, in general, have always pulled at my heartstrings, so reading about their suffering in particular drove me to dig deeper into their day to day lives and circumstances. As my worldview changed, and my senses enlightened, I knew where I needed to focus; however, I was uncertain on how I could have influence. After graduating, I enrolled in Film Production at Grand Canyon University. I was in the middle of a screenwriting course when my Papa passed away. I collapsed. He was my everything—I loved him deeply and miss him every day. A few months later, I opened my draft screenplay and read it with fresh eyes. I felt my characters, plot, setting . . . well everything lacked substance and depth. I was determined to bring my story to life. It was at that moment, I guess you could say, that I became an author and soon after, published The Girl and the Golden Leaf. A few years later, I was honored to meet Rob, and thrilled to have written two children’s illustration books with him!
The characters are adventurous and love to discover new things, helpful in times of trouble, and caring. All the attributes we hope our children have. The characters are well-drawn in vibrant colors that will grasp your children's attention and bring joy to them.
It's a book children will enjoy over and over again and would make an excellent addition to any child's library.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and willingly choose to review it. All opinions are my own.