HOLMDEL – While some new children’s authors would consider themselves lucky to simply break even with their debut title, New Jersey-based writer Jo Ann Kairys proves that venturing into a new genre is no bar to national success.
Kairys’ first children’s book, “Sunbelievable: Connecting Children with Science and Nature,” has brightened the literary landscape and earned her six national U.S awards this year alone. With accolades including the coveted Mom’s Gold Choice and Indie Excellence awards, Kairys proves that self-published success is possible.
“Sunbelievable” is a humorous, educational children’s picture book for ages 4-8. The story tells the captivating tale of two young sisters who are forced to abandon their playtime on the beach when darkness falls. Safely indoors, the duo weave fantastical stories about what the Sun likes to do when it ‘goes away’. From riding rollercoasters and teaching fireflies to shine, to taking bubble baths and eating pizza, the personified Sun’s imaginary life is backed up with plenty of real-world facts (contributed by NASA’s chief technologist) and stunning digital imagery.
The latter has, in itself, earned Kairys a host of awards.
“The quirky illustrations not only burst with color, but offer a second-read appeal. Young readers will discover new details each time they page through the book. The illustrations, like the book’s story, are an interesting combination of realism and fantasy,” explains Kairys, who had no formal art experience before writing “Sunbelievable.”
Continuing, “Although the girls, the beach, and their home are portrayed realistically, the illustrations include intriguing details to spark children’s imaginations, such as sprinkles of fairy dust and mice wearing top hats!”
Critics are praising the book’s illustrations for their deep appeal. The San Francisco and Sacramento Book Review writes, “The pages that feature the Sun’s life are unforgettable. You can’t take your eyes off them!”
Kairys’ real-world subplots have also contributed to her rapid success and popularity. “The book also focuses on the concept of multicultural family: the girls’ love for each other and their relationship with their parents. When, so often, children’s books and cartoons portray the relationship between siblings and parents as less than ideal, ‘Sunbelievable’ offers a compelling message: building strong family bonds through play and imagination,” she adds.
Kairys’ own family played a vital role in the development of the book. As a self-confessed ‘late bloomer’ to published literature, Kairys co-wrote the book with her own son, featuring her grandchildren as the book’s main characters.
Kairys has recently announced the book’s sequel. Due for release in fall of this year, along with an interactive book App, children and parents are promised plenty more reading and learning fun in this one-of-a-kind storytelling experience.
“Sunbelievable: Connecting Children with Science and Nature,” published by the author’s self-owned Story Quest Books, LLC, is available now from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Whole Foods and other retailers.