Feature: Local Author Taps into Her Childhood with Two New Children’s Books

It’s not often that Third Coast Review has an opportunity to review children’s books. Fortunately, Chicagoland author J.B. Frank has given us a fantastic reason to do so. Somewhere in the City and Count on Me 1 2 3 are Frank’s new children’s books and, by all accounts, are the first of more to come.

Published by Familius, these charming stories reflect the author’s sense of family and whimsy.

Somewhere in the City is a delightful tale of a little girl who anxiously awaits her dad’s homecoming from work. She can hardly wait to hear his voice. As her dad makes his way home from the office, Lucy takes in all the sights and sounds on her street— from the baker whipping up yummy treats to a worker mopping the floor in the grocery store. Lu Yeng’s illustrations depicting Lucy and her dad ‘in the city’ are exceptionally well done and bring Frank’s words to life.

In my recent conversation with Frank, (full disclosure, we’ve been friends for 35 years), she explained the significance of this sweet story.

“I was the third eldest in a family of 14, and I can remember so vividly walking to the bus stop to greet my dad coming home from work. I never understood what he actually did, but I couldn’t wait to see him. In my book, Lucy simply won’t sleep until her dad arrives. And he is just as eager to rush home to read a bedtime story and tuck her in,” she explained.

Frank’s other book, Count on Me 1 2 3, is a colorful board book celebrating the people and characters children can count on. Starting with 10 all the way to one, each page is filled with adorable pictures representing heroes kids can look up to. From firefighters and teachers to grandparents and siblings, the book engages the child with catchy messages and ends with a surprise.

Win a free signed copy of each book. Simply comment below why you’d like to have an autographed copy of either book. Be creative and be sure to include your email address!  You just may be the lucky winner of one of these charming books. 

The author, a native Chicagoan who now lives in Barrington, spent most of her career as an award-winning television producer. Yet she always was passionate about children and writing and has published several short stories throughout the years.  After earning an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University, she decided to write prose for young children.

“Writing for kids is so rewarding. They are little sponges, absorbing all the information around them. While it can be challenging to strike just the right tone and images for little ones, it is exhilarating when you do.  The beauty of books like mine and so many others is that parents or caregivers can connect on a special level with kids by reading to them. I still can hear my dad’s voice as he read to me each night.”

Somewhere in the City and Count on Me 123 are ideal for holiday gift-giving. They are available at local bookstores, on Amazon, Workman Publishing and through J.B. Frank. Frank is also available for in-school readings and can be reached through her website.

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Cynthia Kallile
Cynthia Kallile

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