Friday, January 13, 2012

Kids hunt to find ‘cookie thief’

The Cookie Thief by Connecticut child educator Frances Gilbert is a charming, simple and engaging story about a family who is hit by a cookie thief.
Thomas is visiting Granny’s house when he hears a patter, a swoop and a rush and oh no. “Cookie thief! Cookie thief,” Grandma shrieks.
Cookies are disappearing, the whole family is in a state of shock. There are no more cookies to be had. People take precautions and start hiding them, "No cookie thief is getting my cookies!" they say. Even the animals are put to work and placed on guard. There are no more cookies to be found anywhere.
Thomas' wise grown up friend Kristina helps him make a plan to track down the cookie thief.
He looks everywhere. Who could it be? Will he find the cookie thief?
Colorful, detailed pictures lead young readers through the story. This is a wonderful read aloud book. Parents, grandparents and teachers will appreciate the simple lesson.
About the Author
Frances Gilbert was born in London and emigrated to the US where she became a special educator. Frances has worked with young children for over thirty years. Her interest in emerging reading and language led her to a writing career. Frances is a strong believer in the reading experience as a vital precursor to literacy for young children; she writes to be read aloud. She says rhythm binds language, language binds emotion and emotion binds meaning. Her stories quickly become favorites, read and enjoyed over and over again. Frances lives in Connecticut where she enjoys reading and playing word games with her six grandchildren. She loves old houses and gardens and her ambition is to own a sheep farm. She lives in Trumbull, CT.
Ben Quesnel is an artist and illustrator who is currently working as a part time elementary art teacher in the southern part of Connecticut. Ben recently graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in Art Education. He lives in Stamford, CT.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Local author pens thriller: Consumed by Fire

BRANFORD, Conn. – M.F. Pennington-Waseem ardently spins a thriller where skeletons come out of the closet at almost every turn in her latest work of condign merit. Set in a tiny hamlet nestled on the New England coast where pristine beauty masks a moral cancer seething beneath the surface, Consumed by Fire is blanketed with an intricate weaving of details that readers need to unravel as they sift through the pages.

Like many old towns, Eventide is steeped in secrets and hypocrisy, and into this maelstrom Ana Michaels arrives. Born out of time, rejected maternally, and adored by her father, all is lost after a car crash takes the lives of their parents, and Ana and sister Sarah are left to their paternal grandmother. The last link in a genetic chain of events, the affection-starved and withdrawn Ana becomes dominated by fate and family. Only after years of passivity does she finally rebel, and flee to forge a life of her own. Fast forward to a few years later, summoned by news of her grandmother’s imminent death, Ana Michaels, now a successful psychiatrist, returns home only to find herself on a collision course that radically alters her life and those around her. Sisters Ana and Sarah share a psychiatric practice, and despite warnings from violent patients and grisly murders paralyzing the community, Ana’s headstrong independence places her directly in the path of peril.

Darkness overtakes Ana after sexual assault by a trusted mentor leaves her pregnant and alone to face the consequences. As her family’s facade is stripped away, Ana becomes entrenched in the murky past of a town that buries its secrets. A series of devastating discoveries unearth underground genetic breeding in Eventide -- and even more staggering truths she wished had remained buried.

Disaster, self-discovery and notoriety happen all at once in Consumed by Fire. M.F. Pennington-Waseem has unquestionably come up with a compact thriller that is obviously the sum of pure brilliance and exquisite artistic chemistry.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

About the Author

Marianne Pennington-Waseem, R.N. received her BS from Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT; attended Saint Vincent’s School of Nursing Registered Nurse Program, Bridgeport, CT; and a MS Degree in Biology and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. For over twenty years, her distinguished career in nursing has provided unique insight in the field of psychiatry. Currently, she lives in Connecticut and works for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS); Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital (WFI) and Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH).

Consumed by Fire * by M.F. Pennington-Waseem

The Chronicles of Ana Michaels

Publication Date: December 7, 2011

Trade Paperback; $19.99; 347 pages; 978-1-4691-3104-7

Trade Hardback; $29.99; 347 pages; 978-1-4691-3105-4

Night of Award-Winning Jewish Fiction

The New Year starts off with a bang during a night of award-winning Jewish fiction at the Mandell JCC Jewish Book Festival’s second Signature Series event on Tuesday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Herbert Gilman Theater, Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.

The event features prize-writing authors Julie Orringer, Nadia Kalman and Austin Ratner, with moderator, Josh Lambert, author of American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide.

Julie Orringer is the 2010 winning recipient of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and a finalist in the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Orringer is the author of The Invisible Bridge, a New York Times and L.A. Times bestseller, and she has also written the acclaimed short story collection How to Breathe Underwater, a New York Times Notable Book.

Author Nadia Kalman, a Ukrainian immigrant, moved to West Hartford, CT with her family as a child. They later moved to Stamford, which became the setting of her first novel, The Cosmopolitans. Kalman is the 2011 winner of the Emerging Writer Award from Moment Magazine, and a 2011 finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Austin Ratner penned the novel The Jump Artist, and received the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, which is the largest monetary award given to early career writers by the Jewish Book Council. His novel is considered historic fiction at its best, as it tells the story of famous photographer, Philippe Halsam.

Tickets to all Mandell JCC Jewish Book Festival Signature Series events are $20 per person, and are on sale via mail, in person, fax, or online at the Mandell JCC Box Office, 860-231-6316, 860-233-0802 (fax), and at

For more information, contact Jewish Book Festival Director, Elana MacGilpin, 860-231-6327,, or the Member Services Center, 860-236-4571. For updates, follow the Mandell JCC on Facebook and Twitter.