Piece of Cake PR

Philadelphia Teacher's Students Inspire Animated Tale Bridging Gap Between Picture and Chapter Books


Philadelphia, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/08/2014 -- Philadelphia public schoolteacher Susan Love’s animated e-book adventure shows and tells the story of four pre-teens who must save a magical, earth-protecting orchid from both a massive hurricane and greedy rulers who want to steal the island’s power source.

Selected for a trip to the orchid’s island, Sabrina, Arthur, Miguel, and Lucy thought they were in for the science lesson of a lifetime. Fate requires them to also help the island’s magical caretakers solve riddles and puzzles that lead to hidden petals of a crystal flower. Only if the crystal petals are reassembled can the orchid–and the planet–be saved.

As they scramble over treacherous cliffs, explore caves and evade the power-hungry Rivals, the four adventurers make the biggest discovery of all: Each possesses their own special power, derived from unique talents they didn’t realize they had.

Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure was written not only to entertain, but also to bridge the gap between the elaborately illustrated picture books children first read and the chapter books of mostly text to which they transition, around age 8.

“Many of my middle school students are visual learners with great imagination. I realized they weren’t ready yet to let go of illustrations that embellish the story line and assist in comprehension,” says Ms. Love.

Since we are now living in an electronic age, the teacher decided to create a state-of-the-art bridge between picture and chapter books by digitally animating customized illustrations. Response to the book, which is now available on all major eBook readers, is beyond her wildest expectations. Both kids and adults love it.

Susan Love isn’t the only one noticing this need for bridge books. They seem to be a trend.

Writes The Guardian’s children’s literature columnist Imogen Russell Williams: “Lately, there's been a crop of titles bridging the gap between picture and chapter books that I've found surprisingly appealing… to me, the best [bridge books] offer the same intoxicating, seamless interaction between text and image that a good picture book does, with an additional sense of challenge and excitement imparted by a more sustained, developed narrative.” [theguardian.com, March 14, 2014]

The genesis of Susan Love’s bridge book was her own island adventure. She was on a restorative summer vacation in the Caribbean, lamenting to a stranger about the struggle of reaching students who lived with the stress of high-crime neighborhoods and whose parents had no time to get involved at school. The stranger remarked that unlike Love, most of her students’ couldn’t escape their circumstances on an island vacation. Her classroom had to be their island.

“She was speaking metaphorically, but I literally transformed my classroom into an island,” Ms. Love said. That fall, her students returned to a large, thatched umbrella inviting them to sit at the table and chairs beneath. On the walls were tropical scenes, with island flowers and festive rainbow-colored streamers everywhere, and even had a real rock waterfall.

Beneath the umbrella the students wrote island adventures featuring themselves and their teacher.

“My students inspired me to write my own island story that would include all of us,” says Ms. Love.

Susan Love’s own childhood was not easy. At five years old, she was rescued from a fire and placed in foster care for the remainder of her youth. Devastated, she wrote her own stories for comfort.

After graduating from Allentown’s Cedar Crest College, Susan Love interned as a juvenile probation officer, was employed as a developmental specialist with Human Services Consultants, and supervised a YMCA after school program.

She holds a master’s degree in education from Arcadia University, and has taught in Philadelphia elementary and middle schools for 15 years. She is also an actress and model.

About Ms. Love's Mystical Island Adventure
Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure, by Susan Love, with illustrations and animations by Patrick Harrington, is available on Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, in stores and on line everywhere.

Watch Ms. Love's Inside Story Live on UTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tigv5csIH64&feature=youtu.be

View Images of Ms. Love’s Book and Interview