Archives for January 2024

Books of the week!

NYT Bestselling Karma Wilson’s BEAR FINDS EGGS! On sale January 16th!

Such a delightful book!

 Little ones and parents alike will adore this seasonal continuation of Bear and friends on another sweet adventure to help Mama Meadowlark find her lost eggs. BEAR FINDS EGGS is on sale from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 16, 2024!

In this colorful and delightful new picture book, Bear and his friends hunt for Mama Meadowlark’s missing eggs! So, everyone pitches in to search high and low and paint the eggs bright colors, so they don’t get lost again. Even the youngest of readers can help Bear spot eggs in this perfect celebration of the Spring season! Who is ready for Spring? I know I am! This is a delightful story and I love the characters and the illustrations!

About the author: Karma Wilson is the bestselling author of several picture books, including the Bear Books series; Where Is Home, Little Pip?; and A Dog Named Doug. Karma lives in Montana.

About the illustrator: Jane Chapman is the illustrator of over one hundred books for children, including Dilly Duckling by Claire Freedman and I Love My Mama by Peter Kavanagh, as well as Karma Wilson’s Bear Books series and Mortimer’s Christmas Manger. She lives with her family in Dorset, England. Visit Jane at

I recommend the book for ages 4-8!

The Very Worst Ever chapter book series for young readers – on sale 1/9/24!

 The Very Worst Ever Series is an all-new Little Simon chapter-book series about a group of unlucky friends navigating the many challenges of their wacky school! Written by Andy Nonamus and illustrated by Amy Jinda, the first two books, First Day, Worst Day and Pop Goes the Carnival, go on sale January 9th, 2024!

In FIRST DAY, WORST DAY, a very unlucky kid navigates the many challenges of the first day of school. From missing the bus to getting lost looking for a class, he’s feeling doomed forever until some new friends help him make it through the worst first day ever! Download the manuscript here.

In POP GOES THE CARNIVAL, the same very unlucky kid must create a booth for his school carnival while avoiding disaster in the second book in The Very Worst Ever chapter book series!

You don’t want to miss the start to this hilarious chapter book series! Perfect for readers who have graduated from Ready-to-Reads but are not quite ready for lengthy chapter books, these books are tailor-made for ages 5 to 9’s reading comprehension. Heavily illustrated with large type, Little Simon’s chapter books let young readers feel like they are reading a “grown-up” format with subject, text, and illustrations geared specifically for their own age groups!


Little Simon | On sale, January 9, 2024| Ages 5 to 9, Grades K to 4
HC: 9781665942218 $17.99 | TR: 9781665942201 $6.99.


Little Simon | On sale, January 9, 2024| Ages 5 to 9, Grades K to 4
HC: 9781665942249 $17.99 | TR: 9781665942232 $6.99.


Andy Nonamushas been writing for as long as he can remember. He lives in New York.


Amy Jindra is a Cleveland, Ohio, native with a passion for illustration. Ever since she can remember, she has been drawing everything and anything. She enjoys developing characters and scenes that tell a story, create a connection, and warm the heart. Amy is fueled and inspired by the arts, family and friends, and good sushi.

Both of these books are fun to read!

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to feature. Cover images were also provided.

Trudy, January 12 Pet of the Week


Trudy, a little 2-year-old tortie, began her time at the shelter by not giving anyone the time of day. Two years on the street without experiencing affection and care from humans can do that to anyone. Trudy came in with a damaged left eye, which she still can’t see out of, and a poor appetite. But thanks to the loving cat volunteers, she’s had lots of love, care and good meals, and she’s now a sleek, purring sweetie-pie who loves petting and chin scritches. Now, all she needs is a forever home, with all the benefits! To adopt or foster Trudy, email to speed the process, or call (562) 570-7387. Better yet, meet her in person at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). Ask for ID#A699900.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Why Extreme Marginalization Can Lead To Serious Forms of Addiction

Extreme marginalization refers to the complete exclusion and isolation of groups or individuals from full participation in key aspects of society. It goes beyond basic marginalization or discrimination, actively denying basic rights, access, representation, and power. Those facing extreme marginalization have essentially no voice or means to improve their deprived conditions. They are rendered almost invisible, left in extreme poverty and hardship, with no recourse against systems of oppression. This dangerous level of estrangement strips away human dignity and threatens fundamental well-being. Extreme marginalization demands urgent action as it fractures social cohesion and prevents people from reaching their potential.

Extreme Marginalization and Addiction

Those who face extreme social and economic marginalization are at high risk for developing addictions. The addiction traps them in a cycle that further isolates them from supportive relationships and opportunities. Ultimately, extreme marginalization deprives people of essential stability, dignity, and autonomy. The resulting desperation and hopelessness make addiction an understandable coping mechanism that is tragically difficult to overcome without profound social and systemic changes that re-integrate the marginalized. In addition, the addict may need specialized treatment, such as gay drug rehab, to overcome their dependence.

The Only Option

Turning to substance abuse can seem like the only option to numb the psychological pain caused by extreme marginalization. The neurological effects of intoxication provide temporary relief from endless marginalization by altering one’s consciousness. What may start as occasional drug use can spiral into full-blown addiction when it becomes the primary mechanism for coping and functioning daily. The altered state of intoxication serves as an escape from the harsh realities of an exclusionary society. 

Addiction and Its Progression

As addiction progresses, obtaining and using drugs becomes an all-consuming activity as the user’s physiology changes to crave continued substance abuse. Employment, relationships, health, family obligations, and other roles are gradually sacrificed to feed the addiction. Attempts to quit fail against the awful withdrawal effects that serve as further punishment for one’s marginalized state. The user resigns himself to being an outcast addict, fulfilling the very fate society expects from someone so discounted.

No Hope

In these ways, extreme marginalization strips people of hope until substance addiction seems like the only bearable pathway forward. Severe social exclusion denying basic human dignity can implant the seeds for chemically-based coping behaviors to metastasize into consuming addictions. The causal mechanisms include unmet needs for belonging, identity, and autonomy that addiction pseudo-fulfills in the short term despite long-term destruction. 

Recovering From the Addiction

Recovery from addiction requires restoring one’s societal inclusion and access to legitimate means for meeting basic human needs. Extreme marginalization forces groups into survival mode where sobriety and long-term planning are luxuries behind securing immediate relief and escape. Healing addiction therefore necessitates welcoming marginalized groups into society’s fabric, showing through policies and actions that all people have equal claim to participating fully in community and access to tools for self-actualization. A society that discontinues extreme marginalization removes the stimulus behind addiction as the de facto coping mechanism.

Extreme marginalization denies people’s basic human needs enough that substance addiction can develop as a pseudo-solution. The all-consuming nature of active addiction prevents progress toward recovery and a fulfilling life. True healing from severe addiction often requires eliminating the extreme social exclusion that compelled addictive behaviors in the first place. Belonging, dignity, and inclusion serve as pre-conditions for marginalized groups to attain and sustain sobriety. As long as oppression aggressively blocks human needs, addiction can thrive as tragically one of the few accessible comforts.

Ensuring Your Child’s Safety and Joy: Innovative Approaches to Childcare in Urban Settings

In the bustling landscape of urban life, the challenges of balancing work and family often leave parents grappling with the crucial decision of childcare. In cities, where the pace is relentless and space is at a premium, ensuring both the safety and happiness of children becomes a nuanced task. Innovative approaches to childcare in these urban settings not only promise peace of mind for parents but also enrich the lives of their little ones.

The Urban Childcare Challenge

Navigating the childcare landscape in metropolitan areas presents unique challenges. Urban parents frequently confront a high demand for quality care amidst a backdrop of limited options. This scarcity often results in long waitlists and elevated costs, adding to the already substantial pressures of city living. Amidst these challenges, innovative childcare solutions emerge as a beacon of hope, offering flexible and reliable options tailored to the urban lifestyle.

A pivotal aspect of these solutions lies in their ability to provide trustworthy care. For parents seeking the best for their children, the importance of finding reliable and professional babysitting services cannot be overstated. In this endeavor, digital platforms have become invaluable, connecting parents with vetted caregivers who meet their specific needs. Parents in New York City, for example, can effortlessly discover top-rated babysitting services that align with their stringent requirements, ensuring that their children are in safe and capable hands. To explore some of the finest childcare options in the NY city, parents can click here for trusted babysitters, where quality and reliability are paramount.

As urban parents continue to seek the ideal balance between work commitments and family life, the role of innovative childcare solutions becomes increasingly significant. These solutions not only alleviate logistical burdens but also contribute positively to the emotional and social development of children. By embracing these modern approaches, parents can navigate the urban childcare challenge with confidence, ensuring their children’s safety and joy amidst the city’s vibrant yet demanding environment.

Innovative Childcare Models

Cities worldwide are witnessing a surge in innovative childcare models, revolutionizing the way parents approach this critical aspect of family life. Community-based initiatives are at the forefront, offering neighborhood-driven solutions where families share childcare responsibilities, creating a supportive and familiar environment for children. These cooperatives often operate on flexible schedules, accommodating the unpredictable nature of urban life.

Moreover, technology plays a pivotal role in modern childcare. Numerous apps have been developed to simplify the process of finding and managing childcare services. These platforms offer a range of functionalities, from locating nearby babysitting services to scheduling and payment options, all at a parent’s fingertips. They are designed to provide real-time solutions, making it easier for parents to balance their work-life commitments while ensuring their children’s well-being.

Ensuring Safety in Urban Childcare

When it comes to urban childcare, safety remains the top priority for parents. It is essential to understand that while innovative models offer convenience and flexibility, they must also adhere to stringent safety standards. Parents should look for childcare services that conduct comprehensive background checks, ensuring that caregivers have a clean record and are trustworthy. Additionally, certifications in first aid, CPR, and childcare training are indicators of a babysitter’s competence and commitment to safety.

Parents can further ensure their child’s safety by actively engaging with the childcare provider. This includes discussing safety protocols, emergency procedures, and specific care requirements for their children. Regular updates and open communication lines with the caregiver help build trust and provide peace of mind. By being proactive and thorough in their selection process, parents can confidently embrace new childcare options, knowing their children are in safe, capable hands.

Balancing Joy and Development

Childcare is not just about supervision; it’s a vital part of a child’s joy and development. Innovative urban childcare models understand this, offering more than just basic care. They incorporate diverse activities that are both fun and educational, catering to various aspects of a child’s growth. For instance, some services include music and arts classes, language lessons, and even basic coding workshops, turning ordinary daycare into an enriching learning hub. These activities are designed not just to entertain but to stimulate cognitive and creative development, ensuring that children grow in a holistic manner.

The Role of Environment in Childcare

The environment in which a child grows plays a crucial role in their overall development and happiness. A child-friendly home that’s both safe and stimulating can greatly enhance a child’s learning and development. Incorporating elements of fun, color, and learning tools into home decor can create an engaging space for children. Simple additions like educational wall art, interactive play corners, and areas dedicated to reading and crafts can transform a home into a nurturing environment conducive to learning and growth. For more inspiration on creating such spaces, you can discover more on home decor, offering a wealth of ideas to make your home both child-friendly and stylish.


This article explored the multifaceted nature of childcare in urban settings, emphasizing the importance of safety, joy, and developmental activities in childcare choices. We delved into innovative childcare models and the crucial role of the home environment in a child’s growth. As urban parents navigate these aspects, the balance between safety, happiness, and development remains paramount. Embracing innovative childcare solutions and creating supportive home environments are key steps in nurturing well-rounded, joyful, and safe childhood experiences.

Books of the Month! January 2024!

From superstar author Derrick Barnes, here is a middle-grade celebration of the people and stories that helped shape the game of basketball, from unsung pioneers to unforgettable moments of the game.

Capturing all the joy and energy that mark the sport of basketball, bestselling and award-winning superstar author Derrick Barnes shines a light on the amazing ballers, buzzer-beaters, and record-breakers who haven’t always gotten the attention they deserve. Who Got Game? Basketball, the second book in his sports series, following Who Got Game? Baseball, weaves together great storytelling, lively illustrations, and a far-ranging selection of facts, stats, sidebars, and quotes.
Middle-grade readers will discover the highest-scoring game in NCAA history. The influential center, George Mikan, who created the modern big man role, and 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player ever to star in the pros. The pioneering Senda Berenson Abbott, creator of the women’s game. The legendary Rucker Park b-ball court in Harlem, New York. Plus the first African American players and coaches, greatest comeback victories and earth-shattering slam dunks, longest winning streaks, and so much more. This book will hit you like a three-pointer from half-court!

About the Author

Derrick Barnes is the winner of the 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for outstanding new writer, and his picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut took home four honors at the 2018 American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards: the Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Illustrator Honor, the Newbery Honor, and the Caldecott Honor. Derrick is also the author of the New York Times bestselling picture book The King of Kindergarten, and the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys. Derrick lives in Charlotte, NC, with his wife, Dr. Tinka Barnes, and their four sons, all of whom play sportsThis may contain confidential material. If you are not an intended recipient, please notify the sender, delete immediately, and understand that no disclosure or reliance on the information herein is permitted. Hachette Book Group may monitor email to and from our network. Find it here.

New Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Graphic Novel Part 1 by Shannon Messenger.

The first book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series is being reimagined as a graphic novel with the first half of the epic novel adapted to this new format with beautiful artwork!

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…

But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

This stunning graphic novel retelling of the first half of the thrilling first novel comes to life with all the adventure and epic worldbuilding the Keeper of the Lost Cities series is known for.
Author Bio
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she learned—among other things—that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and film production, but she realized her real passion was writing stories for children. She’s the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the award-winning middle grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities, as well as the Sky Fall series for young adults. Her books have been featured on multiple state reading lists, published in numerous countries, and translated into many different languages. She lives in Southern California with her family—and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at

FIGHTING WITH LOVE– New Nonfiction Pic Book About Civil Rights Leader John Lewis by Lesa Cline-Ransome & James E. Ransome (on-sale: 1/9)

This beautiful book follows the life of groundbreaking civil rights leader John Lewis, from his start on a cotton farm in Alabama, all the way through his contributions that helped change the nation. It showcases John walking alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his time as the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th district, and his beliefs in peaceful actions and voting rights. Despite many obstacles, John Lewis lived the life of a true trailblazer and readers will be inspired by his story. John Lewis received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and sadly passed away in July 2020. This is one of the first books for children about his life and his story.

Author Bio
Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of numerous nonfiction and historical fiction titles for picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult readers including Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and received a Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor, Christopher Award, and Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband and frequent collaborator, James Ransome, and their family. Visit her at

James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriet received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include the Coretta Scott King winner The Creation; Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s BarbershopSweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. James is also a recipient of the ALA Children’s Literature Legacy Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome, and their books include Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and Fighting with Love: The Legacy of John Lewis. James is a professor and coordinator of the MFA Illustration Graduate Program at Syracuse University. He lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley region with his family. Visit James at

A bear who does not want to party?

In this delightful new picture book from author/illustrator Jennifer Gray Olson, this party pooper does NOT want to party, despite the best efforts of his fellow party goers. When pooper takes things a bit too far, he learns to own up to his mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

Party Pooper  tackles complex social emotional learning themes with expertise, grace, and laugh-out-loud humor. It’s a thoughtful, yet entertaining examination that has equal empathy for the party goers and, of course, the party pooper.

Tween Rom-Com COURTESY OF CUPID from debut author Nashae Jones is a hit!

In COURTESY OF CUPID, after Erin Johnson’s thirteenth birthday, she discovers her mysterious father is actually the love god Cupid and uses her newfound powers to sabotage her rival for the Multicultural Club presidency.

Middle schoolers are craving romance similar to classics from Meg Cabot and The Baby-Sitters Club, and this cute, fun middle-grade novel offers the ever-popular enemies-to-lovers trope and delivers on the butterflies and flirtation while remaining perfectly relevant to tween readers.

I enjoyed this one and think that tween readers will enjoy it!

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books for consideration to be featured. Cover images were also provided.

 Burke Williams Day Spa Offers Memberships to Prioritize Wellness in the New Year

Photo courtesy of Burke Williams. 

Burke Williams, California’s leading luxury day spa, is the ultimate destination to prioritize health and wellness in the New Year with membership options for every lifestyle. To start the New Year right, guests may also apply a pre-existing gift card balance toward a new membership, immediately receiving member pricing upon enrollment. 

Regular spa visits offer tangible benefits to health and well-being, including important rest and healing of the body, mind and spirit. Burke Williams’ flexible membership levels make it easy to enjoy relaxation and results every month. Deluxe members receive even more perks, including more enhancements, treatment time and the ability to share member pricing with friends twice a year. 

Burke Williams Membership Levels

Essential Membership — $115/month

  • One 50-min Pure Relaxation Massage or Spa Style Facial every month
  • Unlimited services at member pricing
  • 20% off all H2V products, Burke Williams’ proprietary skincare line

Deluxe Membership — $165/month

  • One 80-min Pure Relaxation Massage or Spa Style Facial every month
  • Monthly enhancement or exclusive offer with any 50 or 80-min service
  • Unlimited services at member pricing
  • Semi-annual bring a friend offer: share member pricing OR use benefits toward H2V skincare
  • 20% off all H2V products, Burke Williams’ proprietary skincare line

Membership pricing may vary at the San Francisco and San Jose locations. For more information on all of Burke Williams’ membership benefits, please visit 

Credit: Burke Williams.


Burke Williams created the original urban day spa in 1984, elevating the spa experience to a new art form. Drawing inspiration from world-class European day spas, the destination worked to combine the finest traditions with nourishing innovations to transport guests from the stress of everyday life. Today, with 11 locations across California, Burke Williams is a luxurious sanctuary, a place for wellness and beauty, inspiration and optimism. For more information, please visit 

Sun, Jan 14: ’17th Annual SoCal Slack Key Festival’ Biggest Hawaiian Music Event of the Year! & Free Hawaiian Marketplace

Kala Koa Entertainment celebrates 17 years of bringing the biggest and brightest names in Hawaiian music to the mainland with the 2024 Southern California Slack Key Festival returning to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday, January 14, 2024.

One of the most acclaimed Hawaiian concerts to ever leave the islands, the Southern California Slack Key Festival takes fans on a Hawaiian musical journey showcasing GRAMMY-winning slack key guitarists, award-winning Hula Hālau, special guest performers and a free to the public Island Marketplace.

Since 2008, the Southern California Slack Key Festival has been the biggest Hawaiian music concert event in the mainland U.S. and features the most respected names in Hawaiian guitar music and hula today. Taking its name from a finger-picking style of guitar playing indigenous to Hawaii (as heard on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for “The Descendants”), the Slack Key Festival brings the art of ki ho’alu guitar to Redondo Beach.

This year’s Southern California Slack Key Festival’s line-up includes Kula’iwiHi’ikuaJerry SantosJeff PetersonJim “Kimo” WestSean ParksNamaka CosmaLeokane Pryor, and Ken Emerson.

Kulāiwi – Individually, these three artists have a number of Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards among them. Lehua Kalima Alvarez is one-third of Hawai‘i’s beloved Nā Leo PilimehanaShawn Kekoa Pimental is a Grammy nominated producer, and he and Kawika Kahiapo have performed with countless island and national favorites. Kulāiwi received the honors of the 2022 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Album of the Year Award, Hawaiian Album of the Year Award, Group of the Year Award, and Hawaiian Engineering Award of the Year for the debut of their self-titled album Kulāiwi-Native Lands. Together, the synergy they create is both heard and felt by their audiences. Kulāiwi means “land of my ancestors.” With soaring vocals, island harmonies and a folk vibe, along with an easy-going charisma and witty banter, they are committed to telling the stories of Hawai’i – the land and the people – from their Indigenous points-of-view. Their prodigious talents as lyricists and composers create music imbued with Hawaiian values and ways of seeing and living in the world. Both their original songs and their selections of Hawaiian classics are inspired by diverse musical styles and reflect their passionate commitment to their islands.

Hi’ikua – In a culture that honors the legacies of the past, this Hawaiian trio of talented musicians pays homage to their roots while creating a unique and progressive sound that leaves their mark in contemporary Hawaiian music. The group’s name derives from the Hawaiian word that means literally “to carry on one’s back.” Hi‘ikua accepts this responsibility and intends with each song to achieve that goal: to speak of their history in words and music; to enjoy each moment of that expression, and in sharing this with you, to hope that their message will find its way into the future. This Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winning group is comprised of Kalehua KrugBlake Leoiki-Haili and Kamuela Kimokeo who is a Hawaiian music educator in a big way on Oahu. He is on the faculty at Windward Community College and has been instrumental in establishing their programming and curriculum, as well as bringing in the best Hawaiian music artists to become involved.

Jerry Santos – Best known for his work in the musical group Olomana, and a huge part of the 1970’s revival/ renaissance of Hawaiian music, singer/songwriter Jerry Santos has been a familiar presence on the Hawaii music scene for almost five decades. His work has been recognized by the Hawai’i musical community with numerous awards. Amongst them are awards for male vocalist, for composition, and for both traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music. Honolulu Magazine named Olomana’s first recording, “Like a Seabird in the Wind”, #11 on their list of the Top 50 Albums of all time and Jerry’s signature song “Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u” was voted #7 on the top 50 Songs of all time. Olomana was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts for their body of work over the years. Jerry is perhaps most honored by his Moe Keale; Aloha is Award, an award that acknowledges a performer’s contributions to his community.

Jeff Peterson – Born on the Island of Maui and grew up on the slopes of Haleakala where he was introduced to the rich heritage of Hawaiian music by his father, a “paniolo” (Hawaiian cowboy), on the Haleakala Ranch. Recognized as one of Hawaii’s most versatile musicians, Peterson is at the heart of the Hawaiian music scene today, having contributed to two Grammy Award-winning recordings and winner of eight Na Hōkū Hanohano Awards in Hawaii including Slack Key Album of the Year for “Maui on My Mind” in 2010, “Slack Key Travels” in 2014 and “O’ahu” in 2016 which also earned him Instrumental Song of the Year for the song “Old Pali”. His latest release “Wahi Pana” is a full-length performance and documentary film and CD soundtrack.

Jim “Kimo” West – Regarded as one of the world’s foremost “ki ho’alu” or Hawaiian “slack key” guitar artists and his music has garnered over seventy-five million spins on streaming services, Kimo just wrapped up a tour of Europe playing his brand of slack key guitar music. He is a 2021 Grammy Winner for his recent CD, More Guitar Stories and a 2019 Grammy nominee for Moku Maluhia-Peaceful Island. He is also a 2008 winner of the Hawaii Music Awards and four-time Na Hoku Hanohano (the Hawaiian ‘Grammy’) nominee. He is a two-time winner of the LA Treasures Award for his efforts in keeping this important acoustic guitar tradition alive. His numerous CDʻs feature many original compositions as well as inventive arrangements of the genreʻs classic repertoire. His seventh CD, Guitar Stories goes beyond slack key, exploring genres like West African guitar, Middle Eastern Music and Americana. Slackers In Paradise features duets with slack and steel guitar legend, Ken Emerson, and his latest CD, Moku Maluhia-Peaceful Island is a mix of “nahenahe” or very relaxing compositions. For his work as long-time guitarist with “Weird Al”, he has earned four Grammy awards and a Billboard #1 CD debut for 2015’s Mandatory Fun. Kimo’s slack key compositions have been used in a number of features, TV spots, cable, web and in many documentaries.

Sean Parks – A talented young slack key guitarist and vocalist hailing from the island of Hawaiʻi. His ohana comes from the area of Kaimū in the district of Kalapana. Kalapana is famous for its unique style of Hawaiian music and kī hōʻalu (slack key) reminiscent of the old days of Hawaiʻi.

Namaka Cosma – A Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated rising Hawaiian music star and the daughter of Hana, Maui legend and Hawaiian slack key guitarist Pekelo Cosma. Namaka is a graduate of the Institute of Hawaiian Music program at the University of Hawaii Maui College, one of only a handful of women in the state pursuing the art of slack key guitar. While studying at the Institute of Hawaiian Music, Namaka Cosma recorded two songs with Geri Hewahewa, the daughter of Gilbert Emata, which were released as a single. “Ho’oheno A’o Pi’ilani” is nominated for a 2022 Hoku for Hawaiian Single of the Year.

Leokane Pryor – Born and raised in the mystical Mānoa valley on O’ahu, the singer-songwriter spent his youth gaining a love for the culture and music of the land of his birth. He made his debut in the Hawaiian music world in 1999 with his first CD, Maunahele, receiving wide radio play in Hawai’i, the mainland, and abroad and gaining great popularity delighting audiences with his angelic falsetto vocals. His original songs, telling of his home in heavenly Hana and his life-long love for Hawai’i, have been featured in television and film.

Kenton Robert Lopaka Emerson – A San Francisco Bay area born, and Hawaiian island bred guitarist who covers many musical genres. He has played his special blend of Blues/Jazz Hawaiian guitar for 40 years and running. His original compositions and performances on ‘Slack Key Guitar Vol 2’ (Palm Records) helped bring in the first ever 2005 GRAMMY award for Hawaiian music. ‘KE’ most recently played on Donald Fagen’s 2007 GRAMMY winning “Morph the Cat” album.

What is Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Music?
Played from the heart and soul through the fingers and flowing with vivid tropical images, Hawaiian ki ho’alu (slack key) is truly one of the great acoustic guitar traditions of the world. In slack key, some of the strings are “slacked” from the standard guitar tuning, with the thumb playing the bass notes while the other fingers play the melody and improvise in a finger-picked style. A brief history of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar can be found here:

How does the distinctive sound of slack key music fit into the fabric of Hawaiian music and culture? Watch this video and learn more about this beautiful generations-old art form –

In addition to the concert, an Island Marketplace – free and open to the public – takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. outside of the venue. Browse a variety of island themed gifts, home décor, accessories, apparel, Hawaiian food, authentic island-style shave ice and outdoor entertainment.

– Sunday, January 14, 2024; Concert 2:00 p.m.
– Free Island Marketplace 11:00 a.m.–
4:00 p.m.

Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd (at Aviation Blvd.), Redondo Beach, CA  90278
Free Parking


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Credit: Kala Koa Entertainment.

The Color Purple – A Musical Remake Of The 1985 Film With A Tear-Jerking Story, Engaging Musical Numbers And Brilliant Acting

Torn apart from her sister and her children, Celie faces many hardships in life, including an abusive husband. With support from a sultry singer named Shug Avery, as well as her stand-her-ground stepdaughter, Celie ultimately finds extraordinary strength in the unbreakable bonds of a new kind of sisterhood.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I love this reimagined, musical version of The Color Purple! It has a really good balance of joyful and sorrowful scenes, which made me care deeply about the characters. Its cast is brilliant, as all of them fit their roles perfectly and have absolutely outstanding and powerful voices.” Sydney S. adds, “I absolutely love the film, The Color Purple! This musical remake of the 1985 film is a tear-jerking story with engaging musical numbers and brilliant acting. The film holds so much power and I like that it promotes hope.” See their full reviews below.

The Color Purple (2023)
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I love this reimagined, musical version of The Color Purple! It has a really good balance of joyful and sorrowful scenes, which made me care deeply about the characters. Its cast is brilliant, as all of them fit their roles perfectly and have absolutely outstanding and powerful voices.

This movie is a musical adaptation of the novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker and also the movie The Color Purple from 1985. It follows two teenage sisters named Celie (Phylicia Pearl Mpasi/Fantasia Barrino) and Nettie (Halle Bailey/Ciara) in the American South in the early 1900s. Celie and Nettie are best friends, but then they get separated once Celie gets married to a man named Mister (Colman Domingo). The movie then tells the story of the struggles that Celie faces and her attempts to find her sister.

If you’ve seen the original movie and or read the book, you will notice the storyline is the same. However, how the story is portrayed is very different. It’s full of singing and dancing as in a Broadway musical. I like this rendition of The Color Purple the best out of the three because thesinging and dancing are so engaging – I really connected with the characters and their emotions. My favorite character is definitely Sophie, played by Danielle Brooks, because she is very funny and powerful, has a rich voice, and I loved every scene she was in.  The actors with the strongest performances are Fantasia Barrino as Celie and Colman Domingo. Celie, is such a dynamic character as we see her grow and change so much while she overcomes all of her traumas. Also, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi is definitely the right choice to play young Celie since she and Fantasia look very similar. Also I absolutely despise Mister because of Colman Domingo’s incredibly convincing performance!  The Color Purple also stars Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins, Deon Cole, and H.E.R. Be sure to look for a couple cameos by people who were in the original movie adaptation.

The messages ofthis movie include the power of perseverance, the importance of forgiveness and of having the fortitude to overcome oppression and abuse. It also emphasizes the importance of family. Be aware that there is profanity, alcohol consumption, and rape.

I give The Color Purple 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters December 25, 2023.

The Color Purple
By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I absolutely love the film, The Color Purple! This musical remake of the 1985 film is a tear-jerking story with engaging musical numbers and brilliant acting. The film holds so much power and I like that it promotes hope.

The storyline follows Celie who struggles to find freedom in her life. After her children are taken from her, she is sent away to live with a husband who doesn’t allow Celie to contact her sister.

The main characters in the film are Celie (Fantasia Barrino), Young Celie (Phylicia Pearl), Young Nettie (Halle Bailey), Nettie (Ciara), Shug Avery (Taraji P. Henson), Sofia (Danielle Brooks), Harpo (Corey Hawkins), Mister (Colman Domingo), and Squeak (H.E.R.). The actors are incredible. They bring so much emotion that enhances the storyline and brings the movie to life. You can tell how they’re feeling by the look in their eyes! I love the amount of laughter in this movie. Sofia’s remedy to her depression is laughter. Celie never fails to laugh and smile when she’s happy. The relationship between Celie and her sister Nettie is so heartwarming, but seeing them get separated is crushing. I found my emotions flailing all over the place. There’s tension between some of the characters, too, which adds suspense. The costumes are relative to the time and setting. They get interesting when Shug Avery comes to town, though. The lighting dims when there’s tension or something awful happens, which is a great touch. The direction of this film is incredible because it focuses on important details, such as body language or angles. Steven Spielberg did a wonderful job once again. I really like the musical theater side incorporated in the film. The music touches hearts and helps the characters express their feelings. The songs are catchy, too. The dances are so well-choreographed and detailed. There’s a perfect balance of musical theater. It’s also beautiful to see the characters brought together by music. My favorite part of the film is the character Celie and her breakthrough with finding herself. No matter how difficult her life gets, she pushes through and finds joy in the little things. She’s grateful for what she has and deals with abuse at the same time. At the end, her message about herself and her life is beautiful.

The message of this film is that life can be difficult, but life is beautiful when you learn to persevere and stay positive. It also encourages you to stand up for yourself. Themes of family and friendship are also included. You should be aware there are some sensitive scenes that contain abuse, foul language and sexual content.

I give The Color Purple 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Color Purple comes out in theaters December 25, 2023.