Hanukkah Harvie vs Santa Claus

from Library Tales Publishing, illustrated by Michelle Simpson

Everything was going smoothly, a typical first night of Hanukkah. Or so Harvie thought! There was someone else in the house, and he had presents, too—Santa Claus! Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus is the hilarious and heartfelt story of how two holiday heroes wind up with the greatest gift of all for themselves: friendship.

Amazonindie bound



*Feature in World Religion News

Finally! A holiday tale that is affecting without heaping on the schmaltz. Which holiday heavyweight will outdo the other in bringing  joy vey to the world? If you don’t find yourself snickering at Slater’s whimsical world of Hanukkopters and other well-oiled contraptions, you are definitely in the menorah-ty!

Dale E. Basye, author of the Circles of Heck Series

“A new holiday tradition deserves a new holiday classic, and David Michael Slater has delivered just that.”

David Lubar, Author of Hidden Talents and Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie.

“A new book about Chrismukkah could bring about world peace, but only if you do your part…It’s not only for Chrismukkah households: this funny, fast-paced visual delight about the rival gifters duking it out—spoiler alert—until finally they realize they share the same generous-spirited goals (imagine that!) is for anybody who wishes we could all just agree to disagree about the whole God thing, respect each other’s choices and get along.”

Judith Basya, Literary Editor of Heeb Magazine

“What do you do when your family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah? You celebrate Chrismukkah! David Michael Slater has written a delightful story capturing the joy of the holidays with humor and sensitivity. A must read for families of all faiths!”

Penny Warner, Author of the award-winning series, The Code Busters

“This is the most Hanukkool book I’ve read this year! David Michael Slater is one funny mensch—and Hanukkah Harvie is my favorite new holiday hero.”

Bart King, Author of The Big Book of Boy Stuff

“Well, really, folks, when you get down to it, are Christmas and Hannukah really all that different? They are both celebrations steeped in the spirit of love and friendship, and who’s to say Loveship can’t be found in the combined celebration of both. Harvie and Santa are onto something big! They just kind of make you want to hug everyone.”

Graham Salisbury, Author of the bestselling Calvin Coconut Series and Under the Blood Red Sun

“Great fun! I always wondered who brought the Hanukkah gifts.”

Eric Kimmel, Author of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

“In celebration of blended families and modern-day cultural, religious and ethnic fusions, David Michael Slater’s Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus has a unique, and refreshingly “real” take on one of the holiday’s biggest icons, Santa Claus. By bringing a new player to the game, Hanukkah Harvie, gift giving becomes a cutthroat competition of who can “gift” better to win over those families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. And the silliness bar is raised with each encounter. Funny. Unexpected. Sprinkled with laugh-out-loud lines, this book reads like a “well-oiled machine,” and will no doubt be a new holiday, Christmakkah favorite.” 

Heidi Ayarbe, author of Freeze Frame

“One thing I always expect from a David Michael Slater book is an outrageously imaginative story. In Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus he delivers just that. But he also captures the struggle between competing characters and competing traditions in a way that warms the heart and enlivens the mind. You cannot read this story without wondering what would change in the world if everyone from different traditions could find the same kind of friendship as what develops between Hanukkah Harvie and Santa Claus. We can only hope so. I want every child to have a chance to read this story and be touched by its magic.”

 Roy M Carlisle, Advisory Board Member and Editorial Consultant for Relish Media, an imprint of Little Pickle Press

“A book involving the true message of the holidays for families of mixed faiths in today’s world has been long overdue, and we hope that “The World’s First Chrismukkah Classic” will become a household name. This book captures the essence of finding joy and being with those you love around the holidays regardless of belief.”

Danny Foley & Sarah Robinson of Watch for Rocks, Creators of “The Chrismukkah Song”

“At long last: the dueling holidays reconcile as Hanukkah Harvie and Santa Claus discover Chrismukkah. This is the tradition-defining story that every blended family will want to read as they sit beside the Chrismukkah bush amidst an avalanche of presents.

Sage Cohen, author of The Productive Writer

The Boy & the Book

from Charlesbridge Publishing, illustrated by Bob Kolar

In this wordless story, a library book tries desperately to evade the destructive clutches of a little boy. What drives the Boy, however, is enthusiasm and love—not malice—and the Book eventually responds in kind, accepting his rough but worthy fate.

Amazonindie bound


Released in Korea! 



Colorado Libraries: Shortlisted for 2016 CLEL Picture Book Award

Kirkus *Review

A nearly wordless picture book presents the “I can read” moment. A small boy with a determined, mischievous expression enters a library in the company of his mother. The look on the boy’s face, perfectly rendered by Kolar (as are all the expressions), alarms the library books, and they run for their lives. The boy captures a blue-bound book and begins manhandling it as he would any toy, in the process ripping and creasing the pages. The other books look on, horrified. The boy’s mother (who, unsettlingly, seems to care not a whit that the boy has mistreated a book) comes to get him. He tosses the book to the floor as he leaves. The other books lovingly glue and tape the battered book back together. A new day, and—horrors!—the boy returns. Again, the books scatter. But then the blue-bound book sees the boy’s forlorn expression and suddenly understands. The book leaps from its safe perch to the boy, the boy opens the book, and it is here that the four words of text make their powerful statement—”Once upon a time.” For the boy has learned to read, and now books are cherished and library manners learned. Presented as a grand adventure, the moment when a child first learns to read is powerfully rendered in this well-made story.

Publishers Weekly
Slater’s (The Bored Book) wordless story seems headed toward a lesson about mistreating library books, but the lesson turns out to be one of surprising compassion. The book abuser is a young library visitor with a mop of black hair who grabs a blue book while the others flee (all of the books have expressive faces and sticklike appendages). A question mark above the boy’s head as he opens the book signals his non-reader status. Instead, he holds it upside down, rips it, tosses it, and folds the pages, accompanied by anguished looks from the book itself. On a return visit, the book’s efforts to avoid the boy are futile, and he strikes again. But then something wonderful happens: the boy learns to read, and he and the book are reconciled. Kolar’s (Stomp, Stomp!) digitally made figures are crisp and flat, and the expressions on the books’ faces do their comic work effectively. Library champions don’t usually tolerate the ill-treatment of books, but sometimes, Slater implies, what looks like bad behavior is just boundless eagerness.

Midwest Book Review
The Boy & the Book is an original tale told entirely with brightly colored pictures. A young boy loves to read, but he doesn’t understand how to handle books – he wantonly tosses library books around and tears their pages. Poor, innocent books! The anthropomorphic books of the library help the boy’s literary victim recover with tape and care, but what will they do when the boy comes back? Will the boy ever learn not to be so rough with books? A simple tale about learning to respect the things one loves, The Boy & the Book is highly recommended.

BAY VIEWS (The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California: July 2015 vol. 24 no. 10)


Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California

A wordless romp shows the havoc that ensues when a pre-reader has marvelous fun playing with a book with no clue of its intended use or any regard for the book’s safety. As the boy leaves a library, one blue book is left with its pages in tatters. Its companion picture books swoop in with tape and glue to put it back together again. When the boy returns some time later, the books react with terror, scrambling to hide and get out of his reach. But the boy’s tears stoke the courage of the now-battered blue picture book, who cautiously decides to rejoin him and discovers a marvelous change—the boy can now read! Young readers will enjoy the panicky reaction of the books, the various bits of Scotch tape and scribbling that show up on the actual book’s covers, as well as in the story, and pick up a gentle lesson on book care along the way. Computer-rendered illustrations are predominantly blue, red, and orange and show plenty of action and a convincing range of expressions on the faces of both humans and books.

Elizabeth Overmyer, Independent

The Ring Bear

the-ring-bear-400Illustrated by S.G. Brooks

Westley and his mom are the perfect pair of pirates. That is, until she tells him she’s going to marry Stan. When she asks Westley to be the ring bearer at the wedding, he hears “Ring Bear.” So…there’s only one thing to do: become a REAL bear and wreck everything!

NOW AVAILABLE as an interactive app/game for tablets/phones from TINY TAP (requires Tiny Tap app)




THE RING BEAR has been chosen as an HONOR BOOK by the SSLI – The Society of School Librarians International! It has also been selected for inclusion in the nationwide Accelerated Reader program.

Orson Scott Card (author of Ender’s Game)
Column: Uncle Orson Reviews Everything Herbie, Already, Alot, Alright, Peck, and Ring Bear June 26, 2005 First appeared in print in The [ http://www.rhinotimes.com ] Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC. Even though my youngest is really too old for picture books, I still can’t resist them. Recently I picked up The Ring Bear, written by David Michael Slater and illustrated by S.G. Brooks. In the story, a young boy plays pirates with his mother, wearing eyepatches and going under the noms de guerre “Westley the Wicked” and “Mom the Mean.” Mom’s friend Stan doesn’t play — he won’t wear the eyepatch. He enjoys watching their imaginative life, but it’s something they share between themselves. Then Stan and Mom decide to get married, and when they ask Westley to be the ring bearer, he misunderstands and thinks of himself as the Ring Bear. As a bear, he can show his anger at Stan’s intrusion, and he is fully prepared to devour the ring rather than carry it up to Mom and Stan. This is a sweet, charming, funny, tender book. The art is warm and witty, the writing understated and, precisely because it isn’t maudlin, it brought a tear to my eye. It’s not a “problem” story, to be trotted out when a kid’s mother is about to remarry. It’s a story any kid could enjoy, treating the remarriage issue as the simple fact of family life that it so commonly is.

Blended Families (Podcast)
Click on the link to hear a Podcast interview about THE RING BEAR!

The Ring Bear was featured on JustOneMoreBook.com podcast (April 6, 2007). Podcasters Mark Blevis and Andrea Ross call The Ring Bear “an incredibly fun and endearing little story.” For a link to the audio visit http://www.justonemorebook.com/?s=ring+bear. A transcript of the show is available at [ http://flashlightpress.com/ringbear.html ]http://flashlightpress.com/ringbear.html.

Marya Jansen-Gruber
Sensitively created, this picture book does a masterful job in showing us how confused a small child can become when his or her home life is changed in any way. Confronted with the idea of his mother’s marriage to Stan, Westley wonders if his mother still wants him and also if Stan wants him. The shifts that Westley makes between his imaginary personalities and his real self not only show us how powerful the imagination can be in a child’s life but it also emphasises Westley’s uncertainty. The boy takes refuge in an imaginary world when the real world becomes too bewildering and worrying for him. After a while he isn’t quite sure which world he belongs in. The illustrations in this unique picture book are full of vibrant and glowing colour and the illustrator’s portrayal of the sad little boy is both touching and affectionate.

Family Times Inc.com
A charming and tender tale…[that] opens the door for parents and children to speak with each other about their own evolving families.

The Ring Bear was glowingly reviewed on HealthyBooks.org.uk. “Excellent on the inner turmoil suffered by children when a life-changing event comes along. The illustrations are irresistible, with Westley changing from boy to bear and unsure himself as to how he feels.”

Midwest Book Review
The Ring Bear: A Rascally Wedding Adventure is a children’s picturebook that deals with a serious theme. A young boy is used to living with just his mother; he doesn’t want a stepfather, yet she is getting married and anxious to show him that he will always be a beloved member of the new blended family. He is to be the ring bearer, but he hears it as “ring bear” and decides to dress up as a bear to scare everyone away! The captivating illustrations by S. G. Brooks tell of the struggle to bridge rifts of fear and mistrust with enduring love, in this [an] original, warmhearted, and highly recommended story by David Michael Slater.

Karen D. Adolphson, Editor Your Stepfamily Magazine
…Addresses common stepfamily issues… and offers an imaginative and sensitive solution. It was a pleasure reading this – the text and the illustrations are both lively, and work well together – as a successful illustrated book should!

Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Parent
…With humor and compassion, author David Michael Slater gets at the heart of the child’s worry and anger.

Jock & Spock

jock-and-spockIllustrated by Debbie Tilley

Jock and Spock, a pair of sock brothers, were never more than a foot apart. That is, until the day Jock was thrown into the wrong wash, bleached, and tossed out! This is the story of the socks’ hilarious struggle to reunite. You’ll never look in your sock drawer in the same way again.

NOW AVAILABLE as an interactive app/game for tablets/phones from TINY TAP (requires Tiny Tap app)


School Library Journal
A whimsical story about a pair of orange sock brothers…With Slater’s text providing many opportunities for sound effects in the storytelling and Tilley’s large cartoons perfectly capturing the nuances of the character’s expressions, this book makes a good choice for storytimes on feelings and dealing with separation anxiety.

Sound Book Review Council
…The story is sweet and earnest about topics like separation and caring, and at the same time both the text and the illustrations are full of clever little jokes and details that older kids and adults will love to catch.

Pittsburgh Magazine
Kids and their adults will enjoy this story of brother, rather, sock-erly love.

Yellow Brick Road
[The sock brother’s] fierce loyalty and clever problem solving finally lead to a satisfying conclusion.

Comin’ Through

comin-through-400Illustrated by Veronica Rooney

Jeremy knows all about what it’s like to be the new kid, and this time he’s ready to do whatever it takes to fit in. But sometimes you can be popular for the wrong reasons. Will Jeremy come through before he makes a real mess of things?

NOW AVAILABLE as an interactive app/game for tablets/phones from TINY TAP (requires Tiny Tap app)                                                                                   Read by the author!



Amazon review

Childhood can be tough, especially for someone desperate to fit in. Comin’ Thru dramatizes one boy’s desire to be liked until he finds out that there are more important things. A twist at the end of the tale will surprise kids as they learn to recognize the importance of doing what is right.

Amazon review

Peer pressure on children appears to be inversely related to parental pressure on children. This is not necessarily a good thing for children, as peer pressure is usually associated with negative behaviors. In this case the issue is becoming accepted by one’s peer group, by engaging in very negative behavior towards adults, and in this case the adult is the father of the child desperate to be accepted. The book will help teachers explore this very important issue with their students in the elementary and middle school years. The only problem I have with this book is that the adult is completely passive regarding this anti-social behavior. But on the other hand, adult sanctions would not have made the point that children must develop insights on their own regarding right and wrong as well as receiving messages from adults on this important issue.