By: Merilee Kern
Whether gifting for the holidays, a birthday, Valentine’s Day or “just because,” children’s literature is a timeless gift that can impact the recipient, families and society at-large in meaningful ways. This truth is exemplified with “A Little Spark ” children’s book authored by Chris Parsons—a truly unique title that was recently awarded the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award Gold Medal for best in family-friendly media. Fittingly so, as this distinctive interactive, read-along chapter book is centered around the noble theme of finding, and doing, good in the world.
A Little Spark is redefining children’s literature by driving its overarching message home by combining a compelling narrative and cast of identifiable characters with full color illustrations; a custom-scored musical soundtrack of original songs like this accessible through QR Codes while reading the book; an audiobook featuring delightful performances; fun on-and-offline activities; and invaluable life lessons that are highlighted throughout each chapter. It’s a heartening activity to enjoy with young children, grandchildren and students.
To complement the beautifully illustrated 160-page chapter book, Parsons collaborated with renowned music producer Bruce Faulconer to develop the full album with an original soundtrack and accompanying audiobook. “Lyrics range from playful to heartwarming and, in one instance, even a bit ominous,” noted Faulconer. “The music keeps the reader poised and, at times, thrillingly on the edge of their seat. We worked with an amazing group of performers and have created something truly special that’s resonating with kids and adults, alike.”
Enhancing the read-along story and the various audio components, A Little Spark also comes complete with a free companion online Resource Library available at BeThatSpark.com, which boasts over 50 book-related family activities like coloring pages, character puppets, word searches, mazes, dance videos, character drawing video tutorials and more. A “Parent’s Guide” is also available to help plan and optimize the overall experience.
“Parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators are indelibly seeking great content to engage with kids, and A Little Spark is written with purpose and intention toward that end,” said Parsons. “The storyline, and the various lessons embedded throughout, underscore that even the smallest creature can make the biggest difference. This takeaway message is especially important for young, impressionable children to hear because they so badly want to be seen and heard…in today’s culture more than ever.”
“Children’s literature is a powerful force that can shape and nurture the minds of kids,” continued Parsons. “In the case of A Little Spark, the combination of a great story, captivating illustrations and rich characters—in combination with mood-inducing music—can truly engage young minds in an impactful and immediate way. It’s one that not only entertains and inspires young audiences, but also helps them develop critical thinking skills and encourages a sense of adventure and the confidence to take that first step.”
As per the Mom’s Choice Award, “A Little Spark is an innovative, inspiring, and entertaining tale about unlikely comrades who join forces on a quest to defeat a threatening enemy. A little Spark reminds us that, to awaken our passion and spirit, we all need something in life to make the world be a warmer place, and to always look for ways to ‘Be That Spark.’”
Working in partnership with a teacher advisory group, the “Be That Spark” elementary education pilot program launched this October in multiple first grade classrooms. This one-of-a-kind scholastic program combines the book, music and all of the related material into a formal academic lesson plan designed to provide a fun, inspiring experience for educators and their students. The Be That Spark program includes a focus on helping students develop positive character traits based on the characters and lessons from the book. It aligns with U.S. standards by creating meaningful and challenging lessons for students intended to increase their reading, listening and comprehension skills.
“Our panel of judges really felt this book merited a place on our list of the best in family-friendly media products that parents and educators can feel confident in using,” said Dawn Matheson, CEO, Mom’s Choice Awards. Other accolades include A Little Spark earning its place as an Amazon new release best-seller in a number of categories, including #1 in Children’s Music Books.