I always like to say that literature is like mashed potatoes— absolutely delicious, but can seem strange and intimidating to kids. At first, they don’t want to try them, but after a while, they come around and will taste a bite. Once they do, most kids can’t get enough of mashed potatoes— or books, for that matter.

Reading is important for a number of reasons: in kids, it helps develop their skills of comprehension, writing, and their creativity. It also transports them to different worlds and teaches them how to relate to and care for all kinds of different characters. Whether kids read a book with a protagonist who’s just like them, or one that’s an alien, they get to see the world through another being’s eyes. This is essential for their development, not just as individuals, but also as citizens of a wider world.

Rather than look at someone who is different or whose background is unfamiliar— a little like those mashed potatoes— children who read more are able to understand that fundamentally, they and that other person are the same. This helps them become more empathetic adults who are more aware, responsible, and more likely to identify and fight injustice. Obviously, this journey of raising children who read and become wonderful citizens of the world begins with small steps. Books for very small children are just as much about learning things like colors and basic arithmetic as they are imparting concepts such hard work being the avenue to great achievement.

I strive to do those things, as well as write fun books that incorporate interactive elements in my series, The Hometown All Stars. I strive for an educational angle of teaching real life while teaching T-ball to help prepare the kids for the real world. The book series combines building up self-esteem, education, and even learning acceptance and tolerance with their multicultural friends. In essence, it’s fundamental education, but at an age-appropriate level. In Amira Can Catch, a young girl who is a refugee from Syria joins the Hometown All Stars team. She’s a normal child— she struggles with math, wants to be a part of the team, and is trying very hard to adjust to her new home. Amira is part of my personal effort to encourage children to accept those who are different from them. This Home Town All Stars book is also intended to provide readers with a bit of insight and perspective on how lucky we are to be reading bedtime stories and playing T-ball.

I strive for my books to teach children to be grateful for what they have, to accept others, and to work hard in all aspects of life. Even children’s books without so specific a message will help young ones develop compassion for others, though. The more compassionate kids learn to be at a young age, the better world citizens they’ll be as adults.

Kevin Christofora

Christofora, a father and little league coach, hopes his books will inspire children to play outside more often. A devotee of America's pastime, he aims to teach young people about baseball and the habits of a healthy lifestyle in the form of a fun and educational bedtime story. 
He has appeared on ABC News, ESPN Radio, 660 News Radio, Santa Fe - KVSF 101.5, and WDST-FM Woodstock, and has had articles featured in About Families OnlineKidzEdgeMom Blog Society, and several other publications.

Kevin Christofora's "The Hometown All-Stars" children's book series offers children a Amira_Can_Catch_800_paddednumber of important lessons, including: self-esteem, self-confidence, teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, the importance of role models, and winning and losing.  In his newest children’s book, ‘Amira Can Catch’ Christofora tackles what can arguably be called the most important lessons yet: that Americans come from many backgrounds, that inclusivity is important, even in the schoolyard, and the importance of befriending someone who is new or different.

The premiere grand launch will be held at Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie on April 15, 2018.  From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be an author signing and reading in the kids’ department.

In Amira Can Catch, Nick and the rest of the team meet a new girl at school: Amira, a Syrian refugee.  Nick invites her to join the baseball team, and he and the team not only make a new friend, they also learn about Syrian culture, giving them a taste of the many different cultures that comprise America’s melting pot.

Christofora says, “Learning about diversity and inclusion are lessons that America’s children need now more than ever.”  He adds, "I hope I can make the world a better place with a bedtime story that teaches children that Americans come from many diverse backgrounds, and that they take that lesson into their own lives and befriend someone who is new or different.” 

It is Christofora’s hope that the story of Amira will give parents a tool with which they can teach their children that we are all human, no matter what our skin color or religion is.  Through the story, he also conveys what it means to be an American, why so many other people come here wanting to be an American, and how fortunate we are to already be Americans.

 For more information, please visit http://thehometownallstars.com/

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