Children’s Book Review: Serena’s Tales
Serena is the mermaid princess of an underwater palace called Dylana, where she is loved by all the mer-people and sea creatures within the kingdom. One day, while exploring the bottom of the mystical ocean, Serena finds a dazzling, but mysterious crystal of two mer-people who look like they are in love! Join Serena on her adventure to learn more about the figures in this unexpected treasure.
Since I can remember, my daughter has always loved mermaids. The way a mermaid’s tail sparkles and glistens in the sun, their long golden locks that flow freely like a waterfall. I mean it’s hard not to swoon over these beautiful and mythical creatures. That is why we were so excited to get the chance to read Serena’s Tale by Taylor Lukens illustrated by Madison Hope Hokulani Buffington. Serena’s Tale takes you deep down into the magical world of mer-people. This book will encourage imagination and creativity as you dive deep down and explore the seven seas.
Serena’s Tales tells the story of a mermaid princess and her best friend Coral as they adventure across the seven seas in search for hidden treasures. Serena’s Tales leaves readers eager to find out what Serena finds when searching for hidden treasures, after all, there is so much to explore deep down in the sea.
After finding a remarkable treasure, Serena and Coral learn a great lesson from this adventure. This book teaches young readers that even though something may seem unimportant to you at first, that doesn’t mean it is not important to someone else. This is the perfect lesson for children to learn at this age.
Beautiful illustrations not only bring this story to life but also compliment the book well. The pictures appeal to children’s sense of wonder and bring exquisite beauty to these mythical creatures. The illustrations also perfectly embody the underwater setting of the book. It is perfect for all of the mermaid lovers! This book definitely deserves a permanent placement on your bookshelf.
Where Can I Find Serena's Tales?
About the Author, Taylor Lukens
I am married to an amazing man; we’ve been together for 6 years and married 3. I have two sons, Colton who turned 2 in April and I just had our second son Hudson at the end of March. We have two dogs, both girls, Border Collies, Kona, who is 5 and Lilly, who is 4. I am a stay at home mom right now. I graduated from college in May 2018. I have a Bachelors of Arts with a major in Psychology and a minor in General Business. Depending on how the book goes, I will either continue my education by getting my masters in Psychology or my masters in English to further my book career. My father was in the military for 8 years, so I have moved 12 times in my 24 years of life. I was born in Great Falls, MT, and I now live in North Pole, AK, and have for last 8 years. I love to travel, play volleyball and the sea calls to me. That’s just my inner mermaid coming out!
Rapid Fire with Taylor Lukens
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Taylor: First things first, I have always loved to read. Then in the fall of 2017, I took a creative writing class in college, and I loved it. I loved being able to use my imagination and create something that was my own. So about 2 years ago I decided to take these two passions of mine and create something. My first initial plan was just to write to use it as an escape, to really do something for myself, that I would enjoy. Then I decided to look into what it would take to publish a children’s book, and that’s what lead me to my now publishing company, Mascot Books. They were asking for book ideas, and I pitched mine for Serena’s Tales, and in the next week they contacted me and the rest is history.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Taylor: My family is really proud and excited for me. My husband and family have always been really supportive of this journey, and without them, I do not think I could have done it all. At the time I started the book, I just had my son and was entering my senior year of college. They helped me with my son so I could focus on my studies and book and I bounced a lot of ideas off of them, and they always gave me their honest opinions. I’d be lost without them.
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Taylor: I think for a children’s book to be a good story, it has to be interesting, imaginative, and the illustrations have to be captivating. I love the fact that little kids have such a big imagination and that they still are looking for the wonders in the world. By focusing on that, and by educating them with facts or a lesson, I believe that the kids can truly enjoy a book.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Taylor: Whether you are just writing for yourself or writing with the hope of being published, stick to what is important to you and what will make you happy with your story. If you try to write with the fear of what other people will think you can be distracted by other people’s opinions instead of your own. Writing is a way to escape and to feel a sense of freedom. Do what makes you happy, and a good story will follow. That is because you put all of your energy into making it something you wanted, not what other’s wanted.
Q. Tell us about your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Taylor: My future plan is to write another Serena’s Tales story and make this story into a series. I have already talked to my Illustrator, and she is on board to illustrate another book for this series. Her and I work so great together that I know we can really make these books into something great. I would love to be able to continue Serena’s Tales for a long time series. I really enjoy being able to be creative but to also do a job that I love, from home so I can continue to raise my two boys. I love to see the joy that this book brings to kids, and I want to continue that. Even possibly write kids chapters books for the older generation to read as well. Who knows? The sky is the limit, and I want to take this journey as far as I can go.
Q. How did you become involved in the subject or theme of your book?
Taylor: I have loved mermaids since the first time I watched Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with all things mermaid. I knew that I could really use my imagination to create something that I could enjoy writing but also that kids would love to read. I really wanted to create “an Ariel” for this generation of kids and to also make kids fall in love with mermaids. Just like how The Little Mermaid made me fall in love with mermaids.
Q. What inspires you as a writer?
Taylor: I really do it for myself. I can escape reality and let my inner kid come out when I am writing. Instead of playing mermaid, now I am getting to write about them and also create something that people love!
Q. What do you love most about being an Author?
Taylor: I love to hear people say how much they or their kids loved my book. To see kids face light up when they look at the pictures or to see how engrossed they get reading my book is what it’s all about. I love to read, and I always have, if I can be the reason why someone loves to read, then I have accomplished my goal.
Q. Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Taylor: Not only do I want kids to keep their imagination going and believing in the impossible like mermaids and buried treasure, but I also want them to understand the lesson of this story. Which is never to assume anything is unimportant. Just because something isn’t important to you does not mean it’s not important to someone else. I feel like we are in a world these days, where we forget to be kind and understanding of others. If my book can teach children that they should try to understand others, their opinions, and what’s important to them as well, I feel like the world would be a nicer place for our children to live in.
Q. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Taylor: I have heard from a few, and they all say that they loved the illustrations. A few have said they love Serena and think she is pretty. Even one little girl said she loved the lesson behind it, which made me so happy to hear. They have asked if there will be another Serena’s Tales, and I say I hope so and that I am working on one now. My favorite thing is seeing parents take pictures of their kids with the book. Seeing that always makes my day and makes me smile.
More About the Illustrator, Madison Hope - Hokulani Buffington
Q. Are there any illustrators that have inspired the way you approach your illustrative work?
Madison Hope-Hokulani: Baylee Jae (YouTuber/Artist) is someone who has inspired me since I even started watching YouTube in middle school. I’ve always loved watching her art videos! I think it’s fascinating to watch someone else’s process.
Q. Which page was the most fun to illustrate?
Madison Hope Hokulani: I loved working on all of them- but I’d have to say my favorite was the shipwreck page! I enjoyed drawing all the wood and little treasures in the treasure chest!
Q. Since creating artwork is your job, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy to relieve stress and help inspire your artwork?
Madison Hope Hokulani: Art will always be my favorite hobby and stress reliever- but when I’m really feeling burnt out, I LOVE reading good books and drinking tea. There’s nothing I love more than sitting outside, rain or shine and reading.
Q. Did you draw as a child?
Madison Hope-Hokulani: I truly believe I was born with a pencil in my hand. There was never a time I wasn’t drawing!
Q. What were your favorite books growing up?
Madison Hope-Hokulani: I’ve always loved reading- and as a child, I remember my favorite books being Disney books with pretty illustrations! Especially The Little Mermaid.
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*This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Taylor Lukens in exchange for an honest review.