Hometown Reads Columbus is Live – Check out my author platform!

Becky Robinson is one of the brains behind this extraordinary idea: connect local authors with readers in their area; hence the name, Hometown Reads. They are just now getting their author platform off the ground but I think they are off to a great start.

I’m betting that helping hometown writers to succeed by getting them face-to-face or IP-to-IP with their local book lovers will prove to be an ingenious idea when it is all said and done. When Becky contacted me after discovering my book on Amazon and Archway Publishing, I was very honored to be among her very first Columbus authors to sign on:

“As one of the first ten authors in Columbus to sign up, we’re naming YOU a “Founding Author” for Hometown Reads in Columbus! Congratulations!” – Kayla Giovanoli, Community Manager, Hometown Reads

Hometown Reads Ohio Badge

Discover Columbus Books #ReadLocal

You can check out my live Hometown Reads Columbus profile here. As their slogan says, shop local – read local. Support your local authors and enrich both of your lives! Happy reading Columbus 🙂

“Dog Gone Shame: House Dog” is available for purchase now on Amazon, Archway Publishing, and Barnes & Nobles. Up next – “Dog Gone Shame: Stray Dog.” Follow me here, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and on Hometown Reads Columbus to be the first to know when my next book in the series is on sale!


Write Up in the Shawnee State Chronicle about Me!

Yesterday when I checked the mail there was a package from Prof. Hakala from Shawnee State and a thank you card. I had totally forgotten about the piece about me that was published in the Shawnee State Chronicle on Feb. 24, 2016!

Yes, I was so honored to have the chance to speak to Professor Laura Hakala’s Children’s Literature class at Shawnee State University on Feb. 9th. The class had just finished a series on fractured fairy tales, learning how classic fairy tales reflect the times and morals of the era when they were written. For these future English teachers, I wanted to share with them some insights into my books.

Malika Dickerson with her book

Take for example my use of poetry to introduce each story to help kids with retention. I used several “big” words to help kids start building a broad vocabulary which will help them with all of their academics. There are so many layers about society, about differences, about friendships, and more in this book. This was my first opportunity to really delve into those themes with people who are interested in those kinds of things.

As I continue writing my “Dog Gone Shame” series I am working to continue to fill it with plenty of richness for school teachers to utilize in their classes. At the same time, these are stories that kids will love and learn from without even realizing it. That is the goal of all of my Auntie Liki books!

If you follow me on Auntie Liki’s Book Corner on Facebook or at MalikatheAuthor on Twitter then you already know that we are ramping up now for book two in the “Dog Gone Shame” series – “Stray Dog.” Follow me here and on FB and Twitter to be the first to know when the next chapter in this wild adventure goes to print!

Here is the story from the Chronicle in its entirety:

Local Author, Malika Dickerson, speaks about writing children’s literature

Monica Burton, Photo Editor

Children’s literary works are based around morals, you could refer to Mother Goose or the Brothers Grimm. Malika Dickerson remembers them well and she fashions her own fun fairy tales that teach lessons to children. Not all literature is bright and happy, and the tales that have a moral to learn are often scary, but what is too scary when you want children to be aware of common dangers?

Dickerson invites you to interact with her book reading out loud with the children, she calls this gamification. She thinks of her audience and chooses different traits for her characters so individuals with similar traits can relate with the personalities. The personalities encourage children talk to their teachers openly about their lives. Poems are a great way to teach children, and using repetition helps them remember lessons.

Malika Dickerson, Aka Auntie Liki, is a local author who joined Shawnee State University’s children’s literature class on Tuesday, Feb. 9th, to speak about why she writes and to present her latest published work. At the age of eight, Dickerson wrote a book during third grade recess. With black crayon in hand she created her own fables. Dickerson recently published Dog Gone Shame, a story about the character Dog, who decided to run away from home [and is found by a couple colorful characters]. Dog Gone Shame begins a series of five books, coming soon is Stray Dog, as Dog learns how to be a dog in the wild.

Dickerson self-published through Archway Publishing from Simon & Schuster. To publish a book you need an agent (or learn to read and write contracts on your own), analyze the market, and write a book proposal like a business grant, have editors or a close honest network, get an illustrator, and also know and file copyrights. Dickerson spent some time in California and moved back home. The best part for Dickerson is the opportunity to reach across cultures and meet all the people with different backgrounds.

For more info about her books visit: malikaddickerson.wordpress.com/what-do-you-think-of-dog-gone-shame/

Planning to Come to Doggie Day at the Library? Bring a Donation and Receive a Gift!

Along with celebrating Take Your Child to the Library Day, we are helping to raise donations to help Sierra’s Haven with the day-to-day care of their animals and their operational needs. Most items only cost a few bucks and will go a long way to help care for these rescued animals.

While we are reading and playing on TYCLD, why not spend a few bucks to help out one of our worthy participating dog organizations? If you are planning on coming to Doggie Day at the Library, bring one of these donation items and receive a free doggie prize for your pet:

CT Librarians TYCLD

Items Needed for Dogs

  • Kuranda Beds
  • New (or gently used) Dog Collars
  • Dog Biscuits & Treats
  • Dog Shampoo
  • Diamond Brand Dog & Puppy Food
  • Canned Puppy & Dog Food
  • Dog Toys

Items Need for Cats

  • Kuranda Towers
  • Cat Beds
  • Cat Litter (Non-Clumping Only)
  • (Please Only) Purina Complete
  • (Please Only) Friskies Canned Cat Food
  • Cat Toys
  • Kitten Replacement Milk
  • Deep Litter Boxes
  • Litter Scoops

Needed Cleaning Supplies

  • Clean Floor cleaner w/ Febreze
  • Spray Bottles
  • Putty Knives
  • Sponges w/ scrubber side
  • Kitchen Scrub Brushes
  • Laundry Baskets
  • Large Trash Cans
  • General Cleaning Scrub Brushes
  • Trash Bags (Large & Small)
  • Clorox Bleach
  • Old Towels, Sheets & Pillows
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Dishwashing Detergent
  • Paper Towels
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Newspapers

Supplies Needed for the Office

  • Ink Pens
  • Receipt Books
  • Postage Stamps & Envelopes
  • Computer Paper
  • Dell C1765nfw printer (takes 4 different cartridges)

You can also shop AmazonSmile to make a quick and easy donation to Sierra’s Haven. They also accept checks and if you have some free time to spare, volunteers are more than welcome. Thank you all in advance for your help!

A Walk on the Wild Side for the Dog Named Dog

If you haven’t read “Dog Gone Shame” yet, the dog named Dog had a place to stay and a family who loves him but he ran away anyway because he felt neglected. Sadly, for the animals that are brought to Sierra’s Haven, they know what real neglect is.

This year for the 5th Annual Take Your Child to the Library Day international celebration, the Portsmouth Public Library will bring together three great animal organizations; Sierra’s Haven, the Southern Ohio All Breed Dog Club, and the Tail Waggin’ Tutors. Here’s a little bit of background about who they are and what they do.


Sierra’s Haven – 12, 111 Rescues and Counting

Sierra’s Haven helps place stray, abandoned, and abused animals with loving families. You can adopt a pet, get your pet spayed or neutered, and or donate your time and pet items to Sierra’s Haven Animal Shelter. Named after Sierra the cat, Sierra’s Haven was founded by the sister of Sierra’s owner who died of a heart attack at age 42. His cat Sierra would not leave his side until a neighbor came to help.

Since then Sierra’s Haven’s President & Executive Director Dr. Gail Counts along with the help of many volunteers, local businesses, charities, and private donors, has rescued 12,111 animals since establishing Sierra’s Haven in 2006.

Doggie Day at the Library is your chance to make a contribution to this wonderful organization. Take a look at Sierra’s Wishlist for needed donation items and bring them with you to the library on Saturday, Feb. 6.


Southern Ohio All Breed Dog Club – Educating Dog Owners through Pawsitive Experiences

The Southern Ohio All Breed Dog Club welcomes both mixed breed and pure breed dogs for education, safety, and dog training classes. Their goal is to help educate dog owners about how to care for their dogs, help owners bond with their dogs, and train their dogs to become an active part of the community.

As a non-profit organization, Southern Ohio All Breed Dog Club depends on their generous donors in order to be able to offer affordable training classes for dog owners of all kinds. They serve both southern Ohio and parts of Kentucky. Some of their trainers have even won titles at dog shows so you know when you bring your dog to SOABDC they are getting trained by the best. Their services include:

  • Obedience Training
  • Therapy Dog Evaluation
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluation
  • And Demonstrations in Other Dog Employment Fields

Does your dog have what it takes to compete in a UKC fun match? Would he or she enjoy being part of a parade? SOBADC is the place for pet parents to have fun and learn along with their best friends and membership is open to all.

Tail Waggin Tutors1

Tail Waggin’ Tutors – Building Kids’ Confidence One Book at a Time

I am personally very excited to meet some of the Tail Waggin’ Tutor dogs. These professionally trained animals are healers for the sick and shut-in and help kids with disabilities to feel safe and relaxed. The reading program is designed to help give children confidence while they practice reading.

In a dog-friendly environment, children read to these friendly and lovable dogs. This in turn helps children with difficulties reading to practice reading aloud without judgment from peers or feeling insecure.

Like TYCLD, the TDI Tail Waggin’ Tutor Dog’s Reading Program is a way to get kids reading and excited about reading which in turn has enormous benefits for their future. Plus, these dogs are docile and loving so even children who are afraid of dogs will fall in love with these amazing animals helping to eliminate their fears.


Doggie Day at the Library is this Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at the Portsmouth Public Library from 1pm – 2pm. Admission is free but your donations are greatly appreciated. Hope we see you there!

Parents Reading with their Kids Creates Lifelong Book Lovers

Winter in Ohio can make it hard to get out and enjoy time outside of the house. Fortunately we expect good weather this weekend making Saturday a great day for Doggie Day at the Library. But it is good for more than just getting the kids out of the house. Parents who read with their kids improve their children’s literacy, language development, and instill in them a love of reading.

That’s what Take Your Child to the Library Day is all about. It is to encourage parents to start bringing their kids to the library on a lazy Saturday and finding some cool books to read with them. Not every parent can afford to run out and buy the latest new book.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has been encouraging pediatricians to discuss the benefits of reading to babies and children, particularly for high risk families. Many are going the extra step and providing books for children and parents living below the poverty line when they come in for their doctor’s appointment.

But, all you have to do is get a library card for you and your kids and you have free access to new and old books whenever you want. You may even surprise yourself at how much you actually enjoy reading with your kids.


Benefits of Reading with Your Children

First of all, reading with your kids can be a lot of fun. Holding them on your lap and watching their faces as they listen to your voice and sit close to you can make your kids feel safe and loved. Here are just a few of the other benefits of reading with your kids:

Learning How to Talk

Even if your child is too young to read, when you read to them, they are piecing together sounds with words. The more you expose your kids to language the better their language skills will be as they grow.

Improved Comprehension

The foundation you build prior to your child starting school will determine their academic success. Hearing words and sounds and knowing what they mean are two different things. Kids with higher language comprehension by the time they enter kindergarten are more likely to excel in school.

Picture Books and Rhyming Books are Best

For young children, rhyming books help them to connect sounds with words and remember them. Picture books with vibrant colors keep them engaged while you read.

Creates Better Test Takers

The University of London conducted a study that found that students who read regularly are better at taking standardized tests than students who do not read on a regular basis. Reading habits developed before your kids are 5 years old will create better test takers when they are teenagers.

Dad reading to kids

How to Get the Most out of Story Time

To get the most out of story time you have to make it fun for the kids. That can be just making funny voices when you read for characters in a book or creating makeshift costumes while you read. At Doggie Day at the Library we will be using hand puppets to act out the books. Here are other ways to maximize story time:

Pick Stories with Repetition

Especially when you are reading to very small children, books with repetition like “Goodnight Moon” will help them to start building a vocabulary early.

Choose Books that Will Engage

Books with lots of colors or cool drawings are the best for getting your child engaged. Think about books like “Where’s Waldo” where the book is kind of like a game for them.

Keep it Up

Finally, you don’t want this to be a one-time thing. Make story time a regular part of your day or week until it becomes a habit for you and your children.


Make Doggie Day at the Library the Beginning of Something Special

This Saturday is a great opportunity for you to start building the foundation for your child’s future. You will get out of the house after the last month of frigid cold, you’ll be able to meet and interact with other parents, and your child may make a few new friends. Most importantly, you will have started your child on the path of academic excellence and a love of reading.

Making your local library a familiar place for your child is a good start. Come celebrate the 5th Take Your Child to the Library Day at the Portsmouth Public Library this Saturday, Feb. 6, at 1pm. Can’t wait to see you there!

42 U.S. States, 1 Canadian Province, and over 470 libraries in 3 Different Countries Participate in the 4th Annual TYCLD

That’s how many states, countries, provinces, and libraries participated in the annual Take Your Child to the Library Day last year; 42 U.S. States, 1 Canadian Province, and 470 libraries in 3 different countries. This year expects to see even more participants and the Portsmouth Public Library is right in the mix.

This year marks the 5th year of this growing movement aimed at creating and nurturing a love of reading in children. More importantly, it helps to show parents and their kids just what an invaluable resource their public library is.

Ohio State Representative Trista Kunkel in Fremont, OH is one of Ohio’s supporters who have helped to bring attention to this fantastic event throughout the State of Ohio. However it was the Connecticut Library Consortium led by a group of librarians who came up with the idea for a national TYCLD which soon went international.

Every year over the last 5 years, more and more libraries have learned about the program and signed up to participate; not just in the U.S. but around the globe. The CT Librarians’ website is full of activity ideas and materials to help libraries put on a great event for their local families. There is no set way to celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day; the goal is to make it fun and to get everyone involved.

Children reading in Green School's library

Katie Williams of the Portsmouth Public Library has put together a great event. It combines many of the great ideas offered by the Consortium like story time and a prize giveaway, but she also put her own twist on the event.

By creating a theme for this year’s TYCLD calling it “Doggie Day at the Library,” she was able to brilliantly tie-in some important organizations with the event. Namely the Tail Waggin’ Tutor dogs from Therapy Dogs International will be there, along with the Ohio All Breed Dog Club and Sierra’s Haven.

Doggie Day at the Library is also a donation drive to help the local pet rescue Sierra’s Haven provide essentials for the animals that they shelter. All participants who bring an item to be donated to Sierra’s Heaven will receive a FREE doggie prize!


Take a look at Sierra’s Wishlist for a list of items needed and be sure to bring them with you to the Portsmouth Public Library this Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at 1pm. We hope to see you there!

Come Celebrate the 5th Annual International Take Your Child to the Library Day at the Portsmouth Public Library on Feb. 6!

I had never heard of this holiday until this year; the international “Take Your Child to the Library Day.” Apparently what started as a project in Connecticut envisioned by a group of Connecticut librarians back in 2011 to help kids develop a love of reading has bloomed into an international movement that is growing year after year.

When you think about it, the Library is like a free Netflix account where you have free access to practically any book available. You can escape to a million different places and times real and imagined. TYCLD is a way to help parents teach their little ones how to use this valuable community resource, their local library.


Image Credit: “Portsmouth Public Library” by Spongefan – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portsmouth_Public_Library.JPG#/media/File:Portsmouth_Public_Library.JPG

Most libraries offer regular story time open to the public. This year the Portsmouth Public Library’s Doggie Day at the Library is a way to help both promote free library resources that are open to the public and to raise awareness and donations for the local pet rescue, Sierra’s Haven. TDI’s Tail Waggin’ Tutor Dogs will also be there to help our performers read books about dogs to the crowd.

Kids of all ages are officially invited to come down to the Portsmouth Public Library at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 6, 2016 for Doggie Day at the Library. There will be doggie crafts following the story time puppet show. Among the other dog themed books, my book “Dog Gone Shame” will be acted out using puppets with some special guest readers.

Let us know that you are coming – register here on EventBrite or select “going” here on the PPL event Facebook page. Remember to bring one of Sierra’s Haven’s Wish List items and receive a Free Doggie Prize! We hope to see you there!

“Dog Gone Shame” to be Among the Books to be Read at the PPL’s Doggie Day at the Library Event on Feb. 6

I am honored to participate in this exciting event planned by Katie Williams, Publicity Manager at the Portsmouth Public Library. She had a brilliant idea to take the annual international Take Your Child to the Library Day to a whole new level.

Joining hundreds of libraries in the U.S. and abroad, this Feb. 6, the Portsmouth Public Library is doing something special to help instill a love of reading and learning in Portsmouth kids. In addition to story time, there will be some awesome therapy dogs on site and a donation drive for Sierra’s Haven pet rescue.

Daria and Porter

Plus, doggies from the Southern Ohio All Breed Dog Club will also participate. There will be arts and crafts as well as three book readings all about dogs for story time. Having just published my children’s book “Dog Gone Shame” about a runaway house dog that has to learn to rough it in the wild, Katie asked if I would join story time and read my book.


My response was something along the lines of, ABSOLUTELY! I love dogs and I love books. Just like Doggie Day at the Library is a perfect fit for my book, this event is a perfect for me. I have to tell you, I cannot wait to meet the therapy dogs that help rejuvenate the elderly, inspire challenged children, and comfort those in hospitals.

If you want to come to Doggie Day at the Library, bring your kids and one of the items from Sierra’s Wish List. Admission is free and open to all! I will also be signing books after the event. Register to get a free “Dog Gone Shame” poster and/or to order your copy of “Dog Gone Shame” to be signed and picked up the day of event here on Eventbrite.

We hope to see you there!

Hometown Paper Spotlights “Dog Gone Shame” Book Release

Since my first book was published back on October 27, I have been anxious to go to my hometown and share my stories with the kids and parents there. I was honored that one of our hometown writers for the Portsmouth Daily Times, Portia Reaves-Williams, took the time out to interview me about my book.

Book Siging_with Portia Reaves-Williams

Here is a link to check out the full article. After you read it, let me know what you think, ask me questions, anything in the comment section below. Thank you to Portia Reaves-Williams, Melanie Ramey, and the students of Mrs. Ramey’s 2nd grade class at Minford Elementary for helping me to kick off my first book event!

New Event for “Dog Gone Shame” Just Announced!

Where can you get this exclusive “Dog Gone Shame” missing dog poster prop? Only at one of my Auntie Liki book signings.Yet through the power of the internet, you don’t have to live here in Ohio in order to get a signed copy of my book.

The “Dog Gone Shame” missing dog poster is the only prop you need to turn the book into a play!

Just ahead of the holidays I have decided to start a virtual book signing event that starts today and lasts through December 16. This way I can make sure that I can sign copies of my book for people who won’t be able to attend my events over the next few weeks in person.

My friends in California, Florida, Texas, and all of my new fans near and far can order a signed copy of “Dog Gone Shame” now and have it in time for Christmas!

A ticket covers the cost of the book plus shipping. Choose whether you want a signed book only or a signed book plus “Dog Gone Shame” poster prop.

Click here to order your tickets and for more information!

Tickets for Book Only are $15 (plus $1.82 handling fee)

Tickets for Book plus Poster are $20 (plus $2.09 handling fee)

Tickets must be purchased by December 16, 2015 in order to arrive in time for Christmas so buy your tickets now!