About the Starabella Series, a series of 3 fully narrated picture books with MUSIC for children ages 2-8:
Children fall in love with Starabella, little girl with learning differences who expresses her thoughts and feelings through music. They visit Starabella in her home, community and school. They help her classmates–children of diverse races, religions, abilities, challenges, attitudes and dreams–make friendly social choices using a “magical mirror.” They share in wonder as Starabella magically transforms into a kindergarten rock star! She leads children to a BRIGHT NEW WORLD where they play and get along and are accepted for exactly who they are.
The Starbella audio picture books teach children social and emotional awareness and skills, reinforced through beautiful music and art
About Book 1:
Children meet Starabella and follow her through babyhood and her early toddler years in the private world of her home. This is a tale of unconditional parental love and a child’s belief in herself.
Mr. and Mrs. Oclaif are jubilant. They have just brought home their baby girl. They are astonished to see that when their little daughter smiles, her eyes shine like stars! They name her Starabella (‘Starry’ for short). Mysteriously, the stars in the evening sky seem to sparkle and dance in celebration of Starabella’s birth. Does Starabella have a special connection to the stars? IT’S A MYSTERY.
As Starabella begins to grow up, she is truly the star of her family. She impresses her parents and grandparents with her extraordinary abilities. However, she sometimes exhibits unusual behaviors that confuse her parents. In turn, her parents’ reaction to this behavior confuses Starabella. Most perplexing, is that Starabella’s words start to get lost inside her and it is hard for her to find them to make them come out. What has happened to Starabella’s words? IT’S A MYSTERY.
When Starabella receives a piano, a gift of love from her grandparents, the Oclaifs discover she has amazing musical talent. Starabella is now able to express her thoughts and feelings through beautiful music. A musical highlight of this book is Starabella’s musical interpretation of the seasons. It doesn’t need any words. It is a musical picture. Mr. and Mrs. Oclaif are lifted by her music to a place of joy where they experience great pride and marvel not only at Starabella’s ability but at the blessing of her gift. In the Oclaif home, there is HARMONY. Where does Starabella’s music come from? IT’S A MYSTERY.
This story sensitizes children to differences at their earliest ages. Through Starabella’s music children learn that although Starabella is different from them in some ways, she has some experiences and emotions similar to their own. They form empathy for her. The example of Starabella using her abilities gains their admiration and inspires them to do the same.
STARABELLA’S MOMMY AND DADDY SING HER A VERY TOUCHING SONG CALLED, “IT’S A MYSTERY.” IN IT THEY ASSURE ‘STARRY’ THAT SHE IS ALWAYS THEIR LITTLE STAR. THEY ARE THERE TO SUPPORT HER, BUT IT IS UP TO HER TO BE BRAVE. IT IS THEIR WISH FOR HER THAT HER EYES CONTINUE TO SHINE LIKE STARS.
Starabella is not labeled in this story. We want her to be accepted for the wonderfully multi-faceted, enthusiastic child that she is. All children have challenges. They share in the love that Starabella’s parents and grandparents have for her. If Starabella is loved for being exactly who she is, then they are lovable as well.
About Book 2:
Children come along with Starabella as she ventures into the community with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oclaif. She has a wonderful time but runs into difficulty meeting expectations for appropriate behaviors, conformity and following the rules. This causes her to have a “Mixture of Feelings.”
Starabella attends her very first circus. Children reading and listening to this story and the music while viewing the vibrant, colorful illustrations of the circus, are riveted when the ringmaster introduces that “the most dazzling show i-n-n-n our galaxy!” is about to begin. Like ‘Starry,’ they imagine they are trapeze artists soaring above a cheering crowd to Starabella’s musical interpretation called, “The Exciting Circus.” They laugh aloud with her as she makes up funny music complete with outrageous sound effects to her song, “The Clown.”
Starabella has a “starific-terrific” time at the circus but experiences sensory overload due to the loud music and bright lights. She tantrums causing people around her in the audience to whisper “Shhh!” and scowl angrily at Starabella, Mommy and Daddy. Mr. and Mrs. Oclaif are confused – do they stay, or do they leave?
Returning home, to make sense of her jumbled up emotions, Starabella turns to her beloved piano and plays “A Mixture of Feelings,” music that expresses her feelings one at a time—from happy—to dreamy—to scared—to sad—then back to happy again. Children listening identify and get in touch with their own emotions by listening to her expressive music.
Starabella is not one to be discouraged for long. Just look at her in acrobatics class! Inspired by the determination, abilities, and bravery of the circus performers, ‘Starry,’ disregarding safety rules, strives to turn one of her DREAMS into REALITY. Will she do it?
As confused as the Oclaif family can sometimes be, Mr. and Mrs. Oclaif are absolutely sure of one thing: NOTHING MAKES THEM PROUDER THAN BEING STARABELLA’S MOMMY AND DADDY.
This story tells of a child’s experiences and feelings growing up with learning differences and her struggle to understand and conform to the world around her and, ultimately, have that world enter hers to discover empathy and understanding together. Starabella tells that story beautifully through inspired and inspirational music—a style all her own. She strives with her music to give people courage to reach for their dreams.
About Book 3
Children join Starabella – a courageous little girl with learning differences whose eyes shine like stars when she’s happy—as she eagerly begins her first day of kindergarten. Meet her classmates—a lively group of children of varying cultures, ethnicities, attitudes, challenges, abilities and dreams. They come together to form an inclusive classroom “family.”
Starabella starts her day off happily but soon she becomes the object of bullying. She has trouble following the rules. She is isolated due to her trouble with social communication. During recess she runs to the largest swing set she has ever seen. Swinging higher and higher into the land of her imagination, she sings, “I Can Fly in a Dream Full of Happiness” about a much friendlier world. She is unaware she is being overheard by her classmates. They have discovered Starabella’s amazing musical talent and beautiful imagination.
Starabella returns to the classroom. She is called “BABY(!)” by the classroom bully. She feels she does not belong. She scrambles under a table and retreats into her own world. Her eyes do not shine like stars any longer. From her hiding place she looks out and observes the social dilemmas of her classmates. The story covers a broad spectrum of social conflict situations that children confront at school every day.
Miss Maradise, the classroom teacher, and fellow students look everywhere for Starabella. She is over-heard singing, “Believe in Me” from under the table. A student named Tomiko extends a hand into Starabella’s world. Holding the hand of her new friend, Starabella emerges and re-enters the classroom.
The children gather around Starabella and ask to hear more about her beautiful dreamland. She tells them to close their eyes and imagine as they sing together, “Welcome to a Bright New World.” They can now envision Starabella’s dreamland up in the clouds where children play and get along and are accepted for exactly who they are.
Miss Maradise asks the students in Starabella’s class and children listening to and viewing the story, all over the world, if they want to make this dream a reality. They all chant: “Bright New World! Bright New World!” Miss Maradise tells them it will be easy. All they have to do is give her the friendliest answers to multiple-choice questions to solve some of the problems she saw and heard that day.
Children listening and viewing the story are asked to help the children in Starabella’s class by making friendly social choices with the help of a “Magical Mirror” in the book. If they make a friendly choice they will see a smile on their faces and that their eyes are shining like stars! They send their thoughts to help the children in Starabella’s class.
Starabella’s special connection to the stars is revealed. They share in wonder as Starabella magically transforms into a Kindergarten Rock Star. Rising up on a star-shaped stage, dressed all glittery, encircled by stars, holding a microphone, she sings, “Follow Me,” and leads her classmates and listeners to the BRIGHT NEW WORLD.
Starabella and her classmates with the help of readers and listeners, learn to embrace diversity in their friendships and make empathetic social choices. They all work cooperatively to achieve their mutual goal of getting to a “Bright New World” of friendliness and acceptance.
Both the bullying in our schools and violence around the globe compel us to share this story in which children learn to accept and celebrate each other’s differences at their earliest ages, rather than exclude, fear, and bully those who seem different. They learn to listen to the good voice inside themselves rather than follow the loudest, most threatening voice in the crowd.
The story of Starabella speaks directly to the place in all children that yearns for acceptance and understanding. Together, children can create the world of their dreams. So, “GET READY TO ROCK!” Starabella is leading the way. Follow her there!
GUIDE FOR LISTENING TO AND READING BOOK THREE OF THE STARABELLA SERIES
This book contains illustrated pages and a fully narrated audio CD complete with music, sound effects and page-turn instructions. An audio CD is enclosed inside the front cover of each book. The illustrations include excerpts taken from the narration to help listeners follow along with the story. The combined audio and visual presentation enhances comprehension.
When children listen to this story with a caring adult, the CD can be paused at various points to provide opportunities for discussion of feelings and ideas prompted by the story.
Since the story is narrated, children also have the option to listen to the story on their own.
Children can use the illustrations as a guide to retell the story in their own words when not listening to the audio CD.
There is an interactive segment in this story. Miss Maradise, the classroom teacher, asks her class multiple-choice questions to help resolve the social conflict situations encountered by the various students. Kids who are listening to and viewing the story are asked to send their friendliest thoughts to the kids in the class to help them get to the BRIGHT NEW WORLD of friendliness and acceptance.
The “Magical Mirror” at the end of the book helps guide the kids who are listening to and viewing the story. Children see their faces in the mirror. If they make FRIENDLY choices, they will see smiles and that their eyes are shining like stars!
PLEASE ENJOY THE STORY AND SING, MOVE, DREAM, AND IMAGINE ALONG· WITH THE MUSIC.