Reader Inspires Author

Addressing Anxiety Walt Disney Understanding Obesity Text Synched with Audio Books Understanding Friendship The Soviet Underground Ace the AP Exams!

Visually Impaired Reader Inspires Author

(NAPSI)—Four years ago, bestselling author Mary Jane Clark spoke at the Friends of the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped’s Fall Festival. There, she met Ottilie Lucas, a former rehabilitation teacher for people with macular degeneration and other disabilities who is visually impaired herself.

After the festival, “we continued our correspondence and one thing led to another,” Lucas says of Clark. “She decided to include a character in her next book with macular degeneration.”

And so was born Terri Donovan, introduced in the first book in Clark’s Wedding Cake Mysteries series, 2011’s “To Have and to Kill.”

“Mary Jane asked me to give her ways to identify symptoms that a person may be experiencing macular degeneration,” Lucas says. These include blurred vision and difficulty discerning the intensity of colors—symptoms shared by Terri Donovan, who runs a bakery and is the mother of the protagonist of Clark’s series, struggling actress Piper Donovan.

Lucas, who was born with retinitis pigmentosa, became a patron of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC) in 1966. TBBC is among more than 100 libraries across the United States affiliated with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress.

NLS oversees a free reading program for U.S. residents and citizens living abroad who are blind, have low vision, or cannot hold a book because of a physical disability. NLS patrons may choose from tens of thousands of books and dozens of magazines in audio and braille-including mysteries such as Mary Jane Clark’s. NLS also loans the portable playback equipment needed to read its audiobooks. Patrons may access books online through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.

Lucas has been married 49 years and has been on more than 20 ocean cruises. “Ottilie is such an inspiration,” Clark says. “She helped me so much in the creation of Terri Donovan—a mother who faces macular degeneration head-on, who doesn’t feel sorry for herself and is determined to adapt to the challenges she faces. I wish I were as brave as Terri and Ottilie!”

To learn more about how the NLS program can help you, a loved one or a friend, go online to or call 1-888-NLS-READ.

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Addressing Anxiety

(NAPSI)—Experts estimate one in every five kids suffers from a diagnosable anxiety disorder. In fact, it’s the No. 1 reason why parents bring a child to a mental health professional.

A new book, however, offers an unconventional approach to stopping the worry cycle and working through all types of fears and phobias.

According to the authors, Reid Wilson, Ph.D., and Lynn Lyons, LICSW, for example, parents who allow children to fail at times or give kids space to take reasonable risks can reduce anxiety in their children.

The book, “Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents” (HCI Books, $14.95), uses current research and contemporary examples to expose common patterns and presents seven key principles to foster change.

For more information, visit or call (800) 441-5569.

To view the authors’ recent appearance on the nationally syndicated program “Katie,” with Katie Couric, go to

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The Man Behind The Magic

(NAPSI)—If you’re like many people who’ve seen Disney movies (and who hasn’t?), especially the new “Saving Mr. Banks” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson about the making of “Mary Poppins,” you may want to know more about the man behind the magic, Walt Disney himself.

Well, now you can, in the pages of a fascinating book on this cinematic pioneer who captivated audiences for decades and led a life of imagination, perseverance and optimism that lives on in the hearts and minds of people around the globe.

The authors, Pat Williams with Jim Denney of “How To Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life,” not only develop a unique profile of this icon of family entertainment, they focus on what they call Disney’s learnable skills.

They share lessons gleaned from an in-depth study of this icon of American family entertainment covering a broad range of Disney’s ideas—dare the impossible, unleash your imagination, and stay the course by never giving up (“Be a Person of Stick-To-It-Ivity,” as Disney expressed it).

As Art Linkletter, who wrote the foreword, puts it, “Of all the books written about Walt Disney, this may be the most important.”

The book is available in bookstores and directly from the publisher, HCI Books, at (800) 441-5569 and

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Understanding The Obesity Reality

(NAPSI)—Critics are now hailing a new book offering a fascinating look at what many consider the greatest health challenge the world faces today: obesity.

The Problem

More than a billion people are overweight and that number is expected to increase substantially over the next decade. According to the experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ways to avoid being part of such statistics include:

• Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer foods high in fat and sugar.

• Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

• Limit TV watching in kids to less than two hours a day.

• Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk, three times a day, five days a week.

A Place To Seek Answers

It can also help to read the book, entitled “The Obesity Reality.” It leads readers through the ins and outs of the secrets to defeating fat. It considers obesity from a variety of standpoints that include medical, personal, financial and related considerations.

“The aim is to encourage healthy living and fix the obesity dilemma throughout our planet through this comprehensive, remedial guidebook,” says Naheed Ali, M.D., Ph.D., author of the book. “The information is presented in a zero-nonsense, uniquely organized way,” he adds.

In the book, he tackles contemporary obesity problems and shows how an obese person can conquer the roadblock of obesity in more ways than one. Dr. Ali discusses the realities of obesity and its repercussions, which include poor health, high medical costs, restrictions on lifestyle and activities, and more. He shows how to address obesity, on a personal and on a societal level. He also tells how to reverse its effects through proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices and explains the medical basis of weight loss.

Expert Opinion

As Publishers Weekly puts it, the book sifts through just about everything there is to know about obesity, including its major causes, its effect on health, and how an individual can face it the right way.

Learn More

You can visit to find out more and get gripping facts on the growing issue of obesity.

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Text Synched With Audiobooks Improves Reading

(NAPSI)—For millions of students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, reading is often greatly improved when they can hear and see the printed word at the same time.

Specialists report that listening to audiobooks while following the printed text allows many of these readers to take in information and enjoy learning without struggling over each word.

Paul B. Yellin, M.D., founder of The Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education, describes the process: “Many children understand language that they hear at a higher level than language they read on their own. Audiobooks allow children to access information at this higher level. And very often, reading skills are best improved if the listener follows along with the written text.”

Dr. Yellin points to new formats like VOICEtext from Learning Ally, which highlights each sentence on-screen as a human narrator reads it, making it easier for readers to follow along.

“Having the ability to actually see a word highlighted while hearing it read allows a child to access content by reinforcing the linkage between ‘how a word looks’ with ‘how a word sounds’ and supports the development of independent reading skills,” he says.

Whitney D. Hall, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in cognitive assessment, agrees, saying, “The benefit of adding on-screen text that is highlighted in synch with the narration is that this more closely simulates the act of reading. Following along while hearing the material narrated allows a child to practice using their reading skills.”

How Text Synched with Audio Improves Reading

• Improves skills for decoding each sound in a word

• Enforces letter-sound associations

• Improves sight word recognition

• Enhances vocabulary

• Increases comprehension

Learning Ally, a national nonprofit, maintains the world’s largest library of human-narrated audio textbooks for students with disabilities. More than 80,000 titles (including almost 2,000 of its most popular selections in the new VOICEtext format) are downloadable to smartphones, tablets and computers that students use every day.

“Combining human speech with synchronized text in an audiobook is ideal for many students’ particular learning profile,” says Dr. Yellin. “And by using narrators who provide accurate tone and inflection throughout the book, Learning Ally audiobooks can improve understanding for the reader.”

For information on Learning Ally’s affordable memberships for families and schools, visit

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Understanding Friendship

(NAPSI)—A heartwarming story of friendship that teaches children about love and acceptance has been created by Paul Harvey, Jr., author, playwright, pianist, composer, award-winning journalist, National Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and the son of legendary radio and television broadcaster Paul Harvey.

His first children's book, "E: A Tale for Everybody," with illustrations by Bryan C. Butler, is a charming and unusual story that introduces Sara, a precocious and curious cicada faced with the anxious reality of so much to learn and do and so little time to do it in (cicadas emerge every 17 years but live for only about 40 days).

Determined to discover meaning in her life and to make the most of the time she has, Sara becomes enamored of a human boy named Sam who soon grows fond of her as well. Friends and family of both, however, seem to disapprove.

Teachers and parents can use the book as a teaching tool to help kids learn about friendships; and how to respect and embrace those who are different from themselves.

Learn More

For more information or to order a copy, go to and type Paul Harvey, Jr.; A Tale for Everybody in the search tool.

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The Soviet Underground

(NAPSI)—The Soviet Underground by Archival Magazine presents the exciting story of a Soviet subculture that nurtured freedom and individuality under totalitarian control in the arts.

“Even for the people who lived within this period of time, it always seemed absolutely frantic, without any logic, as a kind of mental hospital in a way; it was crazy,” recollects Irina Prokharova, owner of the prestigious New Literary Observer (NLO). “It is my mission as a publisher to publish the books of Grisha Bruskin and other artists, writers that belonged to this nonconformist culture, because I think it is absolutely necessary to write a different history of Russian culture,” states Prokharova.

Featuring the Pushkin Museum, the Russian Museum, MAMM and the New Literary Observer, Archival Magazine shows the remarkable social phenomena that broke the parameters between official and unofficial art.

“We had different approaches, but different approaches to the same object. And this object was a dying empire,” remembers Boris Orlov, Russian Nonconformist artist.

Focusing on social sciences including the visual and performing arts, political and economic theory, and anthropology, Archival Magazine celebrates the gravity of art and age. Look for the launch of Archival Magazine at Membership is free. Rent or purchase films and television series, and read fascinating blog articles.

Archival Magazine produces film, television, and written content for theatrical and television release and Web distribution. Look for Archival Magazine’s The Soviet Underground at, coming soon.



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New System To Help Students Ace The AP Exams!

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for high school students who take Advanced Placement (AP) courses. A new study system from McGraw-Hill Professional, 5 Steps to a 5 on the Advanced Placement Examinations, has been created to help students prepare more effectively for these rigorous tests.

AP courses are intended to help students stand out during the college admissions process, earn college credits before entering school-helping reduce the cost of tuition-and, in some cases, skip introductory-level classes.

On the AP exam, 5 is the top score. Students should check with their college of choice, but most colleges require a score of at least 3 to count toward college-level credit, and some colleges require a 4 or 5. In 2013, over 2.2 million students took an AP exam. However, according to “AP Report to the Nation,” from the College Board, only 20.1 percent of U.S. public high school graduates scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school. Better exam preparation and study habits are needed to ensure that students pass the test.

New Study System

The new study system-outlined in the test prep guides in 5 Steps to a 5 on the Advanced Placement Examinations—is designed to coincide with the most current AP exams. Each subject-specific course guide is structured around a five-step plan and contains several features that separate the system from other guides.

The first step is to develop a study plan, the second step is concerned with building knowledge, the third and fourth steps focus on honing test-taking skills and strategies, and the fifth is designed to foster the confidence that students need to ace the tests. The unique system also takes into account the fact that not everyone learns the same way. There is one approach that follows the school year, another that follows the calendar year, and one that accommodates the “last-minute” student who is just looking for the high- lights of the course.

Sample Tests and Links

Other student-friendly features include:

• Sample tests that closely simulate real exams

• Review material based on the contents of the most recent tests

• Icons highlighting important facts, vocabulary, and frequently asked questions

• Advice from AP teachers, college professors, and students who have achieved high marks on previous exams

• Access to websites and links to valuable online test resources, along with author e-mail addresses for students with follow-up questions.

For more information about the books and products, check out


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