Reader Inspires Author

National Geographic Partnership Diabetes Cookbook Writers of The Future

Books That Shaped Work in America

Audio Books for Dyslexia Help Children Get Free Books Fabulous Flavor and Healthy Eating

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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Noteworthy Partnership Supports Young Farmers

(NAPSI)—An all-American truck brand and a magazine known for its world-class photo essays have found a new way to support America’s farmers.

The unique partnership between National Geographic Books and the Ram Truck brand has come together to sponsor a nearly 300-page, photo-rich book inspired by Paul Harvey’s essay “So God Made a Farmer.”

“The Farmer in All of Us” is a comprehensive collection of original agriculture and farming photography, including all of the images commissioned by Ram for its “Farmer” video.

To create the book, 10 world-class photographers were tasked by Ram with traveling throughout America’s heartland over the course of three weeks to capture the essence of “the farmer” using Harvey’s essay as their inspiration.

An essential part of America

With over 2 million active farms in America, Ram recognizes that the farmer continues to be a key element of this nation’s well-being, contributing to the economy, making agriculture more sustainable and supporting the health of the country by keeping nutritious food on this nation’s tables.

Said Olivier Francois, an executive with Chrysler Group, “Supporting farmers isn’t just about those who till the soil, it’s about reminding America who we are and where our greatness comes from.”

He believes the book truly brings the “Farmer” story to life, and continues to give back in support of the amazing students of the National FFA Organization (FFA) who embody this spirit every day.

Support For FFA

Every book purchased backs a minimum contribution of $25,000 by the Ram Truck brand to FFA’s “Give the Gift of Blue” program, which donates traditional FFA blue corduroy jackets to members who would not otherwise be able to own one.

In addition, the Ram Truck brand has provided scholarship money to the National FFA Organization for over 60 years.

Currently, it also supports the organization’s Proficiency Award Programs. Part of the organization’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program, these awards offer real-world, experience-based learning and excellence in different areas of agriculture such as mechanics repair, forestry management and nursery operations.

To learn more about the National FFA Organization, visit To purchase the book now, visit It will be in retail stores in late spring 2014. To learn more about Ram Trucks, visit

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Delicious Dishes For Those With (Or Without) Diabetes

(NAPSI)—Good news for the nearly 26 million Americans who have diabetes! The American Diabetes Association has published three new cookbooks that can make creating great meals easy and fun. Better news for everyone is that even if you do not have diabetes, these recipes are a delicious way to enjoy healthy eating.

1. Diabetes & Heart Healthy Cookbook: More Than 160 Delicious Recipes for Everything From Snacks to Desserts, Second Edition, from the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association: Foods healthful for people with diabetes are also good for those with heart-health issues. This expanded cookbook offers new recipes, new twists on old classics and updated meal-planning advice. Each recipe has full nutritional information and exchanges and can help you eat and feel better. So can this:

• Enjoy foods from all the food groups. Include fiber-rich, whole-grain foods; legumes, nuts, seeds; vegetables, fruits, lean meats, skinless poultry and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

• Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.

• Limit daily intake of cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams.

• Keep intake of sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day.

• Limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.

2. The Diabetes Fast-Fix Slow-Cooker Cookbook: Fresh Twists on Family Favorites: Slow-cooker meals are inexpensive, healthful and generally hassle-free. Nancy S. Hughes’ new book brightens familiar favorites with fresh, seasonal ingredients and ways to dramatically improve flavor and texture. Chapters include appetizers, snacks, beverages, sandwiches, soups and chilis, stews, ragouts, meatless entrées, sides and desserts.

Each of the 150 recipes meets the American Diabetes Association’s nutritional guidelines and features complete nutrition information and food choices or exchanges.

3. Simply Smoothies: Fresh, Fast & Diabetes-Friendly: Linda Gassenheimer shares a terrific solution to the need for meals on the go that are not laden with fats, calories and sugar—smoothies.

She offers 60 easy and delicious meals and snacks to curb cravings and keep you satisfied. Each recipe has complete nutritional information and diabetic choices and exchanges.

Learn More

These and other American Diabetes Association books are available on, by calling (800) 232-6733, and wherever books are sold. For further facts and tips in English and Spanish, call the American Diabetes Association at (800) 342-2383 or you can visit

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Writers Of The Future Celebrates 30 Years

(NAPSI)—The 30th annual awards event celebrated the winners in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests before a packed hall and hundreds more from around the world who watched the event as it streamed live. Keynote speaker NASA astronaut Leland D. Melvin, a previous NFL player for the Detroit Lions, spoke about the importance of keeping one’s dreams and not giving up and how science fiction indeed was the inspiration for so much of what we find now in space exploration.

The event celebrated the 25 annual winners in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests—with contestants now submitting from 169 countries—and culminated in the release of the best-selling science fiction anthology series “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume 30,” available where books are sold.

The Writers of the Future writing contest was initiated by L. Ron Hubbard in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988. There is no entry fee and the contests are open to anyone who has not been professionally published.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 348 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 838 novels and nearly 4,000 short stories. They have produced 27 New York Times best sellers and their works have sold over 50 million copies.

The 276 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 4,500 illustrations and 356 comic books, graced 594 books and albums with their art, and visually contributed to 36 TV shows and 46 major movies.

The video of the awards event and online contest entry forms can be found at

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Summer Reading? Take Some “Work”!

(NAPSI)—For many, summer is a chance to read something other than a spreadsheet. If you are looking for a summer read that is entertaining and rewarding, there is good news.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, developed a list of Books that Shaped Work in America.

Not intended to be dry or academic, books on the list include fiction and nonfiction, plays and poetry, graphic novels and children’s literature. From “The Grapes of Wrath” to “The Jungle” to “Working,” there are remarkable stories about work, workers and workplaces across the nation.

To mark the start of the summer reading season, 10 new books recommended by the public have been added to the list. These suggestions include work by authors such as Vonnegut, Ellison and Orwell.

To see the list or recommend a book, visit

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Teachers Embrace Audiobooks For Students With Dyslexia

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for students who learn differently—and those who teach them.

Learning Ally, a national nonprofit, is considered a critical resource by thousands of students across the country who have learning disabilities like dyslexia, blindness or visual impairment, and has the world’s largest library of human-narrated audio textbooks—more than 77,000 titles.

Learning Ally has also built a community of support, giving teachers and parents the tools needed to help students succeed.

For parents, the organization provides personalized consultations, interactive webinars and assistance in finding specialists. For teachers, it offers professional training and a learning management system, known as Teacher Ally, which is designed to help them maximize their audiobook resources.

Allison Mitchell, a special educator in Denver, Colorado who works with students who have dyslexia and visual impairments, says, “With Learning Ally, I can organize book assignments and track my students’ progress. I love that the audiobooks available for download match exactly the re_quired textbooks in my students’ curriculum. I like how easy Learning Ally is to use.

“The students enjoy the functionality of the Learning Ally app for playing audiobooks,” she adds, “because it makes it easy for them to find the chapter and the pages they need to read. Best of all, they love the fact that listening to books on their smartphone or tablet doesn’t make them look different from their peers. They can plug in their earbuds and it looks like they are listening to music, when they are actually doing a reading assignment.”

Another Denver-based teacher, Lauren Sabo, believes part of what makes the materials effective is that they offer students control over the experience. “Students like it better than other tools,” she says, “because they can speed up or slow down the books, and they really enjoy the Learning Ally Audio app description of charts and diagrams feature. Without Learning Ally, students might fall through the cracks.”

At South High School, Allison Mitchell describes one of her students with dyslexia, Katrina, who has benefited greatly from her use of audiobooks. “It takes a long time for Katrina to read on her own, but audiobooks have given her the opportunity to take courses she otherwise wouldn’t be able to manage,” Mitchell says. “With access to these tools in the classroom, students can challenge themselves, and teachers are better able to lead them to college or a successful career.”

Learning Ally has served millions of K-12, college and graduate students, as well as veterans and lifelong learners - all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia or other learning and physical disabilities. Learn more at

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An Ingenious Way To Help Get Books To Kids

(NAPSI)—If your child is like the average American school kid, he or she spends 17.4 hours a week watching TV or playing video games, 16.7 hours a week playing outside and only 5.9 hours a week reading.

Despite research that shows the importance of summer reading in helping children keep skills sharp, only 17 percent of parents say reading is a top summer priority, according to a new survey from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, also found:

• More than 60 percent of parents in the survey said they do not believe their child loses reading skills over the summer, although existing research shows summer learning loss is a major problem, particularly for low-income children, who can lose up to three months in reading skills each summer. Children who don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely than others to drop out of high school.

• Parents who consider reading to be “extremely” or “very” important are twice as likely to have a child who reads every day.

• Children who are involved in a reading program are up to two times more likely to read every day.

• Despite the proliferation of e-books and digital formats, 83 percent of parents said their children prefer print books for summer reading, compared to 7 percent preferring tablets and 4 percent preferring e-readers.

Many literacy studies show a direct correlation between income level and the number of books in the household, creating even more obstacles to developing children’s literacy.

“Many families think of reading as eating your vegetables—good for you but not necessarily a treat. Reading is the best vacation. It takes you places you never dreamed you would visit, and summer especially is a time when kids can immerse themselves in the topics they like best,” said Carol H. Rasco, CEO of RIF.

RIF works to inspire a love of reading by delivering free books and literacy resources to children and families that need them most.

For example, it launched the 11th annual Be Book Smart campaign to support children’s literacy. Everyone can support reading this summer by donating $3 at any Macy’s store to help get more books to kids in need. Shoppers who make a $3 donation get $10 off a $30 purchase, and Macy’s will donate the full amount to RIF.

Macy’s has already helped raise nearly $30 million for RIF to promote literacy at all levels, buying books for children, training educators, and providing resources to parents.

Learn More

For further facts on getting books to kids who need them most, visit

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Fabulous Flavor And Healthful Eating Three Ways

(NAPSI)—Here’s food for thought: Three new cookbooks can help you enjoy great taste and good health at the same time.

Cut Calories Without Cutting Out Fun and Flavor

In the first new book designed specifically for people with diabetes, Chef Steve Petusevsky proves food that tastes good can be good for you. “Sizzle & Smoke: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling for Diabetes, Prediabetes, and Heart Health” includes the chef’s tips, techniques and secrets to big, hearty flavor from healthy ingredients. Often, classic grill-top recipes are packed with fat and calories, but these recipes use lean meats and vegetable dishes to deliver the smoky, natural flavor that only a grill can provide.

“Sizzle & Smoke” features 125 flavor-filled recipes, from lamb, beef and poultry to vegetarian dishes, marinades, rubs and even desserts. The flavors are bold, with a minimal amount of fuss.

Smoothies: Fresh, Delicious and Diabetes-Friendly Snacks and Meal Replacements

People are always looking for meals on the go but finding options not laden with fats, calories and sugars can be a challenge. In “Simply Smoothies: Fresh & Fast Diabetes-Friendly Snacks & Complete Meals,” food writer Linda Gassenheimer shares an excellent solution—smoothies.

“For breakfast on the run, a quick lunch or a simple snack, you can assemble the ingredients in a blender jar and store it in the refrigerator,” explains Gassenheimer. “All you need to do is power up the blender and take your complete meal or snack with you.” This book offers 60 recipes for easy and delicious meals to curb cravings and keep you satisfied.

Farmer’s Market Favorites That Don’t Break the Bank

In his new cookbook, “The Budget-Friendly Fresh and Local Diabetes Cookbook,” celebrity chef Charles Mattocks shares delicious recipes featuring inexpensive seasonal foods you can find at farmer’s markets and enjoy at home.

Filled with over 100 recipes, his cookbook uses sustainable ingredients to create flavorful, nutritious and—perhaps most importantly—inexpensive meals for every season.

These three new titles feature complete nutrition information and diabetes food choices and exchanges, all of which meet the American Diabetes Association’s nutritional guidelines.

Learn More

For further facts, tips and recipes, go to

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