Illinois State is proud to be able to acknowledge the work of graduates who are successful authors. If you’ve written a book that has been released by a publishing house within the past decade, submit it for review by Professor Emerita of English JoAnna Stephens Mink ’73, M.S. ’75, D.A. ’85. All books authored by alums will be added to a collection of work by other graduates on display in the Alumni Center. Autographed copies are especially appreciated. Please send your book to Illinois State editor Susan Blystone at Illinois State Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main Street, Normal, IL 61790. Inquiries can be sent to

Cloward, Kathryn, and Ginny Hornby. Kathryn the Grape’s Colorful Adventure.

San Diego: Kandon Publishing, 2011. 44pp.

Summary: Kathryn the Grape’s Colorful Adventure is the second in the Kathryn the Grape series and the first co-written by Ginny Hornby. Not surprisingly, purple is Kathryn’s favorite color, and the book—beautifully illustrated by Christine Winscott—shows Kathryn’s two-tone purple tracksuit, her purple bedspread, purple walls. That is, until Kathryn is magically transported into the forest.

Kathryn, who’s been sent to her room because she won’t eat hamburgers at the family dinner, is consoled by her best friend Maggie the magical butterfly. She gives Kathryn a colorful charm bracelet. Maggie explains that each charm has a particular meaning and, as Kathryn discovers the magic of each charm, her own rainbow will begin to shine. Kathryn soon learns her first lesson, that like the tree belongs in the forest because its roots go deep into the ground, she belongs in her family. And BLING!—her tree charm glows red because red is the color of belonging.

Kathryn learns in the forest how important it is to trust her parents (BLING! the yellow charm shines), that love makes everything bright and beautiful (BLING! the green charm glows), and other lessons until all her charms glisten with the colorful rainbow of feelings. Magically transported back to her room, Kathryn not only feels better about herself but also knows that she must apologize to her mother.

A total of six books are planned for this series. In addition to teaching children important lessons about self-esteem and the value of their family, the illustrations will charm children and parents.

About the Author: Ginny Hornby ’95 has more than 15 years experience as a writer and marketing professional. She is currently working with Kathryn Cloward on the next Kathryn the Grape book. Passionate about nurturing girls as they grow into strong women, she hopes the books will help all children learn to be fearless and discover their own inner magic. She lives in the Chicago area.

Cox, Brian. 7 Knights.

Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, 2011. 216pp.

Summary: Brian Cox’s first novel 7 Knights begins with a bang, literally. As Bernard DeGoth, CEO of the biggest newspaper in Paris, walks toward his favorite café for his midmorning cup of espresso, he thinks, “Something is not right.” Minutes later, a man shoves him into a corner, exclaiming, “I know who you are, Templar!” He opens his shirt, revealing explosives strapped to his chest. He screams, “We are the Assassins of Hagar. Praise be to Allah! Good-bye, Templar!” The explosion takes out half the city block. A six-month-old child is blown out of her stroller. A newlywed couple lies covered in blood. Hundreds of people are killed in this attack.

Bent on global domination, the assassins of Hagar set out to destroy members of a secret society known as the Seven Knights. This thriller spans the globe as the underground network of Templar Knights attempts to elude capture, torture, and death. Their travels take them to Paris, the German countryside, West Point, Washington D.C., Kandahar, Las Vegas, Scotland, Stonehenge, The Biltmore Mansion, and the Hermitage Plantation. The secret of the Seven Knights has been kept since the 12th century, but now it is out. The seven members of this clandestine order must fight to stay alive, while attempting to unravel the mystery of who is trying to kill them.

Narrated in present tense, the novel’s fast-paced plot involves its two protagonists, Walt and Preston, in many adventures as they seek to stop terrorists from wiping out the cryptic order of the Seven Knights.

The inspiration for 7 Knights came from research, which Cox was conducting on President Andrew Jackson and the Freemasons. Many of the adventures can be attributed to Cox’s own experiences and travels (

About the Author: Brian Cox ’98, is an active Freemason and a Past Master of his local Masonic lodge, as well as in several Masonic bodies. He is a physical education teacher at Southwest Elementary School in Danville.

Glisan, Ellen McPeek. Aligning Life Skills to Academics.

Verona, Wisconsin: Attainment Co., Inc. 2008. 191pp.

Summary: Aligning Life Skills to Academics is a collection of 650 worksheets on math, social studies, science/health, and language arts. Depending on an individual student’s needs, these worksheets can supplement regular class activities or provide core material for an academic class focused primarily on life-skill transition objectives.

The detailed Table of Contents aids both the student and the teacher/tutor to find the appropriate worksheet. For example, under Math, we find “Choosing Clothes That Look Good Together,” colored illustrations of tops, pants and skirts, and shoes, which students can use to develop skills in putting together matching outfits that are appropriate for work or play.

Similarly “Choosing the Right Kind of Screwdriver” prompts the individual to match different screw heads to a Phillips or Slot screwdriver, or an Allen wrench. These are examples of worksheets that develop problem-solving skills with practical application in the “real world.” More advanced Math worksheets help students understand net and gross pay, quantity relationships, as well as sports statistics.

Examples in the Social Studies section include identifying foreign countries on a map, planning a picnic, how to store important papers, and volunteering in the community. Language Arts skills include understanding nonverbal communication, programming a VCR or DVD player, and understanding a lease. Thus, it is easy to see that Aligning Life Skills to Academics supports both developing isolated cognitive skills and integrating those skills into the individual’s life.

The spiral-bound book includes a CD so that teachers can print individual pages in PDF format or email them to parents and other professionals associated with the classroom. Adobe Acrobat Reader software is included. In addition, the CD includes activity lesson plans in PDF and MS-Word formats. The Attainment Company, Inc., has provided the K-12 Classroom License for classroom teachers, as well as therapists, counselors, and itinerant teachers. This workbook is a valuable source.

About the Author: Ellen McPeek Glisan ’76 is an independent educational writer, editor, and workshop presenter. Her teaching methods, based on more than 25 years experience in education, are used in junior high and high school special education classrooms, as well as in the corporate environment. She has written more than 18 workbooks and advice books on a wide range of topics, including geography, writing skills, the human body, the U.S. Constitution, and driving skills. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Lim, Hayoung A. Developmental Speech-Language Training through Music for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Theory and Clinical Application.

Philadelphia and London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012. 204pp.

Summary: Karen F. Miller, director of music therapy at Sam Houston State University, explains clinically based research studies have shown that individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibit beneficial responses to music (Foreword). Music therapy combines research, theory, and practical application. Developmental Speech-Language Training through Music for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders is based on Hayoung Lim’s experiences as a music therapy clinician and researcher.

Lim worked in children’s health and education management in Miami, Florida, where most of her preschooler clients received weekly individual and group music therapy sessions emphasizing speech and language training. She found that children with ASD can perceive linguistic information, which is organized by musical patterns and, with proper stimuli, transform that information into speech patterns (15). Her subsequent work at Sam Houston has continued her specialization in music therapy for children diagnosed with ASD.

Lim explains that “music is closely related in human beings to speech and language, both neurologically and developmentally” (17). Developmental Speech-Language Training will aid parents and professionals working with children affected by ASD to integrate music therapy. The practical applications are based on clearly discussed theory.

The book is organized into two parts: theory and practice. The chapters in Part I describe speech and language impairments, perception and production of speech, music perception and speech and language perception, perception and production of music and speech, and the effect of music on speech and language. Part II applies the theory in designing developmental speech and language training through music (DSLM) protocols, music therapy for speech and language development, and DSLM in an applied behavior analysis verbal behavior approach. The bold-faced sub-headings clearly delineate each chapter’s organization.

Three appendices provide song examples and visual illustrations for DSLM, in addition to a case study of the effect of DSLM on children with ASD. A comprehensive list of references plus detailed subject and author indices will help parents and professionals using Developmental Speech-Language Training, as well as provide direction for further study and research.

About the Author: Hayoung A. Lim, M.M. ‘01, is assistant professor and director of Graduate Studies in Music Therapy at Sam Houston State University. Holding a Ph.D. in music education, she has worked as a music therapist in a number of hospitals, schools, and organizations with a diverse range of clients. She is also a concert cellist. She lives in Texas.


One thought on “Reggie Reads: February 2012

  1. Brian Cox says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for the excellent write up about my novel “7 Knights”. I really appreciate your good work. Go Redbirds! You may be interested to know that I have been getting some interest about making 7 Knights the movie. I have had some really solid Hollywood contacts and hopefully we’ll see it in the theaters in the near future. Thanks again.

    Brian “Rooster” Cox