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Featured Book of the Month

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Why write a story about the beach? Click here to find out!

Easy Reading  chapter book

Janey Olsen, Famous Artist of the Beach

Janey Olsen was finally on the beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina! She could hardly wait to draw what she saw all around her. Her dream to be a real artist was coming true! Nothing could stop her now from becoming famous—
or could it?

With her beautiful drawings and watercolors, Ms. Holly brings Janey’s creative family, relatives and friends to life in her lively beach story from the Outer Banks of North Carolina! Enjoy the amazing artwork of 9 year old Grace Baity, along with other students of the Joy of Drawing Classes.

As a special feature, it includes a step-by-step lesson on how to draw a lighthouse with watercolor pencils.


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Books for Children

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“Children are the living messages we send
to a time we will not see.”

– John W Whitehead.

About the Author

Holly Catherine Sistrunk was born in California and raised in Kansas. Her children’s book writing began with the inspiration of her mother, Joan Newcomer Sistrunk. Joan was the first born in a long line of famous artists, teachers, musicians, songwriters, and authors! She loved reading good books to her four children before bedtime each night. These influences stimulated Holly’s imagination and gave her a desire to write, sing and draw too. At twelve years old, Holly completed her own chapter book called, Max the Mouse, and Annie the Aunt. At the age of sixteen, her poem, The Looking Glass—about a cat who sees “The Other” in the mirror,—was published in the Young Kansas Writers.

Holly went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and later, Elementary Education, from Kansas State University. Her short biography about her grandfather, called Lestle Wilber Newcomer, the Kansas Man, won the Jesse Perry Stratford Award for Excellence in Historical Writing, presented by the Butler County Historical Society (1988).

Holly’s work experience was varied and included: Paste-up and layout artist for a Kansas City newspaper called Squire Publications; Graphic designer in a small studio called Graphic Specialities; a tour of the northern and eastern coast of the United States for a whole year with a children’s ministry of the Covenant Lutheran Church called Heartsong, where she sang alto and learned the art of puppeteering. After her return to Kansas, she wrote out all the original puppet skits they had performed and gave the creators a copy; then sat down with her guitar and penned her own scripture songs.

Once Holly married the love of her life, Rob Friesen, she became a mother to three daughters. Meeting other families, she answered the call to teach art lessons to some homeschool families and created the lessons for the classes she calls The Joy of Drawing from Real Life and Pictures.

Going on to teach her own children through Highschool, she enjoyed organizing a 4-H Club, judging for Speech and Debate Tournaments, and leading children’s choirs and creative writing classes. Together with a friend, Ms. Holly started Valentine Variety Show Fundraisers for homeschool families. Many children and young adults of all ages were invited to share their talents in music, art, and drama. This event went on each year for ten years and helped raise money for unwed mothers, young people in need, and other heartfelt causes for the community.

After the girls grew up and left home, Holly turned to the Watercolor Group at the Manhattan Art Center and learned how to see colors and techniques, try out all kinds of brushes, and sell her work. While she continued to reach out and teach fall, spring, and summer classes to children and adults privately, at community events, and at the Art Center, she had the opportunity to learn from the best watercolor masters in the country who were invited to give workshops on watercolor to their group. From these and other mentoring experiences, Ms. Holly prayerfully developed a unique style of using watercolor pencils and watercolor paints to produce lovely cards, prints, and exhibition pieces that are inspired by nature, places, people, and interpretations of the beauty in the natural world around her.

Today, she lives in her Kansas “Art House” with her husband and a Russian Blue shorthaired cat named Prussia. She enjoys the creative expressions of her students, friends, grown daughters, and her five lively grandchildren.

About Storybook Publishing

Rob and Holly started Storybook Publishing so they could publish faster without submitting their work to large publishers who often receive up to 80,000 manuscripts a year. They were counselled by friends in the industry that self-publishing was the best way to accomplish their dreams.

Currently they are publishing their own work but if you have questions about the publishing process or about how to publish your work, contact the business office email: robfriesen@sbcglobal.net.


About the Logo

 The logo was drawn in pencil from a photograph of Holly’s mother, a creative artist and story teller, who inspired her children by reading good books to them each night.

Questions, comments, or ideas? Write me here and I'll respond. Thanks so much!

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