The book-publishing world is changing, making it easier for budding writers to create and publish the stories of importance to their mind and heart. The local authors featured in this column include first-time and experienced authors and illustrators who seek to share their words and images with the world.

“The Fish’s Wishes” by Glendyn Buckley, Illustrations by Barbara Waterman-Peters, 2015, ages 4-8.

A fish wishes for what he doesn’t have – a golden tail, a silver fin, and the chance to swim in the open sea. When his wishes are granted, the fish learns that change can bring both wonder and despair. Clever rhyming text and beautiful watercolor illustrations make this picture book a true treasure. Glendyn Buckley has been an educator for over 40 years, serving as a district administrator in Topeka Public Schools. Barbara Waterman-Peters’ artwork has been shown in over 250 exhibitions and is included in numerous collections within museum, corporate, and private displays.

“The Galvanized Yankee” by Roy Bird, Illustrated by Traci Osborn, 2016, Row Publishing, ages 7-11.

Confederate prisoners of war were given the chance to leave the harsh conditions of the prison camp and become volunteer Federal soldiers, serving on the western frontier. Told through the eyes of a soldier, “Galvanized Yankee” shares historical information about the soldiers’ defense of America’s lands in Kansas, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Texas, and the Southwest during the late 1800’s. The text adeptly presents details from this historic time period in an interesting and easy-to-read format. Lovely, detailed watercolor illustrations depict the frontier land, Native Americans, and soldiers, as all struggled to live together. Roy Bird is the author of other historic books for children and adults, including “In God We Trusted: Pioneer Stories from Kansas” and “Little Ike: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Abilene Boyhood”.

“Magnificent Midnight’s Marvelous Memories” by Tally L. Russell, 2015, AuthorHouse, ages 9 and up.

Midnight, a Welsh pony, came to Tally Russell as a granted wish from the Dream Factory. As a young child, Tally used a wheelchair and therapeutic horseback riding lessons only fueled her desire to have her own horse. Tally’s sixteenth birthday included a celebration of Midnight’s arrival, and the two formed a lasting bond. Tally authored this sweet memoir of their friendship to share the joy Midnight brought to her as a loving companion, and to work through the engulfing grief Tally felt when Midnight passed away 10 years later. Photographs and personal writings from Tally document their many happy years. End materials include information on the Dream Factory and information about therapeutic horseback riding. Tally graduated from Emporia State University, and “Midnight” is her second published book.

“Black Patriots in the American Revolutionary War” by Patrick G. Cabral, 2015, Embracing Legacy, ages 9-14.

The stories of Black revolutionary patriots are often untold, and author Patrick Cabral seeks to change this historic trajectory. In “Black Patriots”, readers will learn of the heroic and loyal contributions of African American men, whether fighting on the front lines or passing secret messages as an American spy. This text is broken up into short chapters, accompanied by historic artwork, both of which help to make this book appropriate for middle-grade readers. Author Patrick Cabral is a Vietnam veteran, with an interest in history and a passion for exploring the contributions minorities have made to America.