top of page



Festeva's Holiday Cheer

What happens when the world is overwhelmed and sad?  If you’re Eva, a normal dog by day, you turn into Festeva and begin an adventure of spreading holiday cheer!  Join Festeva as she makes her way through the day and helps the humans she encounters feel the holiday spirit.  


Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite

In Festeva’s Holiday Cheer by Molly McCluskey-Shipman, we are introduced to an adorable pup named Eva. She was a normal dog who ran at the park, protected her humans against squirrels, and loved to bury her bones by the tree in the yard. When Christmas came though, the pup changed into Festeva since she loved the holiday so much. She loved decorating the tree and helping wrap presents and she enjoyed building snowmen with her humans. This Christmas was different. Eva noticed the humans all around her were sad because of bad things going on. There was so much in the world that was stressful and brought people down. The pup wondered what she could do to help out and finally decided that she would spread holiday cheer. When her humans left, Festeva put on her best Christmas sweater and went out to cheer the town up. Festeva went all around the town, helping the townspeople with simple little things that made a very big difference in how their day would play out. After a long day of helping people by spreading holiday cheer, Eva came back home and got some much-needed sleep in her little bed. 

I thought Festeva’s Holiday Cheer was an adorable story that teaches us a very valuable lesson we can certainly use this year. With everything going on in the world, it’s hard to see the bright side of things, even during what is supposed to be the happiest holiday of the year. Festeva noticed this and made it her goal to cheer up the people in her town. This book encourages kids to be like this adorable pup and spread cheer in the same way. It’s well written and fun for a child to read. The illustrations are also very beautifully done and fit with the storyline perfectly. Molly McCluskey-Shipman has created a wonderful Christmas book that children will enjoy.


Festeva's Holiday Cheer:  5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Story!

"Not just for kids, this is a great heartwarming story for all ages!"--Amazon Review

ED Front Cover KDP Resized_edited.jpg
Emma's Dilemma

Have you ever felt like others would think that you're different? That’s exactly the way that Emma feels when her teacher announces the class project to create a family tree. Emma is certain that everyone in her class won't understand and accept what it means to be adopted. Can she solve her dilemma?


38 pages

Ages 3-9

Includes Chinese symbol scavenger hunt, vocabulary study, create-your-own family tree page, and a page to draw your family.


Reviewed By: 

Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Review Rating: 

5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review! 

Have you ever traced your family tree? Made it into a work of art? Emma’s teacher wants everyone in the class to create a family tree and trace some of the important things about their family. The only problem is, Emma is adopted. She doesn’t know her natural family. She doesn’t want to be judged by her peers as being different because she was adopted. But, as her adopted mother points out: “We’re all different one way or another.” She still thinks she should make up a fantasy family, like perhaps her natural family came from Mars, or they were royalty. But, as her father points out, she is special because, as he tells her, “You have been our gift.” And, with those words, Emma has solved her dilemma. She knows how to illustrate her family tree.

Molly McCluskey-Shipman’s picture book story, Emma’s Dilemma, is a beautifully-written, charming story about a young girl trying to understand where and how she fits in as an adopted child. The language is simple to assist young readers wanting to learn to read themselves. The colorful illustrations help the plot develop. The story progresses through the introduction of the family tree project, Emma’s misery and discomfort over the idea, to her imaginative solutions until the climax is reached with her father’s kind words, “You have been our gift.” This story brought tears to my eyes as the author’s compassion shines through. We are all different and it’s important to highlight our differences to identify our individual place in the world. Beautifully told.


"EMMA'S DILEMMA is an endearing look at what it means to be a family. Discover Emma's secret as she imagines the many kinds of families she might be a part of, but ultimately learns that it is the family of the heart that matters."

"I fell in love with Emma and her imaginative look at families. Who doesn't love a monkey wearing glasses, or an alien on a hoverboard? The illustrations are charming, perfectly bringing to life the author's important message that families come in all shapes and sizes. This is a wonderful story to share with children of all ages who feel that they might not fit in, and it highlights the fears of adopted children especially well. Bravo! to the author for addressing this topic in a heartfelt and child-friendly manner. This book is sure to start the conversation you've been waiting for!"

--K.B. Nelson


"Emma’s Dilemma provides a simple story for ages 3-9, telling of a young school girl's dilemma over a school-assigned family tree project.


As she contemplates some fantastic solutions to her problem, Emma begins to get a real sense of what the project is actually all about - and an idea of how to handle it by applying some, simple out-of-the-box thinking.


A semi-rhyme structure juxtaposes colorful drawings with pages containing no words, breaking up the usual picture (or early chapter) book structure. Young readers receive all the possibilities in Emma's mind, from monkeys and spaceships to royalty: but no matter how much she muses, she still faces a predicament.


The answer to her problems lies not in a fertile imagination alone; but in the application of healthy dose of reality: a process that will delight young readers with good fantasy but, in the end, brings it all home - including vocabulary material, discussion questions, a Chinese symbolism game, and more."

--D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review


“Emma’s Dilemma is a book about a little girl who is asked to do a project about her family tree. The problem is, Emma is adopted and doesn’t know what to write about her family tree. The book does a wonderful job of showing how Emma works through this problem with her family and helps bring light to issues that children who are adopted can face. Ms. McCluskey-Shipman does a great job of writing with compassion. This book is great for families to read and discuss together. Emma’s Dilemma is a must have for teachers, administrators, or any families that are fortunate enough to have an adopted child. Ms. Mc-Cluskey- Shipman does a great job of bringing up a delicate issue.”


--Kathy Mason, Curriculum Coach

Shawnee Mission School District


"Emma’s Dilemma is a book for elementary children who feel they don’t fit in.  Emma felt she was different from her peers and didn’t fully understand this emotion.  The book is well written and has great illustrations for helping visual learners understand Emma’s dilemma.

The psychological need to listen and share is an important component of the book.  Emma looks at fantasy, real life situations, and guidance from her family to find solutions for her dilemma.  Vocabulary materials, discussion questions, and games provide readers the opportunity to explore different options.

In the end, Emma has a better understanding of her family tree, her family and children who are adopted."


--Charles Jackard, ED.D.  Educational Consultant

El Dilema de Emma: SPANISH EDITION

¿Alguna vez has sentido como otros pensarían que eres diferente? Eso es exactamente la forma en que Emma se siente cuando su maestra anuncia el proyecto de clase para crear un árbol genealógico. Emma es cierto que todo el mundo en su clase no va a entender y aceptar lo que significa ser adoptado. ¿Podrá resolver su dilema?​

Please contact me for additional information!

The BIST Bunch


Utilizing characters, this book is designed to teach students about The BIST Model. This book is an ideal tool for reviewing the BIST Language and practicing the BIST Continuum. Although designed for primary students, this book can be used by older peer buddies to read to younger students and practice together!  (www.BIST.ORG)


bottom of page