Contact the authors and JR at   |  



CHANDLER, AZ (November, 2012) — In a national competition sponsored by USA Book News that included submissions from St. Martin's Press, Harper Collins, Hyperion, McGraw-Hill, and many other big house publishers, Chandler, Arizona's Five Star Publications' Arizona Way Out West & Wacky (AZWOWW) won first place for The 2012 USA Best Book Awards "Best New Children's Book: Nonfiction" category.
"The 2012 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States," says President and CEO of USA Book News Jeffrey Keen of the awards, now in their 10th year.
AZWOWW, an official Arizona Centennial Project, was co-authored by SanTan Sun News editor Lynda Exley and children's science writer Conrad J. Storad, who have both won numerous awards in their professions. The book, which is filled with true but amusing, gross, interesting and wacky stories and facts about Arizona, makes learning history fun with more than 60 entertaining activities including word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, games, recipes, crafts and more. The library edition of Arizona Way Out West & Wacky, entitled Arizona Way Out West & Witty, is this year's ONEBOOKAZ for Kids. AZWOWW was illustrated by Michael Hagelberg, an award-winning artist.
A complete list of the winners and finalists of The 2012 USA Best Book Awards are available online at
AZWOWW (ISBN: 978-1-58985-047-7) retails for $11.95 and can be purchased at most major bookstores or through, or For more about the book or to arrange an author visit, go to To learn more about Five Star Publications, Inc., which celebrates 27 years in business, and its other award-winning books, visit the website, email or call 480-940-8182.

— Jeffrey Keen
USA Book News

Nov 17, 2012
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CHANDLER, AZ (October, 2012) — Judges for a contest known for its stiff competition, the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, honors Arizona Way Out West & Wacky (AZWOWW) with the Silver medal in the "Activity Book - Educational, Science, History" category.

"The Moonbeam Children's Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading," says Moonbeam Awards Director Jim Barnes. "The Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians — and to children themselves."

AZWOWW, an official Arizona Centennial project that was also a finalist in the Benjamin Franklin Awards, is filled with true, but amusing, gross, interesting and wacky stories and facts about Arizona. The children's book makes learning about Arizona's history fun with 60-plus entertaining activities including word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, games, recipes, crafts and more.

The library edition of Arizona Way Out West & Wacky, entitled Arizona Way Out West & Witty, is this year's ONEBOOKAZ for Kids. The books' creators are: co-authors Conrad J. Storad and Lynda Exley, illustrator Michael Hagelberg and Five Star Publications President Linda Radke.

AZWOWW (ISBN: 978-1-58985-047-7) retails for $11.95 and can be purchased at most major bookstores or through,,, or For more about the book, visit To learn more about Five Star Publications, Inc., which celebrates 27 years in business, and its other award-winning books, visit the website, email or call 480-940-8182.

Oct 10, 2012

Finalists in AZ/New Mexico book contest

Just got the exciting news! Our books are 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Finalists in the following categories:

Children's Activity
AZ Storad, Conrad & Lynda Exley
Arizona Way Out West & Wacky: Awesome Five Star

AZ Storad, Conrad & Lynda Exley
Arizona Way Out West & Wacky: Awesome Five Star Publications

AZ Exley, Lynda & Conrad Storad
Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Witty Five Star Publications
AZ McLaughlin

AZ Exley, Lynda & Conrad Storad
Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Witty Five Star Publications

2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards

Sep 29, 2012
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Independent Book Publishers Association Award

Arizona Way Out West & Wacky by Conrad Storad and Lynda Exley won the 2012 IBPA Silver Award in the 2012 Benjamin Franklin Awards competition, in the Young Reader: Nonfiction category.

Independent Book Publishers Association

Jun 22, 2012
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Congratulations. Your book, Arizona Way Out West & Witty, was a finalist in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. The list of category finalists may be viewed at or by entering the "winners" menu option at ...


Dawn Shows

Coordinator, The Eric Hoffer Award

— Dawn Shows
The Eric Hoffer Award

May 13, 2012
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2012 Benjamin Franklin Awards Finalist

-----Original Message-----
From: Terry Nathan
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:38 AM
Subject: IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards 2012 Finalist Notification

Dear Linda,

Congratulations! Your title, Arizona Way Out West & Wacky, has been named as one of three finalists in the 2012 Benjamin Franklin Awards competition, in the following category: Young Reader: Nonfiction (8-12 Years).

The 2012 Benjamin Franklin Award winner will be chosen from one of the three finalists and will receive the Benjamin Franklin Award during a ceremony on Monday evening, June 4, 2012 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City to which you and your staff are invited. The Marriott Marquis is located at 1535 Broadway in the heart of Times Square, and the awards ceremony will take place in the Astor Ballroom. The awards ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception. A light buffet will be served. The actual awards will be presented at 7:00 p.m. and will hopefully be concluded by 8:30 p.m. Enclosed (in a letter being mailed to you) are 2 tickets to this event. If you need more tickets, please let us know (the cost is $35 each).

... A list of all of this year's finalists will be available on our website very soon - please visit when you get a chance.

Further information is being sent to you by mail. We look forward to hearing from and seeing you soon. Again, congratulations!

Terry Nathan
Executive Director
Independent Book Publishers Association
1020 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Suite 204
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

IBPA is a not-for-profit trade association serving the independent publishing community for more than 25 years.

— Terry Nathan, Executive Director
Independent Book Publishers Association

May 02, 2012
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What an amazing presenter!

April 16, 2012

What an amazing presenter! Lynda Exley, co-author of this year's ONEBOOK AZ for Kids, Way Out West and Wacky, is fantastic. The group of children, ranging from 3 to 5 years in age, was enthralled by her engaging, enthusiastic and creative talk in our library at MCC's Red Mountain Campus. Lynda was able to tailor her presentation for young children by emphasizing the parts of her book most thrilling for that age group. She focused on desert animals and critters with the use of wonderful puppets, simple question and answer segments, a PowerPoint slide show in the background, and games suited just perfectly for the children's abilities and attention span.

We were also fortunate to have Lynda speak with our college students in attendance. These older students were part of a Children's Literature course and Lynda quickly adapted to engaging them in a clear and concise discussion about writing and publishing children's books, adapting presentations to appropriate ages, and to provide further recommendations.

Not only was our past library director in attendance, but also our Dean of Innovative Learning and Academic Support, both of whom thought the presentation was outstanding. Community members, staff and faculty all were very impressed.

I would highly recommend inviting Lynda Exley as an informative, fun, entertaining, knowledgeable and creative presenter. In fact, we hope to see her again this fall!

Judy MacQueen
Circulation and Community Outreach
Paul A. Elsner Library
Mesa Community College

— Judy MacQueen
Circulation and Community Outreach Paul A. Elsner Library

Apr 16, 2012

One Of The Best Events!


I can't say enough, how wonderful your presentation was. I've been bragging about you and your book all day! Our Dean was thrilled. Here's his note to us this morning:

"I would express my appreciation to you and your team for hosting such a wonderful event. It was one of the best events I have attended all year.


Thanks again, Lynda. Wish we could host you at our main, Southern and Dobson campus. We have a child care center right here and I know our children would truly enjoy your interactive presentation....


— Judy McQueen
MCC Red Mountain Campus Library

Apr 12, 2012

You Have Huge Fans at Porter!

To Lynda Exley: "Yesterday was quite an awesome day! Thank you SOOO much for your wonderful presentations and interaction with our school community. You really do know how to make Arizona's history fun and come alive. It was a treat to have you celebrate with us. It turned out better than I had hoped. Love that! Please also pass along a thank you to Jayne. She was just amazing with the kids, too! We are still working on final counts, but believe that there were about 380 people at the event last night. WOO HOO! We have not had that kind of turn out in a long time. I heard that there was a lot of buzz for the rest of the evening about how much the families enjoyed the event. YAY!!! ... You have some huge fans at Porter!" -- Lori Scott, PTO (Lynda Exley and JR visited with kids at 12:30 and 2 p.m., then Lynda retured at 6:30 to present to kids and their parents.)

— Lora Scott
Porter Elementary School

Mar 29, 2012

A 'Wacky' journey through the pages of Arizona history

Story Begins on Page 4 and jumps to Page 11:

They met in 1999 when S. Tempe resident Conrad J. Storad was promoting his award-winning children's book, Don't Call Me Pig, at Border's Books & Music in Mesa where Lynda Exley, also a S. Tempe resident, was public relations manager ... and then they went their separate ways for more than 10 years.
As providence would have it, however, he signed on with a new publisher, Linda F. Radke of Five Star Publications, who suggested he partner with an award-winning freelance writer and editor she knew to write a children's book celebrating Arizona's 100th birthday.
And that's how Exley and Storad came to form a writing collaboration that resulted in two official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project books: Arizona Way Out West & Wacky and Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Library Edition, which just won 2012 ONEBOOKAZ for Kids as declared by Secretary of State Ken Bennett.
Beginning in March 2012, the ONEBOOKAZ for Kids program will encourage children in communities across the state to read Arizona Way Out West & Witty and participate in discussions and programs centered on the book.
"If Arizona gave out Academy Awards for children's books, earning ONEBOOKAZ for kids would be its equivalent," says Exley. "I can't imagine a greater honor."
Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Library Edition is a humorous children's history and activity book designed to make learning enjoyable for grade-schoolers. The book delivers Arizona history with a side of fun by including gross, interesting and wacky stories and facts about the state, as well as crossword puzzles, games, recipes, crafts and other amusements. Ideal for teachers and homeschoolers, Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Library Edition also has a curriculum guide at the back of the book. In addition, schools and libraries that order a minimum of 30 copies receive a "Copies for Life" certificate of permission that allows them to copy pages from the book for official school use. Personal use and sharing copied material is prohibited.
The major difference between the two books, Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Library Edition and Arizona Way Out West & Wacky is that Wacky has coloring pages and does not contain a curriculum guide.
"We wrote Wacky first," explains Radke. "Librarians fell in love with it, but they were concerned children would write in the book. So at their urging, we redesigned Wacky specifically for libraries. Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Library Edition still has a ton of fun activities. It just discourages children from marking in the book."
Beginning in January, Storad and Exley will travel the state, visiting schools, libraries and other facilities to teach children about Arizona History through presentations, activities and readings. At times, they will be accompanied by Johnny "JR" Ringo, Arizona's State Mammal Mascot, a full-sized ringtail and costume character.
Arizona Way Out West and Witty: Library Edition, and Arizona Way Out West & Wacky are both endorsed by Official Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble. They retail for $11.95 each and are is distributed by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Pacific Four Sales and available at, and bookstores and gift shops across the state.
Additional information about the books and the authors is posted at To book the authors and "JR" for a school visit or other event, contact Five Star Publications at 480-940-8182 or

— by Mark Moorehead
Wrangler News

Jan 07, 2012
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Should be in every classroom!

This is one of those "all-age" gems that rarely are seen anymore in the literary world. Celebrating Arizona¿s centennial, this project is filled with love - and children and students all over the country will enjoy this activity and history book ten-fold. Not to mention, adults will find absolute joy reading over the legends and myths to their children and learning a great deal of new information themselves. This book is filled with activities that make learning absolutely fun! Arizona, as most know, is one state that is infused with history, made up of legends like Geronimo. The state boasts amazing topography that includes things like "organ pipes" and "century plants." Their nature is one-of-a-kind with insects that sting, rattlers to be wary of, and the fastest bird called the roadrunner that the planet has ever seen. Not only does this book offer all this information, but children will also learn what and how to make Frontier Foods, like EZ Cobbler and green-chile cornbread, as well as how to grow things out in the middle of the desert. Historical articles are offered on the tale of the Code Talkers, the creation of the Grand Canyon, and how Arizona came to achieve statehood. There are also activities that teach readers how to make a cornhusk doll, color amazing desert landscapes and have a face-to-face with the ultimate sheriff, Wyatt Earp. Quill Says: A truly stunning book that shows the ultimate pride and spirit for the state of Arizona! This should be in every classroom!


Nov 29, 2011
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"Arizona WOWW" is guaranteed to entertain and educate at the same time...

Arizona is a place that lives by its myths and legends. Our rivers are drier and our temperatures are higher; our canyons are grander and our deserts are sandier; our cactus is stickier and our skunks are ickier; our burros are lazier and our tales are crazier. We are truly a land of anomalies and tamales.

Who says learning about Arizona can't be bushels of fun? "Arizona WOWW" is guaranteed to entertain and educate at the same time. You'll find mind-challenging but fun games and crossword puzzles, coloring pages, crafts and all kinds of amazing little facts.

You'll even find Dutch oven recipes for biscuits, cobbler and green-chili cornbread. You'll also find recipes for tostadas, enchiladas, salsa and rice pudding.

There's corny humor too, such as "What kind of cheese is not yours?" Nacho cheese of course. Corngratulations if you got it right.

In the midst of all these fun games and wacky tales there's a whole lot of good factual information in WOWW. Just like Mary Poppins said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Having been an educator since 1961 I've always believed teachers should always attempt to find humorous teaching tools to hold the attention of their youngsters. I attribute much of my success as a teacher to using humor. I continue to receive letters from former students, now in their 40s and 50s who say they've forgotten most of the serious history of Arizona but remember fondly the wacky tales they heard so many years ago. Youngsters love to have fun while they learn and by having fun they retain what they learned.

— Marshall Trimble
Official Arizona State Historian

Aug 21, 2011
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Conrad Storad and Lynda Exley have done it!

They engage their readers on every level to keep learning about Arizona fun. The illustrations by Michael Hagelberg bring our wacky state to life. As a parent, and as a frequent speaker to schools about Arizona, "Arizona Way Out West & Wacky" will be a valued source for my tool belt.

If Arizona doesn't deserve it…….WHO DOES?

The Mornin' Mayor Dave Pratt., mornings on the Valley's X103.9 FM and author of "Dave Pratt, Behind the Mic: 30 Years in Radio."

— The Mornin' Mayor Dave Pratt

Aug 21, 2011
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Poetry Contest Success!

RE: Lynda Exley's visit to Mountain Vista Elementary School in Orical, AZ to Judge their Poetry Contest

"I cannot thank you enough for ALL you did to make our contest a huge success! You brought so many super gifts for the kids, and our library. The kids were the most intrigued with your son’s book ["The Student From Zombie Island"] I think the idea of a kid-author sparked their imaginations—and they all fought over who got to read his book first! It will soon be added to our school library. The gifts you brought for the contestants and winners made the contest, and the whole idea of competitive writing, a super exciting prospect for them. They were all abuzz about next year’s contest, and psyched about writing. ... You traveled long and far to get to our little country school, and it meant so much to all of us. A million thanks again, Lynda!"

— Monika Bond
Event Organizer

Apr 03, 2013

Edu-tain to Reach the Brain testimonial

"I attended your Humor in the Classroom [Edu-tain to Reach the Brain] seminar at the APS Back to School Conference on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Thank you so much for all the great ideas! ... I am excited to use some of your ideas in my classroom."

— Kathi Bishop
Vernon Elementary School

Sep 24, 2012

Terrific conference presentation

TESTIMONIAL: "Your [Book Marketing Essentials] presentation was terrific at the [National Federation of Press Women] conference; your info was super and your energy was dynamic, inspiring and encouraging for all."

— Patricia Myers
Arizona Press Women PR director

Sep 21, 2012

Fun with Your Kids!

My children enjoy fascinating stories about interesting places and this book, Arizona way out west wacky or AZWOWW was really fun for them. The book is full of geography, history, nature and cultural stories. This book is appealing for children and adults.
My children enjoyed colouring the book, reading about the fun facts and all the lovely activities in the book. To keep children entertained the book has facts, recipes, activities etc.
This book is available on Amazon and at Five Star Publication.
If you are in the state of Arizona and you would like the author's to attend your school, conventions or bookstores then checkout the site. They are also on Facebook.

— Posted by Torviewtoronto
Create With Mom

Jul 19, 2012
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Traveling Days

Traveling Days-Arizona Activity Book Review!!
Posted by Hope at 9:39 PM, Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Do your kids like to learn while having fun? I enjoy finding new ways that the children can do this, and when I was contacted about reviewing Arizona Way Out West and Wacky, it sounded like the perfect fit!

Arizona Way Out West and Wacky is a coloring/activity book for kids that teaches them about Arizona's history while they have fun! The book is chock-full of word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, crafts, and other fun stuff, while also sharing neat information about the state and history of Arizona. I love the fun format, as the children are learning without even realizing it, they're having so much fun! We traveled through part of Arizona a couple years ago, and have discussed going back, so everyone was excited to read the book and enjoy some of the activities. Here are a few sample pictures so you can see the design for yourself. (Only visible on Hope's Cafe website.)

If you're planning a trip to Arizona, live in Arizona, or just want a fun, educational activity book for your next road trip, check out the Arizona Way Out West books today!

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review; I did receive product for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine; all quotes taken from the Five Star Publications website. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company.

— Hope
Hope's Cafe

Jun 19, 2012
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Great Children's Books

Wrapped in Foil
Finding a great children's book is like unwrapping a perfect sweet

June 18, 2012 in Children's Books by State Setting, Nonfiction, Nonfiction Monday Review by Roberta | 2 comments
It's Arizona's centennial year, and to celebrate let's take a look at two books about Arizona's history that are sure to excite children: Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Awesome Activities, Humorous History, and Fun Facts! by Lynda Exley and Conrad J. Storad, illustrated by Michael Hagelberg and Arizona Way Out West & Wacky: Awesome Activities, Humorous History and Fun Facts! by the same team.
Conrad Storad is well-known here in Arizona for his children's picture books with Southwest themes, as well as science topics. Lynda Exley's son, Michael J. Moorehead, is also known in Arizona because he is already a published author, at 12! (He wrote The Student From Zombie Island: Conquering the Rumor Monster).
In case you are wondering why there are two titles in the series, Arizona Way Out West & Witty is presented as a library edition. It is in chapter book format and is not consumable, and it comes with a curriculum guide in the back.
On the other hand, Arizona Way Out West & Wacky is an activity book that covers the same material, but in an interactive, consumable way. It has word searches, crossword puzzles, and coloring pages, as well as other fun activities.
I thought that was an interesting way to solve an age old dilemma. How do you market consumable books to libraries and schools, yet keep the activities fun and interactive for children? It seems that having two formats might be one answer. Now I wonder how sales of the two books compare, and whether having such similar titles is resulting in any confusion. I do know that Arizona Way Out West & Witty was chosen as the 2012 ONEBOOKAZ for Kids winner.
Are you interested in other books about Arizona? I have a list of fiction books set in Arizona and nonfiction books about Arizona at the Wrapped in Foil Website.

— Roberta
Wrapped in Foil

Jun 18, 2012
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Fun History

There's more than just desert out in Arizona. "Arizona Way Out West & Witty" is a guide to the fun history surrounding the state that holds the Grand Canyon and its unique wildlife. "Arizona Way Out West & Witty" is ideal for kids interested in United States history, or perhaps for helping Arizona kids gain a better understanding of their state. Recipes, activities, photos and pictures, and much more make "Arizona" a strong pick for any American history collection aimed at young readers.

— James A. Cox
The Midwest Book Review

Mar 01, 2012
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Macaroni Reads: Arizona Way Out West and Wacky!

By: Kindle Rising

Did you know it took 62 years for Arizona to become a state? Or that the Ringtail is the state mammal? Or that the population of Arizona grew 4,000% between 1900 and 2000, making it the 2nd fastest growing state in America (after Nevada)?

These are just a few things I learned from Arizona Way Out West and Wacky, by Conrad J. Storad and Lynda Exley, illustrated by Michael Hagelberg. An official Arizona Centennial project, this book is packed full of interesting, humorous, even gross stories and facts about Arizona. There are also more than 60 activities, from coloring pages to crosswords to recipes and crafts.
Five Star Publications provided me with a copy of Way Out West and Wacky to review, and I personally enjoyed it immensely. It is targeted toward elementary school children; 4th graders, in particular, learn about Arizona in school, and it seems like the text and many of the activities are quite appropriate for that age group. Several of the activities were a bit too advanced for my young daughters. However, my 5-year-old enjoyed hearing the stories and coloring the pictures, and I am sure that as she and her sister get older they will get more and more out of it. My girls are 5th generation Arizonans; we'll definitely keep this book around as an amusing and fun way for them to learn more about their state!

If you are interested in purchasing Arizona Way Out West and Wacky, it is available on-line at It retails for $11.95.

— Kindle Rising
Macaroni Kid

Feb 09, 2012
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Interview by Sibley's West

Check out the YouTube video link below provided by John Wolfe at Sibley's West gift shop on the square in downtown Chandler. He interviewed Conrad during his signing for the store's 1-year anniversary.

YouTube Interview

Feb 03, 2012
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Great Activities and Language for kids!

I loved this book! Living in Arizona is fun and adventurous, and I want my kids to know as much about the state as they can. WOWW makes it fun for kids to learn about their state through interesting facts, recipes, and activities.

My favorite is when the book explains that the Grand Canyon is as deep as 1,125 female teachers (average height of 5ft 4in) standing on each other's heads! What a great way to provide visual information for kids to relate to! This book is easy for kids to understand and perfectly eared towards elementary schools, but can be used in the middle schools as well. I have even learned a few things!

— Becca

Jan 09, 2012
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A Delightful Resource

I recently received a copy of Arizona: Way out West & Wacky to review. At first glance, I must admit a bit of skepticism. I feared it would be more appropriate for my elementary librarian friends.
And while some activities definitely are geared toward a younger crowd, there are also resources here that our Social Studies teachers may want to use in their classrooms in February. The facts about Arizona are presented in a way that will appeal to students of any age. For example, I learned that Prescott was once the state capital (before Tucson!), and might be still, were it not for a vain legislator.
The Pioneer Dutch Oven recipes would go over big in an Enrich class, where class sizes might be a little smaller and class periods longer. The EZ Cobbler sounds yummy!
I'm looking forward to making this delightful resource and its curriculum guide available to our staff to use next month during Arizona's Centennial. [And hopeful that if they schedule an author visit, I'll get invited. ]
The companion volume, Arizona Way out West and Witty will be a welcome addition to our collection as well.

— Molly Koenig , Media Center Specialist
Desert Sky Middle School, Mrs. Koenig's Library Blog

Jan 09, 2012
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Excellent Resource

This is an excellent resource to have as a mom and a teacher! My 5 year old son and I have enjoyed looking through this book and stopping to read about the things he finds interesting. The illustrations help guide his decisions on what he decides to learn more about as they are creatively done to increase the readers interest. From a teaching perspective, this provides a great resource for me to use with my 3rd graders in their quest to conquer reading and comprehending expository text.

— TeacherMom

Jan 07, 2012
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History is not boring!

It's a fact. Two of Arizona's creepiest creatures, the Gila monster and the tarantula, are shy: the largest lizard in the state is venomous but spends most of its life burrowing underground during the day and coming out at night to eat; the gentle tarantula would rather hide in sandy soil and only releases tiny poisonous hairs when it is threatened.

In Arizona: Way Out West & Wacky, award-winning educators Conrad J. Storad and Lynda Exley, together with illustrator and designer Michael Hagelberg, use stories, crossword puzzles, word-games, and craft exercises to teach history. They also tell ghost stories and tales of Western moviemakers, and give instructions for making a cornhusk doll. And the book includes recipes for local food: biscuits, cobbler, and cornbread baked in a Dutch oven, as well as enchiladas, salsa, and rice pudding. Especially intriguing to children are lessons the book offers about Arizona's nightmare creatures, plus its roadrunners, snakes, jackrabbits, ants, and bees.

Johnny Ringo, J. R. for short, is a Ringtail Cat. He is honored as Arizona's official state mammal, and he and his sister Jayne guide the reader through this adventurous history book often using humor as a teaching tool. "Eye on the Capital" is about a delegate who loses his glass eye. Being too vain to appear before the legislature, he lost his vote for the town of Prescott and "Phoenix captured the capital by one vote!"

Using various styles and fonts, accompanied by accurate drawings ready for coloring, the easy-to-read pages are filled with information. Puzzles, quizzes, and word-games offer fun facts on the climate, the state's physical features, Native Americans, mining, tourism, farming, and legends of the Wild West. There is also a Glossary defining words found in the book.

Recommended by the official Arizona State Historian, Marshall Trimble, the book is appropriate for ages nine to twelve; yet because there are pages to color, children as young as five will enjoy it. The creators live up to their promise of changing the minds of youngsters who think history is boring with their use of wise—and, indeed, sometimes wacky—facts concerning one of our fastest-growing western states. On the inside back cover are instructions to obtain guides and copies of the pages for educational purposes.

— Mary Popham
ForeWord Review

Jan 06, 2012
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Important and Fun Stuff

Arizona is turning 100 years old in 2012. Arizona Way Out West & Wacky joins with the Centennial celebration by providing over 100 pages filled with interesting facts targeted to elementary school aged children. Learn interesting facts about the great state of Arizona, while having fun at the same time.

On our family's recent vacation, my children had fun coloring in the pages and doing the activities. Not only did it help alleviate the miles and miles as we drove across three states, the activities provided humor, history, and learning. While we drove through Southern Arizona, the view spurred on my son's desire to read and learn more about our great state. The collared peccary and gila monster pages caused quite a family discussion about animal safety.

Not only do the children learn, but the parents do too. I never knew that the Ringtail Cat became the official state mammal in 1986. They also answer the old aged question of people wondering whether you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. The recipes, crafts, and science are a great inclusion in the book. An answer key is provided for the activities if you simply do not know the answer.

In addition to all the "important stuff" about Arizona, readers learn:

What Geronimo and yawning have in common.

What a glass eye has to do with Phoenix being Arizona's state capital.

Where Arizona's Spider Woman lives.

How many teachers it would take standing head-to-toe to go from the bottom to
the top of the Grand Canyon.

Which Arizona city got its name by accident and much, much more!

Arizona Way Out West & Wacky was written by Conrad J. Storad and Lynda Exley and illustrated by Michael Hagelberg. It is one of four books hoping to receive the distinction of One Book Arizona's 2012 title! From now until December 4th, vote for the one book that all students in Arizona will read during Arizona's Centennial year. Arizona Way Out West & Wacky is on Facebook and Twitter.

— Wendy Wright
Arizona Moms Netowork

Dec 01, 2011
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Jam-packed with information

Although its target audience is grade-school children, Arizona Way Out West & Wacky is as appealing to adults as it is to kids. Highlights of Arizona's history are punctuated with true but gross, humorous, interesting and wacky stories and facts about the Grand Canyon State. Readers learn: What Geronimo and yawning have in common. Why sleeping in wet sheets didn't mean you had a nighttime accident.

What a glass eye has to do with Phoenix being Arizona s state capital How many teachers it would take standing head-to-toe to go from the bottom to the top of the Grand Canyon. Which Arizona city got its name by accident and much, much more! But it takes more than amusing writing and fascinating facts to keep children's attention, so the AZ WOWW award-winning creative team added word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, crafts and more to the mix.

The interesting facts discussed in Arizona Way Out West and Wacky are new even to an Arizona native now living in New Mexico. I loved how they cover non-traditional facts while giving you a unique view of the state. Our boys loved the illustrations and I've opted to copy the pages for them to color so they can color them over and over.

There was a very interesting recipe in the book to make ink out of pecans. We just so happen to have multiple pecan trees on our property so we picked up a few fallen pecans for a fantastic homeschool lesson.

The recipe is simple: 8 whole pecan shells and one cup of water. Crush the pecan shells, place in pot with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain out the shells, store in a glass jar and you will have a nutty ink. Since this is a food based ink, it will spoil but don't worry, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar (prevents fading) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (prevents molding) to fix that problem. Shake the glass jar until the salt dissolves completely.

Would I recommend Arizona Way Out West and Wacky? Yes. It's jam-packed with information for every one of every age, fun recipes, and lots of activities to keep busy.

— Based on a post by Angi
Tim And Angi's Blog

Nov 30, 2011
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For moms, grandmas and educators

For those mamas, grandparents, educators and/or homeschoolers from Arizona...this post is for you!

I was given a copy of the new AZ WOWW history and activity book for kids last month and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it with Nathalia. Although the book is targeted towards grade-school children there were still many activities and stories in the book that were very entertaining for her (at age 3.5) and educational. In fact, I will admit that Arizona history is not my forte since I'm not from this neck of the woods (er...desert) so it's been quite an interesting read for me, too!

Arizona Way Out West & Wacky (AZ WOWW) was designated as an official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project and is full of humorous, gross, interesting and "wacky" stories and facts about Arizona. The book is around 100 pages and has over 60 fun activities including word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages (Natty's favorite), games, recipes and crafts!

One of the wacky facts that Natty thought was *hi-la-ri-ous* was this one about the Grand Canyon:

"The deepest point of the Grand Canyon is 6,000 feet. The average female teacher is 5 feet, 4 inches tall. That means it would take about 1,125 teachers standing on each other's heads to go from the bottom to the top!"She laughed...a lot...and then we looked through some of the pictures I had taken when we visited the Grand Canyon a few years ago when she was a baby. She was able to look through the photos and color a picture of the canyon in the book while I read her the rest of that chapter.

Another chapter that we look forward to is one about the early pioneers and how they canned and stored their food to keep it fresh. Natty saw the picture and remembered how we had canned apple butter last month and how she has seen Grandma can salsa for us when she visits. Another memory that will help her understand these little bits of history. Also, we're definitely making the recipe for Dutch-oven green chile cornbread in that chapter for sure!

Overall this book has been a great educational tool and will definitely be used by our family for years to come as a fun way to teach our girls about Arizona's history. If you're thinking of taking a look for yourself and getting this book for your children, then just visit for more info.

BusyMom the Blog

Nov 30, 2011
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Keeps the Kids Busy

Will you be traveling through Arizona for the holidays? I have six kids and keeping kids happy only last for so long after hours of driving. Even for me. I loooove learning the history about the state as we travel through it.

Arizona Way Out West & Wacky is a fun activity book but it's even better because there is so much more than just about coloring. There are activities, information about the animals that can be found in Arizona, types of plants, recipes (yay for moms!), crossword puzzles. Funny, gross, interesting and wacky stories and facts.

I love fun mixed with learning and trust me, your kids will appreciate it! I've really loved looking through book and am holding onto it for when we make our travels.

— Posted by Virginia
Amazing Six Blog

Nov 28, 2011
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Coloring the wacky facets of Arizona

Arizona Way Out West & Wacky (Five Star Publications, 2011) by Conrad Storad and Linda Exley, illustrated by Michael Hagelberg is a primer on Arizona and some of the unique, they call them wacky, aspects of life in our state. The book explores the history, people, plants and animals of the state kids will find interesting under the guidance of Johnny Ringo, the ringtail cat, the Arizona state mammal.

It's a perfect fourth-graders reference book since fourth grade is the year they learn about Arizona history. I taught fourth graders for four years and this would have been an excellent book to use for the entire year.

In addition to some boring things kids are required to remember about Arizona, like the structure of the state government, this book has things they will remember, like how to make a cornhusk doll, what native peoples ate, and of course about various stinky, spiny and poisonous creatures in Arizona.

The best feature of the book are Michael Hagelberg's* illustrations sprawled across the pages begging to be colored. A child would end up with a 112-page book they had drawn and written in while learning about all the "wacky" things Storad and Exley present.

Arizona Way Out West & Wacky retails for $11.95.

*Michael is a good friend of mine, so I was already aware of his considerable illustrating talent. — Dan

— Daniel Friedman
Raising Arizona Kids

Nov 18, 2011
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Much of Arizona is hot, hot, hot. ALL of AZ WOWW is HOT, HOT, HOT!
Many thanks to Conrad Storad and Lynda Exley for the Centennial birthday gift they have given students, teachers, parents and all Arizona residents with the release of AZ WOWW.
The format is superb - each page is chock full of facts well portioned so as to be easily digested by students of all ages and abilities; even parents and teachers will learn a thing or two. The scope is broad - covering history, climate, topography, social studies, natural resources and offering many opportunities to explore our western economy. AZ WOWW does all that while reinforcing reading, comprehension, and problem solving through information packed pages, puzzles, activities and crafts.
The language and concepts are kid friendly yet developmental. Even young people suffering form the most severe cases of electronic-gadget addiction will return again and again to AZ WOWW.
Teachers, toss those tired lesson plans, explore the 48th state with your students in a fresh new way! Parents, turn off that television, spend some family time being taught by your kids about the place we're so fortunate to call our home state!
I'm thrilled to offer this book to my customers, friends and family.

— Tammy Fraser
Gifts To Go

Oct 24, 2011
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Totally Great

I was privileged to be supplied a free copy of the children's activity book, ARIZONA WAY OUT WEST & WACKY to review. What a wonderful book! Written by multi-award winning co-authors, Conrad J. Storad & Lynda Exley, this awesome activity, humorous history, and fun facts book about Arizona will educate and keep your kid busy for hours and hours.

Affectionately known as AZ WOWW, ARIZONA WAY OUT WEST & WACKY was designated an official Centennial Legacy Project by the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission, as authorized by the Arizona Legislature. That's a huge honor for any book, but especially a children's activity book. The book is awesome, and it is so easy to see how much time, effort and thought went into creating ARIZONA WAY OUT WEST & WACKY, (AZ WOWW.) Realizing that it would take much more than amusing writing and interesting facts about Arizona to hold a child's attention, the creative team-which are all made up of Arizona residents- added word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, crafts and more to the book.

My review copy of the book is totally great, but the finished product coming out very soon is a perfect bound, 8 1/2 X 11, glossy cover, high quality paperback book. Published by Five Star Publications, AZ WOWW will be distributed through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Pacific Four Sales,,,, and To learn more about ARIZONA WAY OUT WEST AND WACKY and to order your advance copy, visit the work in progress website, Arizona Way Out West & Wacky, or Five Star Publications

— Denise Grier
Reviewer Gone Mad

Oct 21, 2011
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Use it on the go

Many State Departments of Education and many school districts require local and/or state history geography in the school curriculum. I remember hubby and I driving across country East Coast to West Coast with our youngest two then 10 and 11. Keeping them interested, not bored, and learning on that long ride would have been so much easier had Arizona Way Out West & Wacky been around back then. I just received a printer's copy still unassembled of this fun book. It is a great resource for teaching…wish there was something similar for every U. S. state.

This official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project by the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission is a true academic resource for grade-schoolers. Its craft lessons and regional recipes are simple and appropriate to projects and areas of study. Its text is humorous, interesting, and comprehensive, even somewhat gross and wacky. Thee is somehing for everyone in its play activities (coloring, picture comparisons, puzzles, word searches, scrambles, riddles, crosswords, mazes, codes).

With a table of contents and glossary, readers can find anything and everything easily. Where else is topography, weather, animals, plants, insects, arachnids, birds, native people, food, Hispanic heritage, desert life, playthings and past times, place names, mining and miners, weird facts and myths, state stuff, agriculture, origins, population, tourism—well organized and readable not stogy reference work?

The format of Arizona Way Out West and Wacky's high quality pages is sure to enhance learning for casual vacationing tourists (both young and old) as well as those studying Arizona. For more about this book, visit

The product(s) featured in this review was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing and review. This review has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

— Reviewed by Pat
Here And There

Oct 14, 2011
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Awesome History!

Whether you're planning a trip to the Southwest soon, have recently returned, or just want your kids to learn more about the region's awesome history and features, check out "Arizona Way Out West & Wacky. It's filled with pages to color, fun facts about the state's freewheeling history (it's accredited by the AZ Historical Commission!) and activities the whole family will enjoy on a visit to this warm and sunny state.

Nearly every family visits the Grand Canyon before the last kid turns 18. Learn why there's more to the American Southwest than the big (admittedly impressive) hole in the ground, from its Native American history to its Wild West antics, to its many impressive natural landmarks.

Sep 20, 2011
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