Starabella Book Reviews

WHAT PARENTS, TEACHERS, GRANDPARENTS, AUNTS, UNCLES and PROFESSIONALS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE STARABELLA AUDIO/ PICTURE /MUSICAL BOOK SERIES of SOCIAL SENSITIVITY

Excerpts from Endorsements:

★★★★★It is Oscar-worthy. Wonderful, and what talents.

★★★★★I absolutely loved these books! Not only are the stories wonderful and meaningful; full of valuable lessons and adventures, the illustrations are also beautiful. When you accompany a    meaningful, beautifully illustrated story with a CD that is narrated with music it makes the reading adventures come alive.

★★★★★Treat the books more like an event than simply something to read.  The whole presentation has been created to be entertaining and fun for the readers, even while they are learning so much!

★★★★★Besides being beautifully illustrated, the series is interactive and has a musical element to it. At least with my boys, music resonates with them. Both boys enjoyed the books with and   without the music!!! They remind me a lot of the interactive storybooks that were read when I was in primary school.

★★★★★Superb illustrations and lively music drive the narration and story, which makes the Starabella experience both auditory and visual to reach many children of all learning styles and abilities.

★★★★★I’ve never experienced anything like the Starabella book series. Experiencing these books appeal to your visual, auditory, and emotional senses.

★★★★★Starabella books are unique because you look at the pictures while simultaneously listening to an accompanying CD for each respective book. Many times, I felt like I was watching a show rather than reading a book.

★★★★★These books are nothing short of magical.

★★★★★After placing the CD in our stereo…the kids sat down with the book in their laps patiently waiting for what was 30 minutes ofradio theater quality production. They were riveted…and so will you and your children as well.

★★★★★The colorful and stunning artwork accompanies the story, which makes the books a truly unique audio and visual experience.

★★★★★The music that accompanies the book can be used in tandem with the book or by itself, and children will love learning the words and singing along to their favorite tunes.

★★★★★The picture books are in a unique format, using chapters to help break up the passages.

 ★★★★★This trilogy is so much more than a child’s storybook. Each book comes with a complete CD Recording, not only of the songs, but the story itself. Having the book read to them and seeing the words and pictures, they will be able to use it as a reading training tool as well…

 ★★★★★This book really allowed the impact of the accompanying CD to be made. Not only do we read about the circus, we hear all the sounds, the music, the vendors shouting…

 ★★★★★I think your child is going to be just as excited to read about Starabella’s adventures, especially when she can hear the sounds and even learn some new songs!

★★★★★They are invited to participate in a game of questions and answers which involve a “MAGIC MIRROR!”

★★★★★They are visually stunning. Very kid appealing.

★★★★★I absolutely loved these books! Not only are the stories wonderful and meaningful; full of valuable lessons and adventures, the illustrations are also beautiful. When you accompany a    meaningful, beautifully illustrated story with a CD that is narrated with music it makes the reading adventures come alive.

★★★★★Treat the books more like an event than simply something to read.  The whole presentation has been created to be entertaining and fun for the readers, even while they are learning so much!

★★★★★Besides being beautifully illustrated, the series is interactive and has a musical element to it. At least with my boys, music resonates with them. Both boys enjoyed the books with and   without the music!!! They remind me a lot of the interactive storybooks that were read when I was in primary school.

★★★★★Superb illustrations and lively music drive the narration and story, which makes the Starabellaexperience both auditory and visual to reach many children of all learning styles and abilities.

★★★★★I’ve never experienced anything like the Starabellabook series. Experiencing these books appeal to your visual, auditory, and emotional senses.

★★★★★Starabella books are unique because you look at the pictures while simultaneously listening to an accompanying CD for each respective book. Many times, I felt like I was watching a show rather than reading a book.

★★★★★After placing the CD in our stereo…the kids sat down with the book in their laps patiently waiting for what was 30 minutes ofradio theater quality production. They were riveted…and so will you and your children as well.

★★★★★The colorful and stunning artwork accompanies the story, which makes the books a truly unique audio and visual experience.

★★★★★The music that accompanies the book can be used in tandem with the book or by itself, and children will love learning the words and singing along to their favorite tunes.

★★★★★The picture books are in a unique format, using chapters to help break up the passages.

 ★★★★★This trilogy is so much more than a child’s storybook. Each book comes with a complete CD Recording, not only of the songs, but the story itself. Having the book read to them and seeing the words and pictures, they will be able to use it as a reading training tool as well…

★★★★★This book really allowed the impact of the accompanying CD to be made. Not only do we read about the circus, we hear all the sounds, the music, the vendors shouting…

★★★★★I think your child is going to be just as excited to read about Starabella’s adventures, especially when she can hear the sounds and even learn some new songs!

★★★★★Children are invited to participate in a game of questions and answers which involve a “MAGIC MIRROR!”

★★★★★The books are visually stunning. Very kid appealing.

★★★★★All I can say is WOW!  The goodness that your family is sharing with the world with Starabella is absolutely overwhelming!!! 

 

ENDORSEMENTS FROM LOVING PARENTS, AUNTS and GRANDPARENTS:

★★★★★”Human creation is never perfect, and to want to be just like everyone else ignores the person you are.  Starabella teaches many things, especially self-esteem, which almost always results in respect and kindness for others.  I wish I had this book to share with my son when he was a child.”
Ed Asner – Famous Actor, Loving Dad

★★★★★Starabella Book 3
Charlotte and Nikko– a note from their mom: “We heard from Charlotte’s mom about her love of books 1 & 2. She now tells about her son Nikko, a boy who likes video games more than books, about how much he was engrossed with Starabella book 3.” Click here to read the letter.

★★★★★Starabella Books 1&2
“Charlotte absolutely loves Starabella! She even sleeps with the first book! She says that she loves to hear about Starabella’s adventures. We really enjoyed the stories and learning the new songs. Of course, we sing along! Other than Starabella, Kitten Kaboodle is a favorite character of Charlotte’s. We just so happen to have two cats that look very similar. Charlotte says, “Starabella and Kitten Kaboodle are wonderful together.” She also now responds with, “It’s a mystery”, when we don’t know the answer to a question. Haha.
It is so different, yet refreshing reading about a child character’s emotions in a children’s story. It’s reality. The kids are learning about real emotions and sometimes emotions can be deep, dark, confusing. This is a part of life. They’re also learning that if we are going through things, there are others that have experienced the same. We are not alone. I think they are great. You did a beautiful job writing these books. The music is so fun. Your family really did a great job. We are big fans of Starabella and the Fialco family in my house!”
 –Starabella fan, Beautiful Charlotte, a note from her mom, Jennifer

★★★★★”All I can say is WOW!  The goodness that your family is sharing with the world with Starabella is absolutely overwhelming!!!  “My eyes are shining like stars” after experiencing Starabella….I’m beyond full …of good feelings, hope & happiness!  WOW!  What a gift you give the world with Tara’s awe inspiring story and artistic gift….Dana’s soulful & lovely sharing of song … AND all of this made possible by the generous nurturing of you three.  As loving parents of your two gorgeous daughters, and as people willing to take the risk to open your lives to others, you’ve gifted the entire world with messages of goodness and love.  Your family is a light and an inspiration on so many levels especially when our world is overflowing with trouble, tragedy and antipathy. Your family’s work is a beacon of goodness, hope and love!  WOW!  The song “A New Beginning” is pure joy and, as they say in the islands, gives me chicken skin!”

You know, I really think that the Starabella series’ target audience is the whole human family!!!! Aloha From Hawaii”
Cori Hamilton, Loving Mom

★★★★★Sharon, may your bright light continue to be a beacon of positivity for the darkness in this world. What a fortunate group of people we are to be sharing this time on earth with you. Best wishes to you and your amazing family for all you do and for allowing us to “Fly in a Dream of Happiness.”
Lou Melgarejo, loving father of three whose eldest has autism spectrum disorder. Creator behind the video “Fixing Autism” and Lou’s Land, an autism blog. 

★★★★★”Our daughter has always been drawn to books, but it has been incredible to see her enchantment with Starabella. As soon as we buckle her into her car seat she declares, “I want Starabella book and CD!” She has memorized the story and lyrics and joyfully recites them along with the CD. Starabella will be at the top of our gift list this holiday season. Thank you, Fialcos for bringing Starabella into our family! It’s all heartfelt and true…”
Nate and Leah Lamkin, Loving Parents 

★★★★★More “Bliing!!!” “Bliing!!!” “Bliing!!!” from Louisa: My niece Louisa is very bright and precocious. She has also been ‘Starabella’ for the last 2 days! I called her “Louisa” today on the phone and she said, “NO, I’m ‘Starabella’ today!” My sister said she was in her room acting out the whole book starting with the part she’s not supposed to, “baby, baby!” but then went through the rest of the book! It’s such a HUGE compliment that with all the other books, toys etc. around that yours has been and remains her favorite!!! I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for being such a blessing to many! Love, Inspiration and Blessings.”
Kirstin Leigh – Loving Aunt

★★★★★”Hello Fialco family. It has been a true blessing to have met you at the Annual Autism NJ conference last week. My 7-year old daughter Hannah and I just finished reading the books and listening to the audio Cds together. Hannah’s face lit up and she started swaying to the music while my eyes filled with tears with the message that these publications conveyed to my mind, heart and soul.

Thank you so very much for these wonderful creations-what a beautiful way to explain to children and adults alike Hannah’s little “mysteries”-I can’t wait to start sharing these books and Cds with everyone in our lives. Best wishes to all of you always.”
Honey Bermeo, Loving Mom

★★★★★“I want to thank you so much for giving my son Yair the Starabella books and audio. He loves sitting with each book and following along with the audio narrative. The music is beautifully orchestrated, and the stories are easy to follow along. The message of each story is positive and full of love. When my Son listens to the stories it seems as if he is carried away to a different world. One time my Son’s friend wanted to borrow one of the books for a night and he refused, because of his strong attachment to them. Thank you for enriching my Son’s education and enjoyment.”
Chana and Chaim Nesser, Loving Parents 

★★★★★”Our kids just LOVE LOVE LOVE Starabella…Want to know how much? They want to name the new baby ‘Starabella’(!)…My son named his new stuffed animal Beary Jeremy. The Jeremy character comes from the 3rd book of Starabella.”
Elice Bui – Loving Mom 

★★★★★”I can’t tell you how impressed I was with Book Three, Welcome to a Bright New World. I listened to the CD and loved every minute. The illustrations are marvelous and the story is perfect for kids in school.”
Joan Katz, Loving Grandmother
 

★★★★★”Hi Sharon, My granddaughter Caya received the entire series, three Starabella Audio/Picture Books not long after they were released. Caya absolutely loves ‘Starabella’ and even after some time, it’s still a “go-to” selection for her! There is something very personal and empowering in the stories that speaks to her.”
Andrew Fitzsimmons, Proud, Loving Granddad

★★★★★”Book Two of the Starabella series – “Starabella: New Adventures and Mixed Emotions.” Beyond encouraging understanding and care for others, this book also is all about imagination, self-expression, and dreaming – a little bit like what childhood itself should be.”
Rivka Kiwano, Loving Mom of three adorable children 

★★★★★”Guess what we listen to, sing, and “read” every time we’re in the car? Oh, and Natalia has renamed her Cabbage Patch Kid Starabella.

 

ENDORSEMENTS FROM TEACHERS:

★★★★★”My class really enjoyed these books especially,“Starabella: Welcome to a Bright New World” which takes place in a classroom. I teach a Regular Ed First Grade and I felt that my children related to Starabella’s difficulties in the classroom. There is no such thing as a perfect classroom and believe me I have quite a few students in my class who really like to bully other students. After reading this book I noticed that my class had changed for the better. Some of the bullying had stopped. I even did a writing lesson after reading the book.

My class seemed fascinated by the beautifully illustrated pictures. One student even said “It seems like the pictures are popping out at you.

As an educator I would highly recommend the StarabellaSeries. The books teach us many different lessons from empathy to conflict resolution and bullying. I am also a mother of a son who is on the spectrum. I read the books to my son and he really enjoyed them.”

Michelle Polenetsky, First Grade Regular Ed Teacher

 

★★★★★”I recommend this series to general education classes and special needs classes. For a general education class it would teach empathy, acceptance, and friendship without having to adapt the stories. For special education classes it is a wonderful series for social stories and captivating music plus the stories can also be adapted.”

Nicole Balsome, Special Ed teacher

 

★★★★★”Hi! I’m writing to let you know that the Satrabellabooks were fantastic! The students responded well to the music and they really enjoyed looking at the pictures. My students request to hear the stories again and again. I believe the stories are helpful in promoting social sensitivity and were certainly entertaining. The books are wonderful!”

Elizabeth Nachstein, Special Ed Teacher

★★★★★”Based upon a real family and the experiences of their daughter in both social and academic settings, this book is wonderfully and compassionately written… Artwork: Concerning the picture artwork within the book, only one word can sum it up: stellar…Music: The musical pieces are well composed and go along with what is happening in the story… As a special education teacher, the best part for me in this series occurred in Book Three when the replacement behavior is being taught… if you’re a parent of a child with disabilities, primarily autism, purchase this book series. Your child needs to see that they are not alone in their struggles and now has someone to relate to.”

ElementarySpecialEducation.org.  Read the complete review

 

★★★★★”WOW! I love the books and CDs! The books send a positive message to the kids! I read the 1st book to my class! The kids loved it!!! Starabella is an adorable character whom children can relate to.”

Lindsey Madere, Regular Ed Elementary School Teacher

 

★★★★★”Wow, Sharon…I’m blown away! To all teachers out there….books with songs really worth engaging your students in. These are the real gifts of learning!!”

Judy Cohen, Special Ed teacher 

 

★★★★★“Starabella is a wonderful book series that both kept my class engaged and attentive – the fabulous music really got them going – and provided me with a balanced lesson plan for the class. These books can be implemented as a great learning toll that function at a 3-year-old’s developmental level They were a fun experience that class 103 thanks you for.”

Yelena Lobova, Special Ed teacher

 

★★★★★”We are currently using the Starabellabooks! We have just read about ‘Starry’s’ first day at school. We did some role plays in the classroom today about helping others who do not understand the directions. It was a good lesson! One student said, “she met new friends, and Starabella showed the friends her dreamland.” Another said, “I like the lullabies and the songs.” Another said, “Starabella was sad and then she smiled because she was proud she could sing.” Another said he “likes that she’s playing the piano.” I have 6 boys in my class so this is very refreshing, fun and different – I think it will help my students develop good social skills while learning about girls at the same time. My class loves the music and songs. We teach academic and social skills through music!”

Martina Lynch, Special Ed teacher

 

★★★★★”The three Starabella books with CDs are a hit!  An example is an 18 year old student who reads on a kindergarten level loves Princess Fiona, Starbella and Shrek. When I showed her the series of Starbella books—her eyes were like bright stars! We have integrated Starbella into our after-school care and learning program for teens with autism and other Special Needs. Thank you.”

Brenda Wilson, Founder, Ryan Woods Autism Foundation  

 

★★★★★”Hello. The students in my class were very engaged when listening to the story, Starabella. They loved the songs that were throughout the book. They really enjoyed it and followed along. Most of the students were able to answer the questions at the end of the book with no assistance or props, which was great! The students enjoyed the colorful and descriptive pictures that were detailed in the book. They would comment and ask questions on the different emotions and feelings that were expressed throughout the book, such as sad, happy, scared. My class would love to listen to the story again.”

Special Ed teacher, District 75 New York

 

★★★★★”This story is about a young girl, Starabella, with extraordinary abilities and musical talent who also happens to have autism. The book is not a traditional read-a-loud book, because you are missing out on the story if you are not listening to the audio CD. We were concerned that the book would be too long to keep our children’s attention. This was not a problem at all. Children enjoyed the story and gained understanding of Starabella’s emotions through her music. This book also encourages understanding and care for others, self-expression and dreaming that fit the mission of our school to create opportunities for people with disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives. We strongly recommend this story for our classroom library.”

Classroom 116 team of UCP

 

★★★★★”We have read the book Starabellain class today. The book is colorful and brilliantly illustrated, so it captured children’s attention immediately. There is also great music and songs that enhanced reading, entertained children and helped to create an atmosphere in which children feel welcomed and comfortable. The story is meaningful and educational. It demonstrated and encourages children how to develop self-confidence, respect others, and share special abilities they have. They brought a wonderful and happy time in our classroom.”

Class 209 UCP

 

★★★★★”We listened to Book Two of the Starabellaseries in class today. We liked the circus part the best. Happy music: We were dancing to it. We liked all music: happy, dreamy, scary and sad. It is ok to be sad sometimes. We also understood that it is important to listen to our parents and teachers. They want the best for us, just like Starabella’s mommy. We want to listen and to read more of theStarabellabooks.”

Special Ed Teacher

 

★★★★★Michelle Polenetsky, teacher of NYC Pre-K4, P.S. 48 recently did a unit on friendship. She shared Book Three of the Starabella Series, “Starabella: Welcome to a Bright New World,” with her students. The story takes place in a kindergarten classroom. When she asked her students how they would make Starabella feel better when she retreated under a table, these were their sweet, kind responses:

Kevin: “Sorry…and I will be nice with you!!!
”Zuri: “I would say Sorry. Stay and play with me!!!”
Camerin: “ I want to say sorry. Feel better. No more sad!!!”
Jamia: “Please don’t be sad. Be happy. Don’t worry!!!”
Jeremih: “I would want to play with somebody.
”Haylee: “ We have to play with them to make them feel better.
”Raylene: “I would ask them to play with me.
”Melanie: “You need to feel better.”
Eliana: “I will hug somebody to make them feel better.”
Ryan: “I’m sorry to see you sad.”
Ryan: “ I would go over and say I’m sorry that you are sad.

These comments were accompanied by adorable drawings. 

I guess that Starabella is right when she says that “Being a friend brings out the goodness in you.”

 

ENDORSEMENTS FROM PROFESSIONALS:

★★★★★You have presented “Starabella” in a fairytale style book.  Just like Cinderella there is a great deal to learn about the personalities in the story, human behavior and emotions and how good can outweigh evil.
Judith Omidvaran, Autism Parent/Advocate, Member of the Westchester Autism Advisory Committee, Autism Spectrum News Editorial Board Member

★★★★★I want to give out a shout out to Sharon Fialco and her beautiful Starabella books. I hope you take time to read why. A while back I had the pleasure to read and review this triple set of books w/cd’s. Because the books deal with autism I passed them on to my sister who has triplet grandchildren, one of whom, Alyssa, struggles with autism. The 1st call I received was from my sister who was impressed with the great workmanship and time that went into the books. The 2nd call was to let me know that the books were a success and a young girl who struggles with day to day things now has a mile wide smile and although unable to read can memorize the lovely stories. As an added plus this young girl’s special talent is perfect pitch, so what a splendid and beautiful thing to have the CD’s for her with their lovely songs with their catchy tunes. Thank you so much Sharon for sharing your story and passing hope along. If I could I would give the books 500 stars!
Pamela Winn, well-read author in many genres (P.S. Winn)

★★★★★Unique. Engaging. Heart-Warming. Relevant. Needed.

“These are just a few words that come to mind when I think about the exceptional Starabella book series… I’ve never experienced anything like the Starabella book series… Experiencing these books appeals to your visual, auditory, and emotional senses… Starabella beautifully personifies autism and allows us to enter the world of a young girl with high functioning autism…It creates a visceral reaction of hope and promise…The Starabella books are as much for families affected by autism as they are for those who do not have first-hand experience with autism… If you are interested in sharing the beliefs of being kind to one another, Starabella naturally provides the perfect platform to teach the concepts of empathy, inclusion and anti-bullying.”
Kimberly Scanlon of Scanlon Speech Therapy, Author of My Toddler Talks Read the complete review

★★★★★”If this series was used in every classroom the possibilities of sensitizing children to differences could be profound. This series is a perfect introduction to an adventure that every child will love and remember!

This series is magical and is a fabulous tool to educate young children. It is a happy journey for teachers and parents to teach about diversity, disability and helps with anti-bullying.”
Susan M. Cortilet-Jones, MS, LMHC, Life Skills and College Coaching, Discovering Your World 

★★★★★”The first thing you need to know about this remarkable series of books is how fun it is for kids of all ages to listen and interact with. It is hard to describe the initial reaction my kids (six and three) had when they opened the colorful and brilliantly illustrated books. After placing the CD in our stereo…the kids sat down with the book in their laps patiently waiting for what was 30 minutes of radio theater quality production. They were riveted…and so will you and your children as well.”
Tim Villegas – Husband and Father/Educator/Believer/Advocate/ Tim promotes his ideas about inclusive schools and communities into his own website: Think Inclusive 

★★★★★”As a Speech-Language Pathologist of 18 years, I have had the opportunity to work with many children on the Autism Spectrum. This book series, with its accompanying CDs depicts an accurate portrait of an Autistic child. Not only is it an accurate portrayal, but it is presented in a way that families can relate to and easily understand. Children, especially siblings of Autistic children, will enjoy the wonderful illustrations and fun, “catchy” songs. I especially enjoyed the song “Ta Da” and find myself singing and humming it often. It has a powerful and cheerful message, and is also a great deal of fun.

★★★★★”Everyone will enjoy the triumphs and tribulations of the Oclaif family. I strongly recommend this series to families, friends and teachers of Autistic children, you will truly enjoy and learn from it. Acceptance and understanding is the key to a happy Autistic child. To the Fialco and “Oclaif” family…Ta Da!!!!! Great job!!!!”
Melissa A. GilheeneyM.S., CCC/SLP /Speech-Language Pathologist 

★★★★★”Powerfully written and exceptionally illustrated, these books help teach children with and without autism, as well as their families, that when we learn to accept and not scorn the differences between us all, we create a world where everyone, regardless of background and abilities, is a wonderful and powerful voice in the universe….My own sister has worked with children with autism for nearly 15 years, and she has told me that a series such as this has the power not only to help children and families, but really serve as a beacon of light that will let us all see that even if you can’t visually perceive differences among people, understanding and acceptance will help create a “Bright New World”, hopefully better than the one in which we live.”
Dr. Stephen Gilheeney, Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist 

★★★★★”I received the books and audio and absolutely love them!  The books are beautifully illustrated, the songs are wonderful (with amazing voices!), and the stories will surely keep kids interested with great lessons learned through discussion and visuals.”
Debbie Singer, Owner Autism Educators/Teacher Brower County Public Schools 

★★★★★”We graciously recieved the starabella books as donations during christmas and found several familes we work with who could use them the most. The mothers were very happy with the gifts as they not only engaged the children academically but also through art. Many mothers spoke about their children singing the songs and having fun learning to read while listening to the music. They were thrilled to obtain such valuable gifts that not only engaged children’s minds but also, it seems, their souls”
Pamela Ossona Intake / F.E.T. Coordinator /Mercy Drive, Inc. 

★★★★★”I proudly presented Starabella at our First Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade and Festival, held this past July at Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in San Jose. It did my soul good to see children of various ages and abilities thoroughly enjoying Starry and her journey to a Bright New World.  I’ll be looking for more opportunities to bring Starry’s story of inclusion for all, Tara’s transcendent music, and her sister Dana’s sublime and powerful voice to the wider audience it so richly desrves. The world needs more Starabella!”
Mark F. Romoser, Community Advocate, Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, San Jose, CA 

★★★★★“Starabella brings the reader to a bright new world where there is acceptance of each human being’s differences. This masterpiece of music, artwork and engaging children’s stories will enchant children.”
Judith Omidvarin, Autism Parent/Advocate, Member of the Westchester Autism Advisory Committee, Autism Spectrum News Editorial Board Member


★★★★★”An uplifting story of triumph over adversity. Terrific music both original and inspiring.”
Carey Zuckerman President of the Manhattan Autism Society 

★★★★★”Thought you might like to know that I chose to write a blog that included a link to your Starabella trailer.  In it, I encouraged other parents to check it out, not only because its message is great for everyone to hear, but also to encourage parents to explore ways that they, too, may bring about positive change. Best of luck with your Starabella project. I think you’ve really put together something quite special.”
Nancy Green, Executive Director, Brain Highways Center, www.brainhighways.com 

★★★★★”Feel-good, instructive books that would appeal to any child (with special needs or not) who is learning how to cope with challenges or negative peer perceptions.”
MYMOMSHOPS – click for full review

★★★★★”Greetings to the folks at Starabella,
I want to thank you for the wonderful Starabella books with accompanying CDs for the library at the Benedictine School in Ridgely, MD. Your donation of Starabella products given to Mr. Jeff Moran at the Autism New Jersey Conference this fall is greatly appreciated. The books and CDs do a wonderful job of showing the variety of feelings children experience, including those with special needs (including Autism Spectrum Disorder). The accompanying CDs not only provide greater depth to the storybooks, but the songs are motivational! These star stories are created for the whole family, to brighten up everyone’s world!!   I wish you the best of success with your Starabella products.”
Diana Hastings, School Library Media Specialist, Art Therapist,and School Psychologist.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Starabella Bookseries Review by Miss Mom-vocate:
There is always a lot of talk about Autism AWARENESS. And, don’t get me wrong, I am a supporter of bringing Autism Awareness to the forefront. But, what I, as a mother of a young son on the spectrum, want more than anything is ACCEPTANCE. Some may see acceptance as being the same as awareness, but it is so much more than that.

While I could care less how MUCH you learn about autism, I only sincerely wish that my son be accepted for the brilliant, loving and bright spirit that he is. It is the much EASIER thing for one to chose to be accepting, for it requires only you open your heart. Acceptance doesn’t require that you give money, walk an organized walk or read an article. Acceptance requires that you value all that these magnificent spectrum children have to offer. And, what they have to offer is so valuable. I always tell my boys, “Wouldn’t it be so boring if we were all alike?” Click here to read the full review.

REVIEW by Nicole Balsome, Special Ed Kindergarten Teacher, [email protected], Bronx, NY

It was wonderful to receive the Starabella Series. We received the 3 books and a supplemental CD with all the music from the stories. The books are Starabella: Welcome to a Bright New World”(Starabella at School), “Starabella: Mystery Girl of Music”(Starabella at Home), and “Starabella: New Adventures and Mixed Emotions”(Starabella in the Community). Each book comes with a narrated story with music CD.

I am a 6:1:1 classroom teacher in D75. My students were able to relate with Starbella and her experiences. As a professional it was wonderful to find a series written with everyday experiences that my students were afraid or feared. My students enjoyed the narrated story with music CD vs. reading the story alone. My class had two learning levels – early and advance. The early learners loved the music and colorful pictures throughout the series. The advance learners loved the pictures and the stories. The advance learners were able to relate to each story, label Starabella’s feelings, and answer reading comprehension questions. Overall I would recommend this series to general education classes and district 75 classes. For a general education class it would teach empathy, acceptance, and friendship without having to adapt the stories. For a district 75 class it is a wonderful series for social stories and captivating music and the stories can be adapted.

“Starabella: Welcome to a Bright New World”
This book was about Starbella as she begins her 1st day of kindergarten. It was wonderful to find a book with such a diverse group of students just like my classroom. The students can relate to the starting of school, making friends, accepting others, and dealing with a classroom bully.

“Starabella: Mystery Girl of Music”
This book was about Starbella as enters the world as a baby and how she grows into a young child. This story gave you the background information about Starbella. My students enjoyed seeing her grow up and loved when she received the piano. My advanced learners had many questions about this book and learned how to understand her frustrations of not being able to speak.

“Starabella: New Adventures and Mixed Emotions”
This was the book that was most loved by my class and myself. Starabella ventures into the community with her parents. She encounters demands and has to learn to follow the rules. Starabella went to the circus and had a wonderful time until the loud music became too much due to her sensory issues. She learned to deal with all the mixed feelings she was having at the circus by using her favorite item the piano to sort them out. This story really prepared my students for our trip to the circus and that it was ok to feel that way. It was a great social story.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to use the series in my classroom and for writing a review. I look forward to more stories.

Nicole Balsome
[email protected]

Autism and Acceptance: The Starabella Book Series 

Autism and Acceptance: The Starabella Book Review
—By Kimberly Scanlon of Scanlon Speech Therapy, author of My Toddler Talks

Unique. Engaging. Heart-Warming. Relevant. Needed.
These are just a few words that come to mind when I think about the exceptional book series, Starabella.

“In honor of Autism awareness month, I’m thrilled to introduce, the story of Starabella to my readers. The Starabella book series was created by the Fialco family with the hope of spreading empathy, acceptance and kindness for those who may be different. Starabella beautifully personifies autism and allows us to enter the world of a young girl with high functioning autism. It creates a visceral reaction of hope and promise.” Click here to read the full review.

Starabella Book Review by John from Elementary Special Education.org
It is my pleasure to write this Starabella book review. Based upon a real family and the experiences of their daughter in both social and academic settings, this book is wonderfully and compassionately written. Click here to read the full review.

 

BOOK ONE REVIEW 

Starabella: Mystery Girl of Music

A Narrated Story With Music – First Story in Trilogy

CHILDREN 3 TO ALL AGES WILL ENJOY MEETING STARABELLA!

Review by Glenda Bixler of Book Reader’s Heaven

A Narrated Story With Music – First Story in Trilogy

CHILDREN 3 TO ALL AGES WILL ENJOY MEETING STARABELLA!

Reviewing children’s books is just a little bit different in my opinion. Especially for this trilogy, which is so much more than a child’s story book. If I were looking at a book for an adult, I would consider this and the other two books literary marvels. First, the book itself is illustrated by Anton Petrov and the quality of the art itself is superb! These books really need to be in every community library across the nation, in my opinion!

The next issue that must be addressed is that the book comes with a complete CD Recording, not only of the songs, but the story itself. There are little touches, such as, “turn the page” commands that will help younger children learn not only how to read a book, but, by having the book read to them and seeing the words and pictures, they will be able to use it as a reading training tool as well… Click here to read the full review.

BOOK TWO REVIEW

Starabella: New Adventures and Mixed Emotions
A Narrated Story With Music – Second Story in Trilogy
SECOND IN TRILOGY BY THE FILACO FAMILY PROVIDES GUIDANCE IN EMOTIONAL SITUATIONS FOR CHILDREN
Review by Glenda Bixler of Book Reader’s Heaven

Imagine as a child that first big event you experienced–for Starabella that was the circus! The Music, The Clowns, The Animals… Starabella loved the trapeze artists best and she began to imagine what it would be like to fly through the air! She was thinking so hard that all of the other noises and activities got in her way and she began to feel sad…then bad…

But when they left and went home, Starabella could begin to remember how she was so overwhelmed with everything at the circus. She started laughing and ran through the house–Laughing, Laughing, Laughing!

So much that her parents began to worry about her. Finally though, her mother shouted to ask her why she was laughing…Her response was that she didn’t know!

Finally, she was able to play the piano to express her feelings…Click here to read the full review as part of the trilogy. Click here to read the full review.

BOOK THREE REVIEW

Starabella: Welcome to a Bright New World

A Narrated Story with Music – Final Story in Trilogy

THE FIALCO FAMILY CLOSES TRILOGY WITH GUIDANCE IN MAKING CHOICES BY CHILDREN
Review by Glenda Bixler of Book Reader’s Heaven

The final story is perhaps the most important – but then again – our lives are formed right from the first day we are born… Starabella was a little special star born to a loving family. Her family never knew until she was 21 exactly why she was special…

So there was never any thought about having her attend school with all the other children…

At first she was excited, and when her mother took her to meet her new teacher Miss Maradise, she thought she was very nice!

And wait until you meet her new schoolmates:

Emilio, Josh, Tomiko, Jeremy, Julian, Elizabeth, Malia, Zandrina, and Lifisha… Click here to read the full review

 

Think Inclusive, by Tim Villegas

“The first thing you need to know about this remarkable series of books is how fun it is for kids of all ages to listen and interact with. It is hard to describe the initial reaction my kids (six and three) had when they opened the colorful and brilliantly illustrated books.” Click here to read the complete review. The Queens Jewish Link

Starabella Series reviewed by Lorey Friedman, The Power of a Song: How One Family Is Teaching Social Sensitivity One Note At a Time.

“A wonderful, comprehensive review of the background, goals, and purpose of the Starabella narrated picture books with music.” Click here to read the full review beginning on page 69.

Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Review of the Starabella Three-Book Series
“I absolutely loved these books! Not only are the stories wonderful and meaningful; full of valuable lessons and adventures, the illustrations are also beautiful. When you accompany a meaningful, beautifully illustrated story with an a CD that is narrated with music is makes the reading adventures come alive. Any child, with or without learning difficulties, has difficult moments from time to time and the Starabella series focuses on the magic that makes all of us different! I love that the authors were able to include the importance of empathy, inclusion, social conflict resolution, anti-bullying, and making friends into stories that created great dialogue with my children. I applaud the authors for creating stories that enhanced my parenting and my children’s sense of self and respect for others! I rate this series 100 stars!!!!”  Click herefor full review.

 

Review by Cara Batema, Special Needs.com

  • Starabella, Mystery Girl of Music: Starabella is the heroine of a series of three audio and picture books about a girl with learning differences whose eyes shine like stars when she is happy.  Book one is entitled Starabella: Mystery Girl of Music, and it centers around Starabella’s experiences at home. Book Review
  • Starabella, New Adventures and Mixed Emotions: Starabella is a captivating story about a young girl with learning differences who expresses herself through music.  In the second  book in this series, Starabella ventures out into the community and finds herself riveted by the circus but later faces sensory overload. Book Review
  • Starabella, Weclome to a Bright New World: Now that we’ve seen Starabella at home (Mystery Girl of Music) and in the community (New Adventures and Mixed Emotions), it’s time to travel with her to school in book three of the Starabella series, Welcome to a Bright New World.  Book Review

 

Review by Lisa A. Fraser, Forest Hills Parents Teach Empathy Through Their Story

Starabella’s eyes “shine like stars” when she’s happy. The young protagonist in a audio/picture book series is bright-eyed and full of wonder and her ability to create music and songs has made her parents proud. Read the full review in the Queens Ledger

 

ReadAutism Spectrum, Family Creates the Starabella Series: A Model of Inclusion for All Children

NYMetroParents
Meet Starabella: a courageous and talented girl with learning differences who expresses herself through music — and when she’s happy, Starabella’s eyes shine like stars. Click here to read the full review.

 

Midwest Book Review
Starabella At School, Book Three of Starabella Welcome to a Bright New World is an illustrated book CD voyage for children ages 3 and up and adults who care for them. Created by the joint efforts of parent and two daughters, the “Starabella” series is based on biographical experiences of Tara Fialco, talented musician and child educator who was diagnosed as autistic at age 21. The “Starabella” series is a masterful effort to communicate in song the need for understanding and inclusion especially in educational settings. Starabella is a specially gifted child who learns and communicates best through music and song. Her educational experiences are at times challenging and painful, but she overcomes her difficulties and encourages others to do the same, by discovering and expressing her talents and gifts. The songs of “Starabella at School” are a delightful way to enrich educational curriculum to encourage sensitivity and inclusiveness and also a new way to approach bullying issues and problems. Song composed and performed by the authors are both enchanting and inspirational, and the cheerful but descriptive illustrations and story convey some of the feelings that Starabella expresses so well in song. CD recording produced by Joe Vulpis, AP Music Inc.

 

Review by Lou Melgarejo of Lou’s Land
Not long after I put out “Fixing” Autism I read a comment from a woman by the name of Sharon Fialco saying that they too had a child on the spectrum and that her daughter was very musical. In fact her daughter was a pianist and composer. Together with her family they put together a trilogy of books complete with musical accompaniment. The comment was very warm and touching. Sharon went on to say that she was so moved by my video that she wanted to send me a copy of the books as a sign of appreciation for my video. Read Lou’s Land Blog, Starabella Shines Bright!

 

 

Get to Know the Fialco Family and Learn Why They Came Together to Produce the Starabella Narrated Musical Picture Books of Acceptance The Power of Song Sends Strength to Us All

How One Family’s Harmony is Teaching Social Sensitivity to the Youngest Kids One Word at a Time

*The following story is a reprint of a news story by Lorey Friedman

This is a story of hope, endurance and determination. A non- fictional tale of a family sustained by love, working together, united in harmony, producing beautiful music and using Gd’s challenges and special gifts in ways they never thought was imaginable. The distinguished, nominated, award winning, popular book series entitled Starabella (notice the name Tara in the middle) is a unique family project where mother, father and sisters use their individual talents to achieve one goal. Starabella mirrors the aspirations of the Fialco family of Forest Hills, NY which is for all people to achieve social sensitivity.

The Fialco Family

Forty one years ago, beautiful baby Tara was born to Sharon and Marvin Fialco. A vivacious, energetic child, Tara would later present perplexing challenges to her parents. Unable to get a diagnosis, they were left with a mystery. The Fialco’s became creative in overcoming obstacles, trying hard to mainstream their daughter into society. But, when Tara was six years old, her grandparents sent her a gift that would alter the family’s life forever. Arriving to their Honolulu Hawaii home was a piano. Tara took to the piano as if it were a part of her. She memorized the sound of every key and soon taught herself to play any music she heard by ear. She began to compose her own music. Through music she was able to express her thoughts and emotions and reflections on the world around her. The lyrics to her songs showed that she was philosophically precocious. Sharon and Marvin Fialco were lifted by the music to a place of joy where they experienced great pride and marveled not only at Tara’s ability but at the blessing of her gift.

The piano became Tara’s voice of her soul. As if dealing with her personal challenges wasn’t enough, she was forced to face insensitivity by other children. This and dealing with the rest of society pushed her into feelings of isolation. Despite the rejection and cruelness around her, Tara would play songs of hope that reflected her belief in the potential goodness in all people. She created a musical, magical world where all people got along and were accepted exactly the way they were. It is in her music that Tara’s genuine nature lies. She shares her vision of a better world to include all people.

Dana, Tara’s younger sister with tremendous abilities and talents of her own took an early interest in Tara’s circumstances and in her music. Dana began writing lyrics to Tara’s music and they would later perform extensively together in local communities. Rather than have their differences separate them, these two sisters were able to connect with their musical talents and shared ideals.

In 1993, Tara and Dana made their first recording of a song called “A New Beginning”. The song epitomizes Tara and Dana’s joint musical philosophy. When they recorded the song, they hoped to remind people that it is possible and necessary not only to reach each other, but also to gain a greater sense of personal fulfillment and self-realization. They wanted to inspire their listeners to make new beginnings personally, nationally and globally. These sentiments are just as meaningful today. In fact, Dana has recently recorded “A New Beginning” for re-release.

With tremendous determination and all her innate strength, Tara went on to earn a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Honolulu Community College. She put her degree to good use as she brings her musical message to children. Since Tara’s mother Sharon, had been Tara’s study buddy, she also informally received an education about child development. Thus, Sharon became inspired to write interactive, educational shows for children incorporating Tara’s music. Tara and her mother made props and scenery and together with guitar, keyboard and amplifier performed in classrooms filled with all types of children. In 1994, even before receiving Tara’s diagnosis of Autism and two years before their move to New York, the Starabella book series emerged from their observations of children at play where Tara performed. They noticed that anyone can become the object of ostracism. Combining Tara’s childhood dilemmas with those of other children, the stories cover a broad spectrum of personal and social situations children confront at home, in the community, and in school. The Starabella stories have been presented in many settings and continually revised to reflect current conditions.

The Starabella stories hope to encourage the trend of structuring programs to meet the various needs of individual students. If done correctly, all children benefit since being a member of a diverse learning environment prepares all children to feel comfortable in a multicultural, diverse world.

In Book One, children meet Starabella and follow her through babyhood and her early toddler years in the private world of her home. She is the focus of the attention of her family and they do all they can to meet her needs.

In Book Two, children follow Starabella as she ventures into the community, where there are demands for conformity and expectations for appropriate behaviors and following the rules. Just as Tara did, she has the supervision, support and guidance of her parents.

In Book Three, a major turning point occurs for readers and characters as Starabella enters the public arena of kindergarten, where children begin to make their own behavior choices and form their own rules. Children meet the wonderful character of a teacher named Miss Maradise who helps make rules that serve the needs of the whole.

Starabella and her classmates model the behavior of children who embrace diversity in their friendships and make empathetic social choices. They all work cooperatively to achieve their mutual goal of getting to a “Bright New World”, as Book Three of Starabella is appropriately named.

The entire Fialco family has been “in”volved and “in”cluded in this project that surely is one of the best live models of inclusion. Each family member contributed what they were best in and together used their strengths to achieve their goal. The Starabella project, from its earliest days of Tara and Dana’s childhood music to the CD’s and books being heard and read today, reflect and mirror that each of us has something useful to contribute. Starabella brings out the good in everyone.

These wonderful books that have and continue to be the heart and soul of the Fialco family enhance their life with special meaning and purpose. There is an important, necessary message emitted, not just for the children they are intended for. From these books, we can all learn the importance of creating a socially sensitive environment in the school or really any social setting. Learning institutions must be an emotionally and physically safe place for all, where every student is able to contribute. It is only in this type of culture that each pupil can prosper and reach his or her own goals. Not only will the child with special needs succeed. Indeed, showing all types of children diversity helps them to accept difference and live in a diverse world.

Each beautiful Starabella hardcover book comes with its own CD, captivating and fully narrated and sung by Dana, accompanied by Tara on keyboard. Amazing, vibrant illustrations by Anton Petrov with captions help the listener follow along with the story. CD recordings were produced by Joe Vulpis, AP Music Inc. Written by Sharon, narrated by Dana and based on the inspirational music by Tara, the message of both storybook and music strives to give people the courage to reach for their dreams.

The reader joins the Oclaif (Fialco spelled backwards) in their celebration and triumph over adversity. Pleasantly surprising to author Sharon, children without special learning needs are relating to and rooting for the character Starabella, showing indeed that all of us are filled with kindness and compassion. Starabella really does bring out the best in all of us.

Wondering about Dad? Well, without Marvin Fialco’s belief in the value of this project and the support and confidence he gave his family, the dream of his wife and daughters would not have become a reality. He provided counsel and feedback every step of the way. Yes, indeed, Dad was and is, a true partner in this family project.

The Fialco family hopes that children (and adults as well) everywhere will see how brilliantly their eyes will shine and how they become empowered when they have the courage to act on their own to reach out a hand to another child, or another person, and see that child, that individual reach out to another and on and on and on. These are the hands that can unite the world. Taken from lyrics of Tara and Dana’s music, “It’s only up to you.”

 

To order your copy of Book One, Book Two, Book Three, the complete Three Book Series please click here.