STARABELLA Audio-Picture Books with Music – when you acquire acceptance and empathy for another, you gain love of yourself – for kids 2-8

Starabella is a family production – a true labor of love.

I am a proud mom of two adult daughters – Tara who has autism and Dana who is neuro-typical. Together we collaborated to produce this 3-book series of picture books with music.  We were inspired by the childhood experiences and dreams of my daughter Tara. Dealing with the challenges of autism, Tara was often teased and isolated in school. Her experiences were not unique. Too many children deal with bullying every day in school. Gifted musically, Tara came home and used her beloved piano to write magical, touching melodies and lyrics about a far more accepting world than the world she had to face each day. She wanted to share with others the idea that even though we do not always see love, compassion and acceptance, we know that they are possible.* The “Starabella” books reflect Tara’s belief in the goodness of the human spirit. The series provides a way for children to come together to help make Tara’s dream a reality.

The themes of the Starabella books reflect the benefits of Diversity, Compassion, Inclusion and Acceptance. We bring these values to children at their youngest ages – before negative thoughts have a chance to develop into destructive behaviors. 

Tara composed 17 of the 22 songs and melodies used in the series as a very young child. For this series, Tara performed these songs and instrumentals on piano and keyboard. All of Tara’s songs are delivered from the viewpoint of the stories’ courageous heroine, Starabella.

One person’s plight in a family affects every member of that family. Tara’s sister Dana, a talented singer and songwriter herself, took an early interest in Tara’s circumstances and her music. She began writing lyrics to Tara’s music. She and Tara performed music together in our local community throughout their childhoods. For the Starabella series, Dana narrated the stories, sang the songs, played many of the characters, and wrote additional songs reflecting the feelings of the stories’ parents and teacher.

I directed the project and wrote the words, tying together the messages in the music. My husband Marvin, believing in the importance of the project, supported and aided its production, making it all possible.


The Heroine Starabella

Tara went on to achieve an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. I was her study buddy. Reading extensively about shared environments and inclusive education, I became inspired to write interactive, fun-filled shows with socially sensitive messages for children. The shows incorporated Tara’s music. Tara performed these shows in preschools, kindergarten classrooms, day programs, after-school programs and special needs classrooms. The Starabella character emerged from my observations of children’s interactions in these settings. The heroine Starabella is a courageous, musically talented little girl with learning and behavioral differences. Book Three in the series is set in an inclusive kindergarten classroom. Combining Starabella’s dilemmas with those of the other characters, this book covers a broad spectrum of social situations children confront at school every day. Some of the comments made by Starabella’s classmates are the actual words of children at play in the schools where Tara performed her shows.

In the three-book series, children visit Starabella in her home, community and school. Children who listen to and view Books One and Two celebrate Starabella’s accomplishmnets, feel compassion for her extra challenges, root for her to reach her goals, and gain understanding of her emotions through her music. In this way, they acquire empathy for her by the time she enters kindergarten.

The Starabella series sends the message that children do not all learn, function, or view the world in the same way. The stories emphasize the importance of creating shared environments that meet the social and emotional needs of the whole. Book Three, set in a kindergarten classroom, includes an interactive, multiple choice segment. Listeners/readers are asked to make friendly social choices using a “Magical Mirror.” They help Starabella’s classmates, students of various races, religions, abilities, challenges, attitudes and dreams solve social dilemmas. They see that this creates an atmosphere in which all the children feel welcomed, valued, and eager to share what is special inside them.

 Children then share the wonder as Starabella reveals her special connection to the stars! Magically, surrounded by star-glow, dressed all glittery, she rises up on a star-shaped stage, holding a microphone as Starabella Kindergarten Rock Star! Singing, “Follow Me,” she leads children to the place where all their unique paths meet in HARMONY.


Audio/Visual Format

The multi-award-winning Starabella Series is not just books. It is a multi-media presentation of narration, song and illustration presented in the unique format of a musical play.

There is a fully narrated audio CD with music located inside the front cover of each picture book. The narrated story and music are also available online. To fully experience the stories, it is necessary to listen to the audio. Children sing, dance, dream, and imagine along with Starabella’s music.

The picture books contain vibrant illustrations by award-winning artist, Anton Petrov. He sprinkled stardust throughout the pages! Each page contains excerpts taken from the narration and page-turn instructions to help children follow along with the story.

The audio was produced by Joe Vulpis, an award-winning arranger and producer. He has worked with famous performers all over the world. He brought the Starabella recording to a level of excellence in the world of children’s entertainment.


Both the bullying and violence in our schools and communities, and the discord around the globe compel us the share Starabella’s message of HARMONY with children everywhere.

The story of Starabella speaks directly to the place in ALL children that yearns for acceptance and understanding.

  “Starabella” is a winner of many awards including the Nautilus award for “better books for a better world.”


Sharon Fialco, Author



Email: fialcoprod@aol.com
Website: www.starabella.com
Facebook: facebook.com/starabellabooks
Twitter: twitter.com/starrysays
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YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCQgTUu6hmuSCyv8qUhr4Kvw
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sharon-fialco-3535b29


* Quote by Mara Sapon-Sheven