Eileen Wacker Continues Multi-Cultural Series with RAINBOW PANDA AND THE FIRECRACKER FIASCO

The countdown begins to the exciting celebration of the Asian New Year 2013 - the year of the Water Snake. In honor of Asia's most celebrated holiday, ONCEKids will host a grand Twitter party inviting friends, media and guests from around the world to join in the celebration. ONCEKids' twitter parties, hosted by Daily Ovation out of Los Angeles, California, have become so large that the last Twitter party marking the return to school shut down their Twitter account. The Asian New Year's Celebration Twitter party, scheduled for February 12, will be bigger and more far-reaching than ever before with a host of fun activities, conversations and prizes. Visit #oncekids on February 12 to join in the fun and get your invitation.

As part of the festivities, ONCEKids, Inc. will be launching their newest title in the multi award- winning children's book series Fujimini Adventure Series. The dynamic new story is named Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco. The story introduces readers to Rainbow Panda, the newest character in the Fujimini family of adorable animals and celebrates the Asian New Year with the traditional use of firecrackers to mark important celebrations.

It's the eve of the Asian New Year and all the animals are getting ready for the big occasion. They are sweeping, cleaning, planting flowers, writing on ribbons, and preparing food. Rainbow Panda looks forward to the fireworks display but wants to create his own fireworks show. He sets a plan in motion and tries to get Green and Pink Hamster to join him.

The animals know that they are not to play with matches or firecrackers but, nonetheless, continue with their plan. When Rainbow Panda starts to light matches in the woods, he sets the forest on fire and many animals must come to help put out the fire. The Dynasty Dragon's mom comes and turns into a cloud that rains and puts out the fire. Rainbow Panda, Dynasty Dragon, and both Green and Pink Hamster are given activities to clean up after the fire. They also volunteer to do a beach clean up to show everyone that they are sorry for the fiasco they set in motion.

Written by award-winning author Eileen Wacker, the series features a collection of Asian inspired animals, such as the Pink and Green Hamster, Red Penguin, Samurai Tortoise, Dynasty Dragon among other adorable animals, who all live on the magical Fujimini Island. Each adventure-based story has an educational message and a happy ending. The series currently consists of 6 books that target the 5-8 year old reader. Each book contains a Fujimini Adventure Series Glossary which explains different Asian items found in the stories such as a bonsai tree, chopsticks, sushi, moon festival, samurai warriors, etc., and adds to the fun of the stories.

Other books in the Fujimini Adventure Series are: Green Hamster and the Quest for Fun about a rascally Green Hamster who is convinced that all the other animals are having more fun than he. He sets off on an adventure to make sure he has the best day ever...but meets some unexpected challenges along the way. Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi tells the tale of the Moon Festival Celebration. Red Penguin is bragging about her wonderful sushi, which upsets the salad-making hamsters. Suddenly, the sushi has gone missing. Will the Red Penguin find the sushi in time for the big celebration? The third book of the series is Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue in which the Tortoise Samurai warriors come to Fujimini Island on a special mission. A bit scared of the Samurai warriors at first, the animals on the island come together to help the Samurai and become friends.

Pink Hamster and the Big Birthday Surprise! is a fun story about what most every child enjoys - birthday cake. Pink Hamster loves birthday cake so much she dreams about it at night. But everyone forgets her special day and she worries that she won't get any birthday cake. Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon shares a little history about the ancient Korean battle boats and the Dragon in Asian culture. When some of the animals start to go missing, the Samurai go on a mission to help find them and discover the young Dynasty Dragon that was sent to Fujimini Island for protection. Reuniting the Dynasty Dragon youngster with his mother brings all the animals together.

Eileen Wacker's journey to become a children's book author took a circuitous route. She has a deep passion for storytelling and a genuine curiosity in cultures of the world.

She moved with her husband and their four children, Olivia, Christian, Ethan and Natalie to Seoul, South Korea and lived there for four years. The family traveled extensively across Asia, visiting many countries, most frequently China and Japan. Eventually the family settled in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Eileen continued to visit Japan and Korea as her husband was still commuting to Seoul for his job. She is inspired by the rich and diverse cultures of Asia and enthused to learn of the many traditions, celebrations and unique viewpoints found there.

In Seoul, she ran the school's book program, sparking her interest in children's books. One of her children is Chinese and after researching the market, she discovered a shortage of quality children's books drawing upon pan-Asian themes. She decided to develop a book series with Asian characters for the mainstream children's book market (in English language children's books).

In 2007 she conceived of what developed into the Fujimini Island Adventure Series. The first book was released on the Hawaii islands in 2010. Eileen is an active educator and blogger writing articles about her passions - parenting, diversity and technology, for major online and print media. She is a board member of Assets School in Honolulu, a school for gifted students who learn in different ways than mainstream students. Eileen Wacker graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a finance degree and attended Harvard Business School where she earned her MBA.

ONCEKids seeks to push innovation in reading, expose young readers to elements from several Asian cultures, and unite moms, parents, caregivers, educators online to blog about experiences, challenges, and modern strategies in parenting and education.

ONCEKids, Inc. (www.OnceKids.com)
Rainbow Panda and the Fireworks Fiasco
by Eileen Wacker, Illustrated by Alan Low
ISBN: 978-1-4675-1749-2
Hard cover, pp 40, $10.99
Trim: 8.25" X 8.25"

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