Books by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

Books by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

Buy it on

The Missing Kennedy

Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women

“A truly inspiring story. You managed to capture my Aunt Rosie’s spirit so well. I especially love how it intertwines the stories about Rosie and the author’s aunt Stella. And it provides great glimpses of the author’s experience with them.”

Anthony Shriver

"Aunt Rosemary inspired so many to work against injustice and ignorance. Her struggle and her immense legacy will be felt and celebrated by reading this exceptional book."

Bobby Shriver

“Reveals an untold chapter in the Kennedy saga . . . shows how knowledge of Rosie's disability led to the founding of the Special Olympics by Eunice Kennedy . . . interesting glimpses into one member of the Kennedy clan who was almost lost to her family.”


"The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women is an insightful and poignant memoir, based in part on Sister Paulus' private notes and augmented by over one-hundred never-before-seen photos, as Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff recalls the many happy and memorable times spent with the missing Kennedy. Candid, intimate, detailed, inherently fascinating, and impressively well written from beginning to end, The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women is a compelling read and will prove to be of immense interest for anyone interested in the Kennedy family."


“Poignantly discloses our nation’s shortcomings, both historically and contemporarily, when it comes to understanding the mentally ill and intellectually challenged. Also reveals the dearth of research concerning the women of the Kennedy family, which pales in comparison to the body of work focused on its men . . . Koehler-Pentacoff’s book offers an intimate glance at the sheltered life that Rosemary lived. . . telling the largely untold story of Rosemary Kennedy, and the story of the intellectually challenged and their allies in the fight to place them as equal members of society.”


“Anyone in the world who’s interested in the famous Kennedy family will find this fascinating memoir to be essential reading. Rosemary Kennedy was the least known member of the family but, it turns out, one of the most significant in the big scheme of things. If you don’t read The Missing Kennedy, you won’t know a critical and enlightening part of the Kennedy story.”

Dr. Abe Bortz, American Historian

“This is an important and encouraging book. The author tells the story of Rosemary Kennedy (1918-2005) from a personal perspective. In this remarkable account, the grace of God ripples through the pages . . . The author was given a deeper sense of appreciation for the handicapped and what it means to love sacrificially as her aunt loved. Rosie’s handicaps became blessings, making those around her better. She taught them how to love. She taught our culture how to care . . . The Missing Kennedy is full of photos, many from the author’s private collection. Rosie becomes, in the end, the center of the family. We are all better for her having lived, reminding us that the Rosies of our world have a place in the heart of our culture. We are better, too, for Ms. Koehler-Pentacoff’s heartwarming memoir of Rosemary Kennedy’s life.”

Christine Sutherland, Managing Editor, Anerican Church Union
The publishing house of the Anglican Province of Christ the King


Watch the trailer

Buy it on
Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride on Indiebound

Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride: America's First Cross-Country Automobile Trip

2011 Grand Canyon Reader Award List

2010 Sharp Writ Book Best Children's Book Award


"In his cartoon pictures Hargis depicts all three of his goggle-wearing travelers having the time of their lives . . . The author sticks closely to the historical record in her present-tense narrative and layers in more detail, plus photos, in a closing note. . . her invitation to clamber aboard will be hard to resist!"


"Short sentences and readable prose capture much of the triumph and challenge of the 63-day trip . . . The animated, cartoon illustrations are lighthearted and detailed, and add much to the narrative."

School Library Journal

"Hargis' glib cartoon illustrations of the begoggled trio and their clanging, mud-spattered auto are a terrific match to the lighthearted narrative. An afterword provides a deeper appreciation for just how remarkable and historical their adventure really was. Easily accessible history here."


"A delightful kids' book!"

Dave Wood

"I give this book a high five for the awesome strong story that Author Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff was able to write around a true story, and the really fun illustrations done by Wes Hargis. I really liked the end of the book where photos of the real Jackson, Crocker, and Bud were used, along with what happened to all of them after the completion of their epic auto journey. This is a great story to tickle the imagination of your child to think about how life was like before roads in this country."

Gayle Jacobson-Huset
Stories For Children Magazine

"Treacherous, indeed, and hilarious, too, is this telling about Jackson, his mechanic Sewall Crocker, and a dog named Bud that they picked up along the way. Use this in your 6+ 1 Traits lessons on organization and presentation. Recommended."

Library Media Connection


Watch the trailer

Buy it on

The ABCs of Writing for Children

114 Children's Authors and Illustrators Talk About the Art, the Craft & the Life of Writing Children's Literature

A Writer's Digest Featured Book Club Selection

"...a thorough, complete, entertaining guide to writing for children -- more alpha to omega than ABCs. I wish there was such a volume for every aspect of my life."

Karen Cushman

"If you've always wanted to write for children, here's your chance to learn the best kept secrets, advice, tips and tales from authors such as Chris Crutcher, Karen Cushman, Sid Fleishman, Richard Peck, R.L. Stine, Rosemary Wells, Jane Yolen and more!"

Marcia Preston
Publisher Byline Magazine

"Reading The ABCs of Writing for Children is like attending a great party at which all the guests have something interesting and valuable to say."

Marilyn Singer
author of Neighborhood Animals and Good Day, Good Night

"Pentacoff provides a most fun and readable book, packed with insights and inspiration about the children's book field from the people who know it best - the authors and illustrators."

Andrea Brown
President, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.


Buy it on

John Muir and Stickeen: An Alaskan Adventure

"Mere whispers of color tint the ghostly illustrations, giving the effect of pictures coated with hoarfrost. Muir's wide-eyed stare adds to the scenes' otherworldly air. An adventure story with a dog but without sentimentality, this picture book can be used to enhance classroom units on Muir or glaciers."


"A dramatic retelling of an episode from renowned naturalist Muir's memoirs . . . this makes an engrossing survival tale, and provides unusual insight into Muir's character."


"The hostile yet wildly beautiful landscape is vividly depicted, both by Koehler-Pentacoff's precise language and Swanson's wintry acrylic and pencil illustrations. 'The sky darkens. The storm's music begins. Wind gusts the snow. John and Stickeen see only a blur of white. With every step they face danger. With every step the face death. Freezing. Hungry. Wet.' Each crevasse they cross deepens the bond between human and canine. As Muir helped save some of the wilderness, this picture book draws the reader in to appreciate both the Alaskan grandeur and the devotion between man and man's best friend."

Contra Costa Times


Buy it on

Schools and large orders please call 800-421-2830

Curtain Call

Games, Skits, Plays and More!

CURTAIN CALL will bring you "standing ovations" of approval from children and parents alike! This book was created for parents, teachers, librarians, scout and recreation leaders, camp counselors, and anyone wanting to provide children with exciting "acting" experiences. CURTAIN CALL has something for everyone, whether you're interested in fun games and activities, skits or large productions:

  • Sensory Exploration
  • Music, Movement, Rhythm & Sound
  • Pantomiming
  • Role Playing & Character Development
  • Improvisation
  • Skits, Scenes & Storytelling
  • Three Short Plays
  • Selecting, Writing & Directing a Play

The activities and ideas in this book may be used for instructional drama experiences, five-minute fillers, rainy day recess, creative recreation, a beginning activity for creative writing, birthday party games, home entertainment, and more. In addition, a useful appendix contains a reproducible actor's contract, audition form, character development outline, and other helpful materials. This creative resource will provide hours of excitement and fun!


Buy it on

Louise the One and Only

Laugh along when Louise and her friends change their names, which leaves Mr. Shelby, the teacher, very confused. Find out what happens when Louise's big buddy turns out to be Sandra Sneedly - the school's toughest bully!

Excerpt from Louise the One and Only; Who will be Louise's big buddy?:

Louise gasped. She saw the looks of pity from her classmates. Sandra was the school's toughest bully.

"Poor Louise," said Becky sympathetically.

Sandra stomped down the aisle. Closer and closer she came. Finally, she stopped. Right in front of Louise. Louise looked up . . . and up. Sandra seemed six feet tall. Sandra turned a chair around and swung her leg over the seat, cowgirl style.

"Now you can spend a few minutes getting acquainted," said Mr. Shelby.

"Louise's spunky approach to the problems of school routine is refreshing, and her antics are humorously portrayed."



Buy it on

Wish Magic

Meg doesn't suspect a thing when her weird brother, Morris, gives her a doughnut one morning. But soon, she realizes she has special powers - everything she wishes for comes true!

Wish magic can be lots of fun, but it also brings Meg all kinds of problems. Will she ever be a regular kid again?

Excerpt from Wish Magic; Meg shares her secret with her best friend, Janie:

"Don't you wish you had a candy bar right now?" I asked.

"Yes, but . . ."

"Open your hand," I demanded, grabbing her arm.

Janie obeyed.

"Nothing in it, right?" I asked.

"I closed my eyes and wished for a chocolate bar.

Before I opened them, I heard her cry out.

"Wow!" Janie exclaimed. "How'd you do that?" She tore open the wrapper and took a bite.

Then she looked up at me. "We've got to talk," she said.


Buy it on

Help! My Life is Going to the Dogs!

Ever since Rory's dad got downsized, money has been tight around her house. To make matters worse, the new girl in her class keeps embarrassing Rory. But when Rory and her friend Eric decide to plan a double-dog birthday party together, things start looking up. Could the worst year ever turn into the best year ever?

Excerpt from Help! My Life is Going to the Dogs; Nothing is going right for Rory!:

Excerpt from Help! My Life is Going to the Dogs:

Margie brushed crumbs of her hands. "let's go in the living room to study."

Oh no, thought Rory. Everything in that room was really falling apart. She pulled Margie aside.

"Margie," she whispered. "Don't take her in that room. Everything in there is old and worn out."

"Aw, come on, Rory. She won't care," said Margie as she joined Jennifer.

They filed into the living room. Rory tried to steer them away from the couch. "Why don't we sprawl out on the floor?" she asked.

"This is fine," replied Jennifer as she sat down on the checkered sofa. The springs gave in. She sat down . . . down . . . down . . . bottom to the floor, feet high in the air.

"UGH! Get me out of here!" Jennifer's high pitched screech could be heard throughout the house.


Buy it on

You're Kidding! Incredible Facts about the Presidents

Can you recite the names of all the American presidents - - in order? Don't worry, not many people can. But if you discover funny or interesting details about their lives, you might be able to remember the presidents more easily.

This book is packed with facts about each president. (Did you know that three of our presidents died on the Fourth of July?) You'll also find anecdotes about some first ladies, tidbits about some first pets, (including an alligator and a hyena), and little-known facts about some of the vice presidents. After you've finished reading, see how much you remember by taking the quiz at the end of the book.

Did you know . . .

  • Thomas Jefferson kept grizzly bears on the White House lawn?
  • Abraham Lincoln was the only president to receive a patent?
  • Benjamin Harrison was so afraid of electricity he wouldn't touch the light switches in the White House?
  • Herbert Hoover and his wife spoke Chinese if they didn't want anyone to know what they were talking about?

Read to discover who . . .

  • was the only president to win the Pulitzer Prize.
  • hanged two men!
  • has his tumor displayed in a Philadelphia museum.
  • wore women's clothing as a disguise to get into a hotel.
  • had fifteen children.


Buy it on


Each unit of Explorers begins with a narration set in the past allowing students to relive the exploration. Suggested teaching strategies follow the text as well as a bibliography for student reading. The strategies include activities for writing, art, science, and history.

Every explorer unit contains a page of multiple choice questions to determine student comprehension of what they have read. This page can also be used for unit review. Each section contains activities to encourage further research. The book concludes with the Explorers Trivia Game, a fun way for the entire class to review the material.

Chapters Include:

  • Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
  • David Livingstone
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Captain Cook
  • Admiral Peary
  • Ferdinand Magellan
  • Henry Hudson
  • Marco Polo
  • Jacques Cousteau
  • Charles Darwin
  • Explorers Trivia Game



Liz didn't write these books. But somewhere, somehow, she's in there. When you buy them or check them out from the library, see if you can find her contribution!

Buy it on

Writers in the Kitchen: Children's Book Authors Share Memories of Their Favorite Recipes

By Tricia Gardella

When they aren't creating children's books, the writers in this mouth-watering collection are busy in the kitchen. Here are nearly two hundred recipes from over one hundred fifty writers and illustrators, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts. But this is much more than a recipe book. Even when they cook, writers love to tell stories.

Emily Arnold McCully, James Ransome, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Howe, Patricia Lee Gauch, Trina Schart Hyman and Eve Bunting are just a few of the writers and illustrators cooking up a storm. Here's to good food and good reading!

Can you find Liz's mother's recipe inside this book? How did Liz use this recipe later in her life?


Buy it on

Classroom Celebrations: The Best of Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations

by Donna Borst

Liz wrote children's book reviews for Holidays and Season Celebrations magazine. The overwhelming demand by teachers has led to the compilation of the best ideas and activities into this easy-to-use resource. The recurring holidays, seasons and themes are always timely and never out-of-date.

Each season includes pages of clip art, a Kids Space feature, and a variety of crafts, projects, stories, poems, ideas and activities.

There are patterns for those hectic first days of school as well as get-acquainted activities, welcoming bulletin boards and room displays, parties, pinatas, pumpkins, poems and puppets to help celebrate fall. Winter is a wonder of stories, crafts, learning activities, recipes and international celebrations. Spring and summer festivities include outdoor fun, books to share, reproducible pages and patterns and much, much more.


Buy it on

A Taste of Literacy: California Children's Book Authors and Illustrators Share Recipes and Memories

by Helen Foster James

This cookbook showcases talented California children's book authors and illustrators. Each serves up a variety of information about reading, writing, and cooking as they share favorite recipes and memories. They provide a sampling of their books and contact information.

The book is divided into three main sections with the entries in each section alphabetized by the author's last name. An author and illustrator index will assist in finding the contributors, and the recipe index will help locate a mouth-watering dish.

Many illustrators also contributed a "doodle"!
Happy reading and happy cooking!


Buy it on

Author to Editor: Query Letter Secrets of the Pros

by Linda Arms White

You're visiting the office of a very successful children's author. As you glance at the file cabinet, you notice one drawer under lock and key. It's marked, "QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED." There they are - - only a few feet away from you - - the actual letters that led to book contracts. Think you can convince the author to unlock the drawer and share these top-secret files?

They're in this book. The Real Deal. You'll see the complete letter or proposal, along with the author's analysis of why it was successful. Along the way, you'll pick up invaluable inside tips and secrets. Author to Editor also provides outstanding instructional chapters, written by Ms. White, that make getting started on the perfect cover letter, query letter or book proposal a breeze.

One more thing - - while there are some very general books about writing query letters, Author to Editor deals only with children's writing. It provides the specific info you need, and an unprecedented glimpse at the secrets of the children's writing pros.


Home  |  Books  |  School Visits  |  For Writers  |  Blog  |  About Liz  |  Contact

All contents © 2008 - Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
All Rights Reserved.