Skip to content

Marie Weller and Paula Vertikoff to Participate in the Kentucky Book Festival with “Cranium Critters: Einstein Acts When Squirrels Distract”

Marie Weller and Paula Vertikoff to Participate in the Kentucky Book Festival with “Cranium Critters: Einstein Acts When Squirrels Distract”

August 28, 2023





What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?

At our table at the Kentucky Book Festival, visitors will discover a captivating world where learning meets imagination. We’ll have our delightful picture book series, “Cranium Critters,” prominently displayed. This series introduces children and adults alike to the fascinating wonders of the brain through the adventures of Scout and Einstein, two lovable characters who represent different parts of the brain.

Our latest release, “Cranium Critters: Einstein Acts When Squirrels Distract,” takes readers on an exciting adventure with Scout and Einstein as they tackle challenges and distractions. This story is not only entertaining but also introduces valuable skills like focus, planning, and managing distractions – essential for young minds’ growth.


Our first book, “Cranium Critters: Paws at the Pause Place,” dives into the brain’s inner workings, teaching readers about the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, and how they play a role in managing emotions and anxieties. Scout, the brain’s safety pup, helps young readers understand the fight, flight, and freeze response, while Einstein, the brain’s head thinker, guides them through decision-making and problem-solving.

Both of our books are not only educational but also deeply engaging, catering to young readers’ curiosity while empowering them with valuable life skills. Visitors to our table will have the chance to explore these imaginative worlds, dive into the science of the brain, and discover how our stories are designed to support emotional growth and cognitive development.

In addition to our books, we’re thrilled to offer stuffed characters Scout and Einstein, available for purchase. These adorable companions bring the characters to life and provide a tangible connection to the stories. In addition, a treasure trove of engaging resources can be found on our Cranium Kids Media website. These include videos and lessons that cater to educators, parents, and elementary school counselors. Our goal is to empower children to understand their emotions, boost their brain power, and equip them with the tools they need to thrive socially and emotionally.


Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
We extend a warm invitation to all educators, parents, elementary school counselors, and anyone who cares deeply about the emotional well-being and cognitive growth of young minds. If you’re looking for engaging and effective resources to help children navigate their emotions, enhance their brain power, and develop vital life skills, our books are tailor-made for you.

Educators: As an elementary school counselor, principal, and SEL specialists, we understand the importance of providing students with tools that foster emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Our books offer a unique approach to teaching children about their brains and emotions in a relatable and entertaining way. They can serve as valuable additions to your classroom library, helping you create a supportive and enriched learning environment.

Parents: Raising emotionally intelligent and resilient children is a shared goal. Our books provide a bridge for open conversations about emotions and brain functions between parents and children. Through the adventures of Scout and Einstein, parents can engage their children in discussions that promote understanding, empathy, and healthy emotional responses.

Elementary School Counselors: You’re on the front lines of nurturing students’ emotional growth. Our books align perfectly with your mission to provide essential life skills and social-emotional learning. They can be used as engaging resources during counseling sessions or as tools to facilitate discussions on managing emotions, making decisions, and coping with challenges.

Children: Last but certainly not least, young readers themselves are at the heart of our invitation. If you’re a curious child eager to learn about your brain, emotions, and how they work together, our books are an exciting journey waiting to be explored. Join Scout and Einstein on their adventures to discover the inner workings of your mind and gather valuable strategies that will stay with you as you grow.

In essence, our books are for anyone who believes in the power of education, storytelling, and emotional development. So, if you’re seeking to empower young minds with knowledge, empathy, and essential life skills, we encourage you to stop by our table at the Kentucky Book Festival. Together, we can embark on a journey of learning and growth that will leave a lasting impact on the lives of children and the adults who support them.

Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?

Curious Fact: The origins of “Cranium Critters” can be traced back to a classroom lesson led by Marie, where she introduced elementary students to the concept of brain awareness. The metaphor of the dog and owl, embodied by Scout and Einstein in the book, resonated strongly with the young learners. Much like Scout, they recognized that dogs sometimes bark at perceived dangers, even when there’s none present. This parallel led to the understanding that the barking itself could cause other effects, just as Scout’s barks can disturb Einstein’s helpful hoots.

The metaphor continued to unfold as the students realized the connection between training a dog and taming the brain. Just as one trains and tames a pup, training the brain also requires time, patience, and consistent effort. This intuitive comparison provided a tangible way for children to grasp the idea that managing their emotions and reactions is an ongoing process, much like teaching a dog new behaviors.

Adding another layer of personal connection to the story, Scout, the brain’s safety pup, finds her inspiration from Paula’s feisty beagle named Mila. This real-life model infused Scout with a sense of authenticity, making her more relatable and endearing to readers. Paula’s choice to incorporate her beloved pet into the story adds a heartwarming touch to the character, making Scout a delightful representation of the brain’s vigilant protector.

Curious to know more about the special bond between Scout, the brain’s safety pup, and Mila, the feisty beagle who inspired her? Explore behind-the-scenes moments and heartwarming stories on our Instagram account. Follow us @cranium.critters for an exclusive look into the real-life connection that brought Scout to life in ‘Cranium Critters.’ Discover the delightful parallels and learn more about how the adventures of Scout and Einstein mirror the captivating interactions between our authors and their furry friend. Join us as we share the journey that shaped our characters and made ‘Cranium Critters’ an even more personal and relatable experience for readers of all ages.

Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to
the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?

Yes, this is our first time participating in the Kentucky Book Festival, and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity! What we’re looking forward to the most is the chance to connect directly with educators, parents, and fellow book enthusiasts who share our passion for nurturing young minds and promoting emotional well-being.




Marie Weller and Paula Vertikoff are an Elementary School Counselor and Principal duo dedicated to social emotional wellness for children and the adults who care about them. Cranium Critters is an engaging and educational children’s picture book that introduces young readers to the concept of executive functions in the brain.