Barbe Turner

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Barbe Turner is a quiet, unassuming wife, mother of three, and grandmother of five with a love for life, travel, dance, children, dogs and adventure. She's traveled the world, owned a ballroom dance studio, danced competitively in American smooth and rhythm styles of dance, ridden in numerous biker rallies, and presided over many a PTA meeting. Her favorite spot on earth is in her cabin high on a mountain top in rural Idaho where her favorite activity is sipping a glass of wine while watching hawks soar, elk romp, and dogs patrol. Barbe's latest venture is her new company, okWard (pronounced awkward), with her partner, children's entertainer Eddie Coker. okWard is dedicated to educating both children and adults alike that it is not only OK but normal to feel awkward, and that we are all moving in the direction of being OK with who we are. The okWard website,, contains delightful animated videos, songs and blogs aimed at arming children with "kung fu with out the eye- gouging" techniques for coping with life.



BY Barbe Turner • POSTED ON July 29, 2014

An offbeat young boy, a well-liked student and an ingenious teacher meet in this debut children’s book.

Zack “Zim” Zimmerman is one of the most popular fifth-graders at William E. Zane Elementary School. He has a ton of friends, gets good grades and is among the stars of the Knights soccer team. His classmate Maralissa Lou, on the other hand, has a strange name, “two too-large ears and a small crop of unruly brown hair right in the center of the top” of his head, and a rather eclectic wardrobe. When Zim and his friends reject him, their resourceful teacher, Miss Poppycock, creates the Secret Drawer Club to make them all mingle. Poppycock puts a notebook in Zim’s desk and gives him various quests to complete with the other kids. By the end, everyone has learned a little more about each other and about acceptance. Maralissa Lou is a fun, frothy character who’s a great role model for kids: He knows he’s a bit odd, but he accepts his differences with the knowledge that they make him special. Zim is also highly relatable, as he shows that doing the right thing can sometimes be hard; in the end, he learns a lesson and becomes a better person. The prose is a bit basic, but children will be held by Holzschuh’s illustrations, although they might have been lovelier in full color. The foreword and short poem by Coker, however, seem strange additions for a kids’ book, even if the verse is about Maralissa Lou. Overall, though, Turner’s book is a sweet read for children and adults, particularly at the beginning of a new school year.

An imaginative, playful book about accepting and embracing differences.

Pub Date: July 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1612541754

Page count: 68pp

Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Awards, Press & Interests


Dallas, TX

Favorite author

John Irving

Favorite book

Auntie Mame

Day job

Partner, okWard, LLC

Favorite line from a book

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear." - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Favorite word


Unexpected skill or talent

ballroom dancer

Passion in life

kids, grandkids, dogs