Brother and sister duo pen magical chapter book about baseball, imagination, and facing your fears

LOS ANGELES, CA and SEATTLE, WA – In “Closet of Dreams” (March 2024), the debut title in “The Adventures of Child and Gamma” chapter book series, brother and sister co-authors Mark Ukra and Tara Mesalik MacMahon tell young readers, “When your fears disappear, your dreams appear!

An aspiring pitcher with a mean fastball, nine-year-old Child wants nothing more than to be on his local little league team. But the team is dwindling and to make matters worse, Child has a gang of bullies targeting him. He confides in his grandmother, Gamma, and she sends him to the Closet of Dreams, a place she invented for Child so that he’d have a safe place to go when he gets scared.

A star-pitcher back in her day, Gamma now works at the Kids Park where retired circus animals spend their days. When Child sees his animal friends have hidden talents, he turns to them for help. Can Child put his fears aside and save his team?

In this charming chapter book, readers will delight in a magical story of friendship and talking animals. The authors were inspired by their own childhood’s “closet of dreams,” where the make-believe world of Child and Gamma originally came to life.

“Closet of Dreams”

Mark Ukra and Tara Mesalik MacMahon | March 2024 | BookLogix | Children’s Fiction 

Hardcover | ISBN: 978-1-6653-0166-4 | $22.99 

Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-6653-0165-7 | $12.99

Praise for “Closet of Dreams”…

“A charming mix of both the everyday and fantastical … Quirky, fun, and thoughtful” Kirkus Reviews 

“As the father of 8 children, I can tell you this is one fantastic-fun book. The characters speak loud!” Woody Fraser, creator of “Good Morning America”

“Ukra and MacMahon’s imaginative and inviting book .… will feel unique and exciting to young readers.”BookLife Reviews

“Libraries and adults looking for gentle stories of adventure, courage, and magic will find all these elements and more in ‘Closet of Dreams’”Midwest Book Review 

“A timeless tale reminiscent of a day when love could heal all wounds and hope abounded”Kim Beyer-Johnson, Writer for Disney and Hallmark

About the Authors…

Co-authors Mark Ukra (Child) and Tara Mesalik MacMahon (Gamma) are brother and sister and lifelong best friends. Mark is the author of The Ultimate Tea Diet (HarperCollins), and Tara is a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and award-winning author of Barefoot Up the Mountain (Open Country Press). Her poems appear widely in literary journals and anthologies, including those from Red Hen Press, Nimrod International Journal, Poet Lore, Jabberwock Review, among many others. 

Mark and Tara based Closet of Dreams upon their own childhood Closet of Dreams, where the make-believe world of Child and Gamma came to life. Mark was “Child”; Tara was “Gamma.” Book II is already in the works, where Child and his friends race to rescue Starr, a magical baby elephant in Botswana. Learn more at: 

In an interview, Mark and Tara can discuss:

  • The inspiration for Child and Gamma, and their very own childhood closet of dreams
  • The importance of animal adoption and the special bond rescue animals have with humans in the book  
  • How baseball is portrayed as more than a “boy’s sport,” and the way it connects Gamma, Child, Randi (“the girl Child kinda likes”), and the animals
  • How to cultivate kids’ imaginations, and why it’s important to dream
  • What they hope readers will take away from the book regarding bullying

Download press kit and photos