Below are some of the holiday trees decorated to celebrate children’s books at my local library. Books are a great gift at Christmas and help to keep kids reading throughout the year. Consider buying books for the young people in your life.
“Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.
But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.
In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.”
AMAH FARAWAY by Margaret Chiu Greanias
“Kylie is nervous about visiting her grandmother-her Amah-who lives SO FAR AWAY. When she and Mama finally go to Taipei, Kylie is shy with Amah. Even though they have spent time together in video chats, those aren’t the same as real life. And in Taiwan, Kylie is at first uncomfortable with the less-familiar language, customs, culture, and food. However, after she is invited by Amah-Lái kàn kàn! Come see!-to play and splash in the hot springs (which aren’t that different from the pools at home), Kylie begins to see this place through her grandmother’s eyes and sees a new side of the things that used to scare her. Soon, Kylie is leading her Amah-Come see! Lái kàn kàn!-back through all her favorite parts of this place and having SO MUCH FUN! And when it is time to go home, the video chats will be extra special until they can visit faraway again.”
OPERATION DO-OVER by Gordon Korman
“Mason and Ty were once the very best of friends, like two nerdy sides of the same coin . . . until seventh grade, when Ava Petrakis came along. Now Mason can trace everything bad in his life to that terrible fight they had over the new girl. The one thing he’d give anything for is a do-over. But that can’t happen in real life—can it?
As a science kid, Mason knows do-overs are impossible, so he can’t believe it when he wakes up from a freak accident and finds himself magically transported back to seventh grade. His parents aren’t yet divorced and his beloved sheepdog is still alive. Best of all, he and Ty haven’t had their falling-out yet.
It makes no logical sense, but Mason is determined to use this second chance to not only save his friendship (and his dog!) but do other things differently—like trying out for the football team and giving new friends a chance. There’s just one person he’ll be avoiding at all costs: Ava. But despite his best efforts, will he be able to stop the chain of events that made his previous life implode?”
A recent trip to the Denver Zoo with my grandchildren produced an interesting result. My oldest granddaughter (age 3 ½) bypassed the monkeys, elephants and, to my horror (my fav) tigers- to fixate on the Komodo dragon in the reptile house! She even wanted to return there before we left the zoo. We bought her a stuffed toy Komodo dragon (glad they had that), and I went online to buy a suitable science book to follow up with.
I was also happy to come across this picture book based on a true story. Joan Proctor was born in 1897 and, as a child, became fascinated with reptiles. Being sickly and missing a lot of school allowed her time for self study and she quickly became an expert in this area. Eventually, she became the assistant to the curator of fish and reptiles at the National History Museum in London. Four years later, she became the curator distinguishing herself for her research and her ability to create lifelike habitats for the animals in her care. In 1923, she became curator of reptiles at the London Zoo.
Shortly after, Joan received the first two live Komodo dragons to reach Europe. Komodo dragons had only been discovered in 1910 and very little was known about them. Joan nursed Sumba and Sumbawa back to health after a rough journey. She created a suitable enclosure and did much to further scientific knowledge of the new species. Much gentler than their reputation, she was known for walking Sumbawa through the reptile house steering him with his tail.
The author has created a delightful tale about a little girl who pursued her passion and eventually contributed in her own special way. This is a book about following your interests and talents, especially motivating for little girls who are often easily molded on how to fit in and often lose their unique spark. So, this is a book for all the little Joans- whether they like lizards or not!
I remember walking the trails last summer and seeing all kinds of painted rocks. Some were obviously done by kids and others were quite refined and artistic. All were uplifting in a time of isolation and confusion of the Covid crisis. This year my husband and I (as part of a greater project with the TS), painted some of our own. It was a fun project and I think as our little treasures disappear, we’ll be creating some more and placing them on nearby trails. Stories have emerged that communities all over the US have shared this painted rock craze. So where did it all start?
Several years ago, Megan Murphy, walked the beaches of Cape Cod looking for signs from her deceased parents. If she spied a heart-shaped rock, she felt connected to her father and a piece of sea glass became associated with her mother. Finding these items on her walks helped her cope with life. She noticed other people looking for things on their walks as well. So one day, she choose five rocks and wrote messages for others to find. She was astonished when a friend texted later in the day with a photo of one of the rocks saying she had found it and it was exactly what she needed. This moment of what I call synchronicity, launched the Kindness Rocks Project (https://bit.ly/35P3I83).
The movement took off and spread across communities. Most people have no idea how the rock painting got started. And like all good ideas, it has a power all its own. So simple, so utterly Aquarian! Individuals rely on personal creativity, put in service to humanity, done anonymously. Perfect. Grab your brush!
I fondly remember this book from my own childhood. What an adventure!
Claudia and Jamie run away from home and hide out in the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. A beautiful statue leads Claudia to the mysterious, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Find out the real story behind the book by following the link below.
This time of year as the days grow short and the air crisp, Halloween lurks just around the corner, my thoughts turn to those creepy tales told before the fire. Ghosts figure in many of them and the traditional ghost story has a long history. Every culture produced oral and/or written stories of ghosts.
Among the earliest written examples, Homer’s Odyssey depicts a journey into the underworld where the hero finds ghosts of the dead. A haunted house was portrayed by Plautus, the Roman playwright in his work entitled, Mostellaria. The ghost bound in chains was perhaps first described by Pliny the Younger in another haunted place tale. The Roman writer, Seneca was also fond of using ghosts in his tragedies. These classical examples would start to set the stage for the development of ghost stories in our own culture and day.
In celebration of the deep roots of this tradition, I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.
When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.
When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost!
What is visionary fiction? It’s a new term for a collection of highly engaging stories.
According to the Visionary Fiction Alliance, “Visionary Fiction embraces spiritual and esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life. Gems of this spiritual wisdom are brought forth in story form so that readers can experience the wisdom from within themselves. Visionary fiction emphasizes the future and envisions humanity’s transition into evolved consciousness.”
My work falls in this category and I’m going to introduce you to a few more books by my fellow visionary writers. Grab one or two and enjoy. If you’ve read other books in this category (and you probably have, you just didn’t know it), feel free to leave a comment below.
The Dreams of Phillip Aisling and the Numinous Nagwaagan (Vol 1) by Brandon Bosse
Phillip Aisling is just like any other boy, or so he thought. On the night of his 13th birthday he has a dream so vivid that he is convinced it was real! He soon learns that he has begun training with the Dream Masters. They practice lucid dreaming to be able to fully control their dreams, giving them immense power. But when his vivid dreams turn into nightmares he never wants to fall asleep again! In his struggle to understand his remarkable dreams and prevent terrible nightmares, he finds The Dreamer’s Dictionary written to help young Dreamers make sense of their new powers.
Dragon Boy by Jim Murdoch
Eric daydreams of dragons. In his imagination, he believes he is, in reality, a dragon. As a dragon, he discovers Dreamland, a place where dreams come true.
But not everything we imagine is good. Fear and worry trap the only person to help heal Eric’s sick mother. Eric sees no hope of rescue until his friend, Enya, mentions the middle eye.
Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Clockwork Glowbirds (Orville Wellington Mouse Bk 1) by Tom Hoffman
Orville Wellington Mouse lives with his Mum in the quiet fishing village of Muridaan Falls, Symoca. His life takes an unexpected turn when he learns his best friend Sophia Mouse is not only from another planet, but is also a member of the Shapers Guild, a group of powerful mice who are able to convert their thoughts into physical objects.
Ana’s Dream of Flying by Mary R. Woldering
Ana, a young girl in Tennessee in the 1960’s, discovers the truth about her art, it’s connection to other realms. Something from beyond Earth is watching her as it searches for the pieces of her shattered soul. Tonight, when she thinks she is dreaming, it will take her flying, to remind her of the time when they were Gods.
My books can be found by following the link below.
FREE BOOKS!! Kellogg’s Promotion: FeedingReading- Buy Kellogg’s products and redeem children’s & teen books: (limited time- now til end of Sept. 2020). Register online, keep your receipts for upload. 1box= 1book. Redeem up to 10 books. Click below for details.