Category Archives: Activities & Reads for Kids during Pandemic Break

Interview with Davide Amante

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“The Guardian of the Stars – The Journey of Anais with the Wind” is the newest release from award winning author, Davide Amante.

I love searching high and low for books that are inspirational and have a girl protagonist. I think I’ve found a hidden gem emerging from the European book market by celebrated award winning author, Davide Amante. Many things have led to his recent book release. With a background of studying at American and Italian schools, traveling extensively, and teaching modern literature, he has crafted already four brilliant novels.

His new book, “The Guardian of the Stars –The Journey of Anais with the Wind” is reminiscent of “The Little Prince” with a girl leading the adventure. I had the opportunity to ask Davide Amante about his childhood reading memories, author influences, and what future writing projects he has in store for us.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Davide Amante: I remember reading Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince in the hot summer afternoons, on an old chair in the backyard of my grandfather’s summerhouse on a small island. From the backyard you could barely catch sight of the sea, but with the hot wind came all the anticipation of the summer and its unexpected hours.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Davide Amante: I loved so much reading that there really was no favorite author. Every author seemed to me to unveil a world so big and so boundless that really every author seemed to me to hold the secret of life.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Davide Amante: I write three or four hours a day, the rest of the time is what happens before actually writing: it is observation and inspiration.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Davide Amante:  I didn’t expect the success “The Guardian of the Stars – the journey of Anais with the Wind” is having. It all began as a tale I told every night before going to sleep to my children. At one point, I realized it was becoming a novel and I wrote it. Although I don’t usually write for children, I am certainly thinking of another book like this.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Davide Amante: It is the only way I know to express what I feel inside.

“The Guardian of the Stars- The Journey of Anais with the Wind” is an incredible journey of a girl connected to nature and driven by the wind. The wind leads her through a Forest of Talking Trees, connects her with a wolf, and helps her connect with the deserted island that she shares with her grandfather that works as a lighthouse keeper.

The summer the wind arrives is the turning point in her life. The wind helps guide her to see the other side of things, leads her to learn about loneliness, connects her with emotions, and points her in the direction of how to live. It’s a charming and powerful story of finding the essence in life and growing up.

“The Guardian of the Stars-The Journey of Anais with the Wind” is available at Amazon.com.

Book Trailer:

For more information on the author Davide Amante, please visit his website here.

Interview with Rachelle Nones

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One thing I like to highlight is a unique book that can be used in any teacher’s curriculum or for home schooling. I think I’ve found such a book from a fabulous author.

Rachelle Nones is a multimedia writer, editor and a trained storm spotter.

She used her expertise to create a wonderful book for those that love to weather watch and learn about meteorology. Her book, In the Sky, is a great read for anyone who wants to teach about clouds, tornados, storms and our ever-changing weather. I had the chance to talk to her about her childhood reading memories, her writing routine, and what writing means to her.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Rachelle Nones: As a child, I read poetry, science fiction, animal and adventure stories, and mystery and detective novels like The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot by Robert Arthur Jr. I loved to visit the local library and wore out my library card from using it so much!

2) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Rachelle Nones: As a freelance writer, I typically work on contract writing projects. I work remotely and get to set my own routine, which varies according to the project. I prefer to start working early in the morning because that’s when my energy level is high.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Rachelle Nones: Writing is like wrestling a tornado.

In the Sky is a book to help readers understand the ever-changing weather. With creative illustrated rhyming content, it includes a range of cloud facts, cloud-related quotations, resource links to cloud-related poetry, songs, science projects and more. This book will make a great addition to any weather science unit and is ideal for readers grades 5 and up.

In The Sky is available on Amazon.com. This is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is also available as a premium color paperback edition.

For more information on Rachelle Nones, please visit her website at her Amazon Author Page.

“I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!” has won the Silver Medal in the Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Awards 2021!

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“I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!” has won the Silver Award in the Children’s Books Ages 0-5 category in the 2021 Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

I am proud to announce that my most recent picture book, “I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!”, has won the Silver Medal award in the Children’s Books 0-5 age category. I am awfully pleased to accept this award and want to thank my illustrator, Natalia Cano, for her fantastic illustrations that capture perfectly the message and theme of the book.

Also, to my father, who supported me in all of my writing and always encouraged me. I lost him in 2018, and dedicated the book to him. I’d also like to thank my husband, family and friends for their continued support in my writing endeavors. Without all of you, it would be hard to keep going.

Most of all, I’d like to thank all the readers of my books through the years. I started writing back in 2005 with the self-publishing of my first children’s book in 2007. It’s been a long path, but I want to continue bringing you unique voices and perspectives in my books. You’ve made it all possible. Thank you.

“I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!” is available as an ebook or as a paperback edition at Amazon.com.

-Tiffany Turner

Interview with Ron Crouch

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Ron Crouch is the author of the Beyond Belief series. The second book in the series, “Beyond Belief: The Adventure of Zombie Island” will release on March 31, 2021. Pre-orders available now.

I am a sucker for a good zombie book. I also remember teaching all the different genres when I was a teacher. October was the “Spooky” genre month, but I found many students reading them all year long. If you have a child that enjoys the “Spooky” or horror fiction genre, I think I’ve found the right author for you.

Ron Crouch is a child psychologist that loves to write and help kids critically think. He is writing a series of middle grade novels and the second will be released on March 31. With a love of fantasy as a kid, he brings alive a gripping and humorous world kids can get lost in. I had the chance to talk to Ron Crouch about his childhood reading memories, favorite author, writing routines and what projects he has planned in the future.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Ron Crouch: My favorite memory from reading as a child was the joy of stumbling onto a really good series and realizing that there were many more books to read.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Ron Crouch: I loved Lloyd Alexander and I read every book he published. I finished them sometime between the ages of eight and fourteen. When I took up writing myself, I found that although my settings and characters are very different, and my use of language in much more modern, I still had the same love for quests, adventures, and tall tales.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Ron Crouch: I work as a child psychologist during the day, so my writing routine starts early, usually before 5AM. I try to fit in all my writing before I leave for work at the hospital each day. Luckily, I’m an early bird by nature and find that I am most creative in the hours before the sun rises.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Ron Crouch: The Beyond Belief book series is for middle grade readers, and I would like to finish the series with five books. But beyond that I would like to write nonfiction for parents. In particular I would like to help parents in their efforts to teach their children how to think critically in our current misinformation age.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Ron Crouch: For me, writing is a way of contacting like-minded people and offering them a sense of belonging in a world that might not value them and support them.

“Beyond Belief: The Adventure of Zombie Island” is Ghost Adventures meets the Goonies. Kenai is an ordinary kid that just happens to be a paranormal investigator. With his sidekick Tinkerbell, an AI drone, he has gone after ghosts in a haunted theater, run from herds of jackalopes, and gotten lost in underground bunkers. But in this book two of the series, he finds himself somewhere he’d never imagine: stuck selling door-to-door products for the Happy Day pyramid scheme. But there seems to be something wrong with the company. Can he find out what is behind the sinister business before the zombie thugs find him?

“Beyond Belief: The Adventure of Zombie Island” is the second book in the Beyond Belief series. It is available starting on March 31, 2021 and is currently on pre-order at Amazon.com.

If you’d like to start the Beyond Belief series with book one in preparation for the release of book two, here is the link to it. Start with “Beyond Belief: The Adventure Begins” HERE.

Both titles are in the Kindle Unlimited program.

For more information on Ron Crouch and his other projects, please visit his website at:

https://raisingaskepticalkid.com/.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activity: Close Reading Activity for Distance Learning and Home School

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With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday fast approaching, I thought I’d let all my readers know about the FREE close reading lesson available to download. I’ve had it on my teacher store on Teacherspayteachers for a couple years now, but would like to make it available for families and people teaching at home for this weekend. I know people like to do activities on MLKjr. Day, and it may be hard to go out and do community service this year due to the pandemic. But you can still participate by doing an activity at home to help your child understand why this holiday is important.

I developed this lesson in my classroom to specifically be taught around this time. I had noticed children were coming up from the grade before, 2nd or 3rd grade, without clearly understanding what his dream was. When asked about Martin Luther King Jr, they would respond that “He had a dream.” It was mostly due to the fact they were concrete thinkers and didn’t understand the abstract notion of what MLKjr’s Dream symbolized. I also would have a week of reading material on the civil rights movement using my district’s available reading books. So, this is a great lead into civil rights studies.

I would read the speech as a guided reading/read-aloud in my classroom. I’ve included a link to one book that is available like this. There are others, or you may already have one in your class or home library. Reading it before this downloadable lesson is recommended. It’s to show where the context is for the “I Have a Dream” references. Plus, focus on why he repeats the phrase, “I Have A Dream”, and discuss why he may have done that.

“I Have A Dream (Book & CD)” Link to purchase. There are other books like this available, but this is one that can be used with the downloadable lesson or another similar book with the speech text illustrated.

So, that is how I used this lesson in my classroom. I offer it now for use for other classrooms, online studies and of course, at home for families to discuss what Martin Luther King’s Dream actually was. And of course, talking or reading material about the civil right movements will help with this. I’ve included some links below.

All this will help children understand what is currently going on in our own country right now, with the current protests and BLM protests. Please let me know if you found this useful or general feedback in the comments below.

Download FREE Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Speech PDF Below!

Other Reading Material links for Children on the Civil Rights Movement:

“If You Were A Kid During the Civil Rights Movement”

“The Civil Rights Movement for Kids”

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend! Stay safe out there, and please, wear a mask!

-Tiffany Turner

Tiffany Turner is a children’s fantasy writer of the Crystal Keeper Chronicle series. She is the head writer and editor of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection blog.

Interview with Valerie Anne Hudson

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One of my favorite books I read in 5th grade was called “Half Magic” by Edward Eager. I think it’s one of the books that drew me into fantasy as a kid. So, I’ve always been intrigued by wishing magic stories. I think I’ve found a great one to read aloud to your class or have your youngster dive into during this pandemic. Reading is such a great escape and distraction, as well as building literary skills. I think I’ve been doing more reading since the lockdowns started back in March 2020. So, this is the perfect new release to treat your class or child at the start of 2021.

Valerie Anne Hudson is the author of the new children’s fantasy book, “Watch What You Wish For”.

I’d like to introduce you to the author, Valerie Anne Hudson. She’s written the book involving wish magic called “Watch What You Wish For”. I had the chance to ask her about her reading inspirations as a child, writing routines and helpful methods, and all sorts of interesting facts on her process for writing her book.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Valerie Anne Hudson: The sudden realization that I could read ‘grown up’ books.  I vividly remember having absolutely nothing to read one day. Out of desperation, I took one of my parents’ books off the bookshelf – it was a Readers’ Digest containing a variety of condensed novels.  I devoured the contents, and was so proud of myself!

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Valerie Anne Hudson: As a child my favorite author was Louisa May Alcott.  I still have my original dog-eared copy of “Little Women.” I must have read that book dozens of times over the years. What a superb achievement, to write a book that’s still enjoyable and relatable 150 years later.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Valerie Anne Hudson: I write for 4 or 5 hours a day, which is easy for me now that I’m retired. I’m truly fortunate to be able to do that!

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Valerie Anne Hudson: At the moment I’m focused on fantasy:  the paranormal and the supernatural, and I write for children. I hope that my writing evolves, though, and would like to attempt something for adults in the future.

5) How has your day job/career prepared you to be a writer?

Valerie Anne Hudson: I taught school for 25 years, so there’s lots of writing involved there. I taught grades 4 to 6 for many of those years, and always loved teaching English and creative writing.


6) Why are you drawn to writing fantasy and about the paranormal?

Valerie Anne Hudson: An overactive imagination! I’m a huge Stephen King and Dean Koontz fan, along with JK Rowling, of course.  Such great escapism!


7) What activities do you do to help with the creative writing process?

Valerie Anne Hudson: I’m always on the alert for potential plots or scenes for upcoming stories. It’s amazing how many ideas you can get from real life news stories – truth is always stranger than fiction, as they say. Also, I try and read other people’s books as much as I can. All types and genres.


8) How did you get the idea for the “Wishing Tree” in your book, “Watch What You Wish For”?

Valerie Anne Hudson: I was thinking, what if you made a wish that actually came true? And what if you regretted making that wish and wanted to take it back? Then I started researching wishing wells and the stories associated with them, and discovered that there are actually wishing trees in some parts of the world. A tree seemed like it could be more dramatic than a well, so that’s how the idea blossomed.


9) Is the town of Mariposa a real town? If yes, why did you choose it? If no, was it inspired by a real town and which one?

Valerie Anne Hudson: Mariposa is a fictional Canadian town originally created by renowned author Stephen Leacock. Although he denied it, it was actually based on the town of Orillia, Ontario, which is where I live. I’ve changed the layout of the town and its surroundings around a fair bit in my story, so it wouldn’t have been fair to call it Orillia. Mariposa seemed like a good alternative choice.

10) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Valerie Anne Hudson: The desire to entertain my readers with sheer, delightful escapism!

Released on Jan. 8, 2021

“Watch What You Wish For” isn’t your normal fairy tale. 12-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about moving to the small town of Mariposa. She misses the big city, but luckily finds some friends also in the 7th grade. Their adventures lead to the discovery of an ancient Wishing Tree. They find the secret to unleash an evil power connected to the towns shadowy past. People start to go missing as lives turn upside down. Faced with the need to try to get things back to the way they were, our heroes embark on a journey that leads to self-discovery and friendship.

“Watch What You Wish For” is available at Amazon.com as a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information on Valerie Anne Hudson, visit her website here.

Interview with Wolf Cub Chlo

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With the first interview and book recommendation of this New Year, I thought all of us could use a good laugh. Not only have I found a book likely to make you smile, but also it will guide you into reading and how to tell jokes to brighten up your family’s day.

Wolf Cub Chlo is the author of the children’s joke book, “Once ‘a pun’ a Time: A Guide to reading and telling jokes”.

Wolf Cub Chlo is a child author that loves to tell a good joke. So much, she’s written a book about it. There’s nothing like a child giving insight to something that can make us all feel much better. What a great gift this little cub has given us all in her book, “Once ‘a pun’ a Time: A Guide to reading and telling jokes”. I had a chance to talk with Wolf Cub Chlo about why she writes, what she loves about reading and writing, and what future projects she is planning.

  1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us why you wanted to write your book, “Once ‘a pun’ a Time”?

Wolf Cub Chlo: Hi! My name is Chloé, but I write all my books under the name Wolf Cub Chlo, and I’m 6 years old. I like to think of silly words and create stories around a simple word. But, for my book, I turned those silly words into jokes.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Wolf Cub Chlo: For my next project, I would like to write silly stories using sight words to help other kids learn to read while having fun. I want it to be a series like Bob books. I really love those books too.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Wolf Cub Chlo: To me, writing is a way to relax and bring a smile to my face. Just like coloring.

“Once ‘a pun’ a Time” is a book that is medicine to help you heal others through laughter. Laughter is something people need in their daily lives. Jokes are one way people can support each other during these difficult times during COVID lockdowns. Learn tips and tricks on how to tell and write your own jokes. Share laughter with friends and family through video conferencing and help others heal. Remember, we’ll all get through this together.

“Once ‘a pun’ at Time” is available from Amazon.com as a Kindle edition.

For more information on Wolf Cub Chlo, visit her website here.

Interview with Solonge L. Robinson

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I’ve found another great book to help with math concepts at home and during online learning. Solonge L. Robinson has written a book called “Shaping Families” combines math shapes with introducing diverse families. Solonge has been inspired by her travel journaling. In 2018, a horrific fire destroyed many of her family’s belongings, including their precious books. The tragedy inspired her to replace her children’s books with some written by her. Dive into what Solonge had to share about her childhood reading memories, future projects, and what writing means to her.


1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Solonge L. Robinson: Childhood memories of reading bring me directly back to The Babysitters Club series. Going to the Scholastic Book Fairs in the fall and spring at school was always a much-anticipated event. I’d often beg my mother, weeks in advance, for enough money to buy the next few chapters of my most beloved Babysitters Club books. I was hooked after the first six books, which I probably read about a dozen times each.

Even now, several decades later, when I see the titles and book covers for the first six books, Kristy’s Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, Dawn and the Impossible Three, and Kristy’s Big Day, I am immediately transported to the 3rd-floor bedroom in my parents’ house in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a Saturday afternoon and I am curled up under a cover, next to my window, deeply engrossed in one of these amazing adolescent stories. The only thing to break my attention is the church bells ringing every hour, on the hour, until dusk. By then, I would have been part of Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn’s world, so sad to have to leave.


2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Solonge L. Robinson: Oh, there are so many. Right now, my future projects include subjects on self-love and financial literacy for children. I also have collaborative works in motion on topics dealing with health and wellness; one a children’s book series inspired by my daughter and the other an adult fiction book about Physical Therapy.


3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Solonge L. Robinson: Writing is freedom in its purest form.

“Shaping Families” is a unique, mathematical tale of diverse families. Join Poly-Anna, the polygon kid, as she learns about all the shapes that make up her unique family. From Triangles to Decagons, her journey will guide the reader to discover that families come in different sizes and form together a circle of love.

“Shaping Families” is available at Amazon.com. This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information on Solonge L. Robinson, visit her author page HERE!

Interview with Carmel Noel

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For those needing guidance and hope during these hard times, I’ve found a book that may give your little one comfort. Carmel Noel has written a book in which Jesus guides a young boy and his pup. She lives with her family in a small town in Pennsylvania, but has traveled extensively even studying abroad at Ulster University. “Minnie & The Better Den” weaves the story from a path of darkness to light while giving hope to others. I had a chance to talk to Carmel about her early childhood reading memories, what authors influenced her, and what projects she has planned in the future.

1) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Carmel Noel: As a child I always had a book in my hand. I loved reading books written by Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, and many others, but I would definitely say that I was most influenced by Joan Elste, author of “True Blue”, who lived just up the road from my family and me. She always welcomed my sisters and I into her home, and would show us what she was working on at the time. She was a massive influence to me because she was so open about where she was and her intentions- love and transparency are two essential things when it comes to writing for children, and I strive to always demonstrate both of those things with my writing just as she did.

2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Carmel Noel: The tough subjects are really what I feel called to write about. Abuse, loss, heartache are things that people try to talk children through, but without an aide, it can be hard for parents to know where to start. I spend a lot of time reading the Bible, and highlighting verses that I know people will find comfort in when they are facing these difficult situations. My future writing projects will likely be like “Minnie & The Better Den” in that they will hold many biblical truths that can help parents lead children through hardship.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Carmel Noel: When I write I want it to help someone, somewhere, somehow- to show them even an ounce of the love God has for them; writing is a mission that is sitting on my heart, demanding my attention.

“Minnie & The Better Den” is a charming, heart-felt book of a puppy finding Jesus through the guidance of his young owner. His new owner, Rain, adopts Minnie the Puppy. Minnie starts to learn about Jesus through Rain, but Rain’s aggressive father, Thump, tries to oppose the relationship between dog, boy and Jesus. Told in a way that highlights the humanity of Jesus, this story of hope will help guide any young reader from a place of darkness to the light.

“Minnie & The Better Den” is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

Interview with C. Lovelady

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With the weather changing with the leaves, it’s a great time to cuddle up with a book, some hot cocoa and share a great story with your little ones. I’ve found a great read-aloud book to share on those cold, rainy days. C. Lovelady has written the book, “Mouse’s Splashy Tuesday” with a flare for the creative connection with animals and children.  I had the chance to talk to Ms. Lovelady about her childhood reading memories, future projects, and what writing means to her.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

C. Lovelady: I loved when my mom would read “Stone Soup” by Ann McGovern just before bed. It was the type of book that beautifully combined weird and wholesome.

2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

C. Lovelady: I’m currently developing a nonfiction book and two adult dramatic fiction novellas. For the future, I’d love to work on cybersecurity and technology-focused stories for children.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

C. Lovelady: For me, writing is how I find joy, love, and silly adventures in everyday life at home. 

“Mouse’s Splashy Tuesday” is a creative take on a girl and her dog’s adventure. Journey with Chewie and Mouse as they take on a rainy day and the ensuing flood to save their neighborhood. Will they come up with a solution in time? This book is recommended for ages 3 through 10.

“Mouse’s Splashy Tuesday” is available on Amazon.com.

For more information on C. Lovelady and her books, visit her author page here.