Category Archives: summer activities

Interview with Freddie Bell

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With the little ones stuck inside, I’ve been on the search for activity adventures through books. It’s the safe way to spend the summer, and can be enjoyed in any backyard or camping trip. My newest discovery is the picture book, “Mya, the Amazing Girl with Magical Hair, Rides Her Bike” written by author Freddie Bell. I had a chance to interview Freddie about his childhood reading memories, writing routine, favorite authors, and what he has in store for future projects.

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

Freddie Bell: My favorite memory reading as a child came after I read an adventure book and tried to convince my neighborhood friends to go on an overnight adventure with me. (We were seven years old at the time.)

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

Freddie Bell: James Patterson, I love the character development and plot twists.

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

Freddie Bell: I write constantly. Any situation can spark an idea.

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

Freddie Bell: Space Travel, Entrepreneurship, and Empathy. You can throw a little comedy in there as well.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Freddie Bell: Fun!MYARidesHerBikeCVR

“Mya, the Amazing Girl with Magical Hair, Rides Her Bike” takes you on a daring, magical adventure. Written by Freddie Bell and illustrated by Aria Jones, this picture book will sweep you into another world of fantasy adventure. It’s available at Amazon.com as a Kindle Unlimited title.

 

 

Interview with K.A. Ashton

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K.A. Ashton and her daughter are co-authors of the book, “Smiling Back at You”.

With school opening around the corner, it will be back to schoolbooks, virtual learning and/or some in class interaction. The life lessons will still need to be taught, and I’ve found a great book to help kids deal with believing in yourself and stand up to bullying.

Meet K.A. Ashton. She and her daughter co-authored the book, “Smiling Back at You”. I had a chance to talk with K.A. Ashton about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and subjects she’d like to explore as an author. 

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

K.A. Ashton: My Favorite Memory reading as a child was reading mystery books and getting lost in the story!

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

K.A. Ashton: My favorite author was Carolyn Keene who authored the Nancy Drew Series.

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

K.A. Ashton: I would love to write about balancing personal development working through Corporate America.

smilingbackyouCVRpromo“Smiling Back at You” is a book where children can learn to believe in themselves and stand up to bullies. Sugar is learning to deal with the tough things, including bullying. Join her in discovering what it means to enjoy being yourself and find the strength to stand up for whom you are.

“Smiling Back at You” is available at http://publishingadvantagegroup.com/smilingbackatyou/.

 

 

Interview with Lucia Matuonto

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Lucia Matuonto is the author of the children’s book, Zoe the Crab.

With the current pandemic, you might be looking for a safer way for your kids to explore areas such as the beach, woods, or parks. A book is a great way to learn about these places without getting exposed. Traveling in books is a great way to still foster learning and enjoy far away places. Zoe the Crab is a beginning chapter book that will take young readers on a journey onto the beaches of Florida. Zoe’s a crab that has to overcome challenges and accept that walking sideways is just another aspect of herself.

The author, Lucia Matuonto, is a children’s physiotherapist that has taught children with motor and cognitive disabilities. She’s written her books to inspire children to use their imagination while incorporating Florida beach fauna. I had a chance to talk to Lucia about her childhood memories, favorite authors, and what writing means to her.

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

Lucia Matuonto: I felt like I was traveling around the world and experiencing different cultures.

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

Lucia Matuonto: My favorite author was Agatha Christie. Her books stimulated my creativity.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Lucia Matuonto: Writing enables me to create stories that combine my experience, philosophy and dreams.

ZoetheCrabCVRZoe the Crab is a delightful beginning chapter book that will take you into the Florida beach environment through the lens of a clever, little crab. She wants to spend most of her time hiding from predators such as snakes and humans. But she faces her fears to go out on adventures. Join her as she faces life challenges of dealing with her siblings, always getting into trouble, and finding her way when lost in this story of accomplishments through determination. Recommended for children 7-12.

Zoe the Crab is available at Amazon.com.

 

Interview with Tiffany Watkins

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This pandemic has made many of us become aware of those things to be thankful for. It may also be bringing on feelings of resentment of what your child might have lost out on. Help them deal with the loss and look at the positives of their new situation with a fabulous find, a “Gratitude Journal for Kids”.

Tiffany Watkins is the author of this book. She has a BSA in Sociology with a minor in Child and Family studies, and a master in Divinity Studies. She received a doctorate in Christian Counseling. She enjoys serving her community and working with the United Way Young Philanthropist Program. Through her book, she hopes to encourage children to look towards what they are grateful for each day and find the magic in a moment of their day. I had the chance to interview Tiffany about her childhood reading memories, favorite author, and what projects she has in store for the future.

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

Tiffany Watkins: My favorite memory from reading as a child was how fun it was to have your peers reading about the same thing and able to discuss it among them.

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

Tiffany Watkins: My favorite memory from reading as a child was “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret?” by Judy Blume. This book greatly influenced my walk as a middle schooler because it addressed the things I was experiencing at the time.

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

Tiffany Watkins: In the future, I would like to write about positivity for kids.

Gratitude Journal for kids front pic“Gratitude Journal for Kids” is a helpful tool to help children focus on the positive aspects of their lives. Written to encourage an Attitude of Greatness, the journal has daily entries so your child can write three things daily about what they are grateful for. Each entry also includes a “Magic Moment of the Day” in which they can reflect on something that was positive and memorable about their day. Drawing is encouraged in the entry to express their gratefulness and artistic abilities. This book will help your child get in touch with their feelings and cope with the loss of a daily routine and events during the COVID19 pandemic.

Gratitude Journal for Kids” is available at: Amazon.com.

For more information on Tiffany Watkins, visit her Amazon Author page.

 

Fun Summer Activity for Kids: Build a Fairy Garden

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I use crystals, small plants in pots, and fairy figurines to decorate my porch fairy garden.

I’ve been giving tips to parents for the last few months in how to help structure your child’s learning. Now that summer is here, we’re trying to find more at home summer activities to keep our children and families safe from Covid19. What a great time to take advantage of the outdoor space you have! Have you considered building a garden? This doesn’t mean you need a backyard. Gardens can be built on a porch or even a window sill. To make it extra special, create a fairy garden!

The first step is to choose small plants that you would enjoy tending. You can buy them in small planters and/or replant them into the places you would like, or plant seeds and watch them grow. Choose flowering plants or herb plants such as lavender, rosemary, or other favorite herbs your family may prefer. You get the extra bonus that you can eat them later. Small ivy or other small growing plants with flowers make lovely fairy settings.

Many cities and towns are starting phase 2 openings in which garden shops are starting to be allowed to reopen. Small starter plants can be purchased or order seeds online. You can pick and choose which plants you enjoy. Look to see where your plants will be. Consider if you have more shade or sun, since often plants can be purchased that fit those conditions. I have a shaded porch and I find plants that need a lot of sun tend to not do well. So, I’ve chosen more shade friendly plants for my porch fairy garden. Remember, stay safe and wear a mask when going back into stores and use hand sanitizer.

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My garden gnome was purchased from the local garden center and is prominent in my fairy garden.

The second step is to order either small pebbles, sand or other decorative gardening accents to create paths and decorative areas for your fairies. You can use these items to decorate and create places for your fairies to gather. For example: I used old aquarium stones to make paths and a little gathering space to later place fairy figurines.

Accent items turn the garden space into wonderful scenes for fairy figurines. The added bonus is you get to watch the plants grow to fit. You can also order crystals to places through out the garden. Plants enjoy having the energy of these wonderful pieces among and around their leaves. Place stones and crystals in pots and in soil.

The third step is to order fairy figures. Many of the figures I have collected over the years have been given to me as gifts or I have purchased from gardening shops or other places. This can be a fun experiment in searching for the right fairies for your garden. You might find it is a wonderful time to start a new collection, and the garden will be a home for your new fairy figures.

When done, you’ll have a fabulous fairy garden to tend. Watering my garden is a great welcome relief from online working and tutoring. I enjoy having a cup of tea while smelling jasmine flowers or looking at my small Japanese maple tree. Other plants and flowers attract birds and butterflies from time to time. My porch may be small, but it is mighty in the positive fairy experience it creates for me to relax and enjoy some quiet time.

Enjoy building your own fairy garden with your children and welcome the summer weather in style. When you’re done, you’ll have a monument to the peace you can build at home.

summer1Plus: you can still continue summer reading with your child. I’ve made available an entire free online novel to go along with my first book in my fantasy children’s series, “The Lost Secret of Fairies”. The story takes place during the summer, and is a great addition to a child’s reading list to continue reading skills in these away from school months. There is nothing better to curl up with a good book in a garden. It’s something I did as a kid myself. So, can’t help but pass on the tip.

Here is the link to the full online novel: https://crystalkeeper.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/parent-support-for-homeschool-free-ebook-online-novel-study/

Link to your copy of “The Lost Secret of Fairies”:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1425146716

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-fairies-tiffany-turner/1019317884

Apple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1503006160

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-lost-secret-of-fairies-1

Enjoy your summer!

-Mrs. Turner