Tag Archives: shelterathome

Interview with Chris Lewis


I’m starting this week out with a great support picture book for your little ones to understand the COVID19 situation, and help them become informed in a child friendly way. Chris Lewis wrote this book with fellow colleagues to help support parents explain to their younger children what is going on in the world. Haley and Comet Learn about COVID-19 is available as a FREE picture book and is available in Indonesian and Portuguese translations. I had a chance to talk to Chris Lewis about his writing routine, future projects, and what writing means to him.

1) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Chris Lewis:
After I have eaten with a cup of tea in the evening.

2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Chris Lewis:
Business and technology subjects target and younger readers. Change Management and testing is on the cards.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?
Chris Lewis:
A privilege and a joy I am working every day to get better at.

Covid19PictureBkcoverHaley and Comet Learn about COVID-19 tells the story of two twins, Haley and Comet. They are confused about why they are not allowed to visit with friends, and their big brother isn’t allowed to go to school. Discover the journey the twins go on to find out how COVID 19 has affected their lives. This story is written for 5 years and up.

Haley and Comet Learn about COVID-19 is available at the following eBook store links:

English version: https://books2read.com/u/mVw5Y5
Indonesian version: https://books2read.com/u/bMpdg5
Portuguese version: https://books2read.com/u/mKDMqP

Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding, and the Corona Virus Lockdown


ID 125060942 © Kristina Kostova | Dreamstime.com

The last few weeks, I’ve been supporting parents that are suddenly homeschooling because of the school closures due to the Corona Virus Outbreak. It’s helped to give back in the way that is unique to my teaching and writing background. A full novel story for my first book took two weeks to write and post for all of you. I do hope it has helped bring some light during these bleak times. As I’ve said before, I think we all need some fairies and the Fey in our life right now.

But I’ve also been on a personal journey to help deal with the events that have been happening due to the corona virus outbreak. I live in California in the Silicon Valley. I grew up here. In fact, my book series touches on the orchards I used to play in while growing up here. But at first, it was a ground zero for the outbreak, with Santa Clara County the first to lock down in the US. It was soon followed by the whole state of California.

I’m at high risk since I’m over fifty and a woman with a heart condition. So, I took this all IMMEDIATELY seriously when enough was known on how deadly this virus was becoming. I gave a leave of absence letter to my boss, and did a huge shopping trip to help get through what I thought would be a 3 week lockdown. My last day out in the real world was March 11. On March 12, I started my own lockdown to stay safe. And then, I watched my county and later my whole state join me a few days later.

I do work a lot on line. I have Fiverr.com gigs that I help out other authors with blurbs and interview them for this blog. I self publish all my romance and children’s books, and am currently writing a “How To Self Publish” book.

But somehow, this shelter in place turned into something a lot different than my normal writing schedule. Everyone else was there with me. My friends were online all the time now. People were coming up with awesome, supportive things to cheer up each other. Putting up Christmas lights in the windows and displaying teddy bears for kids to do bear hunts were just some of the things I’ve participated in my neighborhood to connect during these strange times. But it also reminded me and started to feel like something else.


Outside of the Secret Annex, the building the Frank family hid in during WWII. ID 100750106 © Fedecandoniphoto | Dreamstime.com

I first read Anne Frank when I was eleven. I couldn’t put it down, and I cried endlessly when I got to the end wondering why she had to die. This touched off a lifetime of questions about WWII and the Holocaust. I have since been to the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam, stood outside Auschwitz (which was unfortunately closed on the day I visited), and have read many books about the behind the story about the Secret Annex, the helpers, and people that knew Anne.

I turned now back to these books, finding that there were even more memoirs, more information in regards to the hiding saga that has touched so many people. I’ve dived into some recently new memoirs and biographies involving people with the hiding of the Frank family and the other hiders. I’ve never felt more closely in experience with Anne before. She wanted to be a writer. She hid for two years, and I had tried to imagine before what it must have been like for her. I have more of an idea now.

It is strange to say that reading about Anne Frank and the hiding saga that took place almost 80 years ago brings me comfort during a pandemic, but it does. I’ve always had the question of what it was like for Anne. I’ve stood in the Annex in Amsterdam, touched the sink where they washed dishes, and listened to the clock bong the hour. That made the story so real for me tears started to form. And again, I still seek the answer, what was it like for Anne? What did she go through while hiding? Well, I’m living it right now. We all are.

There are some parallels that make Anne’s story true for us today. No. I don’t have Nazis looking for me. But the fear that some invisible enemy is out there is part of my thoughts.  My routine is constantly to clean and try to keep myself safe from it. The anxiety is awful. She must have felt some kind of similar anxiety about being discovered.

I do have helpers bringing me food in the form of delivery services. But the fear is different because the invisible virus could be on what they bring me and I have to wash everything. Of course, this could be akin to the fear of discovery, the attention to keep yourself safe, and to do what was needed to stay safe. I do have to ration and try to get the food I need, always trying to hit the delivery window online, which sometimes can take days. And I have to plan to get the food in advance. It’s like a combination of being a helper and a hider.

This outbreak shows the continued cycle of the struggle for humans to survive and that we can adapt to it all. It has a similar truth that Anne’s story has. And we’re living it together. If we hang in there, we might still have that hope shared with Anne in her writings. She was always positive, and still thought the best about humanity.

I spend my days writing, adult coloring a calendar I got for Christmas to relieve stress, and taking care of my husband and cat in a small, one bedroom condo. I am more fortunate than many, I know. But my mind just can’t help but imagine the similarities between Anne’s, her family’s and the others with them hiding experience must have been like. It is similar to what a lot of people in the world might be experiencing now, together. Trying to stay sane within close quarters of living with others.

There is one thing that is also clear. Anne had no way to know how her ordeal would end. She hoped it would be after the war that she could write her dairy finally as a book. But that never came to pass since she passed away from typhus at a concentration camp after her family and fellow hiders were betrayed, arrested, and sent to the camps. But while she was hiding, she had the most incredible hope. Hope that she would get through everything and have her dreams. Hope that everything would be alright when the war was over. She is quoted in “The Diary of a Young Girl” as saying:

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.

And that’s why I’ve related with her all these years, and so much now. Her life was so similar to ours until it was changed by the war, her family was forced into hiding, and she spent two years waiting for a more positive outcome than what she received. I hope for all of us, we all have a more positive outcome. That we all stay safe, we survive this pandemic together, and live through to the other side to still see the beauty in the world.

Please, do not lose hope. And if it helps any, read “The Dairy of a Young Girl” that was Anne’s dream to publish, but was unable to in the end, and her father made her dream come true. Then, here are some great follow up books that give different perspectives of the hiding experience:

  1. Dairy of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

2) Anne Frank The Untold Story: The Hidden Truth about Elli Vossen, the Youngest Helper of the Secret Annex by Jeroen de Bruyn & Joop van Wijk

3) Holocaust Memoirs of a Bergen-Belsen Survivor (Classmate of Anne Frank)

By Jeannette Blitz Konig

For more information on Anne and the secret annex where she hid, visit the:

Anne Frank Foundation/Anne Frank House Website

So, I invite you to read not only Anne’s story, but that of all the people she touched. It shows how one life can be so special, and how even in the worst of times, kindness can prevail. Like now. Maybe that’s why I’m turning to these books right now. We need the wisdom. We need the guidance of those that have gone through tougher times like our present pandemic situation. And what better resource than the books that survive them all.

If you do choose to read them or would like to talk about them after, please leave messages in the comments. I’d love to hear how you are dealing with the Corona Virus Lockdown, and maybe people in the future will use our stories of struggle for their own inspiration.

-Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and appreciate the little things,

-Tiffany Turner

Parent Support for Homeschool: Free Ebook & Online Novel Study


The Lost Secret of Fairies is FREE on Smashwords for a limited time!

So folks, some of you have been following along with a two week, free novel study. I thank you for that, and am warmed by the feedback I’ve been hearing. Because of this, I wanted to help you out even further.

I have managed to find a way to get the ebook for the novel study, FREE, for a limited time. From now until the end of the month, The Lost Secret of Fairies ebook is FREE. Yes, you heard that right. I’m giving it to you as a gift, along with the entire free online novel study, to help promote reading and learning during these hard times for the world. It is my gift to the world to hopefully help us all get through together. I’m sure fairies are something we all need right now.

Link to Smashwords Free Ebook

Offer extended until May 31, 2020.

I hope you enjoy the story, and for those of you just finding my blog, here is a link to the entire online novel study in order. It takes about 2 weeks to go through the whole novel study. Please leave any comments or feedback on how you are enjoying it. Plus, feel free to add any questions too. I love talking to people and finding out how they enjoyed my book.

summer1The Free Online Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study

Day 1: Beginning of The Novel Study/Journal Entry Set Up

Day 2: Spooky Writing Online Unit

Day 3: Chapter 1-3 Study Questions

Day 4: Chapter 4-6 Study Questions/Blog Reading Activity

Day 5: Chapter 7-8 Study Questions/Definitions Activity Worksheet

Day 6: Chapter 9-10 Study Questions/Using Fairy Tales & Legends in Lit Paragraph Response Reading Activity

Day 7: Chapter 11-12 Study Questions/ PE Activity

Day 8: End of Book Study Questions/ Summary & Character Change Response Worksheets

Day 9: Theme/Author Message Response Worksheet/Video Lesson

Day 10: Final Essay Test & Grading Rubric with Completion Certificate

Bonus Posts:

Tips for Helping to Create Structure & Schedule For Distance Learning/Homeschooling 

Reflection on the Emotional Impact of the Corona Virus Lockdown: Poem and Journal Response Activity

Just remember, wash your hands, stay safe, and be kind to everyone, because the world needs that right now. Oh, and fairies. We need the World of Fairies too.

So, enjoy, read and write!

Until next time,

Tiffany Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years teaching experience in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 


Interview with Yolanda Avery

authorphoto Yolanda Avery

Yolanda Avery is the author of the book “The Adventures of Granny Fannie”.

I hope you are staying safe with your family, and have started a routine for your quarantine life if you’re area or state is in lockdown. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, I can find some more fabulous books and authors to interview along with more tips for distance learning. I’m proud to lend my 20 years of teaching experience to help out the parents finding themselves teachers all of a sudden during this pandemic crisis. I’ll try my best to support you.

This brings me to my next author I’d like to introduce to you. Yolanda Avery grew up in Louisiana with the dream to run her own business and to make a difference. She has been a screenwriter, writer and business entrepreneur. Her book, The Adventures of Granny Fannie, creates a unique, inspirational character that uses her rhyming conversations to inspire others during her adventures. I had the chance to talk with Yolanda about her memories of reading as a child, what authors influenced her and what writing means to her.

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

Yolanda Avery: My favorite memory from reading was from my dad. I can remember when I was about 6 or 7 years of old. My dad woke me up early in the morning, and he had prepared a tea party for the two of us. He had placed all of my stuffed animal friends around this white table I had in my room. It was during the holiday season because I remember that was my first taste of eggnog. He had all the cups at the table filled with this tasty beverage and chocolate chip cookies on each saucier.

Then he pulled out one of my favorite books. Of course, it was the book of nursery rhymes. The book was filled with so many of my favorite short stories. We spent hours at the table drinking and reading from my favorite nursery rhymes stories. This is a memory that I continue to share with my family.

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

Yolanda Avery: Beatrix Potter was my favorite children’s author. As a child, I can remember dreaming that I lived in an imaginative world creating fantasies out of many daily tales. My mind often wondered in a world of “what if”. I love how her stories of Peter Rabbit seemed so real to me.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Yolanda Avery:
Writing to me is exhilarating!

granniefannycvrThe Adventures of Granny Fannie is a collection of short stories involving a grandmother character called Granny Fannie. Each story includes inspirational adventures all told through the enjoyment of rhyme. Granny Fannie will bring a hip and fresh look into many educational and life lessons told through the point of view of her unique personality.

The Adventures of Granny Fannie is available at: Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

For more information on Yolanda Avery, please visit her website at: https://yolandacavery.com/.



Day 10: Last Day of The Lost Secret of Fairies FREE online Novel Study w/ essay test


Final Day of The Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study: Final Exam Day!

Welcome to the final day of The Lost Secret of Fairies free online novel study. As of just an hour ago, as I’m writing this, the California governor has announced that California schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year, and maybe some changes will happen in the fall in regards to reopening schools. I could tell this was going to be for the long haul, and I am happy to be completing the support for parents in my home state, throughout the US and from my statistics, throughout the world.

I wrote my books for children and used the writing of them as instruction when I was in the classroom. To include them for novel study instruction to help teach reading seems to complete the circle of learning they were created for. I’m happy to have brought you this online novel study for my first book, and I would love to hear any feedback you have about using it.

summer1The Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study Essay Test

So, with that said, here is the final activity to go with the novel study, the final essay test. If your child or student has been completing all the activities, including the summary, character change response worksheet and the theme/message worksheet, your little one is all ready for the essay test. They should have all the time they need to complete it, and they can use the book and their journal notes to help find examples and support.

LSOF Essay Test

Grading Criteria

I’ve included a rubric for you to help grade their answers. They should include examples and details of support from the story, their own ideas, and language from the worksheets they used during the novel study. Other words, they need complete sentence answers, topic sentences and closing sentences. The essay test and all the responses this week have been teaching basic essay response language and structure for your child. These are all standards in most school systems in the US and the world.

Below is a Grading Rubric for you to use. Traditional, 1-4 grading is used on these rubrics. If you want to change that from D grade to A Grade, you can. 1=D, 2=C, 3=B, 4=A. But I feel if your child has made an effort, worked hard, includes the language in a complete sentence and uses supporting details, they should get a high grade. It is up to you. As the parent, high praise from you will mean a lot. 😉

For those wondering minds, a passing grade in school that children would be working toward is the 3 on the rubric. It can also be helpful to show your child the rubric so they know what is expected of them before the essay test.

Rubric for Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study Essay Test

When your child/student has finished the test, and you’ve looked it over and graded it, I’ve included a link to a completion certificate below. You can sign it and give it to your child.


Congratulations! You’ve completed a reading novel study unit with your child, and they’ve become a better reader and writer!

And that’s about it, folks! I want to thank you and your child for continuing with the novel study, and I hope they enjoyed reading the book. If they would like to continue the series, here are the links below for the three books that continue Wanda’s journey and adventures in the World of Fairy.


Book 2

The Lost Secret of the Green Man (Book 2)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003LL3MQE

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-the-green-man-tiffany-turner/1112041152

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-lost-secret-of-the-green-man-the-crystal-keeper-chronicles-book-2

iApple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lost-secret-green-man-crystal-keeper-chronicles-book/id543028109


Book 3 

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire (Book 3)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Secret-Dragonfire-Crystal-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B079J4R22D

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-dragonfire-tiffany-turner/1114782699

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

iApple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-lost-secret-of-dragonfire/id616637319

Lost Secret - High Resolution (1)

Book 4

The Lost Secret of Time (Book 4)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Secret-Time-Crystal-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B07GJZBPPY

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-time-tiffany-turner/1129320107

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

iApple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-lost-secret-of-time/id1428309465

Thank you to everyone that have participated in the novel study! I welcome all the feedback and invite you to follow my blog as I continue to post more learning activities and homeschooling support for parents in the future weeks.

Take care, stay safe, wash your hands, and we’ll get through this together!

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 






Day 9: The Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study, Theme Response Worksheet & Video Lesson Link


Greetings for Day 9 for the Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study. I know I threw a lot into the last post, and I even realized I need to add one more thing before the final essay test, a lesson on theme or message. That is on the essay test, and I wanted to do at least one lesson with The Lost Secret of Fairies since it is an original fairy tale, and working with morals and themes is a standard for 3rd and 4th grade. It’s reviewed in 5th grade to get ready for looking over Tale Tales and American Folk Tales.

So, here you go. I’ve added the theme response worksheet to my free downloads for this novel study. Plus, below is a video from BrainPop. The literature concept of theme/message is taught with animated Star Wars universe characters. It’s about 6 minutes long. Most children are familiar with Stars Wars, so I thought it was a good fit to talk about message and theme.


When your child is done watching, they should have a better understanding of theme for books and movies. You can talk with them about the following discussion questions below:

  1. What is a moral? Can you think of any morals for some of your favorite fairy tales.
  2. What kind of patterns and ideas can you think of in the book, The Lost Secret of Fairies? What idea can you think of to connect them?
  3. What is a basic motif in Star Wars? What do you think is a motif in the book The Lost Secret of Fairies?
  4. Where can you go hunt for themes in a story?
  5. What is one theme in the Star Wars movies? What are clues and examples that support this theme?

summer1Now, they should be able to work on the theme response worksheet below. They can download the webbing graphic to help them organize their ideas. And yes, this will be on the essay test. So, they’ll need to do this. 

Theme Response Sheet for LSOF

The Lost Secret of Fairies- Webbing Graphic Organizer

I’m sorry about this oversight, but it is an important lesson to incorporate into the unit. I’ll post the essay test tomorrow, I promise.

Until then, enjoy the lesson on theme and messages. Stay safe, wash your hands, and together, we’ll get through this.

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 




Day 8: The Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study with Summary & Character Handouts


Chapter 13 and End of Book Questions today!

Greetings everyone! It has been a challenging couple of weeks, but I hope you and your child have enjoyed reading my book, The Lost Secret of FairiesToday, on Day 8, I’ll be helping to wrap up the story and novel study. I’ll be including some downloadable worksheets to be used in response to finishing the book, and tomorrow, will include an essay test that your child should be able to complete on their own from doing the activities. The activities can be done over the next few days with the essay test given at the end of the week.

Let’s start today with the final journal response questions:

Chapter 13 & End of the Book Questions:summer1

  1. Summarize in a paragraph the book The Lost Secret of Fairies. Use a topic sentence, list the events, and use a closing sentence.
  2. How did you like the Lost Secret of Fairies? What was your opinion of the book? Describe your opinion with supporting details and examples from the book.
  3. What is the theme or message from the author of The Lost Secret of Fairies? Name examples from the text that are clues.

Bonus: Do you want to read the next book? Why or why not?

Now, for the end of book activities. These can be done over the next few days, with one a day, as a lead up to the final essay test. I’d suggest the summary first, followed by the Character trait essay answer, and then going through the journal response questions to get an idea of what the book was about in their minds. Then, in a few days, have them do the essay test. I will post the test tomorrow. They will be able to use their journal response pages to take the essay test. Of course, they should use the book to find examples and details.

Downloads for End of Book Activities:

Summary Fill In Handout for The Lost Secret of Fairies

Character Change Writing Response WS

The Lost Secret of Fairies- Webbing Graphic Organizer

Paragraph Writing Lesson Support

(Through my online store on TeachersPayTeachers)

Free Book Review Handout: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Opinion-Real-World-Book-Report-Book-Review-971473

Writing Opinion Packet: (Only $0.99)


Paragraph Parts Review Packet (Only $0.99)


Diorama Book Report/Home Project Extension (Only $0.99)



I hope that helps set the rest of the week for reading response and writing for your child. I’ll post the final test tomorrow that can be the wrap up for this novel study. The other activities included above are great follow ups for the book and extension activities.

Thank you for following along with this novel study. I hope it has helped bring reading and learning to your little ones during these strange times. I’ll be posting the last day of the novel study tomorrow, and I welcome all of your feedback and comments below. It will help me plan for future instruction to help out during the pandemic.

Until then, keep reading and writing,

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 

UPDATED March 31, 2020:

The essay test will be posted on Wednesday, April 1 now. I’ve added a lesson on theme and message, and posted it today. It is on the essay test, so I wanted to make sure I included a lesson on themes. Thanks for following along with the novel study. Please let me know how I’m doing in the comments below.

March 31, 2020 Post on Theme/Messages







Day 5: Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study & other home schooling resources


Study Questions for Chapters 7-8

Greetings everyone! Hope you had a safe and healthy weekend. As more of the US hunkers down and isolates, I’m hoping this will help keep the education of your little ones at home going through the next few weeks. And of course, after all this is over, teachers and parents are still welcomed to use this for educational studies.

First off, I’d like to offer the next set of study questions for The Lost Secret of Fairies novel study. Hopefully, your child is writing down notes and details as they read each chapter in their journal. They can go back and look at the notes they took to answer the questions.

summer1Study Questions for Chapters 7-8:

  1. Summarize the story so far. Pretend you are talking to a friend and describing the story to them. Include who the characters are, setting, main problem, and plot events so far.
  2. Why does Wands tell Jessica she’s going to build a pond in the backyard?
  3. How do the fairies help her escape and get the water?
  4. Was it worth getting into trouble for the spring water? Support your answer with details from the story.
  5. Why do you think Wanda stopped to face her fears?

Bonus: Have you ever had a time where you have had to face your fears?

I’m also including a vocabulary building worksheet. As your child has been reading the story, they’ve been writing down words they don’t know into the area at the bottom of the journal entry sheet. They can now go back to those entries, and pick three words that they don’t know to look up in the dictionary. The following worksheet can be downloaded and printed out for them to fill in the words. Then, they look up the word usage and meaning from the dictionary. They can do this activity every 3 chapters.

Lost Secret Fairies Definition Fill-In WS

Tomorrow, I’ll have another blog post activity that will relate to Legends and Fairy Tales. This is a standard for many lower grades, including fourth and third grade. It’s also a great review for the upper graders, and ties into their prior knowledge.

Until then, remember stay safe and healthy! We’ll get through this together!

-Tiffany Turner

(Mrs. Turner)