Page 1

Volume 4, Issue 8

The Literary Resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents

Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Set the Stage for Literacy

Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Mitchell

Laura Backes

Inspires Kids On and Off the Field

Has the Inside Scoop on Writing Children’s Books

Marc Brown

Author Kyle Morey

Continues to Capture Children’s Hearts with Arthur

Has the World at His Feet

One to Watch: Rebecca Bloom

I Always Dreamed of Being a Writer

Q&A with

Lesléa Newman


ADVERTISE WITH US! MEET THE STAFF

Would you like to promote your book, product, or business? Contact Cristy Bertini at Cristy@StoryMonsters.com or call 413-687-0733 to reserve your space! Discounts available.

PUBLISHER

Linda F. Radke Linda@StoryMonsters.com

Editor-in-Chief

Bring Story Monsters Ink into Your Classroom!

WRITER

Visit our website at www.StoryMonsters.com to download free classroom question sheets to aid in learning comprehension and encourage your students to discuss what they’ve read in each issue!

Cristy Bertini Cristy@StoryMonsters.com Melissa Fales

DESIGN Jeff Yesh

Science & Nature Editor Conrad J. Storad

www.StoryMonsters.com

COLUMNISTS

Order Story Monsters Ink through subscription services for schools, libraries, and businesses.

Nick Spake, Leigh Carrasco, Rita Campbell, Olivia Amiri, Bill McManus, Julianne Black

KID CORRESPONDENTS

Farrah Lederman, Jennah Lederman, Leilah Lederman

PROOFREADER

Debbie Greenberg

Web Management Patti Crane

Advertising

Linda F. Radke Info@StoryMonsters.com Cristy Bertini Cristy@StoryMonsters.com

“Like” us on Facebook! www.Facebook.com/StoryMonsters Follow us on Twitter! @StoryMonsters Find us on the Huffington Post! www.huffingtonpost.com/cristy-bertini/ Follow us on Instagram! www.instagram.com/storymonsters

Special Contributors

Darleen Wohlfeil, Larissa Juliano, Diana Perry, LitPick Reviewers, Kristin Maggio

Story Monsters Ink magazine and www.StoryMonsters.com are trademarks of Story Monsters, LLC. Copyright ©2017 Story Monsters Press, ISSN 2374-4413, ISBN: 9781338199932: All rights reserved. Contents may not be published in whole or in part without the express written consent of the bylined author and publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual writers and are not necessarily those of Story Monsters Ink or its advertisers. Story Monsters Ink is published by Story Monsters Press Postal mail may be sent to Story Monsters Ink 4696 W. Tyson St., Chandler, AZ 85226 Phone: 480-940-8182

2

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

Issues of Story Monsters Ink are recorded by the Arizona Talking Book Library!

Honor Roll Gold Award Recipient, Mom’s Choice Awards. Named among the “great magazines for kids and teens” by School Library Journal. 2016 Irwin Award winner for “Best Publisher of a Literary Magazine” and “Best Editorial Director.”


Volume 4, Issue 8

In this issue 16

04

Laura Backes

Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Has the Inside Scoop on Writing Children’s Books

Set the Stage for Literacy

08

Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Mitchell Inspires Kids On and Off the Field

12

20

Author Kyle L.B. Morey

Has the World at His Feet

24

One to Watch: Rebecca Bloom

Marc Brown

28

Continues to Capture Children’s Hearts with Arthur

I Always Dreamed of Being a Writer

31 Caught Reading

44 Monsters at the Movies

58 Q&A with Lesléa Newman

32 Conrad’s Classroom

46 School Bookings Directory

60 Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

34 Kids Can Publish

47 Liv on Life

36 How Does Your Garden Grow?

48 Book Reviews

62 Story Monster Approved Books

38 Summer Reading List

56 Storytime Pup

63 Kids Corner

Tell us what you think of this issue! Email your comments to cristy@storymonsters.com. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

3


Feature Cover Story

Photo by Ali Goldstein/Netflix

Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton Set the Stage for Literacy by Melissa Fales

Dame Julie Andrews epitomizes the very best of the performing arts. Whether on stage or screen (both big and small), in music, or through her books, Andrews is consistently a standout. Her artistic ability is matched only by her incomparable poise and grace. Now, Andrews is bringing her considerable talents to a new children’s show she co-created with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. 4

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Feature Cover Story

They have teamed up with the Jim Henson Company to offer the Netflix original show, Julie’s Greenroom, designed to introduce young children to the arts. “I’ve wanted to do something in this vein for young children for years and years,” says Andrews. Performing was a family tradition for Andrews, whose mother and stepfather were both entertainers. She grew up in England during World War II. “My school had closed because of the war,” Andrews says. “I must have been horribly underfoot. I don’t know what else would have made my stepfather decide to get me singing lessons.” Andrews’ teacher soon discovered her remarkable, agile, four-octave voice. “I could sing just about anything those days,” she recalls. It wasn’t long before 12-year-old Andrews was appearing on stage with her parents. It led to appearances on radio and television, then theater. She made her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend, and gained recognition after portraying Eliza Doolittle in the My Fair Lady Broadway premiere in 1956. Andrews’ film debut came in 1964 after Walt Disney personally invited her to star in Mary Poppins. The performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Andrews went on to star as Maria in The Sound of Music in 1965, one of the highest-grossing, most beloved movies of all time and perhaps her most memorable role. Andrews says acting on stage and acting on screen are very different. “With theater, the joy is in the communication,” she says. “It’s giving your all to an audience and helping them to forget anything that

might be bothering them for that one night. You want to give them an evening of such joy that they forget the tax man lurking around the corner.” According to Andrews, film requires an alternative approach. “It’s much more personal and private,” she says. “In the theater, you’re acting with your entire body. There’s never a close-up. With film, you need to be prepared for any kind of shot. But when you’re done, you’ve completed something joyous. Both are totally fascinating to me, but the stage is more demanding.” However, Andrews says she feels acting has never been her forte. “I’ve always felt that I was a singer, first and foremost,” she says. Andrews continued to star in films such as Victor/Victoria and more recently, The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2, while lending her voice to films such as Shrek and Despicable Me. Most recently, Andrews reprised her voice role of Gru’s mother in Despicable Me 3. “She’s the meanest character ever,” says Andrews. “I didn’t think I could do it, but from somewhere inside me I dredged up this terrible woman’s voice. She’s the worst mum in the world.” It’s a far cry from her role as Maria, but Andrews relished the chance to play a character so loathsome. “At my age, I can get away with it,” she says. In Julie’s Greenroom, Andrews plays a director of a performing arts center where she and her assistant, Gus (portrayed by Giullian Yao Gioiello), teach workshops to a diverse group of puppets, called Greenies. The puppets were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, with input from Andrews and Hamilton who placed an emphasis

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

5


Feature Cover Story

“There are all of these extraordinary statistics that show children who participate in an arts program have a much greater chance of being academically successful, have higher SAT scores, and are even more likely to vote.” on diversity. “It was thrilling to see the designs coming to life,” says Andrews. There’s even a duck named Hugo who asks to join the company. “The theater never discriminates,” says Andrews. “The message is that theater is for everyone.” Each episode is filled with music and dance, and features a special guest star such as Carol Burnett, Alec Baldwin, Idina Menzel, and violinist Joshua Bell, who brings along his Stradivarius. “By having guest stars, Julie’s Greenroom not only introduces kids to the arts, but to the people making them. We’ve done our best to showcase the best of the best,” says Hamilton. “And there’s so much we haven’t even touched on yet,” adds Andrews. Both women have been impressed with the puppeteers working behind the scenes, or in this case, under them. “The whole set is built up in the air in order for the puppeteers to be at ground level and hold the puppets above their heads,” Hamilton says. “It’s amazing what they can do in a very tight space, reading scripts, reacting, and operating the puppets.” Hamilton says she hopes Julie’s Greenroom will help fill in some of the gaps left when funding cuts lead to the reduction or elimination of arts programs within public schools. “There’s such an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and it’s good to study those things, but we know the arts are unique in their capacity to teach children life skills such as collaboration, tolerance, and discipline,” says Hamilton. “There are all of these extraordinary statistics that show children who participate in an arts program have a much greater chance of being academically successful, have higher SAT scores, and are even more likely to vote.” Andrews says she believes it’s essential to get children interested in the arts from as young an age as possible. “Our hope is to expose children to something exciting 6

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

to get them intrigued and curious right from the beginning,” she says. “It’s much like reading in that way ... you want to start them young.” Andrews introduced her daughter to the arts at a young age. Hamilton initially considered following in her mother’s footsteps and briefly pursued an acting career, but she soon segued into theater, directing, and producing. In 1991, she and her husband, Stephen, moved to Sag Harbor, New York, where they co-created the Bay Street Theater. “It was a big leap of faith, but we ran it for 17 years and it’s still going strong,” she says. Eventually, Hamilton stepped away from theater in order to do more writing with Andrews. “Once mom and I started writing together, that took more time and focus because it was more important to me,” she says. Today, Hamilton teaches children’s literature and children’s book writing at Stony Brook University. “Kids and writing and the arts seem to be the recurring themes in our lives,” Hamilton says. In addition to their work promoting the performing arts, Andrews and Hamilton are also fervent literacy advocates. “Reading and writing are such an important part of life,” says Hamilton. “One of my solo adventures was a resource book called Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment.” Hamilton explains that there’s a big difference between reading a book and consuming information off of a TV or computer screen. “These activities use two different parts of the brain,” she says. “When you’re reading, you’re decoding. You’re looking at letters and converting them into words. It engages your capacity for reason.” Andrews was first approached about writing a picture book for children while she was working on her first memoir. “She asked me if I could think of any children’s book topics she could write about,” says Hamilton. “At that time, my son was a toddler and a


Feature Cover Story

total, obsessive, truck fanatic. I couldn’t find enough truck books to keep him happy.” That led to this mother/daughter team’s first creative collaboration, Dumpy the Dump Truck, published in 2000. Since then, the pair has produced over 30 books together, including eight in their popular The Very Fairy Princess series. “Aren’t they pretty?” asks Andrews. “We have the most lovely French illustrator, Christine Davenier.” Andrews and Hamilton are currently collaborating on a second installment of Andrews’ memoirs.

Lullabies. Together, they operate The Julie Andrews Collection, a publishing program that offers the books they write as well as other books that they feel embody positive messages for children.

Fortunately, the two work well together. Hamilton says the time they’ve spent writing together has been delightful. “It’s deepened and enriched our relationship,” she says. Hamilton believes their differences make them a stronger team. “Mom is terrific at nuts and bolts structure, while I’m more apt to go off on flights of fancy,” she says. “Between us, we do laugh a lot and drink a lot of tea,” says Andrews. “I can’t imagine writing without her.”

Whenever she takes time to reflect on her incredible career, including being awarded the title of Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for her lifetime achievements in the arts, Andrews says she’s grateful for the opportunities she was given. “I was lucky with grace and good fortune,” she says. “I had wonderful mentors along the way.” In particular, she credits Moss Hart who directed her in My Fair Lady on Broadway for his immense impact on her career. “He was the man who made it possible for me to grow and think about acting,” she says. “Being in My Fair Lady was a lesson in itself. It’s a very long and difficult show. I had to scramble to learn what to do. Truly, all of my life has been a learning experience. I think if you’re lucky, you’re always learning.”

Among their other books are, The Great American Mousical, Thanks to You: Wisdom from Mother and Child, and Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and

For more information about Julie’s Greenroom and books by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, visit julieandrewscollection.com.

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

7


Feature Story

Super Bowl Champion

Malcolm Mitchell Inspires Kids On and Off the Field by Melissa Fales New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell became a Super Bowl champion this past February, but he’s been a champion of children’s literacy for years. The self-taught, avid reader started his own reading program, Read with Malcolm, and wrote a children’s book, The Magician’s Hat, while he was still a student at the University of Georgia. Now Mitchell has signed a three-book deal with Scholastic. “Everyone wants to be a published author, and to have 8

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

the opportunity to do that with a publisher as big as Scholastic is amazing,” he says. The first book in the deal, The Magician’s Hat, was originally self-published by Mitchell in 2015. It focuses on the transformative power of books and reading. “Reading is magic,” Mitchell says. “It can truly help you achieve the goals you set for yourself and transport you to a completely different place. Reading can change your life. I know because it changed mine.”


Feature Story

Growing up in Valdosta, Georgia, Mitchell says reading wasn’t high on his list of priorities. “I gravitated towards sports,” he says. “I would pick up a ball any day over picking up a book.” His natural athletic ability made him a star on his college football team, but his poor reading skills weighed on him. “In college, I suffered the consequences of not reading enough when I was younger,” Mitchell says. “I would have no trouble playing in front of 92,000 people at a football game, but don’t ask me to read in front of the class.” Despite his prowess with the ball every Saturday, Mitchell was keenly aware he wasn’t living up to his full potential. “My mom taught me to be the best that I could be,” he says. “I knew, personally, that sports wasn’t the only thing I wanted to be good at. I wanted to be able to thrive in any area, and in order to do that, I knew that I needed to read.”

Determined to make a change, Mitchell headed to the bookstore. “I approached it in the simplest form,” he says. “I picked up a book.” His choice was The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. There was one problem. The book was too advanced for Mitchell’s reading level. “I couldn’t even get off the first page,” he says. “The words were too difficult for me.”

Mitchell recognized that reading was the common denominator among people he admired. “I realized that everyone I considered ‘successful’ talked about a book that inspired them to become who they are today,” he says. “I don’t care if it’s an athlete or a business man, I noticed that and I realized that the missing link for me was books.”

That’s when Mitchell made what he says was one of the best decisions he’s ever made in his life. “I decided to start over,” he says. “And I mean all the way over.” Mitchell read a children’s book, then another, gradually increasing the intensity and difficulty. Slowly, he built his reading skills up to where he wanted them to be. “What really taught me how to be a better reader was learning how to understand sentence structure,” he says. “That was StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

9


Feature Story

“Reading is magic. It can truly help you achieve the goals you set for yourself and transport you to a completely different place. Reading can change your life. I know because it changed mine.” one of the most interesting things for me and it made it a lot easier for me to understand.” Mitchell found that he also enjoyed reading different writing styles. “Identifying the different styles helped me understand context clues,” he says. “Honestly, I still work at reading today. And I really enjoy it.”

Mitchell was inspired to start his own literacy initiative, Read with Malcolm, where he visits schools and talks to students about his reading experience. “If I can help kids to become better readers and to love books, then I’ll get out and read to as many kids as I can,” he says.

Soon, he was ready for the next step in his literary journey. “I wanted to join a book club,” he says. “I wanted to experience a book with a group of people.” Unaware of any book clubs on campus, Mitchell ventured into the local bookstore. “As random as it sounds, I saw a lady there and asked her for a book recommendation,” he says. “She happened to mention her book club and as soon as she said that, I asked if I could join.”

Read with Malcolm not only promotes reading, but also book ownership. “Reading is great, but having access to the books is important,” says Mitchell. “Statistics show 61 percent of kids in low-income families don’t have an age-appropriate book in their home. Even if they wanted to read, they couldn’t. I know that feeling. That’s what makes me do what I do.”

Mitchell became a book club regular, even though the other members were all suburban women at least twice his age. Instead of focusing on their differences, Mitchell saw the multi-generational book club as one example of how books break down social barriers. “Being in the club introduced me to books that I wouldn’t have ever read otherwise,” Mitchell says. “We read The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Never in a million years would I have ever picked up that book on my own, but I did like it.” Additionally, the book club gave Mitchell the confidence to voice his own opinions on what he read. “I was starting to form my own ideas about books,” he says. “That was just one of the positive effects reading had on my life. My overall communication skills improved and I developed an open mind to new situations and opportunities I didn’t have before.” 10

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

By the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Read with Malcolm hopes to have given books to 40,000 students in underserved communities. Mitchell’s charitable foundation, Share the Magic, raises the money used to provide kids with those books. Despite having played a key role in the most epic Super Bowl comeback ever by catching five passes in the crucial fourth quarter and aiding the Patriots in overcoming a 19-point deficit to tie the score, bring the game into overtime, and ultimately win, Mitchell says he’s more proud of his accomplishments off the field, where he had to work much harder to shine. “To embrace something totally different than the environment you came from and to have something that didn’t seem important truly change your life is remarkable,” says Mitchell. “It’s magic.” For more information about Malcolm Mitchell, Read with Malcolm, or Share the Magic, visit readwithmalcolm.com.


StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

11


Feature Story

Marc Brown

Continues to Capture Children’s Hearts with Arthur by Melissa Fales

What started off as a bedtime story about an aardvark named Arthur who disliked his nose has grown into a collection of nearly 100 books and spawned the longest-running animated kid’s television show in American history. Arthur may be perennially 8 years old, but Marc Brown created him over 40 years ago to entertain his son, Tolon.

12

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Feature Story

Since then, kids from all over the world have grown to love the amiable aardvark and his gang of anthropomorphic friends. “One of the best parts of my job is that I work for children,” says Brown. “I consider them my bosses.” Brown grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and started drawing at an early age.” I got in trouble in school for my artwork,” says Brown. In first grade, he entertained his friends by drawing race cars and jet planes instead of focusing on the lessons. In third grade, he would often get into trouble for daydreaming during class. “I was thinking recently how I used to get in trouble for drawing and daydreaming, but that’s kind of what my job is now,” says Brown. “Kids reveal themselves at such an early age. If we look for it, we can see what their strengths are, even if we don’t necessarily see them as strengths at the time.”

“To have a character that becomes a part of so many families’ daily lives is a big responsibility. It’s an honor to be in their homes through television and books. Every day I’m thankful for all of the detours and twists and turns in my life that brought me to this place.” Every morning as a child, Brown watched his father head off to a railroad job that he hated. In his free time, his father would write, draw, study architecture, garden, and he even ran a small antique shop. “I always felt badly for him and I could feel that frustration of not being able to do what he really wanted to do,” says Brown. “That made a big impression on me. I remember being a kid and thinking, I want to have a job I love.” Brown’s parents wanted him to become a teacher, or at least something that they viewed as a responsible, steady job. “They did everything they could to discourage me from becoming an artist,” Brown says. “I think they really did fear that I would end up starving in a garret somewhere.”

Instead, with the help of a favorite teacher, Brown would go on to become one of today’s most successful illustrators. A few months into Brown’s sophomore year of high school, his art teacher, Miss Bryan, took him aside and told him she couldn’t teach him anything. Instead, she offered him unlimited art supplies and a special room to himself where he could explore any kind of art he chose. “It was exciting and terrifying at the same time,” says Brown. One day, Miss Bryan told Brown to prepare his art portfolio. The next day, without his parents’ permission or knowledge, she took him to Cleveland. “It was only 100 miles away, but to me it seemed very exotic,” says Brown, who was amazed at the convergence of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

13


Feature Story

manuscripts to show up but nothing was happening,” he says. “Since no one was providing me with the stories I wanted to illustrate, I decided to try it myself. I think of myself more as an illustrator, but I was willing to create the story in order to have something I wanted to illustrate.” Garland Junior College closed in 1976. “That was the worst year and the best year of my life,” says Brown. The bicentennial year found Brown out of a job, but on the brink of a new career as his first Arthur book, Arthur’s Nose, was published. “I always dread talking to aspiring authors about how I started out,” Brown says. “They don’t want to hear that the very first book I wrote turned into a series that has sold over 65 million copies and became a worldwide phenomenon. I’m still amazed at it all.” Institute of Art. “Here was this whole fount of culture that I hadn’t even known existed,” he says. Miss Bryan brought Brown to the Cleveland Institute of Art. “They looked at my portfolio and accepted me on the spot,” says Brown. They even gave me a small scholarship. Of course, this could never happen today. Miss Bryan would be arrested. But I’m grateful for the way she took me under her wing. I’ve dedicated a few of my books to her.” After college, Brown landed a job teaching art at Garland Junior College in Boston. “It was the type of place where young women of means went to marry Harvard men,” he says. “Some of the students were princesses from other countries. There was even a course on how to handle your household staff. It was like another world to me.” In addition to the teaching job, which he liked, Brown did freelance illustration work for several publishers in the Boston area. “I had heard about this wonderful editor at the Atlantic Monthly Press named Emilie McLeod, so I made an appointment to meet her,” he says. McLeod found Brown’s portfolio too refined and labor intensive. “She taught me to loosen up,” says Brown. “She told me to concentrate on the characters, their expressions and emotions, not technique.” Brown illustrated a number of books, including Isaac Asimov’s What Makes the Sun Shine? but grew impatient waiting for that really compelling illustration job. “I was hoping for all these great 14

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

The success of the Arthur books led to the TV show, which debuted in 1996. “I think a big part of the success of the show is people’s response to the theme song, sung by Ziggy Marley,” says Brown. “It’s such a welcome contrast to the Barney theme song we all had to live through as parents.” Brown has a simple answer as to why Arthur has been so popular. “Arthur is an eight-year-old aardvark who is navigating the mud puddles of life,” says Brown. “It’s how he solves them, or doesn’t solve them, that kids identify with. They relate to what he’s going through.” Lately, Brown has been busy illustrating other people’s stories. He’s particularly excited about collaborating with R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series. “It’s the most unlikely partnership ever,” says Brown. They first paired up for Stine’s The Little Shop of Monsters picture book. “I had the best time illustrating it,” says Brown. “I realized that the monsters were all people I knew–my accountant, my high school gym teacher. It was so therapeutic.” The latest product of this talented duo is a picture book called Mary McScary, due out this summer. Brown regularly receives fan mail from children and adults expressing how much Arthur means to them. “To have a character that becomes a part of so many families’ daily lives is a big responsibility,” he says. “It’s an honor to be in their homes through television and books. Every day I’m thankful for all of the detours and twists and turns in my life that brought me to this place.” To learn more about Marc Brown and his work, visit marcbrownstudios.com.


StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

15


Feature Story

Laura Backes

has the Inside Scoop on Writing Children’s Books by Melissa Fales

16

For over 25 years, Children’s Book Insider has been helping would-be children’s authors get published and published authors sharpen their skills and broaden their audience. With a monthly newsletter, a website, and a series of online tutorials, Children’s Book Insider offers its members numerous opportunities to learn, share, and grow. “Since one of our core beliefs is that writing for children can change the world, we want to enable as many people to do that as possible,” says its founder, Laura Backes.

husband and partner, Jon Bard, when he was working at a public relations company. “I commented to him one day that I was writing very detailed rejection letters on manuscripts I received as an agent, explaining what was wrong with the work and how to revise it,” she says. “I told him I wished there was a source of information I could just refer these people to.” Jon’s response was, ‘Why don’t you start one?’ And so in May of 1990, Children’s Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children’s Writers was born.”

Backes, a former literary agent representing children’s book authors and illustrators, also has an extensive background in the publishing industry. She met her

The timing proved right for the publication. “It was at the very beginning of widespread Internet access, and we had the first big website focusing on writing

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Feature Story

“As an aspiring author, you’re more empowered than ever before to forge the writing career you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.” children’s books,” says Backes. Today, Children’s Book Insider has not one, but three websites. There’s the subscription newsletter that started it all and its companion membership website, cbiclubhouse.com; a blog, writeforkids.org, which offers free information for aspiring children’s authors; and writingblueprints. com, which offers step-by-step instructions on how to complete a book. Over the years, the newsletter has gotten bigger and better. “It started out as an eight-page print publication, and now it’s completely electronic and averages 16 to 18 pages per month with no advertising,” says Backes. It includes editor and agent profiles, exclusive submission opportunities for members, and author interviews. Children’s Book Insider’s newest offering, Writing Blueprints, presents a unique take on writing lessons. “The standard way to teach writing has always been passive—someone presents a lot of information, and writers are expected to absorb and synthesize it and then figure out how to use it,” Backes says. “Writing Blueprints is the first active learning system for writers.” Topics include Picture Book Blueprint and Chapter Book Blueprint, with a Middle Grade/Young Adult Blueprint due in September, as well as Self-Publishing Blueprint and Easy Author Marketing.

point them in the right direction, but they do all the hard work,” she says. “That said, we’ve had the honor of playing a role in some terrific authors’ careers.” For example, subscriber Anastasia Suen got her first magazine credit from a listing she found in Children’s Book Insider and has since written 275 books. “But we’re just as proud of our Insiders and Blueprinters who simply dreamed of getting published and made that dream come true in whatever way worked best for them, and created a legacy with one book or several,” says Backes. In terms of the success the Children’s Book Insider team has enjoyed, Backes attributes it to several factors. “We’ve always worked to create a very personal connection with our customers, many of whom have been with us for decades,” she says. “We’re also very beginner-welcoming, so aspiring authors don’t feel intimidated by us or what we offer.”

For Backes, the best part of her job is hearing from members about their success. “We define ‘success’ in many ways,” she says. “Everything from ‘I finally finished the first draft of my middle grade novel,’ to ‘My self-published picture book is now up on Amazon,’ to ‘I got my first publishing contract,’ to ‘My book just won an award!’ gets us excited. Success means different things to every writer, depending on why they write. We celebrate it in all its forms.” Backes says Children’s Book Insider doesn’t take credit for the success of the authors they work with. “We just StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

17


Feature Story

Backes and Bard recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Shortly after they married in 1992, Backes quit her literary agent job to focus on Children’s Book Insider full-time and Jon came on board. Since then, they’ve watched the children’s book market transform. One of the most positive changes they’ve seen is an increase in diversity. “The children’s publishing industry is working hard to be inclusive of all kinds of people, beliefs, lifestyles, and families, so all readers can see characters just like themselves in their books,” Backes says. Another big change is that today’s authors and illustrators have exponentially more control over their careers than their counterparts did when Children’s Book Insider launched. “Quality instruction on craft is available online, so you can access it from home and on your own schedule,” Backes says. “Social media gives every writer the power to reach millions of readers without relying on a publisher’s marketing campaign which tends to be reserved these days for big-name

18

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

authors. Self-publishing is now a respected, legitimate route to publication. And ebooks make it cheap and easy to get your book out there.” Backes says more opportunities to get published doesn’t mean authors can exert less effort. “You still have to do the work of learning the craft and producing a highquality product, but the opportunity is the same for a newbie or an experienced writer, regardless of where you live or what your budget might be,” she says. For Backes, that means that there is unlimited potential for children’s authors. “We firmly believe that anyone who dreams of seeing their work in print can make that dream come true,” she says. “And I could not have said that even 10 years ago. It’s our mantra, but it bears repeating: As an aspiring author, you’re more empowered than ever before to forge the writing career you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.” For more information about Children’s Book Insider, visit cbiclubhouse.com.


StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

19


Feature Story

Author Kyle Morey Has the World at His Feet by Melissa Fales

After experimenting with traditional homeschooling at their Indiana residence, author Kyle L.B. Morey and his wife, Denielle, decided to take it up a notch. Now, the couple is worldschooling their five children, traveling from place to place, with Mexico the next destination on their agenda. This nomadic lifestyle has been remarkably conducive to Morey’s writing career.

20

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Feature Story

His first children’s book, That Curious Sign on Aisle Nine, was written while the family was on an adventure in Nebraska. “We homeschool, but since we don’t have a home, we call it worldschooling,” says Morey. “It’s been a growing experience for our entire family. Each of us has learned so much, not just the kids.” The Moreys took the plunge into worldschooling last year. They put their house on the market, put their most treasured possessions in storage, bought a minivan, and began living as professional housesitters. They’ve spent the past year traveling around the U.S., housesitting in places such as California, Utah, Idaho, and Kentucky. “We’re very excited about going international,” says Morey of their upcoming trip to Mexico. “We’re trying to learn Spanish.” Morey had been working as the executive director for the Madison County, Indiana Chamber of Commerce when Denielle told him she needed a change. “I was hoping she wasn’t referring to me,” he jokes. The couple spent a year praying and planning for their next step. “I needed to figure out something I could do to generate location-independent income,” Morey says. “I always wanted to write, so it made sense to try to write a book.” Last year, Morey’s first book, Ask God, was released. “It’s the result of a 30-day experiment I put myself through,” he says. Each day for 30 days, Morey wrote whatever God told him to write. “Thirty days and I never had writer’s block, not even once,” Morey says. It’s not a surprise that Morey would choose this type of book. His faith is the driving force in his life. “I have a sense of spirituality inside me that I’ve fostered since my youth,” he says. With one well-received book under his belt, Morey and his family set off on their housesitting adventure. “We’re a family of seven, so typically people don’t just jump at the chance to have us housesit,” Morey says. “We’re too big, it’s too much of a hassle, and people have questions about our kids’ behavior. So while we haven’t gotten all the prime spots where we might want to go, we’ve been in the places we needed to be.” The Moreys don’t just housesit, they make an effort to get involved within each community they visit. With the help of websites such as JustServe.org, they find service opportunities at many stops along the way. Other times, they volunteer with churches in their

temporary hometowns. “It’s a great way for the kids to get to really know an area,” says Morey. Morey says his children are thriving with worldschooling but occasionally wish for a more sedentary life. “I know there are times when our teenager would like to have a normal school,” Morey says. “Our biggest challenge for her is not having enough cute boys in our school. Apparently her two younger brothers don’t count. We gave her the option to live with a relative and attend a normal school, but she decided she wanted to come with us to Mexico.” The family’s journey has had its ups and downs. “It’s definitely not a vacation,” Morey says. They spent three months on a farm in South Carolina, where the kids tended to chickens and gathered eggs every morning and Morey chopped wood for the fire. “It was a far more rustic life than we’re used to, but we loved it,” he says. “I wrote two stories about our experiences there.” Sometimes the pressure of being together 24/7 hits. “Sometimes we’ll be cooped up in the mini-van for eight or nine hours,” Morey says. “We fight and bicker and argue like any other family. But before our teenagers head off to college, what better way to stay united than to put us in a little van.” That Curious Sign on Aisle Nine is based on a beloved story from Morey’s own childhood featuring, of all things, a purple gorilla. “My dad used to tell a very similar tale in a way that captured our imaginations,” StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

21


Feature Story

“I’m having a lot of fun writing. I’m trying to do my best to improve the world, one word at a time.” says Morey. “Since then, I’ve told various stories about a purple gorilla to my kids.” The book has received rave reviews from readers who boast that the book has something for everyone: a car chase, plenty of humor, and a surprise ending no one sees coming. Morey happily shares the credit for the book with his mentor, Laren Bright, a writer with Hanna-Barbera.

22

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

“I met him online while I was writing Ask God,” says Morey. “It was an honor to work with him.” Illustrator Dwayne Bruce is a plumber by trade who had never illustrated a book before. “I can’t wait to work with him again,” says Morey, hinting that there will be a sequel. “I’m playing around with the idea of That Curious Crate of Box Car Eight.” In the meantime, Morey’s next children’ book, Monster Kisses, will be released this summer. “It’s a parody of a famous book for younger children, Animal Kisses, only I’ve replaced the animals with monsters,” he says. Morey says there will be a sequel to Ask God as well. “I’m having a lot of fun writing,” he says. “I’m trying to do my best to improve the world, one word at a time.” For more information about Kyle L.B. Morey, visit www.kylelbmorey.com or visit the Morey family blog at www.thatsamoreyblog.com to learn more about their worldschooling adventures.


StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

23


Feature Story

One to Watch:

Rebecca Bloom by Melissa Fales

Even if you’re too young to remember the original, now you can dive into a remake of the beloved 1970s show Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, created by Amazon. Not only are Sigmund, Slurp, and Blurp back, there’s also a cameo by series creators Sid and Marty Krofft, an appearance by original star Johnny Whitaker, and there’s a new character, Robyn, played by 12-year-old actress Rebecca Bloom. “I hope the audience laughs and I hope they love it,” says Bloom. “And I hope they feel touched by it. There are some sweet moments in this show.” 24

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

The storyline of the new Sigmund and the Sea Monsters remains largely true to the version that first aired in 1973 with some updates to appeal to today’s youth. Brothers Johnny and Scotty are still trying to keep Sigmund—a goofy-looking, friendly creature who washes up on the beach—a secret from the adults in their lives. This time, their efforts are complicated by the addition of a villain, sea monster hunter Captain Barnabas, played by David Arquette. Luckily, the boys have the help of their cousin, Robyn. Bloom says she was drawn to the role of Robyn


Feature Story

because she sees a little of herself in the character. “She is confident, she is sweet, she’s sometimes sappy, and sometimes tough,” Bloom says. For Bloom, being a part of this Sigmund and the Sea Monsters rebirth has been the highlight of her acting career so far. “I’m having so much fun with it,” Bloom says. “It’s a privilege to have the chance to work with the Kroffts. It’s great to be working on a new version of a show that so many people remember from their childhood.” Bloom has been acting for five years. After watching her older brother, David, appear on TV in commercials, she decided it was her turn. “He seemed to be having a great time,” she says. “I wanted to be like him. I wanted to act, too.” Her acting debut was in a commercial for Apple’s iPhone 5. Since then, she’s done a number of other national commercials, including ones for Progressive and Whirlpool. “I enjoyed everything about being in commercials,” she says. “It’s just fun.”

“What I like the best about acting is that I get to play different characters. I get to explore what it’s like to be someone else. I don’t have to be the same person all the time.”

For Bloom, acting offers an escape from the everyday. “What I like the best about acting is that I get to play different characters,” she says. “I get to explore what it’s like to be someone else. I don’t have to be the same person all the time.” Before auditioning for a role, Bloom spends time mentally preparing and getting herself in the right frame of mind. “You have to be confident,” she says. “You have to walk in and act like you already got the job.” Bloom’s work in commercials led to voice-over roles, beginning with the character “Masha” in the television show Masha and the Bear. “That was a great experience for me,” she says. “I learned a lot from that role.” Next, Bloom lent her voice to “Marcie” in the 2015 animated film, The Peanuts Movie. “Honestly, that was one of the most fun experiences in my life,” she says. “The cast was great. Peanuts has played such a role in popular culture over the years. It was an honor to be a part of that history.” According to Bloom, some of her fondest memories of working on The Peanuts Movie was spending time with the other cast members while they were “in school” on set. “It’s really different from attending a regular school,” says Bloom. “For one thing, there are a lot fewer people around. Each of us had the work from our actual school to do. We each did our own work and the teacher was there to help if we needed it, kind of like a tutor.” When she’s not in the middle of an acting job, StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

25


Feature Story

Bloom attends “a regular school” and she’ll be entering seventh grade this fall. “I like school because I get to hang out with all my friends,” she says. “They all love the fact that I act, but it doesn’t change how they treat me or how they act around me.” A fan of comedy in general and Adam Sandler comedies in particular, Bloom strengthened her acting skills by studying improv at Second City, Comedy Playground, and the LA Comedy Connection. “I love comedy because I love to laugh,” she says. Bloom has even done some stand-up. “It was an experience,” she says. “I was so nervous but once I got on stage, I was ready.” She based her stand-up routine on her personal experiences, including the challenges of having naturally curly hair. “I think stand-up works best when you build your act around things that happen to you in your everyday life,” she says. For over a year now, Bloom has been studying acrobatics and karate, something she hopes she’ll have

26

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

the chance to showcase someday. “It would be so cool to have the chance to incorporate my martial arts and acrobatics into a role,” she says. Despite her busy schedule, Bloom finds the time to get involved with community service projects. She’s worked at charitable events for GenerationOn, an organization that gives young people opportunities to make a difference. Over the holidays, she volunteered by wrapping gifts for underprivileged children who might not otherwise have received a present. “I think it’s very important to give back,” Bloom says. “I have so much in my life. I’ve been very lucky. It makes me feel good to give back to people who don’t have as much.” As for her future and potential career plans, Bloom says she’s keeping her options open, but will likely continue to appear on screen. “I probably want to stick with acting,” she says. “It’s brought me to great places.” For more information about Rebecca Bloom, follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @rebeccabloom12.


StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

27


Feature Story

I Always Dreamed of

Being a Writer by Carole P. Roman

I always dreamed of being a writer. I wanted black and white photos of me in a dark turtleneck, holding a pen in my neatly manicured hands. My hair would be slightly mussed like I was too distracted to comb it. After all, I had so many great stories in my head. There would be magazine interviews, talk shows, the late-night circuit, Cavett, Carson, maybe even, dare I say ... Barbara Walters?

28

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Feature Story

Yep, me a writer. To my complete and utter astonishment, the dream came true, but there were no television talk shows or interviews with Barbara Walters, and yet, it doesn’t seem to matter. Instead of the great American novel, I started my writing career penning stories for children. It happened on a dare from my own children. I wrote my first book Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life and to my surprise, it was named to Kirkus Best of 2012. Nine more books followed in the series. A second adventure with the captain and crew involving the Aurora Borealis made the Kirkus list, as well. A few of the others were honored by Foreword Reviews, as well as other prestigious awards. They were stories based on my family life. I poked fun at parenting issues and found gentle lessons to pass on to young readers. I was having a great time with it. Still, I felt that something was missing. Was writing for children fulfilling my ambition to be an author? Could one consider my little pirate series literature? Though the stories popped up with other ideas, that great American novel eluded me. The nonfiction cultural series came to me in the early hours, when I was half asleep. I woke up with my mind whirling. We had just returned from a vacation with the children in Las Vegas. While walking on the strip, my grandson asked what that tall structure was in front of the Paris hotel. “What is the Eiffel Tower?” How do you explain national identity to a 4-yearold? He couldn’t wrap his head around the idea of another country. What if I created a nonfiction series about culture and customs for children ages four to eight? I asked my family about it. There was a roar of disapproval, drowning out my husband’s resounding, “Great idea!” “You gotta be kidding me.” Both of my adult sons were aghast. Pirates, they could understand, but culture, “Puh-leeze!” I didn’t care. I started with six countries, as diverse and distant as they could be from each other: Mexico, France, Norway, South Korea, Turkey, and Kenya. I thought about my grandchildren and what would interest them enough to say those special words every parent dreads and every author adores, “Read it again!” I wanted to make it fascinating for little minds, so I placed them in the shoes of a child born in that

country. They were given the choice of three names, told what they would call their parents, what money they would use. Sports, holidays, places to visit, and foods were explored. It was not a textbook or written like one. It reminded me instead of a show you might see on the Travel Channel, making you want to go there and learn about the country, the people. My kids laughed and said they didn’t expect much. The joke was on them, however. The series took off. Homeschoolers, parents, and kids loved the book. It was fun and easy to read, not overwhelming. Letters poured in from parents, saying they read the book to their younger children and it opened doorways to discussions with their older ones. I try to put something special in each book that will make any reader sit back and say, “Oh ... I didn’t know that.” The series started winning awards. People asked me to do a book about their country. So India, Greece, Egypt, Brazil, Hungary, Russia, and Peru followed. KDP noticed me enough to ask me to participate in a roundtable, and then a video for YouTube. BookWorks, The Children’s Book Review, and Reader Views did articles about me. Then on to Scotland, Portugal, Australia, China, and Israel … I couldn’t get the books StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

29


Feature Story

them to an illustrator. Could I write a book alone? Could I tell a story with words only? Could I leave my comfort zone? Apparently I could. I released my first early reader book, Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag, and will soon release Oh Susannah: Things that go Bump, a Halloween story. Not to leave out my littlest fans, I have written several rhyming books that we call the nursery series. Rocket-Bye is a love letter to my grandsons, a gentle book to read before bed. Can a Princess be a Firefighter? is a reminder to my granddaughters never to let anyone or anything hold them back. A personal appearance at my granddaughter’s nursery school ended with 14 adorable children moving close to me, hanging on every word as I read to them, the precious “read another,” filling my heart with pride and wonder. done fast enough. People as far as China and Italy were interested in stocking my books in their stores. I have a foreign book agent. Ooo la la! The series grew to cover 22 countries. The latest one went a step further and took my readers to colonize Mars in 2054. It was awarded Five Stars from Foreword Reviews. It worked. Not only did I enjoy writing them, people of all ages enjoyed reading them. Next, I wanted to do for history what I did for culture and created a 10-book series for older children, ages 8 to 12, about important time periods in the history of our globe. Using the same template, I traveled throughout time, exploring what you might have worn, the foods you ate, what games were popular, etc., and the letters started coming in again. People said I made history fun. The series demystified the past, making it easier for children to learn about the events that shaped our world. The books place students in the actual shoes, where they walk through a life, learning about the way things were done, and perhaps why, as well. I’ve covered Ancient Greece, China, Viking, Mayan, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Elizabethan England, Colonial America, and the American West and stirred imaginations. Bianca Schulz from The Children’s Book Review urged me to write a chapter book. “I wouldn’t know where to start,” I told her. “Start at the beginning,” was her advice. I was writing small 22-page stories, giving 30

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

I have an audience and they love the books. Maybe one book will inspire them, or in the case of One to Ten, give them the tools to help them cope with a bad situation. Maybe one of my books will play a role in developing a personality that will someday affect us all. To date, I’ve had a few impressive interviews, with Forbes deciding to interview me twice. I’ve been given my own blog talk radio show, Let’s Say Hello to Our Neighbors, with my own theme song and sponsors. I have school children writing me fan mail, asking where I am going to take them next. I am having the best time. Turns out, my great American novel is child’s play, and I am loving it.

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series and the award-winning nonfiction culture series, If You Were Me and Lived in... that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to SelfPublishing and Marketing.


Have you been #caughtreading? Send your photos to cristy@storymonsters.com and we might publish it in an upcoming issue!

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

31


aF . Ra dke

Science & Nature

Li

nd

Photo

: by

Mosquitoes:

Nature’s Little Vampires by Conrad J. Storad

Happy summer! Sorry that I’m a month late with my best wishes for your hot season. Summer is a time for naps in the hammock, camping, fishing, family vacations to the mountains or the beach, roller coasters, baseball, and backyard barbecues with lots and lots of burgers and hot dogs. Unfortunately, no matter where you live, summer is also a time for dealing with one of Nature’s most loathed pests: the mosquito. Skitos. Skeeters. Flying syringes. Nature’s bloodsuckers. The “state bird” of

New Jersey. Wisconsin’s “air force.” Whatever you call them, mosquitoes are the insect we all love to hate. Like all insects, a mosquito’s body has three parts. They have a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. Mosquitoes have six legs and one or two pairs of wings. They also have two super sensitive antennae. Mosquitoes have a complex sense of smell. They are very good at detecting carbon dioxide (CO2), body heat, and other odors. They can also detect movement from a distance. They put these skills to use when honing in on a target to bite. Humans breathe in oxygen and exhale CO2. We have warm bodies and many of us are quite smelly, especially in the summer. No wonder people are listed high on the mosquito’s menu of favorite entrees. But only for female mosquitoes. Male mosquitoes prefer to suck on flower nectar or the juice from plants. Only female mosquitoes have mouth parts designed for sucking blood from people and other animals. The long, straw-like tube attached to the mosquito’s head is called a proboscis. It’s actually two tubes in one.

Ochlerotatus notoscriptus, Tasmania, Australia (photo by J.J. Harrison)

32

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

During a bite, the mosquito stabs the proboscis into the skin of its target. One tube injects an enzyme that keeps the blood from clotting. The mosquito wants a smooth drink, not a chunky one. The second tube sucks the blood into its body. The mosquito does not actually drink the blood for her own nourishment. She uses proteins from the blood to create a healthy batch


Science & Nature

of eggs. Our blood actually helps to create more little flying vampires. Mosquitoes are true flies. The skinny insects are cousins to black biting flies and the common house fly. To date, more than 3,500 kinds of mosquitoes have been identified by scientists. Some kinds are widespread. Most types live in only small areas. Mosquitoes can live everywhere, including deserts and snow-covered mountain tops. A mosquito’s high-pitched hum can be maddening, especially when you are trying to sleep. That whining hum near your ear is actually the mosquito’s wings beating at 200 to 500 times per second. Mosquitoes are much more than a summer nuisance. Giant venomous snakes, sharks, huge gorillas, and sharptoothed piranhas might be the beasts most often seen in scary summer movies. However, based on their ability to transmit disease with a single bite, mosquitoes should be considered one of the most dangerous creatures on Earth. Millions of people die every year from diseases carried by mosquitoes. Malaria, yellow fever, Dengue fever, and West Nile virus are just a few of the deadly illnesses than can be transmitted by a mosquito bite. For doctors and medical professionals charged with protecting the public health, mosquitoes are Public Enemy Number One. There is one silver lining hiding under that cloud of mosquitoes that might infest your neighborhood. Skeeters are a tasty and reliable food source for all kinds of animals. Birds and bats love to eat them. So do dragonflies and frogs and many other creatures. My wife and I now live near woods and a pond. So, we’re really hoping these helpful critters have a big appetite this summer. I’d bite back if I could, too.

Mosquitoes are not fast fliers. Their top speed is about 2 miles per hour. They do not fly well in windy conditions. A mosquito’s head contains two pumps. The pumps help the insect suck out blood when biting a bird, animal, or us. A wet, marshy area can contain millions of mosquitoes per acre. Some adult mosquitoes can actually survive the winter. They hibernate in caves or other well-sheltered areas. Come spring, they wake up hungry.

Resources to learn more about mosquitoes: Books: • The Mosquito Book by Brett Ortler • Mosquito Bite by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel

Websites: • Ask a Biologist – Arizona State University askabiologist.asu.edu • National Geographic Kids kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/ mosquito/#mosquito-closeup.jpg • Easy Science for Kids easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-mosquitoes

Chew on these facts about mosquitoes: Mosquitoes need heat and water to breed. The closer you get to the Earth’s equator, the more kinds of mosquitoes you will find.

Conrad J. Storad

Scientists have identified more than 3,500 different species of mosquito. They live everywhere. The United States is home to more than 160 kinds. Norway has 16 different species. Brazil has more than 450 kinds.

The award-winning author and editor of more than 50 science and nature books for children and young adults, Conrad J. Storad expertly draws young readers into his imaginative and entertaining “classroom” to help them better understand and appreciate the natural world. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

33


Kids Can Publish!

Danvers

by Kristin Maggio, age 10 As I sit and wait for morning to come The sound of the sea is a peaceful one A painted sky fills the daybreak And the ocean air makes me feel awake Hey Kids! Visit www.StoryMonsters.com and click on “Kids Can Publish� for instructions on how to submit your work! 34

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


You are about to eavesdrop on conversations between two brothers, ages 19 and 30, during World War II. Prepare to journey within their family life and experience their frustration, happiness, and sadness. These two brothers have a story to tell.

letterslostthenfound.com Also available on Amazon.com

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

35


A Happy Harvest by Rita Campbell Children develop a greater connection to food and where it comes from through gardening. They learn valuable lessons of patience as they wait for vegetables to grow, responsibility as they care for the plants, and even loss when flowers die at the end of the season. Vegetable gardening introduces children to all kinds of plants. Some of these plants are good to smell, some are good to touch, and some are good to eat. Learning the names of plants is also a great way to teach children respect for nature. Okay, so how does your garden grow? as the title of my column asks. Or, the question on my mind each morning when I head out to the garden is, “What’s for dinner?” depending on what gets picked. Harvesting is what gets kids most excited in the garden. Seeing that little seed magically develop into a juicy red tomato or a big green squash is an exciting learning opportunity. Make it a morning ritual with your kids. Carrying a basket full of produce you’ve grown or filling your t-shirt with your garden treasures because you forgot to bring your basket creates such a feeling of accomplishment and success. So what do you pick and when? Most vegetables taste best when they are small. Zucchini and cucumbers, for 36

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

example, are best picked when they are no more than 6-7 inches long. Be careful—because they’re green, they hide among the leaves and can quickly grow to be huge and uneditable. They will taste tough and woody if you wait too long to pick. Make sure you know the characteristics of the vegetables you’re going to pick by looking at your seed packet for the description. For example, there’s a big difference as to when to pick a cherry or grape tomato or a full-size beefsteak tomato, so make sure you know what you planted. Peppers can be picked when full size and, if left on the bush, can turn colors or become hotter depending on the variety. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce should be picked before the plant develops a flower stalk (called bolting) which makes the leaves taste bitter. Many types of greens can be cut with a scissors and will grow again for a second or third crop before going to seed in the summer heat. Many vegetables such as green beans or peas will get tough or go to seed if left on the vine too long. Young and tender is the best. Keep picking to get subsequent crops. Melons are difficult to know when they’re ripe. Color and smell help farmers to know when to pick. Root crops like potatoes or carrots are tastier and more tender if dug when they are younger and smaller.


Herbs can be harvested all summer by making successive cuttings. Generally, cut no more than one-third of the stem’s length. Nasturtiums can also be harvested throughout the growing season for salads. Include petals of the flowers as well as the leaves for crisp, colorful peppery salads. As a side note: I planted these along the fence line of the garden this year and the peppery smell has kept the rabbits and squirrels away. Create a harvesting culture with your children with harvest walks and baskets and then get your children involved in the preparation and planning of meals with the vegetables you picked from the garden. Children learn best when they’re a part of the activity. Growing and harvesting a vegetable garden presents many learning opportunities and time well spent together as a family. It’s a magical time. As an advocate of magic and fairies and a master gardener and teacher, combining the two for me is the best of both worlds.

Plant of the month: Nasturtiums. Grow very well in poor, dry soils so plant nasturtiums where other flowers and vegetables would be unsuccessful. They aren’t fussy about sun or semishade and do well in both. However, in the full heat of summer, nasturtiums can suffer heat stress. Adding shade protection or moving pots to a filtered light position will keep them happy. They can be trained to grow vertically or cascade down from hanging baskets and other containers, depending on the cultivar.

Rita Campbell is a passionate teacher and master gardener. She is also a fairyologist and new author. Her love for gardening and interest in fairies has inspired her to marry the two concepts and create a series of books on learning about gardening with the help of fairies. www.spritealights.com

BOOK GIVEAWAY Enter to win

Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns Giveaway!

Email cristy@storymonsters.com and be sure to put “giveaway” in the subject line. Include your name and mailing address. One entry per person. Winner will be notified by email on August 13. (US residents only). Sponsored by Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers.

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

37


Summer Reading List! The Adventures of Camellia N.: The Arctic by Debra L. Wideroe

Take a journey with pint-sized explorer, Camellia N., as she sails off on her first exciting adventure to the northernmost part of Earth: the Arctic. Explore this enchanted region as Camellia learns what makes the Arctic one of the most magical locations on our planet. Through The Adventures of Camellia N. book series, Camellia takes children on expeditions to all seven continents, under the sea, and into space where they learn about and gain appreciation for the environment, wildlife, and natural resources. The series not only educates and entertains, but encourages children to become global ambassadors. Join the adventure! debbiewideroe.com

Pibbin the Small: A Tale of Friendship Bog by Gloria Repp

Pibbin, the smallest of tree frogs, is desperate to get a doctor for his turtle friend, Sheera. The other frogs say he’s too little for such a dangerous journey. “You’ll run into snakes and that giant bullfrog. Black Snapping Crabs might eat you!” But Sheera’s leg is still bleeding, so Pibbin finds a pal, and they hurry off. No one knows to warn them about a crazy toad-driver, or stolen leaves, or a terrible, misted swamp … and the two pals end up in more trouble than they ever expected. Available in paperback, Kindle, and audio on Amazon.com. gloriarepp.com

A Buss from Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen

In June, 1825, everyone around spirited 14-year-old Clara Hargraves is thrilled because the worldfamous hero of the American Revolution, General Lafayette, is about to visit New Hampshire on his “Farewell Tour.” In one event-filled week, what Clara learns about her family, her friends, and Lafayette himself profoundly changes her life. Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: First Place (Historical Fiction); Literary Classics Book Awards: Gold Medal (Middle School/Historical Fiction); eLit Awards: Bronze Medal (Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction); Booklife Prize in Fiction: Quarter Finalist (Middle Grade—one of top ten MG entries). Listed on GratefulAmericanKids.com as one of the best history books for children to read! aBussfromLafayette.com

Tripi Takes Flight: The Amazing Adventures of Tripi the Fly by Lori London

Written in a rhyming style similar to Dr. Seuss, this is a charming story about a fly who can’t fly, but who longs for adventure! Tripi is different, and special you see. He can talk, read, and write, and he can even dance and sing! At the library one day, he meets The Great Book! The book talks of tantalizing travel and far-off lands—destinations where Tripi would love to land! Will this chance encounter cause Tripi to hop a jumbo jet to France, and beyond? You’ll have to look inside. Fasten your seat belts … it’s going to be an incredible ride! A Mom’s Choice Award winner.

Queen Vernita series by Dawn Menge

Follow Queen Vernita on her educational adventures! Each year, Queen Vernita and her 12 wonderful friends learn about the days of the week, months of the year, and seasons. Queen Vernita and her friends explore the Oceaneer’s kingdom, the Blue Ice mountains, Islands of Enchantment, the coastline, Baja Quails, and Gator Country, and they meet Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer! There are seven books in the Queen Vernita series (Outskirts Press, $9.95 to $19.95, paperback, children’s fiction/action & adventure). For more information, visit queenvernita.com. 38

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Summer Reading List! I See the Sun series by Satya House

Explore the world! Life in different countries told from a child’s point of view. I See the Sun books are an award-winning series of bilingual picture books, each focused on one country and one day in the life of one child with a story told from the child’s perspective. Every book introduces the culture, family life, and language of one particular country in a way that is sensitive to each culture. Includes age-appropriate (5+) country facts and a glossary for extended learning. Books include I See the Sun in: Nepal, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Mexico, and Myanmar (Burma). satyahouse.com

Max and Bear by Pam Saxelby

Bear is given to Max’s dad at a very special party, but Max isn’t there yet. He is still growing in his mommy’s tummy! When Max is born, Bear is so excited! But when Max’s mommy gives him Sophie the giraffe instead, Bear is disappointed. He decides to wait for Max to grow up a bit. But when his mommy gives Max Turtle to play with instead, he is again disappointed. Will Max ever notice Bear? Max and Bear is a sweet story written with young readers in mind … and teaches them that good things do come to those who wait.

Josie the Great by Pam Saxelby

So many things are changing for Max and Bear. They’ve moved into a new house in a new neighborhood and now ... a new baby? Max’s parents keep talking about someone named Josie, but who is that? With his trusty friend Bear by his side, Max navigates the changes in his life and wonders what it all means. Written by Pam Saxelby and illustrated by her daughter, Anne Saxelby, Josie the Great explores how young children come to understand their ever-changing world. Josie the Great is a sequel to the author’s Max and Bear. Young readers and those who have yet to learn to read will enjoy the further adventures of these two characters.

Gracie Lou

by Larissa Juliano

Gracie Lou is bored. And lonely. What is a little girl to do when there’s nowhere to go and no one to play with? Wish upon a star! As Gracie Lou travels through the starry sky to magical lands, she experiences exciting and whimsical adventures that ignite all her five senses. Larissa Juliano delivers a captivating, imaginative, and thought-provoking story inspired by a childhood favorite: The Little Prince. Readers will delight in the vivacity of Gracie Lou’s imagination (or is it?) as they anticipate where the curly-haired cutie will head to next.

The Tale of Prince by Bianca C. Staines

It’s a dog’s life, but Prince couldn’t have asked for a better one. An unblemished pedigree, a loving family, weekly grooming, and a bowl always full of delicious Auntie Cher’s amazing biscuits. What more could a pompous pooch want? That is, until she arrives. When a flat-faced stray comes trudging through his territory, chewing his toys and stealing his beloved humans’ hearts, his perfect life turns to mush! Prince wants it all back, just the way it was. Yet, despite all his efforts to make her life miserable, getting rid of her seems harder than getting cat pee out of the carpet. Winner, 2017 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

39


Summer Reading List! Ace, King of My Heart: An Assateague Pony’s Tale of Strength and Survival by Lea Herrick

Ace, a tiny, wild colt born on Assateague Island, struggles to survive (with a little help from his animal friends) as he grows into a magnificent stallion. The story is interwoven with the living creatures that exist on the island. Celebrates the 50th birthday of Assateague Island National Seashore and the 100th anniversary of the National Park System! Educational activities included! Recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award and 2017 Green Earth Book Award “Long List” Honoree for environmental stewardship. Teaches children life lessons of perseverance, optimism, and hope, with a larger message for all ages: the need to preserve our beautiful natural habitats and ecosystems. Available on Amazon.com.

Voiceless Whispers by Jane Frances Ruby

Three years since her fateful Grand Canyon field trip, Desiree has kept secret the presence of an ancient wilderness tribe that had helped her. When she returns to the canyon, she encounters the tribe’s medicine man, searching for a sick tribal youth. Desiree discovers that she is the only one who can help cure the youth. But it risks exposure of the tribe as well as Desiree’s life. Is it worth the risk? Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com. theAzuriteEncounter.com

Little Green

by Arnold Rudnick

A small frog who wants to be special hops around asking other animals if he could be something else. While the little reader learns animal groups, skills, sounds, and traits, Little Green learns an important lesson. Isn’t it possible that a little green frog can change the world? Maybe ... with your help! Order your copy of Little Green today and share this fun and inspirational book with family and friends. isntitpossible.com

The Seasons of a Giant by Pamela Hartley

Isabel has never killed anything scarier than a spider, but suddenly her pursuit has thrust her into a fight with an honest-to-goodness, cattle-stealing monster. She has no magic powers or special skills, and she’s a rotten shot with a bow and arrow, but she’s braver than anyone and that, in her opinion, makes her the best girl for the job. When Izzy finally finds her monster, she is transported from her family’s farm to the SkyWorld above the clouds. To find her way home, she will have to team up with the very monster she has been hunting. As the two confront terrifying creatures and deadly enemies, Izzy will learn a lot about him … and herself.

40

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Summer Reading List! The Tinker and The Fold: Problem with Solaris 3 by Evan and Scott Gordon

They have been watching … and because of him, they are coming. Jett Joseph Javelin Junior is enjoying eighth grade until his scientific tinkering goes dangerously wrong and attracts the attention of The Fold, an extraterrestrial force tasked with keeping peace in the galaxy. When The Fold comes to collect him, Jett’s life is thrown into disarray. From alien abduction, to life in Tower 100, to flooding the White House with living alien pom-poms that eat everything in sight, Jett’s adventure to save Earth from The Neutralization Protocol and integrate it into The Fold is fraught with peril and will keep you guessing all the way to the end! thetinkerandthefold.com

Letters Lost Then Found by Amy L. Johnson

Eavesdrop on conversations between two brothers from 1942 to 1945. The highly-acclaimed Letters Lost Then Found features letters exchanged between 19-year-old Freddie, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces who flew over 120 combat missions, and his 30-year-old brother Willie, circulation manager of the Michigan-based Saginaw News. The letters reveal the drama of battle, the daily life that goes on for both brothers, and the vital importance of family connections. Includes a “Day in History” section on each page that provides a glimpse of what was happening in World War II at the time each letter was written. letterslostthenfound.com

My Name is River by Wendy Dunham

It’s 1983, and 12-year-old River Starling’s life is anything but normal. She was adopted on a whim and came without a birth certificate. Her adoptive parents gave her up to her grandmother when she was only two, but River is certain her parents will come back. River’s hopes fall apart when Gram uproots them from their farmhouse and decides to move to Birdsong, West Virginia, the most miserable town River has ever seen. There, she makes an unlikely friendship with an unusual boy and learns about acceptance, hard work, forgiveness, and the love of Jesus. Discover the unforgettable story of one girl’s search for a place to call home.

Hope Girl

by Wendy Dunham

With the discovery of her birth father, 12-year-old River has definite thoughts about how her life should turn out—and that certainly does not include any of the challenges that keep popping up! It’s not easy to decide if she should live with Gram, who has been her family for the past 10 years, or with her father, who she’s over-the-moon to have just met but knows little about. River decides to ask God for help. As this tender-sweet story unfolds, River learns to persevere and stay hopeful that soon she will be part of a real family. Yes, her dream does come true ... but not in the way she had planned!

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

41


Summer Reading List! E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense by Arnold Rudnick

“I know it’s hard to believe that I can read minds. Heck, it’s hard to believe I can even read a book considering how poorly I was doing in English class up until this year....” Pete figured there would be a lot of reading in sixth grade, but he didn’t count on adding the minds of his teachers and classmates to the list. Knowing what they think can be helpful sometimes, but it can also get complicated—ESPecially when Pete discovers the substitute teacher is thinking about a big robbery. espete.com

ESPete in ESPresident by Arnold Rudnick

Oh, the perils of a paranormal preteen. Pete becomes a reluctant candidate for class president in this premiere ESPete comic. Bonus psychic jokes and puzzles! espete.com

It Starts with a Raindrop by Michael Smith

It Starts with a Raindrop celebrates the beauty and wonder of the water cycle through lyrical rhyming text and vibrant realistic paintings. The story of water is described eloquently in this delightful and informational book that engages children and adults alike to appreciate water and life. Winners of the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Purple Dragonfly Book Award and the International Book Award. “A great selection for bilingual STEM collections.” - School Library Journal. “This is science at its best! Children will follow with marveling interest as technical concepts transform into everyday realities they can understand.” – Story Monsters Ink. eastwestdiscovery.com

The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm by Laurie Copmann

Many years ago, a tiny tree was planted in the ground. It grew and became a wondrous sight. One night, a strong wind tore a branch from the tree. The family, saddened by the lost branch, was determined to reunite the branch with the family tree. Together they built a swing with the broken branch and tied it to the tree. Witness how a family worked together in this inspirational picture book. A story for all ages, The Family Tree shares a promise of hope and healing in the aftermath of a storm. First Place Winner, 2017 Purple Dragonfly Awards. lauriecopmann.com

Click on the book cover to purchase any of the above titles. To list your book in our Reading Guide, contact Cristy Bertini at cristy@storymonsters.com. 42

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Frilly & Trilly The Mazza Museum celebrates the joy of storytelling through the original art of picture books using education, exhibits, events and artist visits. Free admission mazzamuseum.org

Frilly & Trilly are a scholassc series of children's books, about twin girls learning invaluable life lessons that bring the ennre family together for pracccal soluuons.

app.MazzaMuseum.org

Find the Frilly & Trilly books at frillyandtrilly.com or amazon.com

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

43


Monsters at

the Movies

Spider-Man: Homecoming Reviewer: Nick Spake In Captain America: Civil War, actor Tom Holland demonstrated the potential to become the definitive Spider-Man. He encompassed the best qualities his predecessors had to offer, combining the nerdy charm of Tobey Maguire with the hipster wit of Andrew Garfield. Now Holland finally gets to take center stage in Spider-Man: Homecoming, a film fans thought they’d never get to see due to the rift between Sony and 44

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

Grade: B+

Marvel. Fortunately, these two studios finally sorted out their differences, making leeway for the fastest, funniest, and most entertaining Spider-Man flick in over a decade. Now if only Fox would let the Fantastic Four out of play. Being the second Spider-Man reboot, you’d expect Jon Watts’ movie to suffer from repeat overload. The good


news is that Spider-Man: Homecoming skips over the origin story we’ve already seen more than enough of. The audience doesn’t have to watch Peter get bitten by a genetically modified spider again. Uncle Ben’s death is never even referenced, aside from one subtle moment. Granted, the filmmakers do revisit some familiar tropes, such as Peter’s struggle to balance school, romance, and crime fighting. Even then, though, the film distinguishes itself with strong writing, performances, and character dynamics, always putting a fresh spin on an old hat. Watts’ colorful direction and the young supporting cast, which includes Zendaya and Jacob Batalon as Peter’s classmates, even gives the film a John Hughes persona. Part of what makes Holland’s Spider-Man so unique is that he really feels like a high school student for once. This is partially because of Holland’s young age, but it has even more to do with the screenplay, which authentically paints Peter with the mentality of a teenager. He’s smart and ambitious, but a little too hasty and headstrong. Peter wants nothing more than to impress Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and become a full-time Avenger. Tony believes that Peter isn’t ready for that kind of exposure, however, advising him to be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man for the time being. Reluctant to remain entangled in his web, Peter jumps into action when a gang starts selling hi-tech weapons on the streets. Almost 30 years after playing Batman, Michael Keaton joins the MCU as the Vulture. Behind his flying mechanical suit, the Vulture is a salvage worker named Adrian Toomes. The baddies are typically the weakest aspect of any Marvel movie, but Toomes is a surprising standout. This largely has to do with the fact that he’s not a corrupt businessman or an allpowerful being that wants to destroy the world. He’s just a blue-collar guy trying to make a living. Taking today’s economy into consideration, we can identify and even sympathize with this villain. Of course, at the same time, Toomes is still a dangerous criminal and Keaton brings a menacing demeanor to the role. Having already tangoed with Captain America, Peter is confident that he can catch the Vulture. However, it’s a long climb up the waterspout for this itsy-bitsy spider. In the midst of all the spectacular set pieces and amazing effects, Spider-Man: Homecoming provides some insightful commentary regarding the coming-of-age phenomenon. Teenagers want to be treated like grownups, but sometimes they take the training wheels off

too soon. This film actually has a rare lesson for young adults about looking before leaping. With great power comes great responsibility, but sometimes the most responsible thing a person can do is slow down.   At its heart, this franchise has always been about a boy’s journey to becoming a man. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a wonderful first chapter, allowing an inexperienced Peter Parker to learn from his mistakes and mature as a hero. Does that make this the best Spider-Man movie ever? Well, that’s tough to say. As far as action and storytelling go, Spider-Man 2 is still the one to beat. The Amazing Spider-Man also deserves a shout-out for having the best romance. From a character-driven perspective, though, Spider-Man: Homecoming delivers the most believable, relatable, and complete depiction of Peter Parker to date. Marvel has laid down a strong foundation for Spidey here and I can’t wait to see how he evolves in the years to come.

Nick Spake. Arizona native

and a graduate of Arizona State University, Nick Spake has been working as a film critic for ten years reviewing movies on his website: nickpicksflicks.com.

Riddles & Giggles Q: What do you get when you cross a school of fish with a herd of elephants? A: Swimming trunks!

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

45


Arizona

Ohio

Sharon Wozny: As an educator for Mesa Public Schools

Meaghan Fisher: A children’s author who has over 10 years experience working with children. She has a BS in psychology and a minor in women’s studies and lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. Her hope is to inspire children through the moral lessons in her books. Meaghan has several published books with five star book reviews and awards.

for 30 years, I instructed my students to write from their hearts, to write about topics that spoke to them and ignited a passion within them. I followed my own advice. Drawing on my experience volunteering with the Children’s Cancer Network, I have written Jamie’s Journey: Cancer from the Voice of a Sibling especially for siblings of pediatric cancer patients.

Kathy Peach: The tiniest tumbleweed is small for her age. So is her Sonoran Desert neighbor, a baby sparrow. Through the incorporation of proven concepts in helping children believe in themselves and their capabilities, The Tiniest Tumbleweed shows how the desert companions work together and within their limitations to become their best.

California Teresa Power: Teresa Power’s 16+ years of teaching

yoga in schools, yoga studios, and local organizations has helped thousands of kids develop healthy attitudes towards their bodies. She is also a keynote speaker, bestselling author of The ABCs of Yoga for Kids product line, and founder of International Kids’ Yoga Day, an annual event that takes place each April.

Nebraska Barbara Freeman: Former educator Barbara Free-

man has turned her passion for writing about American Pit Bulls into educating children about them. With two books in the series so far, Sugar: A Princess Pit Bull Finds Her Family and Super Smart Sugar, Freeman’s books/visits promote love, self-acceptance, and positive self-esteem.

46

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

Visit www.SchoolBookings.com to learn more about these authors and artists and invite them to your school or library!


Liv on Life Let’s Make a Difference! by Olivia Amiri Whether you are rich or poor, you can still donate. You can give your time, money, and love. If you’re donating to a charity, make it close to your heart. My family donates on a monthly basis to three different charities. One of them is the ASPCA. The ASPCA makes it possible for animals to find their true homes. That’s important to my family because we love animals and we are giving from our hearts. Truly, if I could take all of the animals at the ASPCA shelter home with me, I would! That’s how much I love animals. I have recently signed up to volunteer at an animal shelter, which I’m really excited about. I just cut off my very long hair a few days ago. I decided to do this so I could donate to Locks of Love. We sent Locks of Love two 16-inch braids that I cut off. This was important to me because there are children in the world who don’t have hair for many reasons, mainly medical ones. By giving them my hair, I am giving them an opportunity to have a wig made of real hair. And that feels so great to me. There are hundreds and hundreds of organizations and charities out there to give to. You need to see what’s close to your heart and give. If you don’t want to donate money, you can always donate your time and volunteer. Many organizations are in great need of volunteers. You can also donate stuff you might not be using—such as clothes, food, toys, furniture, etc.—to someone who needs it. I think giving is the circle of life. The more you give, the more you get!

10-year-old Olivia Amiri is a little girl with big advice! Sharing insights and observations on the world around us, her message is clear: kids are still the best teachers to remind grownups of the simple joys in life. livonlife.com

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

47


Book Reviews Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight

by Michael Dotsikas and Morgan Spicer Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

What a delightful tale! Benjamin and all his helpful friends are so marvelously illustrated, they win your affections with every page. I love the educational impact that so fully embraces the delight of the overall story. And, I treasure even more when a story holds a wide range of application. It keeps a book alive in many readings, never tiring the text. The loving wisdom of mother, the importance of compliance and obedience, and the importance of friends along our journey are all great realities tucked into Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight. This is a great early reading experience. The gentle rhyme carries a pleasant feel throughout.

Shimmer: Songs of Night

by Raven Howell and Carina Povarchick Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This book delights with every page! I tried to pick a thought, settle on one to share, but it was impossible. Having grown up in a house filled with poetry and song, Howell has managed to capture the essence of life and sprinkle it on every page. Imagination awakens as the day’s eyes grow heavy and night springs to life. There is not enough space allotted to tell you of all the treasured thoughts tucked so brightly illustrated into this book. So I encourage you to find a copy and share the giggles and joys with your children. Let their minds wander and explore all the fancies and wonders of a simple world. They will never outgrow this book, or the creativity it can bring.

Grateful for You, Good Night!

by Sherry L. Hoffman and Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

My most favorite time with children has always been those twilight moments where the wiggles and giggles give way to their softer, more contemplative side. Winding down for bedtime always gave me a peek into their day, and the ever-increasing growth of their heart and imagination. Warm cuddle time fosters their appreciation, and provides a wonderful opportunity to learn and express gratitude. Not only does Grateful for You, Good Night! help you to do just that, it also opens the joys of the sweeter side of parenting. Illustrations by Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill provide a loving visual stage for the text to dance upon, and together make a great nighttime routine.

We Love You, Rosie!

by Cynthia Rylant and Linda Davick Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

We have all read and experienced the notions of a dog’s unconditional love. They wait so faithfully for those special moments we share. We Love You, Rosie! shows the turn of the coin as we see the unconditional love of a pet’s forever family. When she’s good and when she’s naughty, Rosie is loved. When she’s up or when she’s down, Rosie is loved. There’s a warm confidence in knowing we are loved for who we are, not just for the actions of a moment, but every day, in every way.

48

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Book Reviews Where Does A Rainbow Grow?

by Kathryn Kemp Guylay and Alexander Guylay Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The sequel to Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow introduces a new character in the series: Sammy the Bunny, who takes Blake on a journey to discover where healthy rainbow foods come from. This simple, easy-to-follow book makes healthy eating a cinch. Teaching children the benefits of fruits and vegetables by color will carry a long-term effect, and it was interesting to see the areas of our body and the ways that they are affected by each color-coded food. The book addresses healthy eating, farm-to-table concepts, and plant identification in an engaging and positive way.

Pip and Posy: the New Friend by Nosy Crow and Axel Scheffler Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

When I think of awkward adjustments, my mind always regresses back to school days. Those days when life broadened and new members entered the scene. Those awkward times where threesomes replace our treasured one-on-one’s. It seemed harder for girls to adjust than it did for the boys. Or, they were better at hiding it. Oh, all the jealous emotions and mood swings that came with the sudden insecurities of group friendships and interactions. Scheffler eases the understanding into simple awareness, before hormones and emotions fight for control, leading to a smoother introduction. I do believe the better informed we are, the better we advance. Emotional health is as important as physical health, and early childhood development in both is an added plus!

The Seashore Book

by Charlotte Zolotow and Wendell Minor Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Oh, the amazing power of the imagination. Words form with gentle churning, rising, and falling like the hand of a painter on canvas. A small boy’s inquisitive mind wonders about the world that lays beyond what he can see. Living in the mountains, he has never seen the sea. He’s never felt the cool breezes that float through the air, collecting the salty sprays of a playful ocean. Have you ever listened to someone tell a story and you captured every word as it played across your mind like old movie reels? Charlotte Zolotow chooses her words artfully in this delightful depiction of a day at the beach, bringing it to life with sheer imagination. Redesigned for its 25th anniversary, The Seashore Book beckons yet another generation.

My Kicks: A Sneaker Story! by Susan Verde and Katie Kath Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

There’s nothing like a broken-in pair of shoes to cushion each step with comfort. This cute story expresses the cycle of denial to acceptance when that sad moment comes and reality says a new pair is necessary. Like parting with old friends, memories flow. Nothing can replace these old kicks. And then, like meeting new friends, you find that special pair that holds promise of great things ahead. Hidden under the cover’s flap is a special surprise to help your little ones learn to tie their shoes.

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

49


Book Reviews Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguens Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This fascinating true story of Eugenie Clark is inspirational on many levels. The heart of a child that catches the magic of a dream and lets it carry her for a lifetime. In her 92 years of life, she never let anyone tell her she can’t, or that her goal was unattainable. Seeing beauty where others saw ugliness and fear, she was able to accomplish many amazing feats, personal and world acclaimed. This is truly a valuable read, and will gratify the grit in every true heart.

Find Mom’s Wok

by Jung Hee Kim and Jung Ah Noh Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a delightful story. The illustrations endear us not only to Shao Ming and her dilemma, but to the wonderful foods of China. The story carries the tender emotions that accompany carelessness, and the diligence of responsibility. I personally appreciated the footnotes tucked among the pages that helped with pronunciation, and details that heightened the enjoyment of the story. Not leaving it to my foreign mind to hack at the beauty of their culture and language. The point of the story, its colorful setting, and its culture all made this a fun reading experience.

Big Little Hippo

by Valeri Gorbachev Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Growing up can seem ever so slow to the anxious little one perceived to be caught in a snail’s pace. Eagerness and longing can be miserable companions. Luckily for little hippo, he learns being big can mean many things, and sometimes you can help others just the way you are. It’s easy for children to feel lost in the large world around them and lose heart, and sometimes it’s the smallest things that can set it right.

The Trampling Trembling Tanglelow Tale by Greg McGoon Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The path to adulthood is rocky at best. The very word itself insinuates we have arrived intact, in some sort of fullness or maturity. But emotions? Who really understands them, much less makes noble or productive alliances with them? Greg McGoon has been given an acute ability to see these underlining Tramples and Trembles as they work their dastardly deeds upon us unsuspecting surface-dwellers. He shines a light upon what otherwise appears shady ground and strengthens our steps as we pass through. Whether adult or child, this poetic and lighthearted approach to those very real experiences of emotion offers us a healthy and fun understanding that is sure to make the journey a success. McGoon’s text and the illustrations by Jessa Orr bring such life and reality to what youth has been battling in the dark so long. They present a face we can understand … and overcome.

50

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Book Reviews And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner and Jaime Kim Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Summer is such a magical time for kids and adults. Warm days of playing, exploring, and adventuring are what childhood memories are made of. And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner and illustrated by Jaime Kim is a stunning picture book about these endless summers days. Brenner poetically starts each page with cause-and-effect language that will lend itself to delightful responses from young readers. The illustrations are just as rich as the language. Acrylic paint is vibrantly used to depict “colorful sprays” of fireworks in a steamy summer sky, hopscotch on the driveway, red, white, and blue streamers on bikes, and ear-to-ear grins. A must-read for children.

The Whopper

by Rebecca Ashdown Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Author and illustrator Rebecca Ashdown shares a heartwarming and hilarious story about what happens when a little boy named Percy tells a lie that snowballs into some monstrous circumstances. The Whopper begins with sweet Grandma gifting her well-meaning, but not so well-liked, knitting concoctions to the family. Luckily for Percy, the latest sweater gift is for the family dog. Unfortunately, the dog gets into quite a mess (literally) and Percy has to throw the sweater away. Problem solved? Not even close. Percy lies about the sweater’s demise, only to result in a lot of guilt, and a big whopper of a lie monster that follows Percy’s every move. White space is beautifully used to showcase the vibrant and bold illustrations. Readers will connect with Percy’s predicament and hopefully realize that as cute as a little whopper monster is, lying is definitely a whopper of a no-no.

Hattie and Hudson by Chris Van Dusen Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

A sweet and surprising story about what friends will do to protect each other. Haddie is a young girl who loves nature and all the gifts it has to offer—especially the lake. Haddie is so happy on her water adventures that she sings a song that ignites a mysterious creature’s curiosity. Hudson is a kindhearted but startlingly enormous creature that emerges from the lake to befriend Haddie. She is not afraid of him, but others are. And the two begin a beautiful (but secret) friendship. What really stands out in Van Dusen’s story are the illustrations. His artistic and writing skills are sure to delight and surprise us in the best of ways, just like Hudson.

The Dragon Hunters

by James Russell and Link Choi Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Brothers Paddy and Flynn are … the Dragon Hunters! A fast-paced and engaging read-aloud about a journey to save the family dog from an evil (and exquisitely illustrated) dragon. Written in clever rhyme, this story is sure to delight dragon-loving and imagination-using readers who enjoy a great adventure story. The pictures by illustrator Link Choi are so unique, with sketches on white backdrop for some pages, and then corner-to-corner vibrant dragon details on the other pages. A few shivers and gasps will happen as readers notice the creepy dragon tails, claws, and teeth during Paddy and Flynn’s rescue mission. BONUS: The book is interactive! Readers can download a special app to bring the fearless brothers’ action into 3-D glory. So fun! With Paddy and Flynn around, we’ll be kept on our toes as we wonder what adventures (and dragons) lie ahead! StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

51


Book Reviews There Might Be Lobsters

by Carolyn Crimi and Laurel Molk Reviewer: Julianne Black

Sukie and Chunky Monkey just weren’t sure about the beach. After all, there was a lot to be afraid of! Stairs! Beach balls! Waves! And … lobsters! An adorable day at the shore becomes a wonderful story about getting over fears as a dog, the dog’s stuffed monkey, and their fearless leader Eleanor take to the sea for a side-step outside Sukie’s comfort zone. The time explaining the thought behind Sukie’s fears is exceptional. Perfectly relatable for kids to absorb but not so long and drawn out to lose their attention. The illustrations are wonderfully paired to the story–the sunny and carefree whimsy of the art confirms the storyline without making Sukie’s apprehension seem unjustified. This is a great book for the over-cautious kid in all of us.

Sea Monkey & Bob

by Aaron Reynolds and Debbie Ridpath Ohi Reviewer: Julianne Black

When two aquatic friends—a sea monkey and a puffer fish—suddenly become fearful that one might sink to the bottom and the other might float to the surface, a very (not so) serious drama unfolds among the creatures of the ocean. Reynolds nails the geeky neurosis of each friend through goofy dialog while Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrates the drama the pair experiences keeping it together and joining forces to overcome their terrifying (unlikely) dilemma. When reading it as a bedtime book, my daughter’s favorite part was giving the peripheral fish their own voices based on the faces they were making. Having a reason to jump into an outside perspective on irrational fears will make a nice teaching tool for kids suffering from heightened levels of anxiety. Great read and fun to share, Sea Monkey & Bob makes for a giggletastic addition to any child’s library.

The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton Reviewer: Julianne Black

Oh, Bartelby! What a mess you’ve made this time! This is a sweet tale of a kind and happy dog living in a bookstore and playing with his family, except that he is so long from head to tail, he has no idea the trouble his bottom is causing! We follow Bartelby on his daily walk and watch what kind of chaos is in store for a dog who is so long, he has no idea what his back half is up to! It’s up to his family to come up with a solution, and quick because Bartelby has vowed never to leave the bookstore again. Julia Patton does a wonderful job taking you on Bartelby’s walks, and the illustrations are a wonderful mix of minimalistic watercolor-sketch, yet so full of story. Each page’s illustrations take the story well beyond the narration, making it a joy to linger and absorb poor Bartelby’s surroundings and unfortunate predicaments.

Weather in 30 Seconds

by Jen Green, Tom Woolley, and Adam Scaife Reviewer: Julianne Black

Designed for grades 3 and up, this book is a wealth of bite-sized information on a dizzying amount of weather topics. Why it rains, deserts and droughts, even global warming are broken down into bare bones, giving kids (and inquisitive parents) easy to discuss snapshots into weather phenomenon. The flexibound binding choice is perfect for this book—light enough to carry in a backpack, yet durable for constant reference. Well-written and illustrated, this is a great guide for science-minded kids at home or any science teacher to have on hand for a quick visual aid. 52

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Book Reviews Brobot Bedtime

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Scott Campbell Reviewer: Julianne Black

A super cute book for any robot fanatic, written and illustrated like a flip book or comic strip— meaning the characters don’t always say what they are doing, leaving some of the storyline to be told by the scene they are in. Why is this interesting? Many children’s books spell out in the narrative what is happening and use the pictures to support the text. In this book, the reader is looking to the whole picture for information. Adorable robot speech, interactions, and robot bedtime drama make this a fun story for kids, but also for the lucky person who gets to read it with them! This book has become an insta-fave at our house, and will I read it over and over? Affirmative!

Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery by Cindy C. Murray Reviewer: Diana Perry

Fraternal twins, Sophie and Scarlet (Scottie) don’t look alike but are very much alike in their personalities and interests. They love growing up on their farm, Shear Haven Ranch, and think their lives are full of great adventures. Then one day their aunt sends them a strange-looking frame with an even more unusual picture. It seems like the worst present ever until they discover its magic. The photo is actually another world that they can enter right through the frame. The girls have one wild adventure after another and meet their Uncle Drake, who leads them to lands not seen before where many undiscovered creatures dwell. Readers will escape into this world along with Sophie and Scottie. This is a fun book and a great way to spend an afternoon.

Summerlost

by Ally Condie Reviewer: Diana Perry

Cedar Lee and her brother Miles are surprised to learn that their mom buys a summer house in her hometown of Iron Creek. All three of them are struggling to heal after losing their dad and brother in a car accident. This story completely yet subtly describes in detail the acts, emotions, and pathway that the survivors experience. It is, however, an uplifting and fun-to-read story. Cedar makes friends with Leo, a young local who works at the Summerlost Festival and helps to get her a job there. Two mysteries drive this story. This masterfully told tale seems to pull the reader into it so that they feel more like they’re experiencing the story rather than just reading it. To elevate the theatrical mood, this book is divided into Acts 1 through 3, rather than chapters. I really couldn’t put this book down until I finished the last page. Just wonderful!

The Pudding Problem

by Joe Berger Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Sam Lyttle in the The Pudding Problem is a complicated kid trying to figure stuff out, and hoping to be understood. He tends to stretch the truth or as some say, he constantly tells mostly “harmless” lies. Sam has a great imagination, and you like him even though he tends to do some unlikable things. In the end he decides to come clean, or could his final “truth” be another lie?

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

53


Book Reviews Laugh Out Loud

by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

In Laugh Out Loud, Jimmy, a middle school kid, loves reading so much that he’s inspired to start a book company for kids and run by kids. What I loved most about this book is that it really gives hope to dreams no matter what age you might be. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of your dreams as long as you believe in yourself and your dream, and of course, work towards it. Most people laugh and make fun of Jimmy, but that doesn’t stop him. Instead, Jimmy’s actions inspire his mom and dad. Will Jimmy get the funding for his book company? Read the book and find out.

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen Reviewer: Ampster, age 13

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls reminds me of the book Spy School by Stuart Gibbs. They both have a main character who is a less than perfect spy, to say the least. They both also have an older girl who is a perfect image of what a spy should be. This book is also different in many aspects, which made it an enjoyable book to read. I love how relatable the characters are. Abigail was just a normal 13-yearold who only wanted to have friends, get good grades, and keep smiling. She wasn’t an amazing spy right away and needed a lot of training, which made the book very realistic. The plot itself was quite simple but very fun. The book was an easy read but made me laugh and made me want to keep reading it. I would highly recommend this book to middle schoolers everywhere who are looking for a fun adventure.

The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande Reviewer: Booklover1111, age 12

This is a beautiful story on the real-life struggles that people face all over the world. Reyna tells her story so wonderfully. I feel like it really captures some of the problems in the world and how we can respond to them. Reyna is very strong and bold for wanting to put her hardships out in the world for everyone to see. I think that was a great choice because if it impacts others as much as it impacted me, then so many people will be changed. The story was told with so much detail and emotion that I felt like I was right next to Reyna, sharing her problems with her. I was mourning when times were hard and rooting for her when times were good. This is an amazing story, and I strongly encourage you to read it.

54

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Available through amazon.com & barnesandnoble.com Follow us on

@whynoceros

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

55


Pick of the Litter

Have You Seen My Egg? This month’s Storytime Pup Pick of the Litter is Have You Seen My Egg? written by multi-award winning author Andrew Fairchild and wonderfully illustrated by Melissa Shultz-Jones. Have You Seen My Egg? is an endearing story about following your heart and allowing true love to be your guide.  The story opens with the main character, Red the rooster, awakening from a dream about having his own egg. It is a dream that he has often and believes to be true, but normally roosters don’t have eggs. Convinced that he does, Red goes on a quest to find his egg. On his farm, a group of hens explain to Red, that having eggs is simply a hen’s job. Refusing to believe the news, Red goes on a journey. He soon runs into fellow farm friends who are eager to help him find his missing egg. Red encounters many obstacles along the way, but refuses to give up despite life’s unforeseen hurdles. Will Red ever find his egg? Read this book with your child to see if Red’s dream comes true. This simple tale encourages children to follow their heart and dreams no matter how unreal they may seem, and addresses a non-traditional topic—single parent adoption—which adults will identify with. It is an ideal book for a parent to read to their child and explain the true meaning of the story. Have You Seen My Egg? is a truly wonderful book. A well-written and entertaining story about dreams and perseverance. The illustrations are both beautiful and colorful and help bring the characters and the story to life. The book is not only a joy to read, but also presents a great message for children. I highly recommend adding this book to your child’s library. Andrew Fairchild resides in Houston, Texas with his fiancé, two dogs, and a cat, and is a current member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.) Andrew spends most of his time 56

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

writing children’s stories which are influenced by his love of poetry and his personal difficult childhood background. In addition to contributing his beautiful stories to the literary world, Andrew is an advocate for children’s literacy. He also serves as a volunteer and ambassador to Texas Children’s Hospital, for which he donates 25 percent of all sales to the hospital annually.

Click here to watch the video.

WIN a Story Monsters Ink Reading Buddy! Every month, Storytime Pup has a drawing for a Story Monsters Ink plush reading buddy. Click www.storytimepup.com/giveaways.html to enter. If you are a children’s book author interested in having your book(s) considered for the Storytime Pup Channel, you can contact the Storytime Pup staff at: storytimepup@gmail.com.

Bill McManus is a children’s book author and creator of the Storytime Pup Children’s Book Channel. www.StorytimePup.com


StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

57


Feature Story

Q& A with

Lesléa Newman by Julianne Black

I had the amazing opportunity to interview Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies. Her latest book, Sparkle Boy, is a story about choosing what makes you happy, sticking with it, and being loved for it. We watch the main character interact with his family over his decisions to wear sparkly clothes and accessories. Each character illustrates another layer of acceptance that diversity needs to wipe away to allow its shine to come through. The main character’s older sister is an example of any kid (or adult) struggling with what it means to let go of a stereotype. But once gone, acceptance makes way for something much bigger: love.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about your new book Sparkle Boy as a stream of consciousness?  A: I am the type of author who takes a long time to get an idea, but once I have an idea and it “takes” inside me, I write pretty quickly. That’s because I get obsessed. Once I have a solid first draft, I pester the book endlessly until I feel that I’ve gotten it right. Usually this takes at least 20 drafts. Then the book is shown, first to my beloved spouse who is an excellent reader, then to the brilliant women of my writing group. And finally, I send the book to my agent and we discuss where to send it. Sparkle Boy took three years from idea to publication, which is actually pretty fast. I’ve had picture books take up to seven years to journey from idea to publication. I have a sign over my desk that says, “The reward of patience is patience.” And underneath I’ve scribbled, “But who wants to wait that long?”

58

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Feature Story

Q: I read in your May 11th LA Times interview that Heather Has Two Mommies was in the Top 10 most challenged books of the ’90s. With gender identity being such a hot topic, are you feeling any stir around Sparkle Boy taking the same path from controversial to collectable? 

A: Ah, words of wisdom: read, read, read. Write every day. Be kind to other writers. Believe in yourself. Never give up. I think that just about covers it.

A: It’s too soon to tell, since the book is just coming out now. But I sure hope it becomes a classic! I think of Sparkle Boy as Heather’s little brother. Though believe it or not, if Heather was real, she’d be about 30 years old now, maybe even with a child of her own!

A: Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. Keep shining. The world is a brighter place because you are in it.

Q: How are your responses so far from Sparkling families? They must be pretty relieved that the work is out there and available! A: I recently heard from a family of two dads and a daughter. The book made one of the dads cry—in fact, I have been surprised to see many grown-ups tear up while reading the book—and the little girl has asked to have the book read at bedtime for five nights in a row! Almost everyone I’ve shown the book to has told me, “I know a sparkle boy who is going to love this book.” It’s definitely a book whose time has come. I wanted to write a book in which the adults in the family are open-minded and accepting, as Casey’s parents and abuelita are. And I wanted to show that sometimes, it takes a while for a family member to come around, as in the case of Jessie, Casey’s older sister, who has somewhere along the way picked up the incorrect message that shimmery, glittery, sparkly things are only for girls. By the end of the book, Jessie is Casey’s biggest advocate. Love conquers all! Q: With Sparkle Boy being a very visual character, I imagine the choice of illustrator had to be very important. Can you say a few words about working with illustrator Maria Mola? A: My editor and the art director worked with the illustrator, and they did an amazing job. I absolutely love the illustrations. The sparkles on the book jacket were my idea, and I have to say they add just the right touch! Q: As an incredibly accomplished author, I’m sure you’ve had a rollercoaster of ups and downs working in the field. Do you give your school groups any words of wisdom personal to your experiences?

Q: And any words for the wonderful Sparkle Boys out there and the people who love them?

Lesléa’s book is a great way to put value on acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and family, but it also opens a dialog with children about what ideas they have already come to accept as truth. My own daughter had a real problem with Sparkle Boy at first. It opened the door to a discussion I didn’t even know needed to happen. She had already begun drawing very real lines in the sand about gender, and my inner mama bear wasn’t digging that at all. We had a wonderful discussion about what girls and boys were expected to be versus what they could be. I’m thrilled to have had the moment accidentally thrust upon me before her judgments cemented over time. Sparkle Boy is a difficult subject made into a feel-good moment, and perfectly timed with current events and the struggle for our ever-changing society to find common ground. As a primer for young minds to grasp the ideas of difference and inclusion, Sparkle Boy is pure gold. Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for readers of all ages. She has received many literary accolades, including poetry fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and has served as Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts from 2008 to 2010. In addition to creating her own books, Newman teaches writing for children and young adults at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. She wrote this book to celebrate all the “sparkle boys” she knows. Newman lives in western Massachusetts with her spouse, Mary Vazquez. www.lesléakids.com Julianne Black is an internationally recognized graphic artist, fine artist, and author. She has illustrated several books, including Sleep Sweet, the multi-award winning augmented reality picture book. julianneblack.com

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

59


Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

Practice with Juicy Jack:

¡Hola, Amigo!

Draw a vegetable garden and label the plants. Then hang it on your refrigerator to practice the words with your family.

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner! ¡Bienvenidos! Juicy Jack loves eating vegetables from Abuela’s (Grandma’s) garden. He is going to share a list of his favorite vegetables with you.

Verduras Favoritas de Jack: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

60

el ajo: garlic el apio: celery el brócoli: broccoli la cebolla: onion el espárragos: asparagus la lechuga: lettuce los guisantes: peas el maíz: corn (a grain) el pepino: cucumber la patata: potato el tomate: tomato la zanahoria: carrot

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com

Leigh Carrasco is an educator and author of the wildly popular Juicy Jack Adventures series about a spunky guinea pig who travels to Peru with his human. www.juicyjackadventures.com


rom the very first Kindergarten book, hints are given that point to a seer mystery which gradually builds through the years at Pagic Elementary School under the guidance of a mysterious teacher, Mr. Wackenteach. As the years seem to quickly pass, the slowly brewing mystery grows and grows, and everyone has a secret feeling that finally, in sixth grade, the mystery will be revealed! R.WACKENTtACH TEACHES SECOND GRADE

"Wackenteach carries that delightful Cat in the Hat excitement." -Darleen Wohlfeil, Story Monsters Ink magazine

"JCM has written a modern classic series. I'd highly recommend Mr. Wackenteach to anyone with children about to start school or currently in elementary school."

"Spoiler alert: be forewarned. The series, from start to finish, is a tour de force. As a parent of an elementary school child, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone." -Educator Michael Elia

-James Magnus, Readers' Favorite

www.wackenteach.com

Amazon and Ingram Spark

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

61


Story Monsters

Approved! Books

Is your book Story Monsters Approved? Enter today at dragonflybookawards.com

62

Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 8 | StoryMonsters.com


Kids Corner

WORD

SEARCH

A

R

X

Y

K

R

U

L

R

K

G

S

C

A

M

R

F

E

H

C

N

U

K

T

R

R

W H 

V

O

S

P

L

B

A A 

Y

H

E

Z

Y

E

X

Z

S

R

X

K

M E 

U

R

E

T

P

D

R

U

O

Q

X

R

W G 

L

C

N

E

R

R

M D 

S

R

U

P

E

X

Y

G R 

C

N

T

R

A

N

Z

E

I

N

A O 

T

O W  M  A 

K

I

M A 

A

M T 

B

D N 

O

T

S

G M  B 

V

L

A

F

E

I

M A 

H

L

U

M M  O 

O C 

U

R

I

O

U

S

C

U

E

W C 

X

G

S

U

H

W I 

P

S

S

S

L

S

T

Y

L

C

N

G

V

L

C

L

N

A O 

S

E

Z

C

R

M W  N 

C

A

B

X

M A  B 

C

E

C

C

U

H

W U 

H

R

J

D

P

B

R

Y

G

N

N

Y

U

B

E

Y

X

N

R

O M  A 

N D 

E

L

K

R

A

P

S

L

Q

Q

ANDREWS GREENROOM  MALCOLM  NEWMAN  SIGMUND 

L

ARTHUR HAMILTON  MCSCARY  REBECCA  SPARKLE 

CURIOUS LITERACY  MOSQUITOES  ROMAN  SUMMER 

StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 8 | Story Monsters Ink

63


Story Monsters Ink magazine August 2017  

This month's features include: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton Set the Stage for Literacy; Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Mitchell Inspi...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you