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Volume 4, Issue 1o

The Literary Resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents

Mira Bartรณk

Creates a Wondrous Tale for Middle Grade Readers

Joe Ballarini

Pens a Handbook for Monster Hunting

Author Visit: Natasha Wing

Inside the Mind

of Steve Michael Reedy

R.L. STINE

Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Children Goosebumps

Jayne Rose-Vallee

Sparks Imagination with Whimsical Picture Books

My Teaching Toolbox:

Fairy Tales

Q&A

with Rebecca Green


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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 Contents may not be published in whole or in part without the express written consent of the bylined author and publisher.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

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Story Monsters Ink | Volume 4, Issue 10 | StoryMonsters.com

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Volume 4, Issue 10

In this issue 04

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October is Bullying Awareness Month

R.L. Stine Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Children Goosebumps

Inside the Mind of Steve Michael Reedy

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24

Mira Bartók

Jayne Rose-Vallee

Creates a Wondrous Tale for Middle Grade Readers

Sparks Imagination with Whimsical Picture Books

12

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#bekind

Joe Ballarini

Pens a Handbook for Monster Hunting

My Teaching Toolbox: Fairy Tales

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Author Visit:

Q&A

with Rebecca Green

Natasha Wing

31 32 34 36

Caught Reading Conrad’s Classroom Kids Can Publish How Does Your Garden Grow?

38 42 44 46

Fall Reading List Monsters at the Movies School Bookings Directory Liv on Life

48 56 60 62

Book Reviews Storytime Pup Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner Kids Corner

Tell us what you think of this issue! Email your comments to cristy@storymonsters.com. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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Feature Cover Story

R.L. Stine

Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Children Goosebumps by Melissa Fales

Twenty-five years ago, R.L. Stine debuted his spine-tingling, nightmareinducing Goosebumps series. This incredibly popular collection of over 130 terrifying tales about ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and all manner of eerie and supernatural beings has sold over 350 million copies around the world. Ironically, Stine never intended to become a children’s author.

“When I talk to kids, I tell them that every single thing that’s happened to me and my career was either an accident or someone else’s idea,” he says. “Your life doesn’t go in a straight line, so don’t try to force it to. You can’t predict where you’ll end up. I never imagined I’d be writing scary stories for kids.” Stine had his heart set on becoming a writer by the age of 4

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nine. “I was this weird kid,” he says. “My parents didn’t understand me at all. They’d tell me to go outside and play, but I had this old typewriter and I’d stay in my room all the time typing stories and funny jokes. I never wrote anything scary. I always wanted to be funny.”

Photo courtesy of Dan Nelken

In fact, Stine had aspirations of being a comic book illustrator. “I had no talent for it whatsoever,” he


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says. “I would type the words and draw little comics and bring them to school and pass them around. People always ask me if I had a particular teacher who encouraged me to write and I say, ‘No, my teachers begged me to stop.’” After high school, Stine enrolled at Ohio State as an English major. For three years, he served as the editor for the campus humor magazine, The Sundial. “That’s basically all I did in college,” he says. “I hardly ever went to class. The editor received 22 percent of the profits of the magazine. It was quite successful. It paid my way to New York City after graduation.” Stine felt compelled to move to New York City as soon as he graduated because he thought that’s where “real” writers lived and worked. “My friends and I had been talking about getting out of Ohio since we were in junior high,” he says. “I was the only one who did.” For his first job, Stine interviewed celebrities for movie magazines. Or at least he pretended to. “We made them all up,” he says. “I worked for a woman who had six magazines she needed to fill. She’d assign me to an interview with Diana Ross or Jane Fonda. It was purely fiction. It certainly helped me to become more creative and I learned to write really fast. Luckily, back then no one sued anyone.” Stine’s second job was writing for a trade magazine for the soft drink industry. “I spent one horrible year writing about bottle caps and flip tops,” he says. “It was the worst year of my whole life.” Things changed for the better when Stine answered an ad in the

New York Times and was hired as the assistant editor of Junior Scholastic. “I was writing articles about history and geography for kids,” he says. “I was just happy not to be writing about soft drinks anymore.” Shortly after Stine met his future wife, Jane, at a party, she came to work at Scholastic where she started a children’s magazine. “Dynamite was the biggest kids’ magazine in the country in the late 1970s,” Stine says. He wrote his own magazine for Scholastic called Bananas. “It was my life’s dream to have my own national humor magazine,” he says. “That was my life’s goal and I had reached it at age 28.” Bananas lasted 10 years before its popularity dwindled and Stine was fired. “I thought I would just coast for the rest of my life,” he says. “I was 38 years old and I had no idea what was in store for me.” So he did some freelance writing, compiling joke books for kids among other equally uncompelling assignments. Then one fateful day, Stine had lunch with Jean Feiwel, Scholastic’s editorial director.

Feiwel was exasperated with an author who was writing horror books for her, saying she didn’t want to work with him again. “She looked at me and said, ‘You could write a good teen horror novel,’” says Stine. “‘Go write one for me.’ She even gave me the title, Blind Date. That’s how I started writing horror. It wasn’t my idea, it was all Jean. I had to run to the bookstore to find out what a teen horror novel was.” Stine took three months to write Blind Date, which became a #1 bestseller. “I thought, Whoa!” says Stine. A year later, Feiwel asked Stine for another horror book and that one reached the top of the bestseller list as well. “I got really lucky, stumbling into this,” Stine says. “It turns out that kids like to be scared. I had no idea. But after that I said, ‘Forget the funny stuff. I’m going to be scary now.’ And that was it.” Stine’s wife, who had started the publishing company Parachute

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Feature Cover Story

“I would type the words and draw little comics and bring them to school and pass them around. People always ask me if I had a particular teacher who encouraged me to write and I say, ‘No, my teachers begged me to stop.’” Press with her partner, Joan Waricha, thought Stine could turn his scary books into a series. Introduced in 1989, the Fear Street series is still popular today, with Stine continuing to write the books at the rate of two new ones per year. Its success led Jane and Joan to suggest Stine try writing scary stories for the younger market. “I said ‘No way,’” says Stine. “I didn’t want to do it. I thought it would screw up what I had with Fear Street. That shows you what kind of business man I am. I said no to Goosebumps.” But Jane and Joan were persistent and eventually Stine acquiesced. “I thought maybe we’d do three books,” he says. “Here we are 25 years later, and I’m still writing them.” One of the most remarkable things about Goosebumps is how popular the series became without any formal advertising or promotion. “It spread through this secret kids’ network of kids telling kids,” Stine says. “It took off all over the world, country after country. And this is before everyone had the Internet.” According to Stine, at one point 6

during the 1990s, Goosebumps books were selling at a rate of four million books per month. “USA Today would list the top 50 books and usually at least 20 of them were Goosebumps.” From 1995 to 1998, there was a top-rated Goosebumps TV show. There was even a Goosebumps Horror Land at the MGM Studios at Disney World from 1997 to 1998. “That was quite a thrill,” says Stine.” In 2015, a Goosebumps movie was released with Jack Black portraying Stine and including some of the books’ most memorable characters, such as Slappy, the evil dummy. “After the movie came out in October, sales of the original Slappy book, Night of the Living Dummy, skyrocketed,” Stine says. “It was in the Amazon Top 100 for the Christmas holiday. The movie totally revitalized the series. It tripled book sales. That’s the power of the movies.” In addition to his Goosebumpsrelated work, Stine has collaborated with his good friend, Marc Brown of Arthur fame. “We were having dinner with our wives one night and Marc suggested that we do a

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book together,” says Stine. “Typical me, I told him, ‘You have such a good reputation in the children’s book industry. Why would you want to do that?’” The result was Little Shop of Monsters, a picture book written by Stine and illustrated by Brown, released in 2015. The two teamed up again for a book released this summer called Mary McScary, about a 5-year-old girl who tries to scare everyone she knows. Of course, Stine is also busy doing a number of Goosebumps projects in celebration of the 25th anniversary. “Since Slappy was so popular after the Goosebumps movie, we’re releasing a bunch of new books called Goosebumps SlappyWorld,” says Stine. One of the new titles is the 11th Slappy book, called I Am Slappy’s Evil Twin. “That’s an awful lot of books about an evil dummy that comes to life,” Stine says. “After all, how many plots can there be?” Readers will have to stay tuned for the next 25 years to find out. For more information about R.L. Stine, visit www.rlstine.com.


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Feature Story

Photo by Doug Plavin

Mira Bartók

Creates a Wondrous Tale for Middle Grade Readers by Melissa Fales

Whether she’s sharing the details of her tragic childhood, celebrating ancient indigenous cultures, or spinning a magical tale about animals on a quest, author Mira Bartók’s books carry her readers away to another time and place. Her newest book, The Wonderling, showcases Bartók’s ability to transcend reality. “I think we need a story like this right now,” says Bartók. “There’s so much hate and darkness out there in the world. This is a story that gives hope. The little guy prevails! The Wonderling fights his battles with song and goodness and kindness. That’s the kind of story I’d rather tell.” 8

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Bartók grew up in Cleveland, where her Jewish family lived in a tiny subsidized apartment. Their religion wasn’t the only thing that made them different. “We were the only ‘broken’ family,” Bartók says. Her mother had mental health issues. When her father left, Bartók, along with her mother and sister, Natalia, went to live with her grandparents. “It was not a picnic,” Bartók says.


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She and her sister found that imagination provided temporary respite from their troubles. “We made up stories and I made art,” says Bartók. Natalia went on to become a writer. “I had no desire to write,” Bartók says. “I wanted to be an artist. I still don’t consider myself a writer. I consider myself an artist who happens to write.” A part of the avant-garde conceptual art scene in New York and Chicago in the 1980s and early 1990s, Bartók did performance art in addition to etchings, paintings, and drawings. “I used trained doves and a million slide projectors,” she says. “I did spectacles. I wanted to be the next Laurie Anderson, but behind the scenes.” One of Bartók’s part-time jobs was at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History where she led groups through the Egyptian exhibit and offered programs on Native Americans. “I told stories all the time,” she says. “I told the history of these cultures through objects, myths, and legends.” In her spare time, Bartók secretly wrote. “I did strange little folk tales and poetry,’ she says. “I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t take my writing very seriously. It was always tied in with my art. My sister was the writer, not me. It wasn’t part of my identity.” Things changed for Bartók when she moved to Italy in 1990. “While there, I only spoke Italian,” she says. “I

only read Italian. I even dreamt in Italian. That’s when I started to take my writing more seriously. Sometimes just being away from everything can make you pursue something you didn’t expect.” Bartók returned to the States several months later when the first Gulf War erupted and began working on The Ancient Living Culture series. “It was an interactive book series that incorporated folk tales, legends, and myths, and was much like the work I did at the Field Museum,” says Bartók. Over 20 books in the series were published before Bartók tired of it. “It became formulaic and I wanted to do other things,” she says. Bartók received a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Norway, where she lived with the Sami people, a reindeer-herding nomadic group, sometimes referred to as Laplanders. “At first I lived in the south of Norway, then I moved way above the Arctic Circle,” Bartók says. She spent 18 months there collecting stories. In 1999, just three weeks after returning from her Arctic adventure, Bartók was a passenger in a car struck by a semi-truck. Seriously injured, she continues to suffer the cognitive consequences. “I could read, write, and speak, but with great difficulty,” she says. “I stuttered. I couldn’t remember what I was going to say. I’m better now but I’ll never be the same. Once your brain has been damaged, StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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“This is a story that gives hope. The little guy prevails! The Wonderling fights his battles with song and goodness and kindness. That’s the kind of story I’d rather tell.” it’s much more susceptible to injury. I have a lot of memory issues. But I’m so happy to be alive.” Remarkably, that horrible accident led to something good. Bartók’s struggles with her brain injury gave her insight into the mental illness that had plagued her mother for so long. “All this time, I had been out of touch with my mom,” says Bartók. “She was homeless for 17 years. I finally found her living in a shelter in Cleveland and at the end of 2006, my sister and I reunited with her. We were able to be with her during the last month of her life.” In 2011, Bartók released The Memory Palace, a memoir about her life and her mother’s place within it. It received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bartók says writing The Memory Palace was more than just therapeutic, it was necessary. “In order to write fiction, I had to get my mother out of the room,” she says. “I had to examine the impact that the severe neglect and her mental illness had on me and how it shaped who I am today. I had to examine the relationship I had with her.” Bartók’s publishers wanted her to write another nonfiction book. She tried, but her heart wasn’t in it. “I have this little sketch from the first week of January 2014,” she says. “It’s a rabbit with one ear and it says, ‘The Wonderling: A Dickensian tale about a one-eared creature who has a remarkable gift of music inside him and he goes off into the world to seek his destiny.’ 10

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Then next to it I wrote, ‘But alas, I have not time to write this book because I have to make a living.’” Reluctantly, Bartók wrote a 400-page book called The Book of Wonder in response to her publisher’s request. “There were maybe 10 good pages in it,” Bartók admits. “But I did like the idea, the history of wonder. I knew it wasn’t what the publisher wanted. They wanted more personal stuff, but I felt I had done that already.” Instead, Bartók poured her heart into writing and illustrating The Wonderling, a fantasy story about a half-human, one-eared fox who escapes from the dastardly Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures and sets out on a journey only he can take. A number of publishers expressed a strong interest in the book, even before it was complete. Then, two representatives from Creative Artists Agency happened to see one of Bartók’s drawings on her agent’s laptop. Intrigued, they asked to read the accompanying story. That chance viewing led to a film deal with Fox 2000 and Working Title Films. “Before I had even finished the book, I had a movie deal,” says Bartók. Oscar-nominated and Tony Award-winning director Stephen Daldry has already signed on to the project. With the movie in the works, publishers were even more interested in the book. Bartók ultimately signed with Candlewick Press. “They’re my dream publishers,” Bartók says. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with how everything has turned out so far or more excited about what’s to come.” For more information about Mira Bartók, visit www.mirabartok.com.


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Feature Story

Joe Ballarini

Pens a Handbook for Monster Hunting by Melissa Fales Joe Ballarini is the author of A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, the first in a three-book series about teenage girls who stand up to the monsters that threaten their charges. Ballarini said it was surprisingly easy for him to get into the mindset of a teenage girl. “I consume a lot of pop culture and memes and YouTube videos and other stuff on the Internet,” he says. “Plus, I have an older sister and when we were growing up, I used to read her diary. Somehow, that teenage girl voice stuck in my mind.” On the surface, the series tells the tale of a secret society made up of babysitters who join forces to protect the children they’re caring for. The first book was released this summer and book two will be released next summer. Ballarini is currently working on the third, which he promises will offer an exciting 12

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culmination. “It’s going to be the ultimate showdown between the babysitters and these creatures of the night,” he says. “Altogether, there’s a larger story being told about these babysitters squaring off against the seven bogeymen. Actually, our hero likes to call them bogeypeople because she wants to be all inclusive.” At a deeper level, the series is about friendship and learning to believe in one’s self. Ballarini says he hopes the books will inspire young readers with the confidence that they can do anything they set their minds to. “I thought of the idea because in horror movies, babysitters are usually the first ones to get scared off or killed,” he says. “I thought, What if this Illustration from A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting. Copyright © 2017 by Vivienne To. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Children’s Books.


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“I’m not writing for myself. I love an audience. Whatever I’m writing, I want to make people laugh and cheer and cry and scream.”

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time, the babysitter was prepared and ready to rock? The heroine, Kelly, is intelligent and resourceful. I think girls reading this book will enjoy seeing her begin to trust in herself and discover what she’s really capable of.” Ballarini says his books are more spooky than scary and even include some funny parts to balance out the frightening ones. “I think you should scare kids a little because they can take it, but then reward them with humor,” he says. Ballarini and his wife are the parents of a 9-month-old son, Theo. “With being a parent comes a whole new set of fears,” Ballarini says. “It’s not about monsters anymore. The idea of my son opening the fridge door or thinking about him getting into the toilet is what keeps me up at night now. The non-babyproofed electrical socket is the scariest thing I can imagine.” Ballarini says his perspective has also changed since he’s become a dad. “I love old horror movies from the ‘80s,” he says. “It’s funny because I used to connect with the 12-year-old character, then I would see myself in the older brother. Now, I think, Oh no! I identify with the concerned parents. When I watch I think, What are these unsupervised kids doing now? And when I write, some of that spills out.” As a result, the parents in Ballarini’s books are seen as important people in Kelly’s life. “Over the course of the series, Kelly learns the value of what her parents offer,” he says. “I didn’t want the parents to be out to lunch. It’s all fun and games fighting monsters, but these teens need all the love and support they can get. The idea of these kids doing everything on their own was implausible. I didn’t want Kelly to have the attitude, ‘I don’t need my parents, I’m 13 years old.’ I wanted Kelly to have a maturing relationship with her mom and dad.”

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screenplay writer. He wrote the script for My Little Pony: The Movie which will be released this month. “I’m very excited about this movie,” says Ballarini. “It’s a pretty cool stable to be a part of. It was great to be able to tell all of the stories about those characters. My Little Pony has a huge fan base and so many people have fallen in love with these flying ponies, but they’ll love them even more once they see this movie.”

Ballarini says his favorite part of writing is hearing the responses to his work. “Ultimately, I want to write something I’ll be proud to show my kid in a few years,” he says. “Right now, it’s a huge joy knowing that other kids are reading my book and enjoying it. I get emails from them saying how much they love the book and from their parents telling me how happy they are that my book got their child reading. I’m not writing for myself. I love an audience. Whatever I’m writing, I want to make people laugh and cheer and cry and scream.”

Ballarini is also excited about a screenplay he recently sold to Fox called Skyward. “It’s the true story of two families living in East Germany in 1979 who secretly built a hot-air balloon in a garage to fly them over the Berlin Wall and escape to the West,” he says. “They used pieces of cloth they were able to cobble together to create this patchwork, rainbow balloon that was able to fly eight people over the death strip to freedom. It’s an undeniably amazing and inspiring story. Plus, it has a relevance and a timeliness for our world today. It’s about combating oppression with imagination and dreams. I think audiences are looking for a story with more meat to it. This one brings together truth and spectacle. It’s about the triumph of the human spirit. I think that’s why people go to the movies.”

While A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is Ballarini’s first book, he’s already an accomplished

For more information about Joe Ballarini and his projects, visit www.joeballarini.com.

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Feature Story

Author Visit:

Natasha Wing by Melissa Fales

Before she began writing children’s books, Natasha Wing, author of the bestselling The Night Before... series, was interested in a variety of other careers. She considered becoming a teacher, a tennis player, an archaeologist, and worked in advertising before she became an author in her early 30s. “It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up,” says Wing. “In fact, I’m still waiting for that to happen. I’m still very much a second grader in my mind.”

Best-known for her The Night Before… series, Wing has written a number of books in varying styles and on a number of topics, including How to Raise a Dinosaur, Fresh Snow! and Go To Bed, Monster! According to Wing, her most recent book, When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon, is a more sophisticated children’s book, much like the story’s heroine herself. 16

The idea for When Jackie Saved Grand Central surfaced in a roundabout way. Wing was telling her agent about her trip to Paris where she visited the Musée d’Orsay. She shared how she had learned that the building was originally constructed as a train station for the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and slated for demolition after the fair, but was spared and converted into an art museum. “My agent asked if I knew that Grand Central Station was almost torn down and how

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Jackie had played a major role in its salvage,” says Wing. “I hadn’t known. I love the idea of sharing little-known things about wellknown people. That’s when little tingles went off and I thought, Is this something I should work on?” While Jackie wasn’t solely responsible for the magnificent building being spared from the wrecking ball, she brought the cause to the American people at large in ways that only she could. “There were many involved in the


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effort, but Jackie took what had been seen as a New York City issue and elevated it to a national issue,” says Wing. The year was 1975. “Jackie was still beloved by the American people. People wanted to support her. And because they wanted to support her, they wanted to support her cause. People from all over, including kids, sent in donations of $1 towards the effort. The fight for Grand Central Station went all the way to the Supreme Court. And that victory in 1978, which ultimately saved this important building, launched the historic preservation movement across the nation. That’s one of the reasons why this story appealed to me so much” Wing believed a book about Grand Central Station’s near-demise would have wide appeal. “It’s a building people love,” she says. “It’s an icon for New York City and it’s a place where people from all over the world visit. The building itself became a character in the book.” Historical preservation isn’t a typical children’s book topic, but Wing was confident she could get children to appreciate the concept. “It can be kind of a dry subject for kids, but I wanted them to think about the buildings around them

and their connection to them,” she says. “They might have memories of certain buildings where their mother took them out to lunch or where they met up with their grandfather. I want them to think about what their city or town would be like without the buildings that have meaning to them. I hope they can connect in that way.” Wing’s next book, Bagel in Love, is set to be released in January 2018. “It’s full of bakery puns and plays on words,” says Wing. “I love that sort of thing.” It’s her enthusiasm for wordplay that got Wing interested in writing in the first place. She was working in advertising at the time. “Somewhere along the line, I started doing copywriting and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.” Not long after that, she wrote and published her first book, Hippity Hop, Frog on Top. Then came Jalapeno Bagels. However, after those two offerings, Wing found herself in a writing drought that lasted nearly three years. “I thought, Oh no, I’m a two-book wonder,” she recalls. She took a job as a reading tutor/lunch monitor/recess monitor at an elementary school and struggled with the difficult dichotomy of being an academic cheerleader for her students in the classroom and their disciplinarian outside of it. “I didn’t like the job, but I loved the kids,” she says.

to be,” she says. “It gives kids who are having a hard time a clue to help them guess the word. It’s like a payoff for them. It gives them a little victory.” The Night Before Easter was a hit. Wing attributes its success, and that of the other books in The Night Before… series to the feeling of anticipation and nervous energy that children readily relate to. “My favorite holiday is Christmas Eve,” Wing says. “I don’t really like Christmas Day. I get more excited about the night before when you’re wondering if Santa is going to come. When you’re still wondering what’s in that box. When there are still so many possibilities. That’s

Fortunately, Wing got her big break when she sold The Night Before Easter. Wing wrote the book in rhyme, a format she says helps children who struggle with reading. “Rhymes help kids anticipate what the word is going StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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“It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. In fact, I’m still waiting for that to happen. I’m still very much a second grader in my mind.” when everything is at its most exciting. That’s the feeling I write about in these books.” The ideas kept coming. Today, there are over 20 titles in the The Night Before… series, including The Night Before Summer Camp, The Night Before My Birthday and The Night Before Class Picture Day. “I keep thinking that the series is over but I have a pretty good fan base that will send me new ideas,” says Wing. “Once in a while, a fan will come up with a suggestion and it will stick. So I don’t think it’s over yet.” For more information about Natasha Wing and her books, visit www.natashawing.com.

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Advertorial

Inside the Mind of

Steve Michael Reedy by Melissa Fales Stylistically, artistically, and fantastically reminiscent of publications from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Steve Michael Reedy’s books, Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind and More Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind, invite readers to explore a vaguely familiar yet utterly different world, where Reedy’s engrossing, fanciful fables reinforce crucial life lessons. “These stories can’t be put in a specific time period,” Reedy says. “These stories are written to be timeless.” Reedy has been making up stories for as long as he can remember. “I’ve always had an amazing imagination,” he says. He was 10 years old when he first started writing them down. His very first short story was written as an assignment for his sister’s English class. “I had just finished watching a marathon of Twilight Zone episodes,” he says. “I love Twilight Zone endings. A lot of 20

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my stories have the same kind of twists and turns. The story I wrote won my sister multiple awards.” Reedy was born in Oklahoma, but his family moved often, living in Tennessee, Minneapolis, and Denver before settling in Southern California. Though creative and smart, Reedy never put much effort into writing in school because he knew his poor spelling would lead to a low grade. It wasn’t until Reedy’s junior year of high school, when a sapient English teacher encouraged him to write without worrying about spelling that Reedy’s writing began to thrive. “I won first place in a short story contest and I continued to win after that,” he says. Reedy graduated from high school with the intention of becoming an actor and writer. He earned his


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bachelor’s degree in theatre film and television from the University of California, Los Angeles. While in his early 20s, he wrote four novels. “That was during the John Grisham craze,” says Reedy. “Everyone wanted stories about a submarine going awry. All of mine were more like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. No one wanted them.” Eventually, Reedy took a job as a computer programmer. “I got tired of being poor,” he says. Later, he learned Reiki, a form of hands-on healing. “My whole life changed,” Reedy says. “I learned Yoga, I studied meditation. And of course, I learned about the human condition and our social structure.” Reedy went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling at Argosy University’s College of Psychology and Behavioral Science and became a licensed professional counselor. He’s since worked as a counselor in drug rehabilitation centers, psychiatric hospitals, and centers for children and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. “I’ve listened to over 1,000 people,” he says. “A great deal of what I’ve learned from listening is in these books. Of course, I’ve added some dancing purple hippos in order to make the information more easily digestible.”

Each constructed of six independent short stories, Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind and More Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind are especially suitable for short attention spans. “I’m trying to cause the reader to think,” Reedy says. “By using a short story, I give them a quick dose of an idea that they can go and process themselves. It allows me to get the point across, but since it’s so short, the reader doesn’t feel like I’m beating them over the head with it.” Each story looks at a side effect of our social structure, highlighting the issues Reedy regularly engages with as a counselor. “I explored how our culture affects children and, eventually, adults,” says Reedy. “Plus, I’ve included many of my own personal experiences. I could have written a self-help book, but I wanted something that people will keep, and hopefully pass down to the next generation.” Reedy admits he was aiming to evoke a sense of nostalgia with the look of the books. “I’m definitely going for a retro feeling,” says Reedy. “With the black and white line drawings, the books are somewhat in the style of Shel Silverstein.” Reedy went through several illustrators before he successfully connected

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with Tom Fee. “Tom’s illustrations are works of art in themselves,” says Reedy. His drawings are so highly detailed, they’re the type of work you can just stare at forever.” Reedy is currently working on his third and fourth books. Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind was originally released in 2015 and Reedy is now re-launching the book, along with More Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind under his own publishing company, Monkey Mind Tales. “I’ve written these books for adults, but the fact that children like them is awesome, too,” Reedy says. “I wrote them for Generation X and the Baby Boomers, but they happen to be in a children’s fairy tale format. I tried to make them cross generational … I’ve been doing a lot of research that suggests that children can think abstractly a lot earlier than we thought. By the age of five, most children can philosophize and think about life. We just don’t give them a chance to.”

BOOK GIVEAWAY Enter to win

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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 October 13. (U.S. residents only). Sponsored by Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers.

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Reedy says he wrote the books as a tool for adults to use to reflect on their childhood. “Most adults are too busy to look back at how they became who they are,” he says. “This is an opportunity to go back and take note. How did you create your perception of reality? What happened when the concept of time was introduced to your brain? What were your early influences?” Many of the main characters in Reedy’s book are tweens and early teens. “They’re at that stage in life when everything is changing,” he says. “The stories are about what happens when you introduce something to the brain at that age and how the brain adapts. I try to do it without sounding preachy or morose. It’s not that I have the answer. It’s that I want to spark discussion and thought and help children and adults think about themselves a little differently.” To learn more about Steve Michael Reedy and his work, visit www.monkeymindtales.com.


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Advertorial

Jayne Rose-Vallee

Sparks Imagination with Whimsical Picture Books by Melissa Fales

Jayne M. Rose-Vallee’s first book, Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! extols the power of a child’s imagination. Her second book, the recently-released Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! 2, aims to bring people together by focusing on the things we all share. “There’s so much talk about diversity,” says Rose-Vallee. “I’m not dismissing that by any means. I believe in celebrating differences, but for this book I wanted to celebrate what we have in common. I wanted to talk about the things that unite us.” 24

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Buoyed by the success of Dinosaurs Living In My Hair!, Rose-Vallee wrote Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! 2 which follows Sabrina as she enters the first grade. “It opens up an opportunity to show more characters, not just her family, like in the first book,” says Rose-Valle. “This time we get to meet her friends and they are of all colors, shapes, and sizes.” In Sabrina’s classroom she has to contend with two bullies who pick on her for her bushy locks. “They do terrible things like put a beetle in her hair,” says RoseVallee. Luckily, Sabrina develops friendships with four other girls who all have curly hair and they bond over this shared trait.

Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! was inspired by a poem Rose-Vallee wrote years ago for her young daughter, Lauren, now 33. “She had this thick, curly mane of blonde curls and she wouldn’t let me comb it or brush it,” says Rose-Vallee. “I used to tell her that anything could be living in there and we’d never know.” RoseVallee inherited her love of poetry from her own mother. “She would always recite poems to me and my brother,” says Rose-Vallee. “She chose silly, funny poems that would make us laugh.”

“She’s so happy to be with her friends until one day during recess when she’s hanging upside down on the monkey bars with all of her curls hanging to the earth and—pop—one of her dinosaurs falls out,” says RoseVallee. “She is mortified. She’s panicked, wondering what her friends will say. One of her friends notices the dinosaur and says, ‘Hey, no way!’ because she has dinosaurs living in her hair, too.” In fact, all five girls do. Each of them was afraid that if someone found out, they’d be made fun of, or shunned. “Sometimes we think we’re the only one living with something we don’t like about our bodies or some other issue, but

In 2014, Lauren suggested that her mother publish that memorable poem about her unruly locks as a children’s book. “I ignored her at first, but she wasn’t taking no for an answer,” says Rose-Vallee. “I finally agreed, thinking that I would adapt the poem into a picture book just for our family and friends.” Rose-Vallee’s first step was to find an illustrator who could capture her vision. She came across artwork by Anni Matsick that she simply fell in love with. Matsick signed on and suddenly Rose-Vallee had the makings of a book. She created her own publishing company, Rosevallee Creations, to publish it. “In my mind, the girl in the story was Lauren,” says Rose-Vallee. “One of the reasons I self-published is because I wanted control over what the book would look like.” Dinosaurs Living in My Hair! was released in 2015. It introduces Sabrina, a little girl with goldilocks curls and an intense curiosity about the creatures she suspects are living in them. “It’s whimsical, it’s funny, and Anni’s illustrations are off the charts,” says Rose-Vallee. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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we’re not,” says Rose-Vallee. “We may feel alone, but it turns out that there are so many people with the same problems and concerns.” Rose-Vallee says the dinosaurs living in the girls’ hair are friendly and offer simple tips to get the bullies to back off. “I touch on bullying at a basic level, but the book is more about the fact that these girls band together in friendship,” says Rose-Vallee. “I wanted this book to open up a dialog about bullying for parents who are reading to their children.” For Rose-Vallee, the best part about writing books for children is the chance to meet kids during school visits. She travels all around the country, from innercity schools in Miami to one-room schoolhouses in Michigan to introduce her book and get to know her audience. “Yes, the school visits introduce children to my books, but it’s bigger than that for me,” says RoseValle. “Selling my books is a bonus. They’re a platform I can use to reach children with a bigger message.”

Jayne and her daughter, Lauren.

“I want to touch as many of their lives as I can. I think it’s so important for adults to encourage creativity and imagination in young children. It’s so important to make learning fun.” Rose-Vallee says she treasures the time she spends in classrooms. “Kids are great,” she says. “They want to share. They want to connect with you. It’s such a magical, short time in their lives. The more we can teach them when they’re at that age, stimulate their imaginations and get them excited about learning, the better chance that they’ll want to continue to learn for the rest of their lives. That’s my goal.” When she visits schools, Rose-Vallee brings handouts of dinosaurs for kids to color. “I encourage them to color outside of the lines,” she says. “I ask them to use their imagination to add to the image on the page. Maybe their T-Rex wants to ride a skateboard. Maybe their Velociraptor wants to eat an ice cream cone. I want them to learn to think larger, beyond just what is in front of them.” 26

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During the short time she has with students during these visits, Rose-Vallee makes a big impression. “I’m kind of crazy and kooky and the kids love it,” she says. “I relate to them. I’m high energy. I make funny faces. I move around a lot. I sit on the ground with them. Kids respond to me. I want to touch as many of their lives as I can. I think it’s so important for adults to encourage creativity and imagination in young children. It’s so important to make learning fun.” For more information about Jayne Rose-Vallee, visit www.rosevalleecreations.com and follow her on Instagram at dinosaurslivinginmyhair.


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My Teaching Toolbox:

Fairy Tales by Larissa Juliano

I love old stories. Stories with good and evil characters, clear-cut problems and solutions, mystical settings, underdogs, talking animals, romance, and happy endings. I also love stories that surprise and delight and have lessons and purpose to the writing. All of these elements are found in fairy tales, folktales, or what I usually refer to as “traditional literature.” I like this term, because so often I would read some fantastic books from the beloved 398.2 section of our library, and the classic fairy tale elements were not all present: heroes, heroines, happy endings, royalty, etc. So then I did some exploration (and more reading, of course) and felt like my students (kindergarten 28

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to fourth grade) could absolutely discuss and differentiate between all types of traditional literature … specifically tall tales, pourquoi tales (a personal favorite), folktales, legends, myths, trickster tales, and even fractured fairy tales. Not only is it imperative for children to learn about these timeless tales as they grow in their literary journey, but they also provide teachers with opportunities to engage them in rich conversation about personal traits and qualities and what it means to be a good person—something that is more important to stress in their early childhood education than ever before.


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The context of traditional literature showcases so many different types of characters, from evil witches, crafty tricksters, naïve princesses, flawed but faithful heroes and heroines to trusty sidekicks and greedy gold diggers. With my older elementary readers, I also delve into the research component of where stories take place and specifically what we can infer about cultures around the world and values that are of importance to them. For my traditional literature unit—which can be adapted for any age at any grade level depending on the chosen book and level of questioning—I focus on these four traits for discussion: kindness, empathy, bravery, and persistence. For younger readers, traits can be modified to include respect and responsibility. Often times, it is fun to create a bulletin board and include covers of the story under the traits, plus students love looking at it and remembering books that we have shared together. We discuss what elements in our stories give us evidence of the aforementioned traits. The responses are amazing! In addition, teaching students social skills and cues to have friendly debate and banter about literature is an absolute must. What an essential skill for the real world and there’s no safer place to grow in this experience than the classroom alongside a teacher and classmates. I always ask the following starter questions to guide initial discourse and then students will take off from

there. Which theme fits this story and why? How did the character show __________? (theme) Do you think the character made the right choices? What did they learn at the end? What does family mean to this character? Would you want this character as a friend? Why or why not? To change things up, it is also fun to put these questions in a “theme box” and have students choose one for the group to ponder or in small literature circles. Bonus: add a dramatic, kinesthetic component and have kids act out examples of bravery, kindness, empathy, and perseverance. Incorporating a traditional literature unit into your classroom and instruction infuses literacy skills, character education, and social skills with quality literature. It is absolutely worth the time to peek into this section of the library and find some new and old tales to add in the reading rotation. Approaching literature and discourse from different backgrounds, lifestyles, and experiences creates such an eclectic and enlightening mélange of perspectives. This is what learning is all about.

Larissa Juliano is an elementary and library teacher in upstate New York. A Brighton, Buff State and Fisher graduate with a minor in English, bachelor’s in elementary education, and master’s in literacy, she lives in her hometown with her husband and three young children. larissajuliano.com

Glitter for a Cause Mom’s Choice Award Winning book, Glitter the Unicorn. Glitter the Unicorn is about a unicorn named Glitter and her best friend Ellie. The dynamic duo go on a magical adventure to Cotton Candy Land. Glitter the Unicorn Goes to the Beach, is a story about two best friends that go on a magical adventure through the ocean to find their missing bounce ball. Story Monsters Ink readers will receive a 20% discount. Use the Storymonsters20 at checkout.

6-year-old Author Callie Chapman

All Proceeds go to Children’s Hospital for Art Supplies.

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

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aF . Ra dke

Science & Nature

Li

nd

Photo

: by

Walden Pond Shoreline (photo by Andrew Douglass)

Find Your Own Walden by Conrad J. Storad Stop. Look. Listen. These three words combined form a simple mantra that can make each and every day a bit more meaningful. Stop. Don’t be in such a hurry every day. Learn patience. Take a few moments to relax and truly see and enjoy your surroundings. Look. Open your eyes and actually look at the beauty of the natural world that exists right in front of you. Listen. Turn off the cell phone to avoid distracting rings and beeps and tweets. Engage all of your senses. But concentrate and really listen to the sounds of the bees and birds and other small bits and pieces of your local environment. 32

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Henry David Thoreau understood. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the famous writer’s birth. Thoreau was a protégé of Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of America’s most famous philosophers and poets. But Thoreau is best known as the author of Walden. Published in 1854, his book of essays documents his observations and experiences living a simple life for two years at Walden Pond. Thoreau’s writing is credited with helping to inspire awareness and respect for the natural environment. Walden Pond is located at Thoreau’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, about 20 miles west of Boston. Thanks to the writer’s influential work, it is now a National Historic Landmark and part of a State Reservation.


Science & Nature

Walden Pond is considered the birthplace of the conservation movement.

The woods are still there, but the wetlands have been drained and developed.

Almost 2,700 acres of undeveloped woodland surround the reservation. Walden Woods includes the pond, which is more than 100 feet deep in places. It is called a kettle-hole pond, the melted remains of a massive chunk of ice that broke off a retreating glacier thousands of years ago.

However, more adventures await in my new neighborhood. A small strip of woodland borders my backyard. We’ve already had visits from hawks, crows, chipmunks, raccoons, possum, whitetail deer, groundhogs, squirrels, and a red fox. My wife’s plants and feeders attract birds of many colors. Just down the street the pond at Gormley Park is home to ducks, frogs, dragonflies, bass and bluegill. Watch this space closely for the results of my future observations.

Thoreau lived simply in a small shack at Walden Pond from 1845 to 1847. Some have described his writing in Walden as a testimony to self-discovery. Others consider the book as a guide to living the classical ideal of the good life. Written as a long poetic essay, some critics say Thoreau challenges his readers to examine their own lives and their relationship with the natural world. As a writer, I adopted “Stop. Look. Listen.” as a guiding mantra early in my career. Being a Boy Scout also helped me to build a foundation for appreciating the natural world. I’ve been blessed to have had the chance to live and work surrounded by the rugged, arid splendor of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. I’ve spent days and nights trekking through the Superstition Mountains. I had many adventures rafting the rapids and boiling whitewater of the Colorado River. I’ve backpacked amidst the indescribable beauty of the Grand Canyon. I also hiked and backpacked throughout Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and other amazing places in southern Utah. I kayaked and fished near the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and rode a horse high into Montana’s Lee Metcalfe Wilderness to camp and fish near Yellowstone National Park. Quiet time is important. I’ve enjoyed many a restful evening stretched out beneath the panoply of stars surrounded by New Mexico’s high desert mesas and near petrified logs deep in the vast Painted Desert wilderness. I’ve had mule deer a few feet away watch wide-eyed as I heated morning coffee beneath towering pines high in Arizona’s Mazatzal Mountains. A grey jay once perched on my fingers and ate trail mix from my palm during a rainy afternoon hike on the slopes of Mount Rainier. I learned early and often about the power of “Stop. Look. Listen.” Today, I’m back living in the little Northeast Ohio factory town where I grew up. As a kid, I loved to explore the woods and swamp near my parent’s home.

You don’t have to travel to Concord, Massachusetts or to the wild open lands of the West to enjoy and appreciate the wonders of the natural world. But you can, and should. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Your own personal Walden might be as close as your own backyard. All you have to do is take the time to stop, look, and listen.

Resources to learn more: Books: • Walden (Life in the Woods) by Henry David Thoreau • A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold • Sonoran Desert Spring by John Alcock

Websites: • Walden Pond State Reservation mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/regionnorth/walden-pond-state-reservation.html • National Park Foundation nationalparks.org/ • National Park Service – America the Beautiful Passes nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

Conrad J. Storad 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 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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Kids Can Publish!

Mr. Muehls by Amber Sickels, grade 12

It was eighth grade year and third trimester at North Shore Middle School, and I was off to a bad start in Spanish. I was tired of taking Spanish and dropped it to get a study hall instead. I was placed in Mr. Muehls’ study hall with two other girls. It was nice to get a friendly welcome to his class with a “Hey! I know your brother!” from Mr. Muehls. I knew he would be a good teacher from what my brother had to say about him. Having time to get help with my homework instead of having to struggle with it on my own made a positive difference in my academic performance. Mr. Muehls created a fun but calm work environment in his classroom. I felt as though I could get the help I needed, because there were no other students I had to compete for help with. I did not have to sit there and act as though I knew what was going on. His classroom was my favorite because the room was random, unlike most classes that have the typical posters. He also had chess boards set up in his classroom along with a microwave and ramen noodles (which were supposed to be for chess club but we ate them anyway). He was interested in what I was working on, and that might have been because that was his job, but he always seemed to care. I was never afraid to ask him for help. Mr. Muehls was always wise, caring, and helpful. Not only is Mr. Muehls a great teacher, but he is also a father and the chess club advisor. One of my favorite memories was when the teachers dressed up like Mr. Muehls for a day which showed how much of an impact he had. Another of my favorite memories was from a day when none of us had any homework to do so we decided to introduce him to Glozell (who was a popular YouTuber at the time). He thought we were crazy, but I could tell he liked hearing about the things we liked to do, even if he thought they were dumb. Another thing that made Mr. Muehls a great teacher is how much my brother liked having him as a teacher. My brother has ADHD and dyslexia, which put him in special education. My brother never had an easy time in school or with his special ed teachers until he had Mr. Muehls. My brother genuinely liked Mr. Muehls and he gave my brother a sense of peace and belonging. He even joined chess club (and it was out of character for my brother to join a club). I would like to thank Mr. Muehls for creating an environment that was easy-going, fun, and where not only could I be myself, but my brother could be himself, too.

Hey Kids! Visit www.StoryMonsters.com and click on “Kids Can Publish” for instructions on how to submit your work! 34

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Be a Nature Detective! by Rita Campbell What would our world be like without trees? Trees are plentiful in schoolyards and backyards and provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about nature. They give children places to play and provide homes for wildlife. Trees help to provide us with clean air and healthy ecosystems. Humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide while trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen so we are perfect partners. Many natural resources such as wood for human homes come from trees. Artists for thousands of years have painted pictures of trees and written beautiful poems, songs, and stories about them. Because trees come in many shapes, colors, and sizes, they can be the perfect subject for a leaf journal. While a leaf journal can be fun, it is also a great way to learn to identify different types of trees. When a child learns about trees, they are also learning about animals, plants, and the cycles of the different seasons. In other words, they are learning about the world around them. 36

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The parts of a tree consist of the roots, trunk, branches, twigs, and leaves. Leaves are a part of the crown of a tree and can help any nature detective learn the identification of a tree. Deciduous and evergreen are the two main types of trees. Trees that lose all their leaves for part of the year are deciduous trees. In colder climates, this happens in autumn and trees are bare throughout the months of winter. Trees that always have some of their foliage are called evergreen trees. They do lose a few leaves at a time but are replaced by new ones so the tree is never completely bare. Take a walk and discover all the different shapes of leaves. Leaves provide major clues to the trees identity. A forest provides a home to many different tree families, which means you will be able to identify many different leaf structures and shapes. Some terms you will need to learn in studying leaves include the structure of the leaf: Simple leaves, compound leaves, opposite leaves, deeply toothed or lobed leaves, and pinnate leaves.


Simple leaves have one blade attached to the stalk. Examples include: Maple, Sycamore, Sweet Gum and Tulip. Compound leaves have leaflets that are attached to the middle vein but have their own stalks. Examples include: Hickory, Walnut, Ash, Pecan and Locust. Opposite leaves are just what they sound like: the leaflets, whether simple or compound, are across from each other on the same leaf twig. Examples include: Ash Maple and Olive. Deeply toothed or lobed leaves are easy to recognize, with their obvious protrusions. Toothed leaves look like they are serrated as a knife is, as opposed to having smooth edges and margins. Examples of these include: Maple or Oak (lobed) and Elm, Chestnut, or Mulberry (toothed). Using a journal to incorporate your leaf observations will help you to organize your observations and learn about tree identification. There are various websites that can be used as tools to help you. The Tree Book for Kids and Grown-Ups is a great book to use with your child. There is also a free app called Leafsnap that will help with identification of trees. You snap a picture of the leaf and the app will identify the tree and give you information about it. A crayon leaf rubbing activity is a fun way to incorporate a drawing of a leaf in your child’s journal and then you can simply write the identification of the tree and information about it below the drawing.

Plant of the month:

Oak Tree. An Oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus of the Beech family. There are approximately 600 species. Oaks have spirally arranged leaves; some have serrated leaves or entire leaves with smooth margins. The fruit is a nut called an acorn. The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries.

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

Some questions you might discuss with your child are: Do all the leaves look the same? How are the leaves different? Are there any characteristics that all leaves have in common? How many points do the leaves have? You might even discuss the other parts of the tree, such as its roots, trunk, and branches. In responding to these questions, children will enjoy some practice in observation, documentation, and communication skills. As a teacher, I am always looking for opportunities to learn new skills. A journal, specifically a leaf journal, can be a great learning opportunity. It can jump-start a nature-based scientific learning and discovery lesson. I encourage you to take advantage of the world of nature to create a culture of scientific thinking and wonder in your child’s early years. Leaves cannot only identify trees, but teach your child about things like change, beauty, and caring for our environment. Once again nature is a magical teacher. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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Fall Reading List Lights Out: Book 1 by Nathan Reese Maher

No school. No parents. No rules. The children in Applewood woke one morning to discover all the adults had disappeared and they have superpowers. Now, they can do whatever they want! But when the electricity shuts off, Shelly Wynn—along with her friends—must survive the monsters that come out at night. As their world falls apart, Shelly realizes that the person who bullied her through middle school is the one who needs her the most. Grab your flashlights and join the adventures that happen after dark! Find out more about this chapter book series at nathanreesemaher.com/lights-out.

Thomas Templeton and the Whispers at Branson Manor by Emily A. Steward

Thomas has only vague memories of the night his parents vanished, and the memories haunt his dreams: an old mansion, a game of hide and seek, and panicked screaming. After their aunt threatens to split them up, Thomas and his two sisters journey to the abandoned family mansion looking for clues to their parent’s disappearance. Soon after they arrive, terrifying messages and apparitions make it clear that someone or something doesn’t want them there. When another person close to Thomas disappears, the children must work quickly to stop the sinister force before they become the next victims of Branson Manor.

Bilal and the Big Bully by Farhan Khalid

“Hey, can I have a bite?!” Bilal is a new student at Curiously Complex Elementary School. He’s excited to start the 4th grade, but there’s a big bully at this school, one who likes to eat a bite of other kids’ lunches. Wally Wannabite certainly lives up to his last name, and no one has the appetite to stand up to him. Find out how Bilal handled the bully, and if he came out of this in one piece. This story includes important lessons on bullying, diversity, and respect. Great for kids, parents, and teachers! Available in paperback on Amazon.com.

Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure

Eden Rose has learned to deal with her mother’s criticism that she can do nothing right. What she can’t deal with are the arguments between her parents. To escape their angry words, she finds refuge in an old abandoned house. She always returns home, hoping her mother will love her one day, even though Eden’s not sure what the word love means. Three other teens with problems also hang out at the house. Meeting Murphy, Toby, and Josh changes Eden’s world. She begins to understand the meaning of love. But will it be enough to save her broken home life?

The Boy in Glasses by Ms. Leitch

This is a small story about a tiny shift in perspective making a big difference. The boy in glasses didn’t want to wear his glasses at first. He saw what he knew to be perfectly true. But the day he put on his glasses that fall, what he expected to see didn’t happen at all. This story is about choosing to see the bright side of people even when it may not be easy to find. It’s about accepting everything about everyone, including yourself. Inspired by students the author has taught, if you can’t find yourself in this one, you can add yourself in to her next one. www.theboyinglasses.com 38

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Fall 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: Turkey, 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.

Sir Walter Farluba by Donna LeBlanc

Since Sir Walter, the Earl of Karother, is never invited to play in the town band, he assumes that none of his subjects like him. And the townsfolk, never seeing Sir Walter, assume that he doesn’t care about them. Then one day, a horrible noise filters down from the Earl’s castle. And it takes one brave young girl to find out what it is! From the award-winning author of the Commander Josh series and Escape into the Mall, Donna LeBlanc creates unique worlds in which little readers can play and explore. Story Monster Approved winner! Purple Dragonfly and Royal Dragonfly Book Awards winner. Available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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Fall Reading List Sleep Sweet

by Julianne Black

Award-winning and Story Monsters Approved! Sleep Sweet is a bedtime book like no other. Used in children’s hospitals nationwide for relaxation before and after treatment, the soothing story and dream-like illustrations have a beautiful calming effect on any age. Sleep Sweet is also Augmented Reality enabled and with the Spellbound app, the pages of the book come alive in 3D with original lullaby music, interactive animation, and gentle narration that captivates children and adults alike. App available for Apple or Android. Book available on Amazon.com. Visit www.SleepSweet3D.com for product videos and more information.

Riven

by Jane Alvey Harris

Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, 17-year-old Emily slips into the elaborate fantasy world she created as a little girl. Emily is powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment and lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality … and time is running out. For readers ages 13+. JaneAlveyHarris.com

Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver by Lorri Horn

Dewey Fairchild isn’t just good with parents, he’s great with them! He can solve any problem parents might cause their child, from an overprotective mom who won’t let you go to class on your own, to a dad who can’t stop picking his nose any chance he gets. In fact, he’s so good at handling parent problems that he runs a secret business from the attic of his house, and he doesn’t lack for customers. But what will Dewey do when the parents that are causing problems are his own?

Swiss Cheese Adventures by Darleen Wohlfeil

Gram and Jackson are knocked off their feet by a loud explosion and land in the most unusual place. Equipped with only housecleaning utensils, they set out to survey their strange new surroundings. It isn’t long before they discover they are not alone, but are tracked by a mysterious presence. Together, they experience wonder, tackle fears, explore solutions to puzzling predicaments, and make memorable friendships. Story Monster Approved! swisscheeseadventures.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. 40

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Monsters at

the

Movies

Leap!

Reviewer: Nick Spake

Grade: B-

If you combined Annie, Oliver Twist, Hugo, and virtually every dance movie into one package, you’d get something along the lines of Leap! The film treads on pretty familiar territory and anybody over the age of five should be able to predict where the story will ultimately go. Because of this, it’s more of a children’s film as opposed to a movie that will engross the whole family. Nevertheless, there’s still a fair deal for kids to appreciate with just enough to keep their parents entertained. While the plot could’ve been more original, the filmmakers balance the final product out with passion, atmosphere, and heart. Elle Fanning delivers a plucky voiceover performance as Félicie, an orphan girl who aspires to become a ballerina. Her best friend at the orphanage is a young inventor named Victor (Nat Wolff), who helps Félicie escape to 1880 Paris. While there, Félicie encounters Camille (Maddie Ziegler), a young ballerina who is graceful on the dance floor, but will step on the poor and hungry with a grin. Of course Camille was destined to be a bad egg with a mother like Régine Le Haut (Kate McKinnon), who seems to be channeling Lady Tremaine. Félicie decides to assume Camille’s identity at a prestigious ballet school, but she hasn’t been formally trained. With some assistance from a former dancer named Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) and a stern choreographer named Mérante (Terrence Scammell), she just might step up to the big leagues. It’s worth mentioning that the film was released internationally under the title of Ballerina. For its U.S. distribution, however, the title was changed to Leap!, a bit like how Rapunzel became Tangled and The Snow Queen became Frozen. This wasn’t the only change that was made for American audiences, as several voice actors were added, including Mel Brooks as an orphanage supervisor. While the cast does well, you can tell that 42

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certain lines were redubbed and additional dialog was added in places, which can occasionally take us out of the experience. Speaking of distracting, there are also a handful of modern references and songs that just feel misplaced in a film that’s trying to be timeless. That being said, when Leap! doesn’t resort to pop culture references, it’s a pleasant animated feature. The film is at its best during the quiet, subtle moments, allowing the visuals to tell the story. The animation may not be Disney-quality, but it is lively and colorful, especially during the dance sequences. Aurélie Dupont and Jérémie Bélingard of the Paris Opera Ballet were actually enlisted to help choreograph the film and their talents shine through. At times you kind of wish the choreography had been taken a step further. For example, there are reoccurring dream sequences that dive into the loss of Félicie’s mother. It would’ve been really


effective if these scenes played with interpretive dance to get Félicie’s emotions across, but the filmmakers never seize the opportunity. The movie makes up for these missed opportunities, however, thanks to its lovable characters. It’s hard not to root for Félicie, and her interactions with the supporting players are handled with a lot of charm. I particularly enjoyed her dynamic with Odette, who evolves into a mentor and surrogate mother of sorts. The only relationship that slows the narrative down is a love triangle between Félicie, Victor, and a boy named Rudi. Even this tired trope doesn’t stop the movie dead in its tracks, though. Come to think of it, Leap! does a solid job of overcoming some of the more frustrating clichés we see in most kids’ movies. Félicie pretending to be Camille most notably seemed destined to result in a drawn-out liar revealed subplot, but they thankfully don’t go down that route.

Had Leap! taken a few more chances, we might’ve gotten something truly inspired, such as the anime Princess Tutu. For what we do get, however, this is a nice little Cinderella story that encourages youngsters to follow their dreams. That’s not a unique moral per se, but it’s not a bad one either. Rather than forcing life lessons down our throats, Leap! gets its message across with just the right amount of sincerity. Even if the film doesn’t leap off the screen, it does soar higher than one would expect with such a formulaic story weighing it down.

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.

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Arizona

Nebraska

Sharon Wozny: As an educator for Mesa Public

Barbara Freeman: Former educator Barbara Freeman

Schools 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.

has turned her passion for writing about American Pit Bulls to 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.

New Jersey

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.

Mary Ann Castagnetta: Mary Ann Castagnetta’s

California

Ohio

Carole Lieberman, M.D.: Since 9/11, bestselling author, radio host, and board-certified psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H. has been helping families overcome their fears of terrorism. She has written a book— recommended by leading experts and top educators—for parents and teachers to share with their kids to give them a gentle introduction to terrorism and ways to keep them safe.

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.

colorfully illustrated children’s books are warm and humorous stories to delight children ages 3 to 10. Her presentations are 30 to 40 minutes in length, depending on the age of the group, and include a reading, followed by a discussion of the importance of perseverance and the process of writing and publishing her books.

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

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Liv on Life Stop Gender Stereotypes! by Olivia Amiri Gender stereotypes are just assumptions. For example, when a girl is born, most people bring a present they assume is right for a girl: a doll, a dress, a tea set, something in pink, anything in pink. If you see a girl playing house, she will usually take the mom role in the game. If she picks up her brother’s GI Joe, she is told that toy is not for her. Girls grow up and get used to being treated this way. When I was younger I read about Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl who was shot because she wanted to go to school like the boys. It made me so happy that someone was so brave, that Malala stood up for herself and other girls. And boys are subjected to assumptions and gender stereotypes just like girls. A boy in my class announced that he started ballet class and loves it. Several people laughed. They were saying that boys aren’t supposed to do ballet. False. The greatest ballets include roles and choreography specifically for boys. If you assume only girls should do ballet then you are missing half of the show! And these stereotypes don’t stop when we are older: I have often heard and read that women get paid less

than men because, “It’s a man’s job.” Women are just as capable as men, just as smart as men, and deserve the same opportunities and pay as men. What I would do to help fix this issue is if someone stereotypes a gender, I would politely correct them and show them another opinion regarding this. I applaud girls and boys for moving forward against gender stereotypes to do something that is important to them. After all, we are all human beings, and we are all pursuing our dreams.

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 grown-ups of the simple joys in life. livonlife.com

Riddles & Giggles Q: What is a ghost’s favorite dessert? www.StoryMonstersBookBank.com 46

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A: Boo-berry pie!


Building Character with a Twist! Funny Bone Readers are illustrated, leveled readers that support early character education. The 42-book series has been a multiple-year winner of the Mom’s Choice Award for excellence. Truck Pals on the Job is the newest set in the series. Kids will relate to the truck pals as they deal with issues of self-esteem and friendship. Each book is carefully illustrated to appeal to young readers. Ideal for ages 5 to 8. $4.99 each.

Available from Amazon.com, BN.com and your local independent bookstore. Or order directly at www.redchairpress.com

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Book Reviews You Must Bring a Hat!

by Simon Philip, Kate Hindley Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

I love when a book engages me at first glance. It draws with inner appeal before it even addresses the conscious mind. Color, layout, and font, all hit us before we agree to follow through and pick it up. The feel, the size, the illustrations, all capture before the first word is read. That’s when the book becomes an experience. This book has it all. Once I was inside, the story proved itself with chuckles and anticipation, ending with an out loud laugh. Cute from start to finish, this is an enjoyable read.

Roar and Sparkles Go to School by Sarah Beth Durst, Ben Whitehouse Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Everyone gets a little nervous about the first day of school. Even mommies and daddies get a tiny tumble in their tummies. It’s the start of new things, new directions, and new interests. It can all be a bit scary. Big sisters and brothers who have already mastered the event can be such a big help in getting little ones ready. Roar finds a whole new appreciation for his sister, and is sure happy to have her hand to hold.

Princess Kitty

by Steve Metzger, Ella Okstad Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever felt the warmth rise in your cheeks when you mistakenly misinterpreted a situation? Princess Kitty thinks life is grand in her palace with her faithful human attendants. She is particularly excited because the palace is bustling about with the buzz of surprise, and Princess Kitty is sure it is centered around her! How will she handle the situation, if she is mistaken? What’s a princess to do? You’ll have to read it to find out!

The Oyster’s Secret

by Traci Dunham, Hannah Tuohy Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Waiting is a hard task. Waiting, when no one else can imagine what you’re waiting for, can even be harder. It looks as if Mr. Oyster is missing out! He can’t do any of the wonderful things those around him can do. But, he is secretly content, because he knows something beautiful is growing inside of him. Something only time and patience can bring forth. Value and sacrifice are often productive companions. The illustrations by Hannah Tuohy are warm and inviting, lending a sweetness to the tale.

Chef Aiden and the Corn Maze by Tracy Andrews, Gaston Hauviller Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The power of suggestion, it can make us do crazy things! When Aiden’s brother Traven suggests the corn field is haunted, fear pops in to meddle with common circumstances, until the boys are running for their life. Like a shadow on the wall looms larger than its object and a bump in the night seems to echo louder than in the day, imagination can dance with suggestion until reality flees away. Thanks to the farmer, the boys come to their senses and all have a great time. And, once again Chef Aiden shares his special recipe with us. Illustrations by Gaston Hauviller are bright and colorful, bringing fullness to the overall experience. 48

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Book Reviews Chef Aiden Goes to the Zoo

by Tracy Andrews, Gaston Hauviller Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

I find this story refreshing. It left me singing an old Beatles tune. I get by with a little help from my friends. A casual visit to the zoo soon becomes quite an adventure, as circumstances take an unexpected turn. I’m always amazed at the sense of community that binds the animal world. Aiden and Traven find remedy to their dilemma with the clever help of the animal kingdom. A cute story to build up in a time when unity and helpfulness are crumbling. And, Chef Aiden shares his special gluten free banana bread recipe with us as a bonus. The story offers friendship, adventure, helping hands, and yummy treats, filling all the warm spots of life.

I Am Bat

by Morag Hood Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Join the grumpily adorable Bat as he searches for his missing cherries in this vibrant and hilarious picture book. This short, easy to read book captured my heart. Bat is simply delightful, and reminiscent of youth. Strong desire, do or die stands, that quickly melt into new desires and different directions. This is an adorable storyline to introduce adjustments and flexibility. Bat’s winning personality makes this a fun storytime for all.

The Adventures of Aiden by Aiden and Louis Fornicola Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This easy reader encourages literary growth by following a young boy in fun and relatable activities. The book contains three stories about children who are able to accomplish great things by working together, such as flying a kite, climbing a tree, or helping small creatures in a pond. Aiden and his helpful friends find wonderful adventures in the everyday joys of their lives.

Growing Friendships: A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends by Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Christine McLaughlin Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil 

Conflict is inevitable. Even the kindest person comes face to face with it. We can’t protect our children from it, but we can prepare them for it. Growing up, we often learn the hard way, that the people or events that hurt us are only a small portion of the damage we incur. Most of the trouble comes with our response. How we handle the situations far outweighs the issues themselves. Growing Friendships is a social etiquette manual for kids. It’s clever pictorial approach makes understanding easy, and the more we understand, the more empowered we become. Start your children early, prepare them before they encounter that bully on the playground or become one. Often, as parents we feel at a loss to advise when approached with delicate issues of response. Take advantage of the opportunity to encourage your children with the wisdom of professionals, as presented in this book.

Under-the-Bed Fred

by Linda Bailey, Colin Jack Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This fun story is the first in an early chapter book series by award-winning duo, Linda Bailey and Colin Jack. It’s a lighthearted face-your-fears tale that proves dreaded things may not be as bad as we think. In fact, it just might be the most interesting thing that’s happened to us yet. There are smiles and chuckles as fear fades, and friendship takes its place. StoryMonsters.com | Volume 4, Issue 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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Book Reviews Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell, Jennifer Finch Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Perception! A single act or application, and yet it can produce multiple interpretations. Little Mouse is hungry for a sweet treat and sets out to find one among his friends. Each quickly responds to Mouse’s query with a definite yes, but Mouse also quickly learns everyone has their own interpretation of sweet. His fun adventure, like most, leads him right back where he started: home. Where life is truly sweet.

If There Were Two of Me by Karen Cogan Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

What would happen if there were two of you? I myself have taken this flight of fancy a time or two, when the busyness of motherhood seemed to swallow up not only time, but the imagination needed to make it through. This is a great opportunity to stir young minds beyond the daily tasks at hand. To imagine and dream, taking flight from the common, and finding what could be. Illustrations by Putut Putri are warm and nostalgic.

Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Empire State of New York by Barbara Terry and Beth Ann Stifflemire Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Mr. Waldorf has a hard time hanging on to his spectacles in this fun and educational series, The Spectacular World of Waldorf. However, his search for them leads us all on a grand adventure through some amazing places! On this adventure, he tours the famous Statue of Liberty, explores Niagara Falls, tries ice skating at Rockefeller Center, hikes the Adirondacks, and climbs the Empire State Building. The illustrations are big and bright, and lend a great visual to the learning experience of our travels with the fun-loving Labrador, Mr. Waldorf.

The Zoo’s Secret

by Lindsey Bell Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Many children wonder what happens at the zoo when the visitors go home, the lights dim, the sun sets, and the moon rises. Do the animals sleep? Eat? Play? In this delightful rhyming and beautifully illustrated story, readers discover the zoo’s secret: DANCING! Animals shimmy and shake, twist and turn, and sing and dance all in the wee hours of the night. Porpcupines doing the hokey-pokey? You betcha! African animals beating on their drums? Yes! Owls in a masquerade, foxes doing the foxtrot (of course), and flamingos performing flamenco are just a handful of hilarious animal antics that readers will relish in. Such creative and rhythmic prose to cleverly describe the animals dancing hobbies. I can only hope the toucans will do the can-can for me next time I make a trip to the zoo!

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Book Reviews Boomer and Friends!

by Joshua Viola, Lindsey Bell, Aaron Lovett Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

It’s not often we read many books about bison in the prairie. That is what makes this sweet story about friendship, teamwork, and loyalty that much more fun and unique! Boomer is a tenderhearted bison that creates quite a BOOMING sound when he stomps, along with many other animals whose names correspond with their sounds. Author Joshua Viola explores the idea of friends becoming family and the companionship and security that provides … especially when Roarer the mountain lion is up to no good. What makes us stand apart can also be our best asset and Boomer is determined to save his friends from this sneaky feline. Colorful illustrations from corner to corner will captivate readers, and the expressions on the animals’ faces are exquisitely captured. Writers will definitely be inspired to come up with their own animal stories after reading about these loyal and brave friends.

The Laughing Witch

by Andrew Newman, Liesl Bell Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

A beautifully illustrated story about a witch’s desire to help others using gifts from nature, her simmering pot, and a big heart. Learn how she lives hand-in-hand with all of nature and how she creates sacred space to honor those she loves and cares for. The book, which is part of the Conscious Bedtime Story Club collection, is a sure-fire winner for parents seeking conscious parenting tools. The book also includes simple steps for children and parents to practice in order to feel gratitude for nature’s gifts and a “Bedtime Bubble Spell” with calming techniques to feel relaxed before bed.

The Boy Who Searched for Silence

by Andrew Newman, Alexis Aronson Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

The Boy Who Searched for Silence addresses themes like overcoming obstacles and searching for inner peace. The boy is meant to represent how many of us feel when anxiety and fear overtake our emotions, and how deep breathing along with meditation techniques can allow us to feel enlightment. As a result, the boy literally feels lighter inside. A meditation practice called “The Gratitude Spiral” is very simply described and will allow children to open up their hearts and voices to their parents at bedtime.

Princess Amber

by Margaret Wright Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

I always have a soft spot for books with whimsical lands and heroines, but to add in a true life story about a brave and precious girl fighting for her life? My heart is full. This lovely story shares the journey of a little girl’s short but precious life battling a medical condition that affected different parts of her body. Written in rhyming, lyrical prose, readers will learn about Amber’s interests, her family and friends, but most of all, her sweet spirit and big heart. The story also mentions a playground built specifically for children with special needs. The author’s note gives great insight into this special class and Amber’s international following. What a wonderful literary opportunity to discuss what compassion, empathy, and philanthropy really mean.

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Book Reviews Halloween ABC

by Nosy Crow, Jannie Ho Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Board books? Yes, please! Books that elicit giggles and interest for my 5, 3, and 1-year-old are a favorite in our house and Halloween ABC definitely delivers. The pictures are bold and bright, funny and unique. Each alphabetical page represents a different Halloween object or idea. What makes this book especially stand out (aside from the awesome illustrations) is the creativity behind the ideas. Cute pictures of candy corns are sprinkled throughout and the more my little story monsters read the book, the more extra details they notice on the colorful, hard pages. I’m not quite ready for the plethora of candy and costumes coming this fall, but after reading this delightful story, my kiddos sure are!

Boo Who?

by Ben Clanton Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Boo Who? reminds us that everyone has something special and unique to offer in our relationships, no matter how different we may appear or experience life. Upon reading this book, I immediately thought of how impactful this story would be to share with my students before recess or P.E. Boo is a ghost who can’t touch, feel, or participate in typical childhood activities. Feeling defeated and left out, Boo wonders where and how he fits in until a game of hide and seek turns into the perfect chance for his invisibility to ironically make him feel noticed. Nothing spooky about this sweet little ghost! It’s an adorable, clever, and thoughtful read for all ages.

I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor, Jean Jullien Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

I love stories that use unique fonts to differentiate between each character’s dialogue. So fun to read aloud! This adorable story shares Little Monsters’ dilemma of wanting to be in a scary story … but not TOO scary! What ensues is a cute and surprise ending that will delight readers and hopefully inspire some of their own spooky/funny stories. This unique story will surely be a hit during Halloween time but also to any book lover who enjoys tenderhearted monsters and interactive read-alouds!

The Chalk Rainbow

by Deborah Kelly, Gwynneth Jones Reviewer: Julianne Black

The Chalk Rainbow is a pure celebration of co-creation, love, acceptance, and triumph through dedication and appreciation. The story centers around a family experiencing some of the totally naturally occurring challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the ripples it creates in daily routines. ASD is so different from family to family, but The Chalk Rainbow does a great job of expressing common situations without drawing any specific conclusion. Told by the sister in the family, her challenge to engage and comfort her brother becomes a game that transforms into an adventure, eventually becoming a situationally-unique and brilliant solution. A staple for families, friends, and schools to teach insight, understanding, and creative problem solving, The Chalk Rainbow is both an important communication tool and storytime treasure.

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Book Reviews Zip! Zoom! On a Broom

by Teri Sloat, Rosalinde Bonnet  Reviewer: Julianne Black

A delicious Halloween treat, Zip! Zoom! On a Broom counts up to 10 and back while racing through a night’s adventure for ten crazy witches. One goes zip, two go zoom. Three witches glide from room to room. Just try to keep up with these gory gals, as they go on an adventure with skeletons, monsters, bats, haunted castles, lightening, dragons, and more. While the story and illustration are amazing, I think what sets this one apart is that it counts both up to and back from the number 10, and with all the witches trying to stay on the same broom, the visual component of addition as well as subtraction is present. Fast paced and fun enough to hold an audience but consistent enough to get the fundamentals across, Zip! Zoom! On a Broom is a wonderful addition to your October bedtimes or school’s seasonal reading routine.

The Splendid Baron Submarine by Eric Bower Reviewer: Diana Perry

Waldo “W.B.” Baron always speaks the truth. His teacher and fellow students would definitely disagree. They don’t know that his parents are secret inventors of unbelievable gadgets and machines. When Waldo explains what he did over summer vacation, he is punished for lying. One day, his parents are hired to go on a secret treasure hunt and thus begins a tale of adventure, danger, mystery, and all kinds of inventions. Kids will thrill over reading this book. I know I did, and I’m a big kid at heart. I found this book most creative and see it as stirring all kids of visuals in the reader’s imagination. They will feel like they’re along for the wild ride with each page.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend Reviewer: Diana Perry

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks—and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. This is the ultimate book for any child to read, especially those who feel inferior and untalented. Morrigan’s life changes dramatically in this story that rivals classics such as Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland. The ultimate fairy tale—I loved reading every page!

Skeleton Tree

by Kim Ventrella Reviewer: Diana Perry

Twelve-year-old Stanly finds a bone growing in his yard and knows he’ll have the perfect photo to submit to the Young Discoverer’s Competition. With such a unique find, he’s sure to win the grand prize. But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see. Stanly’s little sister Miren adopts the skeleton as a friend, but when she starts to grow sick, Stanly suspects that the skeleton is responsible and does everything in his power to drive the creature away. This story unravels like a flower in the morning sun and is the kindest way to help any child, whether current or in the future, to deal with losing a loved one.

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Book Reviews Horace Burp: Lizard Boy

by Christine Tennent, Rob Overend Reviewer: Diana Perry

This is the perfect, fun to read book about a not-so-typical 8-year-old boy named Horace. Why is he different? Because he seems to have the capabilities of most chameleons and the older he gets, the more traits he acquires. This is the beginning of Horace’s adventures as he overcomes the hardships of being unpopular, fighting off bullies, and trying not to let his chameleon-like talents show. I get the impression that Horace wouldn’t trade his special talents to be the most popular boy in the entire school.

Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Cake Contest! by Tracey Corderoy, Joe Berger Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Hubble Bubble The Great Granny Cake Contest, is a humorous, fun read. Everyone should have a grandma like Pandora’s grandma! Wherever Pandora’s granny goes, she uses her magic. Yes, Granny is a witch! She causes chaos and craziness wherever she goes, including the house museum, on a cooking show, and at the school garden fair. Will Pandora get everything back to normal before everyone finds out what Granny has done? Read the book to find out!

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Pick of the Litter

No Bees Please! This month’s Storytime Pup Pick of the Litter is No Bees Please! by Brian Courrejou and illustrated by Greg Palmer. A Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold recipient, No Bees Please! is a story about Antoine the ant. Antoine’s ant hill is known far and wide. It has many rooms as well as a gym, theatre, and even a pool! Antoine has everything an ant could wish for, but he wishes for someone to share it all with. He decides that he needs a roommate. So he hangs a sign on his door that reads:

with several pages of interesting insect facts. I highly recommend this wonderful book for your children’s book collections! Available on Amazon.com. Brian Courrejou is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and currently works for the Candid Camera television show. He’s an aspiring screenwriter and an avid movie buff. He lives in Central California and is terrified of bees.

Roommate needed! A.S.A.P. Most bugs welcome! But NO BEES PLEASE! Why no bees? Well, of all foods in the world, Antoine loves honey the most. One spring day when he was just a baby, he wandered into a beehive looking for honey. And in doing so, he got stung! So from that day forward, Antoine wanted nothing to do with bees. To him, they have long stingers and short tempers. As soon as the sign goes up, bugs come from all around to be interviewed by Antoine: Freddy the flea, Sam the snail, Christopher the cricket, Farrah the firefly, Terrence the termite, Sandra the spider, and Lo the ladybug. And finally … Beatrice the bee! Who will Antoine choose for his roommate? Will he even open the door to Beatrice the bee? We encourage you and your children to read this hilarious book to find out. No Bees Please! is a whimsical and joyful rhyming book, with a positive message about why we should not prejudge others. A truly fun and educational book. The illustrations are bold and colorful and truly pop. It is fun to find all the silly objects hidden in the pictures. To add to the fun, there are also hidden bees within the pages of the book. See if you can find them all! The book closes 56

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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


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Q&A

Q&A with

Rebecca Green by Julianne Black I love Halloween! Really, really reeeeaaally love it! The cider! The pumpkins! The spookily chilly night air! So when How To Make Friends with a Ghost fell in my lap one particularly sweltering summer day in my Florida office, I was in love. I cranked the AC, pulled on a sweater, climbed into bed, and read it cover to cover. Twice. Then I waited impatiently for my 5-year-old daughter to get home from summer camp so I could read

it to her. Last year she wanted to be a pumpkinangel-mermaid for Halloween. This year she already wants to be the “Ghost Girl” from the book. I started looking into the author and illustrator, Rebecca Green, online and realized pretty quickly that this is someone I wanted to reach out to. I had to know how this title came to be so, well, awesome.

Q: Your first picture book! What was the inspiration to make the leap from commercial and personal work into picture books? Did your general creative process change or was it a pretty natural transition? A: The transition from commercial and personal work was one I was dying to make, so it felt natural. In college, I loved writing and illustrating stories. After I graduated, I thought I had to do editorial work because that’s what ‘real’ illustrators did. After years of showing in galleries and doing editorial work, I was very unhappy with my work. Once I started doing books, I knew that was the life for me. Telling stories, and visually creating other author’s stories feels like coming full circle, right back into what I really love. Q: Do you consider yourself an artist who tells stories or a storyteller who speaks through art?  A: Definitely an artist who tells stories. I’m constantly processing visual cues in my environment to sort of catalogue them in my brain. For instance, the colors during different times of day, how leaves are shaped, animal or human poses that I witness. I use those findings and incorporate them into stories. Q: While many of your artworks have a super detailed style, you have an awesome diagram-sketch 58

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style that we get a peek of in your Flow magazine (2015) commissioned piece that really pushes its way to the front of the line in How to Make Friends with a Ghost. Is that a direction you feel your style is heading? A: I’m sort of always in style crisis mode—trying to work intuitively and not letting the idea of style inhibit or influence an upcoming project. I was trained to paint photo-realistically and am forever trying to buck against that. A constant goal is to simplify my


Q&A

work, and make it seem more child-like and wonky. I loved doing the drawings for How to Make Friends with a Ghost. It was so refreshing and since I didn’t have to do much research from photos (like other projects), I was really quite free to just to work from my intuition.

A: Sadly, I haven’t read it aloud enough to know what kids are finding particularly gross. Since cooking is my biggest hobby, it was extra fun for me to come up with spooky foods and recipes. I’m dreaming up a whole actual cookbook … maybe someday!

Q: The continuation through the book using a specified set of colors is captivating. It speaks to the season of fall, but also of secrets and attics and timelessness like a sepia portrait. The final result is spectacular, but what was the artistic process like? Did you find limiting your artistic color choices freeing or constraining?

Q: With Halloween on its way, I’m sure you’ll be on the lookout for many new ghost friends. Any expert ghost-friend advice for those wanting to get in on the love fest? Perhaps from the desk of Dr. Phantoneous Spookel, the expert who helped you write the book?

A: I’m so glad you like the colors—I love the idea of them harkening to attics and secrets! I’m a fall addict and grew up in Michigan where the autumn is gorgeous and life-changing. I wanted to use fall colors in this book, but not Halloween colors. I wanted it to feel timeless. Limiting the colors was actually freeing. It allowed me to focus on creating a look, certain shapes, patterns, and details. Q: The section divides are wonderful to create the “handbook” style feel right out of the ’50s era How to Care for Your Dog or How to Fish series that were so popular in that era. Tell us about ghosts. What prompted a handbook on ghosts? A: Yes! That’s exactly what I was drawing from. Once the book got going, I researched those old handbooks just to see if there were things I was missing in my own book. Here’s how the book was born in a nutshell: I was walking my dog feeling particularly uninspired, trying to generate ideas for an editorial illustration about fall. I was thinking about a girl sharing cider with animals which seemed boring and then I thought to myself that it could be a ghost. And then I wondered what a ghost would drink. And then I wondered what a ghost would read. And where would you hide it? And how could you keep it safe? And ... and ... and ... I ran into the house and sat at the kitchen table writing frantically for eight hours and dreamt up the first draft. It just sort of came out as a semi-academic guidebook naturally, which felt really funny to me. My husband (an English teacher) helped me flesh out the ending, because he felt it should be powerful and actually make the reader feel something about life. And I couldn’t agree more. Q: My daughter and I especially loved the foods and recipes section. Have you had the opportunity to read it out loud to many kids? Which parts do you find the most popular with which age groups?

A: Yes, I spoke with Dr. Phantoneous Spookel about this particular thing just the other day. He reminded me that we usually do not find ghost friends, but rather they find us if we are sweet, warm, and kind. This Halloween, that might mean carving a pumpkin for your neighbor, bringing spooky treats to a friend who is having a bad day, or taking a wooded walk to appreciate all the changing colors with your family. In regards to trick-or-treating on Halloween, most ghosts you’ll see will be children in costume ... but if you look carefully and you see a ghost with no feet ... BOO! You might just find an actual ghost!

Rebecca (Becca) Green is an illustrator, painter, and make believe maker. Her work has a home in children’s and young adult books, magazines, galleries, and more. When she isn’t drawing and painting, she can be found cooking, adventuring, and starting loads of books but hardly ever finishing them. myblankpaper.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 10 | Story Monsters Ink

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Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

Carrera = Career Tip: When there are two words in Spanish listed, the first is male and the second is female.

¡Hola, Amigo!

1. maestro/maestra = teacher 2. farmacéutico = pharmacist 3. ingeniero = engineer 4. astronauta = astronaut 5. mecánico/mecánica = mechanic 6. carpintero = carpenter 7. actor/actriz = actor/actress

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner! ¡Bienvenidos! Juicy Jack travels high into the Andes Mountains to visit the only school for guinea pigs in the world. He’s amazed at what he finds there and wants to study, too. He needs to decide which career path to study. Using the list of carreras (careers) to the right, the Head Guinea Pig asks Jack what he wants to be when he grows up: ¿Jack, quieres ser (career)? Jack answers with the following sentence options: Sí, sí quiero ser (career). or No, no quiero ser (career).

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8. cantante = singer 9. granjero/granjera = farmer 10. enfermero/enfermera = nurse

La Práctica (Practice) Memorize the Spanish words above, then play a guessing game with a friend. First, pick a career but don’t tell which one you chose. Then, take turns asking each other the above question until one of you chooses the correct career. If you would like to add to the list, use an English– Spanish dictionary to help. 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


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Kids Corner

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BULLYING FRIENDSHIP  HALLOWEEN  NATASHA  STINE 

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DINOSAURS GHOST  LEAP  NATURE  WALDEN 

FAIRY GOOSEBUMPS  MONSTER  REEDY  WONDERLING 


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SPOOKY FOR LITTLE GHOULS &

9780794439651

9780794428570

9780794432409

9781684120833

9781626866782

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READS GOBLINS

9780794434755

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Available wherever books are sold. Nickelodeon © 2017 Viacom International, Inc. PAW Patrol © 2017 Spin Master PAW Productions Inc. Nickelodeon, Dora the Explorer and all related titles, logos, and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2017 Sesame Workshop,® Sesame Street,® and associated characters, trademarks and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.

Story Monsters Ink magazine October 2017  

This month's features include: R.L. Stine Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Children Goosebumps; Mira Bartók Creates a Wondrous Tale for Middle...