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November 2017

The Literary Resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents

Meg Cabot

Releases a Royal Series for Young Readers

Frank Shankwitz

Brings Decades of Wishes to Children in Need

Annie Parnell

Continues the Beloved Piggle-Wiggle Tradition

Sherylee Honeyghan

Shares Her Daughter’s Inspiring Story

The Best Storybook Heroes for Dyslexics

What We Can Learn from Penguins

Kid Spin:

In the Studio with

Sandra Boynton

Ice Cream Trucks and the End of the World

Q&A

with Terry Pierce


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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 Contents may not be published in whole or in part without the express written consent of the bylined author and publisher.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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Honor Roll Gold Award Recipient, Mom’s Choice Awards. Named among the “great magazines for kids and teens” by School Library Journal. 2016 Irwin Award winner for “Best Publisher of a Literary Magazine” and “Best Editorial Director.”


November 2017

In this issue 04

22

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the Studio

The Best Storybook

with Sandra Boynton

Heroes for Dyslexics

08

26

Meg Cabot

What We Can Learn

Releases a Royal Series for Young Readers

from Penguins

12

28

Frank Shankwitz

Kid Spin:

Brings Decades of Wishes to Children in Need

Ice Cream Trucks and the End of the World

16

18

58

Annie Parnell

Sherylee Honeyghan

Q&A

Shares Her Daughter’s Inspiring Story

Continues the Beloved Piggle-Wiggle Tradition

31 32 34 36

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

38 42 44 46

Holiday Gift Guide Monsters at the Movies School Bookings Directory Liv on Life

with Terry Pierce

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 | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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In the Studio with

Sandra Boynton by Melissa Fales

Sandra Boynton’s new songbook and accompanying CD, Hog Wild! A Frenzy of Dance Music offers 11 lively tracks composed with one common goal: to inspire parents and kids alike to get up and bust a move. “I’m a firm believer that there’s no reason parents shouldn’t love the same music they’re playing for their kids,” says Boynton. “I think this album is something all ages will enjoy, just for the sheer variety of musical styles.” Boynton is best known for the over 50 children’s books she’s written and for the nearly 500 million greeting cards sold featuring her designs, but she’s simultaneously been recording music for the past 20 years. Hog Wild! is her sixth songbook and CD set with her longtime musical partner Michael Ford. Three of those titles have made the New York Times 4

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bestseller list. Her 2002 album Philadelphia Chickens was Grammy nominated and certified platinum and two others were certified gold albums. “Writing and producing music is about the most fun there is,” she says. “It really is the thing I like the most to do. My husband used to say that my books support my recording habit.”


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The Hog Wild! songbook includes lyrics, sheet music, and a cavalcade of the cute animal characters instantly recognizable as Boynton creations. The CD features 11 tracks performed by celebrities, some of whom may surprise you. Kristen Bell kicks things off with the contagious beat of “Dance it Out,” Scott Bakula belts out “Ducks in a Row,” and Five for Fighting perfectly captures the vintage flair of “Swing Thing.” For Boynton, there isn’t a huge difference between how she approaches composing a song and writing a book. “My books tend to be musical,” she says. “They have a certain rhythm. They don’t feel that different from songs for me. They don’t seem like wildly different enterprises.” Boynton says she typically writes songs with a particular singer in mind. “I’m constantly auditioning people in my head,” she says. “It helps me with the writing. I almost always have someone specific in mind as I write.” For example, she wrote Hog Wild’s second track, “Tyrannosaurus Funk,” especially for Samuel L. Jackson. “When I first came up with the tune of “Tyrannosaurus Funk,” I immediately heard it in my head sung by him,” she says. “I never thought in a million years that I’d be able to get him to do it.” Boynton says when Jackson unexpectedly agreed to sing for the CD, she had to scramble to get the recording to happen on schedule, but it was worth it. “It was surreal,” she says. “The result is so much better than what I imagined. It was one of my favorite recording sessions ever.” Another example is “Robot Dance,” featuring Laura Linney and “Weird Al” Yankovic. Yankovic is a close friend of Boynton’s and appeared on her earlier album, Dog Train. “I met Al in line at the Grammy nominee party in 2002,” Boynton says. “He was two people ahead of me in line.” Despite it being totally out of character for her, Boynton says she felt compelled to approach him. “I told him that I felt like he was a part of our family because we listened to him so much,” she says. “I told him that I needed to shake his hand and tell him that my whole family loved him. There have only been two times in my life that I’ve gone up to someone I admired and bothered them. That was one of them.” To Boynton’s surprise, a short time later, Yankovic’s wife, Suzanne, came over. “Did you say your name was Sandra Boynton?” she asked, adding that they had a one-year-old child and Boynton was a bonafide hero in their home. “We’ve all been good friends

ever since,” says Boynton. “Al’s an absolutely brilliant artist and he’s outlasted nearly everyone he parodied.” Hog Wild! marks the first time Boynton is releasing an album as a vinyl record. “I’ve always been a vinyl person myself,” she says. “Now that there’s been a resurgence in its popularity, I’m taking the opportunity to release Hog Wild! on vinyl. It’s pure selfindulgence.” All of the royalties from Hog Wild! will go to Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children and their families. Boynton grew up in Philadelphia to Quaker parents. She says her Quaker upbringing was a major influence on her life. “It affected me in every way,” she says. “There’s nothing better than a Quaker education. The arts are in the dead center of the curriculum.” After graduating from Yale, Boynton started designing greeting cards featuring endearing animal cartoons to pay her way through graduate school. “They took off pretty quickly,” she says. Following the success of her greeting cards, Boynton wrote her first children’s book, Hippos Go Berserk, which was first published by Recycled Paper Products, the same company that was producing her greeting cards. “When they decided that they didn’t want to go into the book business, the book was picked up by Little, Brown and Company,” says Boynton. “Frankly, it all went a lot smoother than it should have.” Boynton says her drawings focus on animals for several reasons. “First of all, everyone loves animals,” StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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“I’m a firm believer that there’s no reason parents shouldn’t love the same music they’re playing for their kids. I think this album is something all ages will enjoy, just for the sheer variety of musical styles.” she says. “From a creative perspective, it frees you up from many of the constraints you’d face when drawing humans. You don’t have to decide an age or a gender or any of the other variables you’d need to choose. It takes all of the baggage out of it.” For her next project, Boynton will be working with iconic New York Times cartoonist George Booth on a book to be released in 2018. Just as she did with Yankovic, Boynton felt compelled to approach Booth

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when she saw him at a private party in Brooklyn. “I’ve looked up to him for years,” she says. “It will be the first time I’ve collaborated on a book where someone else will be doing the pictures. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. There’s nothing better than getting to work with your lifelong hero.” For more information about Sandra Boynton and Hog Wild!, visit sandraboynton.com.


GIVE YOUR KIDS THE GIFT OF READING THIS CHRISTMAS!

Learn more at AlaneAdams.com

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Photo by Kathryn Wirsing for Cosmopolitan magazine

Meg Cabot

Releases a Royal Series for Young Readers by Melissa Fales In response to overwhelming requests from her fans for something for their younger siblings or children to read, Meg Cabot has created a whole new series. Now, the author of The Princess Diaries is bringing the wonders of Genovia to a brand new audience in her From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess series, featuring Olivia, a fun, feisty, new character who happens to be Princess Mia’s half-sister. “Olivia is just turning 13, says Cabot. “She’s at that age when everything seems like a big deal. I thought it would be fun to tell a story from her perspective.” 8

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Cabot has published nearly 80 books, including a number published under a pseudonym in the 1990s. Her big break came when The Princess Diaries was published in 2000. Cabot based the book on her own experiences when her mother began dating years after her father passed away, and the man she was seeing was Cabot’s algebra teacher. “I was happy for her but also completely mortified,” says Cabot. “I mean, out of all the guys in the world, she had to pick him?” Cabot says she wasn’t able to share how horrifying the experience was with anyone, so she started writing


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about it in her diary. “Eventually I realized how funny it was and I thought it would make a good book,” she says. “I added in some princess elements, just for kicks, and it took off from there.” The book went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller and was made into two movies by Disney, which bought the rights even before the story was published. The Princess Diaries spawned a whole series about Mia, most recently with Royal Wedding, in which Cabot gives Mia the fairy-tale ending fans have been waiting for. “I hear from so many readers who started the books when they were in middle school,” she says. “Now they’re getting married themselves and they have these fantastic careers. I thought it would be fun to imagine Mia at their age. Her life is similar to theirs, she’s managing an adult relationship and adult problems, but of course, she’s a princess.” Cabot admits that there’s a lot of herself in Mia, too. “I do obsess a lot,” she says. In Royal Wedding, Mia learns that she has a biracial little sister, Olivia, which sets the scene for the From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess series. “That was also based on my life,” says Cabot. “I have a biracial little brother.” Cabot says she’s mined the diaries she’s kept since the fourth grade for inspiration throughout the Princess Diaries series. “An algebra equation I used in a book was taken directly from my high school notebook I still have,” she says. “I save everything. I guess someday I thought I would write a book. I would definitely encourage everyone to keep a diary. You never know … it just may end up being a bestseller one day.”

There are two previous From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess books. In Cabot’s third and latest, Royal Crush, Olivia is a few months into her new school year at the Royal Genovian Academy and is faced with the dilemma of whether or not to attend the school’s Royal School Winter Games. She’s the reporter for the school newspaper, so she’s expected to cover this big event. However, Princess Mia is about to have twins and Olivia wants to be there for the birth. To complicate matters even further, she learns that her grandmother will be a chaperone and Prince Khalil, the boy she thinks she has a crush on, will definitely be there. “It’s the kind of thing we all go through when we’re 13.” says Cabot. Royal Crush is special to Cabot because she illustrated the book, too. “I finally started using my college degree,” she says. “It was actually much more difficult than I thought it would be. I’ll be illustrating the next book, Royal Crown, too. It will finally feature Mia’s coronation and Olivia will be a very active participant.” Cabot says it’s important to her that her books in this series help girls develop a positive sense of self. “Olivia has a great attitude,” she says. “She’s yet to have her first kiss. Other girls try to make her feel bad about it, but she takes it in stride. I want girls to know that everyone matures at their own rate. There’s no big rush and there’s nothing wrong with them if they’re at a slower pace. I know there can be a lot of anxiety for girls that age today about this type of thing.” When Cabot was that age, she was more interested in writing Star Wars fan fiction, the first real writing she

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did outside of her diary. “I’ve always loved all things Star Wars, but I idolized Princess Leia,” she says. “I loved how she was really empowered and had a laser blaster and, most of all, she wore that great dress. I’ve always liked the rough girls who dressed nicely. It’s the same thing with Wonder Woman. She’s tough but she looks good while she’s handling the bad guys. I like a good girl who’s really a badass when she needs to be.”

Point of View. A special edition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the movie’s original release, the book features short stories from 40 authors. All of the proceeds from the book are going to First Book, a nonprofit organization that puts new books in the hands of needy children. Cabot says she was thrilled to be a part of this collective foray into Star Wars fan fiction as a grown-up. “Each writer was assigned a character from the original movie,” she says. “They may be a minor character, but even if they don’t have a big part, they deserve to have their say. We finally get to learn the back story on all of these personalities.” Cabot writes from the viewpoint of Luke Skywalker’s Aunt Baru, whose demise ultimately leads to Luke saving the universe. “She’s vastly underrated,” says Cabot. “I’m thrilled to write about her and be a part of this. After all, Star Wars fan fiction helped me to become a writer. It’s where it all started for me.”

Fittingly, Cabot was asked to be a contributor to a brand-new anthology called Star Wars: From a Certain

For more information about Meg Cabot and her books, visit megcabot.com.

“I would definitely encourage everyone to keep a diary. You never know … it just may end up being a bestseller one day.”

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Photo by Ken Rochon

Frank Shankwitz

Brings Decades of Wishes to Children in Need by Melissa Fales

Since its formation in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted the wishes of over 400,000 children in 50 countries around the world. It all started when a caring group of law enforcement officials joined forces to make one terminally-ill child’s dream come true. “I just knew that it was going to take off,” says Frank Shankwitz, a founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “I said, ‘Someday this is going to be international.’ I could see how much people wanted to do this and help these children.”

Now, over three decades later, Shankwitz has been working with screenwriter Theo Davies and assisting on the set as a technical advisor for the filming of Wish Man, due to be released in May of 2018. “It’s very flattering to have a movie made about me, but it’s never been about me,” says Shankwitz. “It’s always 12

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been about making the world a little brighter for children who are sick.” The film, produced by Greg S. Reid, will chronicle Shankwitz’s life and how he came to change the lives of so many through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It begins with his tumultuous childhood dominated


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by an impulsive, capricious mother. “When I was two, my mother put me in a laundry basket and sat me on my dad’s desk at work,” says Shankwitz. “Then she left town.” Shankwitz remained in Chicago with his grandparents until he was five, and his mother reappeared one day, scooping him up out of the blue and taking him to Michigan. Shankwitz’s father eventually caught up with them, but before he could regain custody, Shankwitz’s mother took off with their son again, this time to Arizona. With limited resources, the pair was often hungry and homeless, depending on the kindness of strangers just to get by. “We lived in a tent, we lived in the back of a car, and in a flophouse,” says Shankwitz. “There was a nice rancher who took us in and we slept on his kitchen floor for about six months.” Shankwitz finally experienced some semblance of normalcy when he and his mother settled in Seligman, Arizona. Although they still struggled, he attended school, participated in sports, and met Juan Delgadillo, a businessman who became a father figure to him. Delgadillo taught young Shankwitz many life lessons, including one that truly resonated. “He said, ‘Frank, look around,’” Shankwitz recalls. “‘Look at all the people helping you. When you can, give back.’ It was the first time I heard that phrase and it really struck me. It wasn’t a popular saying like it is now.” When Shankwitz was in the seventh grade, his mother took off again, leaving him on his own. Delgadillo arranged for Shankwitz to board with an older, motherly woman, paying for his keep with money from a dishwashing job. “Despite my situation, Juan helped me to look at the positives,” says Shankwitz. “Mrs. Sanchez had indoor plumbing and she had the first TV in Seligman. Plus, she was the best cook in town. He taught me to see how lucky I was instead of feeling sorry for myself.” After high school, Shankwitz joined the Air Force and was stationed in England. After an Honorable Discharge in 1965, he took a job at Motorola in Phoenix, where he recorded failure rates on components for rockets. “I got very bored,” he says. When a friend joined the Arizona Highway Patrol in 1972, Shankwitz applied, too, the first step in what would be a 42-year career in law enforcement. “I knew it was going to be a drastic pay cut, but I needed a change,” Shankwitz says. “It was the best decision I ever made.”

Shankwitz’s first assignment was in the small town of Yuma, where he worked with the Special Olympics. “I really enjoyed it,” he says. “I thought to myself, Hey Juan, I think I’m starting to give back.” When the Arizona Highway Patrol started a motorcycle unit in 1975, Shankwitz was invited to be part of the first 10-man squad. “We had our initial training with the real-life CHiPS (California Highway Patrol),” he says. “At the time, the TV show was at the height of popularity. We’d go into little towns in teams of two and the kids would yell, ‘Hey Ponch, Hey Jon!’” In 1979, during a high-speed chase on his motorcycle, Shankwitz was gravely injured when a vehicle pulled out in front of him. “It was a spectacular crash,” he says. An officer had pronounced Shankwitz dead at the scene, but an off-duty ER nurse happened upon the accident and began performing CPR on him. “After about four minutes, she brought me back to life,” he says. It took Shankwitz over six months to recover from his injuries. “I had broken bones, a skull fracture, a traumatic brain injury, and all sorts of missing skin,” he recalls. He spent hours pondering why he was still alive. “Why did God spare me?” he remembers asking himself. “Why was I brought back to life and given more time on this earth?” Shortly after Shankwitz had recovered enough to return to work, a U.S. Customs Agent named Tom Austin called his department about a 7-year-old boy StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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“It’s such a thrill to talk to the ones who got to grow up. I always ask them what their wish was. You can still see the excitement in their eyes when they relive the experience as they tell me. Years later, those feelings are still there for them. That’s what’s so rewarding.”

home and not in the hospital, the officers delivered the uniform to his house the next morning. “He was beaming when he put it on,” says Shankwitz. Then Chris came out on a battery-operated motorcycle his mom had bought him. Shankwitz gave Chris a version of the driving test all motorcycle officers must pass in order to get their motorcycle officer wings. “There he was on his motorcycle, in his uniform,” says Shankwitz. “He’s got on the high boots with his pant legs tucked in and his aviator glasses on. He was all serious. And he asked me, ‘Did I pass? Do I get my wings?’” By the time the special-order wings arrived for him, Chris was back in the hospital and had slipped into a coma. “He was laying there with his uniform hanging by his bed,” says Shankwitz. “Just as I pinned the wings on his uniform, he opened his eyes and asked, ‘Am I a motorcycle officer now?’ When I told him, ‘Yes you are,’ he smiled.” Chris passed away a few hours later. “I like to think those wings helped carry him to heaven,” says Shankwitz.

named Chris Greicius who was dying from leukemia. After sharing how Chris loved watching CHiPS and dreamt of becoming a motorcycle officer someday, Austin asked if there was anything the Highway Patrol could do for the child. “With his doctor’s permission, our department arranged to pick Chris up at his hospital and fly him to our headquarters,” says Shankwitz. “By the luck of the draw, I was asked to stand by to meet him with my bike. I remember watching the helicopter land and out pops this little pair of red sneakers. I’ll never forget how he ran over to me and my bike and asked if he could get on. Here’s this little guy who just got off of his IVs. He’s sitting on my bike turning on the lights and the siren and wanting to know what was in my saddlebag. We bonded right away.” That day, Chris got a tour of the headquarters and was sworn in as an Honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer. “What stuck with me was watching his mother,” says Shankwitz. “She’s got tears in her eyes. She’s watching her 7-year-old son acting like a 7-yearold, not laying in a hospital bed.” Touched by Chris’s enthusiasm despite his declining health, the officers wanted to do more for the little boy. They had a uniform custom-made for him. “Two ladies spent all night making it,” says Shankwitz. Knowing that Chris had been allowed to spend the night at 14

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Shankwitz with Chris Greicius


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Chris was buried with full police honors in Illinois with Shankwitz and other officers attending the funeral. On his flight home, Shankwitz had an idea. “I was about 36,000 feet over Iowa or Kansas when I thought, This little boy had a wish and we made it happen. Why can’t we do that for other kids? The Make-A-Wish Foundation was formed a few months later. “After that, it just exploded,” Shankwitz says. Today there are 63 Make-AWish Foundation chapters in the United States and 36 international chapters on five continents. Shankwitz is an in-demand speaker all over the country and was named the Forbes #1 Key Speaker in 2016. Last April, he joined past award-winners Matthew McConaughey and Morgan Freeman as a recipient of the Unite4: Humanity Celebrity ICON Award for Social Impact. But Shankwitz says his proudest moments are meeting former “wish children” who are now adults. “It’s such a thrill to talk to the ones who got to grow up,” he says. “I always ask them

what their wish was. You can still see the excitement in their eyes when they relive the experience as they tell me. Years later, those feelings are still there for them. That’s what’s so rewarding.” There are more and more former “wish children” making it to adulthood. Medical advances have allowed the Make-A-Wish Foundation to slightly alter its mission. “We used to be only for terminallyill children,” Shankwitz says. “When we started, a leukemia diagnosis was basically a death sentence. Now, we say we serve children with life-threatening illnesses. Survival rates are up. It’s great news. In fact, our original charter includes an escape clause to put us out of business if it gets to the point where we’re no longer needed. Now wouldn’t that be nice?” For more information about Frank Shankwitz, visit wishman1.com and for more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit wish.org.

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Annie Parnell

Continues the Beloved Piggle-Wiggle Tradition by Melissa Fales For 60 years, children have enjoyed Betty MacDonald’s humorously didactic stories about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and her unique approach to teaching children how to behave. Now, MacDonald’s great-granddaughter, Annie Parnell, has teamed up with New York Times bestselling children’s author Ann M. Martin to carry on the Piggle-Wiggle tradition for a new generation. They’ve introduced Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s great-niece, Missy, in a new book series which will also be adapted into an animated television series. “For me, it’s another way in which to honor the original series, but we’re coming at it from a new angle for today’s children,” says Parnell. Parnell says she practically considers Mrs. PiggleWiggle a family member. “She had a huge influence on my childhood,” Parnell says. “She was ever-present in our home and guided the way we behaved growing up. 16

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The humor, which is what people love the most about the books, was always part of our family dynamic.” Various Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books stand out to Parnell, for different reasons. “The Tattletale Cure, where the smoke of tattles follows kids around, really struck me as a kid,” she says. “That felt like a cautionary tale I needed to listen to if I wanted to avoid that kind of humiliation.” As an adult, she has a fondness for The Radish Cure in which stubborn Patsy won’t take a bath for weeks, eventually accumulating enough dirt to grow radishes on her skin. “It’s just pure natural consequences presented in a funny way,” Parnell says. “It’s kind of disturbing, but it’s also hilarious.” Today, Parnell uses Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s lessons to instruct her own children. “As a kid, you have one


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perspective of her,” she says. “She’s the perfect old nanny who can help you with any problem. As a parent, I have an entirely new appreciation for her and her matter-of-fact approach to those issues that frustrate both parents and kids. Betty was so ahead of her time. Today, parents read books like The Blessing of the Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel. Mrs. PiggleWiggle’s cures are based on the very same idea, that children learn best when they have to live with the consequences of their own actions.” It was talent manager Rachel Miller, a co-worker of Parnell’s husband and a lifelong Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan, who first suggested to Parnell that she create a new book series. Parnell liked the idea but was unsure how to bring the character into the modern age. “I didn’t feel comfortable changing her that drastically,” she says. “She’s perfect just the way she is.” Instead of reinventing Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Parnell decided to

the Won’t-Walkthe-Dog Cure. “We’re both huge animal advocates,” says Parnell. “It was only natural for us to come up with a cure about being responsible for your animals.” Parnell says the partnership has been successful and smooth. “We work very much in tandem in terms of generation of the story,” she says. “Ann does the

“She had a huge influence on my childhood. She was ever-present in our home and guided the way we behaved growing up. The humor, which is what people love the most about the books, was always part of our family dynamic.” create an entirely new, younger character, Missy, who would pick up where her great-aunt left off. Parnell took the idea to publisher Jean Feiwel, who suggested she collaborate with Ann M. Martin of The Baby-Sitters Club fame. “I thought it was brilliant since I had never written any children’s literature,” says Parnell. “I wanted someone who really knows what they’re doing. Ann is a master. I knew the Piggle-Wiggle legacy was in good hands.” It was also crucial for Parnell that her grandmother, Anna MacDonald Canham, was on board with the new project. “She was really excited and trusted my instincts completely,” says Parnell. “She was happy to see someone else in the family taking such an interest in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.” The first book that Martin and Parnell created was Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure. “It’s about being too self-involved,” says Parnell. “It’s about doing whatever you want regardless of others’ feelings. Their latest release is Missy Piggle-Wiggle and

heavy lifting. I’m constantly writing down ideas for cures. I send them to her, and she picks the ones she likes and comes up with a few of her own. My job is to make sure the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle element is whole and true to the original.” The new series gives readers a chance not only to meet Missy, but also to learn more about Mrs. PiggleWiggle’s upside-down house where Missy is living while her great-aunt is out of town. “In the original series, we didn’t get to spend that much time inside the house,” says Parnell. “I know that as a kid, I always wanted to know more about it and all the animals that live there. It’s been really enjoyable for me to spend more time in that magical world, not just as a shared creator, but as a reader. It’s a very special place.” For more information about the new Missy PiggleWiggle series, visit The Piggle-Wiggle page on Facebook. For more information about Annie Parnell, visit the Idealogical Mom on Facebook.

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Sherylee Honeyghan Shares Her Daughter’s Inspiring Story by Melissa Fales Sherylee Honeyghan recalls the day when the doctor broke the news that the otherwise perfectly healthy baby she was carrying hadn’t developed a left hand. “It was shocking,” she says. “It took a few days for me to process. I went through a period of feeling a type of loss. You have an idea in your head of what your baby will be like. Everyone says, ‘As long as he or she has 10 fingers and 10 toes….’ When someone said that to me, I would say, ‘Well, actually, my baby won’t,’ and then they didn’t know what to say or do.” Realizing she couldn’t shield her young daughter from strangers’ stares and pointed questions about her missing limb, Honeyghan sought to empower her with tools to manage the curiosity of others, particularly 18

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naturally inquisitive young children. “I thought, If I could give her the words to help her explain what she’s about, what words would I use?” Honeyghan says. The result is her first book, I am Sheriauna, Book One: We Are Beautiful. As a baby and a toddler, Sheriauna was blissfully unaware that she was different from other children. It wasn’t until Sheriauna was four years old that Honeyghan observed a change in her daughter. “She was a very bright and happy girl, but I noticed she was having a lot of difficulty with her emotions when people would stare at her,” Honeyghan says. “That was the age when people started asking her a lot of questions. It made her very self-conscious.”


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“In this world, we’re all unique. We’re all perfectly imperfect. My goal is to encourage people to start embracing our differences, our uniqueness, and try to be more understanding of one another.” Honeyghan looked for books for children about amputees. “They’re out there, but you have to do a lot of digging to find them,” she says. Honeyghan works in social services and had never written for publication, but she felt she had an important message to share and the opportunity to fill a void in the children’s book market. “I want to bring the topic of child amputees to a mainstream audience,” she says. “I wanted to create a book to help other kids have an understanding about what an amputee is. I wanted them to know that it’s okay to be curious, but this is how they feel when you stare at them or treat them differently.” It took Sherylee several years to find the right illustrator, which she did in Ana Patankar. “We finally got it done and I’m so proud of this book,” says Honeyghan. I am Sheriauna introduces readers to Sheriauna and her story. “I hope that it promotes the ideas that we are all beautiful and deserving of understanding and kindness.” Honeyghan’s yet untitled second book is currently in the works and scheduled for a spring 2018 release. “It’s going to be about possibilities,” Honeyghan says. “It’s going to demonstrate how many things Sheriauna can do. I wanted to show that anything is possible for people with disabilities.” A portion of the proceeds of I am Sheriauna will go to The War Amps, a Canadian organization originally created by a veteran for fellow veterans who lost limbs in combat. “It now primarily serves child amputees,” says Honeyghan. A portion will also go to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Sheriauna

and Sherylee’s hometown, where Sheriauna is fitted with devices that help her adapt to daily life. “They have a division where they make prosthetics,” says Honeyghan. “They’re amazing. They work with the kids to make modifications to the devices to make sure they’re just right. They’ve done so much for Sheriauna and for kids like her.” Honeyghan says Sheriauna uses an electric prosthetic device that gives her the function of a hand, using the muscles in her upper arm to control its opening and closing. She also has a recreational limb with different attachments she uses for dance, riding her bike, skiing, and even playing the piano. “Sometimes she gets frustrated, but she doesn’t let that stop her,” says Honeyghan. “If she’s determined to do something, she’ll do it. If it’s a challenge, she’ll figure out a way to make it work.” Today Sheriauna is a vivacious 11-year-old in the sixth grade. She enjoys school, playing with her friends, and is a dynamic, competitive dancer. Sheriauna says she’s proud of the book her mother wrote about her story. “I think it will be very inspiring to other people with disabilities,” she says. “I almost never see people with disabilities, especially people with one arm, in a book. I think it will help other people understand more about what it’s like to live with a disability.” Honeyghan says she knows her daughter will always have to face others’ reactions to her missing limb. “When you have a visible disability, you have to deal with it all the time,” she says. “It’s always out there StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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for everyone to see. But now she’s better able to communicate her feelings and talk about her story.” Most of all, says Honeyghan, she hopes her book will help children and adults become more accepting of people who are different. “After all, everyone is different,” Honeyghan says. “I have three children and none of them are the same. In this world, we’re all unique. We’re all perfectly imperfect. My goal is to encourage people to start embracing our differences, our uniqueness, and try to be more understanding of one another.” To learn more about Sheriauna and Sherylee, or to purchase I am Sheriauna, Book One: We Are Beautiful, visit iamsheriauna.ca.

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Feature Story

The Best Storybook Heroes for Dyslexics by Don M. Winn

Everyone loves a good superhero. We love to see them display their superpowers, have adventures, and triumph over evil. It’s escapism at its most glorious.

But here’s the thing: None of us has superpowers at our disposal when we have to cope with the everyday matters of real life. Kids today have very few examples based on regular people like themselves learning to do their best with nothing more than a mere mortal’s abilities. Nowhere is this lack of role models more apparent than for kids who have learning challenges like dyslexia. Why is it especially important for kids with learning challenges to have stories about people like themselves? The principle is called a “hero of self-reference.” 22

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Heroes of self-reference are part of systems theory. Systems theory has at its core, the idea of selfregulating systems, or the human ability to selfcorrect based on feedback. Niklas Luhmann was a key thinker in systems theory, and he observed that hero narratives have the power to change our conscious belief systems—especially our beliefs about ourselves and what we are capable of doing (La Cour, Anders, and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos. Luhmann Observed: Radical Theoretical Encounters. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).


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When the heroes of a story have characteristics, feelings, or struggles like our own, we identify with them. Once that reader/hero bond is established and we see our hero accomplishing things we never dreamed we could, we can begin to feel curious and hopeful about our own potential. According to the reference work mentioned above, “through exceeding expectable achievements,” the hero is “able to fulfill his socializing-educational function.” The reference concludes, “The hero can do things differently than they have previously been done; he can do them better, and he can do both provided he finds some felicitous balance between originality and exceptional skill.” Sadly, doing things differently is rarely recognized as a strength in current educational norms. Therefore, “expectable achievements” for dyslexic students are often low. This is something that can be changed for individual students by helping them find heroes who have issues like their own. Struggling readers know all about their weaknesses, but rarely believe they have strengths. However, dyslexics have many strengths, including dogged determination, an ability to see the big picture, being idea people, and having a talent for thinking outside the box. With that in mind, I was thrilled to include Reggie Stork as one of the main characters in my four-book series of chapter books for middle grade readers called Sir Kaye, the Boy Knight series. I remembered the kind of heroes I longed for as a kid, and so in my books, Reggie represents all of us dyslexics. He is our hero of self-reference. He struggles with reading and writing, among other things, but through his determination,

curiosity, and fresh perspective, he plays a crucial role in each story. But there’s more—a hero of self-reference plays another important role, above and beyond helping children see themselves in a more positive light. When our hero is involved in engaging, fun adventures, we are motivated to keep reading, and that is priceless for the dyslexic student. The motivation to put forth the effort to learn to read, and to continue to read, is in woefully short supply for the struggling reader. It’s human nature to avoid doing things that are either difficult or just plain monotonous. This is especially true of children. I had whole lists of things that I didn’t like to do when I was a boy, mostly because they were boring, repetitive, or frustrating. But there were also things I didn’t like to do because they were such a struggle for me— reading and writing topped my list of things to avoid whenever possible. As a child with dyslexia, reading and writing were my Kryptonite. It took so much effort and nervous energy for me to try to do either. At times it was devastating. It seemed so pointless ... humiliating, even, to subject myself to that painful effort day after day when I never seemed to make progress like my fellow students. But what most children generally don’t comprehend (I certainly didn’t) is that we don’t learn to read just for the sake of reading. First, we learn to read, and then for the rest of our lives, we read to learn. Reading not only opens up our main avenue of learning—it also opens up a world of adventures

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“As a child with dyslexia, reading and writing were my Kryptonite. It took so much effort and nervous energy for me to try to do either. At times it was devastating. It seemed so pointless ... humiliating, even, to subject myself to that painful effort day after day when I never seemed to make progress like my fellow students.” through stories that teach us about life, help us recognize ourselves and our place in the world, and solidify abstract concepts. Motivating the frustrated dyslexic reader goes beyond just teaching the mechanics of reading. The mechanical act of reading will never be fun or easy for the dyslexic student. So what can make the hard work of reading worthwhile for them? Love. Specifically, a love of story. Parents and teachers need to foster a love of story in children who struggle with reading. Since there is always a mechanical stress to reading, the goal is to separate the love of the story from the stress. That’s where an engaging hero and his adventures come in. There’s only one way to discover what fun and shenanigans the hero will encounter next, and that is to keep reading the story. Picture a locked glass cabinet filled with all of your favorite desserts. If you want those tasty treats badly enough, you’ll work at unlocking the barrier until you reach your goal. You have to see beyond the lock, beyond the struggle, beyond your lack of tools to the end result. Keeping your eye on the prize will motivate you to put forth the needed effort. Struggling readers are no different—the more relatable their hero is, the better readers feel about themselves. They feel less isolated or ashamed and develop a greater sense of their own potential. 24

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Reading about their hero actually has the power to soothe their anxieties, at the most existential and unspoken level. And the more exciting the adventures their hero brings them along on, the more eager and motivated a child becomes to keep doing the work needed to read. Here are some ways that parents and educators can help foster a love of story: »»Invoke a child’s identity as a reader. Reframe the statement, “It’s time to read,” as “Let’s be readers,” to get these struggling students to begin thinking of themselves as the readers they are. »»Provide children with materials and prompts to draw illustrations depicting story ideas. »»Encourage children to make up their own plays and dramas based on beloved characters. »»Read and/or listen to stories together regularly.

»»Ask the child to describe what they see in pictures in books, and have them guess what will happen next. »»Develop questions around the main characters that the child can fill in from their own imagination: What would this character’s room look like, and why? What would his favorite hobby be? What is he most afraid of? What is he most proud of? Why? »»Discuss ways the child may be like a character in a beloved book. Do they share feelings or experiences? Is there common ground in talents or gifts? Help the child to see that he or she is part of a much greater world, and that reading about the experiences of others helps us learn about ourselves. Assignments like these help children use their own imaginations to become participants in the story. By helping them to imagine and enjoy the “worlds behind the words,” children can learn to see that the reward of reading is worth the extra work. Fostering a love of story combined with relatable storybook character role models (heroes of selfreference) can go a long way toward helping struggling or dyslexic students to see themselves as readers.

Don M. Winn is a dyslexia advocate and the awardwinning author of 11 picture books and the Sir Kaye, the Boy Knight series. He has written numerous articles about dyslexia and helping struggling readers. His dyslexia resources are available at donwinn.com.


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What We Can Learn

from Penguins by Theodore Jerome Cohen, PhD Animals can comfort, amuse, and yes, even teach us things. So, who would have thought that sitting among the Adélie penguins on an island off the coast of the North Antarctic Peninsula during the austral summer of 1961-1962, I would have witnessed a type of human behavior that today presents society in general and our children in particular with one of our greatest challenges? I’m speaking, of course, about bullying. All dressed up with no place to go. That, apparently, best describes our “neighbors” during the 16th Chilean Expedition to the Antarctic that extended from December 1961 through March 1962. 26

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As a research scientist working at Chilean Army Base O’Higgins, which was (and still is) located just above the Antarctic Circle off the North Antarctic Peninsula, my fellow geologist and I often found ourselves among tens of thousands of Adélie penguins whose rookeries covered the small islands where we were conducting research. To say the noise, smell, and commotion was overwhelming is an understatement! But it was fun to stop and watch the birds as they went about their daily lives, walking down what we dubbed the “autobahns,” with their feet stomping into the snow from their nests to the sea, squabbling among themselves, stealing stones from each other’s nests, and yes, bullying one another. Remind you of anyone?


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It would be easy to anthropomorphize penguins and laugh off their human-like behaviors. To do so, however, would be to miss an opportunity to use what we observed in nature to teach children important lessons about making decisions, bullying, friendship, and yes, forgiveness. These subjects are the essence of my illustrated children’s storybook, Pepe Builds a Nest. Bullying, and its more recent form, cyberbullying, are two of the more virulent forms of abuse facing young people today. Roughly one in four children and youths suffer from bullying in one form or another, perhaps something even your own children or students have endured. It’s an aggressive behavior, or course, though it doesn’t have to be physical (but, alas, often is). In its less virulent forms, it can involve teasing, name-calling, and taunting; hand gestures; and social exclusion based on race, culture, and/or religion. In essence, the bully is an equal-opportunity abuser, a multicultural scourge on society whose ranks are growing, given the ever-present Internet with its cyberbullying capabilities. Unfortunately, children who bully often take this behavior into adulthood, with even graver consequences. The earlier it’s addressed, the better. But what does this have to do with penguins, you ask? Well, sitting within their rookeries, we were struck by the fact that there were those among them who bullied their neighbors by stealing stones from their nests for their own nests. Rather than march all the way down to the sea, dive to the bottom, and bring back pebbles for their nests, these miscreants simply stole little stones from those around them. And if they got into fights over the theft, the larger penguin always won. Not a good way to resolve disputes, to be sure. The smarter ones, by the way, just waited until their neighbor left before stealing his stones. Not fair, but then, life isn’t always fair, is it? Which brings us to little Pepe, the hero of my story. He’s just a year old and needs to build a nest of stones for Ms. Amber and himself, but Otto the bully keeps stealing his stones. Pepe confronts Otto, who, of course, challenges him to do something about it. It’s Pepe’s friends who come to his rescue, forcing Otto to behave and, in the end, bringing Pepe and Otto together as friends. The entire story is told in verse, which together with the illustrations—real photographs digitally altered to appear as color pencil drawings—not only hold children’s

interest, but also, inspire barrages of questions. The book has a nice ending, to be sure, with lots of room for discussion about making the right choices, the importance of friendships, and … the gift of forgiveness. I must admit the last subject—forgiveness—was not something I had in mind when I wrote the story. But after reading it to the second grade class at Newtown (PA) Friends School earlier this year, while we were discussing what lessons could be learned from Pepe’s and Otto’s behavior, one little girl piped up and remarked that she thought it was a good thing that Pepe had done when he forgave Otto for what he had done. Out of the mouths of babes! Bullying is certainly a topic bound to raise its ugly head in the early months of the new school year. Better to prepare our children now so they can not only recognize it for what it is, but also learn to deal with it in ways that produce a better outcome for all parties involved. In this regard, parents and teachers alike would do well to avail themselves of the materials (brochures, pledge cards, etc.) available free from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (pacer. org/bullying), among other organizations developing strategies to redirect bullying behavior.

Theodore Jerome Cohen, PhD is the author and illustrator of the children’s series Stories for the Early Years. He also writes YA novels under the pen name Alyssa Devine. For more information, visit theodorecohen-novels.com or alyssadevinenovels.com. StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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Kid Spin:

Ice Cream Trucks and the End of the World by Julianne Black “No honey, the music means the ice cream truck is out of ice cream,” I heard a mom say at a playground. The mom next to her laughed while I screamed inside. It wasn’t the first time I had heard that lie. A few months back, I heard a DJ talking about raising kids and confessed his dad used to tell him that same line about the ice cream truck all the time. “When I grew up and found out the truth, I realized my dad was just a real....” Well, we’ll just leave his sentence there. From my seat in the car— eyes wide, mouth open—I agreed that his dad must have been a total jerk, and told myself that this jerkery was an isolated case. Thanks to Playground Mom, I’m realizing it isn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong. I’m the queen of kid spin—you know, the false advertising you slather on to get your kid out the door. Like announcing we 28

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were going to see Elsa’s art show (an ice sculpture venue) or Enchanted Forests (a botanical garden) or even slathering on Butterfly Attracting Potion (sunscreen) before going out. I’m not proud, but I’m a creative person. I kind of can’t help using kid spin when presented with a 4-year-old daughter with the stubbornness of a mule. In cement slippers. Carrying an anvil. On the other hand, I pause when considering the damage in trust issues that these spins might cause at a later date. What is harmless? What is harmful? What is just cute fantasy and what becomes the makings of a snarky, bitter, resentharboring radio professional? I asked a child therapist for some answers, just to get an opinion better than “stop being such a hippie” when I fret out loud to friends and family. Curtis Knecht, LMFT, CPCC had this to say about


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“I kind of can’t help using kid spin when presented with a 4-yearold daughter with the stubbornness of a mule. In cement slippers. Carrying an anvil.”

and feeling that’s making them mad rather than getting defensive. Speak to their concerns. Help them understand the meaning and spirit of the “tale you spun.” Help them see that the spirit of the “spun tale” will live on while the literal belief will die. Welcome them into a more grown-up phase of their life.” The choices we make as parents advising our kids on truth and fantasy have far-reaching consequences. What is inconvenient now can be devastating later. I can definitely hold and promote the best advice distilled from my research with Curtis: “Lead by example.” After all, as parents, we are the number one examples our children have. And friends don’t let friends spread lies about ice cream trucks.

it: “I believe the best way to teach is by example. My experience with families that practice a doublestandard with their kids (children must tell the truth but it’s okay for parents to lie) is that it actually teaches kids that it’s okay to lie. I can guarantee that path leads to a whole pile of trouble. Telling the truth is a good thing. We all know this.”

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

So I’m thinking the Butterfly Attracting Potion is on its way out. But what about those bigger spins, especially around certain holidays? “I believe these come under the heading of creating magical experiences for a child’s mind that yearns for that kind of magic. The key for me is when the child hits the point of knowing the truth, either from figuring it out on their own or hearing it from friends. At that point, it’s important to be truthful with our children, acknowledge the loss, admit to the deception in service of magic. Kids will get it and forgive you,” Curtis explains. Okay, so I can keep my Elf on the Shelf (he’s pretty much year-round in our house) and then say what when she comes home on that fateful, end-of-theworld day when she hears the real deal from that mean kid at school? Curtis had some words of wisdom on this as well. “This is a great teaching moment. It seems to be one of the “rites of passage” in our culture ... a transition out of early childhood into middle childhood where you learn that there are complexities in the world. If your child is angry when they learn certain truths, I recommend listening to them, allowing them to tell you what’s going on, and what they are thinking StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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Hey Kids! Download your own coloring page from www.storymonsters.com/kids-can-publish StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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aF . Ra dke

Science & Nature

Li

nd

Photo

: by

What’s this Bug? Go Ask Grandpa! by Conrad J. Storad Look close. Now look a bit closer. Nature is a trickster. Sometimes what you think you see is actually something else. Curious to learn more? Some people look and then just walk away if the answer is not obvious. Me, I want to know the answer. I want to know all about what I’m actually seeing. I grew up the oldest child with four brothers and a sister. Each of us had varying levels of curiosity when it came to observing the natural world. We still do. One thing was constant. I became the “go-to guy” when my siblings needed answers. I provided plenty of help for science projects over the years. I’m no human Google, but I developed skills early on how and where to find information. If the answer could not be found in our trusty World Book Encyclopedia, then it was off to the library for some old-fashioned research in the stacks. Life as the “answer man” never stopped, even when I moved 2,000 miles away from my hometown. Before email, my nieces and nephews learned that they could always telephone Uncle Top for help. Today, I’m a grandfather. Guess what? My grandchildren have learned quickly that “Go ask Toppy (my grandpa name)” is the way to go when the Internet is not handy or helpful. I love it. My son-in-law recently texted a query from my 4-year-old granddaughter with a photo attached. “Toppy, the kids want to know what kind of bug this is. Can you help?” On my phone was a stunning close-up photo of a fierce-looking insect. It looked like a mash-up of a 32

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Tiger Bee Fly (photo by Michael Nichols)

large fly and a bee. I’d never seen one before. Was it a horsefly of some kind? Was it a bumble bee’s cousin? I did a quick bit of sleuthing through my reference books. Then took a quick trip to the Internet. Identification complete. The insect in question was a Tiger Bee Fly. To be exact, Xenox tigrinis, for those who like the scientific names. The big fly gets its name for a combination of reasons: Tiger, because the patterns on its transparent wings resemble the big cat’s stripes. Bee, because it preys


Science & Nature

Resources to learn more: Books: • The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn • Large Carpenter Bees by Jonathan Mawdsley

Websites: • Urban Wildlife Guide urbanwildlifeguide.net/2011/08/carpenter-beeand-tiger-bee-fly.html Sometimes new questions appear in your own backyard. Take a look at the visitor who showed up on our patio umbrella. A leaf with legs? You tell me.

on bee larvae. And Fly, because it actually is a fly. I learned that tiger bee flies hunt for carpenter bee nests. That might be a good thing, depending on where you live. Carpenter bees are solitary bees. They don’t live in hives like honeybees do. They look a lot like bumble bees. But bumble bees make their nests in the ground. Carpenter bees prefer wood. The big bees bore round holes into wooden fence posts, outdoor furniture, roof overhangs, or the beams of backyard decks. The holes might be 10 inches deep. The female bee lays eggs inside the holes. Once the tunnels in the wood are complete, the bee will feed on flower pollen and nectar. She shapes pollen into balls called beebread. A beebread ball is placed into each tunnel. The bee then lays a single egg on the ball. When the eggs hatch into wormlike larvae, they have beebread to eat until they transform into pupae. Now comes the nasty part, at least for the bees. Female tiger bee flies look for carpenter bee nests. Once located, the fly lays her own eggs at the entrance to each hole. Her eggs hatch into hungry larvae. Tiger bee larvae are predators. They wait for the carpenter bee eggs to hatch and transform into helpless pupae. Then they eat them.

• Bug Guide bugguide.net/node/view/2803 • YouTube – Tiger Bee Fly Hunts Carpenter Bee youtube.com/watch?v=5jKAbxZEatA • YouTube – Carpenter Bee Sounds youtube.com/watch?v=V8pPjmvm3KM&t=5

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.

Nature can be rugged. But don’t worry; tiger bee flies are harmless to humans. They don’t bite or sting. They are valuable pollinators in the garden. Plus, they prevent carpenter bees from damaging your wooden deck and patio furniture. All that learning from a photo and texted question from my granddaughter.

• StoryMonsters.com | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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Kids Can Publish!

My Favorite Teacher. .. M rs . Bielski by Parker Sellers, grade 12

up with misbehaving students, timing of In situations of teachers, they have to put all cially when they have two little kids. Of other classes, and their personal life. Espe ge to handle it all as well as Mrs. Bielski. the teachers I’ve met, none of them mana using. from decent and fun to basic and unam In eighth grade, my music classes went one had fun as a resu lt. Even the students The music was boring and simple and no I with this. Then freshman year began, and who foun d music to be fun wou ld agree better than ever before. was unaware that choir was going to be year lenge back into choir and even in senior Mrs. Bielski brought amusement and chal we rtaining as time has gone by. The music now, it’s increasingly challeng ing and ente s ulty has been diale d to 11 by default. Song sing is entertaining and recently, the diffic , you os to the point where if you miss a beat inclu de challeng ing rhythms at rapid temp rest of you’re not going to be able to sing the better know how to make a reco very or the song!

ing a performing arts group and was one When she’s not teaching Choir, she’s runn four years ago. The flexibility needed to of the two people who pushed me to join teacher’s perspective, in comparison to a be a student involved is crazy enough. The tell of the time when you see her, you can’t student, has to be insufferable, and most her tenance group and program is affecting if the stress of managing such a high main her youngest child, Sam, broke his arm day until she mentions something. Recently, on as if nothing had happened. and today in class she was still carr ying combination of mother and teacher. She has Mrs. Bielski has proven to be the perfect no doubt she will continue to do so. done plenty to prove her worth, and I have

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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Mum’s the Word by Rita Campbell Named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henke is a funny and honest children’s book about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share with your child all year round. Chrysanthemum thought she had the perfect name until her first day of kindergarten when the other children began to tease her and tell her that her name was too long and she was named after a flower. The other children wanted to smell her. After finding out their pregnant teacher’s name was Delphinium and that she wanted to name her newborn child Chrysanthemum, all the other children wanted to be named after flowers. The book deals with the jealousy of others and bullying. Chrysanthemum is also the name of the birth flower for November. In addition to being a British English substitute for “mom,” mum is the term commonly used for the more than 30 species and numerous cultivars of the showy perennial flower called the chrysanthemum. The first chrysanthemums were cultivated in China centuries ago. From China, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan by Buddhist monks in 400 AD. Soon after its 36

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introduction, the Japanese were so enamored by this beautiful flower that it was soon adopted as the emperor’s crest and official seal. The “Queen of Fall Flowers” is probably the largest commercially produced flower in the United States. This flower is considered the “best” because it is the last one to bloom before winter. The colors of this flower are vibrant shades from red to yellow to white to violet. For me, the chrysanthemum has always been a symbolic flower for Thanksgiving. A multitude of health benefits have been acquired through the years with chrysanthmums. Tea can be made from the plant and vitamins or supplements have also provided a multitude of health benefits. Such benefits include things like treating chest pain, reducing high blood pressure, treating diabetes, reducing fever and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. The Chinese use this plant as an essential ingredient in soups, salads, and teas. In the U.S., yellow and orange varieties are most popular for bedding plants in landscapes. Parts of the flower heads can cause paralysis in insects and so are used for insecticides.


The vibrant, colorful blooms come from modest roots. Mums thrive in well-drained soil. To encourage the root system to grow, plant mums in raised beds with crumbly cake-like soil for good root growth. If the soil is too dense, add compost and prepare to a depth of 8-12 inches for best performance. Mums’ roots are shallow, and can easily get crowded out by other plants. Florist’s mums are plants that are grown in greenhouses and often given as gifts. They’re meant to be kept indoors and enjoyed as houseplants until their flowers are finished. You can plant florist’s mums, often given as gifts, outdoors after they bloom, although these pampered beauties seldom have enough—if any—underground stolens, or runners, to help them survive the winter cold and return the following spring. Garden mums, on the other hand, are cold-hardy plants that produce underground stolens and thrive as perennials in zones 5 to 9. When the nighttime temperatures in your garden start to dip, it’s time to buy garden mums. Choose plants with buds that are just beginning to open; mums can have flowers for several weeks.

Mums can return the following year under the right conditions. Fall planting lessens the chance of winter survival since roots don’t have time to establish themselves. If you want something more permanent and are willing to provide proper care such as mulching and pinching to encourage compact growth and more blooms, plant mums in the spring and allow them to get established in the garden. This will improve their chances of overwintering and reblooming the next year.

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

When ready to plant: 1. Choose a garden spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. Give your chrysanthemums well-drained soil. Plant your mums about an inch deeper than they were growing in their pots, and spread their roots out in the planting hole. Backfill the hole and press down lightly to remove air pockets. Mums have shallow roots, so be careful not to damage them. 2. Space the mums as indicated on their tags or labels. 3. Water your plants thoroughly. Help prevent disease by keeping water off the foliage. To keep the flowers coming, don’t let the soil dry out, especially if your fall weather is warm. Their soil should stay moist. Also, dead head old blooms when they start to fade.  4. Before winter arrives, mulch your plants to help insulate them from the cold. Leave dead stems or brown stems on the plants to help protect them. 5. Wait until spring to feed fall-planted garden mums with a 5-10-10 fertilizer. However, you can give them some high-phosphorus fertilizer in fall to help stimulate root development.

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Holiday Gift Guide The Magpie King by M.J. Fahy

A story certain to become a classic, The Magpie King is an enchanting middle-grade story of friendship, loyalty, and magic. Tatty Moon must save the miniature, secret village of Little Upham from a devastating invasion. Thankfully she has friends to help her, including an elf, a talking rat, and a hawk-sized dragonfly. This is the sort of wonderful tale that stays with the reader for a lifetime, with characters that burst from the pages; a beautiful 234-page book also illustrated by the author.

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 problemas 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?

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.

The Adventures of Keeno and Ernest: “The Diamond Mine” by Maggie Van Galen

Mom’s love presents made by their kids! Keeno, a mischievous monkey, learns this lesson in this heartwarming story about two friends navigating life in the jungle. Give the gift of friendship and family values this holiday season! Learn about all of Keeno and Ernest’s adventures in the series and order online at www.KeenoandErnest.com. Use the keyword “StoryMonsters” to save 10% on any order placed through the website! (Offer valid through December 31, 2017.

A Penny Lost

by Aspen Bassett

Penelope Grace, forgotten under the shadow of her twin sister’s perfection, tries to hide her freakish ability to see into anyone’s soul. Until she senses an unusual energy like a human shaped void. When Penny investigates, she’s tossed through a crack in time along with the cute boy next door. The Void follows them through history, increasing dangers as if testing Penny. But what is it testing for? Why does it claim to know her better than she knows herself? As Penny searches for answers, she must fight to survive the tragedies of the past and future to get home. aspenbassett.com

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Holiday Gift Guide 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.

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

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Holiday Gift Guide Willowmena’s Quest by Sandra Rhea

What happens when a motherless girl named Willowmena stumbles over Merloo, a fairy with a broken wing, and the two become unlikely companions in a land where friendship is virtually unknown? Accompanied by a magical rhinoceros with a flashing red eye, a mute prince, and relentlessly pursued by the Miner of the Dark Pass, the stalwart band embarks on a heroic journey through the dusty Land of Bleak. In search of the purple Mountains of Tune, and with occasional aid from some of Bleak’s surprising residents, they each seek something they require to help them return to the world beyond.

Hold On, Toby

by Janet Bierbower-Boucher

A magical story of a little maple leaf bud on a very big tree! As he grows and matures, he encounters the wonder and forces of nature and various critters and people of all sizes. Throughout his journey Toby is often told to hold on, although he has no idea what that means. Hold On, Toby presents an opportunity to experience the joy of each season and to glimpse an understanding of the cycle of life as expressed through the seasons of Toby’s life.

How the Trees Got Their Voices by Susan Andra Lion

Seventeen national awards and honors! Sue Lion’s highly visual story book not only presents a fascinating story that children ages 3 and older will enjoy, but also tells a second story about animals, plants, birds, and the Earth itself. This is a unique and marvelous book that helps its readers to regard their world as a complex tapestry of life and living things. Children will be delighted by the thumbnail descriptions which surround the outside of each page, inviting them in and helping them learn about the world of the forest and greater ecosystem of Mother Earth.

The Splendid Baron Submarine by Eric Bowler

Pirate treasure? A top-secret mission? A terribly rude monkey with personal boundary and hygiene issues? Two out of three of those things sound like a dream come true to the young, clumsy, and terribly unscientific Waldo “W.B.” Baron, when his clever inventor parents are hired to go on a secret treasure hunt. The Baron family dives into adventure with their submarine, but they aren’t prepared for the complications that occur during their trip, including shark attacks, deep sea diving mishaps, and a pirate’s curse, all of which W.B. is lucky enough to discover, one stumble, trip, and fall at a time.

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.

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Monsters at

the

Movies

My Little Pony: The Movie Reviewer: Nick Spake

Grade: B+

From the beginning, the My Little Pony brand has primarily existed to sell toys. When the franchise was rebooted with the Friendship is Magic television series, however, creator Lauren Faust went above and beyond the call of duty to produce something special. She accomplished this with a diverse cast of characters, meaningful messages, and a surprisingly rich lore. Just as the show managed to exceed expectations, the same can be said about My Little Pony: The Movie. It’s not a groundbreaking animated feature and is mainly targeted at audiences that are already fans of the show. For a film that could’ve merely been an extended episode, though, director Jayson Thiessen and company put in more effort than one might anticipate. The film naturally centers on Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong), who’s never too far away from her friends Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, and Spike the Dragon. One day, the kingdom of Equestria is plunged into darkness when the dreaded Storm King’s forces invade. Emily Blunt brings a menacing gravitas to her performance as Tempest Shadow, a unicorn enforcer with a broken horn and a broken heart. With the other princesses indisposed, Twilight and her pals set out to find the Queen Novo (Uzo Aduba), who holds the key to restoring order. Along the way, they cross paths with a cat con artist (Taye Diggs), a swashbuckling parrot (Zoe Saldana), and a happy-go-lucky hippogriff (Kristin Chenoweth). From the opening scene, you’ll immediately notice that the animation here is actually quite vibrant and even beautiful at times. Where the series uses Adobe Flash software, My Little Pony: The Movie ups the ante with Toon Boom Harmony. This gives the film a genuine cinematic essence that feels greater than anything we ever saw on the small screen. The bright colors really pop out at the audience, as if we’re looking at a living rainbow. There’s also a fair deal of expressive character 42

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animation and detailed backdrops. Much like A Goofy Movie or The Chipmunk Adventure, this is a cartoon that catches you off guard with how visually interesting it is. The soundtrack also comes complete with plenty of catchy songs and an upbeat musical score. Pop artists like Sia and Lukas Graham contribute a few tunes, but it’s composer Daniel Ingram that truly makes the tracklist memorable. While he might not reach the same heights as Alan Menken, his songs do have the spirit of something one would hear in a Disney movie. The music is perfectly complemented by the vivid animation, making for an all-around pleasant experience on both the eyes and ears. As far as the comedy goes, My Little Pony: The Movie admittedly has more chuckles and smiles than laugh out loud moments. However, the film more than compensates for that with hair-raising adventure, great atmosphere, and unwavering sincerity. In an age where it’s so easy to be cynical, most family movies tend to steer clear of anything that might come off as too cutesy or corny. My Little Pony: The Movie isn’t afraid to be


sweet, however, and it’s sugary sentiment rubs off on the audience, putting them in an infectiously good mood as they exit the theater.

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.

Be bold Be creative

Just Imagine Trees a coloring book for all ages

$10.95 USD retail ISBN: 978-0-9832687-9-6 25 detailed magical drawings to color, all with Susan Andra Lion’s special touch. “Hidden” details in each. An inspirational message on the back of each page. Perfect for Tweens, Teens, and Adults. “8.5” x 11”, tablet format, ready to frame. For pencils, pastels, and gel markers.

PLEASE VISIT: www.suelion.com

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Arizona

Nebraska

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.

Barbara Freeman: Former educator Barbara Freeman

Carol Hageman: Children who learn how to rely on

friends and themselves become happier adults. Bubby’s Puddle Pond tells how Bubby, a desert tortoise, moves outside his shoebox into an unfamiliar world, making friends who band together for safety and companionship. Along the way, Bubby learns to trust his friends and himself.

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 Mary Ann Castagnetta: Mary Ann Castagnetta’s

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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A Special Thanksgiving Story

Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade In , the Ragamuffin Parade brings hope to an immigrant community in New York City beset by war, poverty, and illness. 978-1-58536-960-7

“VERDICT: An excellent historical fiction picture book for older readers interested in U.S. history or Thanksgiving celebrations…” —School Library Journal

Holiday Favorites

Apple Tree Christmas A heartwarming Christmas tale that reveals the joy of a very special present and the love that a father and daughter share. 978-1-58536-270-7

A Christmas Spider’s Miracle A kindhearted spider gives an unexpected Christmas gift to a peasant woman and her family. 978-1-58536-602-6

sleepingbearpress.com | 866-918-3956

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Liv on Life Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions! by Olivia Amiri Has anyone ever tried to turn a situation around and blame you for something that had nothing to do with you? Or say that you said something when you really didn’t? A lot of times people will blame things on someone else. Sometimes they do this so they avoid getting in trouble, but mainly they do it because they are not willing to take responsibility for their own actions. Taking responsibility for something you did is very important. When you do this, you become accountable to yourself and that helps you grow as a person. By taking full responsibility and growing as a human being, we make the planet a better place. Sometimes you’ll think, Oh, if I say I didn’t do it, I won’t get in trouble. But the truth is when you don’t take responsibility for your actions, even though it might seem like the right decision at the time, usually the problem gets a lot worse than if you had owned up to it from the beginning.

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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 Tongue Twister!

Try to say this phrase three times: “Peter Pilgrim picked pretty plump pumpkins!”


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Book Reviews More Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind by Steve Michael Reedy Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Many issues of today are fast reflecting the old idiom of an elephant in the room, or as we see in this story, purple hippos. You know, those obviously large problems or risks no one wants to discuss, yet swallows up the room. In his clever and rhythmic flow, Reedy sends out an insightful alarm, and helps us see the hidden dangers that often lurk behind the masks of progress. A real eye-popper for the unaware. A great book for adults as well as children. It definitely gave thought to this monkey’s mind!

My Brigadista Year

by Katherine Paterson Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Inspired by the tumultuous and violent real-life events of 1961, this international bestselling author brings us a gripping historical tale of a young Cuban girl’s coming-of-age adventure. Many things come easy and natural to us, and it’s hard to imagine there are others who never have the same privileges and rights. Things we take for granted, like reading such a wonderful story, or the ability to write our own name, are mere dreams for many others. Even when we do realize the lack of others, it is easy to wish for better ways, and hope for change. This story is of the personal determination that risked comfort and safety to bring those desired changes for others. It’s an inspiring, eye-opening, and courageous story that will impact its readers and bring an awakening to each person’s place in society.

One Bad Fry Spoils the Bunch by Angela Joelle Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This lighthearted and brightly illustrated story brings a strong message of the importance of those we accompany. This otherwise sweet and happy Fun Food Land has been brought to an unsavory situation. It seems a new guy, a real rotten potato, has come to town. Joining a pack of fries, he slowly spoils the whole bunch. This first story of the series, A Fun Food Friends Adventure is a cute presentation of a major life lesson.

Adriana’s Angels

by Ruth Goring Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Adriana and her family are forced to flee their home in Colombia and start a new life in Chicago. Throughout difficult times, big transitions, and the ordinary moments of childhood, Adriana’s angels whisper messages of God’s love and presence. What a comforting story! Whoever you are and wherever you may find yourself, you are NOT alone. Today’s world has become quite a metropolis. A blending pot, bringing changes and new awareness on every level. Children are growing up in bilingual homes, attending multicultural schools, and it can often be overwhelming. This tender loving tale breathes comfort across it all.

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Book Reviews Cuddles’ First Adventure by Julia Kay Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil 

This delightful tale filled me with warmth and nostalgia. I’m pleased to see the softer hues of childhood returning. Times when wonder filled the air and imagination was so alive, we were sure our most favorite of toys understood our every word and intent. When magical worlds ran quietly long hours, and brief spills allowed grand adventures. Cuddles is the most loved and cuddled toy bunny in the world. What a joy to carry such a title. The artwork captures and frames the story with pure enchantment. Great book for gift giving!

Erasable

by Linda Yiannakis Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a powerful story all should read. A treasure key to unlock a true understanding of the bigger picture. We all live our smaller, more personal parts of a grander tale. Often, unaware of the thin thread that silently runs through connecting the whole. Who wouldn’t love to find a mysterious gift that could erase all your troubles? Can you think of something you know that would change all your troubles if it simply disappeared? Ellie could. She even made a list. But what happens if we slowly begin to pull at the threads of life’s beautiful tapestry? This is an interesting and very enjoyable read!

Nickerbacher

by Terry John Barto Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

There are several healthy directions to take in the reading of this story. Friendship, differences and the courage to recognize them with acceptance, equal opportunities, and my favorite: breaking out of family expectations. It is so easy to fall into safe patterns in guiding our children. Squeezing them into ill-fitted boxes because it accommodated those before them. Nickerbacher had a dream contrary not only to his father, but to the whole stereotype of his species. Could he break out of that, and show the world who he really is? His crazy adventures and his wonderful friends show him he can! A great opening for discussion will surely erupt as a fun family night reading.

Judah’s Promise

by Irene Maslowski Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Pets hold a vital part in our lives and families. Statistics have even measured the benefits of such enrichment. However, the loss of our favored pets can also cause great grief. This sweet fantasy offers a hand in dealing with the loss of our furry family members, bringing comfort to the children forced to say good-bye.

Adele’s Adventures: Volume One by Izzy Beisiegel Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Adele is a daring teenage ladybug attending Dogwood Academy who learns about friendship and hope despite a broken childhood. A wounded heart is heavy to bear, and the younger it comes, it can create terrible confusion. Self doubt, shame, and fear often lead to feelings of anger and isolation, causing the wound to sink deeper still. This tender story follows the road to recovery for a little ladybug, and the friends she meets along the way. 

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Book Reviews Magic Mommy Stories: Marvin and the Giant Bubble by Karin McCay Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a fun backyard adventure kids will enjoy. I love it when we are reminded we can find fun right at home with the people we love. Also, leaving kids with the security of knowing, no matter how outrageous our escapades get, Mom seems to know and has everything under control. Illustrations by Vova Kirichenko are bright, colorful, and engaging.

Shiver

by Melissa M. Williams Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The depth of this sweet story is perfectly watched to its setting. Today, the term “Family” has a much broader meaning and interpretation. I was delighted to learn its underwater definitions, such as shiver of sharks, fever of stingrays, bale of turtles, and a bloom of jellyfish, but as a great poet once said and author Melissa Williams proves in her story, a rose by any other name, smells as sweet. Family is where we find our forever place. A place of love, inclusion, and belonging. Bilingual (English/Spanish).

I Want To Be A Monster When I Grow Up by M.T. Weber Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil 

A story about a little boy with a big imagination. So often, parents find it hard to get on board with the directions calling our youth. Hudson’s mother, however, manages to find wisdom in its use. Encouraging his ghoulish desire, she manages to instill healthy goals, and lets him come to his notso-final conclusion.

The Bridge of the Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The simplicity of this story shines in radiant beauty. From its soft illustrations by Yaniv Cahoua, to its text and intent by Beckstrand, it holds and captures a great force of life. A parable of reciprocity that can set a foundation for success that will enrich the soul, as well as the pocket. A beautiful way to teach our little ones how to build bridges of success in the matters of life.

When The Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The beaver flood has finally frozen—perfect ice, without a bump or a ripple. For the kids in town, it’s Christmas in November. They wait, impatiently, for the right moment. Finally, it arrives: the full moon. This is a wonderful story of anticipation, and the satisfaction found in its arrival. The description so vivid and clear you can feel the cold and the exhilaration of waiting for just the right moment. Oh, to love something so much. To eagerly await its arrival. To bear the elements and test your fortitude to meet and enjoy it, one more time! Childhood at its best.

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Book Reviews Peanut Butter & Aliens: A Zombie Culinary Tale by Joe McGee, Charles Santoso Reviewer: Julianne Black

Joe McGee and Charles Santoso are at it again! If you liked their 2015 story Peanut Butter & Brains: A Zombie Culinary Tale, you will love this! The town of Quirkville is up to its eyeballs in another widespread menace and this time, it’s on a planetary scale! Aliens have landed! And they want … well, I won’t spoil it, but I will say that Abigail Zink will have quite the sticky situation to solve! Fun, fast, and certainly giggle-worthy, this installment of the Zombie Culinary Tales will be a staple at story time.

The Polar Pack, The Safari Set, and The Jungle Crew (Mibo®) by Madeleine Rogers Reviewer: Julianne Black

If you are looking for board books, I found a great set! The Mibo® series, written and illustrated by Madeleine Rogers, is exquisite! The bright colors, fun geometric prints, and educational rhyming are sure to be a hit. While the board format makes them sturdy and accessible to little hands, the vocabulary and fun animal facts will delight older children as well. The Jungle Crew takes us through the rainforest highlighting birds, chimpanzees, tigers, and frogs. The Polar Pack introduces penguins, walrus, polar bears, reindeer, and owls. The Safari Set focuses on lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and hippos. The books are individually gorgeous but together they make a great gift.

Danza! Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet by Duncan Tonatiuh Reviewer: Julianne Black

The multi-award-winning Danza! will take your breath away! Duncan Tonatiuh is truly inspiring, his passion for the real-life story of Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de Mexico comes through in the story’s build up of events and amazing visual detail. The life and accomplishments of Amalia Hernández, the dancer and choreographer, are captured in spirit and execution perfectly matched to the authenticity of the dance she had worked to express. A wonderful discovery for anyone interested in the amazing cultural contributions and traditions of Mexico or dance fanatics looking to dive deeper into history. The illustration style is mesmerizing, a layering of 3-D photographic textures and two-dimensional ancient—almost pictographic—representational shapes. Hard to explain, beautiful to behold. An absolute gem!

The Bubble Who Would Not Pop! by Shelly Roark, Simone Krüger Reviewer: Julianne Black 

This bubble wants to pop! He has waited and waited in that bottle with his friends and now he is just bursting with excitement to do his very best. But on this beautiful day, the green-eyed girl blowing the bubbles has other plans for him. She gave him a mission: to deliver her prayer up to God. A sweet tale of a little bubble putting his own desires aside to deliver a message for his friend speaks to the reader of friendship, perseverance, dedication, and faith. The illustrations by Simone Krüger have a textured, classic feel to them that gives the story a very friendly vibe.

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Book Reviews Today I Feel … An Alphabet of Feelings by Madalena Moniz Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

This story is one of the most delightful, charming, and innovate representations of the alphabet I’ve ever read! The thoughtfulness Ms. Moniz clearly puts into each illustration is truly remarkable. Each stunning page is a single word describing an emotion. A little boy is on each page in a variety of circumstances and these circumstances, surroundings, and scenarios are so clever. I believe when these feelings are written down, in this case by the masterful Ms. Moniz, it affirms to readers that it is normal to have huge ranges in emotions and being honest and authentic about them is the best and healthiest response of all. 

If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed by Denise Vega, Zachariah OHora Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

I always get nervous with monster books and reading them to my little ones before bed, but this adorable gem provoked so many giggles, questions, and second reading requests that it quickly joined the bedtime book rotation. If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed is a little girl’s narrative on do’s and don’ts of getting your monster to bed. Incredibly relatable and funny, this story takes us through silly bedtime rituals only a child/monster can relate to. The use of white background with bold thick lines brings our eye right to the heart of the story: the little girl and her bedtime buddy. Hoping this book will give me some tips for getting my little “monsters” to bed!

Dinosaur Pirates!

by Penny Dale Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Dinosaurs? Pirate ships? Treasure and secret maps? Every possible element of a child’s dream story is included in this engaging and fast-paced story. Author and illustrator Penny Dale does a fantastic job bringing to life a pirate ship’s nooks and crannies, along with the joy of treasure-hunting on a tropical island, with dinosaur characters leading the way. Illustrations are top to bottom colorful with detailed treasure maps, sea life, dinosaurs, and telescopes. Bonus? The names of the dinosaurs on the inside front pages and sea adventure words on the back. A fabulous read-aloud.

The Case of the Stinky Stench: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, Brendan Kearney Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

This hilarious rhyming story by Josh Funk was one of the most delightful and unique literature escapades I have read in quite some time. The story starts off with Inspector Croissant asking Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast for assistance in discovering the source of a stinky stench in the refrigerator where they reside. Although this is not just an ordinary fridge, but rather a food land that has places like Salsa Ravine, Onion Ring Cave, and Casserole Cliff. Each page has just the right amount of text and rhyming to keep us thoroughly engaged (and laughing). I love the rich vocabulary that perfectly pairs with the bold pencil and digital media illustrations. This story offers readers a fresh, hilarious depiction of food friends antics once the fridge door closes.

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Book Reviews Caring for Your Lion

by Tammi Sauer, Troy Cummings Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Lions. The most majestic animal of all. Kings of the Jungle. But not for a pet, of course! Kittens and cats will have to do. Nope … those domesticated felines are old news. Lions are the new pet in town! But is there a how-to guide, a step-by-step manual for taking care of this majestic beast? Tammi Sauer has written a witty, intelligent, and surprising story that answers all of our lion questions. Crazy wet mane? Don’t forget the blow-dryer. Potty training? Thank goodness for the Deluxe Lion Potty Pack. Lions love pizzas, so just watch out for the tasty delivery man! With multiple illustrations on each page, hysterical sneaky details, and words that pop, this story will become an instant favorite at story time.

The Handbook

by Jim Benton Reviewer: Diana Perry

There’s nothing Jake likes more than some good trash-picking, so when his elderly neighbors move out and leave an especially promising-looking pile of household refuse on the curb, he goes right for it. He only has the chance to grab one box before his mom catches him and orders him in for dinner, though. When Jake and his friends investigate the box, they find the Secret Parent’s Handbook and with it all the means to subvert the irrational rules and petty tyranny of their home lives. No more clean rooms! No more vegetables! No more brushed hair or washed hands! It’s all videogames and junk food all the time! But the authorities have taken notice ... and they are closing in. This book was a delight to read and it gives a realistic view into the minds of children.

The Unicorn in the Barn

by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, Rebecca Green Reviewer: Diana Perry

For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away. One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead. When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed. A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turns. This is a magical, mystical story with threads of the difficulties of life weaved within. A pleasure to read.

The Whizbang Machine: Tunney’s Curse by Danielle A. Vann Reviewer: Diana Perry

Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Yale and her Grandpa are trying to solve a mystery, but not just any mystery … if they’re not successful and soon, it could mean the end of the world, literally. This is the perfect book for teens: a fantasy world with amazing characters, a grand adventure with plenty of surprising twists and turns, and wonderful inventions such as the whizbang machine, which is now missing and is feared to be in enemy hands. This story is non-stop action with chases, underground tunnels, and even a family curse. I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

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Book Reviews StarPassage, Book Two: Heroes and Martyrs by Clark Rich Burbidge Reviewer: Diana Perry

The award-winning StarPassage saga continues with the relic guiding the Carsons to a new and desperate family. Two brothers, Bobby and Mike, are struggling after a tragic accident turns their world upside down. The perfect tale of family, love, faith in God, courage, and strength with a healthy dose of science fiction and fantasy. I really enjoyed reading this and was most happy that it ended with a peek into the next story. I look forward to reading that one, too.

Seaborne: Strangers in Atlantis by Matt Myklusch Reviewer: Moseso, age 14

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was exciting, full of mystery, and fast-paced. The main character, Dean, and his two friends, Ronan and Waverly, take the stage during this thrilling tale. Despite all of the adventure throughout the book, the author still makes room for some brimming friendship troubles under the surface. I feel as if the author could have focused on this a bit more during the story, but it was still a great novel! There are numerous “background” characters to keep track of during the story, but the author does a good job of helping the reader keep them all straight. However, since this book is the second in a series, I recommend reading the first book before this one. The story definitely leaves holes that the reader can’t fill for lack of knowledge. For those who enjoy pirates, fantasy, and action-packed adventure, Seaborne: Strangers in Atlantis is definitely the book for you!

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Pick of the Litter

Gogi & Mogi Go to the Garden This month’s Storytime Pup pick of the litter is Gogi & Mogi Go to the Garden, written and illustrated by Golareh Safarian. This is the first book in the Gogi & Mogi series. It’s Mogi’s birthday and he’s having a costume party. He sends the following party invitation to his best friend Gogi: “It’s costumes, it’s cake, and a birthday for Mogi. Hope you can make it! We’d love you there, Gogi.”

Golareh Safarian is the founder and chief creative officer of Gogimogi, an artistically geeky design house committed to the study of color and humor and inspired by nature. Her designs aim to provide a wholebrained approach to early development by engaging both the dreamy artist and the curious scientist in every child. Golareh has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and entertainment specialist. This is her first children’s book.

Gogi is very excited to be invited to the party. But then suddenly she becomes sad. She doesn’t know what costume to wear to the party. She begins to think and comes up with the idea to go to the garden to look for inspiration. Gogi and Mogi come across all sorts of colorful creatures when they venture out to the garden in search of inspiration. Ladybugs, hummingbirds, butterflies, and snails greet our charming and fun characters. Gogi offers fun tidbits about each creature, then imagines what a costume inspired by that creature would look like. This repetitive pattern of discovery and imagination, complemented by colorful illustrations combining photography and digital art, make this picture book a lively, educational, and engaging read. Gogi & Mogi Go to the Garden is a delightful book! It not only helps to stimulate children’s use of their imaginations, but it also presents a great message to children about cooperation. This book shows children that, working together, problem solving can be both challenging and fun. This book is a true joy to read and I highly recommend it. 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


GET YOUR COPY TODAY!! Story Monsters Ink readers will receive a 20% discount. Use the Storymonsters20 at checkout.

GLITTERTHEUNICORNBOOK

GLITTERTHEUNICORN

7-YEAR-OLD AUTH

THE GLITTER OR OF THE SERIES DONAUNICORN ALL PROCEEDSTES CHILDREN’S HO TO SPITAL.

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.

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Q&A

Q&A with

Terry Pierce by Julianne Black Random House Children’s Books have produced the go-to for many parents and teachers with their Step into Reading series. Levels 1 through 4 introduce young readers to basic concepts like sight words, straight through to chapter books on hundreds of subjects for any interest. But did you ever wonder how they come about?  Terry Pierce is an author creating her second Step into Reading book, and I asked her for the inside scoop behind the creation process and what makes a good fit for Random House manuscripts.

Q: Terry, you have several children’s books out by a variety of publishers. What makes a Step into Reading book different? A: Let me answer that by first giving a bit of backstory. In addition to writing, I teach online children’s writing courses for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Before I began teaching “Introduction to Writing Easy Readers,” I did a lot of research on the easy reader markets. I’ve probably read hundreds of beginning readers by various publishers! The more I read, the more I fell in love with Random House’s Step into Reading line. Their books are written by outstanding writers whose words are paired with equally talented illustrators. One thing I appreciate about the Step into Reading books is the attention given to the needs of young readers. SiR books have criteria for each of the levels, and each level builds upon the previous one. For example, Step 1 books typically use single-syllable words, very short sentences, large font, simple concepts, picture clues, repetition, rhythm, and/or rhyme. Step 2 books build on this, using more words per page, slightly smaller font, longer word counts and simple plots, with maybe a contraction appearing here 58

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or there. Step 3 books expand upon this even further (longer stories, more complex plots, and more punctuation (clauses, for example). This is all to say that Random House designs their SiR books to help young children grow as readers by giving kids appealing books they will successfully read. Success creates confident readers. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Giving children books they’ll love to read so they’ll become lifelong readers! Q: When submitting a manuscript for the Step into Reading series, what educational considerations have to be made? A: Since you mentioned submitting, let me first say that Random House is a “closed” house, meaning they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts from writers. However, there is a way to get your writerly foot in the door! You can get a manuscript into the hands of an editor if: 1) you have a literary agent, or 2) if you attend a conference and hear one of their editors speak. The latter is how I got my first easy reader sale with them. I had attended an SCBWI conference and asked the editor if I could send her a Step 1 easy reader. She ultimately turned down that particular manuscript but asked to see more of my work. I immediately sent her another manuscript, and a month later she made an offer to acquire Tae Kwon Do! (illustrated by the fabulous Todd Bonita).  Back to your question, Random House has author guidelines for their Step into Reading books. These give authors a roadmap for the SiR line, so to speak. But in addition to the guidelines, I also scrutinize the text through my “educator” lens to write a book that will


Q&A

help to insure a successful reading experience. I’m a former pre-K/K Montessori teacher, so I’ve seen how children can struggle or succeed with reading. I analyze my word choices, trying to use sight words, phonetic words, and words that are illustratable (to give readers visual clues, if they need it). I also try to keep the number of “challenging” words to a minimum. For me, that’s the greatest responsibility of an easy reader writer, to create a text that children will want to read and be able to read with success! It’s quite a detailed process, which is why I suggest to potential easy reader writers to take a course on writing easy readers. It’s money well spent! Q: Did you set out specifically to write to inspire level 1 readers or did it just work out that way? A: I did set out to write Step 1 readers! I’m sure my 22 years as a Montessori teacher are what drew me to writing for that age level. To me, level 1 books (kindergarten-1st grade) are where lifelong readers are born. If we can assure reading success at that age, then we’re putting children on the path to success in life! Just think about that for a moment. It’s incredibly important work to write good easy readers. And incredibly important work to publish easy readers that children will cherish reading, which is why I adore the Step into Reading line of books. Q: How long in the making is your soon-to-bereleased reader and can you give us any un-classified details? A: I’m smiling at your question because my upcoming reader, Jack and Jill and T-Ball Bill, had a bit of an unusual journey. As often happens with writing success stories, this one involved a lot of hard work and a bit of luck. But the short answer is about 12 years. I know, jaw-dropping! Especially for a book that’s barely over 200 words. Let me elaborate…. I wrote the original manuscript around 2006, about a playful dog disrupting a t-ball game. I had worked on the story off and on for years and finally set it aside to revisit later (that’s the hard work part). Fast forward to early 2015. By then, I had literary representation and my agent sent it to Random House. Here’s the bit of luck part—the editor had been looking for a dog story! She wanted to publish another book using the characters from a popular title of theirs, Jack and Jill and Big Dog Bill (written and illustrated by the late Martha Weston). The editor thought we could revise my story to fit their needs but had to consult with others about it first. After months of nail biting,

she made us an offer to acquire the manuscript in September 2015! Random House worked with the Weston estate, myself and the illustrator, Sue DiCicco, to create this new delightful tale, Jack and Jill and T-Ball Bill. It will be available on March 6, 2018, just in time for t-ball season! My editor and I collaborated to revise the text to keep my original voice and plot, while incorporating the characters from Weston’s original title. I hope young readers will enjoy this fun story full of action and hilarity as T-Ball Bill takes the game ball in a playful game of keep-away. I’m also thrilled to announce that a portion of the profits will help fund the SCBWI Martha Weston Grant (scbwi.org/awards/martha-weston-grant/). The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators got me started on my career in children’s writing, so I love that part of the proceeds from the book’s sales will help fund the Martha Weston Grant. In a small, quiet way, it feels like I’m giving back to the writing community. So, the short answer to your question—from idea to bookshelf, this one took about 12 years! But don’t worry, the process isn’t always that long. Tae Kwon Do! only took two years from idea to publication. And I’m currently working on another Step 1 manuscript with Random House that is slated to be released in 2019.

With 20 published books, Terry Pierce has experienced the joys of being a writer in many ways. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Tricia Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. terrypiercebooks.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 | November 2017 | Story Monsters Ink

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Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner

¡Hola, Amigo!

Practice with Juicy Jack It’s time to get creative. Make a colorful poster of your family’s Día de Acción de Gracias table. Label each activity in Spanish. Hang your poster where everybody can see it on Thanksgiving Day. Preparativos del Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving Preparations)

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Juicy Jack’s Spanish Corner! ¡Bienvenidos! Juicy Jack is excited to spend Thanksgiving Day or Día de Acción de Gracias with his friends. Since they have never celebrated before, Jack asks them to help him prepare certain items using the phrase below. ¿(name of friend), puedes (a preparation)? They respond using the phrase below and the words from the column on the right. Sí, sí puedo (a preparation). or No, no puedo (a preparation).

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1. poner la mesa = set the table 2. preparar el pastel de calabaza = prepare the pumpkin pie 3. asar el pavo = roast the turkey 4. calentar el zapallo = heat the squash 5. cortar las papas = cut the potatoes 6. cocinar las vainitas = cook the green beans 7. cortar el pan = slice the bread 8. poner la mantequilla en la mesa = put the butter on the table 9. abrir el jugo = open the juice 10. lávate las manos = wash your hands 11. dar gracias = say grace 12. comer la cena = eat the dinner 13. conversar = talk to each other 14. lavar los platos = wash the dishes 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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BOYNTON  HEROES  PIGGLE  SHANKWITZ  WIGGLE          62 Story Monsters Ink  

| November 2017 | StoryMonsters.com

CABOT PARNELL  PRINCESS  SHERIAUNA  WILD 

CHRYSANTHEMUM PENGUINS  READ  THANKSGIVING  WISH 


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Share this classic holiday television special with the whole family! We’ve got a board book, a pop-up book, a storybook, and a crochet kit complete with everything you need to make Rudolph and Santa.

Board Book: 978-1-68412-136-6

Pop-up Book: 978-1-62686-197-8

Storybook: 978-1-68412-078-9

Crochet Kit: 978-1-68412-078-9

www.PrintersRowPublishingGroup.com Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer © & ®/™ The Rudolph Co., L.P. All elements under license to Character Arts LLC. All rights reserved.

Story Monsters Ink magazine November 2017  

This month's features include: In the Studio with Sandra Boynton; Meg Cabot Releases a Royal Series for Young Readers; Frank Shankwitz Bring...

Story Monsters Ink magazine November 2017  

This month's features include: In the Studio with Sandra Boynton; Meg Cabot Releases a Royal Series for Young Readers; Frank Shankwitz Bring...