3 Reasons to read MG as an Adult

There is a debate happening across BookTube and book blogs right now, one that happens every few years, about reading YA (young adult) fiction as *gasp* adults. I won’t get into it because I am, in fact, an ‘adult’ and I do, indeed, continue to enjoy YA books. It happens. What I do want to discuss today is something I think deserves just as much discussion: Children’s and Middle Grade books. Specifically, the benefits of reading children’s and middle grade fiction long after you’ve passed the top end of that particular age bracket. Don’t worry, I’ve narrowed this down to a top 3 list!

1)      If you are a parent, teacher, caregiver, aunt, uncle, cousin, or person who lives near children (a.k.a. pretty much anyone on the planet) reading children’s and middle grade literature allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the younger generations. You can not only monitor what they’re being exposed to through their reading, you can also find common ground to strike up conversations. Start a book club with them and discuss the important things, both in the books and in their lives.

Similarly, if you’ve been reading children’s and middle grade books in a wide variety you will be more readily equipped to suggest the book that might change a child’s life. For example, you hate reading but love skateboarding and now you’re grounded until you choose a book and write a review for class? Try out Tony Hawk’s autobiography.  You might just help with an assignment, but this might be the way they get into reading…or pass the fifth grade.

2)      Books meant for a younger audience deal with hard hitting issues such as death, race, orientation, and even terrorism in a more direct and seemingly sensitive manner which can help ease you into dealing with these issues in a much swifter and easier fashion than many adult books, which either swerve around the problem or tackle it with bloody force. Articles on dealing with grief might help eventually, but a good cry while reading through L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables might help you get up and try a lot faster than a ‘professional’ giving step by step instructions.

3)      Finally, sometimes you just want to relax, de-stress, and read something that allows you to revisit the home and innocence of your youth. You miss the times of braces, first crushes, and bff’s for-like-ever. These can all be revisited smoothly and swiftly with an old favorite (I like to curl up with one of Ann M. Martin’s Babysitter’s Club Books or some Winnie the Pooh myself) or even through a new modern ‘classic’ like Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series. Maybe the feel of a Nancy Drew book can transport you back to the summer of awkward growth spurts and braids, or the flow of Harry Potter remind you of acne and beginning football.  Whatever it is, read to remember the wonder and awe of your childhood. Let the stresses of your ‘adulting’ melt away. Believe again.

It’s ok, no one will judge you for enjoying a good book.  If they try to, just ignore them and retreat to a well-made couch fort. No one has time for that sort of negativity!

We had a BOOK SIGNING!

Yesterday (Saturday, June 25, 2016) was AMAZING!

First off, my parents, my 3 yr old, and myself were all up, ready, in the car, and able to pull out of the driveway at 8:30 am straight up…the time we had set to leave! Many of you won’t understand the significance of this; I assure you that it is a huge accomplishment (especially more my daughter and I!).

So, we were all up early on a Saturday, we stopped for donuts, and Dad drove us two hours to a Kansas zoo…but not just ANY zoo, NOPE! We went to Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard Kansas, where mom and I had a book launch/signing for Leonard the Lemur.

Exactly one year to the day after Matt Fouts (the amazing director of the park) gave us his go ahead to include Tanganyika in our children’s picture book, we were there signing copies, scoping out animals, and having an absolutely wonderful time!

Lucas (Media Ma Extraordinaire) hung out during the signing and took pictures, talked, asked questions…basically just made us feel like a part of the Tanganyika family!

So a BIG THANK YOU is in order to Matt, Lucas, Lauren, and all the rest of the staff (and animals) at that amazing place. Below are just a spare few of the pictures I took during this fun day. You can find Leonard the Lemur on Amazon and Createspace (check out amazon.com/author/eliabethtyree for all of my published works).

For MORE on the real life Leonard, his friends, and his home check out the park at twpark.com

Leonard June 25 2016

Leonard the Lemur! (Who just took over his bachelor group. Way to go Leonard, We’re Proud of you!) Taken by Lucas at TWPARK.com

Bonus Excerpt – Paulonious Punk

To celebrate the fact that I am FINALLY getting something of a schedule going again and, more importantly, typing up the dozens of pages that have been waiting for my attention, I thought I would sneak you guys a little excerpt from the children’s adventure chapter book I’ve been working on.

Please feel free to give leave a comment letting us know what you think!

Paulonious Punk

By Elizabeth S. Tyree

Chapter 17: excerpt

The next level of caves was shallower, harder to get to, and obviously not the gathering place the other rock rooms had been. Still, there were no signs of ancient pirate hidey-holes no matter how many times they circled each one with bright flashlights and keen eyes.

Down to only two shallow caves left, Grandpa was starting to worry that his pep talk was going to be for nothing. The boys were dragging again and he was about to suggest that they see if there might be another likely spot to search when Pauly let out a wild and triumphant cry, scaring the seagulls perched around the rock cliff.

“Look,” He crowed triumphantly, pointing his high beam LED flashlight at the back wall of the second to last shallow cave, where something glittered dully against the gray dirt. “Pirate Treasure!!”

The boys surged forward, clambering over crumbled stones with Grandpa hot on their heels. The closer they got, the more they saw glittering remnants scattering across the curve of the back wall. Plastered into the cavern itself. Sealed into the stones for safe keeping. Here, then, was the treasure they had been seeking.

“In room of stone and vision free,” Pauly whispered in awe, looking back out of the cave’s mouth to the frothing blue waters below. “They didn’t bring the treasure here to hide it…”

“They put it in the walls so that it could watch the sea!” John finished excitedly for his best friend.

“It’s almost like the treasure is still waiting, watching for its long lost pirate band,” Grandpa whispered. Then, more loudly, he said, ‘Well done my boys! You’ve found it!”

“You know who would love this?” Pauly asked suddenly, pocketing a dirt encrusted coin he’d just pried from the stone and beginning to work on what might be a delicate necklace. “Dr. Ron. Let’s call him and see if he can come out.”

“Are you sure you want to call him?” Grandpa was shocked to hear such things coming from a 9-year-old who had just discovered treasure. “You know what will happen if we do?”

Pauly slowly nodded his head as John and Grandpa stared at him, or rather, stared over his shoulder at the muted sparkle of newly discovered goodies.

“Paulonious,” Grandpa kept his voice calm and steady, “Dr. Ron would love it and the museum certainly would have all of the resources required to unearth everything…”

There was an uncertainty to his voice, and unmasked question that even the two 9-year-olds could hear loud and clear.

“I bet the set up the exhibit next to the Belle,” Pauly decided smugly.

“With a big sign that has our names on it!” John added, his voice alight with sudden excitement at this new idea.

Grandpa P pulled the two boys into a quick, tight hug. “I am so proud of you,” he told them before digging the old flip phone out of his cargo pants and calling his old friend.
Dr. Ron decided to take the rest of the afternoon off to make the trek for treasure. Slowly making their way back down the narrow path and gathering their trash bags along the way, Grandpa P., Pauly P., and John L. headed back to the diner for a little lunch while they waited.

 

*I hope that you enjoyed this little snippet! Don’t forget to let me know what you think, I love hearing from you!*

Author Interview-Carol P. Roman

Hello Everyone! Welcome to another edition of Author Interview Fridays! Today we’ll be speaking with children’s book author Carol P. Roman. Welcome Carol. Let’s get right in to it and start with the questions:

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1)      Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author. 

My son’s dared me to write a book. I had always wanted to, but was afraid. They told me to write about what I knew, so I chose to use playtime with my oldest grandson as the subject, and Captain No Beard was born. I love to play imaginary games with my grandchildren, so putting our adventures to paper was an easy task.

Children’s imaginations are AMAZING. I love seeing what my daughter comes up with. She and my nephews have been the source of  more than one story 🙂 Besides, who can walk away from a dare?
2)      What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write in both fiction and non-fiction. Captain No Beard is an exciting adventure series involving a group of cousins who travel the seven seas in search of adventure. Each book has a gentle lesson and is based on events in my own life. If You Were Me and Lived in…is a non-fiction series that introduces culture to young children. I am a former social studies teacher and love to examine what makes the people of our world similar, so this series was a natural for me.
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As a former writing and science teacher,  I always love to read books like this and to see how people react to them! Isn’t it so much fun to follow your passion?
4)      Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
Captain No Beard’s crew are based on my four grandchildren, so they are by far, my favorite characters, ever. The stuffed animals are based on different family members. It fun to see if they can guess who is who, and sometimes a relief when they can’t figure it out!  My all time favorite fiction character is Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. I adore reading her story over and over again, watching circumstances change her.
I always find pieces of myself or my friends/family in characters I write, to some extent. I am often happy when they don’t find themselves! Can I admit something here, just between the two of us? I’ve never read Gone with The Wind. I know the circumstances and I’ve seen bits of the movie, but that is one classic I’ve never even tried to pick up. 
  5) There is a lot of controversy among fandoms about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
I would love to see my books reach more people. I think they have a very important message. Captain No Beard teaches children they are never alone. The series touches on bullying, sharing, working well with other, stranger danger. If those messages are sent to a bigger audience, that would be great. The cultural series teaches tolerance through knowledge. I would hope Hollywood wouldn’t mess with those ideals.
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  6) How do you handle writer’s block?
Never had it. I always find subjects to write about. It’s fun, not pressured. My day job has pressure enough, so this is a labor of love.
That’s amazing. Even if I don’t have any pressure, I still sometimes find myself with writer’s block. I think it stems from the insanity of day to day life. 
7) What inspires you?
Success inspires me to do more. The reaction of my fans, the awards and reviews make me feel appreciated. This has given the second part of my life so much meaning.
8) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
It is one of my jobs and I usually add it in last. I guess I am not that comfortable with it yet. It is just one of the things I do- I am a wife, mother, grandmother, businessperson, teacher, and an author.
 Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!) 
Thank you Carol! 
Remember, if you or someone you know is an author, an illustrator, an artist, or a musician and would like to be interviewed for this blog please leave a comment down below or message me on Twitter @writerbaby13 or Facebook facebook.com/TyreeTomes

Magic Under Review

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Magic Under Glass

By: Jaclyn Dolamore

  • Age Range:12 and up
  • Grade Level:7 and up
  • Paperback:256 pages
  • Publisher:Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 24, 2011)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1599905876
  • ISBN-13:978-1599905877

Summary (From Amazon.com)

When a wealthy sorcerer hires Nimira to sing with a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. But at the sorcerer’s estate, rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman, and fairies that are tortured for sport. When Nimira discovers-and falls for-the spirit of a fairy gentleman trapped in the automaton, she will also find the fate of the magical world in her hands

 

Character Believability:

The three main characters that populate this book are well written, multi-dimensional, and manage to still exhibit ‘normal’ emotions and reactions to the proceeding of the plot. Typically, that’s all you can really ask for in a quick read novel like this: fantasy, steampunk, pseudo-historical…these elements tend to combine to bring us 1 or 2 dimensional characters that would fall flat if brought away from their specific world and work.

Jaclyn Dolamore, however, skipped over that particular ‘norm’ and gleefully provided us with secondary and tertiary characters, twists, and exciting discoveries that all obviously believed her when she pretended the story was about them. These many facets come together to bring us a world that makes perfect sense and characters who, mostly, feel as though they might live down the street from their readers.

I’ve given this category a 4 out of 5 possible stars because a few of the characters, though well written, seems as though they were a) written in a rush and added in and/or b) were incredibly predictable.

Flow and Pace:

I have given the flow and pace of Magic Under Glass a rating of 4 out of 5 possible stars. While the majority of the book is, in my opinion, excellently maneuvered for both the flow of the story, and the pace of the plot, there are a few places in which I felt the pace slowed a bit too much and that the flow seemed to stutter and confuse itself.

For example, Nimira (our main female character) and Erris (our automaton) first meet in a scene that really slows the feel of the story for me. Conversely, the final two chapters stutter and feel rushed, in my opinion, so that the ending winds up with an information dump. However, I did enjoy the overall flow and pace of this book and think it will work wonderfully as a decently quick read for middle and high school students.

Reader Engagement:

This book did a wonderful job of capturing my attention. The first inkling of what was inside came when I spotted this book on the shelf at the Scholastic Book Fair on one of my substituting days…the phenomenal cover art, followed by the back blurb, lured me in. By the time I got around to cracking open the front cover I was already hooked.

I remained interested, engaged, and intrigued through the story. I am giving this category 4.5 out of 5 possible stars and have already placed the follow up novel, Magic Under Stone on my wishlist/TBR/somebody please buy it for me lists.

Reader Enrichment:

While I truly enjoyed the world and wonders of Magic Under Glass, I have only given this category a 3.5 out of the possible 5 stars. The fact is that, while I was excited for the addition of trouser girls and an automaton, this seems to be mainly a mixed-up Beauty and the Beast re-telling (My FAVORITE fairy tale, fyi). As a retelling or on its own, the story is beautiful. However, while my imagination sparked a bit in a few places, I walked away feeling as though I had spent a delightful afternoon reading a well done story…but didn’t take anything away from the experience with me. So, with a sad and slightly pouty face, I am giving this category a 3 out of possible 5 stars.

Reader Enjoyment:

I cannot begin to describe in enough detail how much I truly enjoyed this book. I adore fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast being my all-time favorite, and this book has several subtle takes from that beloved story. I have also been getting very interested in the steampunk movement lately, so this fairy tale magic automaton mixture was absolutely perfect for me to wade into those worlds with.

If it had not been for a couple (literally, TWO) places that made me think that I had perhaps skipped a line or fallen into a plot hole, this category would have jumped the half point for 4.5 to 5 stars. However, 4.5 out 5 possible stars just ain’t too shabby anyway!

Front Cover:

The front cover photograph, copy written in 2010 by the talented Ali Smith, was what originally drew me to the book. When I saw it sitting there on the book fair table I just needed to know more about that character.

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The only reason this category is being given a 4.5 out of 5, instead of a perfect score, is that I felt the text font should have been more consistent with both of the As being the same for the title, instead of the ‘A’ in Magic being specialized while the ‘A’ in glass was plain.

Back Copy:

I agree whole heartedly with the back copy assertion that fans of Libba Bray and Charlotte Bronte will probably enjoy reading this book. The author has created a wonderful world to sink into and discover.

However, I am giving the back copy a 3.5 out of 5 possible stars because, after reading the book, I realized that the summary is actually incorrect in three separate places. THREE PLACES! Now whether that was an intentionally misleading copy to make sure the readers were not expecting certain aspects of the story (and the things that led me astray from the back copy are actually not that important to the story) or just some odd oversight from the editors, publisher, and author, I still do not ever appreciate being maneuvered in that way.

The back copy is still intriguing, however, which is why I didn’t drop the score down even lower.

 

Overall Rating:

4.0 out of 5 possible Stars and Dragons.

This book is well written and worth a read, whatever age level you currently claim (or actually are)

I very much look forward to the next one!

Monsoon McKreel

Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree’s beautifully written picture book, Monsoon McKreel and the Rose is available for FREE Kindle download today and tomorrow. 

Go learn from a cute parable about self esteem, and enjoy the illustrations from Mrs. Becky Tyree as you go! This book is suitable for people of all ages as you discover the importance of self esteem and of building each other up!