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!

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas | Book Review

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Written By: Lynne Cox

Illustrated By: Brian Floca

Published 2014 by Schwartz & Wade

Children’s Picture Book

Based on a True Story

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Author and swimmer Lynne Cox was on a trip to Christchurch, New Zealand gazing down at the waters of the Avon river when a boy asked if she was looking for Elizabeth, their elephant seal. Once she heard the story, Lynne knew she had to share this with the world! After some research and seeking permission from the town of Christchurch, Lynne brought us this beautiful book.

Brian Floca, a Caldecott award winning illustrator, created a beautiful look of pencil and watercolor looking images that marry the story and illustrations wonderfully.

This book follows the true story of Elizabeth, the elephant seal. Normally, elephant seals live in the cold waters of the ocean and no one is quite certain how or why Elizabeth wound up in the Avon river, but wind up there she did! A beloved member of the community, Elizabeth was quite happy to sun herself in Christchurch until the day she discovered her new favorite spot, across a busy road. The people of her town were afraid for her life and had her towed out to sea…three times. Elizabeth continued to find her way home.

The end of the book has some information on elephant seals that is very interesting and a great addition. I always love when authors include facts in the back of their books because it can lead to some amazing conversations with your child or students.  If you are a teacher working with students on either book reviews or science presentations dealing with animals this book could be something wonderful to help them along. I highly recommend this book for all ages!

 

Cover/illustrations – 4.5/5

Story/Writing Style – 4.5/5

Relatability – 5

Characters – 5

Things to learn – 5

Star Rating – 4.8

 

#Writespirations #85

Sacha Black’s writing challenge for this week, which I managed to conveniently stumble on while getting ready to work on cleaning and organizing a very messy room (really, I don’t know how I let it get so bad every time. Just fold the clothes Beth…but I digress)…Where was I? Oh yes, the writing challenge for this week, which is to post your current WIP’s title and a 150 word snippet.

So here it is:

Paulonious Punk and the Search for an Adventure

By Elizabeth S. Tyree

“Dude, we rode our bikes a block to get a drink from the gas station,” Pauly didn’t sound like he agreed with John’s idea of an adventure.

“A block and a half,” John corrected, “We had to a road AND ride in a busy parking lot to get big drinks and candy bars at a BRAND NEW GAS STATION.” John’s face had the wide eyes and raised eyebrows that say ‘AHA TAKE THAT.’

“With our mom’s in the car behind us.” Pauly obviously wasn’t in the right kind of mood for this talk.

“Whatever P-man,” John tossed the spare apple to his friend, took a juicy bite from his own, and plopped down on his favorite ‘captain’s’ chair.

Paulonious made a face but didn’t say anything about John’s use of the nick-name. He didn’t mind being called “Pauly”, “Pauly P,” or even “Punk” but he absolutely HATED it when the big boys at school called him The P. kid, P.P., or the worst P.P. the Whiz Kid.

(ok, I went over by 17 words…but come on, P.P. the Whiz Kid! 😛 )

 

Weekly Goals

Just like last Sunday, I have 3 writing goals and a TBR.

Writing Goals:

  1. At least 3 chapters of Paulonious Punk
  2. Organize one or two character sections of The Way We Were
  3. Edit and Perfect (as much as possible) The Siren’s Tale

TBR:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

 

Bonus Goal…send a query or two out to agents!

If you would like to know more about these goals, check out my BookTube video below. As always, I would LOVE to hear from you so leave me a comment and let me know what you’re up to this week.

 

The First Mythical, Magical, Inter-Species Taco Stand

Today, much like every other day for the next 2 weeks, my classes are concentrating on refreshing their minds, spirits, and creative fingertips on narratives. For those few hundred readers out there that are NOT 5th or 8th grade writing teachers in the state of Oklahoma, let me fill you in really quickly…state tests for writing are beginning on february 24th, the prompts include reading passages (2 passages and a prompt usually), and they state just announced that the prompt will definitely be some sort of narrative piece. (PHEW!)

Since every passage based narrative prompt I find is some sort of Folk Tale (Of which there are 7! sub-genres) we have been happily diving back into that unit. While discussing pre-writing today, Mrs. L’s home base and I connected my ‘brain blurb’ of 5 random characters/items in order to create a truly epic brainstorming….I give to you, (ON MY BRAND NEW WHITE BOARD) The pre write for my children’s picture book (Oh yeah, hey mom if you’re reading this..I need to discuss something art related with you…):

THE FIRST MYTHICAL, MAGICAL, INTER-SPECIES TACO STAND!

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I LOVE THIS IDEA! I can’t wait to get started…my other 2 novels may just have to take a back seat for a hot beefy minute!

Though you can’t see it clearly, what happened was that my five ‘fairy tale’ words were “Dragons, Fairies, Unicorns, Humans, and Tacos” since 4/5 of that list love to eat Tacos…well, you see where this is headed right?

Parrots and Popcorn – A book Review

Parrots and Popcorn

By: Brenda Kearns

Illustrated By: Christine Tripp

Publish Date: April 1, 2013

 

Full Disclosure: I received this text in exchange for an honest review.

 

Brenda Kearns has delivered another cute children’s book, focusing on a little girl who wishes for big birthday magic.

Summary:

The night before her birthday Kara, worried about her brother’s fake magic show the next day, sets out to steal his hat and prove that Trevor is performing the tricks WRONG. What happens next is the answer to all of her birthday wishes; but sometimes you learn that maybe you don’t really want exactly what you wished for.

Review:

The illustrations are fun, quirky, and cute…just the right touch to keep children interested at any age.

While the story is very cute and well suited to the young audience that it is meant for, there are a few things that I feel could boost the experience for readers, and especially readers on an electronic application.

First of all, I believe that the transition from believing her brother is doing the act incorrectly to her actually having the hat could have been helped by a little bit of an addition…perhaps a sentence or two that explains to the reader what Kara is doing (in this case, nabbing the ‘magic’ hat from her brother while everyone is asleep). 

Secondly, I would have liked to know what happens in the morning. I know that this is a children’s book and meant for very young readers, but at least a picture at the end with Kara’s Mom surprised to find her with the puppy.

Finally, the e-reader version has a bit of a formatting issue wherein the pages aren’t quite set together as I would like to see. Although this is a children’s picture book type of set up, it is my opinion the electronic version should be able to be seen almost as well as the actual hardback.

On the whole, I give this book 3.5 out of 5 dragons!

 

 

Leonard the Lemur

This is the first little bit of a young readers book that I’ve been working on. I had actually finished the book and compiled a few of the sources for the back pages (I want this to be an educational source on animals for early/emergent reader classrooms) and then my computer lost all but the first little bit. I have recently begun to work on it again and wanted to share what I have so far. Please let me know what you think!

 

Leonard: the Lemur who Loves Lighthouses

Leonard was a lemur.  A ring-tailed lemur to be exact, with a black and white face, a gray body, and a black and white ringed tail that let him swing from the branches of the tree that held his favorite tire swing.

 

Leonard lived in a cozy tree house at the zoo and loved to swing through the branches making faces at all the kids who came to visit him.  But Leonard didn’t just want to stay there, playing all day.  His most secret hope was to go to the ocean and see a real lighthouse.

 

You see, when Leonard was a little lemur he lived with a woman who would read to him every night before bedtime.  They would read books of fairy tales, books about other kinds of animals, and even that other monkey who lived in a city apartment far away from Leonard’s own Oklahoma home, but the books that Leonard liked best of all were the ones that told him about the ocean.  They would read about dolphins, pirates, manatees, even alligators, sharks, and octopi, but Leonard especially loved tales of lighthouses and their keepers.

After a few years, when Leonard had grown up a little bit, the woman who read him books told Leonard some very sad news, she was moving and could no longer keep the little monkey.  Leonard was moved to a wildlife refuge zoo near their hometown, where he had a treehouse filled with sea shells and pictures of lighthouses.

 

What are YOU Reading this Wednesday??

Hopefully you are all deep into a Tyree Tomes Publication, since both my father and I have a book free for download this week. However, the numbers would suggest otherwise 😦

If you just haven’t gotten around to picking them up yet, you can find Dragon on the Green (Stone Dragon Saga Book 3) and Monsoon McKreel and the Rose waiting for you on Amazon.com! (among our numerous other amazing word works of wisdom and whimsy 😉 )

This week I am reading over some of my own works that are nearing readiness for publication, along with actually writing on Dragons in the Deep : The Stone Dragon Saga Book 4. I may be about halfway through the storyline at this point. I hope so anyway. Other than that, I’m reading a lot of smaller books to my 20 month old. She loves to bring me Dr. Seuss and random Scholastic readers, crawl into my lap, and tell me a story about them before I read her the story. I think she likes to see what she gets right, which is something we used to do with the 4th graders before reading a new story so this good training for her!

Now tell me, what are you reading this fine middle of the week? Have you discovered a saucy and sweet summer snack of a book? Or are you delving into the cold world of a hot mystery? Have you found anything you want to suggest to us? Let me know! I do so love hearing from you!

Have a blessed week!

Ben the Mole

Today I am asking for your help, my friends. I wrote this short story a few years ago and have decided to revisit, revise, and re-polish so that I can get it up and out on its own. I’m looking for opinions on the content and delivery and would love your input.

 

 

Ben the Mole

Written by:

Elizabeth S. Tyree

 

Dedicated to my beloved cousin Ben,

Who left us to sing with the Angel;

And to my family, who always believes in me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A long time ago, when magic was still seen by all and animals lived as equals with man, there lived a mole family with a momma mole, daddy mole, and three brothers mole. Today we will learn of the great adventure the middle brother had. He was affectionately known in their community as Ben the Mole.

 

Ben lived a quiet life with his family and he loved them very much. But, like all families, they had their fights and after one particularly horrible fight Ben decided to leave home on a quest for adventure and honor (and to prove to his brothers that he wasn’t a chicken snot head…). So, with a little money he had saved, some fruit and crackers for food and a change of clothes, Ben the Mole left home to begin his great adventure.

 

After a few hours of walking, Ben stopped to rest by a babbling stream and took out some of his fruit and crackers to snack on as he leaned against a tree. Suddenly a little squirrel popped its head out of the branches over his head and greeted him. “Hello, what is a mole doing out here? Shouldn’t you be underground with your family?” the little squirrel squeaked at him.

 

“Oh, hello squirrel. I left my family to seek adventure and honor, and to prove to my brothers that I am not a chicken snot head. I am on my way to the great city of Qwanta, to seek out the King and Queen. If I can get a picture with them, it will prove my worth to my family.” Ben replied.

 

“I know how you feel,” said the little squirrel, “My name is Drat and my brothers and sisters think I’m a chicken snot head too, can I come with you on your quest? Maybe if I can get the King and Queen’s autograph they will see that I’m not a chicken snot head either.”

 

“Sure,” said Ben, “I would love some company.”

 

So, after Drat the little squirrel got some nuts and cheese for his snack and a change of clothes, the two friends set off on their adventure to Qwanta. They had a long walk ahead of them, because they were from the land of Circling Rocks which is many days from Qwanta on horseback, which was a walk of many weeks from the castle of the King and Queen.

 

As they journeyed they amused themselves by counting the people on the way and making up stories about them. A few days after Ben and Drat started their adventure, they came to a small town. The town sign proudly declared Bearville, Population 42 ½, while they were walking into town, and trying to figure out where that ½ came from, they ran into a boy walking his horse. The boy was surprised to see a little squirrel and a mole walking together and stopped to ask what they were doing.

 

“We are going to Qwanta, to see the King and Queen!” Drat proudly told him, “We are going to prove to our brothers and sisters that we are not chicken snot heads.”

 

“Well,” said the boy, “My name is Woodrow and my family lives down the road, would you like to come eat supper and stay the night with us? If you can, I will go on this great adventure with you too, so that I can see the King and Queen of Qwanta, maybe then my brothers will stop telling me that I am too small to play with them.”

 

Well, Ben the Mole and Drat the little squirrel thought this was a great idea, so they walked with Woodrow to his family’s house and had a nice dinner and slept in soft beds. The next day, Woodrow the boy, Drat the little squirrel, and Ben the Mole continued the walk to Qwanta.

 

Outside of the next town, the three friends were singing (for Ben loved to sing) when they were grabbed by an evil man, who wanted them to carry his belongings for him. As they were struggling to carry the heavy belongings down the long wooded road, a fairy hear their cries and POOF, she turned the man into a horse that could carry all of his own belongings.

 

Happy to be free from the evil man they stopped to rest next to a creek and talk to the fairy. When she heard of their plans for a great adventure to meet the King and Queen in Qwanta she was very excited. “I am Poppy and I would love to go on this GRAND adventure with you if you will let me. It sounds like fun.”

“Sure,” said Ben the Mole, “I am going to get a picture with them to prove to my brothers that I’m not a chicken snot head.”

“And I am going to get their autograph to prove to my brothers and sisters that I’m not a chicken snot head either,” squeaked Drat the little squirrel.

 

“And I am going to prove to my brothers that I’m not too little to play with them.” said Woodrow the boy.

 

“Then I will go with you to help and to prove to my family that I’m not too little for the fairy games and that I’m not a scaredy cat.” replied Poppy.

 

So off they went to seek adventure and the King and Queen of Qwanta. Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy and Poppy the fairy had fun walking down the road and teaching each other new songs. Once, when they had stopped for a nap under a large tree, an alligator tried to eat them up, but Poppy, being a good fairy, turned him into a little frog before he could eat anyone at all and they taught him to play fetch with the reeds from a nearby pond.

After a few more days of walking, singing and playing, the friends came upon a beautiful city whose sign said Qwanta, Home of the King and Queen. Excited that they had finally reached the city, Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy, and Poppy the fairy, hurried into town and down the main street to the wonderful castle they could see at the other end. Just as they reached the castle though, a large guard stopped them. “You can’t just go into the castle,” he growled, “This is for the King and Queen only. What do you want?”

“Sir,” said Ben, “we want to see the King and Queen.”

 

“That’s impossible,” the guard roared.

 

Another guard walked up to see what was going on and asked “What’s impossible Fred?”

 

“They want to see the King and Queen, Al” laughed Fred.

 

“Oh, that’s a good one, why would the King and Queen want to see them?” The friends were sadly turning to leave as the guards laughed harder and harder, when the doors to the castle suddenly opened and the King and Queen themselves walked out.

 

“What is all this noise?” asked King David.

“Sire, these children wanted to see you and Queen Mary” sputtered Fred.

 

“And why is that funny?” asked Queen Mary, “I think it’s sweet. And it is very mean of you to laugh at children.”

 

Queen Mary then turned to the friends and said, “Why do you want to see us?”

 

“Please ma’am, I came from the land of Circling Rocks and I just want to get a picture with you to prove to my brothers that I’m not a chicken snot head.” said Ben the Mole, turning red at finally meeting the Queen.

 

“And I also came from the land of Circling Rock to get your autographs to prove to my brothers and sisters that I’m not a chicken snot head.” squeaked Drat the little squirrel.

 

“And I came from Bearville (population 42 ½) to prove to my brothers that I’m not too little to play with them.” said Woodrow the boy.

 

“And I came from the woods in the area of Bearville to help them and to prove to my family that I’m not too little to play in the Fairy games and that I‘m not a scaredy cat.” said Poppy the fairy.

 

“Well,” said King David in is grandfatherly like voice, “Let’s go have some lunch and we’ll see about getting those pictures and autographs.”

 

So Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy, Poppy the fairy, King David, and Queen Mary went to eat lunch have a picture taken together. King David and Queen Mary liked the friends very much and invited them to live in the castle.

 

The friends agreed and stayed there for a little while, but they began to miss their families and so they left to journey home. Each of them received an autographed copy of the picture they had taken that first day in Qwanta, and a nice letter from King David and Queen Mary telling their families that they were definitely big enough to play and that none of them were chicken snot heads or scaredy cats.

 

They had many adventures on the way home and eventually they all found their way to their families. Poppy was allowed to play in the fairy games that year, Woodrow’s brothers finally let him start playing ball with them, Drat’s brothers and sisters stopped calling him a chicken snot head and Ben’s family was so happy to have him home that they stopped calling him a chicken snot head and started letting him play with them (even though he sang all the time).

 

King David and Queen Mary made many trips to visit the friends, and each year Ben the Mole, Drat the little squirrel, Woodrow the boy, and Poppy the fairy, would all take their families to Qwanta and stay in the castle with the King and Queen.

The guards, Fred and Al, were each given an autographed picture of the friends with the King and Queen to remind them not to laugh at anyone because, even if they are small, everyone is special.