Posted in Entertainment, Literacy, Reading, Teen, World War II

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d share with you two books I’ve recently read. After a couple of serious posts, I thought I’d lighten things up with a fun one. Well, fun to us bookworms!

The first book is “The Girl in the Blue Coat.”  It’s the story about friendship and betrayal during WWII when everyone was living in fear.  One woman hides a Jewish girl in her back room and one day the girl disappears.  She seeks out the assistance of Hanneke to find this girl and so the story begins.  Hanneke is pulled into the situation and reluctantly does what she can to find the girl.

 

Girl in the Blue Coat by [Hesse, Monica]

The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.
My Thoughts:

This story was well written and an accurate portrayal of what happened during WWII. I loved Hanneke, she was such a strong girl, even though she didn’t see herself that way. There’s a twist at the end that took me by surprise. A well written historical YA novel. I’d recommend this to both adults and young adults. It was a great read.

The next book I read is also a WWII novel and it’s based on a true story. The title is “Beneath a Scarlet Sky.” It’s the story of Pino and his family during WWII and how Pino helps the resistance by joining the Nazi army. It’s a depiction of the bravery of the Italian people who joined the resistance and helped Jewish families escape into Switzerland.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by [Sullivan, Mark]

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

 

My Thoughts:

While this is the story about the bravery of the Italians who joined the resistance, it’s also the story of love and loss. The story of Pino and Anna. Pino falls for her hard after he joins the Nazi party and begins spying for the resistance. The war ends and Pino believes he and Anna can now marry and start a family. However, Pino suffers the devastating loss of his love at the very end of the war. It’s incredibly sad and frustrating because he feels incredible guilt that he did not save her.  This is an incredible story and the bravery of the Italians involved in the resistance illustrates that good does triumph over evil. I’d recommend this book to both adults and young adults alike.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any books you’d recommend? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in Guest Author, Literacy, promotion, Teen

Please Welcome Krysten Lindsay Hager!

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. Today I have a special guest! Her name is Krysten Lindsay Hager and she’s here to share her series with us! Check it out!

 

Where the Idea for the Landry’s True Colors Series Came From

series

By Krysten Lindsay Hager

It’s so fitting to be writing about my teen series, the Landry’s True Colors Series, on Lisa’s blog because it’s set in Grand Rapids, Michigan! My parents both grew up in Grand Rapids, so I spent my summers and holidays there every year. I was one of just a few cousins who didn’t grow up there, so as a kid I used to imagine what it would be like to live there. So that’s how I picked the setting for the series, but, since I grew up in a city (Grand Blanc, MI) where I didn’t have any family members other than my parents, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go to school with your cousins—that was something that seemed so foreign to me. Therefore I had my character, Landry Albright, living there without any cousins or siblings. I have a sister myself, but she was younger than me, so to me it felt like I was the one going out into the big, bad world on my own. It sometimes seemed like everyone had older siblings or cousins to protect them and then there was me trying to figure things out on my own. And I wasn’t exactly a trailblazer type! I was more the girl who waited in the corner to test out the waters before I took the plunge.

The original idea for the first book actually came to me when I was in the sixth grade and saw a Bangles’ album. It was actually a single cover for “Eternal Flame.” There were the four band members on it and I remember thinking, “I wonder what they were like when they were in middle school.” So I started making up a little story about it. I had no clue that years later I would be in college and my professor would suggest we write the book we wanted to read and that idea would come back to me. It was funny how I could remember little details like what Landry’s bedroom looked like and the type of furniture she had (mirrored). Once I got back into that mindset, the characters really came to life and I started reminiscing about my own middle school experience.

If you’re familiar with the Grand Rapids area, you might pick up on a few of the places I write about. The mall Landry has her modeling audition in (I call it the Perry mall) is actually North Kent mall, which sadly no longer exists. I used to enjoy going there with my cousins. Ignatowski’s ice cream palace where all the teens hang out is named after a family member of mine and I picture it between Diamond Avenue and Innes. In fact, one of Landry’s best friend’s, Ashanti Russell, lives on Diamond Ave. and Landry lives just off that street. The school, Hillcrest Academy is close by as well. Once I started writing the story, I would go for walks down Diamond Avenue picking out where the school bus would turn in and the market where Landry’s mom shops (mentioned in book 3) is named after my grandma and a store she shopped at on Fuller Avenue. All the places I frequented when I was younger have ended up playing a role in the series. I even use Arnie’s as an inspiration in the third book in the series, Landry in Like.

For me, the series is a way to remember my teen years and the lessons I learned along the way with my readers. I share things that shaped me as a person, both the good and the bad with lessons learned from dealing with both friends and frenemies. Since I was a kid who internalized things and didn’t go for advice, I put things in the books that will help out those readers who were like me and went to books instead of adults for help solving everyday problems. One thing that I hadn’t consciously planned on when writing the series was how the role of Landry’s dad, Mr. Albright, would evolve. In the beginning it made sense to have Landry go to her dad for advice because my own father gave me the best advice. However, when my dad (a former middle school vice principal) passed last year, many of his former students reached out to us to say how much he had helped them in shaping their lives. A relative said to me that my dad’s advice and wisdom would live on through the series and it touched me that my dad would be influencing another generation of teens.

Thanks for letting me share what went into creating my Landry’s True Colors Series.

 

series

Series Info: The Landry’s True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult humor series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, crushes, and self-image. It’s a clean reads book so it’s suitable for ages 11 and up.

Blurb: Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round.

However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

What people are saying about the Landry’s True Colors Series:

From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: “This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!”

From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren’t everything. This book is related to every teen’s problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”

“Krysten captures the teenage girl today. The struggles are real, the issues are something children have been dealing with since before I was a teen, and oddly-Krysten captures the readers! I was prepared for another “Mean Girls” story. This is NOT that. This is the real story of teenage girls! You watch Landry flower into a young woman who finds out trust is an invaluable item to find, and friendships are hard to seek genuine realism in. You will learn about relationships with not just friends, but peers, boys, and others. The details put into the book will draw you, and make the story so much more realistic. Krysten expresses emotions beautifully through her writing, and the story flows flawlessly…” By Candice J. Conway Simpson

“True Colors, is just a dazzling story of how middle school kids show their true colors of jealousy, drama, loss and gains of friendship. However, the way Krysten wrote her story; she wrote it with passion, creativity and honesty that this story line could be placed in anyone’s life at any age.” Review by Double Decker Books

“Krysten Lindsay Hager understands what it means to be a teen today, and she writes with an authentic voice. Landry, the main character, is funny, lively, and very real. Readers will relate to her struggles with friends and family, self-esteem and self-discovery, boys and school and life in general. It’s fun to read about Landry’s blossoming modeling career and the changes it brings.” Review by Author Diana Jenkins

Excerpt:

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.

Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96jxcUH54hU

Best Friends…Forever? (Book 2):

Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue TV show modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?

BFF book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFp2fPFbvTQ

Landry in Like (Book 3):

Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi has becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes.

Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cup-cakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with her best friend Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left out and left behind?

Landry in Like book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CsGREKFQco&feature=youtu.be

 

Author pic

Author Bio:

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, the celebrity world, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? Landry in Like, Next Door to a Star and Competing with the Star. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and True Colors is an international bestseller. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Bellbrook Times, the Grand Haven Tribune, and on the talk show Living Dayton.

Author social media links:

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/krystenlindsay/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Purchase:

Amazon US paperback: http://amzn.to/29gsqPw

Amazon US ebook: http://amzn.to/29tp2EF

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/29ilH8v

Amazon UK ebook: http://amzn.to/29mv46L

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/29gCDe2

Amazon AU ebook: http://amzn.to/29umy7d

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/29xKc3k

Amazon CA ebook: http://amzn.to/29umCUm

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/29oFynI

Barnes and Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/1S5wUuk

itunes: http://apple.co/1Ue5lNm

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/true-colors-17

 

 

Posted in Literacy, Reading

The Benefits of Reading

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another post about Reading. Since reading for pleasure is on the decline, I thought I’d write about the benefits of picking up a book. There are many, let me tell you.

We already know that there’s a link between Reading and Empathy. ( For more information on that topic, click here https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/the-link-between-reading-and-empathy/  )

But did you know that reading reduces stress? It’s true. Since I’ve had kids, I’ve put reading on the backburner. It’s only within the last couple of years that I’ve picked it back up again. I’m so glad I did! I enjoy reading immensely, especially when I’m stressed. Studies show that by picking up a book and reading for just six minutes you can decrease your stress level by sixty eight percent. It’s a great way to deal with the stressors of everyday life.  For more information about the effect of reading on stress click this link. http://www.sound-mind.org/reading-reduces-stress.html#.V0njK5ErLIU

Photo credit: CRC, University of Edinburgh via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I must add here that fostering a love of reading in your child is an excellent coping mechanism when they have to deal with stressful situations. They can forget about the problem for a while and come back to it when they’ve calmed down. Something to think about my friends. 🙂

Photo credit: r.nial.bradshaw via VisualHunt / CC BY

Did you know reading makes you smarter? It does! It improves your memory. You’re exercising your brain when you read. You’re training it to retain information every time you pick up a book.

It also improves your vocabulary which goes hand in hand with improving your ability to communicate with others. Being able to communicate is incredibly important in today’s business world.  You appear more polished in a job interview and you’ll be able to communicate to your future employer more effectively.

Did you know reading also improves analytical skills? This is important. According to this article, http://examinedexistence.com/does-reading-make-you-smarter/, readers have a greater general knowledge and are able to spot patterns quicker.

What are analytical skills? I’m so glad you asked. Here’s the definition: Analytical skill is the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize, or solve both complex and uncomplicated problems by making decisions with the available information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_skill

We all need analytical skills wouldn’t you agree? Reading is a great way to strengthen your analytical muscles.

Reading also improves your ability to focus. Fostering a love of reading in your kids will help them focus and retain information at school.

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Visual Hunt / No known copyright restrictions

With all the great benefits of reading, why are people getting away from it? My guess is all the new technology that’s available to everyone these days. There’s too many distractions. We need to make a conscious effort to keep reading alive.

My boys read twenty minutes a day, and this summer they’ll have to read before they turn on their computers. I’m going to read right along with them. After all, it’s good for me, too. 😉

And if you’re looking for some great books to engage your kids over the summer, I know where you can find some! 😉

What are your thoughts on the benefits of reading? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Literacy, Reading, Writing

The Link between Reading and Empathy

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my second WIP and it’s coming along. I try to make it perfect and then I have to tell myself to relax and let the story flow. It is after all, my first draft. My seventh novel has been on the back burner, simmering while  a third Beta reader checks it out. I’ve gotten very positive feedback from the first two, so I’m crossing my fingers. 🙂

In between my writing times I’ve been keeping a presence on social media and I’ve gotten involved in some Twitter Chats. These chats have centered on the topic of Diversity and Social Media.

Photo via VisualHunt

It seems to me that Social Media has allowed people to drop their masks and spew their hate for certain minorities, genders, or people of different sexual orientations. Since these people can’t see the hurt they inflict, they don’t experience the consequences of their actions, so they keep doing it.

Photo credit: Eddi van W. via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

The reality is empathy for our fellow man is declining.  With the internet and social media, we’re more connected than we’ve ever been in our entire lives, and yet we’re struggling to be empathetic. Why?

Some researchers feel that information overload has made our brains screen out the emotionally expensive content. It’s a defense mechanism. They’ve also found the increase in screen time has an inverse relationship with empathy. Simply put, when our screen time increases our ability to empathize decreases. To learn more click this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/artificial-maturity/201403/why-empathy-is-declining-among-students-and-what-we-can-do

Another study states there has been a sharp decline in reading for pleasure in the last ten years. What’s interesting is that along with this decline there’s also been a decline in the ability to feel compassion for others. As an author I find that very interesting. Don’t you?

This strongly suggests reading is linked to empathy. In fact, studies have shown the number of books preschoolers read predicts their ability to empathize. To read the full article click here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-me-care/

 

 Photo credit: Brian Metcalfe via Visual hunt / CC BY

 

So authors keep writing, don’t give up. Write those diverse books and try to ignore the haters. If they don’t get a reaction they can’t continue spewing their garbage.  It’s hard to ignore them, I know, but we as a society need those books. There’s enough readers out there for all of us, so let’s band together and send out a positive vibration that obliterates their negative one. Don’t even engage with them. They’ll get the message sooner or later.

To read more Slice of Life Posts click here.

 

Posted in Family, Literacy, Parenting, raising kids, Reading

Inspiring Kids to Read

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about inspiring kids to read.

One of the greatest life skills you can instill in your child is a love of reading. As kids progress through the school system, each grade becomes more challenging, and the need for reading comprehension becomes even more critical.

These kids need to read so they can understand test questions and be able to answer them correctly. When they get older, they’ll need to be able to fill out a job application and read the requirements for medication. Do you know one in seven adults can’t read above the fifth grade level? Isn’t that scary?

Photo credit: EvelynGiggles via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

 

So, how do we instill a love of reading to turn this statistic around? Well, I started when my boys were babies. I read to them and rocked them every night. This did backfire a bit because my oldest wanted to be rocked to sleep EVERY night. You might not want to do the rocking. Some nights it took him FOREVER to fall asleep! But on a positive note there was a lot of bonding! 😉

I continued to read to them as they grew and their grandparents read to them as well. So it became a part of their environment and they didn’t know any other way. It was just one of the things we did.

Photo credit: ThomasLife via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-ND

          Then when my boys started reading on their own, they’d read to us. My youngest who loves reading could sit and read for a couple of hours. I know all there is to know about Transformers, he’s read the book to me so many times. The thing is, we as parents have to be patient and let our littles choose what they want to read, and even if we’ve heard the story fifty million times we need to be enthusiastic and pretend it’s the most awesome story in the world. Because to your child it is.

Photo credit: John-Morgan via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

          We also keep a steady supply of books around the house and our kids read at least twenty minutes a night. My youngest has become a big reader. What books lit that fire? The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. My little guy wants to get all the books in the series. So, I owe a huge thank you to Rick for writing such a compelling stories.

This is the book that started it all 🙂

My oldest who reads only because he has to is now interested in the series. My youngest has introduced him to these books. It does my heart good to hear them talking about books almost as much as they talk about Minecraft.

Another thing that helps is the fact that I write books. 🙂 ( You knew I was going to slip that in, didn’t you?) My oldest has read all three books in the Super Spies series and really enjoyed them. He’s also very proud of his mom.  My youngest read the first one, I believe just to please me, but he’s more interested in Greek Mythology right now and that’s okay, as long as he’s reading.

b569f-the2bsuper2bspies2band2bthe2bcat2blady2bkiller2b500x750              TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750         TheSuperSpiesandthePiedPiper 500x750

I also read. My boys see me reading for pleasure, and I’m hoping they’ll model this behavior and become lifelong readers as well.

So, that’s how I’ve tried to instill a love of reading with my kids? Do you have any other tips? Please share! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Literacy, Parenting

20 for 20 Reading Challenge

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you! Since I’ve been writing some pretty heavy blog posts lately, I thought I’d talk about something a little bit lighter today and that is the Scholastic 20 for 20 reading challenge.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

          That’s right. I’m going to read for twenty minutes a day right along with my kids. I just did a post a few weeks ago about how improving literacy starts at home. You can read the post by clicking here if you’re interested.  https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/improving-literacy-starts-at-home/

I’m going to use this time to bond with my kids. They’re growing up so fast! Sniff. I’m treasuring these moments with them, and I hope I’m creating good memories for them. My youngest is turning into quite a reader, too.

My son has gotten into the Percy Jackson series. Thank you Rick Riordan for creating that series. I know now my son is becoming a life-long reader. Now to get my oldest on board and I’ll have accomplished my goal. 🙂

Did you know reading for pleasure improves critical thinking? Critical thinking is on the decline in the US as a result of the increase in video game usage. According to this article,

http://library.poly.edu/news/2009/03/03/develop-your-critical-thinking-skills-read

Studies show that reading develops imagination, induction, reflection, and critical thinking as well as vocabulary.  So if you’d like to join me in the 20 for 20 reading challenge, please do. I’ve listed the books below that my sons’ are reading along with the book I’m reading. What are you reading? Do you have any books you’d recommend?

 

Here’s the book I’m reading right now. It was written by a friend of mine. 🙂

 

When Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don’t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.

“This is a powerful story about the meaning and value of life–we don’t have enough of those.” ~ Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author, Stuck in Neutral

And now fiction becomes fact: BBC News: UK scientists are seeking permission to genetically modify human embryos …

 

Here’s what my oldest is reading. Isn’t this the sweetest?

 

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

 

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him.

 

Posted in Family, Literacy, Parenting

Improving Literacy starts at Home

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back today and I’m talking about literacy in the United States. Did you know one in seven adults would find it difficult to read anything more challenging than a picture book? This is scary.

I find this quite alarming. How can these adults teach their children about the joy of reading, if they can’t read themselves? I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Parents who can’t read are limited to what they can teach their children. In my opinion, reading is one of the most important skills we can pass on to our kids.

Photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia via Visual hunt / No known copyright restrictions

What’s going to happen to our country if we raise a generation of illiterate adults? What happens when all they can do is read text messages? The ability to read and write correctly is going to be a skill that will be in short supply in the future. In my opinion, there’s going to be a great divide between the kids who can read and write and those who get through life typing and reading short text messages. We as parents need to turn the tide on this problem. But what can we do?

Photo credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development viaVisual hunt / CC BY

We can make reading a priority. In our house it’s part of homework. My boys read twenty minutes every night. I talk about the books they’re reading and ask them their opinions. My oldest is in the process of reading my second Super Spies book. I know this story by heart and we discuss the actions of the characters. Could they have handled a situation differently? What would you do differently if you were in that situation? These are good talks and I treasure them. I’m hoping by having these discussions, I’m developing critical thinkers, too.

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What else can we do? We can improve the selection of books available for our kids to read. The more books they have to choose from, the more likely they’ll find something that interests them. This means supporting the libraries in our schools and our public libraries. It also means having a lot of books in our homes.

I also believe we need to accept what our kids want to read. If they want to read graphic novels, so be it. It’s better than not reading. That goes for comic books, too.  If these types of books are what interests your child, show them you support their choices. You’ll be glad you did.

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When you think about it, reading helps strengthen the family bond. Imagine as your child grows he develops an affinity for a certain genre of books. Wouldn’t it be awesome to sit with your child and talk about the books he’s read? It would boost his self-esteem if you showed genuine interest in what he’s doing. If you showed you valued his opinion.

A Mom who read my first Super Spies book with her daughter, sent me an e-mail stating that my book opened up a family discussion about what her daughter would do if she were in the same situation as my characters. It was a great bonding moment between them. Isn’t that an awesome feeling? Knowing your book sparked a family bonding moment? It was for me!

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Reading is also a great stress reliever. Helping your child develop a love of reading early will help him deal with the pressures of being a teenager. I always lost myself in a book during my teen years and it helped me.

For more information on how reading benefits you and your child, check out this post.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any ideas on how to improve literacy, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!