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Creative Kid Thursday! Meet Kid Author Sophie Quay-Clark!

17 Apr

Today’s Creative Kid I have to tell you about is a kid author who has self-published not one but two books! She wrote her first book at age 7!

Meet Sophie Quay-Clark!

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bloglogoHi Sophie, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

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photo(1)My name is Sophie and I am 9 years old. I live in Berkshire in England with my little brother, my mum, dad and my three cats!
I love playing Minecraft; I play on a server with my friends and also by myself. I belong to our local triathlon club and I train a few times a week and compete in junior triathlons. I also play the viola and I compete in local running races. I love cats and most cute animals. I enjoy basic computer programming like Scratch and Python. I’m trying to teach myself some Latin at the moment. I also love to write and I have now written two books. I started learning to read at 18 months of age; Mummy was a bit shocked. By 2.5yrs old I was reading easy chapter books like ‘Rainbow Magic Fairies’. I liked typing and wrote my first short sentence just before I was 2 years old, I then just carried on writing!

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bloglogoI’ve read both of your books and was very interested in your stories! FireFall is a school for dragons where they learn how to do dragon things like fly and growl, but they also learn how to be dragon warriors. I thought this was a very unique idea! I assumed dragons already knew how to do these things. How did you get the idea for FireFall?

photo(1)I wrote the first Firefall when I was 7 years old, I had just read all the Harry Potter books, all the Last Dragon Chronicle books by Chris d’Lacey and every Warrior Cat book written at the time! I joined all the books together and came up with Firefall. I like reading lots of different types of books so I used some ideas from them.

bloglogoIt is true that the more you read, the better writer you become! I really like all the different kind of dragons you write about in your book (ice dragons, bloom dragons, rainbow dragons, air dragon, etc.) and all the different abilities they have. Which one is your favorite type of dragon?firefall

photo(1)I really like the Rainbow Dragons as their colours are the best. My favourite character is Flash as she is completely crazy and mad, she was a lot of fun to write about as she is really silly and kept doing daft things. I got the idea for the different types of dragons from one of my favourite game apps.

bloglogoFlash is a very fun character, I liked how she was constantly getting into trouble! The dragons seem to like Pumpermelons. What do they taste like?

photo(1)The taste of a pumpermelon is a mixture of melon, pumpkin and carrot. They are bright red, mixed with dark orange flecks. The inside is white and has a spongy texture. They are quite large, almost as big as a beach ball.

bloglogoSounds yummy! :) When do you take time to write? Do you have to think about a story before you write it or does it come out as you are writing?

photo(1)With the two Firefall books, I had to plan them in detail. I wanted to write the books during NaNoWriMo. I wrote the books mainly in bed or in the car coming home from school. I tend to plan a week before I start NaNoWriMo. The second Firefall book was 12,000 words and took just over 3 weeks of typing. I then had to re-read it and correct my mistakes…then I let Mummy read it. I write lots of other stories when I feel like it, mostly in the car on my iPod using Pages.

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bloglogoThe ending of your second book “Return to Firefall” leave us with quite a cliffhanger when we find out the final battle between the FireFall dragons and the evil HornClaw dragons isn’t really the FINAL battle! Are you currently writing another book in the series? How many books are you planning to write in the series?

photo(1)Yes, I have to finish the story off so I will write the final Firefall book during NaNoWriMo this year. I have some ideas of how to plan the story already but I will plan properly just before NaNoWriMo starts. My friends are wanting to know what happens to all the dragons!

bloglogoI can’t wait to read what happens! What do you want to be when you grow up?

photo(1)At the moment I want to be lots of different things. I’d love to work for Minecraft because I have so many different ideas for the game. I love animals so working as a Vet would be good, but then I might be a writer so I could write about animals.

Thank you, Sophie, for answering my questions!

Check out Spohie’s books on Amazon UK HERE!

Creative Kid Thursday! Guest Book Review by Rena Marthaler!

10 Apr

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Welcome to Creative Kid Thursday where I like to feature the awesome things kids are doing and also host guest kid book reviewers. Today Rena Marthaler is going to review —

 

The House of Hades
By Rick Riordan
608 pages – ages 10+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 8, 2013

Reviewed by 4th grader Rena Marthaler, author of the adventure novel “Magic The Crest” (click HERE to go to Rena’s blog).

The first sentence is my favorite: “During the third attack, Hazel almost ate a boulder.”

This book is perfect for people who like Greek gods and goddesses, sword fighting, giants, titans, and more monsters. It is the fourth book in the series “Heroes of Olympus.” (I recommend reading the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series and other three Heroes of Olympus first.) This book is really good.

In the book, Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque go on a quest following the Prophecy of Seven in a heavily armed warship called the Argo II.

But only five of of the seven are on the ship. In the earlier book, Percy and Annabeth fall into a very dangerous place called Tartarus, and the only way to get out is to through the “Doors of Death.”

Piper, Jason, Leo, Frank, Hazel, and their rescued friend Nico Di Angelo go through many adventures to reach the Doors of Death and rescue their friends.

Meanwhile, Percy and Annabeth struggle through Tartarus, half dead, to reach the same destination.

Stay tuned for the fifth book in the Heroes of Olympus series, “Blood of Olympus,” coming out in Fall, 2014. I assure you it will be awesome!

 

Be sure to check back because I will be interviewing Rena about her book “Magic The Crest” on April 24th!

Remember on Tuesday, the Writing Process Blog Tour and I tagged Rena? Well, Rena has already responded! Click HERE to go THERE!

Creative Kid Thursday! A Short Story By Daniel Johnston

20 Mar

Happy First Day of SPRING!!! (he says as he scrapes the ice off the windshield of his mom’s car)

March Madness starts today – NO, not that basketball thingy – Susanna Leonard Hill’s Creative writing contest! Click HERE to check it out. The contest is to writ a fractured fairy tale. You still have time to enter! You can win FABULOUS PRIZES! I am posting my entry tomorrow. :)

I have an awesome creative kid to tell you about today. Sixteen year-old Daniel Johnston is a chess champ, book reviewer, blogger and writer! Check out his blog HERE. I interviewed Daniel a few years ago about being a chess champ (click HERE) and he just did a podcast with me about books and reading (click HERE). Daniel wrote a great short story that he wanted to share with everyone. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

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Photo Credit Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

 

 

The Teacher gets Taught a Lesson of Love

By Daniel Johnston

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As the fifth-grade class heard the creaking from outside the door, they settled down and sat back in their chairs. It was the first day for the new substitute teacher, Mrs. Higgins. “I bet she won’t be as good as Revis,” a boy named Nick whispered.

“I hope Revis’s mother is okay,” Jared whispered back. Mr. Revis had been the old teacher of the class. He was a great teacher, and all the students loved him. On Friday he’d had to leave class early because his mother was in the hospital on the other side of the country. Over the weekend, the principal had told all the kids parents that Revis’s mother would be okay, but his mother couldn’t take care of herself and Revis had decided to live with her for now.

“I hope so too man. But now I’m worried about us. What’s Mrs. Higgins going to be like?” Nick said, with a worried look on his face. Jared shrugged his shoulders. Mrs. Higgins was the permanent substitute teacher for the rest of the year, which meant they’d have to suffer through her six hours a day for the next three months. So it’s no surprise the class held its breath as their new leader walked through the door.

Mrs. Higgins was a pretty woman in her mid-twenties with blonde hair and green eyes. Her face was in a smile of genuine happiness and excitement to be there. Although in the movies when the teacher walks in, the class says, “Hello Mr. or Mrs. ____” that’s not the way it happened with this group of fifth-graders; they were totally silent as Mrs. Higgins walked up to her desk, put her purse down, and greeted the class.

Mrs. Higgins face contorted into a pleasant surprise. “Well,” she said, putting her hands on her hips, “is everyone asleep today?” This got a few mixed laughs and relief from the class. This was obviously a teacher who was very comfortable with fifth-grade classrooms.

The rest of the day was like that. They didn’t do anything too strenuous, but they played some games to get to know each other better, heard about Mrs. Higgins treacherous travel traversing the Atlantic Ocean, and did a little of the three R’s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. At 10:30 Nick whisper now was, “This teacher is cool.” Everything ran smoothly. That is, until it was time to go to Recess.

Mr. Revis had allowed the students to have an hour of recess every day. But as they were about to go out for recess, Mrs. Higgins announced, “Alright class. We’ve got a lot of stuff to cover, so because we’re going to be playing games in the middle of the day for fifteen minutes, you’re going to have forty-five minutes of recess everyday. Is everyone okay with that?”

The students nodded. Most of them knew that next year they would be entering middle school and wouldn’t get any recess anyways, so there was no point in complaining about getting “only” forty-five minutes.

Most of them; expect for Samantha. Samantha was the queen of jump roping. She could jump rope with her eyes closed for an hour straight during recess, as she often did. The majority of the other girls also enjoyed jump roping, and so 2:15 to 3:15 in the afternoon was her time. It was her court. She had a tough family situation and was not willing to give up her glory. “Noooooooo!” She cried, hitting the ground. “I need to jump rope. Mrs. Higgins, I just need to, you can’t do this to me. No!” She wailed and cried and coughed and kicked her legs. The class looked to the teacher to see what she would do. Sure, she could teach. But how would she handle a misbehaving student?

Nick alone was fraught with worry for Samantha, especially when another boy, Randy, whispered to him, “Dude, that’s your girl.” Samantha and he were sort of dating, sort of not. Either way, he cared about her a lot.

Mrs. Higgins thought for a moment, and then said, “Why don’t you show everyone your jump roping tomorrow during games?” Mrs. Higgins didn’t understand that those times were the magical kingdom for a child who had nowhere else to go.

“I can’t bear to see her like this,” Nick sniffled. He ran over to Samantha and got down on his knees next to her before Mrs. Higgins had time to react. He brought Samantha into his arms, perhaps the only time she would let him fulfill that dream of his. “Don’t worry,” he whispered, “we’ll all watch you jump rope.”

Samantha understand what Nick meant and managed to smile wanly, “All you guys?”

“Yes,” Nick said assuringly, turning over to the rest of the boys, who nodded, “all of us.” Samantha got up with her head on Nick’s shoulders, a peaceful expression on her face. That recess, and all recesses for weeks to come, the boys watched Samantha, and even tried to jump rope themselves. Samantha’s experience changed. Instead of being the queen of the court, she was involved in a collaborative effort with people who cared about. And that’s something she had never experienced.

Why did the boys help this little girl instead of playing football as they were apt to do. That’s why Mrs. Higgins wondered, and eventually she asked the quiet, polite kid who she had quickly won over. Nick’s response was, “Football is fun. But not as fun as seeing someone happy.” The boys had agreed to watch Samantha for one day. That wouldn’t hurt. But when they saw the sparkle in her eyes, the love of life shining in her face, they just couldn’t stay away.

The good teacher Mrs. Higgins learned more from the boys love and kindness in her first week than she would teach them the whole rest of the year. Reading, writing, and arithmetic is one thing. Love is quite another.

Don’t forget to check out Daniel’s blog click HERE to go THERE!

Creative Pet Thursday! Meet Mitzi Jo!

6 Mar

Today is Creative Kid PET Thursday!

Time for some cuteness!

Mitzi Jo tutu (2)

and one more -

Mitzi JO butterfly princess (5)

I double dog dare you not to fall in love with my very special guest today. Mitzi Jo!

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Mitzi Jo writes a column called “Paws for Thought” for the Upper Bucks Free Press, the same newspaper I write for. :)

mitzi jo reads paper4Her human helper, L.j. Burns (A.K.A. Momma Jean), and Mitzi Jo also blog  about her adventures at the doggy daycare Momma Jean runs (click HERE to go THERE).

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Mitzi Jo is one talented puppy! In her spare time, Mitzi Jo wrote (with Momma Jean’s help)  a book called “A Doggy Daycare Day.”

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A Doggy Daycare Day

By L.j. Burns

Illustrated by Andrea Vitali

28 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on April 14, 2012

A Doggy Daycare Day is a cute story written from the point of view of Mitzi Jo. Mitzi Jo is a leader in her own family as well as the Doggy Daycare group. She tells all the dogs about the rules when they come to the daycare and then helps her friends follow them. All the dogs at the daycare have different personalities and the reader gets to see what the day is like from their perspective. You get an idea of what happens in a dog’s mind, too. The reader follows Mitzi Jo and her doggy friends as they chase invading squirrels, help dogs calm down, share toys, and much more in this fully illustrated book!

I couldn’t wait to find out more about Mitzi Jo!  Mitzi Jo and Momma Jean let me ask them some interview questions.

bloglogoThank you both for letting me ask you some interview questions! Mitzi Jo, what’s it like running a doggy daycare, and of course, having Momma Jean help you?

mitzi jo inm glassesI love having a purpose in my life.  I am a very social dog and enjoy meeting all the new canines that come to play. Being the leader of our family pack of dogs means I have to explain the rules to all the visiting dogs.

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bloglogo It sounds like you have a lot of responsibilities! It must be very interesting being part of a Doggy Daycare. What inspired you to write the book  “A Doggy Daycare Day”?

mitzi jo inm glassesWhile I was greeting a new playmate Momma Jean noticed how well our family of dogs accept new friends. She thought this is no different than human children learning to play together and accepting each other on a playground. She wanted me to share with the human children how much nicer it is to accept each other and use that positive peer pressure to learn to accept each other and our differences.    We have a total of 5 books written but only the first one is in print. In one of our books we have a blind dog and a crippled dog and the other dogs don’t make fun of them but instead help them through the yard.

bloglogo I think you are right! The message in your book, to accept each other, is a great one! Mitzi Jo, have you, or another dog in your immediate family, ever not gotten along with one of the dogs who came for a day? If so, what did you and/or Momma Jean do?

mitzi jo inm glassesMomma Jean usually starts with me to be the first greeting dog. She says if they don’t like me they won’t like the others. Well, we had a Boston Terrier show up one day and he walked in with his human and went to ATTACK me!! He sat there on the end of his leash staring at me. I wouldn’t even look at him so Momma Jean noticed he was a bully and told his human he couldn’t stay.  My human knows to watch my body language to understand what I am feeling.

bloglogo It is a good thing Momma Jean knows you so well! Momma Jean, when did you decide to start a doggy daycare? What is the most important thing you have learned in this business?

mommaThank you Erik for asking me a question too.  I had worked with packs of dogs as a studio animal trainer in Hollywood. The dogs were always glad when I came to work because I would get them out in the yard to play and run with each other.  They were always more content after a little playtime.  When I moved to PA in 2005 I wanted to spend more time with my dogs and offer other families with dogs the chance to let their dogs play too. Dogs can learn from other dogs just like children learn from each other

bloglogoMitzi Jo,  I read on your blog (click HERE to go to the blog) that Momma Jean is a professional animal trainer and you get to work in commercials! Is that hard to do? What’s the best thing you taught Momma Jean?

mitzi jo inm glassesGrabbing all the attention in the room is not difficult for me at all. I love it. I have trained my human to realize that if she wants me to do anything special and on her command then I need to have a dog cookie. Humans work better when they get a paycheck and so do dogs. I told her my dog cookie is my paycheck.    Thank you for the opportunity to speak my mind.

Thank you Mitzi Jo and Momma Jean!

You can Like Mitzi Jo’s Facebook page HERE.

Follow the Doggy Daycare blog HERE.

Find the book on Amazon HERE.

Okay, one more cute one -

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Wait! One more -

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Now one of the whole family:

Family dogs 2012

HAPPY THURSDAY EVERYONE! :D

Creative Kid Thursday – Meet Illlustrator Taylor Galaska!

6 Feb

Hi there! How’s your day been? Mine has been doing pretty good. Y’know – reading, playing with LEGOs, and all that jazz. Oh yeah – and rejoicing. Why? Because we have Parent-Teacher Conferences today which means that we don’t have to go to school. Yup. NO SCHOOL AGAIN!!! WOO!!! (I could really get used to this…)

Today, do I have a treat for you! I have recently read “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission” by Rhonda Paglia. Through Ms. Paglia, I have “met” Taylor Galaska, the illustrator of said book, which was written after the Sandy Hook School Shooting. I was impressed with Taylor’s art skills and also that he and Ms. Paglia turned their skills into a way of helping because all of the profits from the book go to the “Angels in Charge” Scholarship Fund that benefits students graduating from the Newtown School District who want to be elementary school teachers.

littlelambsThe Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission

by Rhonda Paglia and Taylor Galaska

42 pages – ages 4+

Published by CreateSpace on November 26, 2013

I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor as a Creative Kid, because he is 15 now, and was 14 when he illustrated the book.

Erik: Can you tell us about “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission”?

Taylor: “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission” is a children’s book written by Rhonda Paglia (a retired teacher) who got the whole story and set-up from God. The vision came to her after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut. While Rhonda was praying, she had a vision of God scooping up the children like lambs and taking them to Heaven with Him. The story is dedicated to the fallen teachers, staff, and students. The book is about 20 little lambs (representing the 20 students) who are asked by God to do a very important mission. The ‘Angels in Charge’ are 6 angels (representing the 6 teachers) who inform the lambs of the special mission. God takes the lambs to Heaven and tells them that the people on Earth have forgotten how to love one another. The lambs share the‘BE-attitudes’ that sent love to Earth and then they  run off to have a snack. The story is very relatable in the sense that children love to play and eat a snack after.

Erik: How did you get into illustrating?

Taylor: I have always loved drawing since I was little. And illustrating is just another form of drawing only my art is exposed to and enjoyed by more people. Both of my parents can draw as well.

Erik: You design and sell T-Shirts that donate the profits to an organization for the students and teachers of the Sandy Hook Elementary school. How did you get the idea to sell T-Shirts?

Taylor: I got the idea to design and sell T-shirts after the shooting. Two days after the massacre,  I designed the logo on the front and chose the words for the back. I wanted to create awareness against gun violence everywhere (specifically in schools).

Erik: Who is your favorite artist? How did s/he inspire you?

Taylor: I don’t have a favorite artist, but if I would have to pick an artist it would be Leonardo da Vinci. He inspired me because he did many works portraying religious scenes and figures and in “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission” my illustrations are religious images.

Erik: Where did you learn to draw? When did you realize that you could draw very well?

Taylor: I have always like to draw. According to my parents, I began drawing at a very young age. By age 5, I had relatives asking me to draw things for them. I started taking art classes at various places in the community.

Erik: Are you planning on illustrating more books?

Taylor: Rhonda Paglia and I might team up again to write and illustrate a sequel to her newest book called “Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue”.

Erik: What would you like to be when you grow up?

Taylor: When I get older, I am not exactly sure what I want to do. Being an illustrator, architect, something in the medical field or something with history are professions I am considering.

More About Taylor:

I am a 15 year old freshman at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, PA. I like to read, draw, and go to the movies with friends. I also collect antiques from everywhere in the United States. However, I specifically like to collect antiques from Sharon, PA where I live. I do a lot of volunteer work in my community. I volunteer at Sharon Regional Health System and am a part of many clubs at my school such as Action Club, Art Club, Environmental Science Club, and Spanish Club. I also participate in the Youngstown State University English Festival and the Pro-Life “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. and was awarded many awards including me meeting Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. to receive a letter congratulating me on my work with my T-shirt fundraiser. I am an altar server at St. Joseph’s Church in Sharon, PA where I received an award for outstanding commitment and work for the church and parish.

To learn more about Rhonda Paglia and all her books, please visit her Facebook page, click HERE, or her website, click HERE.

To learn more about “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission,” click HERE.

Creative Kid Thursday – Wonder Reader Faith Jackson!

23 Jan

Today I want you to meet Faith Jackson. She reads like crazy! I applaud Faith, who is 9 years old and read 272 books in 6 months. So all of you that think there aren’t kids who read as much as me, meet Faith! I asked Faith to write an article for my blog about anything of her choice. Faith decided to write about her favorite author, Enid Blyton!!!

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You may not have heard of Enid Blyton before, but she was an author and a GREAT one too! Believe it or not she wrote about 800 books!! I haven’t got all of them but, I have read about 65 so far.

A few of the ones she wrote, and that I have read, are;

Shadow The Sheepdogshadow

The Malory Towers Series

The Famous Five Series

The Secret Island Series

The Faraway Tree Series.

 A lot of her books are in series, which is good because if you like one of her books, then there’s another and another and another. She also wrote lots of stand alone books like Hollow Tree House and Those Dreadful Children, these are good too because you get to imagine what could happen in the next one.

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Most of her books are based on adventure or animals or magic. If you like magic, then you would enjoy The Faraway Tree or The Wishing Chair. If you enjoy adventure then there’s lots of choice, you could try The Secret Seven,  The Famous Five, the Valley of Adventure or the Secret Island.

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 You can meet lots of interesting characters in Enid Blytons books too. In The Children Of Willow Farm there is Tammylan The Wildman, in The Faraway Tree you’ll find characters like Dane Washalot, Mr Whatzisname and The Old Saucepan Man, and there is George (that’s a girl) in The Famous Five.

 Even though Enid Blyton’s last book was published over 50 years ago they are still fun and full of life.

Now that you hear Faith on Enid Blyton, here is a little about Faith,

“Faith is 9 years old and lives in the English countryside, absolutely nowhere near London. She has an always upside down 7-year-old sister, mostly annoying 4 and 5-year-old brothers, 2 tortoiseshell cats and parents who are always telling her to “stop reading and GO TO SLEEP!”.
When Faith doesn’t have her nose in a book she likes karate, gymnastics and learning to play the drums.”

Thanks for stopping by Faith! I know I am going to be checking out some of Enid Blyton’s books!

To learn more about Faith, click HERE, HERE, and HERE to read newspaper articles about her!

Creative Kid Thursday! Kid author Gabriella Webster!

16 Jan

I have another Creative Kid author to tell you about today! 14-year-old Gabriella Webster has written and self-published an awesomely funny story!

nerdConfessions of a Middle School Nerd

By Gabriella Webster

82 pages – ages 9+

Published by Gabriella Webster on September 1, 2013

Much like the “Dork Diaries” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, (Hmm – side note – what is the plural of series? )  this is a series that follows the life of teenager Kylie Wattson, who was glad that she got her braces off before she got her glasses, or else she would have been a complete Nerd, without a doubt. The story follows her ups and her downs, good and bad middle school days, and her downright clumsiness.

This is a hilarious book that made me laugh at the right moments (out loud, people! Out loud!!!), and feel sorry for Kylie at the right moments, too. The story was a quick read and is just perfect for middle grade kids who want a fun story to read. Gabriella’s writing style is just what I like, loads of humor wrapped around a great story. I can’t wait for a sequel!

I give Confessions of a Middle School Nerd 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Pick up a copy of the book at Lulu – click HERE!

Like Confessions of a Middle School Nerd on Facebook HERE!

Gabriella also let me interview her about herself and being a writer!

bloglogoErik – Can you tell us a little about yourself? What do you like to do besides writing?

nerdGabriella – Aside from writing, I’ve been acting since I was five, yodeled and played the violin since I was seven, played volleyball since I was eight, played the ukulele since I was eleven, and danced on and off since I was two. In addition, I’m really involved in extra-curricular activities at school and participate in Chess Club, Math Club, GSA, the I Am Second Club, Creative Writing Club, Interact Club, Key Club, Signing Broncos (the deaf club at our school), and Latin Club, as well as orchestra (for which I am a class officer), dance, and Latin as a course. With the help of some wonderful friends, I’m also learning more and more sign language, and really love school. With my family and friends, I’m also very involved in community service, particularly at the local nursing homes and homeless shelters, and love giving back to the community I’ve grown up in. Outside the community, I’m a St. Jude’s Pal—and have been since I was seven—and babysit in my free time. It’s a crazy life, but I like it that way.

bloglogo Erik – I totally enjoyed “Confessions of a Middle School Nerd”! How did you get the idea for Kylie Wattson, Nerd expert, Geek extraordinaire, clumsy professional?

nerdGabriella – Confessions of a Middle School Nerd was originally an eighth grade writing assignment. The concept followed the guidelines of National Novel Writing Month (although the process took place in February) and was assigned as an 8,000-word fiction paper, though it evolved into so much more than that over time. When searching for a topic, I wanted a challenge. I had done the “fiction” thing for years, and been tested with non-fiction and persuasive papers in every class since third grade, but a memoir was something I had never attempted before, and I wanted to use the opportunity (writing my own novel) to grow as much as I could as a writer before high school; expanding my repertoire, if you will. I also really struggled in middle school with finding books that I could relate to, as most books directed towards girls my age are mushy-gushy love stories that use basically the same plot with different characters every time: the girl gets the guy, everything works out perfectly, and some cliché message that we’ve heard a billion times is revealed. The thing is, life never turns out that way, and I wanted to write a book that I would be willing to read: honest and full of life and curiosity. As it says in the book, Kylie Wattson’s character is based on me and (mostly) things that have actually happened to me over the years. As a result, writing was therapeutic, in a way, because Confessions of a Middle School Nerd is the story of my life, and writing it at the end of my eighth grade year gave me the opportunity to reflect on the past nine years of my life and understand who I really am based on where I’ve come from before entering high school: a place where it’s all too easy to forget who you are. At the same time, it brought with it tough decisions about what I did and didn’t want to share with the world. Whatever I published would never go away, and the book almost exactly reflects who I am. I had to tell my story humbly, and do my crazy life justice, and I really appreciate having had the opportunity to do so. I’ve grown so much as a person in writing this book, and my intentions are that whoever reads it will, too.

bloglogoErik – NaNoWriMo’s young writers program is a great opportunity for kids. I think it is great that you wrote a book about your own experiences.  I really liked the scene when Kylie had to go dumpster-diving for her retainer. It was pretty funny. Did that ever happen to you, or did you just make that up?

nerdGabriella – That actually did happen to me my eighth grade year. In fact, everything in that chapter is true, except the part about finding my retainer stuck in the rivets in my court shoes. I actually never found my retainer and spent three months babysitting to pay for a new one

bloglogo Erik – UGH – going dumpster diving and never finding it! Are any of the characters based on people you know/knew?

nerdGabriella – Actually, all of them are. Some characters are combinations of more than one of my friends, while others are people that I’ve broken up into two characters. For instance, my little brother inspired both Toady and Boogers in COAMSN. Aside from changing names, I also changed the genders of some of my friends in the book. For example, my best friend and co-illustrator, Megan Vennell—to whom the book is dedicated—was the inspiration for Kylie’s best friend, Lucas Roder. Having based COAMSN characters off of people in my life has also made my freshman year especially interesting, for some of the characters from Confessions of a Middle School Nerd (i.e. the geometry story in “Why This is Not a Rom-Com”) actually go to school with me this year, and are really excited to hear that they are in my book and may play a crucial role in the sequel to COAMSN (hint, hint). Going to school full time with the kids that inspired the geometry class aspect of “Why This is Not a Rom-Com” has everyone at school wondering if their role in my freshman year will make it into the COAMSN sequel, and their not the only ones

bloglogoErik – I am always reading that you should “write about what you know.” This is a great example of it. Which are you – Nerd or Geek? (Personally, I am a Nerd. :) )

nerdGabriella – Definitely a nerd; one hundred percent. In fact, the reason my book is called “Confessions of a Middle School Nerd” is because “nerd” is one of the many names I’ve been called growing up for being smart, awkward, enthusiastic, and silly, but that I’ve learned to embrace. I really am a nerd, and I absolutely love that about myself. That’s why I knew I had to write this book: so that nerds like me would know that they’re not alone, even though the world makes us feel that way sometimes, and that being nerdy is an incredible thing! I would never want to be any different; if I were, life would be so dull. Being nerdy basically means you care about your happiness enough to “live a little” a lot, invest in your future, and be inspired by whatever life throws at you. It means that you care more about how you see the world than how the world sees you. It means that someday, you’re gonna make a whole-lotta money, and who doesn’t want that? Being a nerd—a term used to put people in their place by those who are threatened by them—can be a beautiful thing, if you let it, and if writing a book where I tell the world all about my horribly embarrassing experiences means I can share that message, then hand me a pen.

bloglogo Erik – Woo Hoo! Nerds rule! Are you planning on writing any other books?

nerdGabriella – Actually, a sequel has been on my mind for a little while now. As you know, Confessions of a Middle School Nerd is a memoir—a compilation of quirky and fun stories from throughout my life—but my first day of high school alone showed the potential to be a great start to Confessions: Freshman Year. In addition to writing books, I write poetry and short stories, and recently won second place in the Texas Book Festival Fiction Writing Contest with a short story, First Place Overall in the Teen Read Week Writing Contest at my high school with a poem, and a Teen Ink Editor’s Choice award for the poem “Ode to an Ink Pen.” These are actually the only writing contests I’ve ever entered, and my consistent success so far has encouraged me to look into entering more contests in the future. Aside from writing the Confessions series and publishing more poetry and short stories, I haven’t really thought about writing any other books, but I do hope to continue writing for many years to come and as an adult.

bloglogoErik – Thanks Gabriella! I am sure you will be winning more awards in the future.

Stay Nerdy! :D

Remember -

Pick up a copy of the book at Lulu – click HERE!

Like Confessions of a Middle School Nerd on Facebook HERE!

January UBFP Newspaper Article – Featuring an Awesome Creative Kid!

9 Jan

For Creative Kid Thursday, I am posting my 2014 Upper Bucks Free Press Newspaper (the newspaper I write for) article I wrote. I got to interview Felicia Maziarz the kid-author behind the book “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets.”

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

The online version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 9). I hope you enjoy it!

Young Author Keeps on Writing

Felicia Maziarz describes herself as “a ten-year-old sixth grader, and hamster owner, attending the University Scholars Program at PALCS. She adores writing, reading, acting, gymnastics, stuffed animals and working with technology. Felicia is a member of the Davidson Young Scholars Program and her latest creative project is organizing the D.I.R.T. Kids - a small group of performing kids who want to raise money for charities (dirtonstage.blogspot.com).”

 I met Felicia when I reviewed her book on my blog. Felicia’s first book is titled “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets.” I thought the story and writing in the book was awesome and I was surprised to learn the author, Felicia, is around the same age I am. I was very happy to meet a kid who likes reading and writing as much as I do.

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 Here is what “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets” is about;

 After three years of living under the same roof as the dog in the house, Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge decides to write a letter to her canine housemate, Stanley. Katrina loves treats, naps and bossing the dog around. Stanley loves snow, attention and turkey. The diva kitty, Katrina, will have none of Stanley’s antics and most certainly will not stand for him eating her food. The only reasonable solution is to take him to Kitty Court.

 I think there are a lot of kids out there writing great stories and maybe some kids who want to get their stories published. Felicia is a great example of a kid doing just that. She let me ask her a few questions about writing and being an author.

 Erik - Your book, “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets,” is a hilarious story about a cat and a dog who live in the same house but interact by writing letters to each other.  How did you get the idea for your book?

 Felicia - I got the idea for my book because I have attempted to write books about humans before, which didn’t go so well. I think I understand pets better than humans. I also kind of built the story around the name Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge and it grew from there.

 Erik – I love Katrina’s full name! This is a question that’s been on my mind ever since I read your book; because dogs and cats can’t write, how do they communicate by letters? Do they have a typewriter? A computer?

 Felicia - They found a typewriter in their basement, I still don’t really know how they type on THAT. Yes, they keep secrets from me.

Erik – They do seem to be very sneaky. What attracts you to writing?

Felicia - I think that it is a creative outlet that can go anywhere. Oh, and it’s fun!

Erik – Speaking of writing, you just completed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Can you tell us what that is and about your experience with it?

Felicia - NaNoWriMo is in November, and it is where you try and reach a word count goal. If you do, you WIN! I use YWP (the Young Writers Program) NaNoWriMo where you can pick your own word count goal, but the grownups just use regular NaNoWriMo, they have to make it to 50,000 words.  I have written Stanley & Katrina’s first and second book through NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org) and am soon going to be interviewed on their blog.  Happy Dance!  

Erik – NaNoWriMo sounds like a great challenge for kids (and adults) who want to write their story down. Which authors inspire you the most? Do you have any writing mentors?

Felicia - I think the authors that inspire me the most are Rick Riordan and all of those Indie authors out there. I actually do happen to have a writing mentor named Julie Grasso who wrote 2 books. She helps me edit and review my books.

Erik – I’ve read Ms. Grasso’s “Adventures of Caramel Cardamom” books. They are great! What do you want to be when you grow up?

Felicia - I would like to be an interior designer and write books in my free time even if I don’t have any free time.

To learn more about Felicia and “The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets,” visit her website at stanleyandkatrina.com.

 For book reviews and more, please visit my blog ThisKidReviewsBooks.com.

Creative Kid Thursday! Meet Kid Author Abigail Brand!

26 Sep

Have I got an AWESOME Creative Kid to tell you about today!

Meet Abigail Brand!

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I learned about Abigail and the great books she writes after reading about her in a local newspaper. I learned that she has written several books in her series  called “Hello Little” and that she hand-wrote, illustrated and self-published them! PLUS Abigail donates part of the sales of her books to a Local Hospital’s NICU center!  (Told you she is awesome :) )
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I asked Abigail if she would answer some interview questions.
Erik – How old are you and in what grade?
Abigail – I’m 8 years old and I’m in 3rd grade.
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Erik – How did you get the idea for your first book and when did you write it?2012-01-24_19-52-39_455
Abigail – I wrote my first published book when I was 5. I had just turned 6 when I published it. I always have so many ideas for books. I had actually written my first book when I was 4, but that one is not published. For the first book of the Hello Little Series, I brainstormed a bunch of ideas that I had for another book and chose the one that I felt the most inspired by.
Erik – That seems like a great way to get ideas, Abigail! Can you tell us about how you decided to donate your profits to NICU hospitals?
Abigail – When my baby sister was born, she needed to be seen by the NICU. She turned out to be fine, but I was really concerned for all the little babies who need to stay in the NICU for a long time. I decided that I wanted to help and so I donate half of the sale of my books to Lehigh Valley Hospital.
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Erik – That’s awesome! I read on your website that you have raised nearly $900.00 for the Lehigh Valley NICU center! What else do you like to do besides write books and what do you want to be when you grow up?
Abigail – I like to play with my sisters, ride my skateboard, swim, read, and play games. When I grow up I want to be an elementary school teacher.
Erik – You are a very active kid! Besides your own, what is your favorite book?
Abigail – My favorite author/poet is Shel Silverstein and I really like the Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Park, but my favorite book of all time is Dr. Suess’s “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?”
Erik – I love Shel Silverstein too! Thank you for doing this interview, Abigail!
You can find out more about Abigail and purchase her books at her website http://www.hellolittleonline.com CLICK HERE and you can go there! Abigail’s website is really great. I found out she even has one of her books translated into Spanish!
You can follow Abigail on Twitter @HelloLittle and LIKE her on Facebook – click HERE.

Creative Kid Thursday! Meet Kid Author Emma Wosje!

25 Apr

Today’s Creative Kid has a ton of talent! Meet Emma Wosje, author and illustrator of the book “Red the Cardinal.”

Emma2Red the Cardinal

Red the Cardinal

By Emma Wosje

Published on Lulu.com by Emma Wosje on January 31, 2013

24 pages – ages 5+

Red the Cardinal has a great message that kids and adults will love (and the cover art is awesome)!

The mean Mr. Oris, a horned owl, keeps stealing Red the cardinal’s food. Red is upset, and takes his frustrations out by makes things hard for a couple of house finches nearby. Red learns that just because YOU are bullied, doesn’t mean that you can bully others!

Emma was nice enough to answer some questions about herself!

mr90043940713.jpg How old are you and in what grade?

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Emma2

I am in 5th grade and I am 11 years old.

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mr90043940713.jpg HEY! Me too! Which do you like better, writing or illustrating?

Emma2

I love illustrating a little bit more than writing, because it has been easier for me to express myself and my feelings with visual art more than with writing. Writing is something that I am still learning to master and I am enjoying it very much! I have been doing visual artwork for quite awhile — in a pretty serious way, but I didn’t start to really get serious about writing until this year. For fun, my mom contacted a teacher to tutor me in writing and, I think, that has helped me to figure out how to express myself and my feelings in my writing.

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mr90043940713.jpg Well, you sure are good at both! What do you want to be when you grow up?

Emma2

I want to be an illustrator and an author of books about fun adventures and fantasy. If not an illustrator, I also love doing lots of different kinds of art. My favorites are sketching and 3 dimensional art. For 3-D art I especially like reusing recyclable items and using fabrics or clay to make my final pieces.

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mr90043940713.jpgBesides writing and drawing what else do you like to do?

Emma2

I love to read and go outside with my friends, family, and my dog, Duke. I also like to play many sports including lacrosse, field hockey, and running. I am hoping to be able to play lacrosse or field hockey when I grow up too.

mr90043940713.jpgHow did you get the idea for your book and to self-publish it?

Emma2

I was given this project in school to write and illustrate a book that had a moral as part of the story. The idea of bullying as the moral immediately came to me. After I wrote the book, my mom helped me create the published version of it. When it arrived in the mail in its published format, I decided it could be much more than just a school project. My mom and I decided we wanted to raise money for one of our favorite charities, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, and so I have been selling it and giving 50 percent of the proceeds to Lost Dog. That has been my favorite part — helping the dogs and cats find homes.

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I think it is totally AWESOME that you donate part of your profits to such a good cause! Thanks Emma!

Here is some more fabulous artwork by Emma.

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Find Emma’s book on Lulu.com by clicking HERE. Find it on iTunes HERE. Follow Emma on twitter @RedtheCardinal !

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