Tag Archives: Creative Kid

Creative Kid Thursday – Review & Giveaway! – Vampirina at the Beach #VampirinaBallerina

13 Apr

Today is Creative Kid Thursday!

I have a packed full of wonderful post today!

First the Creative Kid of today is my sister Josie! Josie is a guest reviewer for a book she is head-over-heels in love with. After her review – stay tuned for a GREAT giveaway where you can win an AWESOME prize pack!

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for sending the copy and providing the prize pack!

Vampirina At The Beach (Vampirina Ballerina Series)
Written by Ann Marie Pace
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Release: April 4th, 2017, by Disney-Hyperion
Recommended for ages 2-6

Synopsis from the Publisher-When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night. 

With her signature poise, Vampirina and her clan gear up for a festive time at the beach. Keeping her ballet lessons in mind, Vampirina demi-pliés on a surfboard, leaps for a volleyball, and finishes each competition with style, even if she doesn’t always come out on top.”

What Josie Thought: I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Vampirina is a very cool girl. I didn’t know about this series until I read this one and I asked my parents to get me the others. I like how Vampirina is a ballet dancer but not a “girly girl.” I like how she puts dancing into the volleyball game! It’s cool that if you were just reading the words you would think it was a “normal” beach story until you see all the characters are monsters. 😉 Almost all of them – there is one “normal” family, but they turn out to be  werewolves – that had me surprised. The pictures in the book are amazing!

There are a lot of things going on in them. I think Vampirina is cute. I am excited that Vampirina is going to be a show on Disney Junior now! Plus – because Erik won’t let me enter the giveaway, I am going to go get my own Vampirina doll. :p

I want to give this book ten bookworms but Erik only has his thing going to five so I give it five out of five!


A week from today Josie will put all commentor’s names in a hat an pick one out at random to win ——


One winner receives:

  • Vampirina Ballerina
  • Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover
  • Vampirina at the Beach
  • plus a branded beach ball and tumbler!

 Open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

Visit the Official Site

Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram

Hashtag #VampirinaBallerina

About the Author

Anne Marie Pace (www.annemariepace.com) is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover, and has had stories, poems, and articles for kids published in such magazines as Highlights for Children, My Friend, Wee Ones, and On the Line. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and four teenagers.

Creative Kid Thursday! Tanner Walling

19 Jan

Hi everyone! Today on Creative Kid Thursday, I am spotlighting kid author Tanner Walling, author of Fury of the Storm.

Tanner was nice enough to write a guest post, so I’m going to stop talking/typing and hand the mic/blog-space over to Tanner. Take it away, Tanner!

Hey everyone! My name is Tanner Walling and I am a teen author and science writer. Erik asked me to do a guest post about myself, my books, and what I want to do in the future and I gladly accepted. So, here’s the post!


Here’s a little about myself. Outside of writing, publishing, and that kind of stuff, I maintain my science website, Science All Around, where I create articles and videos explaining science in an easy-to- understand way, since most science websites don’t do that. I’ve been writing for Science All Around for over three years. I also row for my school’s crew team, am a member of my school’s Model UN team, and enjoy traveling with my family.


Now, to the meat of the post: BOOKS! I write action adventure novels for middle-school (ages 10-14) and young adult readers. The general theme in my books is action adventure that often has a survival element to it. Think Roland Smith and Gary Paulsen with a bit of James Dashner thrown in the mix. My books are also very-action packed, which my readers seem to really enjoy. The current series I’m writing is my Fury of the Storm series, which is a disaster survival series featuring Isaac Tohver, a fourteen year old who, in each book, fights to survive the largest disasters nature can throw at him. Here’s the description of the first book in the series, Fury of the Storm:

A Category 6 hurricane of massive proportions.
One private jet carrying two teens and their pilot.
They weather the plane crash.
But now they must survive.

After Isaac’s plane is torn to shreds in a grisly crash that he’ll never forget, he’s faced with the disastrous realization that his plane has crashed over a mile from the shore and the only link from them to the mainland is a string of small islands so small the waves threaten to spill over and drown them beneath their dark crests.

Faced with either death or attempting to make it to the mainland, they set off on a grueling journey to make it to the mainland and be rescued in the largest and most furious hurricane the world has ever seen.

Fury of the Storm was the first book I ever wrote. I started it back when I was eleven, but really didn’t write it until I was twelve. Then, it went through editing and was published about a year later, in February 2016. The second book, tentatively titled Foreshock, is being edited, the third book is currently being written, and the fourth book is in the planning stages. For the future outside of writing, I plan to go into a science or technology field for a career.

If you have questions about writing, publishing, or anything like that, I’d be glad to answer them. You can find me online through the links below. Thanks to all of you for reading! I especially want to thank Erik for offering me the guest post!

Thank you Tanner for stopping by and writing this post!

Check out Tanner’s links below!

Website: http://tannerwalling.weebly.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tanner-Walling/e/B0136W8STI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tannerwauthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tannerwauthor/

Creative Kid Thursday! Monster Realm Stories by Nara Duffie

7 Jul

Hello Readers! Today Creative Kid Thursday is featuring Nara Duffie, a 13-year-old who wrote her first book when she was 10, and her second book when she was 12. Here are my reviews!

nara1The Monster Realm

Series: Monster Realm Stories Book 1

Written by Nara Duffie

Illustrated by Elisabeth Alba

272 pages – ages 8+

Published by Roam & Ramble by April 2, 2014

Synopsis from Amazon – “Medusa aimed her poisoned arrow right at Lillian …

Lillian always loved stories about myths and monsters–until she found herself inside one, fighting for her life!

Joined by her best friends, Katy and Maisy, Lillian must cross a sea guarded by Krakens and sirens, race through a dark forest haunted by elves and chimeras, and cross mountains ruled by griffins and rocs.

Where in this world is Lillian’s sister? Who is the mysterious boy with the stone medallion? Why do the monsters hold an ancient grudge against humanity? And what is the secret hiding at the heart of it all?”

What I Thought- This was really good! Nara has written a great debut book that kids will enjoy reading! The story did seem a little abrupt at times, as in the flow was a little choppy. Honestly, that didn’t really bother me so much, mostly because it was only a small thing on a wonderful first book. The setting she creates is perfect for the plot, and really brings the story to life. Lillian is a good main character, who must come to terms with what her sister is doing. Her two friends bring comic relief, while you also feel empathy for what they’re going through. The descriptions throughout the book really paint the picture for the adventure, just as well as Ms. Alba’s illustrated map in the beginning.

nara2The Three Worlds

Series: Monster Realm Stories Book 2

Written by Nara Duffie

Illustrated by Elisabeth Alba

382 pages – ages 8+

Published by Roam & Ramble by March 16, 2016

Synopsis from Amazon- “Lillian and her best friends, Katy and Maisy, barely survived their first adventure in the Monster Realm. Now they have only days to stop a war between the worlds, a war in which the mythical creatures of Lanodeka plan to reclaim the earth as their own.

But this time, the girls have to face more than dragons and griffins, sirens and elves, rocs and harpies. They discover the real power behind the war, a power that is using the Creation Stone to build an army unlike anything they could have imagined. Worlds are about to change.”

What I Thought- This book was even better than book one! You could see the growth as Nara as a writer from the first to the second. The characters are well-rounded and thought-out by this point, and we see them change in their mentality as the story goes on, most notable in Katy, who has become less of a girly-girl (although she’s still not a tomboy). Ms. Alba’s map is extended in this book, now taking up two pages – it looks pretty cool, and puts things into perspective. Nara has written an enjoyable conclusion to the Monster Realm series, leaving you feeling content and happy.

I give both of these books five out of five bookworms!


To learn more about the books and Nara, go HERE!

Creative Kid Thursday! Guest Review by Justin!

26 May

This is a guest review by Justin Doan, author of the blog justintalksbooks.blogspot.com, which features MG and YA books such as Red Queen, books by Stuart Gibbs, and includes his own personal thoughts about books. Feel free to check out his blog and leave a comment!

Summary: Benjamin Ripley, a 12 year old living your average middle school life is being recruited for a science academy, secretly a spy school. Oh it’s just another typical recruitment with a top-notch spy appearing in your living room after a long day of school. Ben has a “cryptography” skill and even though he bombs his SACSA’s (basically a pre-assesement in self-preservation) he’s kept in the school because of his “talent” for cryptography. Along the way he meets Erica Hale- the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, the best student in spy school’s history, and a legacy (she’s even related to all time spy legend Nathan Hale) But the introverted isolated Erica reaches out to Ben and reveals he has no skill whatsoever. Instead, he’s being used as bait for something called Operation Creeping Badger, a plan created by the CIA to weed out the mole in Spy School. Ben decides to hop on the train for one main reason: getting to spend time with Erica. I mean for three years she’s practically been lonelier than a rock on a deserted island and now she reaches out to a nerd like Ben? Not only does it bring us his coolness by a mile, but spending time with your crush is the best feeling ever. But is it worth if it you end up being dead? Follow Stuart Gibbs’s fantastic thriller through elaborate plans, midnight escapes, and lots of gun fighting as Ben and friends try to answer the question: Who’s the mole? Oh and try to not get killed in the process.

What I liked: Everything? But seriously, it’s just a well-written book. Humorous moments were weaved well into the diverse book. Lots of actions scenes, which of course you’d expect from a James Bond-esque book. I definitely liked the inclusion of a legacy in a book. I mean if you think about it any time you read about a private school there’s always someone “who’s great grand-father was the founder” or something like that. Not only is Erica’s deceased relatives the founders of the school, but the country in general has been at the mercy of their family. I could talk for about 10 pages of how this book is awesome, but I feel like there wouldn’t be any point to it.

What I didn’t like: Let me just start out with saying: the cursing. Yes, there are bad words in this novel, but keep in mind this: I talked to the author himself and he said that he only stuck in the various language because it could give some character to the book, to spice things up. He was advised to do so by somebody (an editor I think?) and so he did and he received a million hate comments for it. He’s removed all bad language from the rest of his books (unless you consider “stupid” “dumb” and “idiot” bad words) Another thing I didn’t like was the classic format for all middle grade books. While it varies, in MG if we’re talking about a kid and school it’s always: There’s a loser at blah blah school. Suddenly he catches a break and he talks to his crush. For half the book everything is really awesome with only minor flaws. Then there’s a huge conflict at the end. The ending is either “YAY! We made it!” or “Aw, we lost” I feel like I could explain the plot of this book at a general level using the normal MG format, and while it’s not bad, it’s just overused.

Final Thoughts: A really, really, really great book with some minor flaws but nothing enough to make it bad.

Rating on ‘the scale’: 9.5 out of ten

Why? Minor flaws but nothing major. Really a great books that keeps things exciting and fresh.

Related: Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs/ Playing with Fire series by Bruce Hale/ Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Be sure to go check out Justin’s BLOG! – justintalksbooks.blogspot.com

Creative Kid Thursday! Meet the Kid Author of Flying Pants: Lola James

11 Feb

Today I have a Creative Kid to introduce to you!

Meet kid author/illustrator Lola James!


Lola has written and illustrated a book called Flying Pants!


I got a chance to meet Lola in person at a book festival we were at. I picked up a copy of Flying Pants! and thought it was a great story.

Here is the description (from Amazon): “Flying Pants is a whimsical story about a magic potion gone awry and the pants that got away. Lola James is 9 years old and lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing, drawing, soccer, and spending time with her family and friends. She is also the youngest member of a local knitters group, and an honor student. When she grows up she would like to be an art teacher or a fashion designer. She wrote the book Flying Pants when she was 8 years old. Lola jotted down a few sketches with words on them and showed her mother who laughed so hard at how funny it was. Lola and her mother took the little book to her art teacher and Color illustrations on premium paper!”

Lola agreed to answer some questions for me.

Erik: What gave you the idea for your book, Flying Pants?

Lola: I have always loved art. When I decided to take art lessons, my teacher showed me some books she was illustrating. One day I decided to write a book and ended up with Flying Pants

Erik: Things you love are a great inspiration! You illustrated the book yourself, with help from your school’s art teacher. What did she tell you about illustrating?

Lola: If there is one thing my art teacher always tells me is that art takes time and lots of hard work, she never gives up and that is the perfect role model.

Erik: She does sound like a good role model. When did you know you wanted to write a book?

Lola: I love to read and draw. There are probably about 200 books at my house and each of them inspired me to write a book. My art teacher Missi also inspired me by illustrating lots of books.

Erik: What was your favorite part about creating your book?

Lola: My favorite part was obviously creating the funny drawings, and I have a really crazy imagination.

Erik: Yes, some of those pictures are very crazy. 🙂 Are you planing on writing any more books?

Lola: Yes, my next book may become a series.

Erik: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lola: When I grow up, I will definitely stick with art and may become a pastry chef.

Erik: Hmm… Did you know I review food too? 😉

Find Lola on Facebook HERE

Check out her Amazon Author page HERE

My Entry in the Susanna Leonard Hill 4th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

27 Oct

It’s the 4th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

Google Images

Google Images

Get ready for some great Halloween stories! You can check out all the entries in the contest at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE and mine right below!

The rules for the contest are (copied from Ms. Hill’s blog) –

“Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkinbroomstick, and creak.   Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!). Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Friday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT”

Now – onto my entry! I hope you like it!

A Halloween Errand (100 words)

© ray8 - Fotolia.com

© ray8 – Fotolia.com


The run-down store was deserted, except for the bored check-out clerk.

I searched the shelves for the trick-or-treat candy Mom wanted.

“Pumpkins and broomsticks,” a voice whispered.

Creeeak, groaned the floorboards.

Goosebumps crawled up my back.

Wasn’t the store deserted?

“Pumpkins and broomsticks.”



I turned.

No one.

“Pumpkins and broomsticks.”


My heart pounded.

Forget the candy! I’m out of here!

A hand grabbed my arm.

I spun in terror.



“I can’t find the pumpkins and broomsticks,” said an elderly lady holding a shopping list. “I’m going to a party tonight. Can you help me look?”



Creative Kid Thursday! My Review of Cave Planet by kid author Luke Meier!

17 May

Welcome to another edition of Creative Kid Thursday!



Yeah – yeah I know it’s Saturday, but can we pretend it’s Thursday?

I kind of forgot to post this Thursday because I’ve been busy…

‘Busy doing what’ you ask?


Well, maybe you didn’t, but I’m going to tell you any way. 😛




If you are wondering, Accelerated Reader is a program some schools use. You read books, take tests, and get points. The goal set for me by the school this year was 50 points – I got 1524.9.   Books have 5, 10, or 20 questions per book (depending on how difficult the book is). I got 97.2% on my tests as an average score. I took 180 tests equal to 180 books this school year (and yes I read a lot more books than that, but they weren’t AR books – that’s one of the problems I have with the program). For example, The Man in the Iron Mask (Unabridged) by Alexandre Dumas (AWESOME book by the way – one of the best I read this year) was worth 34 points and had 20 questions and Tom Angleberger’s “Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue: An Origami Yoda Book” was worth 4 points (TOTALLY STOOKY book) and had 10 questions. Tara Lazar’s “The Monstore” was worth 0.5 points and had 5 questions (another MUST READ book).
So now that I broke my old school record, I am going into retirement (just for AR – not reading 😉 ). I don’t want to have to worry if a book is an AR one or not anymore.

Enough with this silliness! On to my review of a totally fantastically magniful stooky book by a kid author!!!!

caveplanCave Planet: The Portal – Book Two
by Luke Meier and Joe Meier
99 pages – ages 8+
Published by CreateSpace on March 13, 2014

Summary- Leo and Bucky (his dog) made it back through the portal. Even though they are happy to be home they need to return to help their friends they left behind. But the portal won’t work and Leo needs to convince his dad that this crazy adventure is real and he needs his scientific expertise to help find a way to power the portals. The Buckies (a race of intelligent dogs) are being attacked by evil droids and they need the portals to operate so they can defeat the droids.

What I thought- Cave Planet takes off right where Book 1 of this series left off, but you don’t have to read the first book to enjoy the second. I interviewed Luke about his first novel “Into the Light: Book 1 in The Portal series – click HERE to go to the interview. Luke tells a great story! I love his idea about the Buckies, a race of intelligent dogs that his MC, Leo, can communicate with (everyone else just hears barks and growls). The plot to the book takes the reader from an alien world back to Earth and into outer space and Luke describes all the worlds wonderfully. I like that the  story has a couple of sub-plots to it, it makes it a more enjoyable read. Luke’s writing flows well and it keeps the reader turning the pages. The main plot of this story is tied up at the end, but Luke leaves the reader with a great cliffhanger and I for one can’t wait to read what happens next!

You can find Luke’s books on Amazon – HERE.

50% of the proceeds go to The Exodus Road, an Organization dedicated to fighting against child slavery and exploitation.


About the Author –
Luke Meier started his writing career in 2012 with his debut novel “Into the light” – Book One in the “Portal” series. With “Cave Planet” he continues the story of Leo and Bucky the heroes of “Into the Light”. Currently he is working on Book Three of the series. His writing is geared towards kids age 8-15. Luke is nine years old; he enjoys playing Lego, Minecraft and Football.

To learn more about Luke and his books, visit his website by clicking HERE.

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!


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

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!



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.


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! 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!


Photo Credit Wikimedia – Creative Commons License



The Teacher gets Taught a Lesson of Love

By Daniel Johnston


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 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.

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