This is my response. It is based on a picture book manuscript I am working on at the moment, hoping to submit to a publisher soon. Fingers crossed. That story is based upon another 214-word story I wrote earlier in the year, which you can read here. All three are the same but different. I hope you like it.
The Big Black Horse
The riders considered the available horses. Fergal chose the big black, Valentina the silver. They mounted their steeds and entered the arena. Fergal cantered to one end and Valentina the other. They steadied their mounts and faced each other.
“Let the contest begin! Charge!”
The contestants galloped towards each other.
Nearing the centre of the arena, Fergal’s black steed balked, tossing him off. Valentina wheeled her horse around, dismounted and raced to Fergal’s side.
“You okay, Fergal?”
“It’s only a scratch.”
“I’ll get a plaster from Miss.”
“It’s okay. Let’s go again. Can I have silver this time?”
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.
I am absolutely delighted to invite Anne Goodwin back to my blog today. It is just over five years ago that her debut novel Sugar and Snails was published by Inspired Quill and I had the pleasure of her joining me to discuss the importance friendships — in person, virtual and in her novel.
At the time I had known Anne (virtually) for two years, but we’d also had the pleasure of meeting up in London (briefly) the year before when she revealed the (then still secret) book contract. I am honoured to count her as a friend.
My admiration for and enjoyment of Anne’s writing has only increased over the years. Since then, she has had another novel published and the publication of a third is imminent. I’ve lost count (she hasn’t) of the number of short stories she has published.
If you haven’t yet ventured into Anne’s writing, then now is the perfect time. During February, you can read the ebook of Sugar and Snails free. What a wonderful opportunity to get to know this amazing author.
Anne Goodwin is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Throughout February, subscribers to her newsletter can read Sugar and Snails for free: https://www.subscribepage.com/sugar-and-snails-free-e-book
About Sugar and Snails
At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.
When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.
As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose Simon if she doesn’t join him. She’ll lose herself if she does.
Sugar and Snails charts Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.
If you need a little more enticement, please view the trailer:
Find out more about Anne, or connect with her on social media via any of the links below:
Today, I am talking with author Pamela Wight about her new picture book Molly Finds Her Purr. I previously introduced you to Pamela when her first picture book Birds of Paradise was released in 2017. You can read that interview here.
The importance of being true to yourself and the acknowledgment of the strength of friendship, even when differences exist, are strong themes in Pamela’s books.
Birds of Paradise is a delightful story of two sparrows Bert and Bessie who discover that friendship can unite even for two with very different attitudes to life.
In Molly Finds Her Purr, Molly the cat discovers that a purr comes from finding a circle of friends, and that friendship can be strong despite their outward differences.
Both books are beautifully illustrated by Shelley Steinle who has added a secret character for children to find on every page.
I am delighted that some of my words of praise for Birds of Paradise were used on the back cover of Molly Finds Her Purr. I wrote, “Shelly Steinle’s illustrations are gorgeous and perfectly complement Pamela Wight’s lovely story.” I could say exactly the same in praise of Molly Finds Her Purr.
A little about Pamela Wight
Pamela S. Wight writes fiction for children and adults. She is the published author of The Right Wrong Man and Twin Desires, and pens a popular weekly blog called Roughwighting (roughwighting.net). She teaches creative writing classes in the Boston and San Francisco areas. Her first picture book, Birds of Paradise, published in 2017, was a finalist in the 2018 International Book Awards.
For more than one day, I have thought about what to write. I was drawn by the theme of empathy, of walking in someone else’s shoes, of being able to see oneself through the eyes of another, or of having the opportunity to heal past wounds, for one day. But I couldn’t quite get it. It was elusive, until I came across this video of Chris Rosati.
Chris Rosati decided that what he wanted to do most with his life was spread kindness. It led me to consider what the world might be like if, for one day, everyone of us, wherever we are, put aside our differences and spread kindness. Perhaps then, we wouldn’t need to walk in the shoes of another, see ourselves as others see us, or heal old wounds. Kindness would prevail.
It started slowly. First an outbreak in a school in central Australia, barely newsworthy. Then another in South America. A post on social media drew a few views but was largely ignored. When a third occurred in Western Europe, reports flooded news services. Soon, small isolated pockets erupted on every continent, and they multiplied and spread. The touch of a hand, a pat on a shoulder, the nod of a head, a brush of lips, the trace of a smile; all were infectious. The contagion was rampant. Random acts of kindness proliferated, and unbridled bursts of joy exploded everywhere.
Teaching friendship skills was always a big part of my classroom practice and many of the lessons I develop for the readilearn collection of teaching resources for the first three years of school also focus on the development of friendship skills; including:
In just a couple of weeks, people in many parts of the world will be celebrating Halloween. Even in Australia, where the festival has only recently begun to take hold, merchandise now fills our (mainly discount) stores, and children look forward to a night of fun, knocking on doors and collecting treats from family and friends.
The festival dates back two thousand years to its origins in what is now Ireland, England and France. Irish immigrants took the festival to America in the 1800s. Halloween arrived in Australia with immigrants and through its portrayal in movies and on television. Always looking for an excuse to party, Australians are ready to join in.
Originally, the festival celebrated the end of summer harvests and marked the beginning of the long dark northern winters. The festivities have evolved over the centuries with changes to focus and traditions.
I have always thought that adding a bit of fun to the school day helps the learning go down. If the children are going to be distracted by thoughts of their Halloween costumes and what booty they might score in an evening of trick or treating, why not harness those distractions and channel them into learning?
To combine fun with learning, this week I have uploaded three new interactive Halloween themed maths resources for use on the interactive whiteboard. The resources help to develop number concepts up to ten and are available to subscribers. As do other readilearn resources, they acknowledge that it is the richness of discussion occurring between teacher and children that helps to consolidate children’s learning.
This week I have great pleasure in introducing Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern author of Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa. This post is but one of several celebrating Jacqueline’s beautiful picture book in Romi Sharp’s Books on Tour. Please read to the end of the post for details of other posts celebrating Jacqueline’s work.
About Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern
Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern is a Canberra based author and the recipient of the ACT Writers Centre 2017 Anne Edgeworth Fellowship. Her debut picture book, Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii, was shortlisted for the 2017 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards and chosen as a finalist in the 2017 American Best Book Awards. Her second book in the Charlie’s Adventure series, Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa, was recently released. At the heart of Jacqueline’s books are an appreciation of travel and the uniqueness of culture. She endeavours to encourage her readers to learn more about the world, supporting an empathetic and inclusive community.
About Charlie’s Adventures…in South Africa
Charlie is off on the second of his adventures with his family … to South Africa! With his friends, Charlie is set on a discovery of different clues to uncover South Africa’s Rainbow Nation. Join Charlie and his family on their adventures across the world.
Sometimes we expect that all we have to do for children to make friends is to put them in close proximity to other children. We may see it happen at the park, in a playground, in a shopping centre, at school. Children are attracted to other children, but it is not always easy for them to make friends. We should no more expect them to get along than we would expect adults thrown together at a party, conference or other social situation to become friends immediately.
While some children are gregarious and will talk to anyone, others may be more introverted and less inclined to make the first move. But whether extrovert or introvert, children need to learn how to interact with others in ways that encourage friendships to be made. The development of social-emotional skills, including empathy or understanding how others feel, is an important part of becoming a friend.
Make friendship skills lessons an ongoing part of your program
Lessons in how to be a friend need to be an ongoing part of any class program. While many teachers allocate some time for getting to know each other at the beginning of the school year, it is important to maintain the focus throughout the year. As children mature and interact with others, they will encounter a greater variety of situations with which they need to deal.
It is not always necessary to timetable or set up specific lessons. Sometimes the spontaneous discussions before and after break times can help highlight needs and alert you to who is having trouble in the playground. These focused incident-specific discussions can help resolve issues and prevent them from escalating.
As new children enter the class, they also need to be introduced and made to feel welcome and included. It is important for the introductions to go both ways. New children have many others to get to know; the existing class members have only one, and it may be difficult for a new child to settle into established groups. It is necessary to establish procedures that will help a child settle while more permanent friendships are being formed. For example, friendship buddies could be allocated to show the child around and help them become familiar with school routines and behaviour expectations.
Establish a supportive classroom environment
One of the best ways of ensuring that children feel friendly towards each other is by establishing a supportive classroom environment in which children have a sense of belonging, feel respected and valued.
While a classroom is filled with a group of unique individuals, it can be easy sometimes to get caught up in treating them as one, with one set of needs, expectations and rules. Everybody do this, everybody do that—a bit like Simon Says but not always as much fun.
It is useful to pause sometimes and celebrate the uniqueness of individuals in your class.
Hans Christian Andersen was a prolific writer of fairy tales, many of which are well-known and have been made into movies. One of my favourite films as a child was about Hans Christian Anderson with Danny Kaye in the lead role. I was particularly touched by the story of The Ugly Duckling which Andersen told to a sad young boy whom no one would play with. You can watch the scene here.
The story is a great starting point for discussing individual differences,
I enjoyed Songbird Superhero, so was delighted when Karen approached me to participate in her blog tour. The fact that the book is about bugs may have something to do with it. As you saw last week, I am a fan of minibeasts, including bugs.
As soon as Karen announced the release of her book, I purchased an advance copy and was able to post a pre-review on Goodreads. This is what I wrote:
I loved Song Bird Superhero and wondered if a sequel could possibly match it. But with The Battle of Bug World, Karen Tyrrell didn’t just match it, she surpassed it!
This fast-paced page-turning story is packed with disasters that even Song Bird is not sure she can fix.
What is that nasty Frank Furter up to now? And what’s with the severe thunder storm hovering above his house? What’s happened to all the bees? And why has Song Bird’s sister
This month it is my pleasure to introduce you to Gregg Dreise, gifted artist, storyteller and musician. Gregg is a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Yuwalayaay people of south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales. He is a proud ex-student of St George State School. When he visits schools and is involved in festivals, he features the didgeridoo and guitar in his performances.
Gregg is author and illustrator of three award-winning books Silly Birds, Kookoo Kookaburra and Mad Magpie. A fourth book Why are you Smiling is to be released soon. All four stories are about teaching morals. They address friendship, kindness, tempers and bullying.
Gregg also illustrated Di Irving’s retelling of the classic story Tiddalik the Frog, and Elaine Ousten’s second megafauna picture book Megal the Massive Megalania.
In this post, I am talking with Gregg about his award-winning book, Kookoo Kookaburra.
Oh, here he is now!
Yarma – hello, I’m Gregg Dreise the author and sillystrator of Kookoo Kookaburra. This is a story about