Tag Archives: tween

Add the Book “Wonder” to your Tween’s TBR Pile!

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m Lisa Orchard the bestselling author of “The Super Spies” series and I’m here today to recommend an awesome book for your tween.

Back in March, I read the book “Wonder.” So did my son. There were many lessons in that story and my son and I got to talking about a few of them. It was nice to have that kind of dialogue with him, and I chalked it up to a bonding moment between us.

The story is about Auggie Pullman, he has a birth defect that makes his face abnormal in appearance. He’s been homeschooled his whole life, but now he’s being mainstreamed into a public school. It’s the story of how Auggie deals with his peers reactions to his disability. It’s heartbreaking at times and you really feel his pain.

It’s also triumphant, because Auggie never quits even though he wants to. He’s a strong “little dude” and his strength shines through.

This is an incredible story of perseverance, empathy, and friendship. Lessons we all want our tweens to learn. I highly recommend this book. The cover and blurb are below.

How about you? Do you have any great book recommendations for tweens?

 

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

“Wonder is the best kids’ book of the year,” said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

 

20111210_ABS_1296[1]Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on books by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. Her first published works are the “Super Spies Series.” These stories revolve around a group of friends who form their own detective squad and the cases they solve. “The Starlight Chronicles,” is the next series Lisa created with musical misfit, Lark Singer as her main character.

Lisa resides in Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the next book in the Starlight Chronicles Series along with a few new ideas that may turn into stand-alone novels. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

A Cauldron of Herbs

Scary halloween laboratory
A Cauldron Of Herbs by Christina Mercer

In honor of this Harvest/Autumn/Halloween time of year, I decided to stir up some magic for you. Plant magic, that is! Nature is quite amazing, and humankind has utilized its wondrous magic since our beginnings.  I became a Certified Herbalist many years ago, and when writing my first Tween/Teen books, I enjoyed weaving herb lore throughout them. In addition to herb lore, I had fun with Celtic tree lore to show the marvelous magic of trees. I used the (totally fun!) folk names for herbs and trees, and had my main character use plant remedies for wounds and ailments that she and her loved-ones endured.

A little trivia about remedies found in nature . . .

The Doctrine of Signatures dates back to ancient times, and was studied in depth in Western Europe. The idea was that certain plants resembled the body parts they healed. Also, the names given to certain plants correlated to their healing properties. Some examples:

Walnuts—resembles a brain and helps memory

Ginger Root—resembles a stomach and helps nausea

Kidney Bean—resembles a kidney and helps kidney function

Eyebright—helps with “pink eye” and other eye irritation

Bloodroot—has red sap and helps purify the blood

In addition, herbalists found that certain “cures” grew near “causes.” An example is Jewelweed, an herb used to heal skin conditions, which is often found growing near Stinging Nettles and Poison Ivy.

Folk names were the early names given to herbs, and often eluded to their healing function. Some names, however, are perplexing or quite silly sounding. In fact, some of these silly-sounding herbs were used in healing remedies and not at all the literal meanings that their names may have suggested. Here are a handful of some fun “Halloween-ish” herb names:

Lion’s Tooth—Dandelion

Graveyard Dust—Mullein

Bloody Fingers—Foxglove

Little Dragon—Tarragon

Bat’s Wings—Holly

So, this year, while enjoying the festivities, if you happen to hear, “In the cauldron, Toe of Frog; watch it bubble with Tongue of Dog,” you might just find a neighborhood herbalist brewing up an herbal remedy.

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Christina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. She enjoys life in the foothills of Northern California with her husband, sons, pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. For more about her and her writing, visit www.christinamercer.com

 

Spring In The Bees!

bee on flowerSpring is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, so in honor of all things blooming, I decided to bring a special page from my web site over here to the Emblazoners. Most Tweens I know have a healthy curiosity about the world and all things in it. One creature that should not disappoint in amazing curious minds is the Honey Bee. I’ve spent over a decade working with these fascinating creatures and am still learning about them. Here’s a bit of Bee Trivia that might surprise you as much as it did me:

* Lotta bees

There can be up to 80,000 honey bees in a single hive during the summer months. A queen can lay upwards of 250,000 eggs per year, possibly more than a million during her lifetime.

* Girl power

95% of honey bees are female. One is the queen and the rest of the girls are worker bees. These workers do all the work in the hive: cleaning, feeding and grooming the queen, tending to the larvae, guarding the hive, foraging for nectar and pollen, making honey and beeswax, heating and cooling the hive, basically everything other than laying eggs and fertilizing the queen.

* What’s all that buzzing?

Honey bees have 4 sets of wings that move at a rate of 11,400 strokes per minute, causing their buzz sound. They also use their wings to fan and cool the hive in the summer.

* They mind their beeswax

Honey bees have special glands in their stomach that secrete wax. They take the wax and chew it up to shape into honeycomb–hexagonal wax cells used to house larvae and to store honey and pollen.

* I have a mother, but no father. Say what?

Male honey bees, or drones, are born from unfertilized eggs. So, they have a mother, but no father. A drone’s only job is to mate with a queen, and once he does, he dies. Before that time, he wanders around the hive eating lots of food and doing nothing much else. They are quite large, with big eyes, powerful wings, and tiny mouths. And they do not have a stinger, so are virtually harmless.

* Let’s boogy

Honey bees use several types of dances to communicate with each other. A Round Dance tells of a new source of nectar less than 100 meters from hive, a Wag-Tail Dance tells of nectar more than 100 meters from hive, an Alarm Dance warns that poisonous food has arrived in the hive, and a Cleaning Dance is a request to be cleaned or groomed (sort of like the honey bee’s version of going to a spa).

* Timeless food

Honey is the only food humans eat produced by an insect. Honey bees visit 2 million flowers and travel 55,000 miles to make 1 pound of honey. Each worker bee can make in her lifetime 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. So, when you put a teaspoon of this liquid gold into your tea, you are eating the labors of 12 bees. Honey contains vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes, and it never goes bad. In fact, an archaeologist found a 3,300 year old jar of honey in an Egyptian tomb that was still edible.

* All the better to see you with

Honey bees have 5 eyes: 2 compound and 3 simple eyes. They have hair on their eyes and no pupils. They see one notch right of the color spectrum, meaning they see ultraviolet, but not red. Their compound eyes are best at detecting motion, so they will visit wind-blown flowers more readily than still ones. Almond trees have nectar that fluoresces under ultraviolet light to help bees know which flowers have food (sort of like a restaurant advertising for business).

* A plea for the honey bee

Honey bees are vital to our food production. Every third mouthful of food is produced by bees pollinating crops; 80% of our food relies on pollination somewhere down the line. We humans should do everything we can to keep these wondrous creatures alive and healthy. Setting up a hobby hive in your garden, eliminating the use of pesticides on flowering plants and trees, and planting nectar-filled flowers will contribute to a healthy population of honey bees and other important pollinators.

head shot image extra crop colorChristina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. She enjoys life in the foothills of Northern California with her husband and sons, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. For more about her and her writing, visit www.christinamercer.com

 

 

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The Inspiration that keeps Me Writing

 

20111210_ABS_1296[1]Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m Lisa Orchard the author of the best-selling Super Spies Mystery/Thriller series. I’m here today to discuss my inspiration for my writing. There have been many highlights for me during my writing career, but there’s one that really stands out.

Each year I conduct a writing workshop for a local girl’s group. It’s so nice to work with these young girls who are pursuing their dreams. They’re so eager to learn and it’s a rush to work with such inquiring young minds. Each experience is extremely rewarding and the main reason I keep writing. It’s good for the girls as well, to meet an author or an artist and realize that they’re normal people and not celebrities. It makes their dreams possible. I mean if this “normal” mom can write a book, why can’t I?

Their goals and desires become obtainable and this is what I want these young girls to realize, that they can do it with hard work and perseverance. Success doesn’t just happen to the lucky.

I want these girls to leave with that “I can do it” attitude when they finish my workshop and I feel like I accomplish it each time I do one. I want girls to grow up with the confidence that they can achieve their dreams if they “believe.” All the Emblazon Authors feel this way.

They want to inspire and motivate young people with their stories, so if you’re looking for some great middle grade reads, check out the Emblazon books. You’ll be glad you did! 😉

Thanks for reading my post. I’d love to hear what inspires you to keep writing. So leave a comment I’d love to hear from you. In addition, I’m pictured below  with the girls from the writing workshop I conducted a few months ago. I gave each one a copy of my book as a prize for participating. I must say these workshops are just plain fun! 🙂

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20111210_ABS_1296[1]Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then.  “The Super Spies and the Pied Piper” is the second book in the “Super Spies” series. Her first book was published in March of 2012 and it has received rave reviews.

After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side.  The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on a Coming of Age Young Adult Novel. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

You can find Lisa Orchard here:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Orchard/328536613877060?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisaorchard1

Website:  http://www.lisaorchard.com/

Showing Thanks

I love fall—the colors, the bite in the air, the smell of baking pies. There is something about fall that bri220px-Baum_1911ngs people together. It’s a time to snuggle up with a blanket and good book. Fall is also the season of thanks. The time we take to share with others what we are most grateful for. I want to express my thanks to a very special person who helped me as a tween.

I want to thank L. Frank Baum. Although he is long passed away, his presence is still strong in my home. I grew to love his books when I was a tween. Life was hard for me during those early years. I lived on my grandparent’s farm, miles away from friends or family. It was lonely and most of the time I wished I were far, far away.

One day I took my copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with me to the woods.Wizard of Oz 1015 I had created a fortress in a clearing next to a pond. As I read, characters would come to life and fill the empty spaces of those woods. Fairies would dance in the trees and munchkins would sing as they fished. Callidas would haunt the dark corners between evergreens. Magic existed. I had found my escape.

Every day I would sneak out to those woods and bury myself in another adventure. I was with Dorothy when she narrowly escaped the Wicked Witch. I was with her when she returned to Oz. I fought alongside Glinda as she rescued Ozma and Dorothy from the Skeezers. Tick-Tok, Scarecrow, and Jack Pumpkin Head became my imaginary confidants. They helped m02e deal with not living with my mom and the bullies at school. Baum created a world with his books that transcended the pages of reality and helped me in my time of need.

Today, I still have my collection of Oz books. When my wife and I became pregnant with our first child, I read The Wizard of Oz to my daughter every night before she was born. Since, we have read it numerous times. I am glad she has latched onto the love I have for Baum and his books. I hope as she grows up she can find lessons hidden in the pages. I hope she can find the magic and bring it to life.

L. Frank Baum is the first American middle-grade author. He struggled at first to 04get his books known, but once he did, he found they were loved by the old and young alike. Thank you, Mr. Baum for being one of the caretakers of children. You have truly written your words on my heart and I will forever be grateful.

Please take a moment this month to honor those authors whose books have helped you in some way. Take a moment to say, “Thank you.” Books can touch our hearts in more ways than one. I am certainly grateful for those that have touched mine.

-Mikey Brooks, author of The Dream Keeper