StoryADay in May

perfect inspiration for wanna-be writers out there!

Helen Ishmurzin

In my excitement to finally be calling myself an author, I seem to be diving into every challenge, competition and cooperation that I come across. However, with two children under the age of 5, one of whom is still at home full-time, I need to start being a bit more selective about what I take on, as there are only so many hours in a naptime and evening. So when I read about StoryADay I was determined to give it a miss. Then I had an idea for a new story and spent half of the evening writing a first draft…

I don’t think I’ll attempt to write something new every day this time around, unless the muse finds me, but for those who are in a bit of a rut, or who would like to become a writer and have no idea where to start, StoryADay is a great…

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Author Kathleen Burkinshaw With a Discussion Guide for THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.

One of the most timely and heart-wrenching middle-grade books I’ve recently read is THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw.  It is my pleasure to feature the Discussion Guide for this book that should be in every classroom.

 

THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM       

Discussion Guide: By Kathleen Burkinshaw

1.Do you have relatives who were teens during WWII in the U.S.?  What were there worries or fears at that time? Were they similar to what the Japanese children felt? If different, how were they different?

2.Did you or someone you know have to deal with a new step family.  Was it difficult to meld the two households together? What made it easier? Did anything that made it easier surprise you?

  1. Yuriko, like many of us, hated change. How would you have handled the news about her family secrets, if it happened to you?
  2. Why do you think the author chose THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM for her title? What do you think it signifies?
  3. Cite specific examples from the book that show how protective Yuriko was of her Papa. Why do you think Sumiyo came to mean so much to Yuriko? How or when does this change occur?
  4. What aspects of Japanese culture were revealed in THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM?
  5. Which cultural details interested you the most? Which details surprised you the most of life in Japan during the war?
  6. How do you think the time period that THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM took place influenced Yuriko’s personality?

9.What did you know about Hiroshima Japan during WWII, before reading THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM?

10.Does reading THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM change your view on using nuclear weapons in the future? Why or Why not?

11.List the Statistics of Hiroshima and state which surprised you the most? Which surprised you the least? Why?

Kathleen Burkinshaw would love to hear from you. You can email her through her contact page on her website: http://kathleenburkinshaw.com/#contact

For more information on what nuclear weapons could do if used today visit:

www.ICAN.org

Also, for more information on Hiroshima bombing please visit the Kids Peace Station of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum:

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/kids/KPSH_E/top_e.html

Instruction on how to make an origami crane, now a symbol of hope and peace:

http://www.origamiway.com/origami-crane.shtml

revised 9/2017

Agent of the Month – Zeslie Zampetti – Interview Part One

Writing and Illustrating

SEE FIRST PAGE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES AT BOTTOM OF PAGE.

LESLIE ZAMPETTI IS MAY’S FEATURED AGENT OF THE MONTH AND WILL CRITIQUE FOUR FIRST PAGES – START SUBMITTING.

Leslie joined Dunham Literary in June 2016. Previously, she was an intern for The Bent Agency.

A former librarian with over 20 years’ experience in special, public, and school libraries, Leslie has cataloged rocket launch videos and Lego rocket ship models, presented SEC documents and story times, and negotiated with organizations from Lexis-Nexis to the PTA. Her experience as a librarian has given her a distinct perspective on publishing and readers. A writer herself, Leslie is very familiar with querying from both sides of the desk.

Leslie graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in English and has a Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She is available to speak at conferences.

You…

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Mother’s Day Treats: Fast, Easy, and Tasty.

Here is a simple and nutritious sweet treat the kids can make for MOM on Mother’s Day or for any time you want to WOW someone with a TASTE SENSATION for little effort.

CREAM CHEESE STUFFED DATES are sooo easy.  All you need are some whole dates and cream cheese.  Slit open the dates length wise to remove the pit.  (see photo 1) 

Photo 1

Photo 1

Fill the opening with cream cheese and serve!  This not too sweet, but satisfying dessert will be a hit with Mom and the kids as well.  Doesn’t everything taste better with cheese?   2015-04-18 03.21.43

 

Serve a few with a cup of tea.  You can also try spreading other fillings  such as peanut or almond butter.  They make great party food as well.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

 

A Book Festival to Remember

Saturday, May 5, 2018, I had the joy of participating in the annual West Deptford Book Festival held at the Riverwinds Community Center.

https://patch.com/new-jersey/westdeptford/calendar/event/20180505/334125/west-deptford-township-book-festival

Here are some photo highlights of the day:

2017-05-05 00.42.10 West Deptford Student summer theatre group sang songs for the spectators.

2017-05-04 21.44.39

It was fun sharing the day with PB author Patricia Lugo, and watching the kids dance to a band, get balloon critters, and face painting.

2017-05-04 21.14.20      2017-05-04 23.47.47

Sold a few books, and met many nice people.  Thanks to all who participated and attended.

YA Author Jeffry Johnston Presents: Curriculum Guides For His Popular Novels.

YA Author Jeff Johnson is my guest today to tell you about his books and teacher resource materials.  Here’s Jeff:

FRAGMENTS (Age 12 and up): A 2008 Edgar award nominee for Best Young Adult Mystery by the Mystery Writers of America, and a 2008 Quick Pick For Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection by YALSA.   FRAGMENTS cover

From the cover copy: Ever since the accident, Chase feels shattered. He can’t remember that night, and everyone’s treating him like a broken freak. He just wants things to go back to normal. So when he starts getting flashes of memory, he’s relieved. He’s sure once he remembers everything, he can put the crash behind him and start over. But then the flashes reveal another memory, Chase starts to panic. He’s desperate to leave his ugly past behind. But if he wants to put the pieces together once and for all, he must face the truth about who he is … and what he has done.

No discussion guide was created for FRAGMENTS.

THE TRUTH (age 12/13 and older): A 2017 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection by YALSA, and a 2017 In the Margins Book Award Winner by Library Services for Youth in Custody (LYSC).     Thr Truth cover.png

From the cover copy: When Chris wakes up in a dark basement tied to a chair, he knows that he’s trapped – and why. Eight nights ago a burglar broke into Chris’s home. Eight nights ago Chris did what he had to do to protect his family. And eight nights ago a thirteen-year-old runaway bled to death on his kitchen floor. Now Derek wants the truth about what really happened that night. He wants proof that his little brother didn’t deserve to die. For every lie Chris tells, he will lose a finger. But telling the truth is far more dangerous…

Here is a link to the Discussion Guide Sourcebooks had me put together for THE TRUTH: https://cdn.sourcebooks.com/assets/downloads/discussionguides/TheTruth-DiscussionGuideFINAL.pdf
NDC-L-TruthAuthor-0203          Besides my two YA novels, I have also published close to 40 short stories. I have written hundreds of articles on various subjects including feature articles on theatre, and I worked as a theatre and film reviewer. My next YA thriller, FOLLOWING, is due out Feb 5, 2019 from Sourcebooks.

ODE TO A TREE: A Poem in Celebration.

ONE TREE  

by Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Spring

Sprouting, twirling, leaves unfurling.

Nesting, winging, songbirds singing.

Racing, thumping, rabbits bumping.

Eating, dancing, folks romancing.

 Summer

Bursting, flowing, blossoms blowing.

Chirping, scratching, fledglings hatching.

Building, peeling, grey squirrels stealing.  

Climbing, swaying, children playing.

Autumn

Shedding, floating, oak leaves coating.  

Crawling, bunching, insects munching.

Searching, stocking, downies knocking.

Raking, dumping, leaf pile jumping.

Winter

 Whipping, flapping, branches snapping.

 Swooping, howling, horned owls prowling.

 Puffing, cracking, blue jays snacking.

Freezing, dripping, ice spears gripping.

 

Sleeping, waiting, tree creating.

oak leaves