Post 3. Did you Know? The Anatomy of a Book…

Books can be quite complex… not just the characters within, but concerning the actual binding and making of a book. Each part of a book has a label. Getting to know these individual parts, such as the spine and casewrap, will help you appreciate their delicacy just a tad more. Complete with a gutter, headband, spine, block and endpaper, a book has it’s own little anatomy.

I think showing a diagram of the anatomy of a book in a school library will be both neat and intriguing to young minds, giving them a better appreciation of the books we so often encourage them to read and take care of. It might even spawn curiosity in the book publishing industry.

One thing is for certain, I know that I will showing a lot more love to my own books, as each part works together to complete that magic that is a book. I’ve already been particular picky with the treatment of my books, but now I can appreciate them and their uniqueness even more.

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Here is a great article with pictures to show the complete complexity of book design.

Post 2. Age Ranges for Books: Broken Down

I love the Harry Potter books in this picture… anyway… to the point.

Have you ever wondered about the divisions for young people’s literature?

Here’s a quick break down:

Children books are for: ages 0-8 years. This means that children’s books are just the standard picture books. Books that fall under this genre include chapter books, as well.

Middle grade books… wait for it… are for: 8-12 years (Which is still elementary and intermediate school). That means that a book that falls under the middle-grade genre isn’t necessarily appropriate for middle schoolers, who range from 11-13 years of age.

YA (young adult) books are for: ages 13-18 and some of these books can be in middle schools while most of them are in high school.

New Adult: ages 18-30. Some of these can be found in high schools and are in public libraries, as well, as are all genre’s of books.

The key reflection on this is that not all books are so easily categorized. It’s pertinent to know the content and various recommendations, as well as reviews, on the work. As someone who will be reviewing books and reading them avidly, it helps me to think of how a “middle-grade” book might be more appropriate for a high school or elementary student. It will without a doubt cause me to analyze the work and appropriate students for whom the books would best fit with. Perhaps this could be something you consider the next time you pick up a novel or peruse a shelf in the YA section of your library…

#amreading #yalit #books #ala



Post 1. Eight Reasons to Share Literature with Children

Have you ever wondered why we share literature with children? The biggest reason for me is because… it’s fun! Secondly, it teaches them to read, write, and think better.

Other reasons people commonly share literature with children is because:

  1. It’s fun, as I’ve said. It’s fun judging covers and experiencing the excitement of a new story, as well as the camaraderie that comes from fellow readers.
  2. Acquisition of language. The more you read, the more fluent you become. That’s why it’s so important to start children yearly, even as early as kindergarten, that way, the English language, or other languages, become natural.
  3. One of the neatest things it does is create empathy and connections. It enables us to feel what others feel and to connect with those who have gone through similar situations. We learn from others who can relate, and from others things we’ve never experienced like situations with. This gives us compassion and a slower rate at which to judge others, if at all. It teaches us to think before we act.
  4. It supports life-long reading. Start them young, and you’ll likely find that it’s not difficult and they in-fact love to read. It’s no different than saving money for college when they’re a child. Either way, you’re preparing them for success.
  5. Next up is for philosophical reasons. Children can question just as much as adults do, and reading can answer some of their questions on religion and society in a way that other avenues cannot.
  6. Aesthetic experiences. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s just a pleasure to see a pun or figurative language at it’s finest. Sometimes a phrase just jumps off of the page and lands in your heart. Sometimes the language just resonates with you in a way that nothing else has. It’s beautiful.
  7. One of the most important is that it develops the imagination. We need great thinkers and that comes by first having the ability to read and imagine which in turns produces ingenuity.
  8. It teachers others about culture in a way that is fascinating and relative. Not everyone is the same, and how well do we know it, but it’s being able to see those differences in a different light that sheds true understanding.

These are some of the many reasons why we share literature with children, all of which help create whole-some, well-developed members of family and society. As a reader myself, I will more willing to read books that I haven’t been willing to read before, as well as promote books that I otherwise wouldn’t have been passionate about. Reading, in essence, is a life-long skill with the power to shape our lives in every aspect, and I intend to share that with others.

By the way, here is a video from John Green about “47 Charming Facts about Children’s Books:”

#amreading #yaliterature #read #ala

CANVA – a Great Graphic Design Tool

Hello! If you’ve never tried Canva, it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to create a variety of stylish and effective products. Many use it for social media, such as stickers, banners, and labels, while others use it for brochures, menus, info-graphics, and even book covers!

It’s user-friendly and has a lot to offer.    #grahpicdesign #writerslife

Image result for CANVA

Book Review 1. In a Dark, Dark Wood

The first book I am reviewing is for adults. Most of the books I will be reviewing on here will be for young adults and children, but I just finished this one and thought I’d kick off my reviews with In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

This is a psychological thriller full of mystery. Our main character is Nora who decides to go to a hen for her once best-friend, Clare. The only thing is, they haven’t spoken in over ten years, having left an unsettled past behind them. Upon going to this hen despite her best wishes, she finds herself in the company of various strangers and it’s not long before things go awry and someone is suspected for murder.

Was it Clare, the perfect person in everyone’s eyes, even in Nora’s. Was it her over-obsessed friend, Flo, or was it Nora, who can’t remember exactly what happened the night everything went wrong?

I enjoyed this book. It was down-to-earth, easy to read, and kept me engaged. While I couldn’t relate to any of the events in the book, I could relate to the main character’s motivation for going to the hen as well as some of her internal insecurities.

Each character was well thought out and individual. And even though I had a pretty good hint as to who-done-it, I was still interested as to the how and why.

This book would be good for adults who love mystery and suspense. On a scale from 1-5, 1 being the least and 5 being the most adored or enjoyed, I’d give this book a 4.

The last note I have for this book and as a warning, it does have a fare amount of language. I simply choose to ignore that, but in truth, I really didn’t enjoy that factor.

You can find her website here:


Writing Tip – Put Figurative Language in your Arsenal

Have you ever wanted to write, but just wasn’t feeling it? That has been me for quiet some time. I fell in love with writing but over the last year or more, my writing hasn’t really sparked much joy; it’s been more like work. I would tell myself to do it because I loved it, but I wasn’t doing it because I felt in love with it.

I recently took a state exam for English and even though I already knew this, I kept reading sections in my study guide that said something like this: Great writers use figurative language in their work, language like similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, etc. I’ve taught English and would help students identify and analyze figurative language, but I never mindfully tried to incorporate it in my own work.

So, one evening when I sat down to do some writing, I took an old passage that was rather thin (small paragraphs) and said to myself: “Okay, let’s redo this using that figurative language that great writers use.” The effects were huge. My writing went from skimpy in quantity to actually having much more substance. I even found myself enjoying the process so much more and looking forward to getting back into it. I could feel myself falling in love again.

It’s not that I didn’t try to employ all of the five senses as well as balance the amount of showing and telling, but my writing just didn’t feel… alive. Needless to say, after mindfully using the various literary elements I’ve had in my arsenal for so long, my writing has that spark again.

If you haven’t been already doing this, mindfully or naturally, you could always give it a try. You never know what it might do to improve your writing.

As always, Happy Writing.


Lady Mary ~ A Second Attempt at Watercolor

Lady Mary Illus.

I’ve never been interested much in art. I suppose this is because I figured, no, I knew, that there were so many others who were better than me. This is still VERY much true. However, I decided to give it a whirl when I knew I wanted to illustrate children’s books. Though a long journey of learning and error lies ahead, I have found it quite fun and relaxing.

The above image was my attempt to draw Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, which I completely recommend. Anyway, if this painting taught me anything, it’s that you can recover from mistakes (large mistakes). If you notice, the background is streaked and black. Before, I painted it a shade just bit lighter than her hat. Big mistake. From afar you cannot make out her cap that well. So, I went over it in black. Was this too a huge newbie mistake? Sure, I’m learning, but I’m still pleased with it; you can see some of the gold behind the black, and it turned out neat in my humble opinion.

I’m not saying I’m Picasso, or even a “good” artist, but I can say I like and enjoyed my trial and error painting of Lady Mary; I can go so far as to say that I am pleased with it. So, if you’re like me and up for a good challenge, give it a go. While your at it, you might like checking out: The Mind of Watercolor on YouTube; he has excellent videos on drawing and watercolor.

Happy Drawing!