Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Lesson plans at home;)

Spent the morning preparing for my preschool English lesson tomorrow on dinosaur digs. And it was NOT at work, but home. I am actually off to work soon, to teach adults and school kids. Not dinosaurs though;), more like business etiquette, future plans, writing film reviews… 

Just a normal #teaching day. Needless to say, my daughter can now sing the entire dinosaur song and recite most of the bones and some digging equipment.  

For those of you wondering if I did any writing, well, yes – this is it;) #motherhood & #writing & #teaching

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Magic

It is not usually like me to share videos such as this, simply because I feel them too much and can never go through even watching one without crying, but this one proves the power of good stories and the superpower of reading to and with other people, no matter their age. 

There is that intangible bond, sort of a special invisible bubble you create when you read or tell a story, which connects you and the person you read to (even if it is simply your own inner child). Then all else seems to fade away, giving you time, energy and even advice to help you face reality when you are back to it. 

Reading is magical. I know. I see it on the faces of my learners when we read or tell stories, I feel it in the air. It can turn a really bad day into a warmer one, for everyone involved. 

I can never emphasize enough how much stories, and art in general, matter. When we all create, imagine, sing, draw, sculpt, build, design… we are all better.  

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SOREN by D. M. Cain – my review

Soren is a children’s fantasy book for the preteen and teen generation, although I have to admit I read it in two sittings. Being a fan of fantasy myself, and working with students of all ages, I know this book will appeal to many. 

The characters are well-set, my favourites being Dash and Callista, and there are plenty of magical events and creatures to satisfy a teen fantasy fan (even some honouring the author’s commendable writing influences, I dare say). The descriptions are clearly laid out but not burdening the story, the suspense really written with feeling, rhythm and even a tease; ending chapters on a cliffhanger gets you moving immediately to “just one more chapter”. Having also read this author’s Phoenix Project, it is obvious that D. M. Cain has a natural knack of vividly describing action scenes, especially hand-to-hand duels. The language is excellent, not over-simplified for children but just enough of a challenge.
My favourite part of the book (except for Dash:) is how the author depicts the (royal) family – with past trauma behind them, and the fears of the oncoming prophecy, they are still that imperfectly perfect family of different kids, a moody dad and a slightly controlling mother.

I am glad the story has many possibilities for a sequel, as it is obvious Soren will soon have his followers, the rebel with a (special) heart that he is.

This review will also appear on Readers Review Room with a gold bookworm. 
Amazon link

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GUMMSHOES: MISSION 1 by Erica Gore – my review

Erica Gore has certainly become one of my favourite preteen writers. Having read some of her Taya Bayliss books, I was interested in the new Gummshoe series and it certainly does not disappoint.

This will be a review lacking favourite bits and quotes, as Gummshoes is a detective story and spoilers are the last thing I’d want to give you. But have no doubt – kids will love reading this short, intense mystery tale with a positive message. Erica Gore has once again managed to write a clean and fun read, incorporating bullying, family issues, sports and geeks, teenage crush and proper friendship into one. The characters are easy to picture (Olly is my favourite for now) and relate to (Frankie in the library reminds me of some children). Although the language is not too complicated (in fact, perfectly balanced for this age group), the author never underestimates the readers, providing them with dialogue, descriptions, sounds, smells and feelings which will draw them into the story just as effectively as in the Taya Bayliss series (if not better:). 

The Perfect Plan in the end brought a huge smile on my face, as a mother and a teacher, and I will definitely be recommending this teen detective story to my friends and students.

This review will also appear on the Readers Review Room, awarding the story a gold bookworm.

This book on Amazon

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New story…

​Just laid out the chapters’ plan for a new story… So exciting. I hope I finish by autumn. Fingers crossed! Illustrations prepared, storyline done, tuning it to verse… Not sure yet if I will use the rhyme version or the common narrative, but there will definitely be some mind puzzles as follow-up. 

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Why authors ♡ their characters – by Anita Kovacevic

Among several children’s books I’ve written (some published, some not yet), I do love all my characters. But today I will single one out. For family reasons, one might say.

Why I love Mimi Squirrel 

Mimi is a spoiled little squirrel who is an only child, accustomed to not doing anything for herself but to charming everyone else, starting with her parents, into doing everything. 

Although my husband and I have been blessed with two amazing children, my daughter was my inspiration for Mimi. Those two little ladies are proper divas, who bat their eyelashes, smile and cuddle, fight when necessary, and always get their way. Mimi’s parents, as my hubbie and myself, know very well their daughter is far too big, clever and competent not to start managing on her own, beginning with the little things. So Mimi, just like my daughter, faces the fact that she really must occasionally do what she actually can.

Mimi negotiates, tries her best to cajole others into helping her, till she finally realizes nobody is coming to the rescue and it is time to wake her own inner strength. And when she does, she knows how to truly cherish her success and share it with family and friends.

I love the fact that Mimi does all that, while remaining a child and trusting some magic. That is what I hope for our daughter, or better said, for both our children – to learn to fend for themselves, yet still preserve that magical inner child within.

Links for Mimi Finds Her Magic

Lulu      Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Kobo

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Why authors ♡ their characters – by Wanda Luthman

Wanda Luthman is the auhor or wonderful children’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. One of the cutest is certainly Tad.

Why I Love Tad, The Turtle
I love Tad, the turtle, in A Turtle’s Magical Adventure. I love this little guy because he’s cute and sweet. But, he struggles with a part of himself that he doesn’t like—his shell because it makes him too slow. We can all relate to Tad because we each struggle with things about ourselves that we don’t like. He goes on an adventure and meets other characters that struggle with being slow but have somehow accepted it. Through a series of conversations with them, he begins to consider that maybe it’s not so bad being slow. But, of course, he just can’t settle into it. He’s not ready. Just like us, others may tell us we are fine or even better than fine, but we still struggle with accepting ourselves. Not until he has an experience with almost losing his shell does he begin to realize how much he needs it. He then faces more danger and a new friend comes to his aid. He realizes that his worth isn’t in how fast he can be, it’s in accepting himself and others just as they are.
Wanda on Amazon

www.wandaluthman.wordpress.com 


Thank you, Wanda! Keep writing positive and educational children’s books!

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Why authors ♡ their characters – by Erica Gore

Erica’s books have been a source of joy in my house and lessons, and Taya is one of the most positive preteen heroines girls could have. Read all about why her creator, Erica Gore, loves her.

Why I Love Taya

Taya Bayliss (Taya Bayliss Mysteries) is the bold, daring little girl that I wanted to be. 

When I was growing up, I was a red-haired, freckle-faced child with a tendency to throw up when I was nervous. I was outwardly shy but inwardly adventurous. 

I wanted to know and to do everything. 

My favourite thing in the world was reading. Books fired my imagination and created new worlds for me to explore. I was the star of the books I read. 

Now Taya is the star of the books I write.

She has the adventures that I dreamed of having. She is a child who wonders about things and likes to figure out puzzles.  She can be a scaredy-cat, but she can also be amazingly brave, far braver than I could ever be. She has a social conscience that leads her to step in to help senior citizens, stand up to bullies, and to protect the environment. And she never throws up when she’s nervous. I like that about her

I also like that she is not perfect. Eleven-year-olds are rarely perfect. Taya tells the occasional fib, has sulky moments, and disobeys her parents. She doesn’t like closed in places or boys who pick their noses. (Yuk!)

Her best friend, Chris, would tell you that Taya has Chronic Nosy Parker Syndrome. 

I like that about her too, but I would call it a thirst for knowledge. 

Taya asks questions of the world. She is driven by the need to know things. She likes to know what makes things tick and what would happen if they didn’t. In my case those questions usually resulted in my being told to be quiet, mind my own business, or leave the classroom. For Taya, however, curiosity leads to interesting and exciting times. 

I love that Taya doesn’t live in a fantasy world, that she has no super powers, that she has no weapons. I love that she is clever and observant. I love that she snorts when she giggles. I love that she has a happy dance. 

I love that Taya Bayliss is an average kid – just like the kids I taught, like the kids who live in my street, like that little freckle-faced, red-haired girl from so many years ago.

And what I really love is that now a whole lot of young readers love her too.

Links:

www.ejgore.net

www.tayabaylissbooks.com

www.facebook.com/EJGoreAuthorpage

https://twitter.com/Eejaygee

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+EricaGore

Thank you so much, Erica. Go on creating wonderful books for kids.

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Winky the Penguin goes on an expedition


​”One day, Winky decides to leave his home and go exploring. He sets out on an expedition to look for colours! He leaves his home early in the morning, while everyone else is still sleeping and the night sky is just turning from black into grey.

Winky looks back at his home, sighs sadly, but bravely waddles on.

Winky walks and waddles and swims, and walks and waddles and swims for a long time. Then he comes to an ice block and decides to rest.

Suddenly…”

This is a sneak peek into my children’s book Winky’s Colours, which combines topics such as polar animals, environmental issues and even some romance. It is a chapter book with additional questions to help parents, teachers and children think about the story and what they would do. As a teacher and mum, I know very well how stories promote critical and creative thinking, empathy, problem-solving skills and imagination.

The book is available as ebook and paperback on LuluAmazon  Barnes&NobleiBooks and Kobo.

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Purpose

It is not very often I share someone else’s quotes here, but this one just nails it. This matters, this is what I want our children to grow up to and into.
Purpose. Period. No gender, no race, no divisions. Purpose.#kindness #positivity

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