Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Giants within

This is a poem which appears in the international antibullying ebook Inner Giant  created for an antibullying charity by educators from all continents. It is like a lullaby or prayer for a troubled child.

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Cherish

In this hectic world, where evil seems easier and kindness is considered a waste of time, I admire people who make the best of their daily lives, cherishing their time together and seeing natural phenomena in the little things, such as a simple, loving smile.

#kindnessmatters 

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Try! And keep trying!

It is always difficult to decide when you are big enough to do something, or if you are still too small. I believe it’s best to trust your heart, and also to listen to the advice of your friends and family, the people who really care about you. Those things combined should always tell you when the time is right.

And then you try!

At first, you may not succeed. Even the second time. But don’t give up, because you haven’t failed – you are still learning! And what a dull world it would be if everything worked all at once – there are so many wonderful things you can discover while trying and learning. Anyway, the way others do things may not even be the way in which you will do things! That’s the very beauty in life – finding your own way!

So, dear grown-ups, have the courage to try new things, and to let your children try things for themselves! They might just surprise you and be more amazing than you ever hoped they would be!

And dear children, do try! Keep trying! There is nothing quite as magical as finding your own way of doing things!

(From the Foreword to MIMI FINDS HER MAGIC)

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Learn to love your spikes

Everyone always talks about the magic that happens when a child reads a book or hears the story. I love it, too.

But you want to know what my favourite moment is?

When they finish the story and step out of it, bringing the magic with them into the real world. When they finish Alice in Wonderland and realize there is always more than one way of looking at the world. When they read The Little Prince and know the box can contain anything you wish – it is all up to us.

There are so many stories which can empower us all to be better and stronger versions of ourselves. May we all find them and spread that magic to the world.

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There are days when you feel proud

Today was the second day of school for my kids – both first graders, one primary, the other one secondary school. Still a long way ahead of us, but my husband and I are proud to have good kids, and all we can do is keep trying to do right by them, provide what they need and hope life, education systems, politics and money do not diminish their beautiful sparks which make them who they are.

Today was also the day I presented a very good friend and highly respected colleague with a paperback of my children’s book Spikes for Hank, after which she sent me a photo of her son reading it. It is the first book in English he is reading by himself, which makes me especially proud seeing as English is his second language. 

Today was one of those days at work which do not really make me happy, which make me wonder why rude and loud people always blackmail their way into getting what they want… one of those days when you either lose it or keep your cool. To be honest, I tried to keep my cool so as not to spread negativity even further. What makes me proud about this ugly part of the work day? I didn’t bring it home. It stayed where it was. 

Some days it works.

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DEAR DIARY by Susan Horsnell – new release

Karina Kantas has recommended me a new children’s book. The topic is battling bullying from an early age, and it is based on a true event. I thought some of you may be interested as well. Here is the info provided by the author.

DEAR DIARY,

Rebecca is an eleven-year-old girl whose father has taken a job in a new town.

This means she is forced into a new school.

Shorter than most her age, and not quite as intelligent, makes her a prime target for ongoing bullying.

The only thing she can trust in, confide in, is her Diary.

A story about the real danger of bullying which every child should read.

This story is fictional but based on a true to life event.

Buy Links:

EBook – Pronoun Publishing

https://books.pronoun.com/dear-diary/

Paperback

https://www.createspace.com/7478021

About the Author

I have written two children’s books during my career.

This is my second, dedicated to my nephew who took his own life just a few weeks after he turned twelve years old.

I have five grandchildren who are subjected to bullying, a coward’s way of displaying power over another and occurs at any age.

Hopefully through this book, both children and adults will learn how dangerous bullying can be. It’s not something which can be dismissed as a childhood ‘stage.’

My first book – Secret Beneath the House – is the story of two children left alone for the day. What they find under the house is another magical world.

I also write Best Selling/Award Winning Western Romance and Best Selling Contemporary Romance under a pen name.

I have been married for 43 years, have 2 married sons and 5 gorgeous grandchildren.

Hubby and I are retired and love to travel Australia with our caravan, our elderly Jack Russell dog – Caellagh (Kelly) and a very opinionated Cockatiel called Rocky.

You can take a look at my books through the following links:

Susan Horsnell Links

Blog: http://susanhorsnell.com

Web: http://horsnells.wix.com/susan–1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/westernlovin/

A.L. Simpson Links

Website: https://alsimpson79.wordpress.com/

Blog: https://alandvixen.wordpress.com/  

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1709862079031253/

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Everyone needs colour

Not sure if you’ve seen this video of Jim Carrey painting, sculpting and talking about what art means to him. All due respect to what he has achieved, I have never been much of a fan of his acting career, but this is a whole different dimension.

https://youtu.be/21CEOlBq2YI

So surprising and relatable. His words. His experience of art. 

ALL ART should be encouraged from an early age. It makes me so sad to hear people say Music and Art are unimportant subjects in schools. Children should be encouraged to dance, to draw, to sculpt, to write, to sing, to play instruments, to build… Creativity teaches not to destroy. It teaches empathy, freedom, understanding, acceptance, relaxation, proactivity, joy, sharing.

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FORTUNE KOOKIE by Jean Gill – my review

Well this was a surprise! Quite an unexpected turn of events in book 2. I read Left Out and loved it, so I eagerly awaited to read book 2 in the series. Mind you, even if you skipped book 1, you will have no problem reading this one.

The well-loved characters of Jamie and Ryan are back, along with a bunch of others – their families, friends and teachers. They have continued their development, and I relished the tiny nuances in character changes the author displayed. I was happy to see Kelly return, and little Sam’s addition to the cast is wonderful. Sorry to say little about him here, but I hate spoilers in reviews. Let’s just say he will put Ryan’s empathy to the test and earn your sympathies.

This time the story starts off with Jamie involving Ryan in yet another one of her projects. This time it involves saving her mother from her addiction to fortune-tellers, psychics and horoscopes, which mum spends tons of money on and hides from the rest of the family. 

Touching on very important issues of modern life, alienation, delusion, family secrets, fame searching, etc. the author could have just followed that storyline and her exquisite writing would have made it a great story. But she takes a risk and leads the story in quite a different direction, one twisting reality and magic, fact and fantasy, playing tricks with the characters and readers alike, which is a huge difference from book 1 in which the story revolves around their reality. I have to admit I hadn’t expected that, but I actually could not put the book down once Jamie discovered the power of her subconscious, and Ryan’s inquisitive nature led him into psychological experimenting with their friends. To put it briefly – keeping the story on the borderline between reality and fantasy is far from disappointing when Jean Gill wields the writing wand. 

Jamie’s confidence, instincts, intuition and strength will be tested in ways she could never have imagined, and yet – perhaps it is just the mind playing tricks on her, and us. When you set out to battle something and then find out that perhaps you yourself are part of it, it makes you question all your values, which is what happens to teenagers on a daily basis, even without the extra, paranormal challenges. As Ryan and Jamie search for a good career choice, it seems life finds it for them, just like the rest of us.

What I most admire is how the author weaves it all into a rich tapestry, leaving some to the interpretation (perhaps even to book 3?), and manages to logically connect issues such as young romance, hereditary faults and virtues, history, parental concerns, staleness in marriage, town traditions, tested friendships, science and magic, life, death and afterlife… and all this in a YA novel. Jean Gill makes you question, wonder, guess, feel, cheer for the characters. I want to know what Jamie plans to do next. I am interested in whether Ryan will manage to balance his intellectual side with his feelings. I wonder if Kelly and Gareth will remain together on their way to fame. And what of their parents, and Sam, and granny?
And on top of everything, was it all real;)? Shhhhh, no spoilers. Looking forward to book 3 and recommending this book to all teenagers, young adult readers, parents and educators, especially those with a flare for a bit of the paranormal in the normal.

This review was written for Readers Review Room and deserves a gold bookworm from this reader.

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MARGOT GETS AN UNEXPECTED VISIT by Lieve Snellings – my review

This book is a lovely approach to combining a children’s nature encyclopaedia of animals with a children’s story. 

Getting children to actually meet and communicate with Margot the Groundhog, thus being acquainted with forest animals, and also introducing the animal to human activities such as sports can easily be used in a classroom, or as fun reading for children who truly love nature. There is enough plot here for two separate books, so I do believe it would profit from being split into two parts or two books, and it would strengthen the focus of children on each of the aspects. The characters are lovely and children can relate to them.

Two aspects of the book give it that special flare – 1. beautiful photos of the nature and animals instead of illustrations (some are filtered and have additional sticker effects which the kids will find fun), 2. the obvious love the author has for nature and animals, and wants to convey that love to the children. The text is placed on the photos which sometimes makes it slightly difficult to read, but not so much it would deter you from the story. Considering the fact that the author is turning it into a series of adventures, this is a very promising start.

The overall layout and the intent of the book are commendable, and I can easily see it as a well-loved gift for any child aged cca 4-10 who enjoys nature and loves to discover facts about animals.

This review is written for the Readers Review Room, awarding the book the blue bookworm.

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Why kidlit?

​You don’t write a childrens’ book because you’re in it for the money. You write it because you’ve told this story to children before, you’ve talked to them about it, you’ve asked them their opinions, their predictions, their solutions for problems, and you’ve seen that gleam in their eyes when their hearts and minds open to life. 

Now I may have kept Spikes for Hank to myself and my little learners, but I thought ‘why not see if anyone else really feels it’. 

So when I receive a review like this, from someone who truly gets it as a parent and sees its potential, my heart smiles.

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