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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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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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 

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.


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.


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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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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Hug Away

Happy #InternationalHugDay!

I hope you’ve hugged and been hugged today! 

#penguin #kidlit #chapterbook #parenting #environment #children 

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International Book Giving Day

Delighted to share this event!

2017 Poster Reveal –

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The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon SCHOOL DAY, vol.2 by Ellen L. Buikema – my review

This is a fun and educational story, with all the usual school issues touched upon, but not preached about. The characters are all various animals. When you read the story you will see the auhor made really good use of personification, drawing similes between the behaviour of children and animals in a funny way. The illustrations are simple, inobtrusive and helpful, and my daughter liked them. Each chapter brings us a different school day, but all are linked with an unusual friendship developing.

What kid doesn’t like going on a school trip and being with friends out of school? Placing the school trip in a museum, the author will certainly draw attention to biology and history, and using animals as characters helps the children relate and raises their interest in various animal species’ origin and behaviour. 

Baking cookies together with your friends, and chocolate ones on top of all? Another thing everyone loves to do. I enjoyed the little hints the author leaves for us to see the bully Boris has issues of his own, and the way she makes Charlie eager to treat Boris as a friend. Certainly encourages positive behaviour! When Charlie gets ill, every parent will recognize the phases, so the story lends itself to being read by the child alone or with a parent. 

The science experiment chapter reminded me of the rare fun lessons in biology and chemistry we did, and how much experiments and team work really help children learn about life and each other.

The interactive activities after the chapters are interesting, simple and fun, and children will definitely enjoy them. I was looking forward to predicting them!

All the characters are likeable and the book sends a very positive message, allowing for mischief, skirmish and curiosity as natural part of growing up. It is a clean read which promotes friendship and learning, which will certainly make me recommend this story to educators and parents working with children from about 5 to 10 years old.
This review was written for the Readers Review Room and deserves a gold bookworm.

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