Friday, April 18, 2014

20 Ways to Encourage Reading

I found this article and thought I'd share it with those who have reluctant trolls and dragons... Here's 20 Ways to Encourage Reading--
 Now for some ways to turn a young reader's reluctance into enthusiasm:

1. Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.

3. Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.

4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

5. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children's section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.

6. Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child's collection, or planning a family trip.

7. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.

8. Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.

9. Perhaps over dinner, while you're running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.

10. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child's skills and habits.

11. Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child's initial enthusiasm for books and reading.

12. Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don't feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.

13. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child's current interests.

14. Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.

15. Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don't have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don't try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn't like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.

16. Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books! Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.

17. Extend your child's positive reading experiences. For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow up with a visit to a natural history museum.

18. Offer other special incentives to encourage your child's reading. Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading.

19. Limit your children's television viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.

20. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family's busy day.

Source: RIF Parent Guide Brochure.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Duskey Rinker

Dear Readers,
The Queen here with a bedtime book sure to enthrall the biggest Monster Machine Fans. Boys and girls alike who are fascinated by the large construction site trucks will love this book that shows several trucks as they finished a hard day and get ready for bed. A bonus is that there are some fantastic activity sheets provided at the author and illustrator sites. Find links in the Activity Adventure section.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Author Sherri Duskey Rinker:                                                         Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Chronicle Books (May 4, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 1 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Picture book
ISBN: 978-0811877824

Book Summary
As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they'll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.

Activity Adventures:
Fun Stuff
Download the free Activity Guide for this book here.
Find a Coloring book here.
Print your own bookmark.
Find more activities here

Writing Prompts:
If you could be one of the trucks, which one would you be? Write a short story with illustrations about what your day would be like if you were a truck.

Authors Arena

Author: Sherri Duskey Rinker
Sherri has returned to her passion of writing to indulge her own children's passions. A graphic designer, she lives in Chicago with her photographer husband, a cockapoo named Quincy, several fish, a few hermit crabs, an ever-changing array of insects in jars, toys in every corner, and two energetic and inquisitive young boys: one fascinated by bugs and magic and another obsessed with trucks and trains. She's constantly inspired -- and often exhausted! She created GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE in hopes of happier bedtimes and sweet dreams for all.

This is Sherri's first book.Learn more about this author at her website in the link above. 

First-time author Sherri Duskey Rinker's Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site steadily climbed up the New York Times' Bestseller list throughout 2011, reaching #1 on January 29th, 2012. Here she shares the early inspiration that inspired a career in design, and how another artist brought her vision to life.

Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld's complete bio
Children's book author & illustrator Tom Lichtenheld writes for kids who love to laugh and adults who love to laugh along with them. His books have been featured in Newsweek and Child magazines, as well as the New York Times Best seller list.
He is available for school and library appearances.
See all of Tom's books and get a glimpse of how he creates them at

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cover Reveal for Bloodlust by Nicole Zoltack

Good Day Dearest Readers,
The Queen here with something a little different. Today, I'm introducing to you an upcoming New Adult epic fantasy book. The author has sent me her information, and I'm presenting it to you so you can look for it once it's released February 24, 2014.

I have to say, the cover is stunning and the description intriguing. I will most definitely add this one to my To Be Read shelf, the one I make sure my dragons stay away from. No scorch marks or dirty talon prints on my newest books, indeed.

I do hope you'll explore Nicole Zoltrack's book a bit more.
Until next time,
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Today, I'd like to introduce you to Nicole Zoltack! Take it away, Nicole~

Hi, everyone! Nicole Zoltack here and I'm so happy to share with you the cover for my upcoming release.

Isn't it just beautiful? And it's perfect for the story.

Here's the blurb for BLOODLUST, a NA epic fantasy romance.

In a world torn by prejudice and hatred, six races struggled for supremacy.


Barbarian-Princess Ivy is unwilling to allow her father to provoke the other races into war and forms an unlikely alliance with Lukor the goliath to save her people from utter destruction.


Unbeknownst to her, Lukor blames the barbarians for murdering his sister and plans on sabotaging her goal.


Almost despite each other, they grow to respect each other on their journey to decode secret messages from the trolls. But nothing Ivy can do will prevent the war as her father is blinded by Bloodlust and incites it himself. Not even killing him and becoming Barbaroness can stop the tide. And when Bloodlust claims Ivy, forcing her to kill everyone in her path, she must make a choice to destroy even Lukor, who she may have started to fall for and him in return.

The cover is so fitting, am I right?

The story will be released on February 24th. Ack! So excited. I'd love for you to share this and I'd even kiss you if you add it on Goodreads.

What do you think about the cover? The blurb? Does it sound like something you'd like to read?

Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially fantasy romance. When she's not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they're unicorns!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dress in garb. She'll also read anything she can get her hands on. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit her blog.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Heart of the Caveat Whale Trilogy by Precarious Yates

 Good Day Dear Readers,
Today, I have a series of fantastical books called The Heart of the Caveat Whale Trilogy by Precarious Yates.  This is a beautifully told tale which will take you from the the land of Aiqua Marrin and down into the watery world of the deep ocean where an evilness threatens everything that's good. 
Here's the Summary:
Aiqua Marrin, the world found in The Heart of the Caveat Whale books, is a world that is 90% ocean with numerous small islands scattered throughout and two large swaths of land, one in the tropics and temperate zones, one in the icy region.

Clans of aquavians live throughout the seas of Western Aiqua Marrin, mostly in the shallow tropical seas.

Deep in Loesheen Sea lives the MerKing, whose plans to dominate all of Aiqua Marrin become successful when he and his mermen take captive as many aquavians as they can. The once peaceful oceans of Aiqua Marrin are threatened, and all hope hinges on the prophecy that Shunda will rise and stem the tide.

Best of all, wait until you hear this!
For the first time, the each book of the trilogy is available for FREE download! This offer will end on Midnight of Wednesday, 1/22, so act fast! Click the links below to find the books.

 Author: Precarious Yates

Print Length: 334 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1478175125
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
File Size: 3430 KB
Print Length: 379 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B009H68R44
File Size: 2033 KB
Print Length: 364 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Precarious Yates used certain kinds of poems in her stories and has agreed to talk some about them. After learning more about these fun lyrical poems, try to write a few of your own.

On Yates website is more information about the ocean life found in her book for further study.

Doggerel: Nonsense with Meaning
There is an important literary devise that readers will often encounter while reading speculative fiction: doggerel. This is poetry that is either in rhythm or out of rhythm, in rhyme or out of rhyme and is nonsensical or ridiculous in nature. It comes from an old English word that meant “only fit for dogs (or puppies)”. Don’t let that definition put you off from this genre of poetry! Nonsense has its place and its importance.

Let’s consider of the most famous pieces of doggerel: Jabberwocky. This nonsensical poem is so famous that Microsoft Word recognizes ‘Jabberwocky’ as a proper word. There are so many words throughout this poem that simply make no sense. But in the nonsense lies the beauty. It’s almost a picture of what childhood is like, having to vanquish terrible beasts before the world even makes sense. But at least in Jabberwocky, the boy is congratulated and his win is honored as real.

In The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy, I have several doggerel poems. I inserted them into places where the story gets so emotionally intense that there’s need for a break. And therein lays the beauty of nonsense. In a way, it’s like comic relief that you see in movies. Nonsense releases some of the emotional tension. And then the nonsense, or comic relief, when used well, ends up deepening the emotion of the story.

In The Captives, book 1 of The Heart of the Caveat Whale, there’s a scene where the soldiers are overwhelmed by the screaming of their prisoners. Everyone’s exhausted after a battle and no one can find rest within a mile of this screaming.

Then a single soldier begins to sing a ridiculous child’s tune:
Unto the day we say
And bathe our feet in sand
and clay
And laugh at the rains that
ne’er stop
That tickle our chins until
we drop

How fancy a raindrop on birds who
On bird-of-paradise with flightless
On crops of sugar on leaves of
But not in my tea cup! says Father
Now I’m sure that if you’ve never read the book this poem is even more nonsensical. Just in the way that Lewis Carroll employed creatures from Wonderland in Jabberwocky, I incorporated the Ulys (Oo’ lees), which are the river dwellers in the trilogy. Incorporating elements from the surrounding story adds a unique depth to doggerel.

Aside from the silly songs, I also have some serious poems or songs. I wouldn’t consider a serious poem doggerel simply because it shows in the context of a novel. Doggerel is purposeful nonsense. And nonsense, when used well, has great significance!

Have you ever composed doggerel? Please share some you’ve written!

To learn more, check out these links:

 Author's Arena

Precarious Yates is a shepherdess living in the middle of the USA, 500 miles from the nearest beach. She hopes to live closer to the ocean soon. While in Ireland, she lived one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. Those landscapes and seascapes inspired The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates by Caroline Carlson

Good day, Dear Readers,
Aaargh! Ye book of the week is none other than The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot written by Caroline Carlson. I laughed out loud several times while reading this swashbuckling tales of a young girl who dreams of a life of piracy instead of having to attend a board school for girls where she will learn how to knit, feint, and dance. Of all things. The characters are enchanting, and the story will carry you along on a grand adventure.

Plus, there's some fun to go along with the book. Follow the links below.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Author: Caroline Carlson
Illustrator: Dave Phillips

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Publisher: HarperCollins (September 10, 2013)
Reading level: Age Level: 8 - 12 | Grade Level: 3 - 7
Book Info: Hardcover: 368 pages
Genre: Mid-grade chapter book
ISBN: 978-0062194343

Book Theme:
Pirates, Magic, Dream, Going after your dream, bravery,

Book Summary
September 10, 2013 
Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson's hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society.
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.
There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
Written with uproarious wit and an inviting storyteller tone, the first book in Caroline Carlson's quirky seafaring series is a piratical tale like no other.

Activity Adventures:

From Review
Pirate-iquette Tips: Brought to you by The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates and Caroline Carlson

PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #1: “A good pirate doesn’t run away from nefarious scoundrels—she confronts them.”
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #2: A pirate simply can’t abandon her mates.
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #3: Pirates aren’t punctual. Most pirates arrive for treasure hunts and mutinies fashionably late.
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #4: Pirates keep their word. All others walk the plank.
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #5: Sword fighting is the same as waltzing—just with a more gruesome conclusion.

Once you've accomplished these swashbuckling tips, download your own Pirate Certificate

Crafty Ideas: Be A Pirate
Make hats and eye patches and learn to talk like a pirate.
Writing Prompts:
Write a letter of persuasion to the VNHLP on why they should allow you to join their league. OR If piracy isn't your thing, write a letter to Miss Primm's Finishing School on why you would make a great pupil. Remember, being able to knit, feint and dance are all in your favor.
Here are some lesson ideas and printables that might help you with this.

Lesson Activity Idea:
Learn about Maps and how to create them.

Places you can get lesson ideas for teaching about maps:
National Geographic
National Education Association

Authors Arena

Caroline Carlson is the author of MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT, a funny and fantastical seafaring adventure for young readers. She grew up in Massachusetts and holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Caroline lives with her husband in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, amidst many stacks of books.

Want to know more, check out this interview with Caroline Carlson.

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Christmas Fun at The Castle Library

Good Day Dear Readers:
Two more weeks until Christmas is upon us. Oh what fun! I've found a few more places with fun ideas to engage your children in this festive season.

The Queen
(Who is all bundled up with her royal feet warming by a fire)

Here are more Christmas books...

Check out for more holiday fun!

15 Nativity Picture Books for 0-5yrs from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots.



Cute Gift Ideas:


10 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids over at 

Growing Book by Book. 


  And A Book:

Are You In a Holiday Play? This Might Be Fun!
"Emily Cat is getting ready for her big role in the town play! Her whole family is
even going to watch. Read along to find out if Emily will strike it big, or the
curtains will come down around her!"

 Find Emily Cat's Tale over at MeeGenius


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Reading Fun!

Good Day Dear Readers!
The Queen here wishing you a joyous season and Merry Christmas to all.

I have so many books stacked on my desk I wish to share with you, but with the upcoming holidays, I know you're interested in what's out there right now. So, instead of making my piles higher, I've sent out my knights and dragons in search of holiday reading and as they return with news, I will share links to places you can go to find books to help you celebrate this festive season.

Today, I've found one particular place that has a list of books just released this season.
 @Imagination Soup

At Imagination Soup, you'll find information about these books and even more.

Mother Reader has updated her 150 Ways to Give a Book for the Holidays. If you would like to find fun-filled ways to give your youngster the gift that keeps on giving: Yes, that would be a BOOK, then take a peek at her extensive and creative list.

Okay, now for something fun to do with the younger children. When I was little, we loved to make holiday decorations for our tree. These decorations lasted a long time and when I grew up to be Queen of the Castle Library, I was still putting some of our creations on my own tree. So, here are a couple of sites that offer ideas for simple ornaments children can make and hang on your tree.

Candy Canes- Easy and quick and little mess!

For older children, and using some of the same materials as the candy canes... Try Foil Christmas Angels

Check back again as we find more great finds for your holiday enjoyment.
Happy Reading!
The Queen

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dirkus' Story Debut- Jingle Bells Anthology is Here!

Hello Good Readers.
Nope, not the Queenie here. It's me Dirkus! 
Oh boy, oh boy, have I gots some exciting news. Some awesome-wasom news!!

Our own castle scribe, Jackie Castle, has written up one of my fabuloso stories and it's been published in an anthology. What's an anthology, you ask? Well, that's when a whole BUNCHES of scribes- some people call them authors- get together and put all their stories together into a big book.

Mrs Castle, renown scribe here at the Castle Library, has two enchanting tales in this Christmas anthology called, Jingle Bells: Tales of the Holiday Spirit from Around the World. And oh boy, some stories come from writers who live in the USA, some are from Australia, and others from the UK. Yep, they really do come from all over.

Not only that, but I must say, Mrs. Castle has drawn up a splendid picture of me that goes along with my story. Oh, and I'm supposed to also tell you she also write a story about Jack Frost. But who cares? I'm the star! And I think my story comes first. So there!

Oh, and another thing, Wiz Lexiconi says I better mention that he is also in the story. Even though the story is about ME. Not him.  I'm also supposed to say that Wiz Lex says he taught Mrs. Castle everything she knows.


Here's the important part I'm supposed to tell everyone. You can get your own copy of my... er, I mean, the anthology which is full of other stories which I'm sure are just as great as mine is.

Wiz Lexiconi says I need to stop bragging or the Queen wont let me chase the knights around the courtyard anymore. So, okay, I'll only say that you need to get this book. Not just because of my Christmas story, (Which is great by the way) but because all of the stories are really good and are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. Not only do you get stories but there's all kinds of drawings there, too. Mrs Castle says she will put the drawing she did of me here in this post. So if you want to, right click, save the picture and print it up to color after you've read my amazing, awesome-wasom story.

I'm gonna be sooooo famous. I told my big brother Rankus I'd be sure not to forget the little people like him. Ha... whatever.

Book Information:
Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit From Around the World
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date: (November 21, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1493739400

For a limited time, you can get the kindle version for .99 cents. 

Stories and drawings from:
Authored by Rebecca Fyfe, Emily Morgan, C S Frye, Ashley Howland, Theresa Nielsen, Kelly McDonald, Robert Fyfe, Jo Hart, Melanie E. Lancaster, Nicole Zoltack, Angelica Fyfe, Alayne Kay Christian, Deirdre Sheridan Englehart, Beth Avery, Cecilia Clark, Marissa Ames, Abbi Knight, Jackie Castle, Nancy Churnin, Kelly Vavala & Dani Duck 

Proceeds from this anthology and Teapot Tales go toward funding the Chapter Book Challenge coordinated by Becky Fyfe 

If you like these Christmas tales, you might also want to check out another anthology from this same group titled: Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales

Book Information:
Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales
Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date: (September 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492145173
ISBN-13: 978-1492145172

Although I'm not in this book, it's still a full of fantastical tales the both children and adults will enjoy. Two of which our favorite Castle Scribe has written.
Why, the Queen often reads them to us during her story times. You can, too!

Oh, and if you want to see more of our castle scribe's stories, check out Jackie's Scribbles site or The White Road Chronicles for a sampling of Mrs. Castle's other books. 

And here's the best part that I promised you... a picture of ME. Get your own Dirkus's Dumb Christmas coloring page right here. Enjoy. And go get my... er the Christmas stories book!!!

Happy Holidays!
(With the Queens help. She won't stop shaking her head and rolling her eyes. I don't know why.)

right click and save, then print for coloring fun

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Little Stinker by Stephen Sanzo

Good Day Dear Readers,
The Queen here this beautiful fall day with a new story by Stephen Sanzo titled Little Stinker.  You'll love the bright, retro illustrations along with a very real-life problem of dealing with younger siblings. They can be a real drag, can't they? Find out how one big brother deals with his pesky sister in this easy to read picture book.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Author: Stephen Sanzo
Illustrator: Mark Mullaney

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Cranky Pants Publishing (November 1, 2013)
Reading level: 4 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Children's Picture book
ISBN: 978-0975962718

Book Theme:
Sibling rivalry, big brothers and little sisters, being lost, love of shoes, patience, love

Book Summary
Cranky Pants is back--but much to his chagrin, his joyfully rambunctious little sister is along for the ride. "The Little Stinker never gets in trouble . . . has mushy oatmeal hands, sticky grape jelly hair, a runny nose, and smelly feet." When she goes missing in a department store, her big brother realizes that life without her just wouldn't be the same. Can he save the day? Little Stinker welcomes back the lovable, albeit cranky, protagonist from Cranky Pants and celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Adults and children alike will delight in exploring the book's vibrant, retro-inspired illustrations featuring 1970s icons like Holly Hobbie, GI Joe, and LiteBrite. Little Stinker is sure to become a bedtime-or-anytime favorite.

Activity Adventures:

Crafty Ideas:

Go to the Classroom Freebie site to print this

Story Elements Puzzle!

 First, fill out the questions according to the book Little Stinker.
Color the pieces, then cut out. See if you can put the story back together.

 Writing Prompts:
If you have siblings, make a book about them.Include a drawing, a fact page about sibling, then make a page about things you like and things you don't like. On the front, draw a picture of you and your sibling.

Discussion Questions:
There will always be good and bad things about the people in our lives, including parents, family, friends, teachers. We learn to overlook the bad and focus on the good, just as brother did when his sister was lost. He began remembering why she was important in his life, and how important he was to her. Talk about ways you can overlook the irritating things and love a sibling anyway.

Authors Arena

Author: Stephen Sanzo

When he is not writing children's books, Stephen Sanzo spends his days as the Chief Operating Officer at Isovera, a software/web development firm in Waltham, MA. His first book, Cranky Pants was a finalist for the USA Book News award and received praise from the Houston Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, and the Copley News Syndicate. Stephen currently lives in Arlington, MA with his wife and two girls. He has B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and is a member of the MBA program at Babson College.

Illustrator: Mark Mullaney
 Mark Mullaney is a talented freelance illustrator/animator who works with many kid-focused clients in the Boston area. This includes directing and lead animation functions for the Emmy-nominated (Boston) Drawing with Mark series.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Luminosity by Jackie Castle

  Good Day Dear Readers,
The Queen here with a special book feature. Our own scribe in residence, Jackie Castle has written the second book in The White Road Chronicle series titled, Luminosity.  If you read and enjoyed Illuminated, then you'll want to pick up the next book in this series to see what happens next.

Happy Reading,
The Queen

Book Information:

Publisher and date: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 24, 2013)
Reading level: 12 and up
Book Info: Paperback: 328 pages
Genre: Teen fantasy
ISBN: 978-1492818557
Author has enabled Amazon book match. Purchase a print book and get the e-book for free.

Book Theme:
Strong friendships endure time and distance, Finding your strengths and talents, facing your fears and running your race.

Book Summary
Alburnium is at war.
Eighteen-year-old Alyra’s joy of being reunited with her family fades when Prince Issah sends her beloved friends away on various quests across the kingdom. Allies must be gathered to stand against the dark ruler, Lord Darnel. The reclusive dragons happen to be necessary allies. Alyra’s friendship with the young drake, Crystal, offers a slim hope of being heard by them instead of being burned.

Alyra must travel to Drakensburg with her resentful brother, Ethan, a Messenger, who doesn’t trust her, a prankster Okbold intent on honoring his debt to her, and a unseen Guardian Instructor, who must teach her how to use the Illuminate’s gift before they reach the dragons' hold. Ethan has the words to persuade the dragons. Alyra carries the red fruit of the white tree to present as a peace offering. Until she finds Tarek, beaten and near death.

She must choose between using the fruit to save the man she loves, or the kingdom she serves.

As usual, I rarely offer activities for teen books, however, I will include a few discussion questions and if you have a reluctant reader in your life, check out the suggestions provided by RIF's parent's handbook on how to encourage readers, for ideas.

Discussion Questions:
1. Alyra now knows she has the gift of being an Illuminate. But knowing what you can do, and learning how to do it, are two different things. Discuss ways she learned to use her light gift in the book.

2. Now think about your own abilities. What are you good at? What do you think your giftings are? Not sure? Read the article: Being the Piece You're Meant to Be and then take one or both of the tests provided to see where your strengths are.

3. What are some practical ways you can learn you better your strengths?

4. Why do you think the author chose to use centaurs in her story? What do they represent to you?

5. Each of the characters faced obstacles in their quest. Do you find yourself facing problems when you want to accomplish something? Is there anything in the story that might encourage you to keep going?

6. Alyra's relationship with her instructor, Riyah, was troublesome most of the time. Why do you think Alyra saw Riyah the way she did? What happened to her when things started to change? Why do you think that was?

7. Are there things hindering you from seeing those put in your life who are meant to help you? What barriers do you think there are and how can you overcome them?

8. Do you hope Stitch will grow a beard as much as he does? Why do you think that's so important to him?

9. Why do you think being promoted is so important to Jerin? Do you think it will really make a difference in who he is? What are your thoughts about gaining status to help you feel more important, or worthwhile? Is that a truth or a lie?

10. What themes stood out in this story that spoke to you? Why do you think that was?

Get your journal and write down your thoughts about these questions, or discuss with others who've also read the story.

For parents of teens:

Ways to encourage teens to read...
  • Set an example. Let teens see you reading for pleasure.
  • Furnish your home with a variety of reading materials. Leave books, magazines, and newspapers around. Check to see what disappears for a clue to what interests your teenager.
  • Give teens an opportunity to choose their own books. When you and your teen are out together, browse in a bookstore or library. Go your separate ways and make your own selections. A bookstore gift certificate is a nice way of saying, "You choose."
  • Build on your teen's interests. Look for books and articles that feature their favorite sports teams, rock stars, hobbies, or television shows. Give a gift subscription to a special interest magazine.
  • View pleasure reading as a value in itself. Almost anything your youngsters read—including the Sunday comics—helps build reading skills.
  • Read some books written for teens. Young adult novels can give you valuable insights into the concerns and pressures felt by teenagers. You may find that these books provide a neutral ground on which to talk about sensitive subjects.
  • Make reading aloud a natural part of family life. Share an article you clipped from the paper, a poem, a letter, or a random page from an encyclopedia—without turning it into a lesson.
  • Acknowledge your teen's mature interests. Look for ways to acknowledge the emerging adult in your teens by suggesting some adult reading you think they can handle.
  • Keep the big picture in mind. For all sorts of reasons, some teenagers go through periods without showing much interest in reading. Don't panic! Time, and a few tips from this article, may help rekindle their interest.