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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Good Day Dear Readers,
The Queen here with a chapter book for older readers titled, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I adored this based on a true story fictional tale about a Gorilla who wanted to make a difference. This is a story adults will want to read with their children. After, take the book a step farther by checking out the links below and learning the true story behind Applegate's tale. There really was a silverback gorilla names Ivan, who really was part of a circus mall side show, and who really did paint pictures.

The tale of Ivan is beautifully done with a simple text and lovely drawings. However, there is nothing simple about the reality of what happened to Ivan, and other animals as well.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Author: Katherine Applegate

Book Information:

Publisher and date: HarperCollins; 1 edition (January 17, 2012)
Reading level: 8 - 12 years
Book Info: Hardcover: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction chapter book
ISBN: 978-0061992254 

Book Theme:
Friendships, helping, animal protection, zoos, circus, animal cruelty, promises, art

Book Summary
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.
Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Activity Adventures:

From the Author

When I started to write about the grim facts of the real Ivan's solitary existence, a new tale slowly began to take shape.  At least on the page, where anything is possible, I wanted to give Ivan (even while captive behind the walls of his tiny cage) a voice of his own and a story to tell.
For more about the book, visit theoneandonlyivan.com.

Research: Find out more about the real Ivan
Remembering Ivan Foundation on Facebook: See some of Ivan's real artwork.

Crafty Ideas:
All About Gorillas at Enchanted Learning: Find coloring pictures, diagrams, and information about these big wonderful creatures.

Writing Prompts:
Have you been to a zoo lately? Maybe pick a day in the near future to make a visit. Take a sketch book with you and draw what you see.

Pick your favorite animal and imagine what a day in the zoo might be like. Really put yourself in their paws, hooves or whatever. People come to watch you. Some seem to admire you, but there might be a few who taunt you, throw things into your domain. What about the people who care for you? How would you wish to be treated if you were that animal? Would you dream of someday returning home? Or would you be happy in your zoo home? Think about these things, then write a story about your conclusions.

Discussion Questions:
On what Katherine Applegate would like young readers to take away from the book
"I think we have a real obligation when we do have animals in captivity to understand their needs and to care for them as well as we can. Stella the elephant in Ivan says, 'You know humans surprise you sometimes,' and I hope that the next generation can surprise us all."

Talk about animals you've seen in captivity, such as Zoo's, circus's, even petting zoos. What obligations do we have to them?

Our cities are filled with urban wildlife. Do we have an obligation to them as well?

What about the pets you own? What obligations do you have in understanding and caring for them?

Authors Arena

Katherine Applegate's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, a picture book entitled The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel, Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.

Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the "Shopping Mall Gorilla." The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas, and was well known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumb-print.

Katherine lives in California with her husband and two children.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Young Chicken Farmers by Vickie Black

Good day dear Readers-
The Queen here with a fascinating non-fiction book for young farmers. Young Chicken Farmers, to be exact.  Vickie Black breaks down how to raise chickens so that children can understand. The book if full of wonderful pictures and easy to read details on what's required in caring for fowl. 

Since this isn't a book for pure enjoyment, or basic learning, I have no crafty ideas to share this week. Use this book if you want to teach your children about farming. The best way to learn is to let them do it. To enhance the experience, encourage them to keep a Chicken Journal of their discoveries each day while raising their own chicken.
Book Title: Young Chicken Farmers

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Beaver's Pond Press (November 1, 2012)
Reading level:
Book Info:Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Non-fiction picture book
ISBN-13: 978-159298555

Book Theme:
Raising chickens, how to care for fowl, types of fowl, aimed for young farmers.

Book Summary
Young Chicken Farmers: Tips for Kids Raising Backyard Chickens focuses on basic aspects of care from the time baby chicks arrive until hens start laying eggs.  The book has color photographs on every page of kids interacting with their pet chickens, and is best suited for children ages three to eight years old.

Activity Adventures:
Resources from Author's blog:
My favorite website is www.mypetchicken.com. They can ship as few as 3 chicks at a time. You’ll find all kinds of chicken supplies and an AWESOME variety of HELP topics.
Another great website is www.backyardchickens.com. Lots of fun stories and photos from other chicken lovers.

If possible, try raising a few chickens. Fresh eggs are wonderful and the experience children will get from learning to care for another creature can be life changing, while teaching them responsibility, compassion, and patience.

Authors Arena

Vickie Black is a wife, mother, and proud backyard chicken farmer. A resident of MN, she has a bachelor’s of science, a master’s of education, and works as a marketing consultant. The family got their inspiration for raising chickens while visiting a local pumpkin patch that had a small flock. Her husband Jason built their coop in the garage over the winter, with the help of their two boys, Brady and Hudson. The family loves the entertainment and fresh eggs that the chickens provide.