Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Poetry

potter

For this week’s reading log, the Lil’ Diva had to come up with a narrative poem using certain literary devices–alliteration, assonance, consonance, personification, and simile. It is based upon a scene from the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Harry seeks out Dudley, and Dementors show up. Here is what we came up with together. Let me know what you think.

Sweltering, sticky summer day,
Taunting Dudley makes fun play.
Ickle Diddykins, popkins too,
Dinky Diddydums, to name a few.
Face like a pig, lumbering dude,
Always seems to give me ‘tude.

Whipped out my wand, I’d show him,
My anger bubbling beneath the brim.
Darkness raced in, blackened the sky,
Suddenly, all my happy thoughts died.
Dementors surround us on every side,
Dudley’s afraid, and so am I.

Kiss worse than death, memory gone,
Dreadful thoughts their touch do spawn.
Can’t use magic. What to do.
Spell’s not working, we are screwed.
Slimy hands gripping Dudley’s wrists,
Silver stag, he did persist.

Dementors gone. Magic saved the day.
Whimpering Dudley had nothing to say.
Life and death. This is no game.
Dudley’s looking pretty lame.
Problem is I’ll be expelled.
Gee, my life is really hell.

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Interview with K. E. Ormsbee, Author of The Water and the Wild

K. E. Ormsbee

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I was a huge bookworm as a kid, and that love for stories grew, as it so often does, into a desire to tell my own. When I was twelve, I began my first project: an epic high fantasy complete with hand-drawn map. I called my fantasy land Marladia, which I now realize sounds a little too much like marmalade. I only made it four chapters in before abandoning that very ambitious project, but ever since then I’ve been an avid writer.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I’ve wanted to write for children for as long as I’ve wanted to write, period. Growing up, I was deeply impacted by children’s literature. Books like Matilda, Bridge to Terebithia, and Charlotte’s Web—just to name a very few—influenced the way I perceived life, death, and myself. I wanted to write stories that gave young readers the same sense of understanding, hope, and camaraderie I took away from my own favorite books.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

Well, my only experience writing for “adults” was my short fiction creative thesis in college, so I’m not sure I’m very qualified to comment. I will say I’ve found it much harder to write my Middle Grade books than my Young Adult books. Which isn’t to say one process is more enjoyable than the other! It’s just that so far my YA projects have flowed much more easily and quickly. Does that mean it’s harder to write books for a younger audience? Maybe… But I think it’s always worth the effort!

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

Hearing back from young readers and their teachers. I was lucky enough to attend the NCTE Annual Convention last year, where I met some of the most gracious, compassionate, fascinating people. English teachers ROCK, and it’s such a thrill to send a signed book back to the classroom. And I could talk to young readers all day long. Last holiday season, I had a conversation with my cousin, who is in his teens and has long professed his hatred of reading. He was raving about Looking For Alaska and several other YA books he’d recently discovered. “It’s weird,” he told me. “I like reading books now.” I didn’t tackle hug him, because he’s too cool for that, but I was bursting with happiness after that talk. That’s why I write. For readers like my cousin, who just needed to find a book that spoke to him, a protagonist he could relate to, and a plot he could get behind. One book can change everything.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

The Water and the Wild is the story of a girl named Lottie Fiske, whose best friend Eliot is dying of a mysterious illness. In an attempt to find a cure, Lottie travels through a magical apple tree’s roots into a parallel world called Albion Isle. On her journey, she’s joined by a poetry-spouting boy with untouchable hands, a girl who can hear for miles in every direction, and a royal heir who can taste emotions. As Lottie and her companions make their way to the Southerly Court, where the one healer who can save Eliot is being held captive, they encounter many obstacles, including the sinister wolf-like Barghest, oblivion-filled swamps, and giant spider webs. It’s a story filled with poetry, adventure, friendship, and MAGICAL BIRDS.

What inspired you to write it?Water and the Wild_FC_ HiRes

In the summer of 2008, the image of a white finch in a green apple tree lodged itself soundly into my brain. I wrote down a description of that image, which would eventually become some of the first pages of The Water and the Wild. Then I wrote an outline of the story, which drew some of its inspiration from my love of fantasy, Shakespeare, English Romantic poets, and folklore from the British Isles.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Anywhere books are sold! Here are a few handy dandy links:
Indie Bound (http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781452113869)
B & N (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-water-and-the-wild-katie-elise-ormsbee/1119943015)
Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Water-Wild-Katie-Elise-Ormsbee/dp/1452113866)

What is up next for you?

Right now, I’m working on four projects. The first is a sequel to The Water and the Wild, which is slated for a Fall 2016 release. The second is my YA contemporary debut, Lucky Few (Simon & Schuster 2016), about a homeschooled girl and her neighbor, a boy struggling with death anxiety. The third is a standalone MG called The House in Poplar Wood (Chronicle, 2017). And the fourth is a Super Top Secret project that’s still under wraps.

Do you have anything else to add?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog! Keep on keeping on, and live long and prosper.

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Coming Soon!

dork

Check out Nikki Maxwell’s ninth diary in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

Nikki’s diary is up to the month of April, and springtime is sure to bring more wacky adventures with Nikki and her friends Chloe, Zoey, and Brandon!

whatever2The magical seventh installment in this NEW YORK TIMES bestselling series!

This time, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Beauty and the Beast. When Jonah angers the Beast by picking flowers from his garden, he becomes the Beast’s prisoner! Abby has to save her brother by finding Beauty, whom the Beast will surely fall in love with, right? NOPE. The Beast doesn’t like Beauty, so it’s up to Abby and her brother to match-make this reluctant pair and fix this fractured fairy tale before things get pretty ugly!

wings

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series soars to even greater heights with a new prophecy and five new dragonets ready to claim their destiny!

Daring mission… or deadly mistake?

Winter has been a disappointment to his royal IceWing family his whole life. When his sister, Icicle, runs away from Jade Mountain Academy, fleeing terrible crimes and possibly planning to commit more, Winter knows that they both need a second chance to make things right — if only he can find her.

Winter’s new clawmates, Moon, Qibli, and Kinkajou, won’t let him make this dangerous journey alone. They don’t seem to understand that IceWings, the most superior of all dragon tribes, can fix their own problems. When their search leads the dragonets straight into Queen Scarlet’s vicious talons, Winter is grateful to have some help. But even the bravest dragons can’t follow him to the Ice Kingdom, where he’ll have to face the greatest threat of all: his own family.

saint

She’s grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world.

Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last.

Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.

shark

Jack and Annie are diving into danger when the magic tree house whisks them away to shark-infested waters in this NEW adventure in the New York Times bestselling Magic Tree House series!

It’s a dream vacation for Jack and Annie—or is it?

When Teddy, a young sorcerer, offers to send Jack and Annie on a dream vacation, they can’t wait to go. The brother-and-sister pair wish for a trip to a beach paradise, and the magic tree house whisks them off to the coast of Mexico. Everything starts out perfectly as they raft around a coral reef. But then a hungry shark attacks! And their dream vacation turns into a nightmare!

Interview with Melissa Abramovitz, author of ‘Helping Herbie Hedgehog’

0799Melissa Abramovitz has been a freelance writer/author for 30 years and specializes in writing nonfiction magazine articles and books for all age groups. She is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 40 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, several children’s picture books, and a book for writers titled A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines.  Melissa graduated from the University of California San Diego with a degree in psychology and is also a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a member of SCBWI, NABE, and The Working Writer’s Club. Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com  

Thank you for joining us today, Melissa. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself? I’ve been writing professionally for about thirty years and love being a writer. Most of the work I do is writing books for educational book publishers, but I also write magazine articles for all age groups, some fiction, poetry, and children’s picture books. So I’m what you call an eclectic writer since I don’t stick to one type of writing or one genre. In addition to working full-time as a writer, I enjoy volunteering regularly at my local animal shelter – yes, I’m an animal lover and really enjoy doing something that makes a tiny positive difference in the world. And I spend as much time as possible with my family. I have two grown sons and three beautiful grandchildren! 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug? I have enjoyed writing all my life. As a child I used to write stories and poems all the time, and the first thing I ever had published was a poem I wrote when I was in high school. The poem won some sort of competition and was featured in a local school district publication. Believe it or not, I even enjoyed writing term papers in high school and college because I liked finding new ways to express myself through writing. But I never envisioned having a career as a writer until later on. I got my degree in psychology and planned to become a clinical psychologist, but that never came to be. When my children were small, I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom, and I decided to take a writing class to explore the possibility of starting a part-time career in writing that I could fit in around my main role as a mom/homemaker. I sold the first magazine article I submitted to a publisher, and I was on my way! But it wasn’t all smooth sailing – like all writers, I received and still receive lots of rejections. But being a writer has proven to be a perfect career for me. 

HHH9x150Why did you decide to write stories for children? The first writing course I took was through the Institute of Children’s Literature, so I learned a lot about writing for children through that class. I also write for adults, and enjoy that too, but there is something very special about writing for kids. Not only do I like creating stories and books that kids will want to read, but writing for children has restored my child-like wonder about the world because it helps me see the world through childrens’ eyes. 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience? Absolutely. Some people think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s much more difficult than writing for adults is. Every word and idea must be age-appropriate for children. The word counts for childrens’ books and magazine articles are typically much more stringent than for adults, and this is also challenging. It is incredibly difficult to present a story or nonfiction piece in 100 to 500 words, which is a typical length for young children. 

What is your favorite part of writing for young people? I really like knowing that something I wrote has the potential to get kids excited about reading or that it can motivate them to become better people or do something good in the world. 

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about? Helping Herbie Hedgehog is an interactive picture book/early chapter book about a clueless hedgehog who needs help figuring out how to get places and go about doing other things in his day like chores, shopping, exercising, and other activities. Amusing rhymes invite kids to help Herbie make decisions such as whether to ride his bicycle or take a sailing ship across the ocean, or whether he should buy a hat or a shoe to wear on his head. As the book blurb states, “Herbie has places to go and things to do. But he needs some help ‘cause he hasn’t a clue! If you’ll help Herbie decide what’s right and wrong, he’ll be busy and happy the whole day long!”  Recommended for children ages 2 to 7, Helping Herbie Hedgehog helps kids learn about everyday things while having fun.

What inspired you to write it? : Most of the books, poems, and magazine articles I write are educational in some way. I’m always looking for ways to make learning about concepts or other ideas fun for kids.  Many years ago, knowing how much small children enjoy being right, I got the idea to write a series of funny poems about animal characters that need to figure out how to get places and do other things. I decided to engage young readers in helping the characters decide what to do, given some silly choices. I ended up incorporating all the poems into a book that featured a single character, Herbie Hedgehog. 

Where can readers purchase a copy? It’s available at Amazon www.amazon.com/Helping-Herbie-Hedgehog-Melissa-Abramovitz/

and at the Guardian Angel Publishing website: www.guardianangelpublishing.com/herbie-hedgehog.htm 

What is up next for you? I’m always working on new educational books, and plan to continue to do that. I’ve also completed several more picture books and hope to find publishers for these books. I’ve been thinking that the best way to go about this may be to hire an agent, even though I’ve never used an agent before.  So many publishers have closed their doors to unagented submissions these days. So I need to invest some serious time in finding the right agent. And of course I’m looking forward to doing more promotions for Helping Herbie Hedgehog!

Do you have anything else to add? Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share information about Herbie Hedgehog and myself. I’ve been thrilled by the positive reviews and feedback I’ve received about Helping Herbie Hedgehog since it was released, and hope this book continues to be a source of laughter and fun for those who read it.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Melissa. We wish you much success.

 

Book Review: ‘Meditation is an Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids’ by Whitney Stewart

Meditation is an Open Sky banner (1)Title: Meditation is an Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids
Author: Whitney Stewart
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Format: Hardcover/Kindle

Meditation is an Open Sky 3Book Description: Feeling mindful is feeling good! You know when you’re having a bad day, you have that wobbly feeling inside and nothing seems to go right? Find a quiet place, sit down, and meditate! In this daily companion, kids of any age will learn simple exercises to help manage stress and emotions, find focus, and face challenges. They’ll discover how to feel safe when scared, relax when anxious, spread kindness, and calm anger when frustrated. Simple, secular, and mainstream, this mindfulness book is an excellent tool for helping kids deal with the stresses of everyday life.

My Thoughts…

Wow, this is a wonderful book for kids to introduce them to the art–and habit–of meditation. So many skills are taught in school…yet I wish this important one could be taught as well. The author has done an amazing job at explaining not only what meditation is, but also provided instructions on how to meditate depending on the child’s various moods–all in simple, straightforward language. The illustrations match the content beautifully, with soft pastel colors that are calming to the mind. I can’t say enough good things about this important book. If you’re a parent or a grandparent, I urge you to buy it for your little ones. If you’re a teacher, this would be a wonderful book to have a class meditation as a group. Highly recommended!

New Release: Something Like Grace by Anelise Farris

grace

Two sisters—Noah Blank and her younger sister Cali, both live in Middletown, Maryland with their parents. The story begins just as summer is starting, and the girls are ending school.

Noah has a dark secret.

Cali, who prefers to view life through the lens of her camera, neat and contained, documents the changes in her sister—hoping to bring help to Noah before it is too late.

In the midst of this, a stranger arrives in Middletown—a mysterious, young, vagabond—determined to help Cali overcome her fear of the world around her.

While Cali is learning to love, Noah is struggling just to live. This is a story of grace, of survival, and of the all-too-familiar struggles of an average, beautifully dysfunctional American family.

 

File Size: 500 KB
Print Length: 188 pages
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press (April 8, 2015)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00UPFP7UI

Purchase at Amazon!

Anelise Farris was born in the Deep South, and she continues to reside in the Lesser South area of Northern Virginia. Anelise is currently an Adjunct Professor of English at a few local colleges and a part-time bookseller at The Winchester Book Gallery. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from George Mason University with a concentration in Folklore, Mythology, and Literature, as well as a Masters from Mason in English Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Folklore Studies. Her research interests include children’s literature, folklore, horror and monster theory, disability studies, mythology, fantasy and science fiction, and major writers of Modernism, Existentialism, and the Beat Generation.

Anelise intends to begin working towards her PhD in English in the near future, but for now she satisfies her desire to be a student again by living vicariously through each of her students. Anelise lives with her husband and three beautiful children: a dog and a cat, Mulder and Scully respectively, and a kitten named Loki —all are aptly named, for the most part. When she is not teaching or being a student, she enjoys writing and reading (naturally), hiking, traveling (especially to literary sites), music of all kinds (playing and listening), and cooking vegetarian concoctions that she forces on her poor husband. Growing up in a family of eight and marrying a husband who grew up in a family of twelve, Anelise is continually inspired by the lives of people around her, the power of memory, and the quirkiness of daily life.