Happy spring everyone! Here’s my first walk in the woods in 3 weeks since surgery–and on the first day of spring! Took it slow but love my new pop up chair to doze in the sun when I get tired. Daffodils are springing up. Where flowers bloom, so does hope. My buddy, Star, also helped me get through a long recovery.
And it’s been a fun month since the illustrated hardcover of Unicorn Island released in February. Book 2, Unicorn Island: Secret Beneath the Sand, releases in 5 parts on Epic!, the leading digital library for kids 12 and under, starting May 10th. Sign up here to read it.
First, here’s some updated news!
I’ve had so many wonderful virtual author school visits this month and got such great questions from young readers, I thought I’d answer some of them here. Take a look!
Read a review by Author Lee McKenzie. “A delightful story that young readers will fall in love with.
What a fun review of Unicorn Island by a young reader at Reader Views. “Things were so exciting I couldn’t wait to keep reading to find out what would happen next!”
Do you love to read middle grade, no matter your age—like me? Then enter to win my 3-book giveaway below! I’m giving away 3 hardcovers of new books I fell in love with. Check out my reviews and enter. U.S. and Canada only please. 😊 Read more about these books.
365 DAYS TO ALASKA by Cathy Carr
One of my favorite books in a long time! I loved this book all the way through! I was hooked from the very start with Rigel fully embracing her Alaskan wilderness life and then to follow her challenges within suburban life. Carr does a wonderful job of showing us Rigel’s new suburban world through her eyes with a wild Alaska perspective. This is a poignant story about loss, friendship, and about being true to yourself–especially when it’s all you’ve got to hold onto, or at least you think you do! I felt deeply for Rigel especially when we see her so alone in this strange new world and her only friend a crow. This immediately shot me back to middle school where I was placed in a new school and also didn’t fit in and I’d sneak outdoors to be in nature. You can always count on nature to be there for you, and the friendship between Rigel and crow is written with emotional depth. I admit I teared up several times throughout this book! A story full of heart and hope. A bittersweet tale about coming of age–with all it encompasses: self-awareness, transformation, disappointment, sadness, and new beginnings.
MARY UNDERWATER by Shannon Doleski
There are so many things to love about this book. We follow Mary, the courageous main character, in her struggle to find her voice and break free of what is holding her back. She is an appealing character and her friend, Kip, is a fun contrast to her. The heart of the book is the unique and challenging adventure Mary pursues and how it transforms her to find the courage she’s always sought. This is a heartfelt story with light moments but also dark undertones.
THE BRAVE by James Bird
This was a beautiful and poetic story. We are deeply immersed in Collin’s point of view, a young boy with an OCD issue that isolates him. Yet, we see him come into his own once he finds where he truly belongs–with lost family. Collin is indeed brave and his newfound friend, encourages him. She helps him find his way and also the strength inside him to love and to let go when necessary. The mystical, Native American elements to this story enrich it with lyrical imagery and beauty. A story full of hope and a sense of home.
And in case you missed it, if you’re a fiction writer wondering how to create a world in your story you can sign up for my virtual class, Foundations of Worldbuilding for Any Genre.
Pearl S. Buck Writing Center
April 17th from 1:30pm – 3pm (EST)
All stories happen somewhere. Whether you write fantasy, dystopian, science fiction, or even about the “real world,” world building is key to creating a meaningful story.
I’ll share methods of world building that any writer can apply. From the smallest details to the rules of its universe, discover the way a considered approach to world building can govern the hearts of your characters and help drive your story.
Topics include: elements of world building, using world building to support conflict and tension, world building questions and resources, seven main areas that serve as the foundation for your world, and what to avoid in building your world. I’ll also share real-book examples to supplement my topics.
Hope to see you there!