“Journey” by Michael Cottman

My journey to write Shackles From The Deep started when I was a boy growing up in Detroit and watching a popular television show called Sea Hunt, a 1960s adventure program about an underwater detective.

From the time I was a kid, I wanted to scuba dive and explore the ocean’s depths. And because National Geographic embraces adventure tales like no other company, this was a perfect publishing partnership.

I wrote Shackles From The Deep in a conversational way for young readers to share the story of the Henrietta Marie, a sunken 17th century slave ship. This is more than just the story of one ship – it’s the untold story about millions of African people taken as captives to the New World.

I traveled to three continents to piece together a trans-Atlantic puzzle. I reviewed shipping records and slave-ship captain’s logs in London. I retraced the route of the Henrietta Marie slave ship and scuba-dived the ship’s ports of call in Jamaica, Barbados, and West Africa.

During my research, I learned amazing things:  Today, the Henrietta Marie is believed to be the world’s largest source of tangible objects from the early years of the slave trade.

The Henrietta Marie is the only slave ship in America that has been scientifically documented and where more than 20,000 artifacts were recovered, including the largest collection of slave-ship shackles ever found on one site.

I also learned the shackles were discovered in 1973 by Moe Molinar, a black underwater treasure hunter who was searching for the Atocha, a Spanish galleon that had sunk nearly 400 years ago filled with gold, silver and $400 million worth of jewels.

Treasure hunters didn’t know what to make of these relics. Then in 1983, maritime archaeologists, intrigued by the mystery, revisited the site and came upon a ship’s bell. As they chipped away at the limestone encrustation a name and a date emerged: Henrietta Marie, 1699.

Beneath the sea, on the wreck of the Henrietta Marie, I ran my hands through the sand and held the tiny glass trade beads that were used by the Henrietta Marie’s crew to trade for African people.

The story of Shackles From The Deep also introduces young readers to the unprecedented partnership between members of The National Association of Black Scuba Divers (I’m a lifetime member) and white maritime archaeologists who explored the Henrietta Marie together for a common purpose and forged lifelong friendships along the way.

After all, the global institution of slavery is our collective history.

But because of slavery, it is nearly impossible for African Americans to pinpoint the origins of our ancestors.

We cannot always identify a country in Africa where they were born, let alone a city or village. We can only know they came from somewhere on the west coast of the enormous continent.

Are my people Ibo from Nigeria, or Fulani from Mali, or Wolof from Senegal, or Ashanti from Ghana? I may never know.

What’s important, however, is my appreciation for the African culture — my culture, too — and my need to draw strength from the African people who came before me and survived.

And we continue to honor them.

In 1993, I joined members of The National Association of Black Scuba Divers to place a one-ton concrete memorial on the site of the Henrietta Marie shipwreck.

The bronze inscription on the memorial is a powerful testament to the human spirit: “In memory and recognition of the courage, pain and suffering of enslaved African people. Speak her name and gently touch the souls of our ancestors.”

Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy
Author: Michael Cottman
Published January 3rd, 2017 by The National Geographic Society

Summary: A pile of lime-encrusted shackles discovered on the seafloor in the remains of a ship called the Henrietta Marie, lands Michael Cottman, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and avid scuba diver, in the middle of an amazing journey that stretches across three continents, from foundries and tombs in England, to slave ports on the shores of West Africa, to present-day Caribbean plantations. This is more than just the story of one ship it’s the untold story of millions of people taken as captives to the New World. Told from the author’s perspective, this book introduces young readers to the wonders of diving, detective work, and discovery, while shedding light on the history of slavery.

Critical Praise: 

“The idea of identity is at the center of this fascinating narrative nonfiction book…This truly multidisciplinary volume….engagingly explores a wide scope of topics, including the history of slavery, marine archaeology, and contemporary racial discrimination, culminating in a dive down to the wreck itself. Every bit of this concise, detailed book feels personal, and Cottman’s exploration and investigation of the wreck is rich with intrigue and poignant, thought-provoking questions.” -Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

“Cottman weaves his personal story of discovery with history of the slave trade, helping readers understand why a sunken slave ship from the 1700s still matters. His emotional attachment to the artifacts, including child-sized shackles, deepens the storytelling in this highly readable narrative.” –Kirkus

“Accessible and very personal account….(a) chilling exploration of the slave trade.” -Publishers Weekly

“Cottman’s personal journey, fraught with reminders of the trials and injustice his own enslaved ancestors must have endured, is compelling” -BCCB

About the Author: Michael H. Cottman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, is a former political reporter for the Washington Post. Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin and also the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his (adult) book The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a national multimedia project, “Voyage to Discovery,” an education initiative that focuses on the African-American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography. Visit his website at http://www.michaelhcottman.com/.

Thank you to Michael for his post and to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for providing the resources!

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Paint Me a Picture: A Colorful Book of Art Inspiration
Author: Emily Bannister
Illustrator: Holly Hatam
Published by Kane Miller EDC Publishing

Tell Me a Story: An Inspirational Book for Creative Writers
Author: Emily Bannister
Illustrator: Barbara Chotiner
Published by Kane Miller EDC Publishing

Summary: Paint Me a Picture equates color to mood, getting children thinking about the way they see and feel our colorful world.

Tell Me a Story lets children know that their words are important, that no matter the form, their stories are meaningful.

With simple rhyming text and accessible art, this book is a springboard for drawing and sharing stories, giving color to emotions, and kids permission to do, create, show and tell.

It delightfully, poetically, celebrates the joy and imagination in art in all its forms and inspires the storyteller in everyone.

Review: I love books that help students feel like they are artists, writers, or thinkers. I think creativity is such an important part of childhood and too often we are pushing kids to grow up too quickly and not learn how to be creative or we’re pushing kids to fit into a certain box instead of letting them think outside of the box. These books help kids see the joy in writing and creating. They celebrate creative thinking and writing and the colors of our world. They show how you can combine color and words to create something that others will want to read and see. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Sometimes all a student needs is inspiration to create a story or piece of art work. These texts are those inspiration. They help students know that their story means something. That their words are something someone wants to read. That color can mean something. That their color choices when making artwork make a difference but that all colors are beautiful.

Discussion Questions: If you wanted to draw a picture that symbolizes sadness/happiness/laughter/anger, etc., what color would you use? What would you draw?; What is your favorite color? What does it symbolize to you?; To write a story, you first need to start with an idea, a place, or a thing. What would you write a story about?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Loved: What Do You See? by Kyla Ryman, The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper, A Child of Books by Oliver JeffersThe Museum by Susan Verde, My Life in Pictures by Deborah ZemkeDoodle Adventures by Mike LoweryMy Pen by Christopher Myers, Mix it Up! by Hervé Tullet, Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds, Art by Patrick McDonnell, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, Seen Art? by Jon Scieszka, The Cat and the Bird by Geraldine Elschner

Recommended For:

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**Thank you to Lynn at Kane Miller for providing copies for review!!**

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I Am (Not) Scared
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Published March 21, 2017 by Two Lions

Goodreads Summary: Two fuzzy friends go to an amusement park. They try to convince each other that there are much scarier things than the roller coaster. Hairy spiders! Aliens! Fried ants! They soon discover that sometimes being scared isn’t as “scary” as they thought. With expressive illustrations and simple text, this giggle-inducing tale about (not) being scared features the endearing characters from the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small.

Ricki’s Review: These books crack me up. I have loved every book in this series, and they all make me giggle and giggle. Each book teaches an important lesson to kids. In this book, readers learn what it’s like to be scared, and why being scared can be transformed into something quite fun! I can’t decide which I like more—the writing or the illustrations. The characterization is beautifully done, and this wife and husband (author and illustrator) team is brilliant. I recommend this series highly to kids, and I also recommend it for use in creative writing classrooms.

Kellee’s Review: We are huge fans of Kang and Weyant books here at the Moye house. Our wall growth chart is from You Are (Not) Small, and I cannot wait to buy the plush fuzzies for Trent! I think that each of their books take on a pretty serious childhood issue (sharing, comparing, now fear) and talk about it in a fun way that still has a pretty clear lesson intertwined with it. This one is going to especially be one I read with Trent because as a three year old, he is just starting to really be scared of things, so it will be a really good discussion to have with him. If you haven’t read any of these books, I highly recommend getting all three–you will not be disappointed. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers will appreciate these books because they are great for use as beginning readers. Unlike some of the dry, boring beginning readers in classrooms, the books in this series use just the right number of words that will allow kids to read without getting incredibly frustrated. I’d recommend this series to both teachers and parents! I am happy to have all of the books in this series for when my own son begins to learn to read!

For more information, and to download a free activity kit, visit annakang.com, or download at: http://bit.ly/2mKbFWi

Discussion Questions: What are the two fuzzy creatures scared of? How does the writing work together with the illustrations to share the story?; How are the characters feeling on the last page? How do you know?

We Flagged: “I am not scared… Are you?

Read This If You Loved: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, That’s (Not) Mine by Anna KangScaredy Squirrel  by Mélanie Watts, The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

Recommended For:

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Giveaway!:

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About the Authors:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of two other books featuring these characters: Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small and That’s (Not) Mine. Christopher’s work can be seen regularly in The New Yorker magazine and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their Bich-Poo. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.
Twitter: @annakang27 @chrisweyant05
Instagram: annakangbooks; christopherweyant
Facebook: Anna Kang – Author; Christopher Weyant

 

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review!**

 

Brobarians
Author & Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Published March 28th, 2017 by Two Lions

Summary: This is the tale of the mighty Brobarians. Two warriors, once at peace…now at odds.

Iggy the Brobarian has taken over the land. Can Otto the Big Brobarian win it back? Or maybe, with a little help, the two brothers can find peace again…

This is an epic—and adorable—story of sibling rivalry and resolution.

About the Author: Lindsay Ward would never have written this book if she hadn’t stayed up late one night watching Conan the Barbarian. She finds the idea of baby barbarians to be very funny . . . and hopes you do too. Lindsay’s recent books include Rosco vs. the Baby and The Importance of Being 3. Most days you can find her writing and sketching at home in Ohio with her family. Learn more about her at www.lindsaymward.com or on Twitter: @lindsaymward.

Praise for Brobarians

“Highly cinematic, both in imagery and narrative soundtrack…Good and campy and a fine opportunity for vocabulary building.”—Kirkus Reviews

“As readalouds go, it’s pretty epic.” – Publishers Weekly

“Ward’s plot cleverly celebrates the spirit of imaginative toddlers, and her cartoonlike cut-paper collage, pencil and crayon illustrations playfully match the humor of the tale. A boisterous, silly picture book that would work well for story-time.” —School Library Journal

Kellee’s Review: This extended metaphor really embodies what it feels like to be a sibling. As the oldest, I can definitely remember times when I was younger and felt like I was in a battle with my sister for attention or cookies or anything that she had that I wanted. And through this metaphor of siblings as brobarians fighting over territory and bah bahs, hilarity ensues! Once best of friends, they are now at odds–who will win?!

Ricki’s Review: Ah, this book is the best! As a mama of two boys, I feel so lucky to have it in my collection. I read this one with both of my boys on my lap. My older son thought it was fabulous. He did a demonstration of some of the moves after we finished. My younger son pawed at the pages and was clearly enamored, too. I can’t wait until they are both a bit older. We are going to create paper outfits to match the outfits of the characters in the book. I highly recommend this book. I promise that you will get swept into the adventurous spirit of these two boys. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Publisher’s Weekly says, “As readalouds go,  it’s pretty epic,” and we would have to agree. In addition to the read aloud opportunity, there are opportunities for discussions about siblings to go along with a family unit. Brobarians brings to light the rivalry that siblings may feel against each other which is something that any child with a sibling may feel and may feel is not normal. Using this story, teachers can discuss what it may feel like to have a sibling and ways to deal with sibling rivalry.

You can also check out a coloring sheet and a map of Brobaria here!

Discussion Questions: Why are Iggy and Otto fighting at first?; What does Otto do to make it worse?; Who wins in the end?; Did you see the end coming? Who did you think was going to win?; How does the map on the end sheets help you navigate the story better?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Loved: Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion, Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Best by Stacy McAnultyWe Found a Hat by Jon KlassenHoot and Peep by Lita JudgeThat’s (Not) Mine by Anna Kang

Recommended For:

Giveaway! 

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for copies for review!**

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Short Novels That Packed a Punch

Ricki

I prepped my list before I saw Kellee’s list and A Long Walk to Water and Stuck in Neutral were on my list! DANG!

1. Once by Morris Gleitzman

Felix’s parents left him in an orphanage in Poland. Three years and eight months later, it is 1942, and he still waits for them to come back. He is Jewish, but he knows he is supposed to keep this a secret–although he is not sure why. When he sees Nazis burning books in the orphanage yard, he worries about his parents, who are booksellers. Felix’s naive voice is heartbreaking, as he doesn’t understand what is going on in the world around him. This is a powerful book that I would recommend to middle school or upper-elementary school teachers. All in 149 pages.

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus

This book is one part bizarre and two parts incredible. It tells the story of a senseless murder and the unemotional man who tells the story of how it happened. I loved teaching this book because we had awesome conversations about absurdity and the meaning of life. All in 123 pages.

3. Night by Elie Wiesel

I suspect that most of the people reading this have experienced the power of this book. This Holocaust story will stick with me for the rest of my life. I’ve reading it at least fifty times, and I still get incredibly emotional when I read it. All in 120 pages.

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

In Jonas’ community, every person’s spouse is chosen for them. They are assigned one boy and one girl as children, and they don’t feel any strong emotions, like love. At age 12, they are each assigned a job. When anyone deviates from the norm, they are sent “elsewhere.” This is a fantastic book that can be appreciated by people of all ages. Dystopian-lovers will enjoy it immensely. As I listened to it, I couldn’t help but ponder all of the themes that emerged. All in 180 pages.

5. Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

Gallagher does a phenomenal job balancing statistics to support his theory for why American schools are killing reading.The statistics and explanations are quite powerful. I read this book several years ago, and I still talk about it often. All in 160 pages.

Kellee

1. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park took a true story of a lost boy’s survival after being chased from his village because of war and transformed it into a novel that will leave the reader with a feeling of awe. Awe of the bravery and pure fearlessness of Salva and the other Lost boys of Sudan and awe of the world of riches and blindness we live in while a horrendous war wages on the other side of the world. All in 128 pages.

2. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

This book is terrifying and eye-opening. It helps the reader look past what they already know and realize they have to learn about people before making assumptions. It is terrifying because you don’t know what is going to happen and death awaits around every corner. Oh and it is a Printz Finalist. All in 114 pages.

3. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

In this perfect book about fostering, life, and family. Within these pages, you will fall in love with Joseph and Jack and hope for their success in life. But then tears. Lots of tears. All in 160 pages.

4. Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

E.B. White is fascinating! Who would have know?! But Melissa Sweet tells us his life story, mixed with primary sources like White’s letters and photos, that will definitely make you want to pick up Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little as well as pick up a pencil to write your own story. All in 176 pages.

5. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
(And the rest of the Hogwarts Library books)

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter texts are quite intense and long, but her books that make up the Hogwards Library set are quite small and add such depth to the mythology of Harry Potter’s world. My favorite is Tales of Beedle the Bard because it gives us more insight into the history of their world as well as Dumbledore. All in 109 pages.

Which small novels do you enjoy the most?

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IMWAYR 2015 logo

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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CONGRATULATIONS
Nicole L.
for winning a copy of A Boy Called Bat!

&

CONGRATULATIONS
Regan
for winning a copy of Mapping My Day!

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Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

top ten tuesday   

Tuesday: Ten Reason Kellee Loves Teaching Middle School

Wednesday: Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice by Susanna Reich

Thursday: Guest Review: Five Little Ducks by Denise Fleming

Friday: In the Middle School Classroom: Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head And You Decide the Winner! 

Sunday: Author Guest Post  and Giveaway: “A Recipe for Storytelling: Take One Real Life, Add a Spoonful of Fantasy, and Stir”  by Carter Roy, Author of The Blazing Bridge, the third book in the The Blood Guard series *Giveaway!*

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 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee

 

These upcoming picture books are all must buys!
The Fog by Kyo Maclear is about beating something by putting your mind to it and collaborating and also about the environment. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will definitely start thoughtful and much-needed discussions.
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen is a perfect read aloud for an early elementary school before starting creative writing because it shows that writing is something anyone can do and is just a form of expression with no boundaries. I cannot wait to read this to Trent and write a story together afterwards, and I know many of you will feel that way with your kids/students.
Ashley Spire has a way of writing stories that makes you have even more faith in kids that you did before reading them.  The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do is not exception. Lou loves to do so many things, but when she is faced with something she doesn’t think she can do, she hesitates. Until she realizes that she can do whatever she puts her mind to!
Hair-pocalypse by Geoff Herbach has much of the same humor that his YA books have! It starts out as a silly book about Aidan’s crazy hair and ends up being a book about thinking of others and compromise. This’ll definitely be a favorite read aloud!
Gennifer Choldenko and Dan Santat are a winning combination! This story shows that fear is something that anyone can face and parents are there to support you when you need them. I worry a bit about some of the “boys can’t be scared” and “don’t tell mom” parts, but the message in the end is positive.

Tinyville Town, just in this week, has become a favorite of mine and Trent’s. I love how it highlights all the different kind of jobs there are in a town, how each is special, and what the jobs entail. Gets to Work talks a bit about how city planning works then each of the other books focuses on a different profession. Trent LOVES the firefighter one, and he reads it to himself before bed almost every night!

Every time I read graphic novels, it reminds me why I love them so much! The visuals just a whole new element to the story for me! 
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt
is the second Narwhal book and is just as good as the first book! I just have a soft spot for these two who just perfectly fit together as friends. Narwhal and Jelly are the perfect ladder up from Elephant & Piggy, Bird & Squirrel, or other fun duos.
Star Scouts is a fun sci-fi story about finding your place even if that place at first feels like it is in the middle of misfits. Avani ends up being accidentally abducted by a Star Scout, an alien equivalent of our Scouts, and finds a place in their troop. I loved that Avani is so relatable! She speaks Hindi, loves rodeo, and is a bit testy–a perfect mix to make an authentic middle schooler. All of her Star Scouts friends are different also, so even though they are aliens, many readers will relate to one of them. One of my students already checked it out for Spring Break, and I know he will love it!
Real Friends is Shannon Hale’s graphic novel memoir about her time in elementary school and the drama of finding true friends while trying to find her own identity and family drama also. Like Sunny Side Up and Smile Sisters, many readers will find Shannon’s story interesting and relatable, and Pham’s illustrations make it even more appealing.

Lastly, I finished two wonderful yet very different novels. However, the are more alike than they seem. Glory Be is about Freedom Summer and Glory learning about the prejudice in the world while realizing that she need to stand up for what she believes. Bot Wars takes place in the future after robots have been segregated because of the fear of them taking over, but Trout, the protagonist, soon learns that the government have spread negative propaganda to meet their needs.

 Ricki

As Kellee said, the Tinyville Town books are awesome! Henry fell in love with them. He points to all of the characters in the book and reminds me which board books we have and which board books we don’t have. This book has inspired a lot of conversations about jobs. It would be fun to have kids create their own books based on their town!

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This Week’s Expeditions
Kellee

Spring Break Reading Goal:

It’s a pretty hefty goal, but I have had some really good reading weeks later, so I thought it might be doable. Jim and I are going on a mini anniversary vacation though, so we’ll see!

The Books: I loved Bot Wars, so I knew I wanted to read #2. Same with Loot, so I have Sting on my Kindle. Infinity (Chronicles of Nick) and Legend are books that students really want me to read. March is on my #mustreadin2017 list, and Frenzy is our March book club book. I also hope to read some picture books and graphic novels that I’ve been lucky enough to get from publishers. *fingers crossed!*

 Ricki

My dissertation is due in NINE days to my advisor. I have about 70 pages left to write. I am so sorry I have been off the grid. I can’t apologize enough. 🙁 Writing a dissertation with a three-year-old and five-month-old means very, very little sleep, so I haven’t been a great blogger.

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday 

Tuesday: Ten Short Novels that Pack a Punch

Wednesday: Review and Giveaway!: Brobarians by Lindsay Ward

Thursday: Review, Giveaway, and Author Guest Post!: I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang

Friday: Paint Me a Picture & Tell Me a Story by Emily Bannister

Sunday: Author Guest Post

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“A Recipe for Storytelling: Take One Real Life, Add a Spoonful of Fantasy, and Stir”

 

Late last summer, after I’d turned in the manuscript for the third Blood Guard book, The Blazing Bridge, I mentioned to a longtime friend that I’d finished the trilogy. “That’s great!” she chirped; “now you can write a real book.”

Excuse me?” I replied and made a face like this

She explained. To her mind, fantasy adventure for middle-grade graders is mere “escapist literature,” and it doesn’t count as real—not like stories about normal people. “You had a rough childhood,” she said. “Why not write about that?”

But as far as I was concerned, I was already writing about my childhood. Only in disguise. Because even though fantasy literature on its surface is about another world, at root it is always about this one—the world we live in. Otherwise the stories would have no hold on us at all.

Not to get maudlin, but when I was growing up, my family—like many families—fell apart. There was never enough money; my older brothers were always getting into trouble; my dad turned out to be a not-so-good guy; and my parents divorced—which forced my mom to move us kids around from one home to another to another as she tried to find us an affordable and safe place in the world.

In a very different form, that material made its way into the Blood Guard books. A feud between two parents. A discovery that a father is someone other than who his children thought him to be. A constant need to uproot one’s life and relocate. All of these things were drawn from actual life, but transformed into backstory for an action adventure tale. Why? Because these novels were for the twelve-year-old me as much as anyone, and that kid liked his stories to move. The magic, the action, the jokes—those are the spoonfuls of sugar that make the medicine go down. (The “medicine” in this case being the ugly truth that my dad was, in fact, a very bad guy.)

Twelve-year-old me wouldn’t face the truth about my dad for years. But I might have done so a lot sooner … if only I’d been able to if I’d been able to read about it in a fantasy novel.

 

About the Book: Ronan Truelove’s best friend, scrappy smart aleck Greta Sustermann, has no idea that she is one of the thirty-six Pure souls crucial to the safety of the world. But Ronan’s evil father has figured it out—and he’s leading the Bend Sinister straight to Greta. If they capture her, she’ll suffer a fate far worse than mere death. But to get to Greta, they’re going to have to go through Ronan first.

Standing with Ronan are plucky hacker Sammy; witty, unkillable Jack Dawkins; and a sharp-tongued woman named Diz, who drives a dangerously souped-up taxi. One breathless close call after another leads to an ugly showdown: Ronan alone against his father, with the fate of Greta, his friends, and the entire world hanging in the balance. Will Ronan be able to rise up and prove once and for all that he has what it takes to join the Blood Guard?

By turns heart-stopping and hilarious, The Blazing Bridge brings the Blood Guard trilogy to a surprising, clever, and altogether thrilling conclusion.


About the Author: Carter Roy has painted houses and worked on construction sites, waited tables and driven delivery trucks, been a stagehand for rock bands and a videographer on a cruise ship, and worked as a line cook in a kitchen, a projectionist in a movie theater, and a rhetoric teacher at a university. He has been a reference librarian and a bookseller, edited hundreds of books for major publishers, and written award-winning short stories that have appeared in a half-dozen journals and anthologies. His first two books were The Blood Guard and The Glass Gauntlet. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York City and can be found at www.carterroybooks.com or on Twitter @CarterRoyBooks.

 

Giveaway!

Thank you, Carter for this inspirational post! And thank you, Barbara from Blue Slip Media, for connecting us with Carter!

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