Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover

Sunday Inspiration

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Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.


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Book Report: JELLY by Jo Cotterill #BookBirthday

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Jelly

Written by Jo Cotterill

Yellow Jacket (an imprint of Little Bee Books); January 7, 2020

 

Happy Book Birthday, Jelly!

I LOVE Jelly! This is a great story about a large girl who figures out how to cope with rude comments about her size. Humor and excellent impressions of others keeps everyone laughing, but deep in her heart, she hides her true feelings. This is also a coming of age story. I loved the writing, the setting, the poetry (!!!), and the music. Not everyone has to fit in the same package or do the same things to belong. Honesty with family and friends is worth the risk. I love the way school, friendship, and home life is all tied up in one exciting bunch. Excellent read!

Thank you, Yellow Jacket, for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Jelly to review.

As an adult who struggled with being the chubby kid at school, Jelly resonated with both my younger and more mature self.

 

Why I LOVE This Book:

~ The personality of Jelly is fantastic. This is someone I would love to meet in real life. Her story rings true.

~ The struggle with being overweight and how Jelly is treated by others is sadly life-like. Bullies are everywhere and Jelly learns how to deal with mean comments by reacting with humor. But beneath it all, she is hurt and is hiding her true self.

~ The courage and honesty of Jelly as she changes how she interacts with others and shares her real feelings is refreshing.

~ I love that Jelly writes in her journal to process life. I love the way she expresses herself through poetry.

~ Fantastic friendship, family, and school dynamics

~ The story!

~ I really enjoyed Jelly. Readers will see themselves in the many characters and hopefully learn to treat others kindly, no matter what size.

Happy Book Birthday, Jelly!

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Amazon Blurb:

Twelve-year-old Jelly hides her true self behind her humor and keeps her true thoughts and feelings locked away in a notebook. Can she find the courage to share who she really is?

Angelica (Jelly for short) is the queen of comedy at school. She has a personality as big as she is, and everyone loves her impressions. But Jelly isn’t as confident as she pretends to be. No one knows her deepest thoughts and feelings. She keeps those hidden away in a secret notebook.

Then her mom’s new boyfriend, Lennon, arrives. He’s kind and perceptive, and he is the first person to realize that Jelly is playing a part. Jelly shares her poetry with him and he convinces her to perform one of her poems as a song at the school talent show. Can Jelly risk letting people see the real her? What if it all goes wrong?

  • Age Range: 10 – 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 – 9

 


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Book Report: Happy Book Birthday to SKY DRAGON by James Blackburn

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SKY DRAGON

Written by James Blackburn

Illustrated by Stephanie Fliss Dumas

Mascot Books; January 7, 2020

 

Thank you, Mascot Books, for this review copy of SKY DRAGON. I am delighted to read it and share it with you, friends. I love this story written in rhyme, the colorful illustrations, and the message to keep trying to do what you want (or need) to do in spite of the challenges you face.

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Why I Like This Book:

~ Dragons! Drake is adorable. He’s young and must get out and play like any other human or animal youngster.

~ Fun telling of the story through rhyme

~ Age-appropriate actions by Drake. This book is geared towards 5-6 year-old readers, but I imagine younger and perhaps older readers will enjoy reading about Drake.

~ Colorful illustrations

~ Doing things a young dragon would normally do accidentally puts Drake in a challenging situation.

~ Despite being handicapped with a clipped wing, Drake enjoys his dragon life doing dragon things.

~ This book shows how perseverance and hard work will help you get what you need done or get where you need to go. It also builds empathy for others who are not the same as we are.

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Amazon Blurb:

Drake the Dragon, born with a lame wing,

seeks to see what this new day will bring.

Through hapless adventure, where he dare not go,

Drake mistakenly tumbles into the world below.

How will he make it back to his home above?

Well, of course: through courage and bravery, and with lots of love.

 

Happy book birthday, SKY DRAGON!


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2020 Word of the Year: STEADFAST

happy 2020!(1)

Already, 2020 is here!

STEADFAST is my word for 2020. Last year, my word was treasure. The year before that, my word was roots.

As a wife, mother, and Nana, I realize that remaining steadfast in life is required to take care of what needs to be done. The work of this sort is repetitive. We all know this. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, driving, errands, cooking, loving, hugging, instructing. The list is the same for many tasks, but new in its application and settings (everyone grows and needs new interpretation of daily tasks). Facing each day with a steadfast heart will keep me moving in the right direction.

As a writer, I’ve read numerous times that the only writers who do not succeed are those who quit. Even when it seems nothing is happening, if I continue to be steadfast in my writing endeavors, seek to improve my craft, and be alert for opportunities to share, help, critique, improve, and submit my work, it’s going to happen. Every writing experience is a learning time. Nothing is wasted. Some things might be (okay, some things ARE) terrible, but learning takes place. Remaining steadfast and putting one step in front of the other will keep me from quitting.

As a believer, I’m happy to know that nothing I do is in vain, if I do it for the Lord. So my failures, successes, trials, errors, and general craziness of life done for the Lord are not a waste of time. I must be immovable, steadfast in my faith and purpose.

I’m looking forward to discovering more about my word of the year. STEADFAST.

What is your word or phrase of the year? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by!

 


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Gratitude for this Fantastic Way to Kick Off the New Year: 12 x 12 Challenge Scholarship Winner!

12x12 Challenge

Happy New Year to me and my fellow winners of the diversity and financial need scholarships for the 2020 12 x 12 Writing Challenge. Yay! Follow the link below to read more about the scholarship and the thankful recipients.

12 x 12 2020 Scholarship Winners

I’ve been steadily working on picture book manuscripts, but sometimes feel like I’m spinning wheels. The 12 x 12 Writing Challenge is the perfect way to jump start my new year of writing and help me focus on writing, editing, and polishing picture book manuscripts.

The main goal of 12 x 12 is that participants complete the year with at 12 picture book manuscripts/drafts. This is accomplished through videos, expert advice, writing exercises, inspiration, and online critiques by 12 x 12 members-a comprehensive endeavor by kidlit writers. At least, that’s what I believe to be true about 12 x 12, since this will be my first year to join. In reality, I know my experience will be much, much more.

Much thanks and gratitude for this awesome opportunity goes to Julie Hedlund and the entire 12 x 12 community who generously donated to give scholarships to other writers. THAT is what the kidlit community is all about-supporting and helping other writers. I love it!

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Cheesy happy grin from a writer who is very grateful and excited!


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Happy 2020!

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Happy New Year, friends!
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We’ve decided to make hiking the Cowiche Canyon an annual event. We hiked it last January 1st and made a return trip today. It’s becoming very popular!
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May the Lord bless you and your family in this new year of a new decade.
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I might be slow, but I finally figured out why all the New Year’s Eve parties were 20s themed. May your 2020 be filled with roaring good fun and great health!
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Writing Successes for 2019

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution!

Sometimes I feel like I am spinning my writing wheels but going nowhere. Here is my list of SUCCESSES in my writing related-activities for 2019.

Angie’s Anti-Resolution Revolution:

1. I met my contracted deadlines and celebrated over 26 years of writing work-for-hire with an organization I adore.

2. I was awarded a writing residency at Holly House through Hypatia-in-the-Woods. I enjoyed a fabulous week to work on a picture book and Haiku.

3. I had a heart during #kidpit at the end of 2018. I received a rejection this year, but still…I tried!

4. Our critique group has increased to 4 active members and we’ve been really working hard.

5. I’ve been blogging more and supporting writers.

6. I had my first author interview and my first author/illustrator interview on my blog.

7. I read tons of picture books, chapter books, and YA books.

8. I participated in Storystorm and have a great list of picture book ideas.

9. I participated in ReFoReMo and studied great picture books.

10. I participated in 12 Days of Christmas last year. Thanks, Julie, for this year and last year!

11. I wrote 4 new picture book manuscripts.

12. I edited 12 different picture book manuscripts.

13. I participated in Multicultural Children’s Book Day for the first time.

14. I wrote and edited more this year.

15. I have editing opportunities to explore in 2020.

16. I connected more with other writers in the wonderful kidlit community.

 

How about you? What SUCCESSES did you have in 2019?