Growing Bookworms – Some wonderful Christmas books for Children #readingcommunity #childrensfiction #growingbookworms

Christmas is fast approaching and this year’s will be the first normal Christmas many of us will be experiencing since 2019.

Last year, South Africa had an outbreak of Covid-19 round about now and we all went back into hibernation. My cousin and his family were here from the UK and they got trapped for an extra 2 1/2 weeks because of the quarantine requirements in the UK.

We are looking forward to a lovely family Christmas this Saturday before my family and my mom leave for the UK for just over two weeks. We are looking forward to seeing our extended family for the first time in three years.

The run up to Christmas is a wonderful time to read books with your children. There are numerous books that celebrate the Christmas story and also a significant number of books that share the message of kindness and sharing without any specific religious affiliation.

These are a few of my favourite Christmas stories and I’ve slipped in my own two newly released Christmas books for children at the end. These books are my first attempts at publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing and I am pleased with how they’ve turned out.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

What Amazon says

The timeless Christmas classic from the iconic Dr. Seuss is now available in ebook. Read this favourite story of joy, love and acceptance anytime, anywhere!

(This ebook is optimised for Kindle tablets and the Kindle App. It is not suitable for e-Ink kindle devices, such as the PaperWhite. We recommend you download a sample to your device before purchase if in doubt.)

“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason…”

With a heart two sizes too small, the Grinch is the meanest creature you’ll ever meet. He hates Christmas and the whole festive season. But when he hatches a dastardly plot to steal Christmas, he’s in for a big surprise!

This classic seasonal story has become a favourite for good reason. Through hilarious rhymes and beautiful illustrations, Dr. Seuss teaches readers the true meaning of Christmas.

With his unique combination of hilarious stories, zany pictures and riotous rhymes, Dr. Seuss has been delighting young children and helping them learn to read for over fifty years. Creator of the wonderfully anarchic Cat in the Hat, and ranked among the UK’s top ten favourite children’s authors, Dr. Seuss is a global best-seller, with over half a billion books sold worldwide.

A few quotes

“Packed it up with their presents, their ribbons, their wrappings, Their snoof and their fuzzles, their tringlers and trappings! Ten thousand feet up, up the side of Mount Crumpet, He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!”

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Purchase How the Grinch Stole Christmas here: https://www.amazon.com/How-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-Seuss-ebook/dp/B077BM5NVM

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

What Amazon says

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

Late one Christmas Eve after the town has gone to sleep, the boy boards the mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives, Santa offers the boy any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the harness of the reindeer. The gift is granted. On the way home the bell is lost. On Christmas morning, the boy finds the bell under the tree. The mother of the boy admires the bell, but laments that it is broken—for you see, only believers can hear the sound of the bell.

Awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1986, ‘The Polar Express ‘has sold more than 7 million copies, become a classic holiday movie, and been translated into stage productions that take place across the United States during the holiday season.

Purchase The Polar Express here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0395389496

Mr. Men and Little Miss Christmas Books by Roger Hargreaves

Roger Hargreaves has an array of different books in the Mr. Men and Little Miss series of illustrated books for children. Among his many amazing books, he has a few dedicated to Christmas.

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Christmas-Men-Little-Miss-ebook/dp/B00AEBCTG8

One day Mr. Christmas receives a call from his uncle, Santa Claus, asking for help. Can Mr. Christmas help Santa deliver presents to all of the Mr. Men?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQLB7AI

Mr. Stingy is a stingy old miser who hates Christmas. But one night he is visited by three ghosts who show him that heÕs been living his life badly and needs to mend his ways! In this lighthearted adaptation of DickensÕs A Christmas Carol, Mr. Happy plays Bob Cratchit and Mr. Nosey, Little Miss Wise, and Little Miss Bossy play the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O2BS3LQ

Little Miss Christmas spends all year wrapping presents for Santa Claus. But when the wrapping isn?t done in time, Little Miss Christmas has to call on her Mr. Men and Little Miss friends to help out!

The Christmas Bird by Robbie Cheadle

The Deanne family is having a difficult time financially. Mr. Deanne’s business has failed and there is no money for Christmas presents and other luxuries. The family’s undernourished dogs discover a bird’s nest on Christmas Day and attack and kill the chicks. All except one tiny ball of fluff with luminous bright eyes like drops of oil. The baby bird is in shock, but the four Deanne girls try to save it. Will the Christmas Bird survive?

Purchase The Christmas Bird here: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Bird-Robbie-Cheadle-ebook/dp/B0BMMB2H75

Sir Chocolate and the Missing Christmas Harp

The Christmas Fairy’s harp has gone missing. Without it, the parents and children won’t sleep on Christmas Eve and Santa can’t deliver Christmas presents. Can Sir Chocolate help Santa find the missing harp and save Christmas?
Includes five fun related limericks and five Christmas themed creative activities and recipes that caregivers can make with small children.

Purchase Sir Chocolate and the Missing Christmas Harp here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BNHX8XGC

I made a video for this book and I would be delighted if you would view it and let me know what you think of it here:

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Growing Bookworms – The importance of colour when illustrating children’s books #childrensfiction #readingcommunity #growingbookworms

Many children’s picture books make use of brightly coloured cartoon style illustrations. Children are attracted to  bright colors such as red, yellow, green, blue, and pink. These colors create a sense of energy and playfulness and also emanate happiness. Colour impacts on children’s moods, behaviour, and educational performance.

Part of the reason children prefer bright colours is because saturated colours are easier for young, developing eyes to see. Bright colors and contrasting colors stand out more in a child’s field of vision than feinter shades.

Colour effects the way the brain functions and can be used by illustrators to encourage pattern recognition, memory, and the ability of young readers to absorb new information.

Here are a few examples of colours and how they can be used for learning:

RED – a powerful and attention-grabbing colour, red stimulates alertness and excitement. It encourages creativity and can also increase appetite.

BLUE – provides a sense of comfort by exuding calmness, loyalty, peace, serenity, and security.

YELLOW – encourages positive feelings and improves concentration by promoting creativity, clarity, and optimism.

GREEN – symbolises nature and the natural world. Green relieves stress and provides a sense of healing. It also represents balance, growth, tranquillity, cleanliness and calmness.

ORANGE – like red, orange is an energetic colour that promotes alertness. Orange creates a sense of passion, warmth, excitement and encourages communication.

PINK –   symbolises love, romance, nurture, warmth, calmness, and imagination.

It is also important for illustrators, or writers engaging an illustrator, to note that colours can also overstimulate children, instead of inspiring them, so a balance of bright and neutral colours is required for illustrations.

I illustrate my own children’s books and I try to apply these principles in my own work. This is a collage of a selection of my fondant and cake art illustrations.

My illustrations have proved popular with children so I think I am getting the colour coding right.

These are some examples of famous children’s books and illustrators:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon US

What do you think? Do you like bright colours? Have you written a children’s book and illustrated it yourself or engaged an illustrator? Let me know in the comments.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Day 5 of the WordCrafter “Haunted Halloween Holiday” Book Blog Tour

Haunted Halloween Holiday Book Blog Tour

For Day 5 of the WordCrafter “Haunted Haloween Holiday” Book Blog Tour, we’re over at “Zigler’s News” with a guest post from Robbie Cheadle​ and a review by Tori Zigler​. Come join us and don’t forget to comment to enter in the giveaway!

https://ziglernews.blogspot.com/2022/10/wordcrafters-book-blogtour-for-haunted.html


Welcome to the WordCrafter “Haunted Halloween Holiday” Book Blog Tour

Haunted Halloween Holiday Book Blog Tour

Welcome to the WordCrafter Haunted Halloween Holiday Book Blog Tour, in celebration of this delightful new children’s Halloween adventure by Robbie and Michael Cheadle. This is going to be a wonderful tour with a guest post from author Robbie Cheadle and a review at every stop. Today will be a real treat with not one, but two tour stops, but you may comment on either stop here. Instead of making Robbie sit through another tedious interview, we will have each tour stop host ask her two questions, so you can learn more about her at every stop if you follow the tour, and she also has a great giveaway.

Tour Schedule

(Links won’t work until the post goes live.)

Monday – October 3 – Double Stop Day! – Guest Post & Review – Writing to be Read

– Guest Post & Review – Undawnted

Tuesday – October 4 – The Showers of Blessings

Wednesday – October 5 – Patty’s World

Thursday – October 6 – Carla Loves to Read

Friday – October 7 – Zigler’s News

Saturday – October 8 – Annette Rochel Aben

Give Away

For a chance to win one of three US$10 Amazon vouchers or one of three paperback copies of Haunted Halloween Holiday just leave a comment to show you were here.

Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win.

The prizes will be given away in a random drawing.

About Haunted Halloween Holiday

Count Sugular is delighted when the Sugarpop Bats invite his family to a Halloween party at the Haunted House. He and his wife, Witch Honey, decide to hire a caravan and enjoy a weekend away with their family.

Includes some fun limericks to introduce the various characters.

You can find the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fr5OxyUfd4

Purchase links:

TSL Publications: https://tslbooks.uk/product/haunted-halloween-holiday-robbie-and-michael-cheadle/

Lulu.com: https://www.lulu.com/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/haunted-halloween-holiday/ebook/product-vd5778.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Robbie’s Questions

Question: You illustrate your children’s books with elaborate fondant scenes, with buildings and characters which are very detailed. How long does it take you to create a whole fondant scene for illustration in one of your stories?

Answer: The fondant and cake illustrations are time consuming. The amount of time required depends on the number of flowers and figurines I include and their complexity.

Each figurine takes, on average, between 4 and 5 hours to complete. I always start with the heads. Some of the figurines have detailed facial features including teeth, lip detail, and layered eyes and these take a lot of time and effort to make.

Hair is also time consuming, especially curly hair, as each strand is wound around a cocktail stick and allowed to partially dry before it can be attached to the head. Timing is important because if the fondant hair strand dries to much, it wont stick to the head.

My next step is usually the body and shoes, and that is followed by the arms and legs. Attaching arms and legs can be tricky as you have to keep them in the correct positions until they dry. Standing figurines are much more difficult to make than seated ones. The legs have to dry completely before you can attach the weight of the head and body to a standing figurine or the legs collapse.

Flowers are also made in layers. I start with the centres and leave them to firm up before adding the second layer of petals. Flowers are also tricky from a timing perspective as the petals must firm up enough to hold their shape but not dry so much they crack or break.

From a cake perspective, sponge cake assembly is not that difficult for me. The carving and assembly of shaped cakes isn’t that difficult if you have an eye for proportions which I do.

The gingerbread caravan that features in Haunted Halloween Holiday was difficult to make because I had to bend the gingerbread to make it harden in a curved shape. I did have to make adaptions to my initial plan and I created the sides and top of the caravan in two parts instead of one as I’d originally planned. I did have to redo that piece of gingerbread. You have to bend it while it is still hot but not so hot it collapses (or burns you) but before it starts to harden or it cracks. Another tricky timing situation.

The windmill was complex to make because of the blades which I made separately from fondant and attached to wooden kebab sticks. The entire bladed structure had to then be attached to the gingerbread windmill structure. It was a great challenge and I was delighted at how both of these structures came out.

Question: You have done many collaborations for anthologies, and you also co-wrote a book with your mother. Do you have more fun collaborating with your son Michael on the children’s books than you do with your adult collaborators on adult themed works? Why or why not?

Answer: The children’s books are fun to write and illustrate. The text for the Sir Chocolate and other children’s books is much less, 600 words or less for the Sir Chocolate picture books in line with the industry standard, than books for older children or adults.

My collaboration with Michael involves conversations and chats about characters and ideas for story lines as well as the illustrations. This makes the entire process fairly easy and companionable.

Writing While the Bombs Fell was a more difficult collaboration because I was writing my mother’s memories. I had to coax the memories from her, research the details and historical context of the time period and lay them over her personal timeline. It was an interesting and rewarding process and I learned a lot more about my mom’s early life and my own family.

There were some difficulties, especially around the structuring of the story and the fictionalised elements. My mom didn’t always agree when I filled gaps in her memory with information based on historical research to give the book a little more meat. In the end, we came to a meeting of minds and were both happy with the book. The difficulties with writing someone else’s memories is one of the reasons why the sequel, After the Bombs Fell, is not finished. My own writing process has changed and it’s more difficult for me to work with someone else now.

Thank you, Kaye, for these great questions and for hosting my post.

About the Authors

Michael Cheadle is a student at a high school in South Africa. His favourite subjects are IT, and History and he enjoys creative writing, especially writing poetry. In his spare time Michael enjoys computer games, boxing, tennis, and sleeping.

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9. Count Sugular and his family hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9. Count Sugular and his family hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Robbie Cheadle Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

TSL Publications Robbie Cheadle Author Page: https://tslbooks.uk/product-tag/robbie-cheadle/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

My Review

Haunted Halloween Holiday is a ‘just a little scary but lots and lots of fun’ kind of story. Fans of the Sir Chocolate books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle will not be disappointed as the mother and son duo write and bake their way into reader’s hearts with this delightfully delicious story. Stuffed full of delectable fondant illustrations, highlighted with lovely rhyming verse to tell the story of an unique holiday celebration.

This book is a bit longer than previous Sir Chocolate formats, and contains less verse, but it’s a delightfully fun adventure to please readers both young and old. Who could resist all the colorful characters who attend this festive holiday party? Count Sugular; Baby Howler; Skelly the Skeleton; Teddy the posessed teddy bear; the Trolls – Tar and Liquorice; Toot, the clown who smiles upside; Witch Goody; and Jack Frost all help to make this Halloween celebration one to be remebered, and enjoyed over and over, every time you pick up the book.

I give Haunted Halloween Holiday five quills.

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That wraps up this stop on the WordCrafter Haunted Halloween Holiday Book Blog Tour, but be sure to drop in to Undawnted for another great review of the book. Join us tomorrow over at The Showers of Blessings, for another guest post by Robbie and a review by Miriam Hurdle.


Day 4 of the WordCrafter “Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog” Book Blog Tour – Review by D.L. Mullen

Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog Book Blog Tour

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet,
Have a son, Chocolate Fudge,
A mild mannered and kindly lad,
He’d never bear a grudge.

From Book 8: Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog

We’ve had a great tour so far with a post from Robbie and a review by Miriam Hurdle on The Showers of Blessings blogsite on Day 1; an interview with Michael Cheadle and my review, here on Writing to be Read for Day 2; James Cudney interviews Robbie Cheadle on This is My Truth Now for Day 3.

For Day 4 of the WordCrafter Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog Book Blog Tour finds a guest post from Robbie on the villian of her story here, on Writing to be Read and D. L. Mullen’s review of her delightful children’s book over at the Undawnted blog site. Because Undawnted does not accept comments, you can comment, like or share here.

Robbie’s Post

In most good stories, there is a hero and a villain.

The villain of Chocolate Fudge save the Sugar Dog is …

… Lord Humbug

Lord Humbug

Lord Humbug was haughty and proud

His dogs: undisciplined, naughty, and loud

Yorkie could’ve drowned

While her brothers clowned

“I’ll train them,” Lord Humbug vowed

Lord Humbug is named for the expression “Bah Humbug”, a well-known catchphrase uttered by miserly old Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Scrooge, who thinks Christmas is an enormous deception, retorts, “Bah! Humbug!” to anyone who dares to wish him a merry Christmas.

Lord Humbug’s black and whited stripped suit is based on Humbug sweets. These are traditional hard-boiled sweets available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. They are triangular shaped with rounded edges and are usually black and white stripped and peppermint flavoured.

Blurb

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s son, Chocolate Fudge, sees one of Lord Humbug’s dogs struggling to stay afloat in the hot chocolate pond.

Can Chocolate Fudge save the sugar dog from drowning?

Includes lovely new recipes.

Paperback: https://tslbooks.uk/product/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Fudge-Saves-Sugar-Dog/dp/1914245547

Ebook: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/ebook/product-j7k4e6.html?page=1&pageSize=4

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes two monthly posts for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Robbie Cheadle’s books

Sir Chocolate books

Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook

The adventures of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet in poetry form. Michael came up with the idea of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet and many of the characters contained in the books, when he was ten years old. His ideas were such fun that Robbie decided to turn them into little verse books for his entertainment. The book contains recipes for children to make with adult assistance.

Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook

Book 2 of the Sir Chocolate series: Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet find a lost baby cookie monster. Join them on an adventure to return the baby to its mother and learn how to make some of their delicious recipes at the same time.

Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook

The Condensed Milk River where Sir Chocolate goes fishing has stopped flowing. The water creatures are losing their homes. Can Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet solve this problem? Five lovely new recipes are also included.

Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook

The Condensed Milk River where Sir Chocolate goes fishing has stopped flowing. The water creatures are losing their homes. Can Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet solve this problem? Five lovely new recipes are also included.

Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five Story and Cookbook

Number 6 in the Sir Chocolate series: Five zoo animals go missing and Sir Chocolate needs to find them. Includes five lovely new recipes.

Sir Chocolate and the Ice cream Rainbow Fairies Story and Cookbook

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white.

Silly Willy goes to Cape Town

When the George family go on holiday to Cape Town, Cautious Craig cannot believe what he has to endure at the hands of his naughty and wilful younger brother, Silly Willy. Willy throws tantrums at the most embarrassing and inappropriate times, causes a commotion on the aeroplane and tries to steal a chameleon from Butterfly World. What is a poor older brother expected to do in these situations?

While the Bombs Fell

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Open a new door

Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.

The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the following tanka and haiku poems:

What drives me to write?

To share my innermost thoughts

The answer is clear

It’s my personal attempt

To make some sense of this world.

Inspiration blossoms

Like the unfurling petals

Of the Desert Rose

Behind Closed Doors

What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.

                                                                                          What thoughts are hidden

                                                                                          Behind her immobile face

                                                                                             Quite expressionless

                                                                                           Eyes cold and indifferent

                                                                                          Scrutinising me – hawk like

This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.

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Follow Robbie Cheadle at:

Website

https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog

Twitter

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Thank you for stopping by to help us celebrate the new release of Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog. Tomorrow’s blog stop will be over on Ziglar’s News, with one last post from Robbie and a review by Victoria Ziglar for a fitting wrap up of the tour. I do hope you will all join us there.

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 2 of the WordCrafter “Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog” Book Blog Tour – Author Interview & My Review

Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog Book Blog Tour

It’s day two of the WordCrafter Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog Book Blog Tour, and today I’m bringing you my review of this wonderful little book. Robbie and her son Michael co-write the Sir Chocolate books, illustrated with lovely fondant scenes and filled with delectable recipes which will make your tummy rumble. Many of us know Robbie and are familiar with her “Growing Bookworms” blog series and the Sir Chocolate books, so today I’d like to bring you and interview with her son and co-author, Michael Cheadle and share my review of Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog.

The Authors – Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Author Interview

Kaye: How old are you, Michael?

Michael: I am 16 years old.

Kaye: How long have you been writing Sir Chocolate books with your mom?

Michael: Mom and I started writing the Sir Chocolate books when I was 7 years old and in Grade 1 at school.

Kaye: Being such a young author is quite an accomplishment. Does it make you a celebrity among your friends?

Michael: No, I have not told my high school friends about my books. It just hasn’t come up.

Kaye: Do you help your mom with the baking for the books, too?

Michael: I used to make a fondant creation for inclusion in the books although I haven’t done that for the most recent two books in the series. I don’t do fondant art anymore. I do enjoy baking with my mom and now I also cook with either mom or dad depending on who is doing the cooking that day.

Kaye: What do you like most about writing the Sir Chocolate books?

Michael: I enjoy thinking up a fun storyline with my mom and deciding on new and interesting characters for inclusion in the stories.

Kaye: What is the most difficult part of being a co-author with your mom for you?

Michael: My mom doesn’t always listen to my ideas and sometimes she changes them which can be annoying for me.

Kaye: Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog is the eighth book in the Sir Chocolate series. Which one is your favorite and why?

Michael: Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Cave story and cookbook is my favourite. I liked learning how to make sugar crystals. Mom and my first attempt to make the crystals was a failure because we didn’t let the water cool down enough before we inserted the sugar-coated sticks in the sugar mixture. The sugar on the sticks melted and no crystals formed. We redid the experiment and it worked very well.

Kaye: Do you think you might write books of your own when you are older?

Michael: Yes, I think I might write in the future. I have lots of ideas for stories.

Kaye: What are your aspirations for your future?

Michael: I want to go to university to study a Bachelor of Science: Computer Science like my brother, Gregory. I will write in my spare time like my mom does.

Kaye: What is the most important lesson gained from the collaborative writing experience?

Michael: I learned that if you put your mind to something, then you can achieve success in it. I wanted to write stories about a little man who lived in a world where you can eat everything. With my mom’s help, we have created Chocolate Land and all the creatures that live there and published 8 books in this series.

Kaye: Are you planning more Sir Chocolate books in the future?

Michael: Mom and I have a few books that are already written. My mom does most of the illustrations so it will depend on her and whether she wants to do more fondant and cake art. I think she will and the books will be published.

I want to thank Michael for agreeing to this interview. I think he provided some wonderful answers. It’s great to chat with an aspiring young author, and delightful to learn that Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog wont be the last in the Sir Chocolate book series.

My Review

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Suess, and the cadence and ryhming in the verse written by Robbie and Michael Cheadle is reminiscent of that found in the lovely books from Dr. Suess, so of course, I loved Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog. And then there is the beautiful illustrations created by the talented Robbie with fondant figurines making up the lovely scenes described in the verse, which let the story unfold before your eyes. (They may make you hungry too, because they look deliciously sweet.) One I found especially endearing is the scene for the actual rescue of the Sugar Dog, where Chocalate Fudge is emerged in the hot chocolate pond.

The extra added feature that the Cheadle books include which Dr. Suess never thought to include is the wonderful recipes, and the accompanying photo illustrations for each one are sure to make whet your appetite. Included in Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog, are recipes for scrumptious peanut butter cookies, delectable Oreo cupcakes, mouth-watering avacado and bacon scones, poured fondant icing, and chocolate chip shortbread dipped in chocolate. Yummy!

Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog is a delightful children’s book with delicious recipes sure to please both young and old. I give it five quills.

Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog

Paperback: https://tslbooks.uk/product/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Fudge-Saves-Sugar-Dog/dp/1914245547

Ebook: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/ebook/product-j7k4e6.html?page=1&pageSize=4

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Thanks for dropping by and helping us celebrate the release of Robbie and Michael’s wonderful new book, Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog. In case you missed the opening day, yesterday on “The Showers of Blessings” with a post by Robbie and a review by blog host, Miriam Hurdle, you can still read it here.

I hope you all will continue to follow the tour, because we’ve got some great things planned for each blog stop. Tomorrow’s stop features an interview with Robbie and we have at least two more reviews coming, too, in addition to Robbie’s wonderful posts on Thursday and Friday. I hope to see you there.

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Growing Bookworms: Books to help children cope with change

Welcome to the first post of 2022 in the Growing Bookworms series.

A lot of people and children face change at the beginning of a new calendar year. In the Southern Hemisphere, children change grades and sometimes schools. Parents often change jobs and this can trigger changes to homes, schools, cities, and even countries.

Adults are better equipped to cope with change because they have more experience of life than children. Adults have already transitioned from junior school to high school and then often on to a tertiary education institution. Most adults have looked for, and gained, employment and have moved from their parents home to their own dwelling. Some adults have moved jobs and homes numerous times. As a result of the many life changes most adults have faced, they have learned strategies to help them cope with the anxieties and concerns that arise from major life changes.

Children often have not faced big changes in their lives before and can be frightened and intimidated by anticipated changes to their routines and friendships. Most children thrive on predictability and repetition.

Reading books to children about child characters who have faced and successfully managed big life changes can be reassuring and give some context to change. Books can also be conversation starters for children and enable them to verbalise their worries and anxieties.

The following three books are popular chapter books for children that centre around successful adaption to change.

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden :illustrated Edition by [Frances Hodgson Burnett]

What Amazon says

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in—and becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Garden-Frances-Hodgson-Burnett-ebook/dp/B09Q3QQ4NQ

A short extract relevant to change:

“When she opened her eyes in the morning it was because a young housemaid had come into her room to light the fire and was kneeling on the hearth-rug raking out the cinders noisily. Mary lay and watched her for a few moments and then began to look about the room. She had never seen a room at all like it and thought it curious and gloomy. The walls were covered with tapestry with a forest scene embroidered on it. There were fantastically dressed people under the trees and in the distance there was a glimpse of the turrets of a castle. There were hunters and horses and dogs and ladies. Mary felt as if she were in the forest with them. Out of a deep window she could see a great climbing stretch of land which seemed to have no trees on it, and to look rather like an endless, dull, purplish sea.

“What is that?” she said, pointing out of the window.

Martha, the young housemaid, who had just risen to her feet, looked and pointed also. “That there?” she said.

“Yes.”

“That’s th’ moor,” with a good-natured grin. “Does tha’ like it?”

“No,” answered Mary. “I hate it.”

“That’s because tha’rt not used to it,” Martha said, going back to her hearth. “Tha’ thinks it’s too big an’ bare now. But tha’ will like it.”

“Do you?” inquired Mary.

“Aye, that I do,” answered Martha, cheerfully polishing away at the grate. “I just love it. It’s none bare. It’s covered wi’ growin’ things as smells sweet. It’s fair lovely in spring an’ summer when th’ gorse an’ broom an’ heather’s in flower. It smells o’ honey an’ there’s such a lot o’ fresh air—an’ th’ sky looks so high an’ th’ bees an’ skylarks makes such a nice noise hummin’ an’ singin’. Eh! I wouldn’t live away from th’ moor for anythin’.”

Mary listened to her with a grave, puzzled expression. The native servants she had been used to in India were not in the least like this. They were obsequious and servile and did not presume to talk to their masters as if they were their equals. They made salaams and called them “protector of the poor” and names of that sort. Indian servants were commanded to do things, not asked. It was not the custom to say “please” and “thank you” and Mary had always slapped her Ayah in the face when she was angry. She wondered a little what this girl would do if one slapped her in the face. She was a round, rosy, good-natured-looking creature, but she had a sturdy way which made Mistress Mary wonder if she might not even slap back—if the person who slapped her was only a little girl.”

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

The Railway Children Illustrated by [E. Nesbit]

What Goodreads says

In this much-loved children’s classic first published in 1906, the comfortable lives of three well-mannered siblings are greatly altered when, one evening, two men arrive at the house and take their father away. With the family’s fortunes considerably reduced in his absence, the children and their mother are forced to live in a simple country cottage near a railway station. There the young trio—Roberta, Peter, and young Phyllis—befriend the porter and station master.

The youngsters’ days are filled with adventure and excitement, including their successful attempt to avert a horrible train disaster; but the mysterious disappearance of their father continues to haunt them.

The solution to that painful puzzle and many other details and events of the children’s lives come to vivid life in this perennial favorite, a story that has captivated generations of readers and, more recently, delighted television and movie audiences. In this inexpensive, unabridged edition, it will charm a whole new audience of young readers with its warmth and appeal.

Amazon Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Q3GZSRF

A short extract relevant to change:

This is a short reading of a paragraph pertinent to change in this delightful children’s book:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #3)

What Amazon says

The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for the big skies of the Kansas Territory. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their house. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.

The nine Little House books are inspired by Laura’s own childhood and have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier history and as heartwarming, unforgettable stories.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Prairie-Ingalls-Wilder-ebook/dp/B01C2LYEOC

Reading of Chapter 1 of Little House on the Prairie by Jennie

Jennie has been teaching pre-school for over thirty years. You can find her blog here: https://jenniefitzkee.com/2022/01/08/the-morning-after-the-snow-memories-of-a-classic-childrens-book/

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Introducing non-fiction to children

In our modern world, sources of information assail us from every direction. An internet search turns up dozens, and sometimes even hundreds, of links to information on every conceivable topic. Television provides documentaries on historical events, scientific topics and numerous programmes that cover every aspect of nature. A visit to a grocery store exposes children to newspapers and magazines which share articles on a wide variety of political, social and other topics, not to mention the headlines of newspapers that glare at us from street light and other poles as we travel from home to school and other places during our day.

High school learners are provided with numerous texts and sources of additional information on each and every topic they cover in nearly all of their subjects.

The quantities of information available are huge and not all of it is factually accurate. There is a lot of inaccurate and even total fake information out there.

It is, therefore, vital for children to learn to filter text and identify the important facts and information, in other words, to summarise it. It is also important for children to know they should check information to more than one source in order to ensure it is factually accurate.

Providing children with non-fiction books is an excellent way of ensuring they get accurate and reliable information and, if you select good non-fiction books, they are also appealing and exciting for children.

Here are four tips for choosing non-fiction books:

  1. Books with large clear photographs are attractive to children and help them contextualize the content of the book;
  2. Look for books that present the facts succinctly and without becoming bogged down in to much unnecessary detail. After reading the content to or with your child, summarise the main message/s about that topic or on a particular page;
  3. For very young children, ensure that the content is simple and fairly repetitive with only a few new vocabulary items so as not to overwhelm them; and
  4. Look for books that provide additional information for adults at the back. This is helpful for expanding on a given topic with your child and answering any questions.

A few great ways of encouraging an interest in non-fiction reading by children are as follows:

  1. When you are doing something that provokes questions like why is the sky blue or why do bees sting, take the time to look up the answer to this question with your child and show them how to use internet sources and books to find the answers to their questions;
  2. Integrate non-fiction with play. I did this with my children by showing them how to read recipes when we were baking, using ideas from books when building and constructing with lego or blocks and even with marshmallows and reading to them about mountains, hills, lakes and rivers when we were playing in a sandpit or on the beach. We used sand for lots of fun activities like building forts and a pirate island. I used these opportunities to follow up with a non-fiction story about pirates and soldiers. I did the same thing when we visited any places that lent themselves to learning more about a specific topic like mining or farming; and
  3. Make your own non-fiction materials and demonstrate various learning points. I build a mountain out of paper mache and showed my children how water carries seeds down into the valleys, Michael and I made a sword and a roman helmet out of paper mache and learned about the Roman Empire and we made a sheep out of cardboard and cotton wool and learned how animals help to distribute seeds.
An airplane Greg and I built in the sand at the beach
Gregory learning about prehistoric mining at Grime’s Graves in Norfolk, England

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  1. Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  2. Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  3. Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  4. Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books



Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Growing Bookworms: Teaching your child to read

Growing bookworks Jan 2020

Growing Bookworms

When my son, Gregory, was a small lad, he was eager to learn how to read as quickly as possible. He became positively frustrated because he was not able to read. Our local protocol is that children only start learning the alphabet in grade 0 (reception) and learning to read in grade 1 (the year they turn 7). Greg was only 5 when his inability to read became a problem for him.

I decided to start trying to teach Greg to read myself, after all how hard could it be … I’d been reading since I was 5 years old and I have two degrees and a great deal of determination. Well, it turned out to be a little more difficult and complex than I anticipated. We did get there in the end, but I am sure the path to success would have been easier if I have followed a few simple steps up front.

The four main steps in teaching a child to read are as follows:

  1. Making them aware of the written word all around them;
  2. Teaching your child about the different sounds – phonemic awareness;
  3. Teaching your child, the letters of the alphabet and the sounds related to each letter phonics;
  4. Demonstrating to your child how the different sounds fit together to form words.

Awareness of the written word

Pointing out word usage in your immediate environment helps your children understand the purpose of words and reading, and their usefulness in society. When I drove my children around, I always pointed out road and other signs to my boys. I also pointed out newspaper sellers who sold newspapers that people read and always took them into bookstores so they could see the books. We also had lots of books at home which I read to my sons every day, sometimes for up to two hours. I can remember taking two-year-old Greg with me to the obstetrician and my sitting and read to him for between 2 and ½ and 3 hours. Last time I visited, the receptionist still remembered my son as “the boy who sat and listened to stories for three hours.”

As a result of my efforts, my boys came to appreciate the purpose of reading and writing as an important communication tool. This led to both demonstrating a keen interest in learning how to read.

Awareness of sounds

There are lots of different ways to help your children become aware of sounds. The methods my boys and I enjoyed the most were singing nursery rhymes and songs and playing “Eye spy” in the car.

There are other fun games you can play with your child including the following:

  1. Making up songs and poems using different rhyming words;
  2. Listening games where children close their eyes and identify a sound such as crumpling paper;
  3. Playing with words to see if you child can identify the error, for example saying let’s stay instead of let’s play;
  4. Play dancing, clapping and stamping games;
  5. Reading rhymes and sentences that use alliteration and assonance.

Phonics

This is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (letter groups).

You can find some great step-by-step information on teaching children phonics here: https://www.theschoolrun.com/phonics-teaching-step-by-step

There are lots of fun YouTube videos to help you teach children Phonics.

Blending sounds

Children need to be familiar with the blending of sounds to form words before they can read. One of the best ways of demonstrating the blending of sounds is by reading repetitive books and rhyming books.

My boys loved the Poppy and Sam Farmyard Tales books and the Dr Seuss books. I read these to them repeatedly until they could point out the words and say them because they had memorised the books.

You can purchase the Poppy and Sam Farmyard Tales books here: Amazon US

You can purchase the Dr Seuss books here: Amazon US

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Other methods I used to familiarise my children with words and sounds were letting them listen to audio books, they loved the Roald Dahl books and listened to these repeatedly. I think I still know most of them off by heart.

Michael was a sickly boy and was off school for over 40 days per year during his first years of schooling. During these long periods of convalescence at home, he listened to a huge array of audio books including many of E Nesbit’s books including The Railway Children and Five Children and It. He also listened to all the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton and even some non-fiction books about Romans, Vikings and mythology.

My oldest son is an enthusiastic and copious reader and recently read 1984 by George Orwell. He has Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton next on his list.

Michael isn’t as fast or advanced a reader as Greg, but he still reads every day and enjoys reading. I think my efforts to instil a love of reading in them have played a bit role in their attitudes towards reading.

Did you teach your children to read? What methods did you use?

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. I also have three short stories in Death Among Us, a collection of short murder mystery stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are all published under Robbie Cheadle.

I have recently published a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

***Just a note here, since Robbie is so modest. She has five stories of dark fiction coming out in anthologies during October in 2019. “The Siren Witch”, “A Death Without Honour”, and “The Path to Atonement” will appear in Dan Alatorre’s Nightmareland  horror anthology, and “Missed Signs” and “The Last of the Lavender” will be featured in the WordCrafter paranormal anthology, Whispers in the Dark.



Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.

 


Interview with children’s author & illustrator Judy Mastrangelo

Judy Masrangelo Framed

My guest today is an author and talented illustrator of children’s fantasy books. She seems a bit shy, but I was able to coax a few answers out of her, regarding writing for children and creating beautiful illustrations. Because, after all, at least half of writing for children is creating visual images, so an author who can do their own illustrations comes into the game a step ahead. Please help me welcome author and illustrator Judy Mastrangelo.

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Judy: I’ve always enjoyed writing, ever since I was very young.

Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?

Judy: As a child I would write little stories from my imagination, or about my everyday experiences.

Coming from a fine art background, I’ve always loved the wonderful artists of the “Golden Age of Illustration”, who illustrated books from about 1850 to 1925.  I like to think that I continue along this line in my own small way.  I enjoy writing stories that I illustrate, and also love illustrating classical stories in the public domain.

Many of my paintings have been licensed for various markets, such as art prints, wall murals, greeting cards, jigsaw puzzles, oracle cards etc.  I have written and illustrated several published books.  And I have both illustrated and written the text to a new inspirational Oracle Card Deck which will be on the market next year, published by “RED FEATHER MIND BODY SPIRIT”, a division of Schiffer Publishing.

You can see and hear podcasts about my artwork on Youtube.

These include some radio interviews, plus several teaching podcasts about the steps I take in the creation of my Art.  To learn more about my Art and products, you can visit: www.judymastrangelo.com

Kaye: What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

Judy: I am a “movie buff” and enjoy many genres of film.

Kaye: What is the biggest challenge of writing for children?

Judy: I try not to “talk down to children”.  Just having fun at writing is what I enjoy doing, and making my stories come from my heart, expressing how I feel. My books are really intended to be appreciated by all ages ~ the young and the young at heart.  I attempt to appeal to the “Child in all of us”, and to rekindle the wonderful feelings we have all experienced in our youth, of the awe and beauty of the world around us.  As we grow older, life seems to become more mundane, with all the everyday things we have to do in order to survive.  The realm of art certainly plays an extremely important part in everyone’s lives, so that we may feel uplifted and inspired to higher worlds.

Kaye: What is the one thing you hope to teach children?

Judy: I like to impart the wonder and beauty of the world around us; sensitivity to nature and to all living beings, including animals, plants, and trees, as well as humankind are excellent lessons to understand.  I feel that developing creativity as an art form, and one’s imagination, are very important aspects of life. Many people seem to place imaginative painting and literature more in a children’s category, although I’m sure you’ll agree that the genre of fantasy art is appreciated by all ages.

CINDERELLAMany adults also enjoy themes, such as fairy tales, and other types of fantasy. I’m sure no one will dispute the fact that great authors such as William Shakespeare, Hans Christian Andersen, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Barry, etc. wrote memorable outstanding fantasy stories. And that’s why I feel that my writing and paintings can also appeal to any age person.

One just has to “let go” of their preconceived notions that fantasy, fairies, fairy tales, etc. are just for the young. It will keep us all “Young at Heart” if we believe in the magical power of art to unleash our imaginations.

Kaye: Your books are illustrated in bright, vibrant colors. What medium do you work with?

Judy: Acrylic paint on canvas is my medium of choice.

 

Kaye: What is the most challenging thing about illustrating your own books?

Judy: The art of illustration is very dear to my heart, something I have been developing my entire life. It is a labor of love for me, and I paint because I enjoy doing it so much. I usually paint slowly, because I am somewhat of a perfectionist, and as a result my paintings aren’t created very quickly. This can sometimes present a problem. But I do enjoy illustrating my own books that I also design. Many of my books I have written myself, and others have stories or poems that are in the public domain which I illustrate. It’s all great fun to illustrate, and I relish every moment I spend doing my paintings!

Kaye: What is the most important quality in a children’s story for you?

Judy: Delight, imagination, and fun.

Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Judy: Be true to my heart, be myself, and enjoy the process of creating.

Kaye: Flower Fairies is focused on the characters. What comes first in your mind, the character, or the story?

Judy: I’m a very visual person, and often I first get images in my mind of a painting that I would like to create. Often this “germ” of an idea or image leads to a story, or a series of paintings. So I would say that the story as a whole comes first.

Kaye: As a children’s writer, what kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories?

Judy: I often research period costumes for my characters to wear, and I also consider other art forms which portray the ideas I wish to develop in my stories. I love all forms of great art, and often music, drama, dance and other literature is a great inspiration to me, as well as great painting of course. So I immerse myself in art that I love, as part of my research for a specific project. It brings me great joy to do this.

Kaye: Tell me a little about your Portal to the Land of Fae series?

Judy: The world of nature spirits has always been fascinating to me. I love the realm of fantasy. And the tiny folk, such as fairies and elves are of particular interest. For many years I’ve done paintings of these lovable spirits, and have enjoyed writing about each painting I create.  I love writing poems to go with my artwork, and have enjoyed describing my feelings about the fairy world. The idea of making a series of books incorporating these works was an intriguing one for me, and four categories developed from them:

Flower FairiesFLOWER FAIRIES: This book tells about the precious Elves and Fairies who live amongst the Flowers, such as: the graceful ROSE FAIRY, and the comical little SWEET PEA ELVES.  I often depict Flower Fairies to appear as graceful ballet dancers. In this genre of art, I have been inspired by the Flower Fairy paintings of British artists Cicely Mary Barker and Margaret Tarrant.

 

 

SECRETS OF THE FAIRIES COVERIn my SECRETS OF THE FAIRIES, I portray the secret life of elves and fairies that I imagine to exist in amazing places.  There are many delightful things that i depict these creatures doing.  They often enjoy frolicking and playing in a garden.  These secrets tell of the hidden world of elves and fairies, little known to mortals. I’ve also written and illustrated depictions of the four seasons with the fairies, and their beautiful romantic lives.

 

FAIRY TALE FAIRIES, various forms of fantasy have always been the closest to my heart.  They include fairy tales and myths.

The world of fairies has often inspired the arts of other great literature.  Some excerpts from classical literature for this FAIRY TALE FAIRIES book are included in this volume. You will see some of my illustrations from Hans Christian Anderson’s Thumbelina, Cinderella by Charles Perrault, Peter Pan by James Barrie, and many others. Sometimes authors and painters depict elves and fairies in a darker way, but I prefer to focus on depicting the lighter, more cheerful and spiritual side of the fairy realm.

MYSTICAL FAIRIES COVERMYSTICAL FAIRIES:  In this volume, I want to share my feelings of Spirituality and Goodness, Love for Life and Nature, and the Healing power of Art. I feel that Elves and Fairies, are beautiful, Magical, and Spiritual Beings which can inspire and uplift one to higher realms.  I often depict them as radiant beings, which glow with an inner light, with radiating and sparkling auras, glow like spiritual Angels.

 

Kaye: Your Come Play with Me series includes bonus features. Would you like to tell us about the series and bonus features?

Judy: My Come Play With Me book series is designed to give readers high quality illustrated storybooks in full color.  They also include some delightful interactive bonus pages.  These books include fun filled things, such as How to Draw pages, coloring pages and recipes, etc.

THE STAR COVERMy first book in this series, THE STAR, illustrates the entire famous TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR poem, written by Jane Taylor.  I’ve interpreted this beloved poem, as a fanciful, Dream-like adventure.   I’ve included a delicious bedtime snack recipe, some “how to draw” pages, a creative writing section, coloring pages, and some decorative gifts to cut out, etc.  An Audiobook of my book THE STAR is also available, where people can listen to this song being beautifully sung.  If the kindle ebook, or paperback versions of my book THE STAR are purchased also, along with the audio book, people can sing along with the audiobook as they read it interactively.

Two other books in this series have a Bunny theme: The first one, entitled WHAT DO BUNNIES DO ALL DAY? is my original story of a little Bunny’s first adventure.  Some interactive pages include Mama Bunny’s recipe, coloring pages, creative writing and drama ideas, and decorations to cut out from the book.  An audiobook of this story will be available soon, to be listened to interactively along with reading this book in kindle or paperback.

 

The second Bunny book in this series, LEARN TO DRAW BUNNY AND HIS FRIENDS, is a companion book to my book WHAT DO BUNNIES DO ALL DAY?  In it I show easy to do, attractive, and fun ways to learn to draw little Bunny’s animal and flower friends that he meets in the book about his first adventure.

 

Some of the animals I show how to draw are rabbits, frogs, butterflies and turtles. Then daffodils, daisies, and buttercups are several of the flowers I describe drawing, all in three easy steps.  It’s a delightful interactive book, which also includes special pages for people to draw their own pictures, with small border decorations for inspiration.

Kaye: Which character is your favorite? Why?

Judy: One of my favorite characters is Little Bunny in my book WHAT DO BUNNIES DO ALL DAY? He is a sweet innocent little rabbit who is delighted and excited at the opportunity of investigating the big world all by himself for the first time.  I’ve modeled this little animal on our own dear little Netherlands Dwarf pet rabbit, who is very loved by my husband and me.  He gives us both a lot of Love in return.  Knowing this adorable Little Bunny intimately was a great inspiration to writing and illustrating my story.

Kaye: Where does your inspiration come from?

Judy: My inspiration comes from many things: my love for nature, for instance.  When I am in a flower garden, I imagine delightful Flower Elves and Fairies living there.  I visualize them wearing costumes made of leaves and flowers, acorn caps, etc.  I collect things such as leaves, pine cones, berries, ribbons, and scarves, to give me ideas for their fanciful clothing.

I take photos of beautiful places that I visit, to give me ideas of backgrounds for my paintings. Great art of the past and present is always an inspiration to me, such as: wonderful films, great literature, beautiful music, ballet dancing, and beautiful paintings. They always kindle my enthusiasm.

Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your creative process?

Judy: I have developed a method I call “Mind Painting”.  This is my own personal way of capturing ideas and images for my paintings and writing, which develop in my mind.  This is a procedure used by many creative authors, composers, painters, poets, choreographers, etc. throughout the ages. I just close my eyes and “visions” appear in my head.  I do this during the day, or at night before going to sleep. These images often develop into stories which evolve into my books. It’s a delightful process.

Kaye: What is your greatest achievement to date in the literary world?

Judy: Reading and hearing the wonderful and appreciative compliments from people who have read my books, and who have seen my illustrative paintings, has always been very encouraging to me.  I receive these compliments from all kinds of people, worldwide, and of all ages.  I feel that these wonderful responses have been the greatest achievements in my literary and artistic world.

I want to thank Judy Mastrangelo for sharing with us here today, both her wisdom and her fabulous illustrations and book covers. You can learn more about Judy and her children’s books on her website or on her Goodreads Author or Amazon Author pages.


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