Growing Bookworms – Activities to teach children critical thinking skills

What are critical thinking skills?

Critical thinking is the ability to analyse facts and form a judgement.

In order to develop critical thinking skills, the following characteristics need to be fostered:

  1. An attitude of open mindedness, respect for evidence and reasoning, and the ability to see things from different perspectives and points of view;
  2. The ability to make a statement or decision based on supporting evidence;
  3. The ability to use reasoning skills to come to a logical conclusion. In other words, the ability to infer an outcome based on the facts and arguments presented;
  4. The ability to analyse information to assess its truthfulness. In other words, an ability to determine what is believable based on the facts and circumstances, and what is not.

Critical thinking skills help children learn how to work independently and solve problems.

Activities for teaching children critical thinking skills

  1. Creating art – when you express yourself using an artform, music or drawing or painting, you show an emotion or thought without using words and this encourages critical thinking.
  2. Games and puzzles – these activities help children learn to formulate strategies and understand how to approach a game with a plan of action.
  3. Reading books – while readings books, ask the child about the activities, thoughts, and emotions of the characters in the stories. Let them volunteer how they think a character will react to a certain situation and ask them how they think the story will end. This teaches the child to consider various options and outcomes and come up with theories.
  4. Real problems – modern children are exposed much younger to the problems of the world such as drought, hunger, and global warming. Discuss these issues with your child and help them consider possible solutions. The ability to find solutions to problems is a great skill and also encourages positivity and a sense of control. It is encouraging to think there are potential solutions to big issues.
  5. Building blocks – playing with lego and building blocks helps children to sift through endless possibilities, decide on one, and implement it. If it fails, they can try again.

My blogging friend, Norah Colvin, ex-teacher and developer of Readilearn Early Childhood Teaching Resources, recently shared an excellent post called Teaching thinking in the early years with itc thinkdrive. This post offers teachers some excellent resources for teaching critical thinking skills. You can read Norah’s post here: https://www.readilearn.com.au/teaching-thinking-in-the-early-years-with-itc-thinkdrive/

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.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet and author, Yvette Prior and a book review #Poetrylovers #readingcommunity @bookreview

Today, I am very excited to welcome Yvette Prior from Priorhouse blog as my September Treasuring Poetry guest. Yvette is among the first bloggers I met when I started Robbie’s Inspiration and she was always encouraging and supportive of my artwork and writing. Thank you, Yvette.

Today, Yvette, a talented poet and author herself and a huge supporter of other writers and bloggers, is going to share some of her thoughts about poetry and some readings from her lovely poetry book, Avian Friends.

What is your favourite poem and why?

Winter Chill

Stood and listened

to birds tweet and whistle

had breakfast to make

day to begin

stuff to do

but standing

in winter chill

at the back door

harmony

stopped me

hope flew in

melodious infusing during a winter chill

trees still bare

yet birds were there

dulcet air

momentary loss of care

cold days

soon to part ways

winter hard is exiting

birds returning

spring soon erupting

green grass, pleasant breeze

flowers, butterflies, bees

replacing freeze

shivering, I shut the door

musical deliverance once more

Behind the poem

Winter Chillwas written about a brief experience I had when I opened the backdoor one winter’s day. I was stopped in my tracks. It was the first time I had heard the birds in a long time and their “harmony stopped me” as “hope flew in.” I am not what people would refer to as a “birder.” I do not put out seeds and we don’t have any feeders on our property (although I might add some later). The birds have just found a nice little habitat on their own and I am grateful. In this poem, I described the scene exactly as it unfolded -opened the door, heard the birds, and I was reminded that a better season was on its way. This idea could apply to more than just a cold weather season ending – it could also apply to the trials and heavy times in life. Challenging times do not last forever and sometimes we might just need to pause – in the midst of a difficult season – and find small (healthy) ways to enjoy “momentary loss of care.” Hope can mean so much too – and so anytime we have Hope fly in – let’s embrace it. 

Please share a poem you enjoy and why you enjoy it

This is just to say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

***

and which

you were probably

saving for breakfast

***

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

Williams’ poem whispers so much to me and one takeaway is the freedom someone felt to indulge in the plum. There are times we sacrifice times we do outreach and hold back – but this depicts the opposite – it shows us someone so comfortable with the other person where they ate the plum (while knowing the person was saving it). The poem makes me smile because I can imagine how juicy and tasty it was. And the title and tone of the poem lets us know that the consumer here is not apologizing for eating it either. That’s my take. 

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

I try to write every day, in a paper notebook, and most of this year I have been busy working on non-poetry projects so I only wrote a handful of poems this year. My goal is to get back to my musings with poetry. Even if all of the poems do not make it into a future book, I enjoy writing them.

 I started writing in middle school but really got into poetry while in college. In between classes, I created free verse poems. I moved words around andenjoyed simple rhyming schemes. 

I know that folks sometimes put down the easy rhymes, but I like them.  It is not about creating difficult poetry for me – it really is a type of solitude with words and ideas. 

Thank you, Yvette, for your lovely answers and for being my guest today.

Yvette has shared a lovely YouTube video recital of some of her poems from Avian Friends.

My review of Avian Friends by Yvette Prior

What Amazon says

In Avian Friends, you will find more than forty poems that offer encouragement and uplifting stories. The poems are free rhyme and connect to different life scenarios. Each poem also includes a “behind the poem” section, which provides personal reflections, teaching tidbits, and ideas for wellness. Backyard birds inspired the poems and the topic of faith has been gently woven in (not in a religious way) with the hope that diverse readers can enjoy the content.

The poems in this book are not complicated poems; instead, they are light and can lift the reader’s mood. The poems are for those who do not always read poetry – as well as for the poetry lover.

My review

Avian Friends is a delightful book of poetry that centres around the author’s interactions with birds in her personal life. In the reactions and interactions of her avian friends, the author finds threads of similarity to human reactions to circumstances and experiences and in relationships. She weaves these thoughts into the observations expressed in her poems.

One of the most interesting section of poems for me where the ones written following the death of a young and close relative. The author’s grief is palpable and her understanding of nature and the role of all creatures in the cycle of life help her come to terms with her sorrow and emotions.

An verse from Part III Life and Death:
“The nest was found
on the ground after the storm
nestlings didn’t make it
we mourned
fuzzy little creatures
oversized eyes
chests without air
buried with care
patting down soil
reminded me that we, too, will die …”

I have referred to the poet as the author because there is a lot of reflective prose in this book. Each poem is followed by a discussion which provides the poet’s inspiration for the poem, and includes quotes and information about birds and other aspects of life that contribute to the meaning behind the poem. I really enjoyed these explanatory sections and gleaned a lot of insight into the poet’s emotions and thought process from it.

Enjoyment of this book is certainly not limited to people who love birds as, in many instances, the birds are a metaphor for human life. This book will be enjoyed by all lovers of poetry.

Purchase Avian Friends

Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Avian-Friends-Yvette-Prior-Ph-D/dp/1973831228

Amazon kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Avian-Friends-Encouraging-inspired-Backyard-ebook/dp/B07QHNZF81

About Yvette Prior

Yvette Prior lives on the East Coast of the United States with her spouse, Chris, and together they have three adult children, two grandchildren, and no pets (after having many dogs over the years).

Yvette enjoys working with people and her varied work background includes education, social work, hospitality management, and lots of outreach. Her passion area is studying about health and wellness and after earning a Ph.D. in I-O Psychology, she poured into waiting book projects and she has not stopped writing since.

Her goal as a writer is to educate, edify, and encourage readers. Her personal blog can be found at priorhouse.wordpress.com

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” 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 – Interactive books for children – Part 2: Digital books

Last month, I discussed physical interactive books for children and their benefits. You can read this post here:

This month, I am sharing the pros and cons of digital interactive books for children.

Firstly, what is an interactive eBook?

An interactive eBook is an ebook that has elements with which the reader can directly interact. This type of ebook has a lot of touchpoints where the reader can interact with videos, audio recordings, links and other content.

I read several articles about the benefits of eBooks for children and the experts believe that reading print books to toddlers and small children results in a better reading experience for the child. Research shows that children and parents/caregivers interact more frequently with one another when they are reading a paperback book and turning pages, and the quality of their interactions are better. This translates into better language development, literacy and bonding with caregivers.

The above being said, there are benefits to eBooks. Enabling children to learn new words and improve their fine motor schools are two of the more obvious benefits. The ability to engage with the storyline and possibly make choices, teaches children to weigh up options and improves their decision making abilities.

For reluctant readers, animated sounds, actions and special effects in books makes them more interesting and helps develop an interest in books and reading.

For economically disadvantaged children or children in settings that do not allow for borrowing books from public libraries, eBooks are a cheaper option. Parents can accumulate a digital library for their children at a fraction of the cost of a physical book. eBooks are also a more environmental friendly option as they do not use as many natural resources.

Children whose parents work long or unusual hours and can’t read to their children, benefit from having stories read to them by a digital reader. eBooks also provide for parents to read to their children when they are not in the same location. Parents and children can synch their ipads or iphones so they can interact on their screen in real time while holding an audio conversation. This is beneficial for parents whose jobs involve travel.

The down side of eBooks in this context is that to many sounds, actions and special effects can distract the child from the story as they don’t focus on it, but rather on the interactive features. There is a concern among experts that many eBooks available commercially are targeted towards amusement and emphasis multimedia, colours, sounds and other interactions and do not encourage literacy and language development. Studies have concluded that multimedia elements that enhance an understanding of the text benefit children, while those that draw the child’s attention away from the story, are non-beneficial.

If you are interested in having a look at what is available for children in the eBook line, Amazon does stock them. Here is a link to one such book called Another Monster at the End of This Book…Starring Grover & Elmo! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B7S5FDG. There are a number of interesting reviews for this particular book.

What do you think about eBooks? Have you tried them? Do you think they are the future of children’s books?

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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.


Treasuring Poetry – Welcome poet and author, Patty Fletcher and a review #poetry #bookreview #poetrycommunity

Today, I am delighted to feature poet, author, and blogger, Patty Fletcher and share her thoughts about poetry and her favourite poems. I really enjoyed the poems included in this post, those written by Patty herself, and those included in A Poetic Apostrophe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

What is your favourite poem?

Hello, Robbie. Before I begin, I’d like to thank you for including me in Treasuring Poetry.

Honestly, poetry isn’t my forte. I do, however dabble some and in fact this poem, Ever Lost in the Moment was eventually published in an issue of The Avocet Nature Magazine.

It is a favorite because writing it allowed me to put words to a fantasy which played out in my head.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

In the poem, Ever Lost to the Moment you see two lovers who have longed for one another for many years finally come together. This, along with the raw bones of nature roaring around them makes it magical to me and since I’m a huge believer in manifestation I still read this poem with the belief that one day it might come true, and I like the lady in the poem may be reunited with someone I love and we would come together as the lovers in the poem do.

Here it is below for your reading enjoyment.

Ever Lost in the Moment

By Patty L. Fletcher

The scorching wind roared angrily across the jagged peaks above. The thundering waves pounded the steep cliffs below.

 Standing, their bare toes clinging to the rocks, naked in the fading day. Faces moist with the ocean spray.  The sunset a ball of fiery molten liquid melting into the churning sea.

He, seeing her there, dangerously close to the edge. She, breathing the dank salty air. Her ebony hair streaming long and beautiful round her there.

He, drinking her in, his senses catching fire with want and desire, she, like a deer, sensing danger in the wind, felt him there.

Turning to him her mouth parting in a gorgeous smile, they stood, the only sound the roaring of the wind, pounding of the waves, and song of the gulls. Their hearts beat as one. In perfect time with the rhythmic sea, they knew, they would be, ever lost in the moment.

Ever Lost in the Moment was originally written in 2018 and the rewriting of it was inspired by:  http://scvincent.com/2019/02/14/thursday-photo-prompt-new-writephoto/ .

Another of my favorites, I happened upon while putting this interview together is called Ice Cream on the Fly. I wrote it after a visit from my daughter and six grandchildren after eight years of separation.

It tells the tale of our last day together and still makes me laugh until I’m near tears.

I hope you enjoy it too.

“Ice Cream on the Fly”

By Patty L. Fletcher

May 14, 2021

Ice Cream on the fly.

Sun shining bright in the sky.

Laughter on the air.

Happiness everywhere.

Kids got a sugar high.

Go to the park, let them swing, run, and slide.

Ride the merry-go-round round and round.

Oh, jeez if I did that after ice cream, well, I’d be sick on the ground.

Finally, momma says time to go. Must go home to ready ourselves so on the second part of our road trip we may go.

Back in the van rolling home with the setting sun.

WOW! We’ve had a great week of visiting and fun.

Home again, out we all flow.

Into the house we troop. Just one, big happy chattering group.

Eddy, we’re back nearly in unison we call. Eddy, no longer put off by our noise at all.

Meow! Jeez, what’s a cat to do. Nearly starved waiting for you.

“Who needs the bathroom?” I call. But though several said they did no one makes a move.

“OK, you snooze you lose.” I call to the room at large and then into the bathroom I barge.

Just when I think we’re gonna make it through the week with no serious issue. My beliefs are quickly washed away.

I flush and ready myself to leave the room when suddenly, Oh! What from yonder toilet breaks? What the… not to curse in several languages, all of my strength it takes.

Water is flowing across the floor, with every second which passes there is more and more.

Then, as I try to flee with my very life, the door refuses to budge and I fear I’m to be washed away.

“Oh! Oh! Oh! I scream! And yet, the water continues to stream.

“What the…” I demand of the air. This flipping water is everywhere.

“Turn it off! Make it stop!” Polly commands. Yet dumbfounded I continue to stand. “Turn it off! Turn it off!” She continues to insist, but in my brain, I continue to resist.

“I don’t know how.” I hear myself say. All the while knowing it’s not what I mean to state.

Suddenly my brain and fingers, they won’t connect. I’m panicked, what would one expect?

I am shoved aside, and Polly flashes past with a mighty cry.

“Here, in the back, turn it quick!” Still the words in my mind will not stick.

Then I see the water is everywhere. And all we can do is stand and stare.

Finally, with me and the others tucked safely out of the way, my oldest granddaughter begins to wipe the flood waters away.

After a time, all is set to right. We sit having supper in the deepening night.

Sweet Eddy hovers near, in hopes a morsel to his paw will drop near.

All too soon we’re calling good night. For they must rise with the early morning’s light.

Into the van sleepily Polly’s six-pack of kids, my beautiful grands they will fall.

As sure as the sun will warmly rise into the morning’s sky. I already know tears of good-bye I shall cry.

So, my friends I say to you wherever you go or what you do, be sure to hold those nearest and dearest to you.

Because you never know when they will return to you.

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

Until recently, I never gave it much thought but while rummaging around in folders looking for some pieces, I could use in a Paranormal Romance Science Fiction manuscript I’m working on I ran upon a few more poems I’d written while dreaming of love lost so, I’ve been thinking more about trying to learn how to correctly write poetry.

I can write it but I’m never certain if I’m writing in the correct form. But as with a lot of things I want to learn, I keep putting it onto the back burner to simmer while other works bubble happily on the front of the stove.

Here, is one of the poems which was written after an encounter with someone with whom I used to have a secret relationship with.

I hope it’s OK to share.

If Only a Moment

Patty L. Fletcher

 January 22 2018

They stood, their backs to the world, safe.

 Even if only for a moment, happy and content.

Their arms round each other, her head on his shoulder.

His body, strong and lien. Muscles at the ready, hands like a cloud of thunder.

His voice, deep and rich.

They move through the house, talking in each room.

Stopping in the hall for a kiss.

Going onward into the study.

There, only a moment.

Moving as one to the bed.

Tumbling together, in a tangle of hands, arms, and legs.

Fire between his fingers, cold, as ice, yet somehow flames on her skin.

As they flow together, their passion runs deep.

Her mouth on his.

Their bodies become one.

They melt together in the molten lava of their sex.

Their hearts fly.

Their passions rise.

Her need peeks.

His fullness she seeks.

Together they explode, the white-hot throbbing, hums low.

After, they stand.

 Their backs to the world. safe, if only for a moment, happy and content.

What is your favorite poem?

Robbie, had you asked me this a month ago, I’m not certain I’d have had a great answer. Though several of my clients are poets and some of their poetry does speak to me nothing has spoken to me quite like A Poetic Apostrophe by Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker.

Here it is below for you.

A Poetic Apostrophe

By Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker

Good poetry is the expression of an open heart and a creative spirit. The ability to fashion these qualities into moving and meaningful word images develops with practice of course. Practice rooted in honest self-reflection.  And sometimes, the honest mirror of self-reflection resides in another poet.

Several months ago, Annie, Win and Joan started coming together to be that mirror for one another. In weekly sessions they alternate between reading and analyzing famous poetry and creating their own. They use the craft of such notables as Robert Bly, Amy Lowell, and Wallace Stevens as tutor and springboard for experimentation with word choice, rhythm and style.  The three are dedicated to the process of learning as they write, grounding their exchanged feedback in honesty– for the sake of the poem only.

When the trio found Edgar Allen Poe’s    piece, A Valentine less than pleasing, they used Billy Collins’s poem Workshop as inspiration to devise a suitable response.  While each response relates to a specific element in the poem, all of them acknowledge  Poe’s use of the apostrophe.

The apostrophe isn’t only a punctuation mark used in writing. It’s also a form or style of poetry. The Poetry Foundation defines an apostrophe poem as An address to a dead or absent person, or personification as if he or she were present. An apostrophe may provide a structure or reason for the poem. It can also provide tonal and figurative effects such as giving the poem an intimate or ironic tone.

The literary apostrophe is a tonal element of Poe’s poem, to be sure. But the essence of the piece feels more like a riddle. You see, “A Valentine is an acrostic wherein the letters of the poet’s love interest are to be discovered.

Now for the Poe poem the trio studied

A Valentine

Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849

     For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

         Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda,

     Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies

         Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.

     Search narrowly the lines! —they hold a treasure

         Divine—a talisman—an amulet

     That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure—

         The words—the syllables! Do not forget

     The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!

         And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

     Which one might not undo without a sabre,

         If one could merely comprehend the plot.

     Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

         Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus

     Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

         Of poets, by poets—as the name is a poet’s, too.

     Its letters, although naturally lying

         Like the knight Pinto—Mendez Ferdinando—

     Still form a synonym for Truth—Cease trying!

         You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

This poem is in the public domain.

And below are the individual apostrophe poems written in response:

A Raven’s Dark Valentine

By Ann Chiappetta

There is only one poem I like, the

One with chilled somberness and a raven

This one, though, bores me

Taunts and jabs my intelligence 

like the ebon beak

of the more Popular poem.

When I think of you

The sitcom comes to mind, you know

The one, with the altered family

Who lives on Mockingbird Lane. 

And I snicker, recalling

the family’s clock that should have

held a   black forest cuckoo.

I only wish what was once thought clever

Will never be more.

The Tell Tale Valentine

by Joan Myles

right off the rhythm grabs me line by line

a beating heart of sorts this valentine

but just as quick a mystery you pose

the name of your beloved to disclose

Greek allusions bleak confusions play

as I attempt the task and lose my way

I must confess I find it all a bore 

your raven spoke with wisdom” Never More”

Poe’s Poem

By Winslow Parker

So, Mr. Poe,

Acknowledged mournful poet and macabre storyteller,

You wrote a love poem to Miss Frances,

Who died young,

Just like your tragic heroines.

You hid her name,

In the heart of your poem,

A clever way of declaring your love.

But then you spoiled it all with:

“You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do,”

Did you think so little of her intellect,

Her knot untying skills,

That you could not resist the impulse to make her feel small

In the presence of your mighty wit?

Is that love?

4/26/22

©2022 Winslow E. Parker All Rights Reserved

Annie, Win, and Joan encourage you to read poems wherever you may find them. Take your time to linger over the poet’s choice of words and images, to delight in shifting rhythms and rhymes, to let your mind and spirit play. And if you should find your thoughts stirred by an unexpected turn of phrase, or bedazzled by a sudden insight, a simple smile will do. For that’s the poet’s gift to you!

Why do you like this poem?

As you can see, not only is this an incredible piece of work by three poets but it’s as if the universe heard me grumbling about what I don’t know concerning the writing of poetry and WHAM! Just like that, a lesson appeared.

As I’m reading over this before sending to you, it occurs to me, I might have a poet somewhere within waiting to emerge.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to ask you indulge me with the privilege of sharing one more poem I wrote. This was written shortly after I returned from The Seeing Eye® with my first guide dog Campbell.

The Puppy Grew Up and Became

Once upon a time long ago,

When you were very small you know.

In the morning’s early dawn you were born,

But all too soon from your mother you were torn.

You were sent to live far away with a family you thought forever you would stay.

You learned the neatest and  most awesome tricks.

So much more than chasing sticks.

You learned to sit to rest to lay,

You learned to obey in every way.

You did all these things so very well,

And every day you grew.

All too soon your life changed again,

And you made another new friend.

He was your teacher, your very own guide.

Would you forever walk by his side?

No! This was not to be.

You learned all you could from him,

And then,

You were given to me.

Fast we became best of friends,

And it is with me you will now stay until our work together ends.

In honor of Guide Dogs, puppy raisers, Trainers, and Handlers Everywhere!

Thank you, Robbie for allowing me to share a bit of my poetry with you. Though I’m sure you have more talented poets than I among your guests it’s been a pleasure.

Review of Pathway to Freedom – Book One: Broken and Healed – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life

What Amazon Says

In this, the first book in her memoir trilogy, Pathway to Freedom – Broken and Healed: Book One – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, Patty shares how her decision to gain complete independence with the help of ‘The Seeing Eye Guide Dog’ school in Morris Town, New Jersey, reveals to her a glimpse into worlds she had never before known existed. Once home from ‘The Seeing Eye’ she soon begins to realize all is not right in her world. Watch your step as you journey down the pathway with Patty and Campbell, for there are many obstacles along the way. There are triumphs and tribulations, tears and fears, but through it all that forever guide by her side, King Campbell works tirelessly to keep her safe from harm.

My review

When I started reading this book I thought it was a memoir of the author’s experiences being trained as a guide dog handler by the Seeing Eye Institution in the USA. I was keen to read about Patty’s experiences and learn more about the process of both training a guide dog and also the handler of the guide dog. I’d realised from conversations and correspondence with a few non-sighted friends that the handler develops a very close relationship with the guide dog and I wanted to learn more.

This book did offer that insight into the training process offered by Seeing Eye and I followed Patty on her informative and wonderful journey of gaining independence through becoming a handler. I was interested in all the detailed including the different types of training the pair undergo including a trip to New York.

Right from the beginning of the book it was obvious that Patty was in a difficult relationship with a man who did not have her best interests at heart. This flawed relationship is also a major theme in the book and the negative impact on Patty of having to walk on eggshells around her partner in many areas of her life was evident and upsetting. Certain details about Donnie were also revealed that make him quite a difficult character to like the least of which was his ill-treatment of his own two dogs.

The last section of the book was a little unfulfilling for me as I didn’t really understand why Patty’s relationship with her trainer from Silent Eye and her daughter broke down completely. I could make a reasonable assumption about it based on the information provided, but I would have like a little more clarity. I would also have liked to have known a little more about Patty’s father and how he recovered from his ill health.

All in all, this is an interesting and compelling story and certainly a worthy read.

Purchase links

Amazon US

About Patty L Fletcher

Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020, she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020, King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. In July 2021, she returned to The Seeing Eye® and was paired with a Black Labrador Golden Retriever cross named Blue.

PATTY’S BLINDNESS…

Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS…

Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn.

She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.

WRITING GOAL…

Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled.

HOBBIES…

Patty’s hobbies include reading, music, and attending book clubs via Zoom.

FAVORITE TUNES…

Some of her favorite types of tunes are classic rock, rhythm and blues, and classic country.

FAVORITE READS…

Patty enjoys fantasy, science fiction, and books about the supernatural. She loves books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Norah Roberts, and many more. Some favorite books include Norah Roberts’ Hide Away, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

SPIRITUAL FAITH…

Patty describes herself as a spiritual Walker. She says she knows both Mother Goddess and Father God and embraces all they have to offer.

CONTACT…

Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

Visit:  https://pattysworlds.com/

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” 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 – Interactive books for children Part 1

Interactive books for children are those books that allow for active participation from, and interaction by, the child as part of the reading process. There are two categories of interactive books for children: those that incorporate modern technology and provide for digital participation by children, and those that are not digital.

Today, I’m going to chat about the non-digital interactive books for children. There are a myriad of non-digital interactive books for children, aimed at a variety of different age groups.

Touch and feel books are aimed at very young children. They are wonderful for helping children to associate their sense of touch with a word or words. For example, a picture of a duck could include soft, fluffy feathers and a picture of a tree could have rough bark. Most touch and feel books are very simple and only teach one word at a time. I had a few books like this for my sons when they were babies and very young toddlers and they loved them.

Interactive books for older toddlers and pre-school children include pull-tabs, flaps, pull-downs, and pop-up books. Pop up books work by literally popping up a 3-D picture when the child turns the page. These were hugely successful with my boys but I did have to teach them not to pull on the pop-ups and break them. I also had to teach them not to pull tabs, flaps, and pull-downs too hard, but they learned quickly and my instruction ensured they treated their physical books with respect.

This is a link to a pop-up Alice in Wonderland book on Amazon US. It’s not the same as the one I had for my sons but it looks equally fun: https://www.amazon.com/Alices-Adventures-Wonderland-Pop-up-Adaptation/dp/0689847432

Colouring books speak for themselves and allow children to colour in the pictures that relate to the stories. There are also sticker books that allow the child to dress the characters.

Usborne has an amazing selection of sticker books. You can find out more about them here: Amazon US Usborne sticker books

Hidden object books are those that hide various objects within pictures for the child to discover. These books are available for a variety of age groups, and my boys loved the Where’s Wally books.

This is the blurb of the Where’s Wally Amazing Adventures and Activities 8 Books Bag Collection Set: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Activities-Collection-Fntastic-Hollywood/dp/9123888113

Where’s Wally?:
The original book which kick-started the worldwide Wally phenomenon! Search for Wally and his friends as they hike round the world.

Where’s Wally Now?:
Wally and his friends travel through time in this second best-selling classic adventure. Search for them as they visit the Stone Age, Ancient Egypt, the Vikings …

The Fantastic Journey:
Hidden in every intricately-detailed scene are Wally and his friends – so let the hunt begin! Search for them in the land of the unfriendly giants, the watery world of the deep-sea divers.

Where’s Wally? In Hollywood:
Wally visits the land where dreams are made in this classic activity book! He meets directors and actors, walks through the crowds of extras, and sees behind the scenes.

Where’s Wally? In Outer Space:
Play tangle line teasers, find your way out of a space race maze, unscramble muddled up words, crack alien codes, match and spot the differences in busy picture puzzles.

Where’s Wally? At Sea:
Untangle fishing lines; solve a boat race riddle; match seaside silhouettes; track down pirate treasure on a map; join up words in a message in a bottle.

Where’s Wally? Across Lands:
Scale castle walls and ancient Aztec temples as you complete games, crack written riddles, get creative by drawing your own Egyptian city and doodling inside speech bubbles.

Where’s Wally? Takes Flight:
Work your way out of a busy airport runway maze; match up dragons to their race day medals; solve birdy word searches and visual snap; colour in a nighttime dragon scene.

My sons both spent hours pawing through these books.

The last type of interactive book I’m mentioning in this post are game books. These are middle school children’s books where each section ends with a decision. The child makes a choice and is directed to the next section on a specific page. I managed to obtain a big pile of the Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a girl, and I absolutely loved them.

This is the link to the Choose Your Own Adventure series on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Alices-Adventures-Wonderland-Pop-up-Adaptation/dp/0689847432

What Amazon says: Widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers, Choose Your Own Adventure is the 4th bestselling book series for children of all time. Written in the second-person, the reader is the hero of the story, and at the bottom of each page, there is a decision point: If you go in search of the yeti, turn to page 11. If you think it is safest to stay put and call for help, turn to page 25. By reading and choosing, kids become more engaged, making the Choose Your Own Adventure series a stealth reading program for reluctant readers.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

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 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

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. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Growing Bookworms – Two books that help inform young teenagers

Current world events are bewildering for young teenagers who are faced with a barrage of information about pollution, climate change, war, politics, religion, and other important issues. It is difficult for teenagers with their limited experience and knowledge of the world to unravel and cope with all these challenging messages.

Today, I am sharing a few books for this age group that contain strong messages about political and other themes encased in an entertaining and engaging storyline.

Fattipuffs and Thinifers by Andre Maurois

This is a book about segregation, in this cased based on the size of people, war, and negotiation and is a entertaining and enlightening read.

A brief summary about this book from Wikepedia:

Fattipuffs and Thinifers “concerns the imaginary underground land of the fat and congenial Fattypuffs and the thin and irritable Thinifers, which is visited by the Double brothers, the plump Edmund and the thin Terry. Fattypuffs and Thinifers do not mix, and their respective countries are on the verge of war when Edmund and Terry make their visit.” You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fattypuffs_and_Thinifers

My review of Fattipuffs and Thinifers

Fattypuffs and Thinifers is a wonderful book about two brothers, one fat and one thin, who discover a hidden world beneath the surface of the earth. This subterranean society is segregated based on the physical weight of its inhabitants. Larger people are Fattypuffs and live separately to the Thinifers, who are workaholics who “eat to live not live to eat”. The two nations are hostile towards each other and are verging on a war. The two brothers from the surface are separated when they arrive in this country and set off on individual adventures. Edmund is a Fattypuff and sails away on a ship to Fattyport. He has a lovely time, resting on the deck in a large arm chair and eating all kinds of tasty food. Terry, on the other hand, sets off on a ship to Thiniville and gets to know some of the Thinifers who exercise and work relentlessly while eating very little. The tension between the two nations is on the increase and war seems inevitable when the two brothers come up with a clever plan to resolve the situation. This book is suitable for readers aged 10 to 13 years old.

Purchase Fattipuffs and Thinifers

Amazon US

I Am David by Anne Holm

David’s entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive?

David’s extraordinary odyssey is dramatically chronicled in Anne Holm’s classic about the meaning of freedom and the power of hope.

My review of I Am David

I have been trying to work out in my mind which of the many children’s books I love, is my absolute favourite. This morning I was reading an extract from I am David to a group of children. It was the scene where David saves the little Italian girl from the fire and I realised that I am David is my absolute favourite children’s books. This book has such a beautiful storyline and is so well written, you become completely pulled into the story and David’s search to find his mother. I would highly recommend it for children of 12 and above.

Quotes from I Am David

“The sun glistened on a drop of water as it fell from his hand to his knee. David wiped it off, but it left no tidemark: there was no more dirt to rub away. He took a deep breath and shivered. He was David. Everything else was washed away, the camp, its smell, its touch–and now he was David, his own master, free–free as long as he could remain so.”

“And his eyes frighten me, too. They’re the eyes of an old man, an old man who’s seen so much in life that he no longer cares to go on living. They’re not even desperate… just quiet and expectant, and very, very lonely, as if he were quite alone of his own free choice.”

“Johannes had once said that violence and cruelty were just a stupid person’s way of making himself felt, because it was easer to use your hands to strike a blow than to use your brain to find a logical and just solution to the problem.”

Purchase I Am David

Amazon US

Have you read either of these books? Did they make an impression on you? Let me know in the comments.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

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 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

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. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet writer and poet, Willow from Willowdot21

Today, I am delighted to feature writer and poet, Willow Willers, as my Treasuring Poetry guest. Willow blogs at willowdot21.

Which of your own stories is your favourite?

Well Robbie, my real first favourite is a trilogy I wrote about young boys who get caught up in drug running gangs and knife crime. My real ambition would be to have a chance to read this to young people at clubs and schools.

The death

The bench was hard but he could take that, it was the pain in his side and chest which filled his being, everything else was flat.

Fear gripped his mind, he was so cold inside yet a sweat was rippling down his back. His sight was blurred, was he going blind?

Slowly a long hidden memory came to the fore. His mother had taught him it long before he had changed. “Gentle Jesus meek and mild look upon me a little child.”

OH! Jesus if you are there help me now, I did not need you then but I do now. Jesus this pain is f###ing killing me, help me help me please. Slowly he slipped forward onto the floor and darkness washed over him and he knew no more.
***
“Where are you going son. No, out, will not do! Listen to me boy I am asking you. Why must you run with that pack it seems to me now there is no coming back. What has happened to you, you were such a good boy at school I had hopes that you’d go far but your just like your brother playing the fool.

No your not wicked but you are not a fool and I am telling you this, in my book you’re not cool.”

“What are you doing with that? Give it me back , don’t you threaten me son I’ll give you a smack. OH! Please will you listen to me don’t take that knife it will not set you free from the boredom in your life. It will not get you a job, it won’t make you a man what has happened to you and your world changing plan? You had vision and hunger for work as a decent and pleasant boy not as you are now , just a jerk.”
***
Clearing up quietly the priest approached the last row when something on the floor that caught the suns last glow. Red and sticky he knew what it was but he prayed to his God that it would not be true. The boy lying his arms out wide, blood flowing from his side. A thought crossed his mind but he dismissed immediately. He looked like Jesus did, you see. Arms out wide , blood from his side a cut round his forehead dripping, blood in his eyes.

He took out his mobile and took a deep breath as he dialled, ambulance, police he begged his mind running wild. The operator was telling him what to do, “Keep him warm and stem the blood is what I want you to do.” He ripped off his cassock and swaddled the lad he then noticed blood on his jeans ( the best ones he had) He cradled the boy and prayed in his ear “keep trying to stay ask now, Jesus will hear.”

It was half an hour until anyone arrived the paramedic crew gently moved the priest to one side. It was too late the boy was gone, then with their radios crackling loud, the police taped the area off, people from everywhere arriving, such a crowd.

Standing back and looking around the priest said a prayer without making a sound. “Dear God take the soul of this boy who died here today and give him some peace, and if you have time help me find words to soothe his family, at least ” Then he sat down exhausted, he was just a man even though he was called a priest.

A woman on her way home from work regretting an argument at the start of her day was wondering how to fix things and what she could say. She always said never give up, never leave a good word unsaid. Never leave things, sort them before you go to bed. Passing the church she saw her youngest boys friends , he wasn’t there perhaps they could make amends.

The Cause
He awoke with a jump. It was his brother rolling in drunk! Damn only 4am please don’t go over what’s to happen again. I know I must do this. I must prove myself.

It was all too easy a year ago when his best friend introduced him to the boys “you need to know” It had been simple things at first making old ladies jump, stealing traffic cones all laughing fit to burst.

When he was really trusted, got himself a name.Things became more serious it suddenly was a whole new game. They met the older boys, the ones with big fast cars. They all wore hoodies, bling and they all had facial scars.

It was money and messages that he had to run he was fit and had a bike.Now that is how easily it had begun. He often skipped school though not always willingly. There really was not any choice, what the big boys said, had to be.

His teachers all asked him why his work had slipped away he had a brilliant future and he had thrown it all away. He was a little worried but he shrugged his shoulders and wandered off, his teachers called him back but his friends told them to f### off.

Mum, she was desperate working on her own doing all she could to keep the house, the boys and to make  them a home. The oldest she had lost him he had gone to drugs. She had tried so hard but he just robbed her blind and made her look a mug.The young one she had dreams for she had prayed to the Lord each day but now he was on the wrong track, he was slipping the same way.

He knew he had become a waster, he knew that he was bad . It was the only way to be accepted and safe but the pain in Mum’s eyes made him feel sad. So he just avoided contact and hardened to her pleas. He was knocked back the other day when she begged him to stay home down on her knees.

He tried to ask his brother who ran with an older crew but he was useless as he was trapped there too. What chance was there, his brother asked, what was there for them to do there was no work or opportunities running with lads was at least something to do. It was all about status and how hard you are , what clothes you wore , what trainers and did you have a scar.

His brother had one, on his face, from a fight with a rival gang. Okay it hurt , six days in hospital 17 stitches but he was now a big man??

Today was his chance to join the glorious crew. To take part in the big ruck was all he had to do.

Two weeks he had known about the fight , where and exactly when. It was on his mind both day and night . His thoughts were full of dread , through his blood ran pure fear it was nearly six now, the day was finally here.

Later in the kitchen when he was taking the knife , his mother caught him and shouted at him. He raised his hand to her for the first and last time in his life. Luckily she was small so he pushed her to one side as he crashed through the door and out the gate . His mother sat on the floor and cried.
***
Later he met the guys when mum had gone to work, they knew a squat they could use to complete their plan. By 4pm they were jumpy they were ready to a man.They left the squat and through the railings ran. Jumping , punching the air and making feral calls they had it now they all knew the plan, they had all the balls.

He wished he’d picked a smaller knife this one was too large . As he was changing it’s position. Into him a couple of the lads all barged. At once he felt a sharp and stinging pain as he fell to the floor, it felt worse again. His side felt wet and his forehead was cut where he had scraped along the floor..

What’s wrong man, stop messing we haven’t got the time it’s 5 o’clock now hear those church bells chime. Oh! hey you’re hurt man what did you do. You stupid f### you stabbed yourself. We have to leave you here, no good to have a burden on the crew.

His best friend helped him into the church and sat him at the back , hold on, he said, laters. then ran off to join the pack.

So he alone now, life ebbing from his side thoughts of mum, school, his brother and he cried. He asked the lord for comfort but comfort did not come. He prayed a childhood prayer from deep inside his mind. The priest found him,and he was very kind. He wrapped his chest and held him and asked him not to go . He tried to but he couldn’t stay he felt too tired, too low.

He heard the priests’ desperate call as he slipped away forget the ambulance he though and just pray for me today. The priest felt him go, but he would not lose his grip he felt he needed to guide this lost boy, some mothers pride and joy.
The Effect
Getting off the bus and heading home, she was tired her feet aching but she was determined not to moan. This was important, it had to be done she needed to put her whole being into saving her youngest son!

Pushing the front door shut behind her putting the bags down on the kitchen floor she looked into the living room but there was no one there. No television no shoot’em’up games standing in the hallway she called out both boys names.

OH! well, she put the kettle on and maybe she’d ring around she had both their mobile numbers but they did not always want to be found. The doorbell rings , damn she had only just sat down, walking toward the door the phone begins to ring.

There it is the sight every mother dreads, a policeman and a policewoman , OH! god she thinks someone must be dead.

The hospital was noisy but she didn’t hear a sound her lungs were filling up as she were about to drown. She had been waiting for an age now, would no one take her in. She was feeling really sick now and felt like things were crawling on her skin.

It was so cold in there and he only had a sheet on . God he looked so pale but she supposed that was what you would look like when all your blood was gone.
***
She woke up with the headache she had, had since that day, the shock of the police visit and what they had to say.

She  knew she had to get up she knew she must today, it was the funeral and that would not go away.

Things had been different her elder boy had stayed home he seemed to want to help his mother and not leave her on her own. She dared not to hope he had changed but she was glad that he was there.

She slowly put her face on and then she brushed her hair.

His friends were at the church like they had been that day , he was not with them. Would this pain ever go away.

The priest seemed glad to see her and he offered his support, she felt close to this man who was with her boy when for his life he fought.
***
His favourite track finished and the last notes drifted away she stood up and looked at everyone and said she had something to say.

She knew that there was no work and that there was not much hope but joining gangs and using guns and knives was not the way to cope. Please listen, she pleaded you are slipping away too many lives are wasted too many die this way. Something must be done and it must be soon we are losing a generation it might be two if something is not done soon.

How many more mothers have to suffer like she.

We really need to sort this out……… her voice trailed off to silence as she repeated, how many more mothers like me?

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

I wrote this story in 2014 but with the news of yet so many gang related killings in London in fact all our towns and cities lately. There have been so many knife crimes these last years. In light of this I felt compelled to write about how easily you people regardless of their ethnic background get sucked into gang culture. I felt the need to show how far the ripples spread and how even the innocent are touched.

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

I love my poetry and I hope to continue to write until I die. I would love to publish a book of poetry but something is holding me back. I don’t know what really.

What is your favourite poem?

My favourite poem is High Flight. by John Gillespie Magee JR.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Why do you like this poem?

It always makes me cry. It’s the fact that this young man born in Shanghai, China, to an American father and a British mother, who both worked as Anglican missionaries who flew Spitfires for Great Britain during WW2. died not long after qualifying in 1941 in a routine training accident.

The beautiful words are so prophetic, I hope he got to touch the face of God.

A poem by Willow: Broken Angel

My wings are clipped my feet are tied.
I need to scream, but I can not cry.
I need to run I need to hide,
Afraid to stay , too tired to fly
Alone under a moon lit sky.
Can I run, can I hide,
Can I beat this pain inside
Will it end, will I be no more
Will I find the key to the locked door.
Broken angel that is me
No longer blessed no longer free.
Shackled, so harshly tied down
Lost to all, now bound to the ground.

Find out more about Willow here: https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/about/

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” 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: Toys that help develop fine motor skills in children

It is important for children to develop good fine motor skills so they can perform important tasks such as feeding themselves, grasping objects, drawing, cutting, and writing. Successful achievement of these skills increases children’s confidence.

These are a few examples of toys that help children develop fine motor skills:

Threading beads

Threading beads on a string is an excellent activity for small children. Large beads with thick stings and large holes are best for younger children. Sets with smaller beads, strings and holes are available for older children. Children love making necklaces and bracelets for themselves, parents and other caregivers.

Lacing cards

Lacing involves threading a string or shoelace through a board. It is the same action that is used to thread shoelaces in a shoe. Parents and caregivers can create their own board using cardboard and scissors or a paper punch. Alternatively, you can purchase lacing kits.

Building blocks

Building blocks have many benefits other than improved fine motor skills. Among these are increased attention span, working with other children i.e. team work, gross motor skills, science concepts (such as gravity, weight, stability and balance), spatial development, early maths and number concepts, and language development. Lego is a more advanced form of building with blocks.

Drawing and painting tools

Drawing and painting is a wonderful and fun way of allowing children to develop their fine motor skills. There are a variety of different instruments for drawing and painting, including wax crayons, oil pastels, paints of all sorts, coloured pens and pencils, ect.

Drawing has the added benefit of teaching children how to hold a tool or instrument to make shapes and drawings on a surface.

Puzzles

Puzzle come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from shape sorters for very young children to large, complex puzzles for older children. There are also a variety of colourful peg boards that are available for children.

I had all of these toys for my children and I used to sit and do activities with them in the afternoons. I also used to get the boys to cut out shapes and stick them on paper to make interesting designs. Michael struggled with cutting and it was one of the first indicators I identified of his auditory processing barrier.

Did you do any of these activities with your children? If yes, do you think they helped your child with learning to write? Let me know if the comments.

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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.