Soaring to New Adventures Through Reading and Writing

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

In honor of the 4th of July, here's a list of some great books we've read this year that teach the history of our country.

Great read-a-louds for Kindergarten - 2nd graders

Sam the Minute Man by Nathaniel Benchley tells the story of a boy who fights for the colonists.

George the Drummer Boy by Nathaniel Benchley tells another side of the revolutionary war we don't always know about. George is a drummer boy for the British. I learned he was a normal boy who didn't want to fight, but was obeying the king of England. (Joey)

Tomahawks and Trombones by Barbara Mitchell tells the story or of how one town used the music of the trombones to scare the Indian aways when they were going to attack. (Joey)

The Boston Coffee Party by Doreen Rappart is about a town of women who want to buy coffee but there was no more coffee except for at this one merchant's store who waited for the other merchants to be sold out of coffee before he sold his. He sold his for a higher price which wasn't fair to the women so they decided to have their own Boston coffee party. (Joey)

Six Silver Spoons by Janette Lowrey These children wanted to give their mother her birthday present of six silver spoons made by Paul Revere, but she was far away and the soldiers sometimes took valuable things from the colonists. So she disguised the spoons and rode with her brother to give her mom the gift on her birthday. (Joey)

These books are a little more academic, but are still full of pictures and written in a way for younger children.

Boston Tea Party by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel

Paul Revere's Ride by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel

The Revolutionary War by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel

The Declaration of Independence by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel

Great read-alouds for Kindergarten and up, or for silent reading for 2nd - 6th

Crossing the Delaware by Louise Peacock

In 1776 by Jean Marzollo

Let it Begin Here! Lexington and Concord by Dennis Brindell Fradlin

Picture Book of Paul Revere by David Adler

Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Note, that this is a classic poem, but NOT the TRUE story of what really happened.)

Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys (oops, can't remember the author)
This *historical fiction book tells the story of the struggle to claim the land between the Virginians and New Yorkers. This was one of my (Chris') favorite history books this year.

YOUNG PATRIOT SERIES greats stories about pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary events.

Phillis Wheatley: Young Revolutionary Poet by Kathryn Kilby Borland

John Hancock: Independent Boy by Kathryn Cleven Sisson

George Rogers Clark: Boy of the Northwest Frontier by Katharine Wilkie

* Most of these books are historical fiction which means they are based on a true story. The people and details may be made up to make the story more interesting.

Monday, June 12, 2006

We're Back

Hey, it's Chris. Sorry, we've gone so long without a post. We've been busy with school. But I've been reading The Left Behind: The Kids Series. I'm on book 17.
The story so far:

Four totally different kids are tied together in a way they never thought they'd be. The Rapture. After their parents disappear, the kids go to their church for answer. That's when they meet and form a strong bond of friendship. Later more kids join their "Tribulation Force."

After the tragedies of worldwide earthquakes, water poisoning, meteor showers, flaming hail and other natural disasters, The Trib Force must stay together in order to survive.

This book series is exciting because it explains what MIGHT happen in the future in an easy way that I could understand. But if you have trouble switching from different people and their locations in the middle of a chapter, than this book might be a little confusing.

This is my new favorite series because I've already read all the Dragons in Our Midst series, and there's still a lot more to come in Left Behind: The Kids.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Landon Snow and the Auctor's Riddle
Book One
by R.K. Mortenson

Chris (11)

On Landon Snow's birthday, he receives an ancient Bible from his grandfather. But this is no ordinary Bible because it belonged to a man who built a special library.

After finding a secret passage in his grandfather's study, he enters into the library where he finds this mysterious riddle. Then he gets swallowed by a book, meets a horse he names Melech, and goes on a journey to find the meaning of this special riddle.

I think someone who enjoys fantasy, riddles, and cool characters will like this book.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Spy Gear Adventures Book 1
The Secret of Stoneship Woods by Rick Barba

Chris (11)

This book is about four friends who discover an abandoned warehouse in the middle of the so-called haunted woods. In the warehouse they find gadgets and gizmos, and must use their new gadgets to fight evil.

The four friends learn that with great power comes great responsibilities.

I liked this book because it was the one book I could actually find with spy gadgets and spying. If you like spying around the house and sneaking up on your brothers and sisters, then this is a good book for you.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Interview with author Bryan Davis

I think you are a great writer and Dragons in Our Midst is my favorite book I ever read. Do you have any new books coming out?

Yes, for September we have scheduled the release of Eye of the Oracle, the first book in a new, four-book series called Oracles of Fire. The second will follow in June of 2007, and the other two will be announced later.

Will you write another book in the Dragons in our Midst Series?

Not with that name, but the new series is closely tied to Dragons in our Midst (DIOM). Eye of the Oracle will be a prequel to DIOM, and books two, three, and four will be sequels, picking up where Tears of a Dragon (book #4 of DIOM) left off. We ended DIOM, because the story for the two principal characters, Billy and Bonnie, was over. We will have new main characters in Oracles of Fire, but readers of DIOM will be very familiar with them.

How did you come up with the idea for Dragons in Our Midst?

I had a dream about a boy who could breathe fire. I told my eldest son about it, and he suggested that I write a fantasy novel based on the dream. He said that if I wanted to speak to children in our culture, fantasy was the way to go. After brainstorming with him for a couple of hours, we came up with the fantasy concept of how a boy could breathe fire. I’m glad the weird dream wasn’t just from indigestion.

Did you like dragons when you were a kid?

I didn’t think much about dragons when I was a kid. I mostly played sports and watched television. I wasn’t much of a reader, so fantasy wasn’t on my radar screen. I had a pretty vivid imagination, but I was usually thinking about being a sports star rather than a knight who challenged dragons to battle.

Do you have kids old enough to read your books? If so, do they ever help you with your books?

My wife, Susie, and I have seven children, three of whom are adults and have moved out of our house. They have all read every book, and they help with the stories a great deal. My teenagers help me with language. “Dad, no real teenaged guy would say that!” When I hear that, I hit my delete button and try again.

Is there any other series you’ve written for kids?

Nothing that’s in any bookstore. When I first started writing, I created a series of family adventures that never got published. Only one is really good enough to be published, and even that one could use another going over to polish it with techniques I have learned over the years. Its current title is I Know Why the Angels Dance. I hope that one sees the light of day.

What’s your favorite series for kids that someone else has written?

Without a doubt, The Chronicles of Narnia. That series enchanted me and helped inspire me to write my own series. I especially enjoyed Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Mr. Lewis’s ability to create images of spiritual truth amazed me. When Aslan clawed at Eustace’s dragon scales to transform him, I was mesmerized. I’ll never forget it.

When and why did you decide to write books?

I started writing almost twelve years ago when I was looking for a way to teach writing to my children. Being a homeschooling family, we were responsible for trying to inspire our kids to love writing. I decided that a good way might be to write a story myself and perform a weekly reading to help my kids see how it is done. After many weeks, my story grew into a novel, and I developed a passion for communicating truth through storytelling.

Do you write any shorter little kids books?

I have four picture books in the Arch Books series that are geared for ages around five to seven years old. They are Bible stories set to poetry, and the titles are The Story of Jesus’ Baptism and Temptation, The Day Jesus Died, The Story of the Empty Tomb, and Jacob’s Dream.

What are your favorite things to do?

Creating new stories is pretty obvious. Spending time and playing games with my wife and children. Studying God’s word has been a passion for a long time. I run regularly to stay in shape, but I wouldn’t call that a favorite thing to do. I like to spend time corresponding with my readers, especially through my message forum on We have developed some great relationships with fans.

What advice could you give a kid who wants to write or maybe has another dream they want to pursue?

For writing, the first priority is to work on the craft. There is a lot more to it than most beginning writers know. For any dream, if you believe God has implanted a vision in your mind and ignited a passion in your heart, never give up on that dream. Over the years, I received about two hundred rejections from publishers and agents. I had to really believe in what I was doing to keep going. But now, I look back at those rejections and thank God for them, because every rejection forced me to work harder at writing, and the first dragon book got better and better over the seven years of trying to get it published. It simply wasn’t ready at those earlier rejection times.

Was there ever a time in your life you wanted to quit writing? What happened and why didn’t you quit?

I don’t think the idea of quitting seriously crossed my mind. I was frequently disappointed, even to the point of discouragement, but I never thought, “Oh, well, maybe this writing business isn’t for me.” I just sat down and kept on trying. The burning passion to create stories for young people just wouldn’t let me put down my “pen.”

Do you have a scripture or quote that has encouraged you lately?

It’s hard to pick just one, but we’ve been reading through Revelation in family devotions, and I took note of Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” After all my writing about faithful heroes, it’s good to know that the ultimate hero is ready to go to war for us. Without Him, we wouldn’t have a chance against the spiritual forces of evil

Do you have other plans or dreams for your writing? If so, what are they?

I would like to see my books made into movies and/or other media, like audio. I think the stories would then reach people who might not pick up my books. I also have a new series in mind called Time Prints, and several readers who have seen early chapters have said that it’s the best idea I’ve had yet. It’s not really a traditional fantasy—more like a contemporary adventure/thriller with a splash of fantasy elements.

What do you like best about being a writer?

There are several great benefits to being a writer. I love to create new stories. It’s a thrill to imagine how readers will react to new characters and their exciting adventures. I also love working at home. I get to see my family all day long. And it’s really a treat to correspond with fans whose lives are being changed for the better because of my books. That helps me know that God is really using what I’m doing for His kingdom.

What’s your least favorite part about writing?

I don’t enjoy the tedious editing. I go over my work dozens of times. The first few drafts are fun and exciting, but the twentieth edit can get pretty dull. After that many times, nothing looks good any more. I just want to turn off the computer and let it go, and at that point I often let it sit for a while and come back to it later.

Anything else you would like your readers to know…

I believe that you can be heroes (or heroines) for God. God has given every believer the ability to obey Him in all things, and He calls us to follow Him, to give everything we have for His kingdom. That’s why I created characters who, although they have fears and doubts, bravely step out and conquer through faith, hope, and love. I hope my readers take these truths to heart and become heroes in this world and for His kingdom.

If you enjoyed this interview and would like to know more about Bryan Davis' project just click here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Chris (11)
Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis, is about two teenagers, Billy Bannister and Bonnie Silver, who discover they have dragon traits. If they want to survive, they’ll have to fight off the evil dragon slayers.

Billy, a normal kid, finds out he has dragon fire breath. Billy meets a girl, Bonnie who is shy because of her deformity. Their new principal isn’t very kind to them, but somehow they manage to survive the school year. With the help of a friendly teacher, Billy and Bonnie learn how to use their dragon powers.

Through Billy and Bonnie’s adventure I learned that God can give you special gifts for you to use for a certain reason and that you should never give up on God’s tasks no matter what it takes.

I think it’s cool to read a book with dragons, swords and …you name it! If you like adventure, sword fights, suspense, romance and dragons, then THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!

Joey (8)

I like Raising Dragons because of the excitement and mystery. It’s a little scary and bloody, but I couldn’t put it down. If you like dragons this would be the book for you because it isn’t the kind of dragons you would think of. In this book, the dragons are good, and they love and trust in God.

Be sure to check out the blog this weekend for an interview with author, Bryan Davis!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Interview with author Christopher Maselli

Who and what age do you write for?I’ll write for anyone who will read my material! In the past, I’ve written board books for babies, comics for preschoolers, books for middle-graders, devotionals for teens and articles for adults. My favorite group to write for is middle-graders, ages 8-12.

Why do you write for this particular group?When I was 13, I started reading because I finally found a sci-fi book series that was fun and captured my attention. I like to write for this age group, especially boys, because I think there are guys out there like me who just need something cool and fun to start reading themselves. I also made Jesus my Lord when I was 13, and the things I read about Him changed my life. I hope what I write encourages kids like me to follow Jesus, too.

Do you have any new books coming out soon?
Right now I’m in a very intensive school that’s taking a lot of my time. I’m learning how to write better each and every day. But I’ve still saved some time to write new stuff. In fact, no one knows about this until now, but I have a new series coming out this year called “Super Sleuth Investigators.” It’s about a boy and a girl who solve mysteries…and each mystery is set up to see if you can figure out the clues and solve it before they do.

What book or series is your best seller?
That’s hard to say. The Superkids series I do isn’t tracked in the same way the Laptop series is, so I don’t have definite numbers to compare. I think they’ve done very similar. I can tell you for sure that Laptop book #1: Reality Shift is the best-seller in the Laptop series and Superkid book #3: Escape From Jungle Island is the best-seller in the Superkid series.

Why do you think that one sells the best?
Reality Shift sells best because it’s the first one in the series and it has received a bunch of great reviews. Readers also like Matt and his friends a lot—and the idea that they can make anything happen by typing it!

Escape From Jungle Island sells best because of the cover. It’s very cool, with Valerie running toward the reader. Girls especially like that cover. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve written because you can see how Valerie’s faith saves her in the midst of trouble.

What’s your favorite series for kids that you’ve written?
Overall, I like the Laptop series best. I just love the idea that you can change anything by writing it. But as far as favorites go, I’d say my favorite book in the Laptop series is #4: Power Play. Matt goes on his first “date” in that book, and actually, that’s where I had planned to start the series. Originally, he was going to find the laptop with Isabel and it was going to be their adventures together. We changed that later and gave Matt a group of friends—it does work better—but I always wanted to include the dynamic between Matt and Isabel. And I really got to do that in Power Play.

My favorite Superkid book, by the way, is the last one, The Knight-Time Rescue of Commander Kellie. It’s the first book I did that has knights and castles and dragons and stuff in it. I had a blast writing it.

What’s your favorite series for kids that someone else has written?I like the Wally McDoogle series by Bill Myers. And the Dunc and Amos series by Gary Paulson. And the Sidekicks series by Dan Danko and Tom Mason. But my favorite book is Holes by Louis Sachar

When and why did you decide to write books?
I’ve always liked to write, but I started writing books that people published about 12 years ago. My goal is to write books that challenge kids to live out their faith.

Do you write any shorter little kids books?
I’ve written a little bit of everything. My solve-it-yourself mysteries are especially loved by younger kids.

What are your favorite things to do?
Other than write? I spend way too much time messing around on my computer. I’ve just started learning how to play the guitar, too. And of course, I have a little daughter now and LOVE spending time playing with her and my wife.

I like to read books about superheroes. Will you be writing any books with superheroes in them?
Funny you ask! For my school, I’m writing my “big paper” on superheroes in children’s books. I’d love to see a list of what you’ve read—I’ve had a hard time finding a lot. But writing that paper has lead me to some great ideas I plan to write soon…and hopefully someone will want to publish them. I have one “silly superhero” idea and one serious one.

What advice could you give a kid who wants to write or maybe has another dream they want to pursue?
Whatever you put your mind to, you can do. If you’re determined to be a writer, or anything else, if you’ll pray about it and practice it and learn it and keep praying and keep practicing and keep learning, you can do it. As I stated earlier, I’m still doing those things today.

Was there ever a time in your life you wanted to quit writing? What happened and why didn’t you quit?
Good question. I don’t think there was ever a time I didn’t want to write…but there has been a time or two I’ve wondered if I might want to try something else. The thing about writing—especially writing for children—is that you have to do it because you want to do it. Because, to be honest, it’ll probably never make you a lot of money or bring a lot of fame. But neither of those things interest me much, and the trade-off is that I get to work at home with my wife and daughter and set my own hours and stay in my pajamas if I want. That’s worth a lot.

Do you have a scripture or quote that has encouraged you lately?
My favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12—“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” I hope every guy and girl who read my books see that truth in them and live it out.

Do you have other plans or dreams for your writing? If so, what are they?
I hope to be a better writer, to write about things I can’t stop writing about because I love them so much. I’m really enjoying all this superhero stuff I mentioned earlier. Maybe that will lead to something neat.

What do you like best about being a writer?
I said this earlier, but I love the benefits—working at home, setting my own hours, etc.

What’s your least favorite part about writing?Sitting in front of a computer for LONG periods of time. That sounds like fun, but once you’ve done it every single day for many years, it can get a bit monotonous. But it’s better than using a pencil and paper for me. 

Anything else you would like your readers to know…
This blog rules! Oh, and you can check out my website at http://www.truthpop.comif you want to see more. Feel free to email me anytime.