Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Quarry Bank Runaways: The Journey to London of Thomas Priestley & Joseph Sefton in 1806 Author: G. J. Griffiths

Note from Jacquie: This is an excellent slice of history set in the genre of historical fiction. Teachers and homeschoolers looking to add a bit of adventure into 19th-century history need look no further. Please be aware of differences in UK and US spelling and grammar.
 In the early 19th-century, it was the policy of many of the poorhouses and workhouses to maintain harsh and unpleasant conditions. Children were separated from their parents, removed from orphanages and poor houses, and forced to work at a very young age.  It was within this context that two boys snuck away from their apprenticeships at the Quarry Bank Cotton Mill and set out on a 200-mile journey in search of their mothers. 

Quarry Bank Mill beside the River Bollin: 2016
It was likely that these enterprising travelers took advantage of the drovers’ roads and the newly developed “motorways” of the times – the canals. Perhaps they were lucky enough some days to hitch a lift; their general direction of travel taking them to Beartown, the Potteries, Dunstable Downs and eventually to London. Whatever challenges they encountered along the way archive evidence shows that they made it.

This is the story of their adventure and it concludes with the events in the Middlesex Courthouse. This well-crafted book is available on Kindle and in hard-copy at this 

Amazon Link More about Mr. Griffiths and his accomplishments may be found on his Author's Page

Note from Jacquie: I asked Mr. Griffiths to please share what inspired the writing of this historical fiction novel. His answer gives us all food for thought.

During the writing of my latest book, The Quarry Bank Runaways, I referred to several other books, papers, and texts and one of the most amazing was The Real Oliver Twist by John Waller.
This is not a review of the book because I intend to do that later but I wanted to recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in history, but especially history during the period of the Industrial Revolution, say about 1750 to 1850. I did not enjoy any of my history lessons at school through very poor teaching in my opinion as a retired (science) teacher of secondary school kids. This book did not inspire my later fascination with history as I believe it grew through reading the novels of Dickens, Elliot, Gaskell, and Austen. However, what John Waller's book about Robert Blincoe, a real "work'us child", did for me was fan the embers of my interest into flames of a real passion for reading more factual books about some of the less fortunate characters during that time.
Robert Blincoe's suffering as a child worker in various cotton mills will cause successions of tears, horror, and incredulity to emerge from any reader, of that I'm sure. We can only be pleased that such a thing does not occur in today's factories - at least as far as we know! However, one hears of so-called child "sweat shops" involved in the production of artefacts for sale in all kinds of "developing" countries around the world. So obviously there is still a lot of important awareness work to be done. Where the right people are to do it is a real problem in today's world.
The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life that Illuminates a Violent Age
The Real Oliver Twist Robert Blincoe A Life that Illuminates a Violent Age by John WallerRead the book and see if you agree!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Miss Lando's Math Resources

Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus

Note from Jacquie: 
I have been a FB friend of Miss Lando for several years. During that time I have noticed the positive feedback from her students and her no-nonsense approach to teaching math. Her math lessons, some of which are available on her store sites, are an excellent resource for students. Thank you Miss Lando for sharing the story behind your lessons and the links to your stores.

Miss Lando’s Math Tutoring Study Aids

Note from Miss Lando: 

Over the past couple of decades working with math students from elementary school through college, I’ve often been frustrated by the lack of detail and clarity in math textbooks and workbooks. 

Too often, students have to scan several chapters to find what they’re looking for, or the examples given in the text are not at the same level as the homework exercises and tests. 

For these reasons, I began to construct study guides and pod casts that allow students to access major concepts and procedures clearly and succinctly. 

If you are a student or if you are helping a student who wants to improve his or her math grade or increase understanding, these study guides and pod casts will definitely help. These are also wonderful supplements for homeschoolers or for students taking online math courses. 

Welcome to my stores!

Direct Link to Miss Lando's Web Store:
Many thanks,
Miss Lando 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tribute to Micah Fowler- Star of Speechless

Notes from Jacquie: There is no doubt that  Micah Fowler  is a hero. He is the type of hero that moves through his life following his dreams despite prejudice and doors that may require several knocks to enter.

Micah Fowler acts as an advocate for the United Cerebral Palsy Organization which provides inspiration to young people finding their way in the world. The United Cerebral Palsy Organization (UCP) offers parents, teachers, and community members a wealth of information and resources.

While verbal in his life outside acting, on the TV show Speechless, Micah plays a nonverbal young man who uses a communication board.

Communication boards are used when a person can not communicate verbally. For example, stroke victims, and people recovering from various types of throat surgeries, Amy's Speech and Language Therapy site offers a variety of boards to view and download.

Carrie Clark provides clear instructions on how to build a communication board with a cookie sheet. Helpful to both parents and teachers.

Thank you to Micah Fowler, the program Speechless, all our resources for increasing our understanding!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

They're Recycling Aliens

In the prequel, Ants in Space, Eva and Lara were surprised when they discovered Kweezy, the miniaturized leader of the ant-people in their garden. He traveled through space in search of teflon, an essential element for his planet’s survival.

After being reduced to ant-people size, Eva and Lara were taken on an exciting journey through space to visit Kweezy’s home planet. In addition to enjoying their visit, they were taught the importance of teflon to the continued existence of this advanced civilization.

After their return, the girls prepared a list of rubbish centres and dumps which contained recycle-ready teflon to assist Kweezy in replenishing the stockpile. The day of Kweezy’s visit finally arrives, along with the beginning of a delightful adventure. In this visit to Antanesta cousins Elliot and Joe, the reluctant believer, join the girls in their travel to the small  home of a friendly, advanced civilization. 

It is worth mentioning that, in addition to this being  a very fine tale, the topic of kindness is woven into the story. The fine art of teaching without preaching is in good form.

 I am always amazed at the versatility of the author G. J. Griffiths. His writings range from history novels to children’s books. In each genre, the writing is well-crafted. Mr. Griffiths has scored another winner by combining his writing skills with the outstanding illustrations of Gillian Tolentino and Elaiana Bastidas.

Note to US readers: Mr. Griffiths is based in the UK. The spelling of certain words reflect this fact.

Where to Buy They're Recycling Aliens

The Story Behind The Story By GJ Griffiths

When I completed the first book in the series of Kweezy Capolza tales, entitled Ants In Space, it was with a sequel in mind that would follow up the end of the story when the girls had returned to Earth. They had promised to make a list for Kweezy of suitable sites where discarded non-stick pots and pans etc could be obtained. I thought it would be important at this point to extend the appeal of the books to boys as well as girls, and so Eva and Lara would need to be with their cousins Joe and Elliot on the day that the Antanestians returned to Earth to collect the Teflon-coated "rubbish". This gave me the opportunity to introduce two quite different personalities and also to extend the traits of the girls' characters in the book 2. I wanted to retain the humorous moments as much as possible and at the same time bring in a little more science & technology at a level competent young readers and first chapterreaders could accept. It was also important to me for the adults, (teachers, parents, grandparents) who maybe were sat reading with/to the children, to also find some amusement in the book.

Finally, in all my books to date, whether they were for adults, YA or children, I have tried to include something about looking after the environment, wildlife, or disadvantaged fellow humans - concepts important to me. So we have Lara attempting to explain the idea of Kindness to the war-mongering Kraxish, aided by her cool cousin, Joe.

While it risks coming across to readers as "a bit preachy" (a past reviewer's words) and turning other potential readers away from my books I am quite prepared to take that risk. After all it does no harm to remind people from time to time of the importance of being kind to other living things on this, our only, world. If it was good enough for the Dalai Lama and Jesus Christ then it's good enough for this atheist-scientist scribbler of stories!