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!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Demise of a Devious Neighbor by Elaine Orr

A new Cozy Mystery by Elaine Orr. 

Fireworks, plants, neighbors, family, and newspapers mix together to create can't-put-down story.

Demise of a Devious Neighbor

Great writing ideas: Elaine Orr's Blog

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Fingerprint of Reading Development

Each student's reading progress is as individual as a fingerprint. Reading development, as with all human development, is at an individual’s own pace. When teaching reading it is important to recognize that students learn in different ways and in synchronization with their own personal growth and development. 

 As Piaget consistently  acknowledges, all learning is  an active process. Reading, then, is an activity, a process of  confrontation between an  individual and a text  For  both Piaget and Chomsky,  language is highly structured.  In Chomsky’s terms, there is  a linguistic relationship  between the surface structure  and the phonological aspects    of language. Excerpt from:  Developing a Philosophy of  Reading: Piaget and Chomsky by Robert P. Craig As found in Reading Horizons
Reading is a complex process involving multiple skills and systems that must be coordinated in order to result in fluent reading behaviors. Reading Brain Lab: Dartmouth College Department of Education

The stages of reading development can be used as general reference guidelines. In no instance should guidelines become reasons to judge a student’s ability to learn nor should they be a reason to hold a student to curriculum that is no longer challenging.

As part of the normal growth process, children pass through stages of reading development. Advancement through these stages may differ from child to child. For example, a family may have one child who begins reading at age four while another does not begin to read until age six. Parents may be surprised to notice that both children are reading quite well at age eight. In other words, a slow beginning simply may indicate the child is not yet ready to read and nothing more.

The quality of reading is not measured by how soon a child begins to read but how well he or she reads when ready. 

Reading development is enhanced when parents, family members, and friends read to children. It also helps if children observe their parents and other important adults reading and discussing the written word. Having books of all types around the house tells children that reading is important.

 It is always a good idea to make sure that each student has a vision and physical examination before beginning instruction. Most doctors have a list of resources on hand to assist parents and caregivers in connecting with community specialists and school agencies if glasses or other support is required. 

Pre-reading: Birth to Kindergarten Children learn to understand the spoken word, enjoy having books read to them, recognize letters, and perhaps write their name. They may also pretend to read books aloud and talk about the pictures. 

Kindergarten and Grade One Children learn the names of the letters and the concept of sound/symbol and symbol/sound relationships. They learn linguistic patterning, the blending of sounds, and recognize certain sight words. 

Grades Two and Three Children enhance and expand decoding skills, learn advanced skills for obtaining meaning from texts, and increase reading fluency. 

Grades Four through Eight Children learn information that goes beyond their life experiences, they increase their basic vocabulary, and they apply that vocabulary to new reading and writing experiences. 

Grades Nine through Twelve Students develop complex language structures, interpret multiple points of view, learn advanced vocabulary, and construct their own meanings through analysis and synthesis. 

Excerpts from: How to Use Rhoades to Reading 2nd Edition (2011) Available at Jacquie's Store

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Bus Ride in Montgomery Alabama 1955

A Bus Ride in Montgomery Alabama: 1955

In addition to the racist bus statutes, white bus drivers often mistreated their black passengers. They were known to be verbally abusive, to skip all-black stops, and would do things such as collect a fare but drive off before the black person had time to board the bus. This behavior was not only expected but also resignedly accepted as the status quo in Alabama. Resource: Heroines in History

Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin, Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith. All of these women were brave trailblazers. The four often unsung predecessors to Rosa Parks, were important participants in the Civil Rights Movement. Their quiet, dignified, stand for justice are equal in nature. They each risk their own personal safety and that of their families, possible mistreatment in jail, lack of employment and educational opportunities to stand proud in a society of oppression. They, each in their own way, created a tipping point in history. Washington Post: The Ladies Before Rosa

Claudette Colvin: was born in 1939 (Age 77)

On March 2, 1955 Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old student, refused to give up her seat to a white woman. She told the bus driver, who demanded she move,  "It's my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it's my constitutional right."  

She spent time in jail, was branded a trouble maker, and was required by circumstances to leave school. The Life of Claudette Colvin Wikipedia: Claudette Colvin

Aurelia Shines Browder: January 29, 1919 - February 4, 1971

Eight months before the oft-remembered Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger, Aurelia Browder made history. Wikipedia: Aurelia S. Browder She was the lead plaintiff in the law suit Browder Vs Gayle. This was the lawsuit that caused an end to the separate but equal laws of the land.

Mary Louise Smith Was born in 1937 (Age 79)

Mary Louise Smith was 18 when she sat for justice on a Montgomery bus. The Forgiveness Foundation tells of her important role in the action that led to her participation in litigation the turned the corner of history. 

Mary Louise Smith found her seat on a bus that was not full. However, all the other seats were soon taken as the driver picked up additional passengers along the route. A white traveler stepped on the bus and the driver directed all black people in a certain section to give up their seats and stand. All of the black bus riders complied, except for Mary Louise Smith. She refused and was arrested. The $9.00 fine imposed on Ms. Smith was paid by her father.

Mary Louise Smith has dedicated her life to obtaining equal voting rights and supporting other civil rights causes.

Susie McDonald and Rosa Parks

Very little information can be found regarding Susie McDonald. However, we know that she was a participant in the Browder_v._Gayle Court Action.

Rosa Parks became was put forth by the civil rights community as the person most likely to best represent the movement. Her actions were especially heroic as they came after the resistance to segregation had fomented into a volatile issue.

Books relevant to the Civil Rights Movement can be found at Jacquie's Store