Monday, February 28, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Leila in Saffron
by Rukhsanna Guidroz
Illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova

Flap Copy Description:
Sometimes I'm not sure if I like being me.
When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn't know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her that the saffron color of her scarf suits her, she feels a tiny bit better. So Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of herself that she likes.
Follow Leila's journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

My Thoughts:
I must admit, I was drawn to this wonderful book by its colorful cover in my local library. (Those librarians always know what they're doing!) However, when I read the book, I realized that its message of accepting who you are - with all of your unique traits - was something that every young child should hear. So, Leila in Saffron is this week's featured children's book. (The glossary at the back of the book is awesome!) I highly recommend it for children aged four to seven.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Storyteller’s Journey

An Epic Odyssey

Fourteen years ago this month, I left my profession as a dental hygienist and embarked on my storyteller’s journey. It’s been an epic odyssey!

Soon after my first book was published (The Scandinavian Santa) in 2014, my husband and I went on a three-week trip to Europe. (Venice)

While I look happy in this picture taken at the historic home of Claude Monet in Giverny, I was actually quite rattled. We’d had multiple challenges with our connections in Rome, Venice, Milan, Avignon, and Paris. However, I was able at least to do the research I needed for the middle grade series I’d already outlined. That was, after all, the purpose of our trip.

By the time we reached London we felt like seasoned travelers. (It helped that we were in an English-speaking country!) We enjoyed many sights in England, including Stonehenge.

The last country we visited was Scotland. It was by far my favorite of the trip - at least as far as natural beauty. Nature always plays a prevalent part in my stories.

Since that trip eight years ago, we’ve visited many states we’d never visited before, including Alaska. In 2018 we were lucky enough to travel to Guatemala with a wonderful group of artists.

My storyteller’s journey has even impacted where I live. Last year we realized a long-held dream: We moved to a rural home, closer to nature where we are inspired to continue to create.

While we’ve enjoyed all these adventures immensely, in every place, we were there to either further my writing, my husband’s artwork, or both. I had traveled  internationally before, but I had done so as a tourist. At that time I did not have the eyes to really “see” the people or the cultures like I do now. Writing has opened my eyes, like reading books did so many years ago when I was a child.

I truly hope my stories open the world to young readers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Albertopolis - (noun)
a group of museums and other cultural institutions in South Kensington in London, named after Prince Albert.
Example: The author hoped to visit the Albertopolis while doing research in London.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

The Leopard Behind the Moon
by Mayonn Paasewe-Valchev

Flap Copy Description:
Ezomo is sure he spotted the mysterious leopard.
He heard a rustling in the leaves, and a raspy yowl. It was lapping water from a muddy pond in the forest. He saw its sharp green eyes when it looked up. When it looked at him.
But no one will believe Ezomo.
In the village of Sesa, Ezomo is, well, Ezomo. "Ezomo continues to test our patience!" say the Elders. "He continues to threaten our existence!" say the villagers. Ezomo is the useless boy. The forgotten boy. His shame and grief consume him.
Luckily, Chimama and Muja haven't given up on Ezomo. And so, the three friends gather a net, a spear, their bravery, their sorrows and their hopes, and set out into the forest to capture the leopard and prove everyone wrong.

My Thoughts:
This beautifully written middle grade novel is magical. The theme of friendship woven throughout this complex tale is made even more captivating with themes of loss and hope. It kept my attention page after page; I know it will do the same for readers of all ages!

Click here to learn about the author, Mayonn Paasewe-Valchev.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Biblioklept - (noun)
one who steals books.
Example: The young boy became a biblioklept over time, since he was too bashful to obtain a library card.


Monday, February 14, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Luna Finds Love Everywhere
by Dr. Shainna Ali

Back Cover Description:
Can You Find Love Everywhere?
It's easier than you think!  Follow Luna as she discovers self-love in small, everyday moments. From kindness and sharing to what to do when things don't go your way, Luna Finds Love Everywhere celebrates the many ways we can love and appreciate each other and ourselves!

My Thoughts:
While it's apparent by the text that this lovely picture book was written by a mental health clinician, that in no way takes away from the heartfelt story within its pages. In today's world we're all trying to make sense of things; so are our children. This simple little book allows young children to understand that it's okay to feel upset, and also what to do about that. I highly recommend Luna Finds Love Everywhere to children aged three to six. 

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you feel loved today. 💓

Friday, February 11, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

When One Story Becomes Two

In the last six months I've been outlining what I thought would be another story for my Lindstrom Wintertime Tales collection. 

However, I had an experience that, thus far, I've not had as a writer.

I guess you'd call it a sort of "literary mitosis." The reason being is that somewhere along my process with the story, I suddenly realized it had grown and wanted to be a novel. It broke off from my original idea. But the experience didn't end there. Once I had a loose outline of the new novel, I realized that the original story was still intact, and quite different than the novel it had spawned. Thus, I had two fully formed story ideas. While this might seem like a great situation, it leaves me in the dilemma of what to do. Should I proceed with the new idea for a novel? Or should I return to my original plan and proceed with the short story destined to become a Lindstrom Wintertime Tale?

I think I'll take a break and muse on what this literary mitosis means!

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Odyssey (noun)
1- a long journey full of adventures.
2- a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding to someone.
Example: The military officer had lived around the world; his extraordinary experiences had been a life odyssey.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy
by Anne Ursu

Flap Copy Description:
If no one notices Marya Lupu, it's likely because of her brother, Luka. And that's because of what everyone knows: Luka is destined to become a sorcerer. The Lupus might be from a small village far from the capital city, but that doesn't matter. Evey young boy born in Illyria may possess the rare ability to wield magic, to protect the country from the terrifying force known only as the Dread.
For all the hopes the family has for Luka, no one has any for Marya, who can never seem to do anything right. But even so, no one is prepared for the day that the sorcerers finally arrive to test Luka for magical ability, and Marya makes a terrific mistake. Nor the day after, when the Lupas receive a letter from a place called Dragomir Academy - a mysterious school for wayward girl. Girls like Marya.
Soon she is a hundred miles from home, in a strange and unfamiliar place, surrounded by girls she's never met. Dragomir Academy promises Marya and her classmates a chance to make something of themselves in service to one of the country's powerful sorcerers. But as they learn how to fit into a world with no place for them, they begin to discover things about the magic the men of their country wield, as well as the Dread itself - things that threaten the precarious balance upon which their country is built.

My Thoughts:
This is only the third book by Anne Ursu that I've read; however, it's the third book by the amazing author that I've loved! The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy is an extraordinary book featuring strong girls with inquisitive minds - just the sort of book we need. Ms. Ursu's command of everything magical in her fantasy tales makes this a middle grade novel not to miss!

Click here to learn about the author, Anne Ursu.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

My Eleventh Blogiversary!

It seems strange to me that it's been eleven years since I first began posting on Writ of Whimsy. In that time, I've had four children's books independently published. 

However, the biggest takeaway from being a blogger has most definitely been the writers, artists, musicians, teachers, librarians, publishing professionals, and readers that I've met over the years. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to my life as a storyteller! Making relationships is what life is all about.

In honor of my blogging milestone, I've made a contribution to one of my favorite literary organizations: Reading is Fundamental.
(Click the link to check them out; they do wonderful work for children.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Myopically - (adverb)
without seeing what the results of a particular action or decision will be; without thinking about anything outside your own situation.
Example: The mother was myopically focused on only disciplining her daughter, rather than teaching her.