Photo Challenge #39 / Fun and Games

20220703ma_0886“Paper Dolls” / Theme: Fun and Games

A little about this photo…

These are my mom’s paper dolls. I vaguely remember playing with them as a kid. My sister and I had our own paper dolls that we loved. Such fun and games we used to have!


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

2022 Photo Challenge Bingo #4

 

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It’s time for the final bingo card of #2022picoftheweek … October, November, and December.

The photos are shared every Saturday during these months, beginning on October 1st. Can’t wait to see your photos! Be sure to use #2022picoftheweek. Feel free to post here and on Twitter and Instagram. ⁠


OCTOBER / NOVEMBER / DECEMBER

Family Time
Doorway
Extra Mile
Collection
Red or Green

Golden Opportunity
Mine
Good Things
Number Three
Counting Blessings

Trees
You Rock
CHOOSE YOUR OWN
Cheers!
In the Loop

Silver Lining
Lifted Up
Tranquil
Be My Guest
Perfect Shot

On Repeat
Trick or Treat
Once a Year
Spell it Out
Clear Skies


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Each Saturday I post a photo based on the list of prompts. (The order does NOT matter.) You have three months to get a BINGO or two or three! Can you do it?
Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

#2022picoftheweek / Reader’s Edition

If you’re not really into photography, but you’re a reader, you can also play the reader’s version. Just post a photo of a book you’re reading that has something to do with the prompt.

Review / Over and Out

20220819ma_1640Book: Over and Out (2022)
Author: Jenni L. Walsh
Genre: MG, Historical [1970s]
Publisher: Scholastic

Opening lines from the book …
There are books hidden beneath my floorboards. I was moving my bed because my only fountain pen rolled underneath while Katarina and I were doing our homework. At first, I tried to climb under after it, but my head was too big, no matter which way I turned it.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) This story takes place in East Berlin. The two girls, Sophie and Katarina,  like to figure out ways to escape to the west. And suddenly, that becomes a very real reality.

2) It’s nice to see a friendship where the girls remain friends throughout the story. Usually, there’s some sort of drama between the friends in books like this, but I like that this one didn’t do that. (Not that I mind friendship drama.)

3) I liked seeing the process as they work through the escape plan. From Katarina learning some archery!

4) And then there’s the bad guy! He’s “recruited” Sophie to become a spy on Monica, her former babysitter. He’s the guy you love to hate!

5) Love the tension in this book, especially toward the end of the book. As the whole plan comes together. I also like how the title Over and Out comes out in the book. I assumed it meant one thing, but it has a different meaning!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good Cold War spy book! You know, with kid spies trying to make a daring escape.

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #38 / So Cute

20220820ma_1666“Dragon” / Theme: So Cute

A little about this photo…

Not sure this dragon would appreciate being called “cute”, but I’m going with it! It’s certainly a fun piece of work. Whoever made it, must have enjoyed making this little creation. (Not sure if you can tell the scale, but this little guy could sit in my hand; or maybe a hand a little bigger than mine.)


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

Would You Rather?

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Would you rather have your book reviewed by your favorite author or meet them in person?

This is the question posed for today’s #WriterFriendsChallenge. Since I don’t actually have a published book to be reviewed, I’ll submit one of my short stories. Now, which to choose? 

The first thought that comes to mind is: What if my favorite author doesn’t like my story? Eek! (Also, come to think of it, my favorite author is most likely dead.) Okay, let’s say that they will give a favorable review to whatever I write. That’s good. I could use that as an endorsement, so that’d be cool!

Second option is to meet my favorite author in person. This is also something that would be totally awesome. I could ask them questions. Ask them for tips. Yes, I think I’d rather make it about them rather than about me. So, there you have it. That’s my choice. I’d rather meet up with my favorite author for a very nice cup of tea.

Next question is this: How do I choose a favorite author?!


YOUR TURN…

What would you choose? Let me hear it in the comments.

 

#WriterFriendsChallenge is a monthly challenge for writers hosted @susanleighneedham & @thatsarahelynn on Instagram.

Review / The Terrible Two’s Last Laugh

20220828ma_1675Book: The Terrible Two’s Last Laugh (2018)
Author: Mac Barnett & Jory John
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Publisher: Amulet Books
Series: The Terrible Two

Opening lines from the book …
For the last time: Welcome to Yawnee Valley! Or, if you’ve never read a book in this series before, for the first time: Welcome to Yawnee Valley.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Two of our favorite pranksters, Niles and Miles, are entering their final year of middle school. And of course, you can expect a few pranks in this book.

2) I love the change in relationship between the boys and Principal Barkin! In the original books, Principal Barkin is the main baddy. But it’s nice to see how the principal has changed over the course of the books.

3) The humor in these books is delightful, especially the play of words. There’s Principal Barkin and then there’s Former Principal Barkin. And of course, you know the former principal is going to bring trouble, don’t you?

4) This book isn’t just about shenanigans! There are some nice heart moments, especially near the end with regard to Miles.

5) And I like how the final prank plays out. It’s a “quiet” prank.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a fun end to a fun series. I recommend the series for kids who like books about pranks!

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #37 / Reflection

20220909ma_1687“The Face of the Queen” / Theme: Reflection

A little about this photo…

I had originally planned for a different photo, but the events of this week changed that. I came out of a meeting when I heard the news that the Queen had died. Our Queen. The Lady that graced our money since she came to the throne (long before I was born). And I suddenly realized, she’s not going to be there anymore. After having said goodbye to my own grandmother this year (who was only a year younger than the Queen), it was something that struck me. That life always moves on … whether we’re ready for it or not.

The image on the coin has changed a little over the years. When I was a kid, it showed a young queen. (You can see a hint of that in the bottom coin.) Then in the 1990s (I think), they went over to a more regal older queen with an imperial crown. The coin I choose to feature is the most recent face of the Queen—the one where she looks a little like my own grandmother. And so, I decided to capture it with a photo. That photo is … this.

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

The Best Writing Lesson

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What is a writing lesson that you learned in school?

You always hear stories of how authors were once told by a heartless teacher that their writing was no good. Thinking back to my own school days, I don’t think I ever really experienced that. (Not because I was such a gifted writer at a tender age. Ha! Some of my poetry will show you that I’m no Shakespeare!)

I had one “heartless” teacher who did even worse. It was an English Writer’s Craft class, and he made us read our stories …

OUT. LOUD.

And not only that, but the other students then had to talk about it. And give feedback. While I was there in the room. (I told you the teacher was heartless!)

My short story was about a boy and his elderly neighbor lady going up the staircase in their apartment building. (I can’t remember why they didn’t take the elevator or any of the other details!) I was soooo nervous about what the other students would think. I mean, sure the teacher would be encouraging, even when he did point out my weaknesses. But what about the students? They wrote pieces that were far edgier and way cooler than mine!

But, I did it. Dear reader, I read it. Out. Loud. I survived. And then, I sat back while the class discussed my story.

And you know what? Nobody scoffed at it. The other students began dissecting it … like it was a real story (you know, like the stories we read by published authors). They went into how the staircase was symbolism for a friendship on the rise (or something like that). And I was like: “Really? Hmm. That’s interesting.” (And yes, I wrote that piece.)

So, I guess the lesson I learned that day is that it’s okay to write what you write.

I’m not even sure that was the teacher’s intent, but that’s what is sticking with me all these years later. And even though I still hate reading my stories out loud to an audience, I’m thankful for that teacher who made me do it. It helped me OWN my writing and be who I am. And write what I write.

 


YOUR TURN…

Do you have a writing lesson you’d like to share? Let me hear it in the comments.

 

#WriterFriendsChallenge is a monthly challenge for writers hosted @susanleighneedham & @thatsarahelynn on Instagram.

Review / Out of Range

20220903ma_1680Book: Out of Range (2022)
Author: Heidi Lang
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: MG, Contemporary


Opening lines from the book …
Emma wasn’t a fan of strong words. So she mentally censored the word she was actually thinking and instead told her older sister, Abby, “I seriously dislike you.”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) There are three sisters in this book, and we get to hear the story from each of their POVs. Abby, Emma, and Ollie all had distinct characteristics. (And guessing from the dedication, these are maybe based on the author and her sisters! I got the sense that Emma was probably the author herself.) And there are a lot of sisterly shenanigans as the sisters are in full-out war amongst themselves for most of the book.

2) This book was kind of like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book, except without the second-person narration and turning the pages to different parts of the book! The plot follows the girls out in the middle of nowhere. We’ve got fires and cougars and bears and rivers! And boy do they make some poor decisions!

3) The plot alternates characters between the past and present. Little by little, we get an understanding of how the girls ended up on this wilderness trail! 

4) I really liked how Mr. Snuffles (Ollie’s stuffed animal) comes into play in the story. Won’t say more about it except that Mr. Snuffles is great, and that I agree with Ollie that he’s a hero.

5) And that author note! Wow. It’s one of those stories that makes you say: “This author has a great imagination” only to find that it’s based on a true story! (Yikes. Glad I wasn’t on that hike.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

This book is for those who like a good survival wilderness story! And there’s a lot of sister-drama. Involving a boyfriend and the Phantom of the Opera!

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #36 / Choose Your Own Prompt

20220813ma_1630“On Guard” / Theme: Choose Your Own Prompt

A little about this photo…

Today, I’m choosing my own prompt with this hawk, standing (sitting?) on guard in a tree. A few minutes later, he flew away. Did he spot some prey below?

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek