Photo Challenge #46 / Round

20190214ma_0308“Fence Detail” / Theme: Round

A little about this photo…

On one of my photo walks, I came across this fence. I immediately thought of the “Round” prompt on my list. Click! Got it.

I did take a few different angles, but I ended liking this one with the little dried berries framed in the one circle. I do like the reddish  tones that also somehow bring out the reddish rust in the fence.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #45 / Under Water

20191108ma_2715“On the Creek Bed” / Theme: Under Water

A little about this photo…

I like how you can see under the water to the bottom of the creek. But I also like how you can also see all the reflections on the water… the leaves and even the sky peeking through. It all mingles so nicely together with the rocks and sand and dirt on the creek bed. And of course, the leaves floating on top of the water add their own little contribution to complete the photo.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

Fall Reading Bingo Challenge / October


I’m back to Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge!

This month, I finished ten middle-grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. And yes, I get to call out “Bingo!”

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.


  1. Because this is a #MGCarousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads. Find out more about #MGCarousel here.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during this month.

Here are my results…

‘Truth’ or ‘Dare’ in the Title

Double Dog Dare // by Lisa Graff

MG, Contemporary (2012)

double-dog-dareThis was a cute story about a girl (Francine) and a boy (Kansas) who get into a dare contest to see WHO will be the new anchorperson for the school announcements. She really wants; he doesn’t but is the kind of boy who can’t turn down a dare.

Most of the book was pretty silly. I really like how both kids are each struggling with their newly divorced parental situation. This is at the heart of the story and what makes the story worth the read. Most of the dares are pretty fun, but the solution was a little too obvious for me.  [3.5 stars]

Title Starts with ‘O’

The Other Half of my Heart // by Sundee T. Frazier

MG, Contemporary (2010)

other-half-heartThis book is about bi-racial twins. One of them is black and the other is white. And when their grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl beauty pageant… cue the drama.

For the most part, the story is told through Minni’s eyes (the white twin). I loved how the author dealt with how she portrayed the two sisters, the love and connection they have with each other. As tensions in the book rise, Minni starts to question her place in the world. Is she black? Is she white? She has some good conversations with her grandmother’s neighbour, Dr. Oliphant (probably one of my favourite characters in the book!) [4 stars]

A Book You Own

A Bear Called Paddington // by Michael Bond

MG, Classic (1958)

paddington-bookOne of my favourite books from my childhood. Paddington is adorable. I like how he just fits right in with the Brown family. And I love his relationship with Mr. Gruber! How they share elevensies together. And Mr. Curry! Arrgh! The ultimate mean next-door neighbour.

I remember as a kid not even questioning the fact that a bear could come and live in a family.  [5 stars]


Fairy Mom and Me // by Sophie Kinsella

MG, Magical Realism (2018)

fairy-momCute story about a girl and her mom who is a great mom, but she’s not very good at being a fairy. The book is very episodic. In one of their adventures, Ella wants to bake cupcakes, but Fairy Mom’s Computawand doesn’t quite work the way she intends. Enter Zoe, the next-door neighbour who gives Ella trouble. But, don’t worry, all ends well. And Ella ends up with a delicious batch of cupcakes. (I just won’t tell you how that happens.)  [3 stars]

Secret in the Title

The Perfect Secret // by Rob Buyea

MG, Contemporary

perfect-secretFrom the author of Because of Mr. Terupt… Here’s another group of middle-school kids, each of them telling their version of the events in their lives. I did not realize that this was a sequel to another book, so I didn’t already know the characters. This left me a wee bit confused over what was happening, especially at the beginning of the book.

This book did have some good parts. I particularly liked the storyline belonging to Scott, aka “Junior, the stats man” and Coach (who isn’t really their coach but lives at the Senior Center). And the relationship between Gavin and his little sister is sweet.  [3 stars]

Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • An Only Child // Absolutely Almost // by Lisa Graff
    • Magicians // Nothing Up My Sleeve // by Diana Lopez
    • Pick Your Prompt / A 5-Star Book // Birdie // by Eileen Spinelli
    • Gate on the Cover // Mysterious Benedict Society // by Trenton Lee Stewart
    • A Retelling // Once Upon a Toad // by Heather Vogel Frederick

Final Thoughts…

October Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

For November’s challenge, go to

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

Photo Challenge #44 / Feet

20191020ma_2570“Octoberfest Dancing Feet” / Theme: Feet

A little about this photo…

I know it’s November, so I’m going back a week or so with this photo from Octoberfest. These feet belong to the children’s dance group. Here they are performing a dance called The Miller’s Dance (Mühlradl)… which is why the boys have these white sheets around their middle covering up their lederhosen. The kids dance a series of circles that (I think) are supposed to mimic the big wheel at a grist mill.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #43 / Pick a Colour

20191025ma_2659“Autumn Colours” / Theme: Pick a Colour

A little about this photo…

Every year, the leaves lose their green and turn different shades. This year, it seems like pretty much every tree has decided unanimously to pick the colour yellow. I’m always hoping for oranges and reds to mix things up a bit. But alas… it’s yellow.

Still, yellow is a pretty colour, don’t you think?

(By the way, that spire belongs to a church in my neck of the woods. You may recognize it from the photo I chose to go with the announcement of this year’s prompts. I think it’s so pretty. Like it belongs in a fairy tale!)

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #41 / In Good Time

20191011ma_2530“Cuckoo Clock” / Theme: In Good Time

A little about this photo…

Spent a whole day cleaning, organizing, and tidying up a garage. Came across this beautiful cuckoo clock. No longer working properly, but beautiful still the same. Odd thing was, the time on the clock was approximately the time I took this photo. (And no, I did not manipulate the hands!)

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

A Story for Fall

This is a short story I wrote for the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy contest. Entitled “Road Trip” (200 words), this story is the result of my interpretation of the photo prompt below. (Note: The photo was provided by the contest. Therefore, not my photo!)

I decided to format the story as a conversation, almost as if it were recorded or overheard. So, there are no dialogue tags and no action lines.



by Maria Antonia

Word Count: 200

“I don’t know why we’re even going this year.”

“I promised your dad I’d bring you. We can still enjoy the fall colors without him, you know.”

“Oh look, an orange leaf, Grandma! And another one. I’m just soooo surprised.”

“Very funny, Sophie. No need for sarcasm.”

“It’s a free country. Isn’t that why Dad left in the first place? So we can have a stupid free country—”



“I know you miss him, Soph.”

“Don’t call me that. Nobody calls me that except—”

“I miss him, too. But, he is coming back.”

“When?! He never tells me when. What kind of lousy parent leaves, then— Why are you stopping the car? This is Old Man Worthington’s land. If he catches us, he’ll… you know.”

“Mr. Worthington is harmless.”

“Hello? He lives in a spooky house. Next thing, he’ll come around that bend and—”

“Suit yourself.”

“Wait, you can’t leave me here. That’s abandonment.”

“Then, come. I need to stretch my legs.”

“See! It’s him. Old Man Worthington. Over there!”

“That’s not—”

“Get back in the car, Grandma, or else…”



Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

“Daddy, but you’re supposed to be in—”

“Hiya, Soph.”