For authors of all genres, a great book review is so uplifting that it seems like “music” to their ears and poetry to their souls!
Recently, I had received several book reviews from middle-grade youngsters who completed reading my book, Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones. I learned that Sam, a 12 year-old from Long Island would be writing one for Boating Times Long Island Magazine, which was published in their April issue. I did not meet Sam or know him – all I knew was that the editor of the magazine asked him if he would write the review and he agreed. I was pleasantly surprised at Sam’s mastery in crafting beautiful words that described my plot, and the way he felt while he was reading the book. A copy of his review can be found in this link: http://boatingtimesli.com/NY/whaleislandbookreview/
Another excellent review recently came to me from Patrick, an elementary school aged boy whose mother is a fellow member of the Long Island Authors Group, a non-profit that promotes authorship on Long Island. Patrick wrote his comments in a book report that described in detail the protagonists’ journey from Cape Cod (where they live) to an island thousands of miles from their home (Whale Island). Patrick ended his book report with this comment:
“I liked this book because it had a lot of twists and turns in it. It was very well-written and it was a very good book.”
I wonder if these children realize that their words are priceless and are exremely encouraging, especially coming from a youngster. Children today have packed schedules, between school obligations and afterschool activities, so taking the time to write a book review is greatly appreciated – it brings joy to an author! Plus, it’s a wonderful feeling to know youngsters are enjoying their book/reading experiences. I am fond of saying to them and all who love to read books that take you on unforgettable adventures that inspire and enrich the mind, “Keep reading and enjoy the journey!”
I had the unique experience of adopting a whale named “Kadee” from the Pacific Whale Foundation last spring. The Foundation sent me the entire history and background of my whale. Kadee was distinguished by a beautiful fluke and the fact that she had two calves (calves are their babies, in case you are not aware of it). The scientists who follow these adopted whales identify them through their tails or “flukes,” which are as different as the features on a person’s face. The two reasons why I chose this particular whale: I loved the whale’s fluke and its interesting history; and my granddaughter’s name is Katelyn. Need I say more?
My passion for whales and helping to preserve the waterways in which they live began years ago when I went on a whale watching expedition in Cape Cod. I was fascinated by these intelligent creatures and have since learned a great deal about them. That’swhy I now include a tri-fold board of mammals of the ocean in my book talks at schools. My book presentation is an interactive, visual Powerpoint with a discussion about how writers get ideas for their book plot, characters, and theme. When I get to the part about why I adopted a whale, many hands go up with questions about the whale – of course, they always ask me where I keep my whale. I laugh and tell them that my bathtub is too small for a whale so I keep track of Kadee through the Pacific Whale Foundation; I also tell them that anyone can adopt a whale and help scientists learn more about these intelligent, gentle giants of our waterways.
One of the most interesting stories I’ve ever heard is the one about Mocha Dick, a huge sperm whale that was the inspiration for the book Moby Dick. The book is based on a true story about a whale that was hunted and harpooned many times during the 1800s (the Whaling Industry) until it turned the tables on these men and began hunting them. Did you ever hear about a whale that took revenge on the very people that hunted it? That’s what really happened.
I had the opportunity to write about Mocha Dick for the magazine, Boating Times Long Island (their Kids Page) and was featured in their February issue. If you want to read the article, I’ve attached a copy of the page as it appears in the magazine.
If you want to learn more about whales, whale adventures, and my book, Whale Island and the Mysterious Bones (which features a whale character named Naleen), you can contact me at 516-764-8774, or stay tuned for the next story!
Recently, fellow Author Linda Frank and I had the pleasure of presenting an interactive book discussion complete with PowerPoint, games and book readings to children and adults at the Oceanside Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union on Long Beach Road. To help celebrate their 75th anniversary and kick off their anniversary year, the organization invited local artists to share their stories.
The theme for the evening was nautical, so we asked children to dress in costumes and to use their imaginations! In addition to book readings and a visual Powerpoint presentation, there were assorted games, as well as snacks and refreshments provided by our host, Regina Esernio, public relations/marketing director at Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union. It was a beautiful summer evening (a Friday night), so we were pleased to welcome about six children and their parents.
We began by talking about why we wrote our books, how we came up with ideas for the plot and setting, and why we created the characters in our stories — who appeal to the young, and the young-at-heart. It’s so important for children to be able to relate to the characters of a book –and to feel connected to them!
There was a definite connection between the children and the adults throughout the whole evening of nautical merriment. The the children came away with prizes for the games, and a grand prize was given to Victoria Raabe of Massapequa, winner of the costume contest.
When your audience is responsive and a dialogue shared, you know you’ve reached them in a positive way…and what more can you ask for? I can think of only one thing: more children reading your books!