Stories from my Childhood

Hi There! I thought it might be fun to share some stories from my childhood. Some of these are my own memories and some were shared with me by parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles. I’ll admit my memories may be off a little, but what the heck. We all love a good story.

MONEY

At the age of four, I walked to and from kindergarten with friends. Not every day, but some of the time. No parents accompanied us. We were independent and free as can be.

One time on the way home, some older kids told us they had lots of money and asked if we’d like some. Of course our answer was…“YES!”

They led us down what I remember as a really long flat driveway. It went way back from the road and there was a small rancher style house at the end. We followed them up to the front door and they asked us to wait outside.

“If you want the money, all you have to do is close your eyes and hold out your hands, palms up,” they told us. They went inside the house ‘to get the money.’

So there we were, the most little, gullible kids you can imagine with eyes closed and hands held out waiting expectantly to be given a fortune. What I imagined I would buy with the money, I cannot tell you but I’m sure I believed it was the key to living my best life ever.

And then SLAP! All they did was come out and hit our outstretched hands. I honestly cannot remember if I cried or just stared at them dumfounded but I do know they laughed and laughed and I’m sure our expressions were hilarious to them.

I was completely shocked that kids would tell me something untrue. No one had ever lied to me before. Ever since then, I find I just cannot lie. It’s just impossible for me, maybe because I know how incredibly disappointing it is to believe in something so whole-heartedly only to find out it isn’t true.

Do you have any memories from your early childhood years?

Giveaway Time!

Okay, I’m a little behind schedule with my giveaway but here we go! This is great for picture book lovers, teachers, librarians, parents and grandparents. You can win Picture the Sky, by Barbara Reid and a signed copy of Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker! The winner will also receive a pdf copy of my story stretchers for 10 great picture books.  See my previous post, Ten Picture Books Every Preschool Teacher Must Have! for a list of the books.

 

The contest is open to US and Canadian residents over 19 years of age.  If you are outside of Canada and the US, you can still enter to win my story stretchers just in time for Back to School.

How to enter:

  1. Comment on this blog post; What book do you remember loving as a child (It could be a novel or a picture book)
  2. Like my Facebook page
  3. Visit my facebook post and tag a friend

Entries will be assigned a number and winners will be chosen by random number generator.

This contest will stay open unti August 28th!

Wednesday Writing Update

Hello Friends in the Blogosphere!

Here’s my weekly writing update; keeping myself honest about the progress I’m making with writing for children.IMG_2680

This week I watched a free webinar by children’s book author, Arree Chung.  It was so good in that he reminded me that the only way to become a published author is to do the work.  So I got down to work.  I revised a couple of manuscripts and for the first time ever, I requested a critique in the facebook group Kidlit 411, Manuscript Swap.  Wow! what a community!  I couldn’t believe the quick response I got from people willing to read and give feedback.  It is amazing.  And with that feedback, I can learn and grow as a writer. If you are a children’s writer and you’re on facebook,  I highly recommend joining the groups Kid Lit 411 and Kid Lit 411 Manuscript Swap!  They are super helpful in developing your craft.

Visit me on my Facebook Page; likes are always appreciated.  Plus I’m doing a giveaway you might be interested in 😉 Have a wonderful week!

Happy Monday!

Welcome to Monday!  This is your opportunity to learn a little more about the writer behind the blog.

As you may already have learned, I am an introvert.  I get worn out from being around large groups of people.  This is why I love teaching preschool and piano.  My preschool is small, so we have 15 children at a time.  There are no other preschool classrooms on the same site so I only need to get to know the families and children who are directly in my class. And with piano, I get to teach one student at a time.  This works very well for my introverted self.  The summers off are truly a time to rest and recharge and I really enjoy my alone time now that my children are both graduated from high school.  Still,  I’m sure I’ll miss them terribly when they eventually move out.

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I’m working on relaxing and am hopeful that by the end of August, I’ll be fully rested and recharged and ready to go back to work.  I’m feeling very grateful that I’ve been able to enjoy a couple of months off each year.  It really helps me to appreciate and enjoy my preschoolers, piano students, and their families when I go back every fall.

What makes you feel grateful?

Books by Cynthia

Kid Lit Love: Finn Finds a Friend by Jenna Grodzicki and Alexis St. John

Welcome to Friday’s Kid Lit Love!  Today I’m reviewing FINN FINDS A FRIEND by Jenna Grodzicki and Alexis St. John, published by Clear Fork Publishing.

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My Review:

In a blend of fiction and non-fiction, Jenna Grodzicki tells the story of Finn, the playful lemon shark. Finn tries to play with other creatures (lemon sharks, sea turtles, and even people) but has a few challenges finding a play mate. At first it seems no one wants to play with a lemon shark.  In the end, his sharp shark teeth save the day for a friendly dolphin caught in some seaweed, leading to a new friendship and new play opportunities.  Children are introduced to various creatures that swim in the ocean and Finn is a likeable character whose actions move the story forwards to a satisfying conclusion. The story provides an opportunity for children to learn more about lemon sharks that they are not considered dangerous to people (or dolphins).

The illustrations by Alexis St. John show the wonderful undersea world. This would be a great book for teachers and parents to add to their library.

Introducing….author Jenna Grodzicki!  Welcome, Jenna!

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What’s the best thing about being a writer?

There are so many things I love about being a writer. I love the excitement of a new idea. There is so much possibility with each tiny spark. I love visiting schools and sharing my books with children. I was an elementary teacher for 15 years, so I really enjoy spending time with young readers. And I love being a part of this amazing kidlit community. The friends I’ve made have been invaluable in helping me grow as both a writer and a person. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

My children are a constant source of inspiration. But my ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. I’ve come up with ideas while at the beach, walking my dog, listening to a conversation, and in the shower, to name a few. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night on many occasions with a new story just bursting to get on paper. I carry a small notebook in my purse, so if inspiration strikes, I can quickly jot it down.

Which books are on your reading list?

There are so many books on my TBR list, and everyday it gets longer and longer. I just started readingThe Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta. I had to wait until my daughter was done with it! I really enjoy YA, and I can’t wait for Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas.  For picture books, I’m looking forward to Jess Keating’s Cute as an Axolotl, Melissa Stoller’s Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, and Josh Funk’s Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude. And of course, my son and I are dying to read Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas.

Those sound like great books.  Thanks for joining us today, Jenna!

Jenna’s website

Cynthia’s book

 

Wednesday Writing Update

Hello and Happy Wednesday!  I’m giving weekly writing updates to keep myself motivated.  Writing consistently can be a challenge when there are so many distractions.  This is my way of keeping myself on track so please humour me here.

So this week I’m feeling incredibly grateful for my online critique group, who have given me some amazing feedback to help move my story forwards.  I’d left this one aside for several months while working on other projects but I’m still very passionate about the story.  It is a fiction picture book that features an autistic main character whose sensory challenges make it very difficult for him to enjoy something as simple as going to the beach with his family.  It is a super challenging story to write because if you know much about autism, you know it presents itself quite differently in each individual.

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Yes, it is getting dark and I’m still working.

Anyway, thanks to Tara Perkowski, Tasha Hilderman, Sue Macartney, Akilah Pikou and Emma Wood, I have a new direction and inspiration for this story.  I’ve written a couple of new scenes to develop the story and main character further.  Revising this story hasn’t been easy but I know it is getting closer to where I want it to be.

How do you keep yourself motivated to get things done?

 “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” -Creighton Abrams

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker is written by Cynthia Mackey

Happy Monday!

Here’s a chance to learn a little about the writer behind the blog.  Thanks for stopping by to read 🙂

So my story for this week continues on the walking theme.  As I mentioned, I like to go for walks.  And living in Victoria, B.C. is great for that because year round, the weather is fairly mild so walking outdoors in winter might be a little cold, yes, but it is rare we have a day that would stop me from going outdoors. Here’s a photo from my weekend walk.

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I love all the hanging baskets in Victoria at this time of year.  I also really like the historical charm of this building.  It makes our little town feel unique.  What could be better after a walk on a hot day than a cold beer or glass of blush wine?

I really like walking in the snow too, when we get snow.  But that’s usually only a few times a year.  Here’s a photo from a rare walk in the snow I took last winter… you might have to squint to see the snowflakes!

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Most of the time, we need to be prepared for wet weather.  That doesn’t bother me either.  If I get wet, I just dry off later and enjoy a cup of tea or hot chocolate. No umbrella needed!

Do you like to go for walks? What is your neighborhood like?  Please share in the comments 🙂

Have a wonderful week!

 

 

 

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfeysYclGgb/&#8221; style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>A rare walk in the snow today #canyouseetheflakes #westcoastwinter</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/mackey_cynthia/&#8221; style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;” target=”_blank”> Cynthia Mackey SCBWI Member</a> (@mackey_cynthia) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2018-02-22T01:49:39+00:00″>Feb 21, 2018 at 5:49pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //www.instagram.com/embed.js“>instagram photo

And here’s one of the places I can walk to from my house… I do like a glass of wine every once in a while, how about you?

 

Kid Lit Love: More Blueberries by Susan Musgrave with illustrations by Esperanca Melo

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a huge appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month (weekly during July and August) of a book I love.  All the picture books I review in 2018 from this point forward will be the books of 12×12 members or feature books from Canadian publishers, authors and illustrators.  MORE BLUEBERRIES is published by Orca Books.

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If I had to use just one word to describe the book MORE BLUEBERRIES it would be…. fun!

Blueberry cheeks, blueberry chin.

Blueberry teeth, blueberry grin.

The story is less 93 carefully chosen words.  I was attracted to the book because I love blueberries myself and because of the joyful faces on the book cover.  The rhyme and meter is spot on and the illustrations are colourful and appealing.  I like the smaller book size too for little hands.  This book would work really well for introducing children to story time because of the length of story, the rhyme, the bright and interesting illustrations, the animals and the daily routines of meal time, bath time, and bed time.  I am happy to add this book to my library!

What are you reading this summer?

Discover children’s books by Cynthia Mackey

 

Sale: Katie Shaeffer

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Hello Readers!

Just want to let you know, Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker is now $5.00 off on amazon.ca That’s 35 percent off the retail price!  Being Canadian is a really good thing.

And by the way, Canada just celebrated its birthday…151 years young!