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?

Kid Lit Love: CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT by Nancy Churnin

Welcome to Friday’s Kid Lit Love!  Today I’m super happy to be interviewing Nancy Churnin and reviewing her picture book, CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT, published in 2018 by Albert Whitman and Company. Nancy is the author of several more books listed below.

I was pleased and excited to receive CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT for a few reasons.  First off, I’ve never written a picture book biography but it is something I’ve been thinking about trying so reading lots and lots of picture book biographies is  a goal for me right now.  Nancy’s book really impressed me in how it can take on the feeling of a fictional story in the way it is written.  Her particular style makes a great mentor text for me.  Yay!

And then there’s the fact that no matter how old I get, I just love getting mail.  Any kind will do (except bills of course).  Letters, packages, etc.  If it is addressed to me, I always open it with anticipation.

Finally, I grew up with a Dad who had a passion for golf.  Along with this passion, he was raised with a set of beliefs that are challenged by this story.  Though I have great love and respect for my father, some of his beliefs needed to be challenged, and I’ve always known that so I’m really happy this book exists. I’m well aware that there are more people who were raised in the same manner as my father and share those strongly held, yet misguided beliefs.  So for me, the story is very relatable.

My Review:

From the opening lines of the story, I was hooked.  I wanted to turn the page.  Would Charlie get caught? Nancy’s writing brings Charlie’s story to life.  Children will root for Charlie as he pursues his dream to play golf.  From his beginnings secretly playing late at night, to his days serving as a caddy, to playing on the PGA tour in front of a cheering crowd, the story takes us through Charlie’s golfing career, inspiring us through the challenges he faced.  It also celebrates his accomplishment in terms of being the first step towards allowing black people the freedom to play on the PGA tour which had been impossible before Charlie Sifford. I highly recommend this story .  It would serve as a great discussion starter in any classroom.  What if your most loved passtime had to be hidden from others?

The Interview:

Introducing……author, Nancy Churnin!  Welcome, Nancy!

 

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What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Words and stories are the invisible threads that connect us all together in one large human spirit. It is the most incredible joy to learn that something I’ve written has inspired someone to smile, to hope, to believe that he or she can make a positive difference in the world.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Write what you love! What will make your book stand out is the passion you put into it. If you write what you love, you will find yourself telling the story the way only you can tell it. That authenticity of you speaking from the heart will go to the heart of your readers. Also, persevere and have patience. It’s not for us to know how long or winding the journey will be. But if you keep going, you will get there.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I am inspired by people who who have dreams that can’t be deterred, by people who are kind, by people who persevere until they’ve made the world a better place. Those are the people I like to write about, the people that I hope will inspire kids to dream big and help others, too.

Why do you write for children?

Kids are open to inspiration. I hope my books touch all ages and it has meant so much to me when I’ve been told by adults that they’ve been moved by my stories, too. But kids have more time to think and are more open to asking questions that go beyond to survival to how they can make the world a better place. That’s why I think books about inspiring people can have more of an impact on children than on any other group. Also I just love spending time with kids — they tell you exactly what they think, with no filters, which is always fun and refreshing!

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

With CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT, I hope readers will take home the message that you can achieve your dreams if you don’t give up and that by achieving your dreams, you can open the door for others to achieve theirs, too.

Author’s bio: Nancy Churnin is the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News and author of THE WILLIAM HOY STORY, HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME (Albert Whitman), on the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids list, the 2017 Texas Library Association’s 2X2 and Topaz lists, the 2018 Illinois School Library Media Association’s Monarch Award Master List and Connecticut’s 2018 Charter Oak Children’s Book Awards list. MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN (Creston Books) is the 2018 winner of the South Asia Book Award, a finalist for the 2018 Children and Teen’s Choice Book Awards, a 2017 Junior Library Guild selection, a 2018 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, on the 2018 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices list and a Silver Eureka Award-winner. CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT: HOW CHARLIE SIFFORD BROKE THE COLOR BARRIER IN GOLF was featured at the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis May 19, 2018. Coming out in 2018: IRVING BERLIN, THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING in May and THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE in October. In Spring 2019: MARTIN & ANNE. A native New Yorker, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University School of Journalism.

Website: http://www.nancychurnin.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NancyChurninBooks/

Twitter: @nchurnin

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Happy Monday!

Welcome to Monday!  I know that Monday probably not your favourite day.  But, as I’ve learned, it is all in your attitude.

Every Monday I’m sharing a little story about myself.  You need to know that this is not an easy task for me as an introvert.  Today, I’d like to share a little story about tea.img_7756

I’m a tea drinker.  Black tea, green tea, rooibos tea, early grey, chai, chamomile, I like it all!  I still remember my first introduction to tea.  It was a little tea party held at a neighbour’s house.  I was somewhere around 8 years old.  There was a little table covered with a fancy cloth just for us kids. There was a cute little tea pot wrapped up in a tea cozy.  I took a sip of tea. It was strong.  So very strong.  I couldn’t help grimace at the first sip.  I added some sugar.  Took a sip.  More sugar.  Another sip.  More sugar.  Another sip.  Delicious! img_2516

Now I drink my tea with nothing added and find it equally delicious.  If I’m in the mood for something stronger, chai is my tea of choice.  When I want something good for me, green tea is my preference. A warm comforting  cup to start my day or any time of day is an essential part of my daily routine.  And when I’m writing?  A cup of tea is usually close at hand.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you’ll stop by again.  Why not enjoy a cup of tea while you’re reading. What’s in your mug this Monday?

Kid Lit Love: Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month 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! Reality being what it is, life has gotten in the way of my goal but without further adieu, here is my featured picture book for June: Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann.  

If I had to describe Jennifer K. Mann’s picture book, Sam and Jump in just one word it would be…adorable!9780763679477

Sam and Jump tells the story of a little boy, Sam and his treasured stuffed bunny named Jump.  In very few words, the story accurately portrays the special relationship between a young child and his or her most favourite toy.  Jump is not just a toy, Jump is a friend and when Jump gets left behind, Sam has a very difficult night being separated from his beloved friend.  At the same time, the story features a new friendship Sam develops with another little boy.  The story is of kindness, of overcoming challenges, of friendship, inclusiveness, and just plain fun.  

I’m often looking for appropriate and yet interesting books to read to my 2-3 year olds that will still be interesting for the older 4 and 5 year olds in my preschool class.  This picture book fits the bill perfectly.  I find it to be a relatable story that all children can enjoy.  It holds their interest all the way through to a satisfying ending.

Published by Candlewick  May 10, 2016

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Happy Monday!

Welcome to Monday.  Are you ready for the week ahead?

Thanks for stopping by.  So for Mondays my challenge will be to help you get to know me a little bit.  Here are three things you might not know about me.

  1. I love a challenge.  Without challenge in my life, I stagnate.  With challenge, I thrive.   For the past two years, I’ve been part of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge I’ve challenged myself to learn classical piano and memorize really difficult pieces. What I like about a challenge is working towards a goal and actually completing the challenge.  I love both the work and the sense of satisfaction. How about you?  IMG_4502
  2. I am an introvert. I like quiet.  I like one to one conversations.  When I’m around a lot of people for long periods of time, it can wear me out.  That’s when I need to be alone to refocus and re-energize.  Still, I like people and would feel alone without social interaction.  Are you an introvert?
  3. I have a sweet tooth. When I get a sugar craving, I don’t discriminate.  I just need something sweet.  Anything will do.  Still, I have huge appreciation for high quality chocolate.  That stuff is simply amazing.

Well, that’s it for now.  (And I guess it wasn’t so difficult.)

Have a wonderful week!