Friday, September 11, 2015

Follow the Dot!

Vashti grabbed a marker and gave the paper a good, strong jab. “There!” Her teacher picked up the paper and studied it carefully. “Hmmmmm.” She pushed the paper toward Vashti and quietly said, “Now sign it.”

In this scene from Peter H. Reynolds’ delightful picture book, The Dot, Vashti begins a journey. She’s convinced she can’t draw, but her art teacher’s support throughout the story teaches Vashti that she is an artist. Then Vashti goes on to support another young artist. It’s a delightful book – for adults as well as children – and it made me think about how much writers need each other’s encouragement. It’s so easy to fall into negativity – and so great to get support from crit groups, writers’ organizations, workshops, etc. Thanks to all the writing friends who’ve encouraged me!

Look for this book at your local bookstore as well as the equally charming Ish, also written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009. You can celebrate it on the same date this year! Read about it here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tackling Tough Topics with Kids

Are you on the offense and your older kids/younger teens on the defense when it comes to talking about tough topics? I wrote this book to put you and your 11-14-year-olds on the same team. I tried to make it non-preachy, engaging, and contemporary but also doctrinally sound. 

Each chapter focuses on a real-life challenge to faith as experienced by a fictional character. I also included statistical information about the chapter's topic, discussion questions, links to Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an activity, a prayer, and a concluding message offering practical advice for how students can deal with the respective issue. I hope Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction will be a helpful resource for caring adults who want to discuss sensitive issues with young teens.

Want to see what Tackling Tough Topics is all about? Click here to view sample pages, including a chapter on the difficult-to-talk-about issue of pornography. (Other sensitive issues covered in the book include cyberbullying, modesty, family, materialism, dishonesty, body image, substance abuse, stress to overachieve, and depression.)

The book is available from Pauline Books and Media.