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Friday, December 2, 2016

Five Days of Famous Blog Tour: Author Interview with Alyson Noel

Five Days of Famous
by Alyson Noel
December 13, 2016
Delacorte BFYR

From "New York Times" bestselling author Alyson Noel comes a fun, adventure-filled, contemporary novel that poses the question what would you do if your dream life became reality?

A dream is a wish your heart makes . . . when your life is in desperate need of a makeover. Nick Dashaway would know. Either he makes it big this year in seventh grade or he risks being a nobody forever.

Enter the Greentree Middle School Talent Show, hosted by teen sensation Josh Frost. The show might just be Nick s ticket out of loserville. But popularity doesn t come easy, and when Nick is forcibly ejected from the stage, he feels like he s out of options. Desperate to avoid a permanent seat at the geek table and continued inattention from the love of his life, Nick chooses the only option he has left: he makes a wish.

"Be careful what you wish for, " the old saying goes and Nick s about to find out why."

Q1.  What three words best describe your novel, Five Days of Famous?

A Fun and Funny Christmas Fantasy.

Q2. Grab a copy of Five Days of Famous and answer the following:

Favorite chapter? One of my faves is Chapter 20, #Lame-o, when Ezer reminds Nick of the responsibilities that come with fame and the possible repercussions of Nick’s wild night on the town with his friends.

Favorite page? Let’s go with page 180 (which spills over to page 181) when Nick has an insightful conversation with Plum.

Favorite setting? Nick’s mansion during his Winter Wonderland themed Christmas party. I would love to go to a party like that!

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: Page 1: “Ever have one of those days when you just knew that, by the time it was over, you’d never be the same? Only in a good way? For me, today was that day.”

Q3. What inspired Five Days of Famous? How did the story come to be?

I’d read an article a while back about a group of middle school kids who were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up and an overwhelming number of them said they wanted to be famous. While I understand the need to be liked and to feel seen and heard by your peers, along with the more obvious perks that fame brings, I’m disturbed by the current reality TV climate that elevates people to superstar status just for being rich and pretty and little else. So, I decided to write a fun and humorous story that explored exactly what might happen when one is granted such a wish, and how they might respond when the darker side of the dream is exposed.   

Q4. Can you tell us about your main character, Nick Dashaway? What makes him unique and what do you love about him?

I love Nick because when we first meet him, he doesn’t see his real value. Also, the very things that make him wonderfully unique are the exact same things he desperately wants to rid himself of. He’s convinced that the route to happiness is a seat at the popular table and he’s determined to do whatever it takes to get there.

I’m sympathetic toward Nick because I understand his desire to not be invisible and his need to feel accepted by the crowd he admires. Nick has some very big lessons ahead of him, and in order to secure his true dream life he’ll be called to use his voice and risk revealing his true self, all the while knowing the risk could backfire in a way he’ll never recover from.

Q5. Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at adding books to my TBR pile.

I’m really embarrassed to admit That there probably isn’t enough time to read all of the books in my TBR pile, but that won’t stop me from continuing to add to it.

The last great book I read was I love a good, dark, psychological mystery, so YOU WILL KNOW ME by Megan Abbott did not disappoint.

Q6. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Five Days of Famous, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

I don’t think I could outdo Plum’s cupcake, so I’d go with red velvet with cream cheese frosting and add a big gold star on top for decoration. I’d also include a small birthday candle with red and green swirls, since it’s an integral component of wish making. It would look quirky and homemade because I have no kitchen skills to speak of, but it would taste like love, magic, and good intentions. I would call it Christmas Enchantment, and it would come with a warning to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Official Adventures Series

I'm excited to share The Official Adventures series (plus a giveaway!) with y'all today...

“The Official Adventures” is a new children’s chapter book series that teaches the importance of sportsmanship, persistence, discipline, and respect - for referees, each other, and individuals with special needs.

The series tells the tale of two hockey loving brothers, Blaine and Cullen. On and off the ice, they have deep love for the game and also each other! Cullen is the all-star team captain and Blaine, who has Down syndrome, is the team manager and clearly the "unsung hero" of the team. The brothers join Rylee and Rosee, America’s favorite referees, in game day adventures filled with laughter, love and lessons.

“This is a rarity in children’s literature. We’ve seen characters with special needs on stage, film and other artistic expressions. But in books such a character is almost non-existent. It really is ‘ice breaking,’” states Katrina Dohm, Illustrator and Co-Creator, The Official Adventures Series.

The storyline doesn't hide Blaine's challenges; instead the text proudly displays Blaine's heart-warming perseverance, his discipline and love for the game, his family and life. Blaine's leadership and unselfish actions speak louder than any textual words. Through detailed illustration young readers are able to learn respect and a better understanding for the challenges individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.

The first two books in the series “Drop the Puck, It’s Hockey Season” and “Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup” are out now, with the third book “Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey” set to be released this Fall 2016.

Proceeds from book sales will benefit The American Special Hockey Association. ASHA strives to give people with physical and developmental disabilities the chance to play ice hockey in an environment which is adapted to the level of ability which the athletes are able to participate.

The book series has received the endorsement and support of NHL greats:

This is a very worthwhile read that contains life lessons beyond the rink. It’s a great pickup and I especially appreciate that it includes Blaine, a special needs character.” –Mike Hickey, President, American Special Hockey Association.

“Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup is a great book with a very important message for kids everywhere – Everyone deserves the chance to play hockey, no matter what their capability.” –Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

“The Official Adventures Series books are terrific heart-warming stories that celebrate hockey, family and children with special needs! Our family loves these hockey tales that teach life lessons and encourages everyone to treat others with respect.” –Bridget and Matt Cullen (Pittsburgh Penguins Center)

“This book teaches real life lessons through sport, through victory and losses, and emphasizes the importance of hard work regardless of the score.” –Jocelyne Lamoureux, Team USA, Silver Olympic Medalist

“Playing hockey is awesome and reading about it can be just as fun. It's important to learn fundamentals on and off the ice!” –Claude Giroux, Captain, Philadelphia Flyers

To learn more, go to

With a shared love and energy-driven passion for outstanding academics, stellar athletics and innovative arts, Jayne Jones Beehler, a college professor, and Katrina Dohm, a high school educator, have teamed up and joined forces as co-authors and co-creators of “The Official Adventures.” Jones Beehler, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, is passionate about children, education, foster care and adoption, and child abuse/prevention public policy. Jones Beehler worked for US Senator Norm Coleman from 2002-2006, then headed to the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Steve Sviggum. Jones Beehler teaches political science classes at Concordia University-St. Paul where her students have gained national attention and praise for their legislative activities and involvement.

Dohm was exposed to hockey growing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but her true love of the game began when she went to college in January of 1987 at the University of North Dakota. She arrived just in time to cheer on her future alma mater as they skated their way to an NCAA Championship. Dohm graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  For the past twenty-two years, Dohm has dedicated herself to being an art teacher and all the “extras” that go with it.  Her classroom is filled to the brim with personal touches (especially her favorite color, PURPLE) student projects galore, yearbook publications, shelves filled with art and design books, school spirit signs, and memorabilia.

Jones Beehler and Dohm, have earned “Hall of Fame” status for their real-life story-telling, colorful fresh illustrating and combined natural zest for helping young learners enjoy reading, appreciate the arts, while ensuring their writing and books instill life lessons and reader’s adventures of their own, while inspiring and reaching educational goals.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Guest Post: The Importance of Homework

The Importance of Homework

Admittedly, it’s a tough sell explaining to children the importance of homework. After all, a school day is more than just grammar, math, science, and history. School-aged children learn to navigate social situations, deal with different personalities, and development a degree of independence. All of this combined can get stressful for children. 

Nonetheless, the importance of homework cannot get overstated so hire a cleaning service (apartment cleaning NYC) to do the housework and prepare to help your children. Homework serves as an opportunity for children to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes without the stress of test scores and performance evaluations. Additionally, for parents, homework serves as a window into your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. Homework is the bridge between school, home, and either higher education or the workforce. 

When a student gets assigned homework that students learns to work through problems alone or semi-independently under the guidance of a parent or tutor. Learning to work through problems independently is a vital personal skill. It enables students to gather, organize, and synthesize information. It increases critical thinking and time management skills. Beyond that, homework gives students and sense of accomplishment without pressure. 

Homework assignments also allow parents to observe progress in school. It’s a parent and school accountability tool. When a teacher sends after school tasks home parents can see that a school is on track regarding addressing age appropriate curriculum. Homework is a school’s opportunity to demonstrate to parents that children are being challenged to develop critical life skills and social context. 

Children, like adults, are unique. They learn differently from each other. They learn at a pace that is specific to each student. Homework levels the playing field for students who need extra time and extra effort to compete with students who naturally and effortlessly absorb and apply information. 

It sounds cliché, but human beings learn more through failure than through easy success. It’s only through focus and learning to work through problems that children get educated and develop a life skill such as work ethic, which allows every student the opportunity for future success.

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored guest post, written by another author, and Word Spelunking was compensated for sharing. The thoughts and opinions in the post belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Word Spelunking.