I started keeping a diary when I was about seven years old. My first one was small, square, had kittens on the cover, and locked on the side with a tiny silver key. From second grade through college, I wrote in journals all the time, and with two (lost) exceptions, I still have all of them. Writing in a diary is easy. But writing a blog? Not so much.
To me, writing in a blog feels like writing in a diary other people will read – and I had a tiny silver lock on that kitten cover diary for a reason! So I have to think of a way to write a blog that will both work for me and entertain others... or, at the very least, be helpful in some way!
I’ve therefore decided that this blog won’t just be a collection of my thoughts and updates about my work. I’m going to invite kid readers to review Middle Grade and YA novels and post their reviews. If you’re between the ages of 7 and 17, have read a Middle Grade or YA novel you want others to know about, and would like to submit a review, please email me at email@example.com. I may not be able to share all but I’ll respond to all kid-or-teen-submitted reviews. For an example of such reviews, check out the Disability in KidLit website, http://disabilityinkidlit.com/. Here, among others, you can find my review of A Boy Called Bat by Elena K. Arnold, followed by my goddaughter Meadow’s review of the same book, written when she was ten.
I’m also going to share OCD and autism-related stories and information through this blog. OCD and Autism are a huge part of my life, which I’ll dive into more in a future blog post. I had a number of sensory issues as a child, many of which carried over into adulthood, and for that reason I wrote about some sensory activities for caregivers to do with kids on Nanny Magazine’s website, which you can find here: http://nannymag.com/articlearchive/get-ready-to-get-messy-fun-for-kids-with-sensory-issues. Not all of these activities are going to be great for all people, as different kids (and adults!) have different sensory preferences and problems – for example, denim was a huge issue for me as a kid, whereas some kids will wear nothing but jeans – but if you try the activities and enjoy, I’d love to hear!
Additionally, I’ve compiled a list of books I recommend to readers 8 and up, sorted by Guided Reading Level, because I was constantly looking for books listed under certain level letters for my goddaughter and her twin brother from second grade on, so I’m hoping to help others (parents, caregivers, and kids) find books that fulfill homework/silent reading requirements while also being wonderful to read. Check it out here: (LINK)
And since when I’m not writing or reading, I’m often crafting, I’ll share ideas of things I’ve done with my favorite kids over the years, everything from simple construction paper hand-traced fall décor to the 3D clay and fabric puppets created for the purpose of stop motion animation projects. Feel free to try out any tips and tricks, offer your own ideas, or ask for more details. And don’t stress! Art doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be fun! On a related note, if you or someone you know is in high school, check out the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary’s Patriotic Art Contest scholarship. Teens can win up to $21,000 to use for college! While I didn’t enter that competition as a teen, I did win the VFW’s Voice of Democracy contest as a high schooler (on two levels, but not nationally) and that scholarship money definitely helped. Find out more at https://vfwauxiliary.org/scholarships/young-american-creative-patriotic-art-contest.
I’ll share news and updates about my writing and my life, too. For example, thanks to the last paragraph of this blog, you know that I’m currently working on a new historical fiction Middle Grade manuscript that – if all goes well – will also feature a touch of mystery. And yyou also know that I’m covered in cat hair because my sweet-but-ornery kitty, Shakespeare, thinks clean clothes atop a dresser make for the perfect bed, though you probably didn’t need to know that. I’m not sure what else I’ll end up featuring in this blog, but those seem like a good place to start. Thanks for reading!