Story for Writing Contest in Honour of Grandparent’s Day

I discovered Alayne Kay Christian’s contest almost too late to enter. I wondered if I should still enter with such a short time left.

But I liked her theme. Being a long distance grandparent herself and in honour of grandparent’s day, she wanted to have the story about long distance grandparents.

I can relate. Although my grandmother, my mother’s mother, lived in Germany, I always felt close to her, perhaps because of the many times she visited us, and we visited her.

But now it is my daughter’s turn to learn about long distance grandparents. She has only seen her father’s family once, as they live in China, and we live in Canada. The story below is based on her experience, although it is a really condensed version.

I admire how my husband was able to gently connect her with his family through the use of technology, so I thought the story should be told. I am wondering if it is a bit dialogue heavy for a picture book though. Any thoughts?

I hope you enjoy it.

 

Messages

 

Susan threw herself on her bed. She grabbed her pillow and started to sob into it. “No, no, no! I don’t want to!”

Susan’s mother sat down on the bed and rubbed her back. “What’s the matter, Susan? Your baba’s family loves you.”

Susan’s voice was muffled in the pillow. “Well I don’t love them. They talk too loud. And why do they have to speak Chinese?”

“But your Chinese is really very good. It’s better than mine. And Chinese and China are part of your heritage, you know,” said her mother.

“I don’t care! I won’t do it. I don’t want to talk to them.” Susan put her head under her pillow.

Susan’s baba sat on the bed. He pulled out his cell phone. He started to look at it.

Susan lifted her pillow a little. “What are you looking at, Baba?”

“I was wondering if you wanted to take a picture of yourself to send to Yeye.”

Susan sat up. “Me, take a picture of myself? All by myself? Can it be a funny one?”

“Sure.” He handed to cell phone to Susan. “Just press here.”

Susan made a funny face and pressed the button. She passed the phone back to her father. “Here.”

“Can I send it now to Yeye and Shushu?”

Susan nodded once. “OK. But I still won’t say anything to them.”

Her baba started to type. “Then I will ask them if they think the picture is pretty.”

“OK.”

“Good night, Susan.” Her father kissed her on her head. “We will see what they have to say in the morning.”

“Good night, Baba. Good night, Mommy.”

The next morning Susan woke up and ran upstairs to the kitchen. Her father was at the table. “Good morning, Susan. Would you like to hear what your uncle had to say about your picture?”

“OK, Baba.” She sat down on his lap.

Baba opened up his cell phone and pressed a button. “Susan, zhe zhao piar zhen piao liang.”

Susan clapped her hands. “He said my picture is really pretty. Can I do another one?”

“Sure.” Baba handed her the phone. “And this time do you want to record a message yourself?”

Susan covered her face. “No! I’m too scared. What if I make a mistake?”

‘That doesn’t matter,” said Baba. “But I will say the words and you can repeat them, if you want.”

Susan tilted her head.“OK.”

“What do you want to say?” he asked.

“I want to ask them if this picture is also pretty.”

“Sure…Zhe zhao piar ye piao liang, ma?” said Baba.

Susan hesitated. But she repeated the words. “I did it. I did it!”

“Excellent.” Her father played back the message. “Yeye and Shushu will be so happy.”

“I can’t wait until tomorrow when we get a message back.”

 

 

Note:

Baba=daddy

Yeye=father’s father

Shushu=uncle

 

Another Reading Game

Because she was overtired, my six-year-old daughter didn’t want to take a walk with me and her grandfather on Sunday. Instead of it turning into a power struggle, I decided to offer to make a “treasure hunt” for her to do on the way. She agreed, so long as it was a question and answer one with multiple choice answers.

I wracked my brain as to what sort of “treasure hunt” I could make up in such a brief period of time. So I decided to forgo a traditional one, and instead I made up some questions about the neighbourhood that she could answer.

I asked questions like “What is the name of the crescent across the road?” I also asked her questions about her neighbour’s houses and streets.

It was a great way to practice her reading skills while also having fun. But not only did she practice her reading skills, she also was able to hone her observational skills. At the same time, she got to know her neighbours and neighbourhood better, which is important for all children.

I was surprised at how many answers she already knew before we began our walk. But she also learned some things that she did not already know.

I am planning on doing something like this again. If you try it yourself, let me know how it goes.

Teapot Tales

It’s out! The chapter book challenge anthology, which has been renamed “Teapot Tales” has gone live on Amazon.

It’s been an exciting process. First writing the fairy tales and having them accepted. Then voting on the title and the cover. And, finally, seeing it go up on Amazon.

I have two fairy tales in the anthology. The first one is called “Rooblefound”, which is a twisted version of “Rumpelstiltskin”. Here is a teaser:

 

The duke rubbed his hands over the fire. “I have found a way for us to make our fortune, my Precious.”

Precious stopped combing her hair and looked over at her father. “Oh I knew you would. But how?”

He smiled. “The king is looking for a queen. The test is for someone to be able to spin straw into gold.”

She tossed her long, dark hair. “But, Father, I can’t do that.”

“Don’t worry, my Precious. I have many friends in the palace. I will sneak in the gold.”

The duke took his daughter’s hand and they danced around the room.

 

The second is called “The Three Little Cherry Trees”. This is an original fairy tale. Here are the opening lines:

 

Once there were three little cherry trees. They lived in a little grove and above them was an older, wiser cherry tree. They used to watch this cherry tree and envy her because of her beautiful blossoms. They had not yet hit maturity.

 

We have already gotten a mention on Aldebaran Publication’s website.

Want to read more? Drop on by Amazon to purchase the Kindle version of “Teapot Tales”. The traditional print version is coming soon.

Book Review: “One Boy”

I admire Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s creativity and imagination. So when I came across “One Boy”, I knew that I would not be let down.

My daughter picked it up, and then she decided to read it to me. I was delighted. Although she can read, she is reluctant to do so, preferring instead that I read to her. At the end of the book, she pronounced it “pretty cool”.

“One Boy” actually is a concept book; in this case, the numbers one to ten are showcased. So you would think that my six-year-old daughter would be well beyond this sort of book. But not at all, because this is also a word within word book. My daughter thought it was cool, because it taught her some relationships between words.

So a book that you can use for the younger set to teach them counting and the older set to teach them spelling? Gotta love that!

Check out some of her other books too, like “First the Egg”, a 2008 Caldecott Honour Book, or “Hidden Alphabet”. Her books are never a disappointment.