Blog Archives

Tales of the Monkey King

Monkey is capable of some marvelous things. He wishes to be a master in virtually every area, Small but mighty. His thirst for knowledge is unmatched, and his abilities outshine everyone around him. When he transforms into the famed Monkey King, it is just the beginning of his fantastic journey. Monkey is, however, quite a character. He never fails to be the center of any and every bit of chaos. Monkey is filled with intensity and determination from his temper to his strength. There is no one else like him.

Tales of the Monkey King, by Teresa Chin Jones, is a retelling of classic Chinese tales of the famous Monkey King. Jones delivers a fabulous series of chapters tracing the making of the Monkey King through his outrageous adventures to the fascinating end of his journey. Along the way, readers will meet captivating characters and find themselves in awe of the fantastic and, sometimes, harrowing situations in which Monkey and his cohort find themselves.

I was taken with the colorful characters and the vibrant language throughout the book. Though there are beautiful illustrations placed sporadically throughout the chapters, readers will have no trouble visualizing the characters and exquisite settings. Jones does a fantastic job of building Monkey and his comrades into strong mental images for her readers. In addition, the more challenging text structure and choice of verbiage will push young readers. I can see Tales of the Monkey King as a beautiful read-aloud addition to any classroom.

As a teacher, I appreciate the added summaries at the beginning of each chapter. Teachers and students alike will find these little bonuses helpful when picking up reading where they left off. As I usually spend a little time reviewing previous chapters before reading, I can see these summaries making that much more manageable and bringing my students and me quickly up to date. In addition, young readers will find the summaries an easy way to review on their own.

I truly enjoyed reading Monkey King’s escapades and seeing Jones’s work as a real asset to upper elementary and middle school classrooms. Folklore is an essential part of literature education, and I highly recommend Tales of the Monkey King to any fan of classic folk tales and legends. Monkey is sure to bring a smile to readers’ faces.

Pages: 277 | ASIN : B091721V92

Buy Now From Amazon

A Key Driver For Change

Image
Nigel Wilson PhD Author Interview

Teaching Professionals shows how to teach the CAISSEP technique and provides guidance that will improve educators teaching abilities. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I have thirty years’ experience in education, principally in legal education, curriculum development and professional legal practice. Drawing on these experiences, I developed the CAISSEP® technique which is found in the book Teaching Professionals.

Adult education is a key driver for change – globally.  There is a vast international teaching challenge and an educational divide exists.  Illiteracy among adults internationally is estimated at 770 million, two-thirds of whom are women.  To meet this challenge, motivated and motivational teachers are its lifeblood. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the largest disruption to education systems in history – billions of students across every continent have been affected. Given the significant impact of COVID-19 on global teaching and learning, the United Nations has been prompted to call upon the profession to “reimagine education and to accelerate change”.

 It is my modest hope that with commitment and care, but with fewer resources at hand, Teaching Professionals and the CAISSEP® techniques may provide positive, practical resources to assist teachers, and those wanting to be teachers, to reimagine and accelerate change for today’s and future generations.

What is a key component of the CAISSEP technique?

The key themes of Teaching Professionals are:

  • the key principles of effective adult learning;
  • the four elements of experiential learning;
  • a variety of practical teaching techniques and approaches using the CAISSEP® technique; and
  • guidance on how to develop a teaching plan utilizing the CAISSEP® template.

CAISSEP® is an acronym for each of the teaching and learning techniques which are illustrated in Teaching Professionals – Clarity – Analysis – Inquiry – System – Structure – Emphasis – and Professional!  CAISSEP® is also a simple play on words – the French word “caisse” means box or case.  CAISSEP® is both a learning and teaching technique and a toolbox (of information, tools, or techniques) with the addition of the key final letter – P for professional!  For example, professionalism in teaching emphasises professional and ethical considerations, often integrated with reflective awareness. To enhance this technique, adopting a teaching style which encourages students to act professionally and to develop professional forward-looking ethical perspectives is of paramount importance.

What do you feel is a common misconception people have about educators?

Some people view teaching as simply the process of passing on information. By contrast, I see educators as change agents – as so powerfully illustrated in the following quotation:

“I chose to be a teacher because I believe that education has the power to transform the society we live in. What motivates me to be a good teacher is to be an active agent in this change that is so necessary for my country, to fight against discrimination, injustice, racism, corruption and poverty. Our responsibility as teachers is enormous, and our commitment to provide quality education must be renewed every day.” (Ana, a teacher from Lima, Peru, UNESCO, 2014 Teaching and Learning Global Monitoring Report)

Educators and educational environments need to stimulate the interest of teachers and students globally (whether in education, business, or otherwise). In my experience, by teaching we are given a gift.  There is the gift of knowledge in our hands, together with the responsibility to share it; the gift of receiving from our students as they learn and discover with our assistance; the gift that, as we teach, we learn more about ourselves.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

It is my genuine hope that Teaching Professionals and the CAISSEP® technique will be an enduring gift that enhances and inspires the reader, day by day, to develop, reimagine and renew their art of teaching and mentoring and to become powerful and effective change agents.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Teachers are change agents, each motivated by different goals and aspirations. All educators understand that the teaching process, especially surrounding adult learning, can be creative, challenging, complex, and full of joys and frustrations.

In a comprehensive publication, Dr. Nigel Wilson, a seasoned educator, lawyer, and inventor of the CAISSEP® teaching and learning technique, provides insights, guidance, and tools to challenge, inform, and stimulate the desires of teachers globally (whether in education, business, or otherwise) who wish to improve their craft and develop the art (and science) of educating adult learners.

Through his proven methodologies, teachers will learn a variety of teaching and learning techniques based on international best practices that include:

• the key principles of effective adult learning;
• the four elements of experiential learning;
• a variety of practical teaching techniques and approaches;
• guidance on how to develop a teaching plan utilizing the CAISSEP® template; and
• ways in which technology can benefit teaching methodologies.

Teaching Professionals assists educators worldwide to reimagine teaching and accelerate positive change for future generations. A comprehensive working resource, incorporating proven and progressive learning techniques.

The Message Of Positivity

Maria Cedolini Thompson
Maria Cedolini Thompson Author Interview

Our 20/20 Journey Back to School talks about returning to school in a post COVID world, what was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for this setup to my story was the thoughts in my head about returning to school a few days before our return in February of 2021. I was fortunate enough to have my first-grade class loop up to second grade with me and so I knew the questions that they had been asking and had built a strong relationship with both my students and their parents. As a parent myself, I knew the importance of letting my community know that we are all in this together and that anything is possible (even though a pandemic). The message of positivity was necessary for all of us to cope with these challenges. The idea that we would conquer them as a team, was most important to me!

The artwork was very creative and engaging for young readers. What was the collaboration process like between you and the illustrator?

The collaboration with Daria Shamolina was amazing. She lives in the Ukraine and I have yet to meet her face to face or even on Facetime/Zoom. I trusted that she would produce incredible illustrations and she was truly able to make the story come to life. I found Daria on a Facebook Author page and saw her previous work and emailed her. I think it was meant to be because she had now illustrated my second book as well.

Returning to normalcy in a post COVID environment is challenging for adults and kids; you touched on the perspective of teachers and children in a relatable way. What was your thought process in writing this content in order to appeal to both the children and the adults reading with them?

In collaborating with teachers at my school and in Covid Facebook groups, I really got a good sense of what “all” teachers were going through. I learned so many things from the many groups I followed and was so thankful for the many resources that I had access to during this time. I really tried to put myself in the shoes of my students and think about how they might be feeling through this unprecedented time. I couldn’t be prouder of my group of students who were warriors through the Pandemic and who supported each other and myself alike!

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My second book was just released at the end of November on both Amazon and Ingram Spark, it is called, “Lucky the Leprechaun on the Loose”. It is about a legendary St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun. Each year during the month of March up until the family Irish holiday, Lucky comes to visit children at school and at home. But he isn’t just here for a visit! Lucky wants to create some March magic by hiding toys, leaving messages and surprises, and even making messes while the children aren’t looking. In the spirit of The Elf on the Shelf, Lucky brings much delight to the hearts of children during this wonderful holiday time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram

“Our 20/20 Journey Back to School” is told from the children’s perspective and starts at the beginning of the Pandemic when students are home learning on Zoom. The children address both the challenges and positive aspects of their time spent at home. As the story continues, they tell of the changes to school upon their return. This story tugs on your heartstrings as the students return to school with joyful anticipation and describe the effects of the pandemic on their school experience. They explain how they are feeling and tell about the many unfamiliar changes in this new and different atmosphere. By the end of the book, they are able to express the importance of the class being together, whether on Zoom or in the classroom. This experience has opened their eyes (20/20 vision) and taught them the value of working together. While students and teachers have always been a team, 2020 truly taught us what teamwork was all about and the importance of our journey together and learning as a “class family”.

Teaching Professionals

Teaching Professionals: The Art of the Teaching Professional and How to Teach Professionals the Caissep Technique by [Nigel Wilson PhD]

Dr. Nigel Wilson is a lawyer and teaching professional and shares his vast experience with readers in this illuminating teachers resource. In Teaching Professionals Dr. Nigel Wilson shares the CAISSEP Technique of teaching, a methodology he came up with to enable educators to teach better. Teaching Professionals reads like a manual, with specific examples on how to be a professional in the education sector, business sector and any other field that requires one to share the knowledge they have with others.

Reading this book was a delight as the author writes smoothly, giving great examples and explaining in detail. The author shares the skills teaching professionals should have and shows how to apply them. Teaching Professionals is a great book not just for adult educators but also for teaching professionals that work in kindergartens, high schools, and institutions of higher learning.

By the end of the reading, readers get to learn different concepts of education and virtues like patience, wisdom, understanding and more than a dozen distinct teaching techniques. I also enjoyed reading about key principles of effective adult learning and elements of experiential learning. The author differentiates the various elements of learning, making it easy for the reader to digest the content.

Dr. Wilson’s advice is practical and is coupled with real scenarios that expound on his topics. I especially enjoyed it when the author explained the importance of educators in society. One could tell how passionate he is about this profession and why teachers of all levels should be recognized more by governments.

Teaching Professionals is an easy but informative read. The author does not use complex jargon and his points are easy to comprehend. What I enjoyed most about reading this book is how the author introduces new topics. Dr. Wilson is a brilliant writer and his way of blending topics and related subjects encourages one to read more.

This enlightening book is filled with pragmatic techniques that have been proven to work. Teaching Professionals provides readers with actionable information they can put to use immediately to enhance their teaching abilities.

Pages: 96 | ASIN: ‎ B094VCQ84C

Buy Now From B&N.com

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds: A Hickory Doc’s Tale by author Linda Harkey tells the story of how a pack of bird hunting dogs meet a race horse. Zeek, Deacon, and Doc are German Shorthaired Pointers and very proud of their pedigree and hunting abilities. They live in their hacienda with the Great One and the Other One and hunt birds. They were not pleased at all when BJ the race horse is brought to their farm. After a few scuffles between horse and dogs, they decided to set things straight once and for all, with an old fashion race.

Author Linda Harkey has written an entertaining children’s book. The personalities of all the animals will delight children. From the first page you will find the hunting dogs humorous and engaging. The artwork by illustrator Mike Minick brings Harkey’s words to life. The collaboration between the two is extraordinary. Readers will enjoy the banter between BJ and the pack, especially Zeek who likes to stir up trouble and than blame someone else.

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds: A Hickory Doc’s Tale by author Linda Harkey is perfect for a classroom library or for children that love animal stories. This enchanting picture book has humorous dialogue, colorful and vibrant artwork, and a thrilling storyline that will make this a book you will definitely want to add to your collection.

Pages: 48 | ASIN : B07NJLPL94

Buy Now From B&N.com

Dance-It-Out!

Once Upon a Dance
Once Upon a Dance Author Interview

Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute tells a creative story that gets kids dancing and exercising. How did the idea for this book come about?

As a dance teacher, I know the value of movement and expression. My daughter and I teamed up to try to keep cooped-up kids moving and active at home. The Dance-It-Out! collection—Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute is one of 10 books—are mostly expanded versions of stories I told in my dance classes. These were always the kids’ favorite part of the class, and I wanted to share the experience with a broader audience. This story is a collaboration with one of the instructors at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Marjorie Thompson, who was separately creating a story ballet, and we thought we’d team up.

What were some driving ideals behind the books development?

The story was created to be danced on stage, so it was an easy transition to create a children’s book with movement from the ideas. We infused even more movement into the Dance-It-Out version by adding the zombie ballet class and having the cats in dance-like poses. It’s full of movement themes and offers many opportunities for creating steps and shapes.

What is the collaboration process like between the authors to bring this book to live?

Marjorie, the original author, had a story draft. We whittled and edited that version together to create a book for her slightly older audience, then I infused that story with simpler movements and actions to make it accessible for younger kids.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

We hope to have 2 more Dance-It-Outs out this year including one about a spirited squirrel superhero. Some of the previous series favorites include Joey Finds His Jump! and Princess Naomi Helps a Unicorn. We’re also working on audio books for the series and have 3 up on Amazon.

The Freya/Fynn sequel is in motion, and we have the same illustrator booked to start working on it in the new year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | CreativeMovementStories.com | OnceUponADance.com | Instagram | Twitter

Boisterous bats, zany zombies, and giddy ghosts await readers in this tale of sibling friendship, silly creatures, and magical music.

In the Dance-It-Out series, created by an award-winning dance teacherchildren act and move alongside the characters, and Ballerina Konora joins each page with movement suggestions. In this story, Fynn, Freya, cats, bats, ghosts, and zombies assemble for a captivating story of music, magic, and meyhem.

Movement, dance, and concepts include:
• Kicks
• Marches
• Jumps
• Rolls
• Bends
• First/Fifth position
• Shoulder lifts
• Lunges
• Tiptoes/Relevé
• Breath/Sighs
• Balancing on one foot
• Rocking/swaying
• Hand shapes such as fists/flat/pointer/curved fingers
• Sharp and smooth
• Emotions such as joy, shock, curiosity, and love
• Improv dance

Each Dance-It-Out story is an interactive kids’ storytelling adventure to ignite children’s movement, joy, and imagination. Ballerina Konora joins each page with optional movement and dance ideas and photographs.

The books can be used as a supplement for dance or theater studio classes or camps. Fynn, Freya, and the Fantastic Flute would be pair well with themes such as Halloween, cats, island-living, zombies, ghosts, music, camping, or magic.

The Dance-It-Out movement journeys are ideal for dance, pre-ballet, creative movement, preschool, daycare, early learning, physical education, homeschool, kindergarten, or first-grade activities. The full collection features male/female/nongendered and diverse characters. Books make a great gift for girls or boys interested in dance, ballet, gymnastics, or yoga, or reluctant readers who enjoy getting up and being active.

With kind characters, subtle life lessons, and a positive role model in Ballerina Konora, teachers love the kid-approved, ready-made, easy additions to curriculum and lesson planning. Children at home adore the stories that “young readers will return to again and again” (—Reedsy) offering “an innovative use of dance and storytelling” (—Kirkus Reviews).

Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute

Freya, Fynn, and the Fantastic Flute : A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers (Dance-It-Out! Creative Movement Stories for Young Movers) by [Once Upon a Dance, Marjorie Thompson, Emilia Rumińska]

Freya, Fynn, And The Fantastic Flute by Once Upon a Dance is a cute children’s story with a unique interactive twist. In the story, we follow Freya and Flynn as they visit their eccentric Aunt Gail. Their aunt’s home is rumored to be haunted because you can often hear music and movement coming from the attic throughout the night. But is it true? Find out and get moving in Freya, Flynn, And The Fantastic Flute!

If I could use one word to describe this book, it would be ADORABLE! The mixture of dance/movement along with beautiful storytelling through writing and illustration adds something new to the children’s literature market. The author introduces a clever way to get kids moving and exercising and is a great way to have parents interact with their children. I enjoyed the story so much that I was sad when it ended and felt as though it ended abruptly. I wanted to know more about the creatures in the attic. The structure of the book leads me to believe there will be a sequel to this story, which I hope there is because this was a blast.

Freya, Fynn, And The Fantastic Flute is a fun children’s adventure book that will get kids moving through an ingenious combination of dance and storytelling. Parents and educators with young children needing to burn excess energy will find this book very handy.

Pages: 40 | ASIN: B09K5XC9DD

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Tale of the Christmas Hero

Santa’s reindeer are very busy on Christmas Eve delivering presents to all the children. But when the reindeer decide to take a break and chase a field mouse for fun they bring about a near Christmas disaster. Luckily the field mouse they were chasing knows someone that can help them out of their jam and get Christmas back on track.

This is a charming children’s book that is an absolute joy to read. This book fits right into the cheery holiday theme of the season. The reindeer, and mouse, are so lively and animated throughout the story that their antics are sure to keep any child’s attention.

Right when I figured out this was going to be a story about reindeer getting into mischief, I knew I was going to enjoy this story, and the amusing antics delivered a lot of entertainment. Each scene has a fantastic illustration from illustrator Brenda Timms. Each image has a soft color palette and looks like they were colored with crayon, which makes them easily relatable to children.

This delightful picture book is told in fun rhymes that add color and character to the story being acted out on each page. The rhymes are cute and easy to follow, with a few big words here and there young readers should have an easy time reading this story with an adult.

The Tale of the Christmas Hero is a whimsical Christmas book that will delight kids this holiday season. With lovable and emotive characters taking readers on an amusing chase that ends in a cheesy reward, family’s will surely enjoy this entertaining book.

Pages: 36 | ISBN: 1643613502

Buy Now From B&N.com
%d bloggers like this: