Sunday, 10 August 2014

Picture books hold the magic ingredient for your child's future.

You may know a child who picks the same book over and over again. They choose the same book because they represented comfort and relaxation time, often at night before bed. At first they are read to a lot, and then they go on to making up their own versions of the stories. Your wishes and goals as parents are to instill in them the same love of reading I had and to create a family with a real love for books. Being in a relaxed familiar place when reading to a small child and reading picture books help to associate reading with pleasure. One of the major parts of raising active readers is that their reading time is enjoyable. There is nothing like observing a child's joy when reading a book. Picture books introduce the world of words both orally and visually. 


Reading out loud to our children helps them distinguish that speech is made up of different individual sounds and that those sounds have meaning. When reading to a small child point out all of the colors, shapes, objects, especially the main objects or hidden ones. Not only do the pictures help in labelling these patterns but the combination of pictures and stories working together share that stories are told both in pictures and words. Encourage them to find objects and soon they will do this for themselves. Often times when a child starts telling their own stories they’ll draw the picture first and then add words to it later. As a child is learning their language from birth, picture books help in teaching the sounds of words and patterns of speech. As our children develop and grow, reading to them develops the neuro-pathways in their brains.  
When reading picture books, the child has the actual task of holding the book. Touching and feeling it, enjoying the pages and learning to turn the pages carefully. When turning the page, our children are invited to have a direct interaction with the story by moving onto the next part.
When reading, if you run your fingers under the words, this helps teach reading from left to right and how word flow on the page. While we point to the words in a picture book it also helps train the eyes to follow the words. How often do we see a small child holding a book, pointing to the words as they start out on the path of going through these actions, and learning to read, even before actually reading words. Though they are mimicking us, it is an important pattern to develop to be able to read independently later on.

Books open up imagined worlds to our children and let us explore them together. Books also teach how we interact with each other and the world around us, whether imaginary or real. Children are often seen and you will notice how they will play through their imagination, and re-create in their own little world what was visited in the book that was recently looked at together, then by themselves. Children live in their imaginations first and then come to real situations. The more we can inspire imaginative play the more likely they are to develop problem solving skills for a variety of situations. Get familiar with this routine they will ask for night after night, having that moment of reading time everyday gives your child or children something to look forward to. It’s that special time you share together. During our reading time, all interference's are turned off or put away. We have a special place our family gathers to read every day. My children often ask me to read the same book over and over again. Though we as parents may get tired of the same story, by reading the same book multiple times helps to aid their memories. These times of snuggling down with a good book are planting the seeds to a love of lifelong reading. Teach them and they will remember, and they will learn.
Learn positive skills and enjoyment through reading they will take with them throughout life. Picture books are so important as they hold the child's attention longer so  the magic of the pictures come to life in their minds. This enables them to gain more attention enabling them to go onto bigger and longer books in time easier and quicker. An important thing to remember is that when we first start reading to our children, they are completely dependent on us for the storytelling. Quickly they get the ability to point out objects from the pictures, working their way up to more storytelling details. Pictures books are the journey between dependent reading and independent reading. As we increase our reading time, we challenge them to grow into independent readers. They look to us for assurance and praise. They can associate this with positive reading time. Praise is so important. It stays with them longer and brings about good feelings and bonds. Create experiences and memories. Open the door for these creations in order for your child's future to be molded bright. A  magically imaginative world will be theirs, creating a positive intelligent future. Your child's.

Monday, 28 July 2014

We need more Young Adult Horror books.

Do we want to scare young adults with our nightmare books?
Hopefully scared in the good sense and not because the book is so dreadful. We want them to stay scared until the end. Then ask for more. If you want to scare people you have to first experience it. Many times. Keep your fear close, especially when walking past that abandoned house on the edge of town. Or maybe it is the house next door! The one with the overgrown hedges, Dickens door knocker, and creaky gate. It always looks fine in the daylight apart from the dry cracked paintwork, and you know in reality it has just been overlooked for too long, but... but you just never know what lurks beyond...
See, I have drawn you into a young adult horror story already, and it was only due to a teeny bit of imagination. Imagination that created an atmosphere from our fears of the unknown.

Still, would you go up that path alone on a moonless night.
I will stop now.

When trying out young adult horror, blend it with a rich mix of one or two genres, like adventure and goth, horror and romance. Twist it a little, and add your own Hammer Horror theme, and finish it off with a dab of Tales of the Unexpected (Roald Dahl) sealed with some hot wax. Is the main character scary, or the hero? Maybe she starts as the hero, but turns out to be evily mad!
Remember there can never be too many mad characters in your horror book. Also do not just have one person in danger, create dread by causing more twists, and more people involved in danger or madness. How do they get out of it? By finishing the book or by waking up! Make them feel different emotions, and not just one bland tone, we can predict from the beginning. Make the readers want to laugh, cry and feel something different. Make them feel as if they are a kid again, at home, in bed, at night. Remember what that was like.
I hope I have given you a taste for a young adult horror.

 Kid Literature Authors (KLA) bring you the man with the duel-core brain;
 Mr Steve Conoboy, author of Macamanian Pliers and many more interesting young adult horror and mystery novels and stories. The KLA review and promote young adult books as well as all kid books, and we want more!
If you have any questions, or you would like to get in touch; email us at

Steve Conoboy is one of the main editors and admin for the KLA and he has had several short stories published, and has self-published Macadamian Pliers. His blogs are very interesting, amusing, and grumpy, so be warned.
Steve's writers haunted blogspot
Steve Conoboy ON TWITTER
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Written by Karen Emma Hall, who is also self published with her children's owl series, that will soon be going out to print. As well as an upcoming middle grade book of spooky goings on with Cory in Cold Cliff Castle! Illustrated by Eric Heyman. All of this and much more to be found at the Kid Literature Authors and links below.  
Founder of the Kid literature Authors Keep up with Author Karen Emma Hall
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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tonto Tales. They have turned me into Cat Lady.

Well these last few days we have had a new addition to the family. The patter of tiny feet. Four tiny feet!
 A little Kitten called Tonto came to live with us much to the delight of my two youngest girls, and the annoyance and dismay of my two older cats. I vowed never to get another cat after I lost Tilly in 2009, but here we are with a new kitty.
A couple of reasons. 1/ The girls can't remember having a kitten (they were too young to remember Sooty and Tipsy being kittens apparently) and they wanted to experience this joy. 2/ they promised to feed and clean up after kitty, and 3/  being self employed now apparently means it would be ok to have another cat if I was at home more! None of these added up as I am working a lot more now as self employed, but I still gave in when we heard of some kittens needing homes. Then when we were sent some pictures, it was a done deal.Tonto was picked due to his black eye mask on a white face, and a white tip on the end of his tail which looks as if he had walked past a tin of white paint and accidently caught the end of his tail in it. He seemed very out-lawish and mischievous, and he looked like a Tonto, plus I had to get the namesake of Johnny Depp in there somehow.
Tonto was so small and  he wanted to play with everything. Not afraid of the big cats who were at the best agitated and at the worst- kept looking up at me as if to say I'm staying outside until this one goes home.
They soon realised he was not going home, as his home was with them. How they loved me those first few days. Ha! But Tonto made himself at home very quickly, and by day three Sooty soon forgot he was in a huff. Even the neighbour observed and commented on how 'put out and huffed they looked' on that very first morning. Sooty still gives Tonto an exasperated look as if to say why is he still here, and then gives him a gentle paw bat if Tonto goes for his tail once too often. Tonto doesn't seem to mind at all!
Kitten Tonto is a hair sniffer and a chest snuggler. He also loves finding a snug place around my hair or back of neck to go to sleep. I know when he is about to go to sleep as his purrs rattle his little tiny body very loudly. He won't be able to snuggle about my neck for ever, so he had better make the most of it now.

The older cats are experts at being couch potatoes, and now Tonto thinks the couch is his bed as well. It has been photo city since Tonto arrived. Rarely do I get a shot of all the cats occupying the same space and I dare not enter this space for fear one of them will dart away and ruin my entire photo. But I have managed to get one somehow.
 They always have had the knack to knows when something's up. Seriously, they can tell when I'm just thinking of  getting up from the chair and heading out of the living room. I just have to move position and Tipsy is at the living room door, giving me her lazy blink, and more or less wondering what I am playing at for not getting to the door before her. They are hilarious when we are getting suitcases out to go on holiday, they know something is up, and pace around thinking they are supervising. Picking out which case to sniff and lie on, and then look at the other cat with that look as if to say ha, I bagged it first.
They do not have a particular bed to lie on, as they like to change places often. It could be the laundry basket, the empty amazon box, or the best chair in the house. It will never ever be the luxury deluxe cat bed you bought and is still as new. In fact I think i might use it as a back rest or pillow, they might take an interest in it then.
And obviously I have to be back from the shops well before they awakes from their 4th daily cat nap.

Ever wondered why cats love cardboard boxes?  They have to investigate, observe, and then climb in. Try it out for size. I think it is the same reason why kids play with cardboard boxes on Christmas day. I still don't understand it, but its just something animals and children do. Normally the smaller the better for cats.
Today Tonto has his new kitten collar on and he only protested for the first ten minutes, it is so tiny, but a safety one, as I need to know where he is as he is so tiny. So I hear him before I see him now.
Tonto along with Sooty and Tipsy are going to be in a book I am writing, so there will be much amusement for cat and children's book lovers along the way.
More cat tales will no doubt follow. I have already blogged about Sooty and Tipsy, so please check back blogs to read.

Tonto and books.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summertime memories on the laps of grandparents.

I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I loved going to the library with my grandparents and picking out many books to read. My grandparents loved the weekly trips to the library and this is what stays in my memory and lives on. This pure pleasure memory of books and weekly visits to my grandparents. One memory evokes the other.
Once at the library, the hard bit was picking just a few books when there was so many to choose from, then leaving the library.
 I'm really glad that my grandparents unlocked that world for me though. There's just something about losing yourself in a good story and getting caught up in the narrative of someone elses' life or imagination. To this day, one of my favorite things to do is curl up on the couch with my cuppa in one hand and a book in the other. A perfect little spot for books and reading and exploring those stories together is on their grandparents laps, as well as parents laps. A very good place to start being a reader.   

 have many memories of summertime as a child. Whether it was excited day trips when we pretended to be abroad on holiday, or camping out in the back garden and again pretending we were on holiday. Getting into a state of excitement when cousins from down south came up to visit, and mimicking accents.
Or maybe it was running down the the coast with the huge inner tube tyre in the back of my dads work van, when half the street would ask to go down, and all manage to cram into the back of the van along with that huge rubber inner tyre. 

Or lying on a picnic blanket, on the hill, looking down at the town, reading a book and listening to Abba, Motown,or Blondie.
But one memory I will never forget, is my Mum reading to me as a young child. 
When you have a child, or children, how quickly does each day go? Can you imagine a life without them? If you could, you would try to be with them as much has possible. You want to know every moment of their day when you are not able to be with them. Most of us at one time or another have had  to spend many days away from our child. Be it work, or for play, or because they are visiting other family members. 
You nurture them, tend to their basic needs, read bedtime stories, make up stories, and try to fit into their tiny world. 
You listen to them, kiss them goodnight and tell them you love them. 
You get to smell their own lovely smell when they sit or lie next to you. Beaming at the wonder they are. All of their cute funny ways, and laugh at the new words they have make up. Words that have not been invented until that moment. 
Sometimes you might have to have a day a week without your child, or more. When this happens you stop becoming complacent and you miss them. Lots. The days go quicker, and before you know it, the time has really run away with itself. They have had their first day at school, their first wobbly tooth, the seventh wobbly tooth. The tooth fairy has been and gone countless times. Until the day comes when they say they don't believe in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. 

Then comes the day when they are having a leavers assembly at school. How proud you are when you see them recite a part they have learned. Learned for you. 
They look up to you for reassurance they are doing well. 
I love it all and I can't get it back. Not even a day. 
The years race on.
So the next time you go to read a bedtime story, or a book together, think on. Enjoy it together. Treasure each moment. There is nothing quite as wonderful than that share. You can keep that for infinity. 

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Monday, 30 June 2014

Read about how to make a good reader.

There is nothing quite like positive action to start with when tackling the reading process.
Although even the word tackle can have some negative implications. To conquer; to succeed; to be successful- to enjoy- to be you, and be happy with you.
Getting back on topic though; and how easy is it as a parent or carer to encourage reading so it is instilled in your child? Where they pick a book up because they want to look through it and enjoy it, and not because you have told them too.
As well; how can we stay focused with a positive attitude and turn your full attention to a childs education?
If one carer or parent gives a child a little of their time 10 minutes a day to read, and the full attention is on the child then this child is having a good quality time in a relaxed enviroment.
If you are happy and relaxed, your child will see that you are.
Ten minutes can be with any close family member or carer/helper. Children love having that one to one moment, so this is why an enjoyable relaxed read together is such a good boost for you both.

 I have always known as an author that keeping notes and remembering where you put them is so important.
 -'keep a notepad to hand at all time, because you will always be needing it'.
Yes even as a parent juggling a few things, notepads are always good to have.
Even if you have a note-link app, or an ipad/iphone, still keep a basic pen, preferably a good working pen, and plenty of notepads. These things are like socks and spoons in the home when you have children. They vanish after a certain amount of time. So you need a decent supply.
I have written a book about the socks and the spoons! I had to.. I know all about them, and their vanishing tricks!   So....

                                Here is what to do to create building blocks for a new reader.

Be positive; do not push the situation if a child is reluctant. One step at a time. Remember this right at the start.
Allow them to see you enjoy reading; you can hardly ask a child to read if you will not go near a book and are nearly always on your mobile phones. You do not concentrate properly, or know what is going on around you, if you are constantly on your phone texting etc. (but you know this)
Make a list; get your notepad at hand, so you can write it all down when these moments arise. Do not sit looking at the pad wondering what to write. This does not work. Always these idea's come when you are busy making other plans, so keep it to hand for these moments.
Write down some books that might be good to start off with, books you can both read together. Find these either from your child's bedroom, library, and online. You can even find them from a Children's literature site. The KLA have some instant read aloud books as well as some free ebooks for you to try out.
Then read these books yourself first; this way you will find idea's come to you, so you can then write them down or you will forget. (there is only so much information we can hold in without something slipping away. We are not elephants.)
Keep a chart of what books you have read. Add stars! Children love star stickers or stickers in general, and rewards is the key. Let them choose where to hang their chart. Even if it is at the back of the wardrobe or under the cat's bed. It is their chart.
If you only read one or two pages initially, that is fine. All good. Chart this. By next week there is a progress. You cannot expect big things in one day. Any little change is progress. Just write it on the reading chart.
Children are motivated by rewards and praise. Remember this, it works.
Do not offer TV time as a reward. Try stickers, your time and your praise. This is the best thing you can give your child.

                                                   Reading is it's own reward.

Do not give up at the first hurdle. If it did not go as well as you would have liked at first, remember to stay positive. As like anything, it will take just a little while if you maintain this.
You need to know that when looking at the new reading chart, (you and your child can design and make together) that next week's progress will look different from this weeks.
Children need to know you are supporting them. They need to know they can always come to you for affirmation. To simply know you are there for them, and rooting for them. Rooting for your child is a must if you want to stay on the road to progression and soon success.
 When you hear your child, or a new/young reader struggling with a word, remind them of the words they have already learned. We tell them they can do it. We believe in them. We are patient. We are relaxed.
Children follow our moves. They look up to us as their carers and parents.

The real incentive to read can really be quite simple. If your children see you read, see you enjoy something, then they will more likely to read and be successful. It will pay dividends one day. I can almost promise that.

                                     All quotes and words by Karen Emma Hall. Founder of

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Monday, 16 June 2014

The chocolate music maker~ In book dreams

        The chocolate blog book tour/tag Karen Emma Hall

First off, I'd like to say a big thank you to Nelson Suit for tagging/nominating me to do the choc blog book tour. Nelson has his own chocolate blog book tagged here.  It was too chocolately and deliciously irresistable to turn down. Oh yes, I also had to run out to buy some chocolate for inspiration. So with that in mind, and a mug of chocolate at hand, get settled for a read of the chocolate book blog, sprinkled with a generous covering of chocolate scrumdiddlyumptious of quotes.

So, how do you write a chocolate blog?  How easy is it? Well I found if you have been nominated, the best thing to do is to go and make yourself a  lovely big mug of drinking chocolate and grab yourself a delicious book you have been looking forward to reading. Spend the day off the internet (I did this last bit, but not by choice), settle yourself down and relax. Soon your mind starts looking for books associated with chocolate. The one children's book that comes straight to mind is the brilliant Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' You cannot think of chocolate and books without the name Roald Dahl. But that is far too easy to pick, even for a chocolate book blog tour; but I couldn't leave it out! He is the chocolate music maker, the maker of dreams, he is the evergreen Mother and the cocoa Father of chocolate and children's books.
So instead I will start with Roald Dahl's 'Boy'

Boy Tales of Childhood (1984) is the first autobiographical book by the British writer Roald Dahl. It describes his life from birth until leaving school, focusing on living conditions in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, the public school system at the time, and how his childhood experiences led him to writing as a career. It ends with his first job, working for Royal Dutch Shell. His autobiography continues in the book Going Solo.
It is the Boy who did not start writing for children until he had children of his own.
He wrote all of his children's stories in a small hut at the bottom of his garden, but originally he wrote the short stories for adults which were later published as Tales of the Unexpected (I loved these) and also the screenplays for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Bond movie You Only Live Twice.
It is the boy who is Roald Dahl, it is Roald Dahl who loved chocolate but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice-cream.
Boy! does chocolate and books go together! Yum
Clever Mr. Dahl.
"Charlie nodded, his mouth bulging with chocolate.”
― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
There is no explanation needed as to the bar of chocolate that represents this book and this author.


The second of my choices is The Fault in Our Stars.             

"'Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Only John Green can get broccoli and chocolate in the same sentence.

The Fault in Our Stars is the fifth novel by author John Green, published in January 2012. The story is narrated by a sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with the seventeen-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee.
The title is inspired from Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, in which the nobleman Cassius says to Brutus: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
I bought this book the week I went to Durham, and my daughters and I thoroughly enjoyed it over a huge bar of Galaxy and some choc chip muffins (I declined the muffins, but the girls insisted).
So I will always think of the chocolate reference and Galaxy for 'The Fault in Our Stars'

My third choice is a book by Cassandra Clare, called Clockwork Angel
“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
Oh how true this is, and a lovely line in the book by Cassandra Clare-Author of the Mortal instruments series, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting only a matter of weeks ago. I was very fortunate to have her scribble on my book The Clockwork Angel, she personalised it to the KLA ....Kid Literature Authors

Tessa Gray (one of the main characters in Clockwork Angel), goes to London to live with her brother. When she gets there she is captured by two cruel twins who go by the name of 'the Dark Sisters' for six weeks, until William Herondale (a Shadowhunter) comes and rescues Tessa. Shadowhunters are a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She quickly realises that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
The book became a best-seller in the New York Times list, debuting at number 1 on the children's bestselling list.

The book also contains many quotes referring to famous pieces of Victorian literature, for example, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Alfred Tennyson.
“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”
“Will looked horrified. What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

So I associate the deep dark chocolate Valrhona Noir Extra Amer – 85% Cacao which is so dark it is almost black. (With  hints of red, floral, nut, coffee and cinnamon notes! ) With this amazing book.- Clockwork Angel. Ideal for young adults.

Book four of my choice is a neat contrast to the darkness of the Clockwork Angel.
It is Anne of Green Gables (which I also watched again recently when the internet was down for the full day).  

I fell back in love with Anne and the Green Gables and Avonlea. So did my daughters, who are now reading the book at this present time. Anne makes you want to be a poet or an artist, she never lets you forget the way to fairlyland. Anne with the 'e', and Anne with the red hair that makes her reach the depths of despair. There is a part of  Anne in all of us readers and writers, and this is a must read for children of school age and up. For this reason I give you Lindt Excellence chocolate bar with a hint of chilli! Just like our Anne of the Green Gables with her red hair and her fiery colourful world.  

"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several thrills?”
“Keep that red-haired girl of yours in the open air all summer and don't let her read books until she gets more spring into her step."    

“I love bright red drinks, don’t you? They taste twice as good as any other color.”

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... Yet.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

My fifth choice is Stig of the Dump!
 Oh my, one of my all time favourites as a child, and I had to get it back out yesterday and loved it all over again.
There are so many descriptions of the dump, raw brown earth like chippings, crunching through the rubbish in the dump not unlike Stig himself. Then the woods, going into detail of the smells, the Snargets, and the beauty in the last chapter of the Stonehenge standing stones in the summer solstice. Barney is a solitary eight-year-old, given to wandering off by himself. One day he tumbles over, lands in a sort of cave, and meets somebody with shaggy hair wearing a rabbit-skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. They together raid the rubbish dump at the bottom of the pit, improve Stig's cave dwelling, and enjoy a series of adventures. A must for children of 6 and up! It was a pleasure to read it again :)

Barney suddenly wasn't sure that he believed in Stig himself. It wasn't a Stigish day, like yesterday when he had fallen down the pit-
I had super fun with the Snargets,Granny. First I bombed  them, then they were going to slow torture me or something, then I got away to Stigs den and they thought  Stig was going to eat one of them but we ate babies instead, you know, jelly babies. - Stig of the Dump

So the chocolate I associate with Stig of the Dump is a flake. It matches the description of the dump and Stig as earthy, crumbly, raw, chocolatey, and you always want to read/eat it up again and again as it is so enjoyable and unforgetable. Also the Stonehenge pillars (you can make them out of flake bars).

The last book of choice is by no means the least.
Macadamian Pliers by Steve Conoboy.
It is full of cherries, but where Cherry may be sweet, Mr Pliers is altogether a different breed.

'Cherry’s heart crammed into her throat. She was alone with Mr. Pliers. He resembled a grotesque ill-fitting door carved into the shape of a black-suited golem. The top of his head brushed the ceiling.
Suddenly the bedroom didn’t seem anywhere near big enough. ‘It’s the view, isn’t it?’ He chuckled then, a sound which made the ends of Cherry’s bones grind together. Phlegm and rust and sparks: these are the things she thought of when she heard that laugh. ‘I would gaze out of the window for hours, imagined I could pick up the little people as they went about their days and place them anywhere else if I wanted to. Drop them from a great height if it pleased me.’ He mimed the action with nimble pinching fingers, plucking a distant imaginary figure from a sidewalk and flinging them off towards the horizon. In Cherry’s mind there was a tiny scream. ‘I think you’re going to have quite a time in this house, Cherry. Don’t you?’

Macadamian Pliers is an unpleasant man with a hideous plan. He’s just sold a house to Emmet’s Peak’s newest family, and they’re about to find out it’s haunted. He made it that way.

In the first volume of a trilogy, Cherry and Frank Raine find themselves in a battle of wits and nerves against both the ghosts in their new home and the man who put them there. Cherry, physically and emotionally scarred by a car crash, must draw from within herself the strength to confront her fears and save her family. Frank must choose between taking responsibility for once or being led astray by firebug Jack, a local boy with a dark sense of fun. As the haunting escalates, Cherry discovers that other homes have been affected by the strange-shaped and evil-hearted Pliers, but what chance do a couple of kids have against such a man?'
It is a book you cannot put down and it is written by a very talented writer Steve Conoboy.
So I choose liquid cherry Black Magic chocolates for Mac Pliers. Cherry and Black Magic are so right for this book! You will love it! For young adults and old adults and all adults inbetween.

They don't do the chocolates like they used to do them in the Black Magic box, but you can read all about it here   My first Peachy Chocolate blog  ......

Old and the all time favourite Black Magic chocolate selection 

I would like to pass the chocolate book blog baton onto Carmela Dutra goodreads.Carmela Dutra/blog
Carmela is a writer and illustrator of children's literature, as well as a photographer. She LOVES children’s literature! Mostly because she is a giant kid at heart she says.
Nothing is more magical than when you’re a child being transported to a new world where you can explore and discover unknown things. The best way that children are able to experience this is through reading, not just one or two stories; but by a variety! The more stories available to kids the more likely it is that they will develop a love of reading. Carmela's stories focus on the bonds of friendship and triumph over evil. Here is her amazing book Lorenzo the Bear at Jellyfish Cove

Then I will pass the baton onto Steve Conoboy You must read all about Steve Conoboy and Macadamian Pliers after you read his blog you will be itching to read his book.

Steve has been writing ever since he can remember, he has short stories accepted by Polluto, Voluted Tales and Kzine. This prompted a vigorous interest in Kindle Direct Publishing. First release is Macadamian Pliers, YA horror with an emphasis on creepy, spooky and other ooky things. Read all about Stev in his blog here http://writerhaunted blog by Steve Conoboy

The last person I will tag to do the blog is Sue Navas .goodreads Susan_Navas Susan Navas is the author of the "Agnil’s Worlds" series of children’s books. Born in London, Susan has three grown up children and is a teacher in a primary school in Cambridgeshire. After years of helping children learn to write, she decided to write a book or two of her own. She has also written a picture book for young children called "Crossing the Bridge" that she is preparing in collaboration with her daughter, Laura, who is an artist. 
Susan is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

To check out where I get to on social media for all things connected to children's literature please turn                                                                                                            your mouse to these links and click.
          Kid literature authors on twitter #KLA is our hashtag 
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"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate." — Charles Dickens

"Life is as sweet as a box of chocolates, or as bitter as a cacao pod. Take your pick" - Karen Emma Hall 

Monday, 12 May 2014

A Teddy Bear's Picnic

The Teddy Bear shop I once had. 

What a week it has been. Preparing and organising the website for the KLA (Kid Literature Authors)
This blog is now tied in with KLA and I would just like to thank everyone involved. So if you are reading this then that will mean you. We have drawn a lot of amazing talented people together to help show you their creations.
We want to bring you a selection of educational, fun and informative blogs, articles and designs and writing. If you think you may like to help us out in any way, please use the contact form on the website, and let us know! We will be answering all mail this week. 
I will be adding some Authors blog links here later who are connected to us. Have a happy creative day and we hope you enjoy our journey. ~Karen Emma Hall 

How do we all accumulate so many cuddly critters? Where does it all start? Those soft cuddly teddy bears and toys sewn into familiar shapes of aminals and pets we love. Can anyone have as many as we have in our house? I am sure there is must be someone out there who has as many! Maybe you have so many that you have no new places to keep them. Does this sound familiar?
 Do we go overboard with the cuddly toy gifts for a new born? People love buying cuddly toys. I love buying cuddly toys. They are designed to be loved. Buying cuddly toys is gloriously indulgent shopping. It’s not practical, not useful, it’s all about the cute factor. They are given with genuine love and then they sit on a shelf. My children were given various cuddly toys when they were born. Some lived in the cot, most lived on a shelf... could sometimes be found under beds.
Somehow, out of the many, your child  picks one. Many are called but few are chosen. Maybe you can't say how one particularly cuddly rose through the ranks. It too lived on the shelf for a while, but somehow it becomes the favorite. This is the one that comes along on all over night stays. It is safely tucked under their arm as they listen to a story at night, and  is, as carefully, tucked on the same arm when they appear in the morning. The chosen one. I guess, cuddly toys are given in the hope that each one will be the chosen one.
The reality is that the rest are unloved. Well maybe that is a bit harsh, but they are certainly forgotten. None of them have names. I can tell you the origin of most of our bears; the one that was sent from great uncle such and such, the one that was purchased from ebay following said child's obsession with the TV counter part. Sorry should I say the many from ebay, as you can't just get one, no, you have to bid on quite a few hoping you will at least manage to win one, but in this instance you win the lot. Then the one that was an unexpected gift from a neighbour, the one from Grandma, the one that was taken from  big sister, and then later little sister. Well I could go on, but you get the picture. Oh I forgot to mention the ones from the car boot sales, and the ones Auntie Margaret doesn't need anymore. Why she thinks we need another 56 bears I have no idea. She threatened them with the bin so we had to give them a home. 
You see how it works. 

These cuddlies have even been part of role play schools and tea-parties carried out in the bedroom. Once the novelty of each new toy wore off, their poor shelf life was over and they got left under beds, behind any fixture in the bedroom, and after a bit longer still, put in the dreaded black bags and put in the attic. When the attic got full they were delegated to the outbuilding. At one time they collected all the characters from the Havens Holidays. Good old Rory the tiger, and Anxious the elephant and their gang.  
I’m sentimental and there are some I’ve grabbed and squirreled away. All my own cuddlies were left in a place of safety, a green zone, so I thought.  Until I went to look, only to discover they had been taken to big charity shop on the high street. It seemed churlish to protest. They’d been at the back of a cupboard for decades. The back of cupboards, where cuddlies go to rot. I had one at the back of my cupboard, moths ate it.
I went through a phase of collecting old teddy bears. I say a phase, it ended up with me having 2 shops. Some phase.. This phase came about when I lost the very dear teddy bear I cherished all through childhood. This precious bear had been given to me by my beloved Grandma. It was mohair and jointed and had a growler. Highly sought after these days. Very unsafe for children back in the day. 
No; we are not allowed to give our children toys made with pins, needles, small metal parts, and wood wool these days so they now have to conform to high safety standards, but he was the most loved non-breathing thing in my house as a child. I so loved it with all my heart. I had it tucked in bed for 16 years! Now that is a long time, and many a tear a laugh and a tantrum had he seen. (A leg came off and was sewn back on along the way.) 
Then while moving house during a difficulty pregnancy, circumstances meant I was not in control of the house move, and sadly he got left behind with many other things. I was told everything was still in bags for me to collect, but when I got around to sorting it, all the bagged items had been put out in a skip (from the new landlord) but there was no way I was able to rush out of the hospital bed at the time to sort it. I was helpless. Never to be seen again.
I became interested in finding him, thinking someone may have tried to sell him on ebay. When I got to ebay I couldn't believe my eyes at what price these bears were fetching!  I soon learned all about bears from this era, learned to identify them, and started collecting them. Well I did eventually get a few that were so identical to the one I lost, but they will never take his place. Maybe that is how I came about having a Teddy Bear Picnic shop, and then later Chelsea Bear Crafts, aptly named after one of my daughters. The craft shop combined my love of hand made books and illustrations with my love of collectable bears. 

I hope the ones that go to the charity shop become the chosen one for someone. Someone who isn't as fortunate to get the hundreds given that my children were. What becomes of your old cuddlies? Have they been an object of your book writing? They have for me. My first series of books is about an owl. I have many more to unleash, maybe a Teddy Bear story is in there somewhere. 
All photos are from my personal collection, and from the two fair stalls and shop I have had over the last 15 years. 
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Lots of love and thanks from Karen Emma Hall  @peachyemma