Monday, 15 September 2014

I am not a fan of literacy self-loathing or kid literacy ignorance

I have a confession to make: I am an adult and I read a lot of children's and young adult books. 

Obviously, I should be ashamed. I should be reading literary fiction; at least, according to Ruth Graham, who wrote this article for The Slate  this article for The Slate 

slamming adults like me who were happy to wave around their kids' edition jackets of Harry Potter on the daily commute.
Needless to say I'm not a fan of literary self-loathing or ignorance in children's literature. 
There needs to be spice in books, and by spice, like the spice of  life where you have unlimited choice and can choose at your free will what book is ready to be read at any particular moment in time. What one person seeks from a book another seeks something different, and what ones reads in one book, another person reads something different from that same book. 
And if there were no difference at all, there would be no way of preferring one over the other.

And I definitely have a preference.
literature is not a means to an end. It brings something to those who partake, something beyond the experience of reading.
So do not just read to progress your intellect,  think more along the lines of  I read because my soul sings when I'm lost in a good narrative or caught up with characters I wish were real. I read because I love reading,  It takes me into a diffeent world, i escape. I am me.  Reading children's books is to be celebrated, not shamed.

And that takes me to how busy and very excited we are to tell you about what we are doing at the moment in Kid Literature. 
It is only 7 days away from launching the kid Literature Website!
We have opened up an extension of the Literacy group to allow you to promote your own books and pages.
Here is the link. Authors Books / For you to be a part of
Then we have the new website launching on Monday the 22nd September.
Come and read a little every day, and lead a better life.
Kid Literature community resources

Written by Karen Emma Hall

Saturday, 6 September 2014

I am so pleased to be joining the blogging from the heart tour.

 What exactly is involved in this blogging from the heart tour do you ask?
Basically you answer 4 questions about yourself, and introduce  some other authors and bloggers! 
Simple right? I know blogging can be daunting for some, but if you think of it as an open diary, you might get the first picture of how to blog. Just write like a diary, or write whatever you like. What is it you are interested in, or what are you doing now as an activity, be it art, writing, reading, gardening, cat spotting, book collecting. It could be something new you are about to venture into for the first time. Just 'blog' it as if you are telling a story.
Here is where you get to meet other blogging from the heart sponsors and bloggers. Fellow Author and kid literature admin Cat Michaels asked if I would find any possible time to step aboard for the heart tour ride, and as I was already riding high, I thought why not. 
So I grabbed her hand and off we flew over to her website and blog. 
I have known Cat properly since she came aboard the kid literature whirlwind (she might be regretting it). I thoroughly enjoy reading Cat’s blogs and her heart tour blog and try to keep up with her on social networks.
 After earning an M.S. degree in special education Cat spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential. She also managed communications and staff development programs for an international high-tech company. She then returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities. She writes illustrated chapter books for young readers and the young at heart. Cat's books are so adorable, Sweet T and the North Wind and Finding Fuzzy: a You-Decide Tale of a Lost Friend, can be found on Amazon and ordered from local bookstores. Check on her Amazon link To connect with Cat and learn more about her books, please visit her website and you can follow Cat on her social media sites.
Meet fellow creatives author, dear friend and admin to kid literature Carmela Dutra
Carmela is  a writer and illustrator of children's literature, as well as a photographer. Carmela loves children’s literature! Mostly because as she says she is a giant kid at heart. Nothing is more magical than when you’re a child being transported to a new world where you can explore and discover unknown things.  My stories focus on the bonds of friendship and triumph over evil. Carmela on goodreads

Then meet fellow partner in crime and Kid Literature, Steve Conoboy.
Steve went off to university to study ancient history and archaeology. Hat and whip not received. Complaints about this are ignored. University mostly a waste of time, apart from hours spent writing apocalyptic horror-comedy on 386 PC. It's great. Apocalyptic horror-comedy sent out to literary agents. None are interested. Novel not great. Mostly a waste of time. A long period filled with much writing and many submissions and plenty of rejection letters. Decide I can't stand prologues as they're never much use. Short stories accepted by Polluto, Voluted Tales and Kzine. Prompts a vigorous interest in Kindle Direct Publishing. First release is Macadamian Pliers, YA horror with an emphasis on creepy, spooky and other ooky things. Started out editing and writing with the kid literature group and has since had a lot of interest in publishing a young adult spooky novel called Macadamian Pliers.

Then I would like to introduce you to  fellow  kid Literature contributor Linda Cullen  L D Cullen website
Linda tells us: As early as  I  can remember I was a story teller.  I cut my  literary teeth by writing skits and plays for summer camp and neighborhood friends to act out and by creating stories for my little sister and friends, most memorable were the "Baloney Man" and "Old Man Bolton's Cabin" I can't remember a time my thoughts were not shared with a full cast of character rattling around in my brain just waiting for me to bring them to life and let them out.
It was a great disappointment to discover  a shortfall of children's books with strong exciting main characters living with disabilities when I was looking for books  to share with  my "Differently-Abled  foster children. This set me on the path that lead me to my maiden book The Ability Kids and K-9 Agency in "The Case of the Peanut Butter Bandit" 

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 that you had as a child, or wanted, 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 colours, 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.
Karen E Hall Founder of Kid Literature Facebook
Kid Literature on Twitterland

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
                                       Kid Literature Authors Facebook page

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
                                                                Karen/AKA PeachyEmma on Twitter

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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