But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. (George Gordon Byron.)

Words, words, words! My students keeping commenting how chatty, talkative, voluble I am. ”You are Too Wordy!How on earth can we be like you?” My reply ”Well, you have to read books, kids, let’s make it a habit, listen to the power of the words,”  makes them wonder, being ready to leave class, in seconds! Greek kids and teens consider books unimportant and that’s because School doesn’t promote reading at all. The truth is there are the school libraries, very limited in numbers and books available, there is a number of events dedicated to books even writing contests but the majority of students show indifference. Having a Reading Club is something I secretly was wishing to find time having, but now openly declaring of working towards it!

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My everyday life seems to be a journey with pieces of baggage, full of manuscripts and endless hours of reading, studying, correcting papers, teaching, cooking and daydreaming when unexpected breaks happen.My students and my friends who either write or enjoy listening to my writing péripéties are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. I missed writing on my blog for more than a month but when reality surpasses fiction or other times fiction anticipates reality, then there is too little time to deal with everything. Nevertheless, I have chosen to present some books which I stumbled on while searching for Mentor Texts, for my stories. 

  • Number One wish for my Students would be the following fantastic book:

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Did you know you can stretch and grow your own brain? Or that making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns? Just like how lifting weights helps your muscles get stronger, trying new things without giving up―like finding the courage to put your face in the water the first time you’re at a pool―strengthens your brain. Next time, your brain will remind you that you overcame that fear, and you will be braver!

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  • Number Two enjoyment is being in class, having my hands full of books, like ”Miss Malarkey”, that’s another great book:

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Principal Wiggins has promised to dye his hair purple and sleep on the school roof if the students read 1,000 books this year, and Miss Malarkey is determined to find the right book for every student, including this story’s reluctant-reader narrator. Winning her students over book by book, Miss Malarkey will have students loving to read in no time. As the best-selling series continues in paperback, no teacher, librarian, or parent should leave this book behind!

  • Number Three I worry,  I have too many Students who bring chaos, in a nutshell, the following book seems to be written for them:

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Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention. His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe. But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control. But will the lessons shared by his teachers and his mom really help Braden manage his impulses?

  • Number Four, I care for too high Decibelllas, both  Primary and Junior High School, Gals, you are Awesome but TOO  High Pitched!

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Isabella is a spirited girl who enjoys shouting out her thoughts, ideas and feelings. In fact, she loves using her loud voice so much; it’s earned her the nickname, Decibella! Young readers will be entertained as they see how Isabella learns the five volumes of voice and discovers that different situations require a different tone.

  • Number Five concern, I still wonder how to help my Students overcome their Fear and  Apprehension on reading books on a regular basis, this book seems really cool!

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Everyone feels fear, worry, and apprehension from time to time, but when these feelings prevent a person from doing what he/she wants and/or needs to do, anxiety becomes a disability. This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety.

  • Number Six Dream, have Unstoppable Students! Unique ideas to pass on, thru this enjoyable book!

unstoppable-me-app1In Unstoppable Me! Dr. Dyer teaches children how to hold on to the no-limit thinking he believes they were born with, rather than just trying to “fit in.” In doing so, they can learn to truly enjoy life and become unstoppable as they strive to attain their dreams.The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life!

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Students of any age need constant, stimulating info to start the good blah-blah-blah, I hope my school premises are echoing this blah-blah-blah, in the near future! Till next Rock Post, have fun reading a new book, outdoors, surrounded by nature’s whisper!

My poem for the#50 precious words writing challenge!

March 2nd was the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The incredible Vivian Kirkfield, a great contributor to the writing community, has the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge running for the 2nd year. The challenge has to do with writing a complete story using just 50 words.

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#50PreciousWords was inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, which only contains 50 unique words!  To find out more about this fun contest, check out Vivian Kirkfield’s website,  https://viviankirkfield.com/  and follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #50PreciousWords. There are Super WOW prizes for the participants 21 winners…21 prizes…1st place takes whichever prize she/he wants, then 2nd place gets to pick, and so on.Don’t miss the chance to participate and share the news with other writers in doing so! Thank you, Vivian, you are such a motivator, inspiring writers to challenge themselves! Yiassou!

 My entry was inspired by springtime and the colorful hats my students wear!

A striped fuschia hat!

Once it flew on a sycamore leaf,

The cool breeze sent it to a field,

A bunch of hens was after it.

A swallow grabbed it,

Now, on the almond tree,

The hat speaks of its travels,

”Come with me! There’re so many places to see!”

Leah Henderson on her debut middle-grade novel ”One Shadow on the Wall.”

I had the pleasure to meet Leah Henderson at the WOW Retreat in Atlanta, July 2016. Once I heard the good news of her debut middle-grade novel coming out, I could do nothing more than spreading the word.  Leah has always loved stories—short ones, long ones, sad ones, funny ones, and all those in between. When she is not frantically scribbling down the adventures of the characters jabbering in her head, she is off on her own adventures. Traipsing around the globe, venturing down meandering paths, soaking up the vibrancy of tantalizing souks and making lasting friendships. Many of the hopes, struggles, and traditions she witnesses on her travels find a home in her stories and color her and her characters’ lives.Enjoy the interview with Leah and get inspired for writing more exciting stories that speak to the heart!

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  • When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I have always loved stories, but actually writing them and wanting to create them FOREVER didn’t happen until I got older. I truly didn’t understand this bug until right after college. Up until then, I’d enjoyed creating adventures across the page, but I also loved so many other things (soccer, crew, photography, travel, design) that it was just another fun thing I loved filling my time with.

  • What inspired you to write? 

Besides the stories that banged around in my head demanding to be let out? Probably my amazingly supportive dad. He encouraged me to explore stories about preconscious black boys like him because he didn’t see enough of them to share with sons of friends and family.

  • Tell us about your journey in becoming a writer?  

 So, as I said before, I have always loved writing and telling stories, but I didn’t truly start to take it seriously until an idea for a novel filled my head. Before that, it was basically short stories and just snippets of scenes. And with that longer idea, I dove in head first to write this light-hearted story set in an Italian nightclub.

I surprised myself by waking early to write and by turning down outings with friends to spend time with my characters instead, who were by that point friends too. Once I finished, although my friends cheered me on, I realized I craved feedback from people who understood the craft of writing. I had always loved school and thought long and hard about going back for an MFA. So I did, and from that moment, I have never looked back. Every part of me is happy when I write, and hopefully, I will be blessed to continue doing it for a long, long time.

  • What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in writing ‘One Shadow on the Wall’?

Believing in myself, and that I would be able to tell this story with care.

 

  • Why is it important for school children to familiarize with books on Diversity?

 We live in a diverse world, and for children not to see that represented in books, movies, tv, and in so many other things gives a false sense of the communities we live in or that are around us. Learning about other cultures and people not only fosters empathy, it also expands a child’s worldview helping to make them more compassionate and fully rounded people.

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”St. Louis, Senegal, here is a photo of the boy who would inspire Mor’s story.”

  • What challenges do PB & MG writers face (that those writing for adults might not experience)?

 Writing for children is EXTREMELY hard and comes with a great level of responsibility to get stories right. Making sure they are accurate in every way possible because many times, these books might be the first encounter some of its readers have with a particular experience. Adult writers rarely have to worry about the impact of possibly helping to inform and shape a young mind.

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”I went back and asked if I could take his photo. He wanted to stand—tall.”

  • What’s one thing that you hope young readers take away from your book?

 First of all, I want them to find a friend in my characters, but I also want them to come away understanding that although people maybe different in various ways whether it be geographically, socially, or ethnically, we all laugh and we all cry. We each know what it is like to try and make a new friend, or to lose one, wanting to fit in, or fearing being excluded. These are the things that bring us together, and I hope young readers realize this and are comforted by it when reading my books.

Thanks so much for having me, Agatha, I really enjoyed this!

 

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One Shadow on the Wall will be published June 6th with Atheneum/Simon & Schuster and is currently available to pre-order. In the meantime, you can find Leah on Twitter @LeahsMark or on her website: leahhendersonbooks.com.

Let’s Celebrate!Read Aloud Day!

That’s the first year I participate in the Read Aloud Day with students of Junior A&B classes here at my school where I teach English and French. We are going to have drawings, pantomime and make our own little scrapbooks using a sentence my students like so as to build their own story.

World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe!

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Don’t miss the chance to Read Aloud. Change the World.Every year World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.

World Read Aloud Day is a time to celebrate the extraordinary power of reading and sharing stories aloud to create community between readers.

A read aloud over video chat with an author or illustrator can add magic and delight to World Read Aloud Day. We have created more easy ways for educators and community leaders to schedule video chat read alouds with one another and with published authors.

Check the link here for more info: http://www.litworld.org/wrad/

Enjoy the day and have fun while sharing hope and your Love for Books!

Enjoy the day and this beautiful Picture Book for free, by LitWorld, under the title”New Day, New Friends.”

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Have fun while sharing hope and your Love for Books!

“Nowhere Girl” Review for Multicultural Children’s Day!

I joined the Multicultural Children’s Day last year for the first time and I really got a blast by the enormity of the supporters and the Diversity of books presented. This year I am both Thrilled and Honored because I am reviewing  a Literary Agent’s  beautiful Middle-Grade novel under the title “Nowhere Girl”  written by  Ammi-Joan Paquette (www.ajpaquette.com.) Once seeing the wonderfully illustrated cover the girl’s (Luchi-Ann’s)  eyes captured my attention and I traveled to exotic Thailand!
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ABOUT THE BOOK:

“Nowhere Girl” is a middle-grade novel whose 13-year-old narrator, Luchi -Ann, is  American but raised in a women’s Thai prison. She keeps her mother’s memory alive in her heart during perilous moments, thinking of her, functions as a safeguard. Soon after her mother’s death, Luchi-Ann, having a limited knowledge of how the real world is outside the prison’s walls, starts a journey to discover two unknown worlds that of Thailand’s and of her final destination’s, America. Her blond hair and skin color make her a foreigner “a farang”, not being able to have a sense of belonging somewhere. Luchi-Ann demonstrates her respect for Thai cultural elements and explores the exotic surroundings of Bangkok while the plot evolves step by step following her on that  Odyssey. Luchi -Ann is overwhelmed by her journey’s experiences and the secrets they unravel, having her adventurous spirit to be interweaved with emotion, mystery and inner strength. “Nowhere Girl” is an appealing story of a girl’s self-discovery and determination to overcome the shadows of the past thru forgiveness, keeping sacred memories alive! Luchi-Ann’s story is a unique one to be read, offering the chance to students to encapsulate Thailand’s atmosphere and enjoy the vivid colors of a lyrical description.

 OUR CLASS DISCUSSION: 

My Teen students, both girls, and boys were curious to know more about the book, especially thinking of a recent story of a 16-year-old who managed to travel from Thessaloniki area, in Northen Greece to Europe having the police authorities wondering how on earth did this happen. Any determined Teen can travel around the globe either for adventure reasons or as being the only choice to realize a dream. In our class discussions, girls were more eager to follow Luchi-Ann’s steps than boys who analyzed the risks and thought such an endeavor would be hopeless. Then we often hear on the news about the children who are brought up in prisons, since their mothers choose to take them there. This fact gave us the chance in class to discuss and have assignments regarding children’s psychological impact and its influence in their later life. Various questions related to children’s imitation patterns following adults’ behavior fueled a series of discussions and essays.

THAI CULTURAL INFO TO INCORPORATE:

GAMES:

E-Gar-Fuk Khai– In some American schools, the game cat and mouse is commonly played. In this game, a circle is drawn and rocks (cheese) are put in the middle of the circle, while one child (cat) guards it. The object is for all of the other kids playing (mice) to take the cheese without the child guarding it (child in the circle) touching them. In Thailand, it is called Crow Sits on the Eggs.

Ling Ching Luk– Another popular children’s game of Thailand, is called Monkey’s Run for a Pole. In this game, one child stands in the middle of every other child that will be holding on to a pole. The one child in the middle, will not be holding on to a pole. That middle child is the monkey. The players will be given a signal by an adult, to run to another teammates pole, in an attempt to switch positions. At that time, the monkey, or the middle child without a pole will try and touch a pole before another opponent does. The child without a pole is the new monkey.

Tang Te– a popular activity in Thailand among kids in kindergarten and first grade. In America, this game is also known as hop scotch. For this game, the ground is drawn on using chalk, numbering squares up to ten. The children must try to hop into every square without stepping out.

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Picture of “THAI FLOATING MARKET.”

FURTHER INFO FOR THAILAND : “LAND OF SMILES!”

 

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

More about Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Current MCBD Sponsors

MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, <arel=”nofollow” href=”http://audreypress.com/”>Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

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Author sponsors include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to Remember

MCBD Site

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents

Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for the official hashtag, #ReadYourWorld.

 

Small moments with a great impact!

Snow here, snow there, snow everywhere! This snowy month I enjoyed snow more than ever before and what I asked for was fireflies in the snow! I know that’s a crazy idea and what would be crazier If I had seen some of them! I got curious to start searching while writing the post but I am so busy checking on what scientists declare on the matter or what people have experienced. What makes life different is the means we use to make it brighter, minute by minute. Challenges and deadlines don’t leave us a spare moment to ponder about what makes life so challenging itself.

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Today some of my students were experiencing for once more the shock of having a test. Especially one of them, Panos was even afraid to call his mom and tell her the torture(meaning the test) was officially over! Watching him how stressed he felt I reminded him how FEAR can only generate false ideas of what reality is; that any kind of test shouldn’t be for him the end of the world, as speaking for today’s lesson, the end of a beautiful but rainy day!I am not a scientist, but  I dare to say that overanalysis takes place in a kid’s mind more than ten times a day! I watch my students being so deep in thoughts for trivial or really important issues that I do wonder how difficult seems to them to be joyful and enjoy life. I have set a goal of reading to them excerpts from popular books or those they love. I think they must learn to separate anxiety, sudden fear from the pleasure to have fun.

 

Once starting my list on reading aloud books I spotted a funny and enticing book to have fun in class and offer the chance to my students to let their mind travel, by reading the first two words I got in action right away:

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Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee, 

Clickity, clackity.
Clickity, clackity.
The roller coaster car is going up, up, up to the highest spot. And at least one of the people in the car has never ridden on a roller coaster before . . . ever. Wheeeeeeee!
Get ready to experience the thrill of riding a coaster for the very first time in this vibrant new adventure.

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Samantha on a Roll, by Linda Ashman

 Samantha can’t wait to try out her new roller skates, but Mama’s too busy too help her. What’s a girl to do? Well, this girl isn’t waiting. While Mama tends to other things, Sammy straps on the skates. First, she glides down the hallway. Then she tries the sidewalk. Next, she ventures a bit farther down the street. She’s doing great! But when she finds herself cresting Hawthorn Hill, it’s too late to stop– Samantha is on a roll!

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My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives by Jamie Lee Curtis.

This beautiful book celebrates the extraordinary, everyday bravery of trying new things for the very first time. Whether Frankie’s learning to ride a bike, love her first dog, make new friends (her very first twins), or help out her dad, she discovers that trying new things is how she grows—and that being brave enough to do so is what growing up is all about.

Little things can be enjoyable only if we try to think of them as the only way to avoid monotony or boredom, Have fun, be smiley till next Rock Post and remember that what it counts is:

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It’s the Light of Kindness Shining a Happy 2017!

I have always believed in the magic of Kindness and the random acts that follow. Last year 2016 was a Phenomenal year for me from many  aspects, and included loads of goodness. I have to say a huge Thank you to  Beth Anderson, the last person to talk to half an hour before the New Year came in Greece! There are so many people who left their trace on my heart and life this past year here in Greece and  USA writers  meeting them online or in person in the July WOW Retreat in Atlanta. These people are the SUNSHINE in my life and changed my way of thinking regarding writing and life in general. My students are included, they all are part of my writing journey because they worry about working so many hours, that makes caring a real challenge for me . I owe to my students. I admit I have a blast for some of them, they continue to inspire me and their positivity is the force that enhances my productivity.

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I am Thankful for having  participated in great writing courses and contests, I got valuable info and encouragement to promote my manuscripts to the next level, thru the help of generous, benevolent, writers. If I was asked what I have to recall for being the most important thing for 2016, well that would be the moment when writers bought and sent to me precious children’s books as a present. THANK you my beloved friend and extended family memebers Amalia Balch and you  Adam Balch, from Arizona, for choosing  beautiful books for me, I am lucky, grateful  for having certain people’s  friendship and understanding, since  we share the same  LOVE  for books. Special Gratitude to Patricia Miller, Sharon Lee Cassano-Lochman, and Dee Engle for being the book fairies for me! Whooaha! 

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Thank you my friends, you  are there for me, on Facebook or send emails when I stay sleepless and you offer valuable help and encouragement!

Going back in 2016:

  • November 1-30: I participated in the Online International Writing Program offered by the University of IOWA,    How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. So many writers from all over the world,group discussions and a vast number of texts and stories to be studied. 
  • July 18-july 22: I attended Kristen Fulton’s WOW RETREAT,  especially for  non-fiction, in Helen, Georgia -Atlanta; meeting extraordinary people, writers, editors, agents; this WOW spread Love, Peace and  Joy!
  • July: I joined the Online, Kidlit Summer School 2016: Heart and Humor spread by  authors who are smart, inspirational, and generous. They graciously shared their time and their knowledge. 
  • July 4: I had my 500 words of a MG story critiqued, as  apart of a webinar participation,  by a well-known Editor, she encouraged me continue writing it and  provided great suggestions!
  • July 6: THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN !!! I was so lucky to win a partial edit for my first 30 pages of a modern Romance with the Incredible Deborah Halverson, check on her site: http://deareditor.com/ .My Romance takes place in Scotland, don’t ask me who is to blame, Jamie Fraser is the culprit!!!
  • June4-May 9: “The Craft and Business of writing  Children’s Picture Books” with Dr. Mira Reisberg , Editor Kelly Delaney, I got so much help by Mira the Guru of Children’s books. I am grateful to both Mira Reisberg and  my Greek friend and writer Jenny Koutsodimitropoulos for urging me to participate because:
    Writing is absolutely CRAFT which means that it comprises the following:
    Creativity
    Responsibility
    Amusement
    Felicity &
    Thrill
  • Mayday was a great day since I was the winner of Maritza Mejia’s Poetry collection,  “Poems, Thoughts and More” Award-winning VCBA Poetry 2015!
  • MAY 1-7: I participated for the first time in 7 PICTURE BOOKS IN SEVEN DAYS, hosted by children’s book author PAULA YOO. Don’t miss NaPiBoWriWee this year! I got thrilled!!!
  • April 2: I interviewed Maritza M. Mejia, on my blog on   Friday’s Rock Post!  Read about her writing path thru Poetry,wonderful people always find ways to touch our hearts!
  • April 1-30: Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic! Great encouragement by the formed critique group, beautiful people to meet, Melissa Stoller, Rowena Rae, Sandy Brown Lowe.
  • April 1-30: Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo challenge(what an experience!) RhyPiBoMo challenge, my students of A,B Junior classes participated with drawings, we had a lot of readings of many books plus I worked on new rhyming stories.
  • March 1-31:The ReFoReMo Challenge, was developed to help picture book writers reform writing by reading and researching picture books. THANK YOU Carrie Charley Brown, you are fantastic! I got new friends and now I have so strong relationships with them! The Facebook group is so supportive!
  •  March  10: I contributed to the 50 Precious Words writing contest  as a part of celebrating Theodore Geisel’s birthday better known as Dr. Seuss. That was Vivian  Kirkfield’s  superb idea,  https://viviankirkfield.com/2016/03/04/ppbf-brave-girl-plus-50-precious-words-contest/. I feel so blessed for knowing Vivian, our paths crossed the right moment. 
  • March 10: BEING OVER THE MOON!!! I was chosen to be interviewed about my e-book “Amelie Gets Busy”, my beloved yiayia, and  the Greek Reality that every Greek citizen experiences the last years; by   Jonathan Kemmerer-Scovner and  PictureBooksReview, interview included the Conversations with Storytellers series! http://www.picturebooksreview.com/search/label/Agatha%20Rodi.
  • February 11: I contributed to Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing contest on  Valen-tiny writing Contest.
  • February 9: Being  interviewed by Author Maritza M  Mejia  as part of her January 2016 LuzDelMes Spotlight interview.  Gracias para todo, Maritza!
  • January 10: I reviewed Vanilla and Chocolate written by Maritza Martinez Mejia and illustrated by Estella Mejia, as part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD)  which fell on January 27, 2016
  • January 4-31: Nonfiction Archaeology class January 2016, hosted by the unique Kristen Fulton, a four week class to dig deeper and discover nonfiction.THANK YOU FABULOUS KRISTEN, you simply Rock!
  • January 2:My e-book :” Amelie Gets Busy” was reviewed by Picture Book Review,http://www.picturebooksreview.com/2016/01/amelie-gets-busy-2015.html . “Amelie” was happy all year round!

Thank you for the Cheer and Care my friends, you made a big difference in my life! Being my first Rock Post for 2017, I wish to all of you Joy, Laughter and remember the Beauty of Life is to meet the challenges that puts us fate and be happy with the people who Love us!

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