My writing PLN (professional Learning Network) pretty much revolves around blogs and the authors who share their insights and advice through the online blogs. When I have a question, I often go there first, before digging through my shelves of self-help writing books. Along the way, I’ve read many of their books. Here, I want to share those that I’ve particularly enjoy and think you might too.
- The Piper Morgan Series–addresses issues youngsters are curious about, told in first person, through the eyes of delightful Piper Morgan
- The Curse of Troy–Helen of Troy’s story, in her own words, as relayed to a roving historian
- The Sorcerer’s Garden is a clever mix of reality and fantasy, made even more relevant by the author’s insights into motivations and desire.
by Stephanie Faris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love this book as well as the entire Piper Morgan series. Written for young readers and told in first person through the eyes of the pugnacious curious Piper Morgan, Stephanie Faris successfully discusses topics kids are curious about in a way that makes them want to listen. Our youngest readers have the opportunity to face issues and resolve them as though they were there, part of the adventure. Each story includes fun drawings that add depth and detail to the story.
This is highly recommended for parents, elementary school librarians, and primary school teachers.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Curse of Troy, Luciana Cavallaro’s 2nd in the Accursed Women series (Mythos Publications 2013) is Helen of Troy’s narrative account of her life as told to a traveling historian, setting the record straight between the reality of what she lived vs. the fiction put out for mostly political and power reasons. It is a timeline of events from Helen’s budding womanhood to her ascension to the throne, told as Helen might talk to a friend. At thirty-nine pages, it’s more a long story, so I was able to finish it in one sitting, absorbing the culture, smells, and drama of the era without interference from my 21st-century life. By the time I turned the last page, I felt like I knew Helen, like we were friends, sharing secrets. I don’t think I’ll ever again think of her as that untouchable creature, aloof to life.
If you are a fan of Steven Pressfield’s epic tale of the Battle of Thermopylae, The Gates of Fire, you’ll enjoy this story. They’re similar, well, except for the fact that Helen’s The Curse of Troy is shorter, less violent, and focused only on Helen.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Two brothers, Cody and Dustin, volunteer to save their people by slaying a dragon who lives in a far cave. Their weapons: a sword and a crossbow. Their plan: basically outsmart the creature. But that’s only part of the story. Things are not always as they seem. With a clever twist, Peach blends the fantasy story of a writer into his real life world and takes readers on an amazing adventure. Along the way, the author shows remarkable insight into the human condition, an understanding of who we are and why. Read this:
“Some believe in chaos, dear, that the details of life are utterly random, without a grand cosmic plan. Others, with whom I agree, believe that, over time, chaos can’t help but fall into a cohesive pattern. The universe isn’t arbitrary; it is, in fact, sublimely precise.”..
“Actually, I’m nobody; a bit of a loser, in truth. I can’t keep a job or a relationship beyond a few years, unless you count my cat. At twenty-eight, I still live with my mother. I own nothing, drive a junk car. I found another gray hair.” She sighed. “I would love to be your princess if I could, really, but I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Besides being a gifted storyteller, Peach is a wordsmith without compare. Her ability to string sentences and phrases together to create a mental picture is addictive. Consider these:
That humankind had rent the world and unleashed a potent evil upon the land, there remained little doubt. They’d all seen the omens in the quivering earth, spoilt waterways, and failed crops.
And the touch of humor that infuses the story is a perfect way to keep everyone reading. Excellent story. Well recommended for fantasy lovers everywhere.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for Summer, 2017. Click to follow its progress.