A Very Special Guest Post: The 9 Year Old's NaNoWriMo Story

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my daughter. Part of her 4th grade homeschool curriculum this year included taking part in National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo), a challenge that typically runs throughout the month of November, to encourage writers to write each day with the goal of completing a novel by the end of the month. 

For our challenge, we started a little early (mid-Oct), and set a word count goal of 2500 to 4000. She nailed it, y'all! Her story has a plot, action, adventure, some tension - all the things. I could gush for pages and pages about all the work she put in, overcoming challenges (including a lot of "I don't want to finish" days), and her creativity, but I'll let the story - her first finished 2500 word book - speak for itself.

P.S. Love you, babe. - one proud mama

100 Cats

by Grayson M

Chapter One: The Bad Beginning 

It was a stormy day outside. I was immensely bored. I was in school doing algebra. 

Please ring, I thought looking at a poster that said Learning is fun! (with a teacher that had a creepy smile on it).



Stacy and I walk home together every day. Stacy's my best friend. She's from Miami. She has blond hair, white skin and loves beach volleyball! I wish I were born in Miami! I have brown hair, hazel eyes and I was born in texas.

“Do you want to come to my place?” I asked. 

“You want to come to my place instead?” Stacy asked. I thought about it, and decided that was a good idea. 

Stacy was so excited. “Yay! My mom made cookies,” she said. Now it was my turn to say yay (and yum)! 

We walked up to Stacy's house and rang the doorbell, jumped into a bush and waited. When Stacy's mom opened the door we jumped out and booed her. 

“Boo to you, too,” Stacy's mom said. “Want a cookie?” 

“Yes, please,” we said at the same time. 

“Jinx!” we both said at the same time again.

A Halloween for the Books (2021 update)

Do you need a Halloween costume idea? 

Perhaps a book-themed Halloween costume? 

One that's perfect for school literacy costume days, too? 

I've got you covered!  

These are absolutely, positively, without a doubt one of my FAVORITE posts of the year to come up with.  If you are curious (or if you want more ideas), you can see costume ideas from previous years HERE

2021, Part 1, HERE WE GO! (FYI: In a bit of a coo*, not one, but TWO books by Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox are featured)

*see what I did there?

DON'T FEED THE COOS! by Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox

Jacket + Scarf + Glasses + COOS!

LLAMA DESTROYS THE WORLD by Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox

Llama Hat + Dancing Pants + CAKE + The World

*this one works especially well if you own dogs since two of the props are dog toys :)

ROCKET SAYS LOOK UP! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola

(also based on the amazing Mae Jemison!)

Astronaut Costume + Glasses + Star Earrings

STEGOTHESAURUS by Bridget Heos and T.L. McBeth

Dinosaur Costume + Bowtie + Thesaurus

Want more? Stay tuned for Part Two, coming soon!

Happy reading!

Back to School Emotions, Part 2


The year of change and challenges, disappointments, loss, and grief. And murder hornets. 

With many kids starting school virtually, and so many others starting school in what looks like an alien landscape (lunches in classrooms, plexi divider walls, masks and shields and googles, oh my), the normal big emotions of a new school year are going to be unexpected but understood, different but familiar. 

My list of back-to-school books is also much different from my norm (a little older, a little quieter), but may come in handy as we navigate the surreal landscape we find ourselves in right now. 

The Empty Pot (Demi, 1990)

Takeaways: bravery, doing the right thing, deceit/dishonesty, hard work

From the publisher: 

When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild (Mem Fox and Marla Frazee, 2000)

Takeaways: owning your mistakes, losing your temper (not just kids!)

From the publisher: 

Harriet Harris doesn't mean to be pesky. Sometimes she just is. And her mother doesn't mean to lose her temper. Sometimes she just does. 

Who Wet My Pants (Bob Shea and Zachariah OHora, 2018)

Takeaways: lying, embarrassment, blame, compassion

From the publisher: 

In this hilarious tale of blame, compassion, and forgiveness, a very embarrassed bear is reminded that accidents can happen--but with the support of good friends, life goes on.

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! (Scott Magoon, 2013)

Takeaways: lying (modern day Boy Who Cried Wolf), disappointment

From the publisher:

This clever twist on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is told from the point of view of an unexpected narrator and, through snappy text and lighthearted illustrations, demonstrates the value of telling the truth, the importance of establishing trust, and (of course!) the possibility that a beast you created to get attention can become a real-life friend.

When You Need Wings (Lita Judge, 2020)

Takeaways: courage, confidence, imagination

From the publisher:

In the tradition of Where the Wild Things Are, beloved author-illustrator Lita Judge brings us a soaring story about the power of imagination.

On a day when you feel
like no one is listening,
and you wish you could just disappear,
shut your eyes and listen.
Do you hear it?
That isn’t your heart.
That is the sound of your very own wings
beating within.

(And for extra suggestions, last year's list can be found here.)

The Truth About Magic (or, Rhinoceroses, Chewing Gum and Soap)

3 Word Challenge: Unicorn, Bubbles, Rainbow
Challenge words selected by Maimie P.

They say that true magic
exists only in-between –
the places between worlds,
the places rarely seen.

When one audacious fairy
dared to question truth,
the others wrote her off,
blaming innocence and youth.

But Fē knew for certain
magic always finds a way,
to live in the “real world,”
to blossom every day.

She made a list of wonders
that magic surely made,