By Jennifer Buchet, Author
Hello, dear readers! A few days ago, I caught up with Little Medusa at the playground. She is starring in my upcoming debut picture book, LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork Publishing, 2020).
Here’s a snippet from our chat:
Jenny Buchet: Hi Little Medusa, it’s so nice to see you!
Little Medusa: *giggles* Ms. Jenny, you don’t have to hide in the treehouse ---I won’t turn you to stone! I’m not that kind of Gorgon.
JB: Sorry, habit when talking to your family. But you’re definitely one of a kind, Little Medusa.
LM: Sure am! Addie, say “hi” to Ms. Jenny.
JB: Hi pretty girl! But um, maybe she could slither somewhere else than right beside me, Little Medusa?
LM: *laughs* Come on Addie, let’s do the monkey bars!
*Several minutes pass by as we hang around*
JB: So Little Medusa, you had a little trouble when you first got Addie, didn’t you?
LM: A lot of trouble! Mama said I had to keep Addie on my head, but I don’t like it when she slides through my hair. It’s all itchy and stuff. And she tangles my hair up, too.
JB: No one likes knotty hair.
LM: Nope. But worse… well….you know what Gorgons can do once they have a snake, right?
JB: They can turn things to stone.
LM: *nods* But I don’t want to turn anyone to stone, especially my friends.
JB: Maybe it’s the blood rushing to my head, Little Medusa, but isn’t it traditional for Gorgons to keep snakes in their hair? And don’t you all enjoy turning folks to stone? I think our readers might be confused, too.
LM: Nope, not this Gorgon girl! I’m one of a kind, remember? Race you to the rocket ship!
JB: *panting* Wait…what…what do you do with Addie then? What does Mama say about all this? Our readers will want to know.
LM: I’m not telling! Your friends will just have to read the book, Ms. Jenny! Hey, wanna touch Addie?
JB: Um… to be honest, snakes give me the willies.
LM: Don’t worry, Addie won’t bite. Snakes won’t bite unless they’re scared or feel threatened.
JB: That’s good to know. I always leave wild snakes alone.
LM: You should! Here. Touch.
JB: Please don’t wave Addie under my nose—she’s slimy!
LM: No she’s not! She’s shiny and soft. Trust me. Touch her tail.
*A few minutes passed as I worked up the nerve to touch Addie*
JB: Wow, you’re right! Addie’s not slimy. She feels cool and soft, like silk.
JB: Your hissy kissies are tickling me, Addie! Hahaha!
LM: Ms. Jenny, can we please go swing now?
JB: Sure! Last one there is a rotten egg!
After our fun in the park, I gathered up my courage and donned a boa bonnet for an evening out with Little Medusa’s family. And I’m happy to report that no one stared me into stone.
LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA slithers onto bookshelves in late 2020. This humorous tale explores the universal theme of staying true to oneself and involves conflict with familial norms and traditions. The story also has several STEM connections to explore, including the fascinating origins behind the original Medusa tales and learning more about snakes.
Jennifer Buchet is an award-winning author and fantastically fun pre-kindergarten teacher. She's written everything from angst-filled diaries and fourth grade newspapers, to commercials and blogs. Yet her heart has always belonged to kid lit.
If you want to chat with Little Medusa or Ms. Jenny, you can reach them via:
Website launching soon!
By Malayna Evans
Two things inspired me to write Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh.
The first was my son, then nine, now sixteen (!), who asked me over lunch one day what ancient Egyptians looked like. When I told my beautiful, biracial son he’d fit in well, he told me someone should write a book about a kid who looked like him lost in ancient Egypt. I’d spent a huge chunk of my life earning a Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian history. So, you know, seemed like maybe that person should be me.
Which brings us to my second inspiration: ancient Egypt. I don’t work in the field, but my passion for ancient history has never dimmed. The roots of my interest lie in my middle grade years, and, specifically, my fascination with Sci Fi. Raised in small-town Utah, I think the genre attracted me in part because I loved the idea of goddesses. (Yeah, rebellion came early for me … and easily to me!)
Eventually, I earned M.A.s in Greek and Roman, and Mesopotamian and Egyptian, history, before deciding Egypt was my true love. That’s a lot of words to say that I just wanted to make learning about ancient Egypt fun for middle school aged kids. And yet, when I wrote my first draft, I loaded it up with pedantic historical details. I picked a good setting, one of the weirdest periods in the ancient world: the Amarna Period, when the Pharaoh Akhenaten tried to replace the traditional gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt with his favorite deity, the sun disc, Aten. But I ruined it with scholarly historical theories about genealogy and architecture and … bla, bla, bla … a bunch of boring stuff that I tediously wove into the story.
I should have known, right? No kid wants to read that. So after finishing one full draft, I tossed it out and started again. And this time, I tried to put Historian Malayna on the backburner, so Storyteller Malayna could lead. In lieu of arcane knowledge, I turned to magic and giant scorpions and flying amulets. I made the eldest princess of the Amarna period a Hermione-esque magician and turned the Aten into an evil god. I relied on my understanding of ancient history to craft bad guys, all of which would scare the pants off your average ancient Egyptian (well, if they wore pants, which they didn’t).
The solutions Jagger and crew turn to combine ancient magic and/or artifacts with modern technology and/or knowledge in weird and fantastical ways. (Who knew you could scare off killer crododiles with gum and a magic spell?) In other words, my second stab focused on the fun, the unexpected and the adventurous.
Since book one, Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh, came out in May, I’ve been busy with school visits and finding ways to share my passion for the past with educators and middle school ages readers. Writing an Educator’s guide was fun, but working up an escape room style classroom activity and scavenger hunt was even better!
If I’m honest, I’m hoping kids will enjoy Jagger’s adventure so much they won’t even notice all the history they’re picking up on the way. And, I hope there are kids out there who will see themselves in Jagger and his precocious little sister, Aria, and realize that they, like my protagonists, can accomplish amazing things, even when it all feels impossible.
By Author - Annette Schottenfeld
Obi is an adorable little rhino. His determination and silly antics earn him new friends and laughs from readers along his journey.
The story is based on an actual event with a happy ending.
Spoiler alert, Obi and his friends show off some dance moves. Readers can dance along with Obi and his friends.
OBI’S MUD BATH is partnering with a charity that supports worldwide water efforts, enabling more children to attend school and their families to have better living conditions.
The story has STEM connections and can be used to spark classroom lessons on topics such as taking care of our environment, the importance of access to clean water, animals living in Africa, and counting in other languages.
OBI’S MUD BATH is due to be released in 2020 (Clear Fork Publishing/Spork).
Follow Annette on Twitter @nettschott and Facebook @AnnetteSchottenfeldAuthor