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You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 30, 2012

12x12x12 Halfway There!!!!! Party!!!!

Yes, we are midway through the year and I have a few stories that I really like. A few that needs a LOT of help and a few more still rattling around in my brain waiting to get a chance to shine. Problem is, I'm having a hard time finding the time to sit down and let them out :(  But I'm not going to let that stop me from participating in Julie Hedlund's wonderful challenge of creating 12 stories in 12 months this year of 2012! 

Time may be making it hard to keep up with my monthly manuscript, missed the month of May :( but it has not all been bad! 

The time that I have had has been well worth it. :D :D :D My eleven year old niece has taken an interest in writing! :D Her mother said she was inspired from watching me always sitting at the computer typing away on my stories that she decided to sit down and write her own! I'm so excited. I want to keep her enthusiastic about writing. I am thinking of helping her start a story blog to encourage her to keep writing.

So yes, I will keep on keeping on. I will FIND time to sit at my computer or in a chair with a pen in hand and write, write, write. And if there is nothing excitingly creative going on up stairs, I will edit, edit, edit until inspiration comes knocking on my door :D and I will continue to encourage my niece to keep writing too :D

Anybody up for cake? :D :D :D :D

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Buzz: A different kind of alphabet book!

Title: Allah to Z

Author: Sam'n Iqbal

Illustrator: Lina Safar

Publisher: Broyhill Publication LLC; June 1, 2012

Theme: Islam, Muslim, Alphabets

Age: 3 and up

A is for Allah, the Most Gracious One.
Allah made the earth, the moon and the sun.
The birds and the bees, the wind in the trees.
Allah created for you and me.

Book Summary:
From Allah to Zakat, children of all faiths will delight in these 26 rhymes that introduce Islam in a fun, contemporary way. Coupled with bright illustrations from award-winning artist Lina Safar, each page will capture kids’ attention and open a window into Muslim culture and history.

Visit the author website for a variety of coloring pages to download and color.

Why I like this book:
This was a really nice alphabet book! The first of its kind to be honest that I have read. As a teacher, I read many different alphabet books that have a range of themes (animals, objects, food, etc) but this one is unique to Islamic culture. The illustrations are fun, warm and whimsical. It is definitely a must have in any Muslim child's home library. More importantly, it can even be used in a non-Muslim setting be it home, library or school to help introduce the meaning of a variety of Islamic vocabulary to children and adults from different backgrounds. I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Cause Worth Reading For!

Hey wonderful friends! Here is a cause worth reading for! Heather McCorkle, author of The Secret of Spruce Knolls, Channeler's Choice, Born of Fire and the newly released, To Ride a Puca has a wonderful giveaway going on! Stop by her blog to check it out AND it is for a wonderful cause........ Here's a little bit of info about her current causes from her blog. :D

The Channeler's Cause is my pledge to improve the world through donations to a fabulous charity that does everything within their power to make the world a better place. From helping endangered species, campaigning to save wild horses, to cleaning up oil spills, working toward renewable energy and educating people about recycling, this foundation does it all. I'm waiting on approval to tell you more details about the foundation and who they are, but hopefully I will get to soon.

The big news is, The Secret of Spruce Knoll is no longer the only book that will be helping this foundation. My entire channeler series (The Secret of Spruce Knoll,Channeler's Choice, and Rise of a Rector) will be donating to the cause. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each of those novels, in every format, will be donated quarterly to the foundation. Any time you buy a book in the channeler series you will be helping to make the world a better place. Together you and I will make a difference.

Cause #2:

This winter Compass Press is releasing an anthology calledWinter Wonders. It will be packed full of stories from fantastic authors. ALL profits will go directly toward a great charity that teaches teens the importance of reading and offers them a chance to win a free college education. What an amazing gift the anthology will make this holiday season!

Contributing authors include:Anne RileyHeather McCorkle,Alexandra ShostakChristine FonsecaC.M. KellerCrystal HarrisElle StraussHarley May,Jamey StegmaierJen Stayrook,Jessica NaccariJodi Burrus,Judith GravesKaren Amanda HooperKrissi DallasMercedes YardleyNatalie ConeRegan LeighSusan Kaye QuinnTina MossTS Tate, and Yelena Casale.

To add it to your Goodreads lists click here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Hind's Hands A Story About Autism

Title: Hind’s Hands A Story About Autism
Author: Umm Juwayriyah and Juwayriyah Ayed
Illustrator: Emma Apple
Publisher: Muslim Writers Publishing; April 3, 2012
Suitable for: 4 and up
Themes/Topics: Autism, Siblings,  Coping Skills, Disabilities: Autism
As salamu alykum! My name is Juwayriyah and I am nine years old. I have a little sister named Hind! She's almost five and boy, is she something else.
Book Summary:
Hind’s Hands is a story told by a big sister who learns coping skills to befriend and lead her autistic younger sister. "You see, my sister Hind has Autism. And I know that sounds like a really big word, but it's not. Autism just means that Allah made her to learn and act and think differently than other kids her age." In the story Hind's Hands, big sister Juwayriyah learns just how special her younger sister is, despite the challenging behaviors that she often has to deal with. Author Umm Juwayriyah collaborates with her oldest daughter, Juwayriyah Ayed on this book to help spread awareness about Autism.
Links to resources:
I could not find any resources from the author’s site but here are some links for more information about autism. What is Autism? Here are ten facts about autism. KidsHealth is a wonderful site that explains Autism to children using simple language and facts. Autism Speaks is another site with great resources for people with autism including apps. Home-schooling has many activities including a word search, coloring pages one & two, vocabulary, crossword puzzle, fill in the blank Q&A, bookmarks and more.  
Why I like this book:
What I really like about this book is that while it gives some general information about autism it does not generalize autism. You can't generalize autism. How one child or person with autism behaves is different than how another may. Yes, there are some characteristics that they all share, but they are just as much individuals as the rest of us. My oldest brother has autism and while he also has many characteristics as Hind, he is also very much different and his technique of calming himself is different. This is a VERY sweet tale about a sibling and how she learns to deal with her younger sibling with a disability. I commend the authors for sharing their story of love, patience, family and autism.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: Divergent Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Divergent was a really good read! I would have given it a five but like Tris, I am a 'stiff' :D but honestly, I don't like romance in my novel especially the ones that are packed with action! Divergent is full of it! It sort of reminded me of the hunger games in its mood, the way the kids were forced to fight each other in the Dauntless faction. But it wasn't too gory (I also have a weak stomach!) I think the author could have done better with the transition of Tris from soft to hard. She always knew that she was not selfless like the rest of her family but I never saw her act any different from her family not to mention how fast she fell for Four. The author did really good job with keeping the pace of the story. I was floored by the ending!!!!!! I wont say anything so as not to ruin it for anyone else but I was not expecting some of the events that happened.

My favorite characters include

Tris's mom Tris Christina Four Uriah

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop 6/20-6/26

Welcome to the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop June 20th to 26th Hosted by I am a reader, not a writer & Co-hosted by Uniquely Moi Books

 I am giving away one ten dollar e-gift card from Amazon or one of these Clive Cussler books. Rules? Be a blog/twitter/follower and reside in the US:) Please indicate in the comment form how you follow me and which book or prize you wish to win and a way I can contact you. :)




As always this is a blog hop so hop along see what fun things you will find :D

Winners of Indie Authors Giveaway Hop

I would like to announce the winners of the Indie Authors Giveaway Hop

winner of Hind's Hands a story about Autism by Umm Juwayriyah: Marybelle

winner of To Ride a Puca by Heather McCorkle: Rhonda1111


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Color of Us

Title: The Color of Us

Author: Karen Katz

Illustrator: Karen Katz

Publisher: Owlet Paperbacks; October 1, 2002

Suitable for: 4 and up

Themes/Topics: Multiculturalism, Diversity awareness, Acceptance

Opening: My name is Lena, and I am the seven I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she can eat me up.

Book Summary: Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.

Links to resources: 

Author Activity
Extended activities
Before and After activities from Teach Peace Now
Lesson on Diversity: Similarities and Differences

Why I like this book: 

This book is a “magically delicious” tale that celebrates diversity in our homes and communities. I love how the author uses tasty and yummy comparisons to showcase the variety of tones and hues of our skin like 'creamy peanut butter' 'cinnamon' and 'chocolate'. This book is great not just for biracial or children of color but every child will love the bold illustrations as they follow Lena as she moves about her community.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Indie Author Giveaway Hop 6/13 - 6/19

This giveaway is part of the Indie Author Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Krazy Book Lady! There are a lot of great blogs participating in this hop. After you enter here, hop over and enter their giveaways too.

Indie authors stands for independantly published (self-published) or published by a small press or publishing company. There are so many wonderful indie authors I would love to introduce you to!

My giveaway is simple, you must be a blog or twitter follower to be eligle to enter the giveaway. :) That's it :)

I am featuring four authors and giving a way two books: one picture book and one YA. When entering, please say which one you would like to have if you win. There will be two winners. :)

Picture Books: Click on the pic to read more about the books and authors :)
Hind's Hands  

YA: Click on the pic to read more about the books and authors :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Title: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

Author: John Steptol

Illustrator: John Steptol

Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books; March 31, 1987

Suitable for: 3 and up

Themes/Topics: Folktale, Places & Culture: Africa, Honesty, Kindness, Good Character

A Long Time Ago, in a certain place in Africa, a small village lay across a fiver and half a day’s journey from a city where a great king lived. A man named Mufaro lived in this village with his two daughters, who were called Manyara and Nyasha. Everyone agreed that Manyara and Nyasha were very beautiful.

Book Summary:
Both of Mufaro's daughters are beautiful but one is bad tempered and one is kind. When the king of the land asks the daughters to appear before him so he can choose a queen, the prideful, bad tempered daughter decides to set out in the night so she can get there first. Along the path are many opportunities to show one's true character. The kind daughter who follows the same path the next day makes different decisions - with different results and a surprising ending!

Links to resources:
Create a story map 
Scholastic Lesson Plan 
Lesson Plan with before and after activities 
Discussion points at Learning to Give 
Why I like this book:
This is another book from my childhood. What stood out the most for me were the illustrations and how they captured the imagination and transported me to Mufaro’s village somewhere in Africa. Naturally, Nyasha was my favorite character; she was sweet and so pretty AND she got the king in the end! Who does not like happy endings!?!  :D

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Author Interveiw: Janette Grant: Sameerah's Hijab and The First Day of School

Welcome everyone to another 'Meet an Author' interview.  I would love to introduce you to author, Janette Grant and her book, Sameerah's Hijab and The First Day of School. Janette is also a blogger and writer for 
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Janette Grant and I am a revert to Islam. I converted to Islam in April of 1998 after having been a practicing born-again Christian.
What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
Tiki Tiki Tembo by Arlene Mosel. I think what I really loved most was the little song of Tiki Tiki Tembo’s full name from the book. As I got older I enjoyed reading Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
It was something that came naturally to me. I have always been very shy and find it easier to express myself through my writing.
What inspired you to write your book "Sameerah's Hijab and The First Day of School"?
My son was the inspiration behind Sameerah’s Hijab and the First Day of School and I had originally submitted the story to the publisher as a story about a little boy and wearing his kufi for the first day of school. When my son started school in kindergarten, we had to enroll him in a public school and he would come home and tell me how his classmates would ask him questions about his kufi and that some of his friends asked if I would make kufis for them. It was only after having discussions with the publisher that he suggested that the story may reach more readers if we changed the story to tell about a girl and her hijab on the first day of school.
Why do you feel this topic is important for any girl to read?
I feel this topic is important for the sake understanding one another and for exposing the shared values that many of us have in society. I also think that it is important for providing an accurate representation of Muslims and Islam for children and people living in the West who may not know anything about Islam and its practices.
What was the most difficult part of writing your story?
The most difficult part for me was keeping it short enough for a child to read but filled with enough information that would inform and entertain at the same time. It was most challenging to maintain the balance between sharing accurate knowledge and entertaining the reader within the page restrictions for content. There always seemed to be more that I could say or write concerning the topics addressed.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I hope that readers will take away an appreciation for the beauty of Islam and an open heart concerning Muslims and Islam; and especially for hijabis. Wearing the hijab is both an act of faith and an act of courage when living in a society where wearing the hijab is often thought of as foreign and I hope that this book will help others to be more compassionate towards girls and women who wear the hijab.
What has your publishing journey for this book like?
It has been very exciting and rewarding. Seeing my story in print lends a certain element authenticity to my efforts and it has been a very gratifying endeavor.
What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?
My most rewarding experience was receiving an email message from a sister who has a copy of the book and who has said that she reads it to her two daughters often and that they love it. It choked me up to read the email because that is one of the things that I had hoped for: that little Muslims could enjoy a story that was written essentially about them and for them and their peers.
Is there anything you wish you had known about the publishing industry before you became a published author?
No, not at this moment. I have been blessed to have had a very positive experience with the publisher of my book.
How do you deal with a bad review?
I take the criticism with meekness and try not to take it personally. Every bad review is a learning experience one way or another.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I work from home in the telecommunications industry and crochet in my free time. I also love to read and try to read regularly.
Are you working on a new book?
Yes, I am currently working on my first fiction book for adult readers. I hope to have it published sometime in the near future.
How can your book be used in the classroom?
My book can be used in the classroom in a social studies class to highlight diversity and to reveal information about Islam as well as showcasing how easy it is for children to get along when they understand one another.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
I would say to research the available books for your children first before committing to purchasing, only because there is so much of a wide variety of books. There are lots of resources available at local bookstores, public libraries and online to help in the selection of good and beneficial books for young minds.
Thank you so much Janette for joining us today and sharing your publishing journey with us. For more info about Janette and her book, check out the links below.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Splash into Summer Giveaway Winner!!!!

I am so sorry this is late getting out.......but..... I would like to say woohooo and congrats to the winner of the Splash into Summer Giveaway!!!!

And the Winner is................

!!!!!!!!! DeeDee Griffin !!!!!!

 Congratulations Dee Dee!  And Happy Reading!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Too Young for Yiddish

Title: Too Young for Yiddish

Author: Richard Michelson

Illustrator: Neil Waldman

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; February 1, 2002

Suitable for:  6 and up

Themes/Topics: People & Cultures: Jews, Language: Yiddish, Grandfather & Grandsons, Preserving heritage and language,

All afternoon, Aaron helped carry-or shlep, as his grandpa, Zayde, called it-boxes of books up the apartment-house staris.

Book Summary:
When Aaron is a small boy, his Grandpa, or Zayde, does not teach him Yiddish, but when Aaron becomes an adult he longs to learn the language and history of the Old Country from Zayde and his many books.

Links to resources:
The author provides a brief history of the Yiddish language and a glossary of words at the end of the book. These words can be turned into word searches, flash cards and more.

Why I like this book:
This is a great book that teaches the importance of preserving languages and cultures. I find many young people these days (myself included) do not speak their mother or father tongue (my dad’s language being Amharic). For whatever reason many parents and grandparents have for not passing on their history and language, I think in the end it does the youth a dis-service not knowing their past and the rich heritage, history, traditions and respect that comes with knowing the language of the “Old Country” whether that country is in Africa, Asia or Europe. Language is a part of knowing who you are and where you come from. I am happy that in the end, Aaron sees the importance and chooses to teach his son Yiddish while he is still young. While this book is in English, it is unique in its representation of the Yiddish language. It is bounded back to front the same way Yiddish books are printed. While it was not an uncommon experience for me, as the Qur’an, the Muslim’s holy book, is printed the same way, it was fun to read an English book printed in that format. 

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators