Tag Archives: Kidlit

Rex’s Big Words

Wow! I have not done a Word of the Day story on here in months.

To you the reader, if you are not familiar with my Word of the Day posts, I take the word of the day entries from dictionary.com, Learners Dictionary or Merriam Webster  (I may use all or just one or two) and create a story for children which have to include the words I post below. I give myself one hour to write and edit the story before posting it. The reason behind only the one hour is to give writers the incentive to just write, as the hardest part of writing is getting started. My story will never be perfect when it is finished in this time frame, but it is not supposed to be and in this case, I went over by nine minutes to finish editing. Feel free to leave comments at the end. I hope you share this story with your child and spark a conversation or a writing project. Enjoy!

scapegrace – noun

[skeyp-greys]

  1.   a complete rogue or rascal; a habitually unscrupulous person; scamp.

 

kudos – noun

[koo-dohz, -dohs, -dos, kyoo-]
      1.   fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement : prestige
      2.   praise given for achievement
REX’S BIG WORDS

This story can be summed up with it’s end…

Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

But if you always read the end first, you miss the fun and excitement of the beginning and the middle and end up wondering what happened. Like, why would Rex be in a boxing ring? This is how it all started

“We are finished for the day. Thank you for coming in to help us set up the fundraiser. That scapegrace, Pinche, has a fight on her hands,” said Mr. Torres, owner of the Olympus Theater which was in danger of being condemned and torn down by the city.

Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I packed up our flyers, loaded our backpacks and met outside.

“We did good today,” I said.

“We did well,” Lottie corrected.

“We done did good,” Arnold snickered.

“Yup,” was all Rob said.

“Hey Rex, we need to divide up the town between us to hand out the flyers. Which section do you want?” Arnold asked.

“Makes the most sense to cover the areas around each of our schools, right? Grab as many people as you can to help distribute them.”

Lottie, Arnold, and Rob nodded in agreement.

“If you need more flyers, Mr. Torres said he would be at the Olympus tomorrow evening.”

Again, everyone nodded.

Rob hopped on his bike, Arnold took off walking and Lottie and I waited for our rides.

“See you all on Saturday,” I said.

Lottie waited until Rob and Arnold were out of sight.

“What happens if Mrs. Pinche gets her way?”

“We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I told her.

Our rides pulled up next to the curb.

“That scapegrace has no chance against us!” I said fist in the air.

“You and your big words Rex,” Lottie said rolling her eyes, playfully.

 

“Rebecca, your dinner is in the oven,” my Mom said the minute I walked in the door. She’s the only person I know who won’t use my nickname. Even my grandparents call me Rex.

“Thanks Mom. I have homework to do so I’ll eat it in my room,” I told her as she followed me into the kitchen.

“Good try Rebecca, you can eat at the counter or at the table but not in your room. What kind of homework?”

I fumbled with the hot pad and the plate of food in the oven.

“I have to write a one page paper about a local historical landmark or a place that should be saved and considered as one. I chose the Olympus Theatre.”

“That should be easy since you’ve been volunteering there for months now.”

“Hope so,” I said, mouth full of food.

 

Upstairs in my room, I gathered my resources. In my notebook, I wrote notes and points of interest. Next, I wrote my paper. I read it over twice, crossed out words and added words like my teacher told us to do and rewrote it neatly. Something was missing. My older brother Mike, is in ninth grade and in his paper for English, he had to write a closing statement. That’s what my paper was missing. I raced to his room.

“Hey Mike, what’s a closing statement for a paper?” I asked him.

He stared at me like I was an alien. “Since when do fifth grade papers need closing statements?”

I rolled my eyes, but not playfully. “Since right now,” I shot back.

Mike raised his eyebrows but told me anyway.

 

At school, I was the first to read my paper in class.

“In closing, the Olympus Theater has been a part of Pepper Grove for over a hundred years. Letting the Olympus get torn down is like letting your grandparents home get torn down with them in it. It is a historical landmark and needs your help. You can help me by handing out these fliers today after school.” I waved a handful of flyers around.

“Nicely done Rex. A little dramatic but nice,” Mr. Buckley said.

A hand shot up in the back of the class. Stephanie Pinche. Bully extraordinaire and only child of Mrs. Pinche.

“Go ahead Stephanie,” Mr. Buckley said.

“Who cares about that smelly old place. My mom says it’s a dump and unsafe and theater is dead. Everybody watches Netflix now or rents movies. Tear it down, a gas station will be a gold mine there.”

The room erupted in noise.

My face burned hot.

“Stephanie, Rex made a nice case for the Olympus and why it should be a historical landmark. You can read your paper next.” Mr. Buckley said.

I walked down the opposite row of Stephanie to avoid her.

 

After school five kids met up with me and we walked the neighborhood around school and handed out all flyers that I had. They agreed to tell their parents about how important the Olympus is and I promised them cookies if they brought their parents to the fundraiser on Saturday.

I stopped by the Olympus on my way home and picked up more.

“Yours are gone already Rex?” Mr. Torrres asked when he saw me.

“Yup. I need more. I recruited friends from school to help me hand them out.” I told him a big smile on my face.

“Well done. You are an activist already,” he said, his toothy grin hidden partially by his mustache.

 

The next day after school Stephanie chased me to my house.

“T-Rex, would you stop running so I can tell you something?” she hollered behind me.

I stopped and turned around. “What do you want?”

Out of breath, she huffed, “I can hand out some of your flyers if you need help.”

My eyes popped right out of my head. (not really)

When I popped them back in, I narrowed them at her. “I thought you said the Olympus should be torn down.”

“My mom wants to share them at the Historical Society committee meeting tomorrow night. She said it would be good to know more about it since you researched it and all.”

I didn’t quite buy her story but I gave her a few flyers.

“Thanks,” she said and left.

 

Thursday, Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I met Mr. Torres at the Olympus and helped him clean the lobby. We scrubbed the counters, swept the floors, scrubbed the floors, cleaned the glass and shined up the staircase until the entire lobby sparkled. When we finished, we took the last of the flyers and headed home.

 

Friday morning, Stephanie grabbed my arm. “My mom loved the flyers. Said they helped her make her point at the meeting so you can have them back.” She handed them to and sneered. “Good luck saving that dump.”

When I opened a flyer, everything looked good.

 

On Saturday, people from all over Pepper Grove turned out at the Olympus Theater. Mr. Torres was strutting around, handing out cookies and coffee to the adults, while Rob, Arnold, Lottie, and me handed out cookies to the kids. The five kids from school were there along with their parents so I gave them extra cookies as I promised.

Mr. Torres walked onto the platform to give his speech. He glanced around then smiled and started. He answered questions and when no one had any more to ask, he held up his hand and shouted, “Can the Olympus be saved?”

The crowd replied, “Yes!” and waved their flyers.

Mrs. Pinche and Stephanie shouted, “NO! TEAR IT DOWN! IT’S UNSAFE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THIS COMMUNITY.”

Mr. Torres dropped his hand.

Mrs. Pinche rushed onto the platform. She held up a flyer.

“Mr. Torres stated in the flyer, ‘Olympus Theater has served its community and in its current state of disrepair, I recommend it be torn down and the lot sold. To remember it in its glory days, I will donate photos and memorabilia of the Olympus to the library for all to enjoy.’”

People held up their flyers.

Mr. Torres grabbed the flyer from Mrs. Pinche’s hand. He scanned it and his face turned beet red.

The crowd started booing.

Lottie nudged me. “Do something Rex!”

Without thinking I ran up to the platform and shoved Mrs. Pinche away.

“The Olympus Theatre was home to the first performance…” I read from the flyer in my hand.

The crowd quieted. I read some more.

“We already heard this speech by Torres,” came a snotty voice from the front.

Stephanie sneered up at me. She started chanting, “Tear it down. Tear it down.”

Some older kids in the front joined her.

I watched Mr. Torres slump his shoulders forward.

Now adults joined in the chant.

“HEY! NO SCAPEGRACE IS GOING TO TEAR DOWN THIS HISTORICAL LANDMARK!” I shouted into the microphone, creating an ear-splitting ring.

The crowd covered their ears but stopped.

I recited my paper and ended with this, “Olympus Theater is a historical landmark and needs your help. Pepper Grove will lose its fame if the Olympus gets torn down. Instead, help us bring it back to its former glory. How many of your grandparents came to shows here when stars of their day took to the stage? How many of you performed here when you were in school? Does Pepper Grove need a gas station right in the heart of downtown?”

A buzz started in the crowd. People looked at each other.

“Open your flyers.”

People opened them.

“Does your flyer have a quote from Mr. Torres on the bottom of it?”

People checked and rechecked the flyers in their hands.

“No!”

“That’s because you have the original flyers, not the ones Mrs. Pinche copied and remade with her added fake quote.” I went on to explain about her and her gas station idea.

Finally, Mr. Torres, Mike, my parents, Rob, Lottie, and Arnold flooded the platform next to me. We held hands and raised them.

“Are we going to save the Olympus?” I asked fist pumping in the air.

A few people mumbled yes.

“ARE WE GOING TO SAVE THE OLYMPUS?” we shouted together.

“YES!!!”

“Is Mrs. Pinche going to build a gas station here instead?” I shouted.

“No!” the crowd replied.

“Save the Olympus, save the Olympus!” I chanted.

Soon everyone was chanting it.

Mr. Torres grabbed the donation box and held it over the side of the platform. People lined up and dropped money and checks into the box. Our town mayor pushed through the crowd, held up a fistful of fifty dollar bills and dropped them in.

The crowd cheered.

When the event was over, Rob, Lottie, Arnold, and I along with our families, sat in the lobby while Mr. Torres and his staff counted the money.

“We have enough money to start renovations.”

“Yay!” we cheered.

“And this was in the bottom of the donation box.” Mr. Torres held up a sealed envelope. He tore it open, read it and sucked in his breath.

He read it out loud,

‘Dear Mr. Torres,

Your request for consideration of the Olympus Theater to be a recognized Pepper Grove historical landmark has been approved. Attached is the documentation form for you to fill out and to mail to the state Historical Society. You will receive official paperwork from the state upon receipt of the completed form.

To help ensure the Olympus is ready for a public announcement of its inclusion into the Historical Society, we have set aside money to help offset restoration costs.

Congratulations.

Sincerely,

Pepper Grove Historical Society’

 

We cheered and whooped and hollered.

Mr. Torres gave each of us kids a big hug, and thanked us for our help.

Lottie whispered in my ear, “big words.” Then she held up my hand like a champion and said, “Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

testudinal – adjective

[te-stood-n-l, –styood-]

  1. pertaining to or resembling a tortoise or tortoise shell.

 

crevice – noun

[krev-is]

  1.   a narrow opening or crack in a hard surface and especially in rock

crevice

“I feel so naked without it,” Terrence said to his best friend Trent.

“You look fine without it,” said Trent.

“But I need it, it protects me. You wouldn’t go anywhere without yours and you know it.”

Trent kicked the ground, shuffling his feet. “You’re right, I wouldn’t.”

Terrence covered himself with large leaves he found.

Trent laughed. “You look better without the leaves.”

Terrence squinched his eyes and curled his mouth. “Fine.” He dropped the leaves.

“We need to retrace your footsteps,” Trent said. “Start from the beginning.”

Terrence led Trent back to his home under the mud bog. Trent scratched around the mud. Terrence breezed through the brush. “Not here,” he called out.

A shadow passed above them. Chills crept over Terrence.

They traipsed to the rock quarry next. Terrence kicked rocks out of his way while Trent noses around the big rock. “Not here,” he said.

Sweat dripped off of Terrence, his skin becoming pinkish.

“We have to find your shell fast. You’re going to fry right up and the buzzards will eat you all gone.”

Terrence trembled at the thought. He led Trent to the other side of the rock quarry where the sun was almost hiding.

A testudinal object poked out from the crevice in the quarry.

“Look Terrence!” Trent pointed.

CRAW! CRAW! A shadow circled above them, then disappeared.

“Run!” Trent called.

Terrence used all of his might pushing his stubby legs as fast as they could go.

The shadow became two.

Terrence pushed on.

Swooooosh!

Terrence ducked. “Almost there,” he chanted over and over.

Trent chucked a rock at the buzzards.

Swoooosh!

He ducked into his shell as the buzzards dove toward him.

Swooosh! Miss.

Trent peeked out from his shell, fearful for his friend.

Terrence lunged forward.

The testudinal object was indeed his shell. He pulled and prodded. Swoooosh! and pulled some more. The shell flew into the air…kerplunk… hit a buzzard and landed perfectly on Terrence, covering his body once more.

CRAW! CRAW! Screamed the buzzards, one rubbing it’s head.

Terrence ducked into his shell and hid in the crevice between a rock and a hard place, known as the quarry.

When the buzzards bagged out, Terrence ambled over to his friend.

“Good thing they’re gone, they almost had themselves fried tortoise for lunch.”

“And chicken soup if they had caught me,” Trent said as he shivered.

“You were brave Trent, not a chicken,” said Terrence.

“I guess so. But you’re the one who gave one buzzard a goose egg.”

Terrence laughed. “Yeah. Buzzards love to eat tortoise eggs so I bet they love goose eggs too!”

Together they laughed and laughed all the way to the mud bog where they filled up on leaves for lunch and nestled into the mud for a nap.

 

 

 

Resource Wrangler

snuggery – noun (British)

[snuhguh-ree]

  1.   a snug place or position.
  2.   a comfortable or cozy room.

 

The perfect word came up as a Word of the Day selection from http://www.dictionary.com and that word is snuggery. While this is not my typical Word Of The Day story, this is a blog entry about resources for researching and writing.  So if you are a a children’s writer, find yourself a snuggery to sit in while you read this post.

My favorite part to writing anything (even during childhood) is researching the idea (s) first. I will read magazine articles, books, newspaper articles, brochures, pamphlets, etc. to get any snippet of information I find useful. Most of the public librarians know be by name there as I usually have fifty or more books checked out on any given week. Granted most of them are picture books but it wasn’t always that way.

20160503_094207

I have been writing stories for over twenty years; children’s stories, young adult stories, scary stories, ghostly stories, funny stories, romance stories, short stories, long stories, and campfires stories. Since 1990, I have submitted stories off and on to publishers and all have been rejected, with good reason. I had gotten out of the habit of researching, I just wrote and edited. Then as I had children, I wrote sporadically, occasionally submitting to publishers but again I had omitted the researching part. That is, until March 2012 when fate stepped in and I lost both of the jobs I was working. My kids were in college and last year of high school at the time. To say the least, I was devastated and on top of it, I was going in for shoulder surgery a month later. But fate had it all planned out.

Fate is quite the character using it’s special set of skills to nudge people into the path they are supposed to take when said people purposely set about to do the opposite. Now I’m not saying people are sabotaging themselves on purpose, I am saying they make choices purposely (whether to help out the family, illness, etc.) that keep them from their life journey so fate steps in to nudge or push them blatantly in the right direction.

Fate also has a sense of humor. Just because people told me I should write for a living and I would be published in no time does not mean, “Just write what you know, send it out and the publishing deals will come.” I knew that in my head but my heart bypassed my brain and I sent out a couple of submissions without doing much homework on the submitting process of the second decade in the new millennium WHICH HAD CHANGED.

Fate gave me the security I needed to stay at home and write once my shoulder healed but fate was not going to do all the work for me. I needed to put my back and brains into my work like I had every thing else in life. So I started going back to my public library and researching every aspect of writing for children. I checked out books and extended their time until I had to return them and then checked them out again. I had repeatedly checked out so many of the same books I started buying them so I had them when I needed them.

This brings me to the best part of my post in my opinion…the list via photos of my most used resource books for writing for children. I also write young adult but am concentrating on my picture books manuscripts first (four of which are polished and ready for submission).

Enjoy!

The Emotion Thesaurus writers digest sourcebook characters how to write dazzling dialogue Writer's Guide to character traits

write great dialogue childrens writers word book synonym finder dream language

*Yes a Dream Language Dictionary is in my resource pile of books. 😀

rhyming dictionary writing picture books crafting stories for children writing great books for young adults writing the paranormal novel disagreeable english editing your fiction create your writer platform

I have more resource books but these are the ones I reference most since I have read them. *You may think it odd I have a Dream Language Dictionary in the mix. This magical book has given me the perfect word, oddly enough, when I have been stumped. It also infuses creativity in me when I feel like being lazy.

To finish this up, the last book pictured here, ‘CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM’ written by Chuck Sambuchino, gave me something to work on when I needed a break from writing and researching. It is a fabulous resource to get you on your way for when you do get published. do not wait until you are published to create your writer platform, do it now.  I am not published yet but I am working on it and I will be. I have established my writer platform and have worked hard at it during my journey so far into this new career of mine.

My advice to you writer, even if you do not own these books, check them out from your local library, get a feel for them and if you want your own copy, then order it at your local independent bookstore or Amazon or my personal favorite, http://www.writersdigestshop.com/ . Then once you have your research resource books in hand, cuddle up with it in your favorite snuggery and take notes.

Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting

Warmly,

Traci

@ChuckSambuchino @WritersDigest

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Opposites Don’t Attract- (a penguin story)

(All photos in this story/blog were taken by Kevin Bold and Traci Bold and are copyrighted.)

 

ossify – verb

[osuh-fahy]

  1.   used with object: to convert into or cause to harden like bone.
  2.    used without object: to become bone or harden like bone.
  3.   used without object: to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.

gallant – adjective, noun, verb

[adjective galuh nt for 1, 3, 4; guhlant, –lahnt, galuh nt for 2, 5; noun guhlant, –lahnt, galuh nt; verbguhlant, –lahnt]

adjective

  1.   showing courage : very brave
  2.   large and impressive
  3.   having or showing politeness and respect for women
  4.   showy, colorful, or stylish, as in dress; magnificent

noun

5.   a brave, noble-minded, or chivalrous man.

6.   a man exceptionally attentive to women

7.   a stylish and dashing man.

8.   a suitor or lover.

9.   a paramour.

verb

10.   used with object: to court or act as a lover

11.   used with object: to escort

12.   used without object: to attend or pay court as a gallant

 

In the animal kingdom, solitude is for very few animals. Most, like the solidarity of being together. This means that most species do not like to be alone but rather live in harmony with many.

“Shhh. No texting back there, the movie is about ready to start.” says the head emporer penguin. Harris and Jude turned the other way. They did not want to see ‘Madagascar’ again.

IMG_2060

But next door, at the Humboldt neighborhood, the penguins are each doing their own thing. Like this one. This is Jonas soothing a sore muscle from moving stones onto the grates.

IMG_2056

He is not happy. “If I have to move one more stone, I’ll be ossified just like one.” he says.

IMG_2055

“Please can you move just one more?” Perdy asks. “You are the most gallant penguin I know.”

IMG_2044

Jonas turns his head. “No, I won’t do it.”

IMG_2054

“Please,” Perdy begs. “I saved a fish just for you. I will bring it down.”

“Fine. If it means you are safe, I’ll go move more.” Jonas says. He waddles back to the grate.

IMG_2045

“Last one. I’ve conquered them all.” he says holding the last one in place.

IMG_2049

“Good work Jonas,” Perdy says behind him. “My turn to be conquerer of the rocks. Can you please get down now?”

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“Girls!” Jonas says trudging away.  “I’m going to find new friends to hang out with.”IMG_2047

And so he joined his emporer friends in their neighborhood for the showing of ‘Madagascar’.

The end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brave or the Wretched

aeonian – adjective

[ee-oh-nee-uh n]

  1.   eternal; everlasting.

wretched – adjective

[rech-id]

1.   very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; miserable; pitiable.

2.   characterized by or attended with misery and sorrow

3.   despicable, contemptible, or mean:

4.   poor, sorry, or pitiful; worthless:

 

aeonian

This was a wretched day to be outside for all of the animals, even humans. Squirrels snuggled up tight in their nests; bunnies burrowed under snow forts made by garden leftovers; wooly bear caterpillars were cocooned up in their thick winter proof coats041

and every stray cat, fox  or mouse hunted for a not so cold  place to rest and sleep. The wind was whipping icy pelts of snow so fast it was hard to see much of anything and the air was so cold, breath froze instantly as it left warm mouths.

It was just such a day that Jasper’s owner dropped him off in the woods and left him.

That day when his owner put him in the truck, Jasper thought he was going to the farm again. His owner took him there every spring to be a farm cat, and in the fall Jasper came back home and was a city kitty again until the cycle repeated. His preference for his aeonian home would have been the farm as he was happiest there. On the farm, he hunted mice, shrews and rats and the humans there gave him cream as a reward, but he did look forward to being an inside city kitty in front of the warm fireplace during the coldest months too.

Instead, his owner took Jasper’s collar off, grabbed him and carried him into the woods. winter woody road He then set Jasper down, threw some fresh fish down and waited. This was a rare treat for Jasper so he peacefully ate the fish. When he finished, he licked his paws then looked up; his owner and the truck were gone. He did not know this place at all. He prowled the area but it was frozen with snow and the wind was howling. Soon so was Jasper.

That was weeks ago.

Today was Jasper’s lucky day.

Across the field he spotted a wide open garage door. He watched it for several minutes. He saw no humans come out or go in. As fast as his white and gray spotted legs could go, he ran toward it. wretched snowy day

Midway across, he halted;  a human walked out of the garage toward the road.

Jasper crouched down low following the human with his blue eyes. The human walked to a skinny pole by the road, opened a square box, took something out of it then closed it again. The box looked too small to sleep in though.

The human walked back in the garage and disappeared. Jasper watched a few seconds longer then sprung into action. He knew in this cold, the human would be putting down that door quickly.

Just as Jasper reached the skinny pole box by the road, the garage door started closing.

Click clack whir. Click clack whir.

He ran faster but not fast enough; the door banged shut against the frozen concrete.

“So close,” he meowed.

He prowled around the house staying close to it out of the wicked wind and icy, pelting snow. He crept around the corner, keeping his head low as the wind was now straight at him again. Jasper saw nothing behind the house but a small shed that was closed but he braved the wind and continued creeping around to the other side. Again, a small shed.

Click clack whir. Click clack whir. Click clack whir.

Jasper slunk closer to the house, rounded the corner and saw the garage door going up again. He waited, mostly hidden behind a snowy shrub. A truck backed out and down the frozen concrete. Not waiting this time, Jasper raced into the garage and hid. The garage door click clacked and whirred it’s way down again.

Happy to be out of the wind and icy snow, he nestled into a fuzzy roll tucked under a boat that he discovered.

A short time later, Jasper heard the garage door open, he stayed hidden until the door went back down. His tummy growled. Feet were moving away from him. He hadn’t eaten in a few days so he took a chance and softly meowed.

The feet stopped.

“MEOW.”

The feet moved toward his hiding place. He stepped out gingerly. Quickly four more smaller feet raced toward him and stopped. Jasper

The big human with the fuzzy hat held out her fuzzy covered hand. “Poor thing. You look hungry. How about you come inside?” The human held the door open, the little humans walked inside and Jasper followed.

FIVE YEARS LATER

Jasper is allowed to go outside in his yard only when the weather is not wretched and he is on his leash. He plays, cuddles, snuggles and sleeps with his family who took him in years ago and  knows he is with his aeonian family. Also, he never has to go for a ride because the big human is a veterinarian.

The End