Friday, September 23, 2016

NEW from Grammy Pags Stories - 3 Gnomes Mystery for Kids

One-Bite Mystery Synopsis:  Sprinkle, Dandy Whiskers, and Whisper are bursting with excitement!  It's almost time to make their favorite soup, Droppin' Time Stew!  But something has gone terribly wrong in Mr. Joe's garden this year!  Every vegtable and piece of fruit they pick up has ONE-BITE-OUT . . . then tossed away . . . like rubbish!

"No stew this year!"  grumbles Whisper.  "It's ruined!"
"Shhh," whispers Sprinkle, "we'll figure this out!"
Is the Droppin' Time Stew ruined?  

Who - or what - is behind the "One-Bite Mystery?"  
And why just "ONE-BITE-OUT?"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What's the BACK Story? Three Little Gnomes & a Boy Named Orion + Nibbles McGibbles!!

The "Back Story!"

Book #1: 
Three Little Gnomes 
and a Boy Named Orion
Book  #2:
Three Little Gnomes 
and the One-Bite Mystery

Written by Rhonda Paglia 
Grammy Pags Stories for Kids
Illustrated by Ratna Kusuma Halim

I LOVE writing stories with, and for kids!  I wrote stories with my own children when they were little.  As a teacher, all of my elementary students wrote and illustrated their own books in my classes.  Now that I’m a grandmother, I get a great kick out of writing stories with my grandchildren.  We’ve produced many, many stories over the last nine years, although only one (so far), Three Little Gnomes and a Boy Named Orion, has been officially edited, published, and is now available for sale. 

I don’t usually share the back story for the first “Three Little Gnomes” book, because it’s a bit “embarrassing.”  However, since my author friend, Aviva Gittle asked, here’s the truth of it!

The REAL Orion - age 2. 
I was the only one home on this particular fall Saturday, so I decided to paint our little powder room.  I wanted it to be colorful and fun.  I tried various colored square patterns.  Nope!  Too claustrophobic!  I repainted and added swirly designs.  Nope!  The design made me dizzy!  Then I got the idea of creating a lovely, Zen-like, PEACEFUL garden scene, with a sky and clouds on the ceiling, and a colorful garden full of flowers on the walls.  YES!  That was it!!  For a non-painter, it worked and I had a lot of fun!  My family was so surprised to see the end result when they got home – and they actually LIKED it!!  I was so excited!!

The original cover
At the same time, we were babysitting our first grandchild, Orion, several times a week.  We were working on potty training.  Now that our powder room was a much more inviting, fun place, I thought maybe potty training would be more fun too!  Now Orion, and all of the other grandchildren to follow, could “pee” in Grammy’s garden bathroom! How many kids get to do THAT?!!

In addition to the lovely flowers, my husband added a couple of tractors, a wagon, a dog, and, of course, a little boy named Orion.   I added an airplane, some bugs, a beanstalk, a mouse carrying cheese, a castle, and a GIANT black kitty – all from the mouse version book of, “Jack and the Beanstalk!” (Jack is the little mouse and the giant is a huge black kitty!)  Orion loved it all and we spent many hours in the BR “garden!”

The 3 gnomes, the tractor, and the dog.
Anyway, I happen to love gnomes.  My nephew, Michael Paglia, who is a REAL artist, loved gnomes too.  I asked Michael if he could add several simple, line-drawn gnomes to the bathroom wall garden.  He did and they are adorable.  

One day, while Orion was “sitting a spell” – we were talking about those three garden gnomes (on the wall).   

“Orion, do you know the names of those little gnomes?” I asked.  After some VERY careful thought, this 2-year-old piped up, “That one is Whiskers!  He had a beard.  That one is Happy Tractor (Orion REALLY liked tractors at the time), and that one is Getting-a-Haircut (Orion had recently gotten a haircut, so of course, it made sense to call the gnome, Getting-a-Haircut!)

It was all just so cute, so I wrote the original story for Orion.  It was titled, The Gnomes at Papa & Grammy’s House.  It’s been a grandkids’ favorite and a well read story ever since.   When I started sharing some of my stories in 2013, I decided to rewrite the little gnomes’ story and add more details.  The result was Three Little Gnomes and a Boy Named Orion. The version that is currently available is Edition #2.  It’s an easy reader version for beginning readers.  Edition #1 was much longer, but is no longer available.

Okay, so back to the back story - it's not quite done!  Back Story Part 2: 

Dandy Whiskers, Sprinkle, Whisper
Although the names Happy Tractor and Getting-a-Haircut are adorable names for a family-centered story, I didn’t think readers outside of our family would connect to those names.  So, for the “public / published” version, I decided to run a little contest on Facebook.  I called it the “Name the Gnomes” contest.  Many people entered.  From those entries, the most popular names were chosen.  Whiskers retained his original name with the addition of “Dandy” because he pulled dandelions out of the flower gardens.  Sprinkle and Whisper were also named from that contest.

Nibbles McGibbles
The other name that really popped out from the contest was “Nibbles McGibbles.”  I LOVED the name, but I was so sad that it just didn’t fit for the story, Three Little Gnomes and a Boy Named Orion.  However, Nibbles McGibbles really “gnawed” at me.  He needed a story.  So, in Three Little Gnomes and the One-Bite Mystery, Nibbles McGibbles makes his entrance into the garden life of Dandy Whiskers, Whisper, and Sprinkle.  McGibbles, who is a kilt-wearing Scotsman, causes a bit of chaos for the three little gnomes, but with patience and some lessons learned, all works out well in the end for everyone!

Finally, I just have to add that working with my illustrator, Ratna Kusuma Halim, on both books has been the most amazing adventure!  Ratna is a talented, focused, intuitive artist!  I never sent her a picture of my garden, or of my grandson, Orion, but somehow, she captured them perfectly.  Ratna lives half-way around the world in Indonesia.  During our work on the two books, we became like sisters.  It’s like we were holding hands and embracing the world.  We both agreed that our best work must have been during our night conferences during dreamtime.  It blew me away at how “on” she was with the story details.  Through her beautiful illustrations, she captured the personality of the sweet characters, their conflicts, and the land where they lived.  It’s been a magical adventure for both of us!! <3 

Monday, August 15, 2016

It's Lovable Lobo's "Selfies in the Wild" Blog Tour

Oh my goodness, my grandchildren and I are sooooo excited about the release of Lovable Lobo's BRAND NEW book, Selfies in the Wild!  

"Wild" will never be the same! Be prepared for giggles and silliness!

If you love Lovable, like we love Lovable, you just might want to participate in ALL the Selfies in the Wild Giveaways! Here is what you find in this post"
  •  Selfies in the Wild summary
  • My Review
  • FREE Printable Activity Pages Download the packet of Selfies in the Wild Printables - FREE, very cool activities for kids!
  • Meet author / illustrator, C. L. Murphy, Lovable Lobo's "mom" and creator 
  • BEST OF ALL:  Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $200 Amazon or PayPal gift card! Wow!! The link is at the end of this blog.  
The Lovable Lobo Series 
NEW Title:  Selfies in the Wild
Author / Illustrator:  C. L. Murphy
Publisher:  Peanut Butter Press
Available for Kindle
Age Level:  3-7 | Grade Level: P - 2
Price:  $1.99 | $0.00 Kindle Unlimited

SUMMARY: Lobo and his sidekick, Roxie the Raven, find a trail camera in their neck of the woods.  It attracts the attention of their forest friends.  The images that have been captured have never been sillier or more candid.  Just as their wild disposititions are exposed, the photo shoot comes to an unexpected end, and they're all left wondering: who, why, where, when, and what happened??

MY REVIEW: My grandchildren and I are crazy about Lovable Lobo!  We love his stories and all of his endearing buddies!!  C.L. Murphy's new book, Selfies in the Wild , is no exception - yep - we LOVED it! Our grandchildren have fun taking selfies, so the idea of Lovable and his gang of wild friends trying to figure out what a trail camera is, and how to use it, is a hoot! The animals' conversation in the dark is silly and fun!  The colorful illustrations are adorable.  Ms. Murphy scattered a few challenging vocabulary words throughout the story, but at the end of the book, she includes a short vocabulary list with definitions that extend the reader's learning.  The addition of REAL wildlife pictures taken by a REAL trail camera is very interesting and garnered more discussion and learning opportunities for our grandkids.  So, from Grammy Pags, Sofie, and Caleb, we think Selfies in the Wild deserves 5-Wild & Wooly Stars!

Lovable Lobo's FREE Activity Pages - Here's a sample! 

Author C. L. Murphy
MEET C.L. Murphy: a tamer of fictitious wild animals.  As the author and illustrator of the children's picture book series THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO, she spends her days managing her overactive imagination.  The main character in the series was inspired by a lovable wolf that she raised for over 14 years.  She's been a member of SCBWI since 2012.  She lives amongst the woldlife in a real enchanted forest with her husband.  They have two wildly perfect, or perfectly wild sons, depending on the day, and a menagerie of other untamed animals.

Follow on Twitter:  @LovableLobo
Website:  Lovable Lobo's website

The Giveaway
PRIZE:  One winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card, or $200 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice.
GIVEAWAY ENDS: 11:59 pm, on August 31, 2016
OPEN TO: Worldwide
ENTER HERE: Lovable Lobo's Rafflecopter Giveaway
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: There is NO purchase necessary to enter or win.  One winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget within 48 hours.  The winner will be notified by e-mail once the giveaway ends.  The winner will then have 72 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be chosen.  

Check out the other stops on Lovable Lobo's "Selfies in the Wild" blog hop tour!!  Enjoy!!

Thanks for stopping!  
Much love, Rhonda Paglia
Grammy Pags Stories for Kids
On Amazon:
On Barnes & Noble:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

It's an International Book Launch! Join in the fun!

Hi Everyone!  
YOU are INVITED to the Virtual Launch / Birthday Party for our newest children's book: Three Little Gnomes and the One-Bite Mystery.  

Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Time:  10 AM - 9 PM (EST) 

Drawings, Giveaways, FUN!!

One-Bite Mystery Synopsis:  Sprinkle, Dandy Whiskers, and Whisper are bursting with excitement!  It's almost time to make their favorite soup, Droppin' Time Stew!  But something has gone terribly wrong in Mr. Joe's garden this year!  Every vegtable and piece of fruit they pick up has ONE-BITE-OUT . . . then tossed away . . . like rubbish!

"No stew this year!"  grumbled Whisper.  "It's ruined!"
"Shhh," whispered Sprinkle, "we'll figure this out!"
Is the Droppin' Time Stew ruined?  
Who - or what - is behind the "One-Bite Mystery?"  
And why just "ONE-BITE-OUT?"

Enjoy the trailer:  
"Three Little Gnomes and the One-Bite Mystery!"

About Rhonda & Ratna: author and illustrator for: 

Join the "Three Little Gnomes" Book Launch Party on FACEBOOK
Here's the schedule of events!

I'm delighted to have the following talented authors and illustrators 
co-host the event with me throughout the day:
For more information:
Children's author / illustrator, Rhonda Paglia: Rhonda's Amazon Author Page
Illustrator, Ratna Kusuma Halim: Drawing of the Mind Blogspot by Ratna
Children's author / illustrator, Jessica Adams: Jessica's Amazon Author Page
Children's author / illustrator, Carmela Dutra: Carmela's Amazon Author Page
Children's author / illustrator, Rosie Russell: Rosie's Amazon Author Page
Novelist / literacy advocate, LK Hunsaker: LK Husaker's Amazon Author Page
Children's author, Sandra Bennett: Sandra's Amazon Author Page

Thank you for stopping by!
We hope to see you at the book launch event on August 17!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Lover's Day Blog Hop Fun!

In honor of Book Lover's Day on August 9, my writerly pals and I are having fun by sharing all the ways we adore reading. Please join me and the "lovely" bloggers listed at the end of this post who are also "Book Lovers!"

My first reading book.

Hi - I'm Grammy Pags! I'm a mom, a grandmother, a retired elementary teacher, and a children's author.   On this "Book Lover's Day," I'm going to share some book love from "Dick and Jane" (early readers of the 1950's) to the imaginative, fantastic, contemporary (2012-16) "Land of Stories" series by Chris Colfer!!

A  look back:  Some of the first books I remember reading from my childhood were the old (now ancient) Dick and Jane books.  For those of you who have never heard of these beginning school readers, the text went like this:

"See Dick.  See Jane.  Look Dick.  Look Jane.  See Spot.  See Spot run.  Run Spot run!"  

I have to chuckle.  Even back then, it was difficult for me to grasp that this was "real" reading!  We did learn to read, but thankfully books for kids have come a long way!

An inside peek of some of
the original Highlights magazines.
Great, educational magazines for kids today,
and Highlights Magazine is still around!
As I got older, I enjoyed reading books from our classroom and school library.  But in the summer, our little town had no library, so my brothers and I were stuck with our well-read Golden Books from our own personal stash.  About that time, a new magazine for kids started to gain popularity.  It was called Highlights.  Our parents let us order the magazine, and we could hardly wait for the mail to come on "Highlights Day."  The little stories, puzzles, games, hidden pictures, connect the dots, kept us busy and entertained for hours.  Kids today are so lucky to have such a wide variety of books and educational magazines.  

Some of my favorite comic books
and comic book characters!
As a kid, some of my favorite chapter books were The Wizard of Oz, the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and any and all books about baseball. Biographies about Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth were two of my favorites.

When we went to the grocery story, we loved to read the comic books while our parents were shopping. We'd use our allowance to buy one or two of our favorites.  They cost about $0.15 each.   

A few of my favorite picture books!

I love picture books for kids.  I also enjoy reading these books outloud, especially when the characters are fun and funny, and my grandchildren serve as my audience!  I think I do a pretty good "Grover" impression, and my Skippyjon Jones voice is fun too! 

My students thought I was an alien!! 

I used to read outloud to my 3rd and 4th grade students every day.  Some of our favorite chapter books were by authors Bruce Coville and Roald Dahl. 

I think our all time favorite book by Bruce Coville was My Teacher is an Alien.  For some reason, my students were convinced that I was the alien teacher in our classroom!!  

Today, my reading for pleasure books vary from mysteries, to adventures, to thrillers, to books with spiritual themes. I also read non-fiction, but I'm more of a fiction fan. Here are a few of my favorite authors and books:  
Some of my favorite authors and novels.
  • Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time
  • Sir Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries
  • Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot mystery series
  • I love all of Dan Brown's books.  We were fortunate enough to go to Rome, Italy.  We visited several of the spots where Dan's book, The DaVinci Code was filmed.  
  • Stephen King's book, 11/22/63 is one of my favorites.
  • Michael Crichton's chiller / thrillers are great, like Prey!
  • A new futuristic thriller author I'm enjoying is Douglas E. Richards.  I've liked them all!  I think I read Wired first.
  • Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is also one of my all time favorite books.  I think I've read it at least 4 times. 
So many books to read, so little time!! 

My 5-year-old granddaughter introduced me to
The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer.
Just great fun and pure reading pleasure
even for adults!!
Finally, I just have to share what I'm reading now, thanks to my daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter.  We're reading The Land of Stories series by the amazingly talented Chris Colfer.  We're on book #5 - it was just released in July!! Oh my goodness, we just ADORE these books!

They are each about 400+ page chapter books, but we are flying through them.  We can't put them down!! These are great books for kids, but even for adults.  If you like mystery, magic, fairytales, intrigue, adorable characters, and humor, check these books out!  You just might get sucked in and taken back to the place of your childhood's imagination!   

Rhonda Paglia, "Grammy Pags" with her
5 grandchildren!  We LOVE to read!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Love Giveaways? It's a Rafflecopter #kidlit #Giveaway!

Love Giveaways? It's a Rafflecopter Giveaway

Thanks everyone for participating in my first ever Rafflecopter giveaway.  Winners listed below!!  <3 Grammy Pags
Woozler w Mom s Choice seal
Hi Everyone!
I love writing stories for kids - and I love giveaways! I'm running a RAFFLECOPTER Giveaway from July 19 - 27, 2016 and giving away 3 COPIES of The Woozler,** Book 2 in the Meeda and Me beginner reader series.
Here's the Synopsis: Sofie and Meeda are best buddies. A Woozler has moved into their backyard. This woozler grumbles and doesn't like people. Worst of all, someone stole his treasure map! The girls want to help! Will the Woozler become their new friend? Will he find his treasure map?
If you want to enter - click below. You may enter once a day if you like! Good luck and watch out for WOOZLERS in YOUR backyard!!
The Meeda and Me Series are beginnning readers with "Look Back in the Book" activities.
Happy Reading!! Love from Grammy Pags

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's a Grammy Pags Stories for Kids RAFFLECOPTER Giveaway!

Thanks everyone for participating in my first ever Rafflecopter giveaway.  Winners listed below!!  <3 Grammy Pags

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hi everyone!  Join in the fun and giveaway!
July 19 - 27, 2016

I'm giving away 3 COPIES of The Woozler,  Book 2 in the Meeda and Me beginner reader series.

Synopsis of The Woozler!  
Sofie and Meeda are best buddies.  Meeda lives in Sofie's mirror, but sometimes she comes out!  A Woozler has moved into their backyard.  He grumbles and doesn't like people.  Worst of all, someone stole his treasure map!  The girls want to help!

Will the Woozler become their new friend?  Will the Woozler find his treasure map?

A beginnning reader with "Look Back in the Book" activities, and, a Mom's Choice Award recipient!

What others are saying:
5-Stars from Jill Antel:  The Woozler's character is just the right kind of silly and grump, which makes it an entertaining character.  Sofie and Meeda . . . show him kindness and compassion . . . which is a great lesson for kids. 

5-Stars from Breeze:  The Woozler is an intriguing character . . . the grandchildren were eager to know what was going to happen next . . . we like the extra activities at the end of the book.  

5-Stars from David Chuka:  I was reading this a bedtime to my 8 and 5 year olds.  My daughter grabbed the tablet half way through the reading because I wasn't reading fast enough!  A charming story with fun characters. 

5-Stars from Ron Shaw:  I was impressed by the story and messages.  The Woozler is an adorable, non-scary character that is soon to be a friend of the girls . . . I think!

Click here for more information about the Meeda and Me Series.

AND - NEW From Grammy Pags Stories

Three Little Gnomes and the One-Bite Mystery
available now for Kindle
Release date for paperback - August 17, 2016
It's almost Droppin’ Time!  That’s when Sprinkle, Dandy, and Whisper make their favorite soup, Droppin' Time Stew.   They wait ALL YEAR to make it!  Hmmmm - delicious! 

But something has gone terribly wrong in Mr. Joe's garden!  Every vegetable and fruit they pick up has ONE-BITE-MISSING!  Then it’s tossed away . . . like rubbish! 

“No stew this year!” grumbles Whisper.  “It’s ruined!” 

Will Droppin’ Time be a disaster this year? Who – or what - is behind the  “One-Bite Mystery?” 

Oh no, it’s another problem for the three little gnomes to solve!

What others are saying:
~ Children will learn about thinking of others and friendship.
~ A wonderful story filled with mystery and problem solving.
~ The story is beautifully written and has real meaning.