Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween: Family, Kidlit, and a NEW Grammy Pags Story - The Woozler's Halloween!

Pirate Papa & Pirate Grammy with our little
peanut pirate granddaughter.  Aargh!
Hi Everyone - Happy Halloween!!
Here's what's in this blog:

  • Halloween Family Fun
  • Halloween Dinner Menu & more ideas - adding a few pics from our 2016 Spooky Halloween Dinner!!
  • Not-so-scary books for kids - a list by Dena McMurdie 
  • Grammy Pags' newest story, The Woozler's Halloween - currently available for Kindle

In our family, we get a kick out of dressing up for Halloween! Actually, we love to dress up - period!  We've always had a dress up box in our house - one for our kids when they were little, and now we have one for our grandchildren.  We make up little plays and stories, go for treasure hunts, and just pretend. It's lots of fun!

Halloween has always been a "non-scary" time for our kids and grandkids.  We decorate pumpkins, we might go to our local corn maze, we always pass out treats - with NO tricks, and for many years, we had a good old "Spooky" Halloween dinner.

Wizard Papa & Fairy Grammy with our grandkids.
The pirate theme is popular in our family, but we also have
faries, wizards, knights, and Peter Pan.
Our Halloween dinner menu might consist of the following:

Pirate Stew - chili or chicken noodle soup (this year it was Broccoli slaw!)
Fish Scales - potato / tortilla chips
Swamp Slime - chip dip / humus
Swamp Juice - fruity punch or cider
Skeleton Bones - cut up veggies
Googley Eyes - deviled eggs with black olive
And a Treasure Chest Dessert - usually gooey donuts with lots of sprinkles! (This year, it was "Dracula's Donuts!")

Our kids have the best time making up the names for our dinner delectibles!

Want more Halloween menu ideas?
More Halloween menu ideas from Pintrest!

It's the Halloween Googly-Eyed Monsters - 3-eyed Threeps!

If you enjoy reading to your kids on Halloween night, click on this link:  a NOT so SCARY list of Halloween books for Kids provided by Dena McMurdie.  We've read LOTs of these wonderful Halloween stories.
Dressing up as fairies for a fairy tea party!

Aargh! It's Pirate Grammy 
with the Woozler & Doonsey!

Finally, and a quick question:
Do YOU have a WOOZLER in YOUR backyard?
We do!!  This year, the poor little woozler has a super big problem!  Halloween has never been so tense!
Check out:  The Woozler's Halloween
Go get that rascally culprit, Woozler!!   

Here's the Kindle link: The Woozler's Halloween
The Woozler's Halloween
is NEW from Grammy Pags Stories
ONLY available for Kindle - $2.99 
Here's the link: The Woozler's Halloween 
Available in paperback - 2017   

I have lots of "woozler" stories.  This Halloween story is a little out of sequence from the other "woozler" stories, but I thought that kids might enjoy it for this Halloween season fun!  If you and your kids like this story, please leave a review on Amazon! Thank you so much!!!

Love ya! Grammy Pags

Other Woozler stories:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

OCTOBER is Adopt a Dog - Rescue Dog Month - Duke's Story, a REAL Rescue Dog

Duke 'n' Matt, Rescue Road Warriors, a REAL Rescue Dog Story
Purchase from Amazon
Purchase from Barnes & Noble

~ 40 pages ~ Full color
~ ALL photographs are Rescue Dogs
~ Incudes extended & enrichment learning pages for kids
(key vocabulary ~ map skills ~ comprehension questions ~ matching)
~ For ALL Dog and Pet Lovers
"I'm a rescue dog, and now I'm a "Rescue Road Warrior," says Duke.  "This is my story!"

Duke says, "Here are my Do's and Don'ts!  
Please consider before adopting a pet."  

I love being a "Rescue Road Warrior!  I help transport other
dogs to safe shelters, foster homes, and forever homes!"
 Duke says, here are a few "rescue dog definitions." 

Thanks for your interest in rescue dogs!  
A portion of ALL sales of Duke 'n' Matt, Rescue Road Warriors 
goes to the Rescue Road Warriors.  These funds help defray the cost of gas
to transport the rescue dogs to new homes and safe shelters.  Thank you!

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 

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!