Saturday, May 31, 2014

Maya Angelou: A Phenomenal Woman

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” -- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thank You, Dan Mills Elementary School!!

I had a fabulous time visiting with the kindergartners of Dan Mills Elementary School!  We talked writing, reading, and invented our own characters.  It was amazing fun!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sensational Summer Reads for Tweens and Teens

As we all fondly recall, summer vacation is the ultimate!  Staying up late into the night, basking in the golden sun, slurping up frothy ice cream concoctions, and yes - hopefully reading a good book or two or three...or three in one day.  And why not?  It's summer, after all.

Here is a list of twelve of my fave summer reads for tweens and teens.  The list includes some classics and some contemporary, depending on personal choice.  Either way, tweens/teens will have a blast getting their read on!!!

Kimberly's 2014 Summer Reading List for Tweens

1) The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

2) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

3) The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

4) The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

5) Monster - Walter Dean Myers

6) Divergent - Veronica Roth

7) The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

8) The Best of Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl

9) Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

10) The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

11) Witch & Wizard - James Patterson

12) The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

13) Mrs. Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs


Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to Fake Sick

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School 

Lucy: Let’s face it. Sometimes, you just can’t make it through a whole day of school.

CeCee: Maybe your hair is misbehaving, you have a test you didn’t study for, or you’re just not up to playing Keep-Away Frisbee in gym.

Lucy: What you’re coming down with is a severe case of schoolitis, and there are a few things you should know.

CeCee: First, you can’t do this all the time. The habitual fake out will only come back to haunt you, causing your teachers and parents to eye you with suspicion when you really are sick.

Lucy: In other words, only do this when you really need to. (No more than 8–10 times a semester.)

L&C’s How to Fake Sick Tips

If you know you’re going to fake sick, toss out the bait early. The morning of, tell your parents you’re not feeling well but that you don’t want to miss any school. Tell them you’ll try to make it through the day and go to bed right when you come home. (This way when the nurse calls, there are no surprises.)

Go to your first class looking a little haggard. Don’t wear any lip gloss, mascara, or blush. Mess up your hair a little. Put your head down on the desk, and don’t interact with anyone until your teacher asks what’s wrong. When she does, give the impression that you’re disoriented. Tell her you just can’t concentrate and feel funny—like you might be sick. (Note: this scares the chalk dust out of most teachers, and he or she will immediately send you out. No teacher wants you doing Technicolor yawn on the classroom floor.)

Score! Now it’s time to hit up the nurse. This takes a little skill, as nurses are very adept at dealing with fakers. It’s always best to keep your symptoms nagging but vague. Nothing too specific. Good adjectives to use are queasy, achy, hot and cold. If you combine symptoms, make sure they go together. Case in point, earache and nausea don’t go together and scream faker! Whereas stomach and headache, earache and sore throat, and dizziness and nausea all have the ring of truth.

Never suggest the nurse call your parents, but ask if you can lie down and close your eyes. Cover face with both arms and moan periodically. Speak as if really exhausted by dragging each word out.

When the nurse finally suggests she call your parents, act bummed. Say something like, “But I don’t want to miss any school. I have a test today. Do you think I could get my homework first?” This should seal the deal.

Beware: When in the nurse’s chambers, keep the drama in drama class. Don’t go overboard and fake a seizure or pretend to pass out. Nurses have been to nursing school and know when someone is really conscious or not. Also, they could call for an ambulance.

 How to Be Sick by Lucy

Yay, you did it! Now, how to be sick. Both CeCee and I have our own idea of how to burn a sick day.

Here’s mine:

Dance in the living room.
Text your friends and give them updates on your “illness.”
Text your BFF every period and begin each text with “I guess you’re in period ___ now. Meanwhile, I’m watching _______________ (insert cool television show or movie here).”
Call your parent at work and moan as if really sick. Ask for more DVDs and puzzle books.
Make a blanket fort.
Snoop in your sister’s room. Read her diary. Call her boyfriend and hang up.
Call and order a pizza. Ask for a large with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, green pepper, olives, onions, anchovies, double cheese, and extra sauce. Hang up. Five minutes later, call back and say you changed your mind.
Play with the dog.
Play with the dog, and film it with your cell phone camera. Submit dog video to YouTube. Watch other dog trick videos and convince self yours is the best.
Play computer games.
Go through your mom’s closet, and write out fashion suggestions. Send them to her anonymously.
Try on all your mom’s jewelry, and talk as if you’re out to dinner with your father. Practice her mannerisms in the mirror.
Write poems and e-mail them to people.
Take a hot, lavender-scented bubble bath.
Take a picture of yourself sleeping and send to friends.

How to Be Sick by CeCee 

Call the school informing them of your respective infirmity and request all homework.
Complete homework.
Calendar projects.
Clean and systematize closet.

Tip: Don’t forget to have your mother write an illness excuse note. You don’t want a truancy on your record.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Marmee: Mother of the Year

In honor of Mother’s Day, I pondered who should get Mother of the YA Canon.

I’m not going to lie: Mothers have it pretty rough in today’s YA books.  Most are selfish, absent, or completely oblivious, which is probably for the best considering their daughters are dating sparkling vampires and the like.

But it’s really a no-brainer.  Marmee, the affectionately named mother of Little Women’s Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, will always have my vote for Mother of the YA’s.

Marmee is just so very good and so very strong.  With her husband away fighting the Civil War, Marmee plays the backbone of the family with perfect joie de vivre.  She believes in hard work, undying faith, and noble principles.  And while she gently guides her daughters' emerging moral codes, she does so without suffocating them with tiresome bromides and I-told-you-so’s.  Marmee always knows best - but she so wisely keeps this little secret cloaked under her thermal petticoat, allowing the girls to learn prudence through their own scrapes and experiences.      

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers in the ever flourishing YA oeuvre.  May all of you be blessed with such wise counsel as bestowed upon us by Marmee in my favorite quotation:

“If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that’s all that you really are. Time erodes all such beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind: Your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you. I so wish I could give my girls a more just world. But I know you’ll make it a better place." –
Marmee, Little Women

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Passion for Fashion

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School 

Chapter Written Solely by CeCee

I’m as shy as they come, but when it comes to my day-to-day threads, I’m a bold, fearless fashionista.  I guess you could classify my look as boho-chic laced with a few punked out accessories.  I know, I know – it totally goes against the bespectacled nerd girl concept, but that’s the brilliant thing about fashion – it expresses the wild child within and makes my gear buzz-worthy!  (I actually attribute my edgy trend tastes back to my Catholic school days, when the required oxford blouse, plaid skirt, and rosary beads forced me to think outside the box.)

Now the thing about fashion is you really don’t have to break the bank to be swank.  Except for the occasional baby-sitting or tutoring job, I don’t have a big cash stash myself but still manage to throw together clever little ensembles.  Sure I shop at Abercrombie and Gap like the rest of the masses, but I also find a lot of spunky stuff at the Good Will and other thrift stores, like belts purses, military jackets, etc.  So yeah – it’s okay to get a little daring – especially when it comes to the trimmings.  And yes, you’ll get an occasional eye role or a mumbled snarl from a S.M.G. (Super Mean Girls), but they’re probably just jealous because you’re rockin’ it and they’re not.  After all, no one respects an Aberzombie clone who’s just following the trendies!

How to Rock It Hip Tips:

Accessories rule
Pair a pair of Chucks with a scarf
Layers, layers, layers
Try a low slung chunky belt
Enhance any outfit with vintage jewelry and/or dangly chandelier earrings – love that stuffy Victorian bling!
Mix and match colors and patterns but sparingly
Try a flowy skirt with leggings and flats

FASHION DON’T’S – I don’t believe in the fashion police but there are a few no-no’s everyone should adhere to for the sake of mankind and world peace.  In my honest and humble opinion, the following are universal fashion flubs i.e., not a good look for anyone:

Acid washed jeans
Heels you can’t walk in
Black Lipstick
Too low low-riders
Shoulder pads
Thong Peek-a-boos
Hairy legs with skirts or shorts

1) Stay clear of sheer
2) If it don’t fit, it’s gonna split
3) Too bright ain’t right
4) If you wear it, rock it!

CeCee’s Back to School Shopping List

1. Black Leggings
2. Platforms in any color
3. Flared denim jeans
4. Black skinny jeans
5. Faux leather tote
6. Mary Janes
7. Denim vest
8. Burgundy glam punk blazer
9. Neon pink Chuck Taylors
10. Strategically ripped vintage concert tees
11. Gypsy broom skirt
12. Chandelier and hoop earrings
13. Lace up combat boots
14. Gold and silver bangles
15. Purple knit beret
16. Black trapeze dress
17. Flannel tunic
18. Granny cardigan

(The trick is to strike a balance between the trends and classics, sprinkled with your own personal touches.)

SCARY SITCH BY CECEE – Know your fashion limits and the school dress code policy.  Once during my Catholic school days, I tied my white oxford into a navel knot halter a la Britney Spears, got five demerits, three Hail Mary’s, and a lecture from Sister Eugenie on the virtues of modesty.  YIKES!