Artania: The Pharaoh’s Cry Free!

Looking for an adventure like no other? A place where all art is alive and creation a superpower? Right now my publisher is offering Pharaohs’ Cry for free. But act fast. This offer disappears on September 30th.  Get your free book here  

Enjoy!

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Book Launched!

Are you an introverted author like me? Would you rather roll over hot

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My new novel

coals naked than do public speaking? Do you break into a cold sweat just imagining being the center of attention?  We writers are a mixed bunch, but as observers, many of us shy away from taking center stage. Well, if you’re launching a new book, waiting in the wings will not sell copies. I know, I had a field of dreams attitude when I published Artania: The Pharaohs’ Cry. Write it and they will come. Well, they didn’t. Oh, I’ve steadily sold a few books, sure. But nothing like I’d imagined.

 

So when it was time to publish Forest Secrets I decided to do it right. Hot coals and cold sweats be damned. This time, I’d launch with a scream instead of whisper. We’d have a party and invite everyone, their cousin, their brother and their cousin’s cousin. But first I needed a 10394552_10153068563742221_2548028625675952024_nvenue.

I’d remembered that the owner of Toy Zoo: Anything Educational, Marc Canigiula, had suggested hosting an event at his bookstore when I told him I was publishing a new book. I  was scared to  ask but figured the worst he could say is no. So I headed over, marched inside, and with a gulp asked him if he’d like to host my book launch. My jaw dropped to the floor when he said yes. Not  only that, he’d help me organize the event.

I was flabbergasted and, I’ll admit it, overwhelmed. But I scooped my jaw off the floor and got to work. And the results? A resounding success. I had 75 people attend and sold close to 50 books.

If you are planning your own book launch, here are a few tips:

  1. Start early. Post the upcoming publication on your social media sites. Get over your author humility and brag a little.
  2. Print up invitations. I use Vista Print for quality and value, but there are reasonably priced printers everywhere. Make it look as professional as you can afford, Here’s mine:
  3. previewHave a theme with activities for the attendees. Since most of Forest Secrets  takes place in the woods with mystical creatures, I had leaf coloring, green tape leading kids on a scavenger hu1052nt throughout the store, and mask making.1062
  4. Decorate your book signing table according to your theme. Here’s how I did mine.
  5. 1012Send out notices to local publications. Don’t just focus on newspapers. Be creative. Our school district newsletter did a write up that went out to thousands of employees.
  6. But most of all, have fun! It’s your moment. Enjoy it.

Teach Kindness With Cursive

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“If you build it, he will come,”  a voice in a cornfield whispers to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams.  And he does. And they do.

We all have fields of dreams. Mine is to see children create peace.

One way for them to do this is affirming it. With words. With art. With deeds.

Or with cursive. Why not teach  cursive writing while affirming peace? The book Cursive Writing Practice: Inspiring Quotes by Jane Lierman does just that.  With quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi, she helps children visualize a better world.

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If you want to do the same, you could buy her book on Amazon or create your own quotes with the following lesson. Either way, you will be instilling character and kindness in your students.

And that is what teaching is all about.

Objective: The learner will practice proper letter formation in cursive by writing kind sentences.

Materials: Class set of cursive reproducible, pencils, lined paper, board, chart paper or electronic whiteboard.

Procedure:

  1. This lesson should be done after the students have already learned the alphabet and how to connect letters.
  2. Review formation of some troublesome letters such as g & q or s.
  3. images (4)
  4. Pass out worksheets. Have students read the kind sentences.
  5. Model how to write sentences.
  6. Allow students time to complete worksheets.

While the students write, watch them mumble the quotes. Knowing that they are internalizing positive sayings.

The following day, have students could invent their own kind sentences.    You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.

Out of the Mouths of Babes: A Peaceful Playground

SAM_0873Who are you?  Why are you here?  The answers to these questions can be as profound as the depth in each child’s eyes. Since I believe that it’s never too soon to begin this inquiry, I use my role as Student Council advisor to get  children to look inside themselves. Our introductory meeting includes each student telling the group why they volunteered to be leaders.

This year their answers moved me to tears.

Many of the 5th and 6th graders were former students, previous peace ambassadors, or had seen the impact our  peace program had on campus. Oh sure a few had the typical response of  just wanting  to make posters or pass them out on spirit days but I was surprised at how many kids wanted to stop bullying at school. As we went around the room and each said, “My name is___. I am in ___grade and joined Student Council to ____” several shared their dreams of a more peaceful campus.

“I want to stop bullying so kids don’t feel sad, and maybe won’t do suicide later.  I want my friends to be happy,” Daisy said.

“I joined Student Council because I imagine a peaceful playground where kids feel safe. I want to stop mean kids from getting in fights,” Andrew added.

I was already getting choked up when Joseph spoke. “I joined because I want to be a friend mediator. But not just that, I want to expand our program, go deeper so we get at the cause of  problems. Because if we figure out what’s making kids do this maybe we can truly help them.”

Now I’m a real gush who gets teary just hearing a whimpering puppy, but this struck a deep cord. Ten and eleven-year-olds aware that the future was  in their hands?  And wanting to make a difference? I was blown away and so very proud.  These kids knew that if they didn’t do something to help their classmates, horrible things could happen.

My students come from all walks of life: from the most stable loving homes to severe abuse. But even those whose lives are easy see their peers’ pain.  They hear the stories of gangs, homelessness, and neglect. And they wanted to change that.  By becoming Student Council leaders they felt empowered. You could see in their hopeful faces that they truly believed  they could inspire others to kindness.

We kept going around the room until each child had a turn to share how the school should change.  Not a one asked for more cookies at lunch or to ban  homework. Instead each child shared how he or she would serve.

5th and 6th graders in service.  Kids are friggin’ beautiful.