For those of you out there that are educators, I know your life is hectic and even more so now with changes happening in education due to COVID-19. As a middle school teacher myself for the past 27 years, I also know that creating a new or supplemental curriculum, even in the best times can be incredibly time consuming, from where to start, how much to include, coming up with comprehensive questions at various levels, developing projects, making rubrics, and more. The list can go on and on.
On this site, under the Author Visits/Resources tab, I have included a full novel study for my first book, Going Green. My hope is that you can use this curriculum in an easy, efficient manner. It has been used for the past several years in middle schools and high schools both. Feel free to change/edit the items in any way that makes sense to you. Use as much or as little as you like. Download the book from my webpage in any form you need it (eBook, Mobi, or PDF). Pass it on to your students or have them download it from my site as well. Assign it as reading, with the worksheets and/or projects, give the test if you’d like - whatever works for you. (By the way, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the worksheet and test answer keys, or a copy of the full curriculum guide with the keys included in one document.)
When you finish, I’d love to meet virtually with you and your kids through Zoom. We can do it as many times as you need. I’m here for you. Teachers have to help teachers, and authors have to help kids. I can do both, so I will.
I had the privilege of hearing Richard Pack speak a few years ago. He said that today’s YA writers are writing the survival guides for tomorrow’s world. I believe that every novel a person reads should lead them to thinking about their own life, the choices they’ve made or may make. We all should be able to take something away from a good story to tuck away for a time when we need it. That might be today, or tomorrow, or years from now. Going Green is a story about choices and consequences, about true happiness and real fear, about racism and appreciation of differences, and about deciding who you truly are and what you believe. Set in the future, it allows us to look at and talk about "their problems" …until we realize how just similar our realities are.
One last thing, keep checking back. I am currently working on an assignment/project that looks at viruses and how they mutate, comparing COVID-19 to the PKPH virus in Going Green. When it is complete, I’ll post it here as well.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or anything you’d like to discuss. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Spring is in the air ...and so is the news of the release of an incredible new novel! Survivors' Club by M.K. Martin is available now for pre-order and will be released on April 17th. Check out my review:
Terrifyingly addictive, Survivors’ Club thrusts us into the complex lives of characters ranging from the dangerously cavalier to the dauntingly brilliant. Masterfully manipulating the view point from which the story is told, Martin leads us through unexpected confrontations and chillingly tense encounters that leave the characters, and the reader, breathless. Eager to begin his career with one of the leading biopharmaceutical corporations, geneticist Marius Tenartier quickly finds himself forced to contend with the early stages of a post-apocalyptic world, where deception and greed have plunged life as we know it into a series of horrifyingly shocking mutations. Filled with the shrieks, howls, moans, and wordless mumbles of the Infected, Survivors’ Club uncovers malevolent plans and subversive twists that lead us down a path littered with corpses, staggering toward an approaching doom. Get ready, because once you pick this novel up, you won’t be able to put it down!
Review for Djinn by Sang Kromah
With equal parts of excitement and apprehension, Djinn plunges us immediately into a fast-moving, fascinating YA coming-of-age fantasy. More than just a “good struggling against the darkness” confrontation, Kromah reveals relentless twists andshocking truths faced by beautifully flawed characters. In times when anxiety and confusion are part of the daily routine, we meet Bijou Fitzroy, an intense teen struggling with her own fractured identity. Determined to find her place at her new school and with her peers, Bijou, who desperately wants to be normal, realizes her connection to a strange old world, one that’s clashing her current life with an ancient prophecy, transforming her not-so-typical reality into an intense magical journey where finding her true, inner strength is crucial to saving those she loves. With irresistible appeal, Djinn reminds us of the importance of family and friends who will stand by our side through anything, regardless of the consequences!
A truly stunning coming of age fantasy tale – Staff of Fire and Bone is an epic account of friendship filled with imaginative characters and creatures. Azul’s amazing gift for description immerses us immediately in an intricately woven story where the corruption of power has bred sinister plots leading to prejudice and promises of exploitation. As Cedron’s story beautifully unfolds, we ache with his pain and hopelessness as he struggles to discover who he truly is and what is expected of him. In the face of overwhelming loss and uncertainty, Cedron must find a way to heal the land and restore the balance of power, even if it means sacrificing everything. From sinister demons and terrifying creatures to sacred stones and obelisk imps, Staff of Fire and Bone sweeps us away on an ever-shifting journey, reminding us of the importance of looking beyond someone’s race to appreciate the beauty, diversity, and power deep in all of us.
Here’s what we talked about in my classes at school today. But it's not just for kids - it's something for everyone to think about. Making a New Year’s resolution is fantastic, but make sure to set yourself up for success.
Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? And, probably more importantly, do you have a plan to achieve them? We make resolutions all the time, but most of the time we just call them GOALS! You can always know a good goal by how SMART it is. Is your goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely? If a goal is SMART, you have a better chance of sticking with it and then achieving it!
Whether they are personal or professional, take some time to check on your resolutions (goals) and make sure they are smart. It always feels great to look back at the end of the year and celebrate the goals you’ve achieved!
For me, as I looked back at 2017, I realized that I hadn’t read near as much as I had the previous year. This led me to one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2018.
New Year’s Resolution: I want to read more.
SMART Goal: Read 2 books each month of 2018
· Specific – a book (not a magazine or news article)
· Measurable – two books per month
· Achievable – set aside 30 minutes each day
· Realistic – 210 minutes per week = 840 minutes per month = 14 hours per month (I can definitely finish two books in 14 hours!)
· Timely – two books must be completed by the last day of each month, 24 books completed by December 31, 2018
Although I've heard many authors setting much higher numbers in regards to what they want to read this year, I feel like this goal is a smart goal for me. With teaching full time, editing Greener (book two in the Green series), writing another book, Back to Green (the third book in the Green series), helping my husband with our restaurant, being a wife and mother, and saving a little time to enjoy myself, I feel confident that I will achieve this New Year's resolution. And, we all know that the more you share a goal, the more you focus on it - so I will post on my blog a review of each of the books that I read this year!
Happy New Year!
For me that is. Maybe not for you. Probably not for you. Well, at least you’re an explorer, because you’re here, on my page, looking for something …exciting? Different? Fun? New?
I hope that you’ll find it here. What you’re looking for. That we can start a relationship. Something you’ll look forward to. Something I can be a part of.
Hi, by the way. I’m Heather. I’m a writer. Actually, I’m more of a story teller. Really I’d much rather talk to you than write to you, but that’s just not possible. So I’ll see what I can do here. To cultivate our connection.
Growing up, I had a super active imagination. Every book I read, every tale I heard, every TV show I watched, contributed another piece to the ever-changing story that played constantly in my head. As soon as I was old enough to step away from my parents, I was looking for a new adventure. I loved to perform, to sing, to dance, to capture an audience. And most of all, I loved stories.
I could be the listener or the teller, an active participant or a silent sponge, it didn’t matter. Words were magic, enchanting and mesmerizing. Words were power, transfixing and captivating. Words were freedom, exhilarating and liberating.
Even as a child, I loved to spin a tale. To weave the characters and facts and places and emotions throughout an intricate web that became my own little world. For a while, I was pretty sure that my mom was actually a secret circus performer at night (why else was it so important for my brother and sister and me to all be in bed and asleep by 8:30?) and that when my dad left “for work” during the day he fought giant monsters from other planets (he was super strong and could run on tall, metal stilts, and when he got home he was always filthy, covered in thick, white “mud,” or was it really alien blood?).
Most days, my brother and I would hike up the “mountain” behind our house, and build forts, holding off pirates, or Indians, or thieves. We hurdled quick sand (okay, cow pies), chased bandits (baby calves), ran for our lives from the cops (mama cows), and threw rocks at rattlesnakes (no, really, this one is true – it was northern Idaho). My brother was the best side kick ever because he always let me tell the story, let me narrate our adventure as it happened. Wild-eyed, mussed-up hair, dirty, and exhausted, we’d come back home when it started to get dark.
And I grew older, I began to understand the influence of being well-spoken. I could read a crowd, imagining what they would like, what would hold their attention, how they would react. I would draw from my imagination, from my thousands of stories, to make people laugh, to cry, to get angry, …to act. I realized that people can share a powerful, single vision guided by a beautifully told story.
As an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate the power of writing. It’s much harder than speaking. Creating that same strength of voice on paper that whips up a frenzy in a crowd. Or the softness of a gentle whisper shared with someone you love. Or that good laughter that makes you double over and hold your stomach because you just can’t stop. Or the tears that come when pain seeps in and overwhelms you. Authors that can make you feel emotions so forcefully that you feel like you’re not in control – anger, hatred, pity, sorrow, jealousy, fear …or entrance you in a special moment – a shared smile, a tender touch, a soft kiss – those are the incredible story tellers who change our lives.
That’s my hope. My desire. My dream. My goal. To become one of the story tellers who doesn’t have to say a word to speak to you. To influence you. To give you something beautiful that becomes a piece in the ever-changing story in your head.
I'm so excited to be sharing GOING GREEN with the world -
it's available online and in bookstores on March 21st!
GOING GREEN is a story set in the future when chloroplasts have been genetically modified and are used to enhance humans. It’s a book about choices and consequences, about true happiness and real fear, about racism and appreciation of differences, and about extreme opposing political views. Action. Drama. Humor. Love. Check out the Books page to read more about GOING GREEN!