Let’s Not Forget-Nothing can Replace a Great Teacher


Recently, I read an article in Education Week. Written by a high school teacher in Florida, it reminds teachers that children, in this case, teenagers, aren’t any different today. They still need emotional support. The article also reminds teachers of this.

Initially, I thought no reminder is needed, that teachers naturally exercise this power, daily. However, upon a little bit more reflection, I remembered what most high school classrooms are like. I taught at this level for five years.

I was bombarded by student- apathy on a daily basis. I worked with students that appeared to care less about taking responsibility for their learning and often seemed to not have the slightest clue about life beyond high school.

Then I recalled glimpses, moments of truth about these young people about to enter adult life. Moments appeared- revelations of fear and hope, of passion and sadness, of confusion and loneliness, of dreams. They were more than many showed. They weren’t that much different than me.  Something different needed to happen, something on my part, a catalyst that opened their pod- people-shells, like the post-it note in the article.

Teachers are bombarded nowadays. They hear and see threats everywhere, threats like punitive evaluations, and messages of failing schools, the need for high-stakes testing. So many negative headlines. Survival is the norm now. It’s easy to lose sight that teaching remains one of the few front-lines that still holds profound possibilities.

Hang in there Teachers!

You’re are some of the most talented and righteous people on this planet!

You have to be!

Teaching is also one of the hardest jobs on this planet!

And nothing can replace you!

Don’t Overlook the Power of Realistic Fiction Books for Boys

Realistic fiction that may be slower moving, especially for reluctant
readers or for boys and boy teens can be powerful only if some ground work is successful first.

isThere isn’t a phone or tablet app created that has the power of an amazing book!!!!!!!!!!! This is the message!

But publishers now believe more and more kids, especially boys, won’t read slower moving books for enjoyment, no matter the age. You know the whole mild-crack brain phenomenon.

I think crack-brain from smartphones isn’t really the problem, though.  My writing style is fast, humor and tension filled with somewhat straight- forward plots, however, some of my favorite books as a boy and teen unfolded slower, but I’m glad I stuck with them (A Wrinkle in Time, Treasure Island, The Outsiders). The first two aren’t realistic fiction, but they set me up for truly enjoying The Outsiders.
I had read some great faster moving, high – interest books that helped ready me for books like A Wrinkle in Time and Treasure Island as a 4th-5th grader, and eventually The Outsiders as a ninth grader.

I think once a child sees the value in reading he/she will see the payoff.

Stage One Books:

1. hook them by whatever means (action-driven, humor, adventure-driven, character-driven, illustration-heavy, nonfiction, sci-fi, horror)

SO, I WRITE STAGE 1 STUFF, mostly:)  See why I choose to write Stage One Stuff by clicking here!

Stage Two:
2. introduce them to other forms of literature (try realistic fiction that may be longer with more plot and character development, with quality literary devices once you have them by using stage one stuff:)
I know it’s harder than this sounds, but can be done.

Thanks for reading!!!

How To Books for Children in the Age of YouTube



My 13 –year- old son may qualify as a child who is a reluctant reader. Like many boys, though, he will read nonfiction if he knows he will gain something he’s after. Finding the source and the time and effort required after it’s found is the investment that keeps him from seeking sources like how to books for children when he’s interested in learning more about topics he likes, like golf or fishing. Why? Because something called, YouTube exists!


Living in this Age of Fast and Easy

We have phones, we have tablets, and we have Google and YouTube! YouTube, for example, is visual and engaging. It’s incredibly easy to access.  Why would anyone, including children, expend a great deal of effort searching for a how to book when you have this thing called, YouTube.  Think of the awful work. You’d have to order the thing. You may even need to leave the house to acquire the thing.


YouTube vs. How To Books for Children

YouTube is the symbol of our Path to Least Resistance Society. YouTube is fast, easy, visual, and engaging content curated for everyone, and best of all…no reading! Yayyy!


Sarcasm Detected in the Above Text!

Learning via YouTube feels easy to children, easier than reading. Easier is the way! Everything is so easy now!


I find it interesting that easy sounds a lot like lazy.

Books currently relegate to the not so easy category. Anything older or free from easy enhanced technology falls into this category.  This is why physical books may not exist in the near future, truly.


The Death of How To Books for Children-YouTube

I have a love/hate relationship with YouTube. I love that I can spend far less time learning something of interest as opposed to the time it takes to find a How To Book on Amazon or at the library, or at a bookstore.

However, nothing on YouTube compares to the learning depth offered by a good book. Opportunities for learning more in depth from reading engaging and challenging text are waning due to path of least resistance technology, like YouTube.

The lack of interest in how to books for adults caused by YouTube may not have far reaching negative effects, but what about our younger people who are learning to read? What effects will technology like YouTube have on children: now and in the future. I believe that using YouTube as a substitute for reading implicitly teaches that reading for information isn’t necessary, is too difficult, too inaccessible, too remote, just too boring.

Push How To Books for Children
Good how to books for children reinforce the kind of quality in-depth learning that online videos can’t. Good how to books for children provide opportunities for the type of learning necessary for genuine, practical improvement in doing anything. Reading will always be better than video. We need to teach this idea to our younger people.

Awards for Indie Authors-Don’t overlook Their Potential


I’ve read an article from the Society of Children’s Writer’s and Book Illustrators, of which I’m a member, that voiced opinion about some awards for indie authors, and steered indie authors away from indie awards.

The SCWBI is an organization that has many traditionally and indie published authors as members and as influencers. The SCWBI is a strong organization. I think it helps children’s writers like no other organization.

However, I did read some advice posted in their periodical that steered indie authors away from most awards for indie authors using criteria that seemed general at best. The article seemed to lump the majority of awards for indie authors into one pile that Predators and Editors would label as scammers for this reason or that. But, I did not find the National Indie Excellence Awards flagged by any site on the internet.

My experience with the National Indie Excellence Awards has nothing but improved my credibility as an author and helped my sales for Jack’s Tales, as it was a Finalist in the Children’s Chapter Book Category in 2015.

This is an article that ranks the National Indie Excellence Awards as a top ten Indie Author award: 

If you are an Indie Author, certainly enter award competitions only after some research and comparative analysis. As an Indie Author, don’t let anyone put you in a category without reading your book objectively first. I think this happens to authors and competitions alike.