Dog Stories for Young Kids

You may have detected my obsession with canine stories. *smiles* If you share my love for them, here’s a couple of adorable tales for younger children. This here is Pupunzel, a retelling of Rapunzel for emerging readers.

Like Rapunzel, this cute golden pup has super long hair and is stuck in a tower. I do wonder why Pupunzel doesn’t chew her hair off and make a rope out of it. Then she can escape the tower that way. Maybe only scissors and razors can easily cut dog fur, and hers would be a lot of fur to chew through.

You may remember my review on Laika: Astronaut Dog. It’s based on the story of Laika, the first dog to orbit Earth. If you haven’t read the review, you can read it through this link, but be warned. I do share the sad ending of Laika’s real story and explain how the retelling’s ending does her story a disservice.

But here’s a happier story about dogs who went into space.

The following link is Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud’s reading of Dogs in Space, the story of Belka and Strelka. And she’s joined by her adorable canine puppet, Jones.   


Exciting Adventures for Middle Graders

Looking for an adventure story for your 8 to 12-year-olds? Try S.D. Smith’s The Green Ember series. I’ve only listened to the first audiobook of the series, and it was great. It can be compared to the Redwall series.

You can download the first audiobook for FREE when you sign up for S.D. Smith’s newsletter, where he shares news, giveaways, printables, and art created by kids.

And he has an exciting new book coming out, which he cowrote with his son. It’ll be available for pre-order October 4. To learn more, check out the following link (and the book trailer is awesome!).


Why I Read More Kids’ Books Than YA Books: A Casual Conversation Post — Words

Note: I shared this post from Kaley Kriesel’s blog Words.

Read on to find encouragement if you’ve ever felt silly for reading kids’ books as an adult or teen. Or even for writing more children’s stories than YA stories. I myself dabble in YA writing here and there, but I’ll probably be writing more children’s stories than YA. 😉

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post will be pretty casual since I’d like to just have a sort of conversation with you, and first up on the agenda is an explanation as to why I just called you warriors and why I’m going to keep it up. Ready? *makes a cup […]

Why I Read More Kids’ Books Than YA Books: A Casual Conversation Post — Words

More Homeschooling Materials for Language Arts

Looking for homeschooling lessons that have students study the classics? Try out Teachers Pay Teachers. Yes, they offer lessons for homeschoolers, too. Lessons list their appropriate grade levels. They include novel studies, comprehension bundles, study guides, read-alongs, and so on.

You can study classics like…


Treasure Island

Robin Hood

Anne of Green Gables

Peter Pan

and more

Click on the button below to see samples of lessons for Call of the Wild by Jack London. Topics include…

dogs vs. wolves

Jack London himself

the Klondike Gold Rush

dog sled history


Fiction Illuminates Truth – Author Interview with Courtney M. Whitaker — M Liz Boyle

You may have known that I’ve written reviews of kids’ picture books, but I do keep my eye out for great middle grade and young adult books. Here is M Liz Boyle interviewing middle grade and young adult author Courtney M. Whitaker. Here they discuss how fiction can show characters shining their light in the darkness and even help us have empathy toward the hurting.

Please welcome Christian YA author Courtney M. Whitaker to the blog today! Courtney’s first novel, Faith Under Pressure, released in July (hip hip hooray!), and she’s in the throes of grad school and another writing project, so I’m glad she made time for an interview 🙂 LB: In Faith Under Pressure, lifelong missionary kid Katie moves […]

Fiction Illuminates Truth – Author Interview with Courtney M. Whitaker — M Liz Boyle

Literacy Lessons for Homeschool

The new school year is just around the corner (or maybe it has already arrived for you).

Are you looking for ways to have your children analyze their favorite books? University of Cincinnati Speech and Hearing Clinic has a YouTube channel that reads books and teaches lessons related to the books.

This here is Little Wolf’s Song by Britta Teckentrup. When you click on the link, it’ll take you to UC’s video where they read the story and teach children synonyms and antonyms of the words in the book.

Fun Fact: I wrote a review of this book on Jennifer Hallmark’s blog. Check it out on the following link:

Here is an old Disney book, Peter Pan and Wendy, where UC teaches how to compare and differentiate the characters.

For more homeschooling curriculum ideas, check out my post on K.A. Cummins’ teaching materials. Happy New School Year, everyone!


The Importance of Fiction in a Christian’s Life by Teen Writers’ Nook — M Liz Boyle

Is your teen a reader? If so, awesome! This post, re-blogged from M Liz Boyle’s blog, shows the benefits a teen can gain from reading.

This post is also a reminder for us writers to incorporate these benefits into our stories.

Today I have the privilege of introducing Teen Writers’ Nook to the blog. Let’s see what these creative sisters have to say about the importance of fiction in a Christian’s life! Heya, readers!! Huge shout out to Liz for letting us borrow her blog for this post!! We’re SUPER excited to be here. So who […]

The Importance of Fiction in a Christian’s Life by Teen Writers’ Nook — M Liz Boyle

A Feathery Book Review and a New Puppy!

Hi, all.

A new book review, written by yours truly, is posted on Jennifer Hallmark’s blog. It’s Birds of the Air by S.E.M. Ishida. You may recognize Ishida’s name, as I re-blog some of her posts here on this site. And here’s a fun fact: she and I used to be in the same writing critique group.

If you haven’t seen my updated bio yet, here’s what happened in my life. I now have a cockapoo puppy! His name is Benny, and he is a much-needed playmate for my hyperactive Corgi, Maggie. And he’s a sweet cuddle-bug for me. 🙂

Take a look at my four-legged cuties! It looks like they’re planning something, huh?

Hmm…what mischief can we make today?

Book Review — The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Looking for books for teen girls? Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings would be the choice for you. I’ve listened to the audiobook version of The Merchant’s Daughter (a Beauty and the Beast retelling). It is a beautiful story, and Jude Mason does a wonderful job narrating it. I read “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” a long time ago, and I find it unique that the heroine is Odette and Robin Hood rolled into one.

Here is Lou Allen’s review of Dickerson’s retelling of Cinderella.

Lou Allen - Christian Faith and Fiction

I just finished reading The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson.


Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten—the boy she has daydreamed about for years—and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.”


I would rank this book as one of my favourite in this series so far. I enjoyed the references…

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Writing Chapter Books by CAYUGA ISLAND KIDS Author Judy Bradbury

Hi, fellow writers!

Are you looking for tips on how to write a chapter book for seven to ten-year-olds? That is, kids who are moving beyond picture books yet are not quite ready for in-depth novels? Children’s author Judy Bradbury shares what goes into a chapter book for younger children on Tara Lazar’s site, which I’m reblogging here.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Judy Bradbury

Thanks, Tara, for inviting me to your blog space to offer a few tips on writing chapter books! I’m honored to be here.

A bit of background: THE CAYUGA ISLAND KIDS is chapter books series is contemporary fiction featuring five diverse friends who embark on backyard adventures, solve mysteries, and grow as a result of their experiences. The kids are resourceful, kind-hearted “fact detectives” who use their varied interests, their smarts, kindness, and humor to overcome hurdles and solve problems. Above all, these are kids who value friendship and community. The stories feature history, community service, respect for the environment, brainstorming, teamwork, misinformation, disinformation, and the importance of gathering all the facts—from more than one source—when tackling a problem, seeking a solution, and before landing on an opinion or drawing a conclusion.


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Trying to Get Your Kids to Read?

Are you looking for ways to get kids reading during the summer? Children’s author Diane Davies has tips on encouraging young people to read⁠she has experience with teaching, after all. Click on the bottom link to access ways to have kids get access to books while being adventurous and having fun.

Below are books Davies has written. Look at the vibrant colors in the covers!


The Importance of Writing for Yourself

Do you write for personal enjoyment while wanting to be published one day?

If you’re working towards publication, you may know the pressure in pleasing your future readers. If you’re wishing to find freedom from this pressure—or at least some of the pressure—author S.E.M. Ishida illustrates how you can write for personal enjoyment while still aiming for publication.

S. E. M. Ishida

I don’t think I realized until recently how important it is to write for yourself. Let’s face it—writing and publishing can feel like work. You close your day job laptop and open your personal laptop to reply to an editor’s email and post to your author social media accounts. Then there’s writing a new manuscript or editing an existing draft. It’s all part of a dream coming true, but it’s still work.

What doesn’t feel so much like work? Giving yourself a place to play. To be cheesy, even cringey. To ramble to an extent that would bore anyone but yourself. The kind of writing for yourself that I’m talking about here is like singing in the shower. No one’s listening, and that is a beautiful thing.

When I write with the intention to publish, I want to write a story that I’d like to read, but publishing means keeping…

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The Purpose of Fiction in Real Life – Guest Post by Shalynn Mellerup — M Liz Boyle

The following post is from M. Liz Boyle’s website. Enjoy reading about the benefits of fiction by Shalynn Mellerup, and be sure to check out her picture books.

With all the worthwhile non-fiction available, do we really need fiction stories? Today we’re welcoming my friend Shalynn Mellerup to the blog! Read on to see her thoughts on the importance of fiction. I’ve always considered myself to be an optimistic person. I want to be the kind of person who smiles in the rain […]

The Purpose of Fiction in Real Life – Guest Post by Shalynn Mellerup — M Liz Boyle

Last Chance to Win a Book


Tomorrow at 12:00pm MDT is the last day to post your lava-themed posting to “The Floor is Lava” game. If you haven’t joined the group “The floor is lava, come play” on MeWe yet, do so right now and make your posting there. For the rules, click on the following button:

If your posting receives the most likes and shares, you will win a free copy of the young adult novella Toothbreaker by M.H. Elrich. Have fun!


“The Floor is Lava” Game Ending June 4


This Saturday is the last day to post your lava-themed posts on MeWe’s group “The floor is lava, come play.” Keep your posts family-friendly and lava-related, whether they’re science posts, lava cake recipes, lava-themed art, or funny memes surrounding the childhood game “The Floor is Lava.” Post by 12:00pm MDT on June 4 for a chance to win M.H. Elrich’s young adult novella Toothbreaker.

For game rules and the summary of Toothbreaker, click on this link:


Books About Spiritual Warfare for Middle Graders

Are you looking for a middle grade novel or series that features kids facing spiritual warfare head-on? Allen Brokken’s books Light of Mine and Still Small Voice are out on Amazon’s Audible Audiobook. They’re books one and two of Brokken’s Towers of Light middle grade series, and books three and four are available in Kindle and paperback form.

Looking for more middle grade books? Coming May 26 on Facebook, Brokken will host the Still Small Voice Audiobook and Unit Study Launch Party. It’s open to both Facebook and non-Facebook users, and it includes a giveaway of the following prizes:

Christian Middle Grade Author
Summer Reading Bundle:
* Melanie on the Move by J.D. Rempel
* The Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy by K.A. Cummins
* An Echo of the Fae by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt – Author
* Light of Mine by Allen Brokken – Author
* Vincent in Wonderland by CE White Books
* Diana Alderoot and the Gilded Mage by Trista Shaye
* Wolf Soldier by James Hannibal
* Iggy and Oz and the Plastic Dinos of Doom by JJ Johnson
* An Unexpected Adventure: Myth Coast Adventures, Book 1 by Kandi J Wyatt

3 – Light of Mine Audio Book Codes for Audible.com

Towers of Light Series Boxed Set
* Light of Mine – Do Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan have the faith to take up the armor of God and protect the Tower of Light from the forces of the Dark One?
* Still Small Voice – As defenders of the light, Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan embark on a journey to stop the dark forces invading their land.
* Fear No Evil – Will the darkness overtake Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan? Or will they prove their faith is stronger and that they fear no evil?
* Armor of God – Their Father has become the Dark One’s Champion. Can Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan retrieve the Lost Armor of God to stand against him?
* Access to download the Light of Mine digital 4-week Unit Study

10 – Armor of God Posters

To learn more about this giveaway, go to the following link:


On MeWe? I’m Still Hosting the Game “The Floor is Lava”

Join the group “The floor is lava, come play” and escape the lava with me!

Post a funny meme of a person or animal keeping their feet off the floor, or post a link to science facts about volcanos, books about volcanos, or even lava cake recipes. Just be sure they’re family friendly, please.

Then like, share, or comment on your favorite posts. The post that receives the most responses by June 4 at 12:00pm MST will win a copy of M.H. Elrich’s Toothbreaker. It’s an amazing story involving people with special talents, wolf companions, forgiveness, and redemption. The following link gives a summary of the book.

Post as many posts as you want. I already made posts for examples (like the one below), but I’m exempt from the game. 



Fight Dragons by Reading Fiction

Did you know that reading good, God-glorifying fiction can allow spiritual truths to resonate clearly, or even point out the seriousness of sin in our lives? Kelly Keller shows how that can be in her article, “On Christians Reading Fiction: Stealing Past Watchful Dragons.”


The Importance of Fiction by JPC Allen — M Liz Boyle

Today I’m excited to have my author friend JPC Allen on the blog discussing fiction. Let’s get to it 🙂 Sometimes, when you are too close to a subject, it’s hard to describe or appreciate it. When Liz asked me to write a guest post about the importance of fiction, the request stopped me cold. […]

The Importance of Fiction by JPC Allen — M Liz Boyle

“The Floor Is Lava” Game is on MeWe Again

I’m hosting “The Floor Is Lava” game on MeWe again! If you’re on MeWe, join the group “The floor is lava, come play!” and join the fun.

Here’s how the game works. Post a funny meme of a person or animal keeping their feet off the floor, or post a link to science facts about volcanos, books about volcanos, or even lava cake recipes. Just be sure they’re family friendly, please.

Then like, share, or comment on your favorite posts. The post that receives the most responses by June 4 at 12:00pm MST will win a free copy of M.H. Elrich’s Toothbreaker. It’s an amazing story involving people with special talents, wolf companions, forgiveness, and redemption. The following link gives a summary of the book.

Post as many posts as you want. I’ll post a few on MeWe for inspiration, but I’m exempt from the game. 😉

Most importantly, HAVE FUN!


Japanese Poetry

You’ve probably heard of a haiku, but have you heard of a style of poetry called the tanka? The following is an introduction to haikus and tankas by Joseph Ficor.

Starship Chi-Rho Studio

Japanese poetry is very unique. It does not depend on rhyming as much as Western poetry forms. I enjoy this because I am not very good at rhyming to begin with.

The two styles that I like experimenting with are the haiku and the tanka. The haiku is composed of three lines with a syllable count of 5-7-5 for a total of 17 syllables. It must contain a seasonal word. Otherwise, it is called a senryu. I have used it as a tool to write science fiction haiku, aka scifaiku.

Here is an example of one that I wrote several years ago:

Black haired girls
Riding on red black hoverbikes
Travel New Tokaido

Tanka is similar except that it has a longer syllable count: 5-7-5-7-7.

Here is an example that I composed just for this blog (don’t you just feel so special inside?):

I feel bitter now
Circling a black…

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Writing Tips From Kevin Lovegreen

Are you hoping to write your own middle grade novel but don’t want to create bland scenes? These tips by Kevin Lovegreen will give you the basics on how to create vivid descriptions of your characters’ world.

M Liz Boyle

If you are (or know) a reader of middle-grade adventure stories, you’re probably familiar with award winning author Kevin Lovegreen. His series, Lucky Luke’s Hunting Adventures, is a big hit among the families in our neighborhood.

Lovegreen gives presentations to promote the love of reading, writing, and the outdoors. I’m so happy that he agreed to contribute a blog post with some pointers for youth who dream of becoming an author (or simply passing Language Arts).

Take it away, Kevin!

“think about painting pictures with your words”

Do you want to become a better writer?

If you’re looking for some advice on becoming a better writer, think like a painter. What!? Yep, think about painting pictures with your words. As you are writing, and more importantly, when you go back and edit your writing, try to be as descriptive as possible. Remember, you are always writing to two…

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Be Gritty? Or Be Optimistic?

It’s good to be realistic about how corrupt our world is. But how realistic is too realistic, particularly when it comes to writing stories? Should we be as gritty as today’s news and reveal all the world’s evils? Or be the opposite extreme, too optimistic?

My book review on Laika: Astronaut Dog shows a book giving a tragic historical story a happy ending, even though that ending never happened. I do address the problem of cleaning up history for the sake of avoiding its upsetting elements.

Hannah Mae discusses the dilemma of being too gritty or too upbeat on her FlyingFaith Talks! She shows how the Bible and being ministry-minded guide us on finding that balance.


New Book Review: Fluffy Fox and The Little Turtle

I wrote another book review for Jennifer Hallmark’s blog! This time, it’s about a fox with a big problem but helps someone else in the midst of it. What is this fox’s problem? Hint: it has to do with her tail.


Short Stories, Please

Looking for a quick read for your young children? Try “Children’s Adventure Stories by James Reeves.” It’s a Facebook Page that’s open to the public, and it’s loaded with short stories along with colorful and fun illustrations.

Story Warren also has short stories for kids, and I just read a clever one called “TellUsClope.” It’s about a giraffe who wishes for a short neck but later learns that a long neck does have a benefit. Want to know what that benefit is? Read more by clicking on the following link:


Write Truth. Don’t Preach.

When writing a story, have you ever added a quick Gospel message in a way that seems forced? For example, out of the blue you have added something like, “Your brother gave his life for you, just like Christ would have done.” I’ve been guilty of that. But fiction writers are meant to write stories that both entertain and have readers think deeply, not create stories that might as well be PSAs. But how can we do that and bring glory to God as well as shine light to a dark world?

Hannah Mae shares what writing Biblical truth looks like without having to turn your story into a sermon. Click on the link at the bottom to access her podcast, FlyingFaith Talks! There you will find the title, “Averting Over-Preachiness.”


“The Floor Is Lava” Game is Ending Tomorrow

Have you joined the group “The floor is lava, come play” on MeWe yet? You may want to join now, as this lava-ish game is ending TOMORROW at 12:00pm MST! There, you can post anything lava-related, like a video, a science article, or a funny meme involving lava (Keep it family-friendly, please.). A lot of posts have been put up in this group, so use them as your inspiration, and be sure to comment/like them as well. Whoever receives the most likes and comments on their posting will win a free autographed copy of C.E. White’s book When Your Dragon is Too Big for a Bath: An Adventure in Prayer.


Giveaway Ending This Saturday!

TWO-AND-A-HALF DAYS until the end of the giveaway! If you have a lava science article, a meme of somebody trying to cross real or imagined lava, or even a lava-themed craft or recipe, join the group “The floor is lava, come play” on MeWe and post it by SATURDAY at 12:00pm MST.

Don’t forget to like/comment on other people’s postings, too. Whoever receives the most responses will win a free autographed copy of C.E. White’s When Your Dragon is Too Big for a Bath: An Adventure in Prayer.


Lava Game Is Still Going On…Until February 26

Hi, everyone!

There’s still time to play “The floor is lava” on MeWe. But this week, I’m allowing players to post not only memes but also lava-related books and articles. For example, you can post a science article about lava or a kid’s book about lava. And if you happen to find a lava cake recipe, post it up there, too (yum!). Just join the group “The floor is lava, come play.”

Whoever receives the most responses by February 26 at 12:00pm MST will win a free autographed copy of C.E. White’s When Your Dragon is Too Big for a Bath: An Adventure in Prayer. Imagine having a dragon as adorable as this dragon? 😁