#WeNeedDIverseBooks, Art, Books, Illustrators, poetry

Reading is the Best Way to Relax

pabloneruda_poetofthepeople      

      “A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic,” Carl Sagan 

The week has flown by, riddled with the everyday happenings, participating in the writing challenge of NaNoWriMo, and revising an old manuscript.

Like many of you (I’m assuming) I love to read: poetry, YA, Adult, and Children’s Books. I read during my down time, which is literally when I’m in bed, for an hour or two before I drift off to sleep.

I’ve read some extraordinary books lately: Jean Rhys “The Wide Sargasso Sea,” and Helena Viramontes’ novel, “Their Dogs Came With Them.”  Both five star books, IMHO. These highly emotive, descriptive books had an intensity to them that I loved, but that also exhausted me—in a good way.

Reading doesn’t just keep the mind sharp, possibly stave off Alzheimer’s, and help you sleep better (not if you read horror), but research says reading is the tops in relaxation. Really—they did studies. Here’s the conclusion from the UK-University of Sussex: 

Reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis.

Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles…it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.

Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, have a cup of tea of coffee lowered them by 54% , taking a walk by 42%, and video games, 21%. 

So today I was delighted to come across a children’s book I think I will enjoy. Maria Popova said this about the book she featured for the week:

I was instantly smitten with Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown, with absolutely stunning illustrations and hand-lettering by artist Julie Paschkis 

Go have a look at the gorgeously illustrated pages that Popova has on her website: Brain Pickings. The colors delight the eyes, the illustrations and words relax the body.

An instant chill pill.

I’ve added this book to my public library list, which has grown now to 10 books on hold.

So relax everyone. Take time out to enjoy your favorite activity to help you gather yourself together and take on the coming week.

Amazon Kindle, Books, Family, Inspiration, life lessons, Strong Women, Writing

Strong Women Grow Here-Free Excerpt

 

Strong Women Grow Here-Free excerpt on amazon.com-alvaradofrazier.com
Strong Women Grow Here-Free excerpt on amazon.com-alvaradofrazier.com*

Have you ever felt like you’ve been down for so long it’s hard to take that next step.

I know most of us have had those times. So it’s the little things that keep a smile on the face, and the eyes looking forward.

And sometimes, just sometimes, something comes along that puts the pep back in that step. Something BIG.  I’ve been doubly blessed, I have two BIG things:

My brother is now recuperating fairly well after a tortuously long operation and three week hospital stay. Care taking has been a little difficult for the past month, but it’s worth seeing the tiny progress each day.  I can’t go into detail, he’d been very cross with me, even though he doesn’t read blogs.

The other bright news is that Amazon announced their Quarterfinalists in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) 2014. 

Amazon capped the entries at 10,000 for five genres. In March , they whittled the entries down to 2,000. On April 14 they pared the submissions to 500 novels.

My heart thumped like a snare drum gearing up for the big game when I found out I made it to this round.  

From now until May 23, 2014, Publishers Weekly reviews each Quarter-Finalists’ full manuscript and scores it on prose, plot, hook, etc.

Amazon customers can download the 17 page excerpt to their Kindle, or  download a free Kindle reading app for IPhone, IPad, Mac, or Android.

When you click on the banner above, it will take you to my novel page, (that’s so exciting to say!)  and you will see an image on the right hand side that looks like this:

Look for this image to download a free Kindle reading application
Look for this image to download  app

Any customer (sign up is free) can download, rate, and review excerpts and/or provide feedback to Amazon Publishing Editors about submission.

You can read the reviews for Strong Women Grow Here and a two page excerpt here.

Customer reviews are important to me and I’d love to read any constructive feedback you have on the excerpt.

Semi-Finalists are announced on or about May 23, 2014.

Those lucky enough to be a finalist receive a publishing contract and a cash advance.

Amazon then creates a poll asking customers to vote for their favorite of the finalist’s excerpt. The one with the most votes wins a larger advance and Grand Prize.

What an adventure! Thanks for reading and I do hope you will take a few seconds to read the excerpt on my YA novel, Strong Women Grow Here.

 

*The image of the woman’s hands in chains comes from an art exhibit and was untitled. The artist name is Kelley Connelly.

 


Books, Latino Literature, Parenting

10 Reasons for Kids To Read Multicultural Books

Reading the World
Reading the World

Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Book Friday is over I can get back to the Multicultural Middle Grade and YA books I promised to list (just in time for Cyber Monday).

But first, let’s discuss the term Multicultural Literature.

A single book can be a mirror for some readers and a window for others”
—Rudine Sims Bishop, Ginny Moore Kruse

MC Lit is written by and about people of color. MC books are not only for “minorities” but for all people. The value you receive, or give, when buying MC books are many. 

  1. MC Lit reflects the diversity that already exists in society and your community.
  2. Presents people of different ethnicities which provides a more realistic picture to a child or teen.
  3. Readers gain an understanding of other cultures which enhance our interactions with others and can help kids develop empathy towards their peers.
  4. MC Lit opens the world to others by stimulating conversations about traditions, heritage, food and language. One of my favorites in this area is Gary Soto’s holiday classic :

    Too Many Tamales
    Too Many Tamales.
  5. Stories with a cultural backdrop (especially Picture Books) often use words in other languages with an English equivalent
  6. MC Lit can heighten a child’s global awareness especially when the books include historical or geographic details. 
  7. When kids grow up exposed to diverse cultures, people, and places they become more open to exploring.
  8. MC Lit can take us on global trips which enrich our experiences and understanding.
  9. Educator  Jaclyn DeForge, M.S states:
  • Students should have the opportunity to be exposed to both classic and contemporary literature as well as  nonfiction texts.
  • All students should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected back, as well as to be exposed to cultures and experiences that may differ from their own, in the literature and nonfiction texts we study.
  1. 10. For children from mainstream culture, multicultural books assist in teaching understanding which leads to cultural sensitivity. For children who are culturally diverse, the use of multicultural books assists in building a positive self-concept.

MC Books Every Teen Should Know” comes from the School of Education-University of Wisconsin.

Lee and Low (formerly Children’s Book Press) is dedicated to multicultural literature for kids and teens.

For award winning books on African American, American Indian, Middle Eastern literature please see this list.

Happy shopping.

 

A book is a gift you can open again and again-Garrison Keillor