Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: The Kindling by Braden Bell

When Conner Dell set's the school bully, Geoffrey's  gym shorts on fire by accident, he realizes strange powers inside of him have been ignited.  Things get stranger when Conner, Lexa, his sister and friend, Melissa, discover they are being stalked by a creep.

It is revealed to Conner, Lexa and Melissa that they are warriors of light or Magi whose powers have just Kindled. When other teens in the area disappear, the three of them discover that the forces of Dark are everywhere, trying to find those who are newly Kindled and capture them.

With the help of their teachers, who are also Magi, Conner, Lexa and Melanie must dodge the Dark forces. Their parents try to keep them from joining the powers of the Light and take them to Disneyland. Unfortunately, Conner is kidnapped. Lexa and Melissa are at risk as well. Through careful crafting and lots of action, the three must use their new powers to formulate an escape.

Braden Bell skillfully develops the magical realism in Middle School Magic: The Kindling,
coherently with enough action to keep the reader glued to the pages. A few minor pacing problems don't distract from the novel being a solid middle school reader. Recommended for middle school readers, ages 11-13, who like action adventure and magical realism.

Publishing Information
  • July 2012
  •  304 pages
  • Sweetwater Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-4621-1027-8
This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

**In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received the book at no charge from the publisher for review purposes only. No other compensation was received. My opinions are my own and not influenced by my receiving the book at no charge.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teaching Your Children Compassion and Service

I have always believed life's greatest lessons will never be found in a book. The ability to love, to give, and to feel, encompass the profound experiences that make life worth living. Instilling the values that touch lives can be the most important thing we ever teach our children. 

Almost two weeks ago, my 22 year-old daughter was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer. This hit our family hard and not just immediate family, but our extended family as well. The first question everybody asked was, "What can we do?" Feelings of helplessness were replaced with ideas and action. My sweet nephew got his mind thinking how expensive cancer treatments were going to be and knew he had to help. With the help of his brother, he formulated a plan and followed through. They were going to raise money to help with treatment. A trip to the dollar store yielded treats and popsicles which they would sell to raise money.

My nephews did not sit idly by and wait for the donations to come in. They waved down cars and told those who stopped what they were doing. They knocked on doors to drum up more business. In two hours they raised $100.00. A large sum for boys so young. When asked about the experience, my older nephew proclaimed, "I knew I was doing the right thing when I got goose bumps."

How did these boys know what exactly was the right thing? They have been taught at their mother's knee. When neighbors and family members are sick, they are asked to help their mom take meals. When they suffered illness in their own family, they watched as friends and family brought them meals and gifts.        They have been taught that what goes around, comes around in a good way.

When all was over, the awesome boys got to see the fruit of the labor by presenting their precious gift to their cousin, my beautiful daughter. She has received a lot of love and support as well as numerous gifts, but her cousin's unselfish act touched us all in ways we can not express.

How can we teach our children compassion and service. These are some of the things that have worked for  our family.

  • Talk about how others feel when they experience trials.
  • Encourage children to find the good things about others instead of the bad.
  • Involve your children in acts of service. If you make a meal for a neighbor, have them go with you to deliver it.
  • If your children aren't too young, take them to volunteer at a soup kitchen, a community event, neighborhood clean up, etc.
  • Have them apologize verbally or through a letter when they have been mean to others.
  • Never rationalize or let your child rationalize mean behavior.
  • Praise them when they do nice things. 
  • Lead by example. When they see you performing kind acts, they will mirror your actions.

Thank you Austin and Cody. You have reminded me to appreciate life's great lessons.  Your compassion and love has strengthened me and your cousin, Kalina. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.