The reviews for my upcoming middle-grade fantasy novel, Grace’s Ghosts, are starting to come in! It’s so exciting to find out what people think of the book!
I received a 5-Star rating from Wishing Shelf Reviews! I’m so flattered! I’ve pasted the review below.
Grace’s Ghosts is the spooky story of a girl who can see ghosts. In fact, her cat, Midnight, is a ghost too. In this delightful book for 9 – 13 year olds, the hero must find a way of helping all the ghosts in her small town. To do it, she must find a way of shattering a witch’s curse; and so the adventure begins! There are many, MANY aspects to this story that I enjoyed.
Firstly, it is excellently plotted with plenty of spooky twists and turns to keep children happy. There’s never a lull in this exciting adventure; and there are plenty of comic moments and tiny cliffhangers that children will enjoy. In terms of the genre, it reminded me a little of Tiffany Sparrow, Spook Slayer by Billy Bob Buttons. And also Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson.
I also enjoyed meeting many of the ghostly characters. The author seems determined for her young readers to understand all her characters – even the secondary – and, I must say, she’s very talented at it. At the end of this book, I felt I knew Grace so well. She’s a wonderful character to fall in love with! I like cats too so, for me, Midnight was the best. But all of them jump (pardon the pun) off the page and add much to the story.
Finally, there’s the writing style. It’s light with a good balance of speech and plot-driven narrative. Written in the first person, you really get to know the girl and what she is facing; and, trust me, she is facing a lot. All in all, this is a well-constructed story full of interesting characters and, also, a dilemma for the hero to unravel and overcome. I would recommend it to children who enjoy adventure with a spooky element to it.
-A Wishing Shelf Review
The book will release on 4/28/2020. Be sure to add it to your “to read” section on Goodreads.
I just love Halloween. My kids do, too. About this time every year, they start to get fidgety with excitement and all they want to do is talk about Halloween, make Halloween crafts, tell spooky stories, and draw pictures of their costumes. I always try to find a way to work Halloween fun into their school work to keep them happy and focused. I’m guessing my kids are not the only ones out there with this problem, so I thought I would share this list of Halloween writing prompts.
1.It’s October 30th and you don’t have a costume yet. You decide to check out an old costume rental shop with your best friend. When you ask the little old lady who runs the shop for a spooky costume, she brings you an amazingly realistic monster costume. But something does not seem right…
2.Your parents take you and your brother to a pumpkin patch. The drive takes over an hour. When you finally get there, you make a surprising discovery. Instead of pumpkins, something else is growing in the field. What is it? What do you do?
3. You wake up on Halloween and can’t find your family. You check your parents’ room. You check your sister’s room. You rush in and out of every room in the house and then check the front and back yard. The cars are here, but your family is gone. You go back inside and find three black cats sitting on the sofa. You don’t own any cats. What do you do next?
4. You’re trick-or-treating with your sister. For the first time ever, your parents let you go out without them. You’re so excited! After a few houses, you see something strange in the street. A crowd has gathered and in the middle of the huddle you see a ….
5. Your mom brings home the most embarrassing Halloween costume in the world. You hate it, but she loves it. She says it was really expensive. What do you do? Do you wear it? If so, how do people react when you do? If not, what do you tell your mom?
6. Your piano teacher is a very strange, but kind woman. Each week, during your lessons in her home, you notice that she isn’t quite like other people. One day, you take a wrong turn on the way to the bathroom and you find a room full of…
7. On Halloween night, you hear a knock at the door. Expecting trick-or-treaters, you grab a bowl of candy and open the door. But the figure on your porch isn’t a trick-or-treater. Or even a person…
8.At the end of your street is an old house that no one has lived in for a long, long time. Your neighbor, Eric, thinks the house is haunted. You don’t believe him, but one night, you see a light on in the old house. You decide to go investigate. What do you find?
9. You wake up one night to a rustling sound. Something is in your room! You listen and realize it’s under your bed! You peek under the bed and find…
10. It’s 11:00 pm on Halloween night and you’re fast asleep in bed when a noise wakes you. You turn over in bed to see four bats fluttering around your room. What happens next?
Our First Week of 2019
If I am going to be completely honest, our first family adventure of 2019 almost didn’t happen.
I had plans to visit a specific nature center Thursday or Friday. But it was raining Thursday and the forecast for the weekend was great. I decided to rearrange our plans to go on our adventure on Sunday. But then, on Friday I woke up with a cold. I spend Friday and Saturday feeling pretty awful. My throat felt like someone shoved a wire brush down it. My nose was clogged, and my head throbbed with every movement. But Sunday morning, I woke up and felt better.
But my six year old didn’t. My poor youngest son started feeling sick on Saturday and was not doing well Sunday. I thought about skipping this week. Or going on two adventures next week to make up for it. But here’s the thing. There will always be obstacles in the way of my goals. Skipping the first week was no way to start my challenge. Even if the whole family could not go, I knew I needed to start this challenge off right.
So I made the choice to visit a nature preserve closer to home with the older two kids. It’s been on my to-do list forever. And I am so glad we did!
Turnipseed Nature Preserve is beautiful! The 265 acre preserve is located in Wendell, NC, about 25 minutes from Raleigh. There are a few different trail options, but we took the Boulder Trail.
A sign at the beginning of the trail showed us how to spot signs of the wildlife that lives nearby. While we saw a few birds and squirrels, that was it for spotting wildlife. But we did see lots of beaver lodges and dams! The kids were so excited! Once, years ago, a friend of mine who works at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, WA gave us a private viewing of some animals, including a beaver. The kids loved the beaver and have continued to think that beavers are pretty cool animals ever since.
After observing the lodges and dams, we decided that we’d dedicate some time learning about beavers this week.
Even though our adventure was not what we planned, we had a great time. The kids are so excited to learn more about beavers, and they can’t wait to come back with their dad and little brother. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring!
I am already working on more free printables for hiking and learning about animals! If you’re interested in getting your hands on these free printables, be sure to follow my blog!
Have you started your own adventuring for 2019? Tell me about it in the comments!
Planning Can be Overwhelming!
When I decided to to embark on 52 adventures with my kids this year, I wondered if it was too much. It’s hard to plan so many day trips, hikes, road trips etc. Even though I was overwhelmed, I knew that I really wanted this- for my kids and for myself. I started googling and found so many resources that have helped me get started on my new journey. I’ve heard from some of you on social media. A few of you have expressed an interest in trying your own 52 Weeks of Adventure challenge! I am sharing some of my resources. Hopefully, they will inspire you!
When in Your State / Only in Your State
When in Your State has listings for each of the 50 US states. There are categories for everything from gardens, to waterfalls, to “haunted” places. Only in Your State has a very similar set up. Thse are great not only for finding fun places to visit nearby, but also for seeking out adventures when you’re on a a road trip.
Find a Park
The National Parks Service website will help you find a park, trail, battlefield, trail, or memorial near you! Better yet, if you have a fourth grader, all National Parks are free with the Every Kid in a Park program!
Museums USA has a database of museums in every state! There are subheadings for Zoos, Nature Centers, Planetariums, and more!
Macaroni Kid has listings for several cities. Each area is covered by a different publisher, so content varies from city to city. Many areas have great coverage and are full of info on day trips, local parks, events, and more!
January Adventure Planner
I have created a fun, free printable for anyone who signs up for my email list before 1/5/2019. It will help you plan your first month of adventures!
Sign up for my mailing list here for your free printable! Be sure to check your spam folders. It may take up to 24 hours for your free printable to arrive.
Do you have any resources you like to use to plan your roadschooling/adventures? Let me know about them in the comments!
The World is Our Classroom
As a homeschooling mom, I love to take my kids on adventures. We go on lots of day hikes. If we get the opportunity, we will hop in the car for a road trip or board an airplane for far-away destinations. We spend many days in museums, at festivals, or attending local performances. Our homeschool motto is “the world is our classroom.” We try very hard to make sure that we live by that idea.
We’d love to roadschool or worldschool full time, but it’s not possible at this point for our family. We have medically complicated kids and need to be near a home base regularly to meet their medical needs. We’ve made it a point to be sure that these medical complications don’t limit their experiences.
In 2018, we worked hard to expand our horizons and explore the world as much as possible.
We flew to Seattle twice. Our road trips took us to eight states. Our biggest trip of the year was my favorite to date; we flew to Saint Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Not all of our trips were big, of course. We visited the Botanical Gardens at Duke University, many local museums, and visited the Jamestown Settlement to learn about colonial history.
Adventure as a Way of Life
I truly believe that these experiences are vital to the growth and development of my kids. Children who spend time in nature will learn to value our planet. If kids see the world beyond their front door, they will understand diverse cultures and learn to respect then. Kids who are exposed to the arts will appreciate not only the beauty behind art, but the importance of art in our culture. Exposure to museums, zoos, and aquariums can bring science and history off of the page. My kids learn more from these experiences than they do from textbooks.
My Challenge for 2019
This year, my family will have fifty-two adventures. I will post an adventure every Sunday evening at 52familyadventures.com or you can just check out the home page of stepheniepeterson.com to find the newest posts. For the purpose of my challenge, an adventure can be as simple as a hike in the next town, or as grand as a trip to France. I mean, I don’t currently have plans to go to France this year, but who knows! If I did fly to France, I could use a trip to the Eiffel Tower as one adventure and exploring Norte-Dame another adventure. Because of this, though I will post one adventure a week, they might not be chronological. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates. I’ll be posting with the hashtag #52familyadventures so be sure to follow the hashtag too!
Do you want more adventure in your life? I’ll be posting tips, printables, and ideas to help you experience adventure with your family! I hope you’ll follow along as we dedicate 2019 to adventure!