Summer Reading List for Strong Girls

 

Most parents and teachers want to be sure that kids keep reading all summer long. Experts say that kids should read every day to maintain their reading skills learned in the previous school year. The summer is a great time to explore books that kids would not get the chance to read during the school year. For moms of girls, it’s a great time to introduce some strong female protagonists. It’s so important for girls to have great role models in media.

Check out this summer reading list to inspire strong girls. This list is aimed at independent elementary-aged readers, but many of these books make wonderful read-alouds for younger readers as well.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda was one of my favorite books as child. I was so excited when I first got to share it with my own daughter. Matilda is smart, strong, and loves to read. This fun story appeals to both girls and boys alike and has captured children’s hearts for decades.

Nellie Nova series by Stephenie Peterson

I wrote Nellie Nova Takes Flight and Nellie Nova’s Summer on the Run because I wanted to inspire girls.

Nellie appears to be a normal nine year old girl. But Nellie is not normal. Nellie is an amazingly gifted scientist who lives in a family of amazingly gifted scientists. One day, her brother, Niles, who is eleven, teases her, as all respectable big brothers do. This time, however, Niles goes too far when he tells Nellie that girls are silly and no woman has ever changed the world. This sets off a spark of an idea in Nellie’s most amazing mind and sends her down the path to create a time machine and meet wonderful women who made a mark on the world. First stop, Amelia Earhart! With a few bumps along the way and a government agency out to steal her technology, Nellie and Niles are in for an incredible adventure!

In the second book, Nellie and her brother go on to meet Sacagawea and reporter Nellie Bly, but not without more trouble from those pesky government agents.

 

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

 

I love Pippi! A little bit wild and always full of adventure, Pippi Longstocking is fiercely independent, brave, and owns a monkey. Pippi Longstocking is a great summer read for girls of all ages. I might just re-read it myself this summer.

 

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

My nine year old wants nothing more than to be a spy right now. Harriet the Spy was a favorite of mine as a child and I can’t wait for my daughter to read it this summer. Harriet is an aspiring writer who meticulously writes about everything going on around her. When her classmates find her notebook, she’s faced with questions about honesty and friendship.

 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

I read this book over and over again as a child. Anne was my favorite literary character for a long time. Her ever-optimistic character always inspired me to look on the bright side, and her rebellious streak reminded me never to settle. It’s the perfect summer read!

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This is the kind of book that sticks with you! My kids and I listened to the audiobook version of it and we all felt like we’d lost a friend when it ended. All of the characters are lovable, but Luna is such a fine example of a strong girl. Full of magic, mystery, and a tiny dragon, it’s just the kind of a book your daughter will love on her summer reading list.

I hope you enjoy this summer reading list for strong girls. Did I miss any books that you love?

Nellie Nova Giveaway!

Just Add Coffee- The Homeschool Coupon Mom is hosting a giveaway of either Nellie Nova book on her blog! Check it out and you might win your own copy of Nellie Nova! While you’re at it, check out the site! It’s fun and informative!  There’s also a review of both Nellie Nova books, so you can learn more about the series and just how much kids love Nellie!

Who doesn’t love a giveaway? I know I do! Click the image below to see the details! Find out more about Alison and her great blog on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

For Educators, Homeschool Groups, or Book Clubs

If you are interested in using the Nellie Nova series in your  classroom, homeschool group, or book club, please contact me at stephie.peterson@live.com. I am happy to provide a discount for orders of 20 or more books. I  also can provide a special educator’s guide to accompany Nellie Nova Takes Flight free of charge with a bulk order. The guide contains more information about the science and history concepts in the book as well as art, science, writing, and history activities for kids.

I love visiting schools and homeschool groups. If your school or group is within two hours of Raleigh, North Carolina, I would love to come do a reading for your students. I can also do Skype presentations for those outside of my driving range.

I love hearing from educators. I’d love to hear more about how your schools or groups are using Nellie Nova.

 

 

 

Black Friday/ Cyber Monday Book Deal

If you’ve been thinking about buying some Nellie Nova books for kids in your life, now is a great time! Use code GIFTBOOK17 on amazon.com to take $5 off any book order over $20. Can be used with any combination of books.

 

Happy shopping, book lovers!

 

Coming Soon! Nellie Nova’s Summer on the Run

I am so excited to share a bit about my latest project with you!

Fans of “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” have been patiently waiting for more adventures with Nellie and Niles. I am happy to say that the wait is almost over! I am currently working with an illustrator and editor to make my book shine. It should be ready by the end of the summer!

I will share more about the book and the Nova kids’ wild summer tomorrow. For now. I’ll just say that they travel in time to meet Sacajawea and reporter Nellie Bly, and spend a lot of time trying escape pesky government agents who won’t give up their quest to steal the time machine.

Check out these illustrations by artist Jo Painter. Nellie and Niles have an amazing adventure ahead of them!

Introducing Nellie’s Girls

introducing-nellies-girlsIn the months since “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” was released, I have had the privilege of traveling to schools, museums, camps and homeschool groups to do readings of my book. I have met some truly amazing kids. These kids have inspired me to start a new feature on the blog: Nellie’s Girls. 

Once a month, I will feature a girl who reminds me of Nellie Nova. A girl who is smart. A girl who is strong. A girl who won’t give up. A girl who won’t let archaic ideas about what little girls are supposed to do get in her way.  The girl will get to be interviewed by me, be featured on the blog and will get a signed copy of my book as well as a commemorative certificate.

Do you know a girl who loves science? A girl who raises money for a charity she loves? Maybe a girl who plays football? Is there a girl in  your life who has inspired you? If so, tell me about her!

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How to nominate a girl you love:

Send me an email at stephie.peterson@live.com and tell me all about her. Please include 1-5 pictures of your nominee. If possible, please include pictures of her participating in the activity you find inspirational. If she is chosen, I will conduct an interview via email or phone and post it here on the blog.

*parental permission required. 

Finding Hope in Children’s Literature

I think I write for kids because there is a certain authenticity that we can have with children that is harder to accomplish with adults. Kids are not carrying the baggage adults carry. Kids don’t need to pretend that their little hearts are not soft in order to make it through their days. When you are a child, your heart and mind are more willing to soak up all of the goodness books can pour out. I think this is why children’s literature sticks with us throughout our adult lives and is why, years later, our hearts can be healed by simple words.

I don’t know about you, but with all of the sadness in the world right now, I need some healing. I need to be able to believe in the goodness of mankind. I need to be able to remember the happy days of my youth. I need to be able to believe that, as a nation, Americans can do better. I mourn for the people of Orlando. For the families of the victims. For their friends. For our nation as we sit here trying make sense of madness.  I pray for change that is long overdue and answers that no one seems to have.

I’ve put together a list of quotes from children’s literature that give me hope.  My desire is that they will bring you some hope as well.

 

unless

trust

listen

life

grow

believe

choices

courage

And If I may add some words of my own-  In “Nellie Nova Takes Flight,” Amelia Earhart has these words of wisdom for Nellie and Niles:

change

 

 

Children’s books continued to bring me joy and wisdom into my adulthood. It really is why I write them. I hope and pray that I can inspire kids in the way I have been inspired.

Today, I hope that you leave this post with your spirit renewed. Our world can often be filled with so much tragedy. but let’s not overlook the good. Let us never forget to BE the good.

I pray for this nation. That we learn to love one another and that we can make the changes needed to overcome hate and fear.

 

What Does it Take to Be a Hero?

A few days ago, my hero died.

My Grandma Ann, who some of you may remember from my book dedication, passed away on Sunday evening after a long battle with cancer.

hero

That’s her in the photo, running her first marathon. At fifty.

She didn’t let her age restrict her.

Not even at the end. As long as she was able, she ran, then walked through her neighborhood daily.

She went to college when her kids were grown. Not a lot of women went to college when she was younger.

She did not let society’s ideas about gender limit her. 

She traveled the world with my Grandpa Jim. (He was another great hero, a fire chief,  Purple Heart recipient and a wonderful man.)  They spent 18 months living in Costa Rica and learned Spanish to do so. She also drove from Maine to Oregon with him-  in a fire truck.

She didn’t turn away from adventure. 

She was always kind, even when she did not have to be.

She acted with grace and respect at every turn. 

She was stubborn in the best possible way.

She never gave up. 

As an author, I create pretend heroes. The heroine of my book takes characteristics from my grandma. This is no accident. When I was writing “Nellie Nova Takes Flight,” I used a writer’s workbook to help me fine-tune the book. At one point, it asked me to think of a moment when someone showed a characteristic I wanted my protagonist to have and I thought of my grandma.

A few years ago, my grandma fell and broke her hip. I flew from TX to WA to visit her after she had hip replacement surgery. The next day, the hospital staff asked her to walk, with a walker. I thought, “That’s too much! She’s still recovering! She’s in pain!” But my grandma got up and did it. Each step was excruciating, but I vividly remember the look of determination in her eyes. I will never forget that strength.

She was strong beyond measure.

That moment is what I looked back on when I wanted to think of ways to make my character strong.

There are several definitions out there that tell us what a hero is supposed to be, but I don’t need one. I have a lifetime of memories of my grandmother to illustrate what the life of a hero should look like. I only hope I can live my life with half of the strength,dignity,and bravery that she did.

Goodbye, Grandma. I’ll see you again someday.

Who are your everyday heroes? Tell me about them in honor of my Grandma Ann. 

Adventures in Book Promotion- Radio Edition

Last month, when I was visiting family in Seattle, I got an email inviting me to be a guest on Radio Active Kids on Asheville FM. I gladly accepted and started planning quick trip to Asheville, NC with my family. I thought that the kids would really enjoy seeing how radio programs are made, plus the whole Asheville area is ridiculously beautiful.

A few days before the show, my husband suggested that I go alone so I could have a relaxing trip.

Okay, moms. You get this. ALONE.

Friday afternoon, I returned home from a reading at a local elementary school, packed up my stuff and headed out the door.  Even though I had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of me, I was excited. I had two new audiobooks on my phone. I listened to an entire book on the way there. (“Your First 1000 Copies” By Tim Grahl) Even though I was basically working while driving for hours it was great. It was quiet. The scenery, while it was still light out, was beautiful. The book was interesting and seems like it will be helpful.

I got to Asheville about 9:00pm. I’d booked a room with Air BnB and stayed in the home of some local musicians halfway up a mountain. It was gorgeous and my host was friendly. IE she offered me an adult beverage after my arrival. This is glamorous stuff for a homeschooling mom of three. The wild woman that I am, I took my single drink to my room and worked some more. It was so quiet. I loved it. (Also- my Educational Activity Guide to go with “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” is really coming along!)

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The next morning, I awoke to realize how much colder it is up on a mountain than it is in Raleigh. Duh.

I didn’t pack for 40 degrees. It was in the 60s when I left Raleigh. So I got dressed and shivered my way to the car. I was pretty excited when I found my husband’s winter jacket when I got to the car. I mean, I looked ridiculous wearing a cute dress with little birds all over it, heals, and a large ski coat, but at least I was warm.

I drove to the radio station  and got there 30 minutes early.  I was excited. Can I admit that? This stuff is still new to me, so being interviewed on the radio was a really cool to me. Yes, I said cool. I may sound like an overzealous teenager talking about meeting a boy band, but I felt that way. I got to be interviewed on the radio!

The interview went really well and was actually a lot of fun. It can be found here until 4/16/16. Scroll to “Listen.” It’s about 36:30 into the episode.

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Afterward, I wandered around Asheville a bit and did some shopping. I was able to get some birthday gifts for my son, who turns nine today. Then I had to head back to my husband, who had come down with a nasty virus and did not want to be alone with the kids any longer.

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I listened to Mindy Kaling’s “Why Not Me?” on the drive home and enjoyed all the beauty North Carolina has to offer. I was happy and feeling pretty good about myself. I stopped for gas and snacks in some tiny little town. As I got back on the freeway, I was thinking about how maybe, just maybe, my writing career could take off. I picked up a piece of candy and unwrapped it, only to find that it was stuck to the wrapper. There’s nothing like trying to pry a grape Laffy Taffy out of its wrapper with your teeth to knock you back down to reality and make you think that maybe you have a long road ahead before you’ll be successful.

And that’s okay. I get to write books. I get to speak to kids about writing! Kids have told me I have inspired them to write or read more often! And I still get to teach my own kids. Things are pretty great.

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My Texas Book Tour. Alone. With THREE Kids- or- The Diary of a Crazed Author

crazed

It’s been awhile since I posted last.

Because I have been in recovery, y’all.

My tour to Texas was amazing. I met so many wonderful people, saw old friends, made connections and met sweet young fans. I loved it.

But.

I went alone. With my three kids.

I knew this going into it.

I’ve traveled alone with my kids before. But this was hard. This made me question my sanity.

The first day of travel from NC to TX went fairly well. The kids were excited. They were happy. They joked. They laughed. They happily listened to their audio books. The older two journaled about what they saw. We hit no traffic. We flew from state to state.

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They absolutely loved stopping at each state line to pose for a picture.

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In all honesty, it was fun. We were all truly enjoying ourselves.

We stopped for dinner that night in Birmingham, Alabama. The kids were chomping down their food when I heard thunder. I wasn’t worried. I spent six years living in Texas. I’ve been through storms. I was sure we’d be back on the road soon. Then the rain came down in sheets. I still didn’t worry. Surely, the storm would pass and we’d get back on the road soon. Then I checked the weather app on my phone. I found out that we were in the center of a severe thunder storm with a tornado watch and it would be moving towards Louisiana along the same path we would be taking. The storm worsened as we ate and when we finished eating, I found a hotel nearby and we called it a night. Slightly defeated, I went to bed vowing to get up early to make up for lost time.

Which of course didn’t happen. The kids were not looking forward to another day on the road and my oldest kind of lost it. He wanted to stay in bed. Then he did not want to eat breakfast. Then he didn’t want to leave the hotel dining area to get in the car. When all the tears and tantrums stopped, we were about an hour behind schedule.

Determined not to let it upset me, I sang silly songs with the kids. I played a new audio book. I pointed out interesting landmarks as we drove. We entered Mississippi early in the day.

Soon we were closing in on the Mississippi River and the Louisiana border. The kids were gleefully trying to spell Mississippi in the back seat. A sign indicated we would be to the border in about 20 minutes.

Then it happened. 

My map app chirped at me that my ETA was four hours later than before. Confused, I thought I had missed a turn. Just then, the traffic stopped. Not slowed. Stopped. We were stopped on the freeway. I checked the app and saw that the traffic was stopped for about five miles.

We stopped behind a truck load of livestock. Very stinky livestock.

We waited. The kids started to get fussy. My daughter cried about the smell.

(I wanted to cry about the smell, but I am a grown-up and I am not supposed to cry about such things.) 

After about an hour my three year old began to scream,

I…have…to…POOP!!!”

Over and over again.

He’s well potty trained. I did not bring diapers.

I looked around me, cursing the landscape for not providing trees to poop behind.

More screaming. For another TWO HOURS.

My map app chirped that I could save time if I got off the highway.

The exit was ahead about 1000 feet. Maybe more. I am a terrible at judging distance. I’m a writer, okay? It’s not my thing.

I drove on the freaking shoulder, desperate to get off the highway and to a a toilet.

I don’t do that normally. Usually, I silently curse the people who think they can create their own lane on the road by driving on grass. But I did it. And I am not sorry.

So I get off the highway and realize that there’s not a toilet in sight. There’s nothing in sight. In fact, I start to worry that my map app has tricked me into a slow death in backwoods Mississippi, because this is the road it took me on:

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For three miles, I drove down this dirt road, fearfully wondering what I’d gotten myself into.

After what felt like hours, the dirt road intersected with a real road and took me back to the highway. And a gas station. With a toilet.

And you know what happened?

My son refused to poop.

He “didn’t like” the toilet, so he would not go.

After bashing my head into a wall repeatedly,(*not really*), I got gas, got back on the road, and soon found myself in Louisiana.

We didn’t stop for a picture.

We made it to the Texas border before sunset and made it to Dallas before bedtime.

My eye may or may not have been twitching when we got there.

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(Yes, we stopped at the TX border. My three year old still had to poop. He didn’t like the toilet in TX either.) 

We had a great time in Texas. The tour was wonderful, really. I had so much fun meeting young fans and hearing what they had to say about my book. One sweet little girl came up to me, hugging her copy of my book and told me it was her favorite book ever. It made my day week year.

I loved the actual tour part of the trip. I can’t express fully how much I love these speaking engagements.

We also saw so many great friends and got to visit some of our favorite parts of Dallas.

 

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The drive back was filled with more storms, but otherwise went okay.

Plus, we got to stop in Bucksnort, TN. Don’t be too jealous.

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(In all seriousness, Bucksnort seemed like a nice little town, but what is with that name?!) 

We made it safely back home to North Carolina and we were all relieved.

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And here’s the part that makes me question my sanity:

I can’t wait to do it again.