Penelope Anne Cole has taught at every grade level,K to 12 and community college. She enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. Ms. Cole is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club (Fremont Area Writers and South Bay Writers), and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at
See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at
Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com
Monday, June 30, 2014
I'm in a reflective mood today, so no real madness, but I'll share a hodge podge of stuff.
I came home from volunteering at church to find pots, dishes, strainer in the sink and a weird smell pervading the house. Did I get upset? No, I'm thrilled, because my daughter made her lunch to take to work -- again.
She's finally realized that all those little bits of $5, $7, $10 spent for lunch out do add up. She'll never have spending or gas money if she's frittering it away on lunches. I shop and buy food a couple of times a week, so there's always stuff to eat, to fix, to choose from at home. No need to eat out all the time. And I'm very glad she's learning this valuable lesson--she's nineteen now. It takes a little bit of planning, but you can make your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home and save your money for gas, movies, gifts, clothes, etc.
Speaking of eating out, we'll be eating out a lot this week because it's my birthday week and I've signed up for birthday coupons at local and chain restaurants that offer that. Of course, we'll still pay for my daughter's meal, beverages, and tip, but the main courses will generally be about half off. That's worth celebrating.
And it's about all the celebrating we can do with our busy schedules. She's working at Great America 5 days a week, plus going to summer school, and I'm tutoring 6 days a week. We don't have the same days off. We'll find a few dinner-times and maybe a lunch or two to use these coupons.
Yay! I love to eat out with her because we have polite dinner conversation and catch up on what's happening in our lives. When we're home, we're usually busy getting ready to go here or there, or crashing in front of the TV. So often our conversation time is in the car and at the restaurant. I like to think we're supporting the local economy and enjoying time together, too. (I have her turn her phone upside down for the time we're together. Yay again, time together without distractions.)
In between our volunteer jobs (I count money and Katy and I do the church flowers together), I prepare for my tutoring. I keep notes, find resources on the internet, and make copies. I also read great children's literature, write reviews, and work on revising my own stories. Then there's the social media to check in with, and lots of email -- migrating to Gmail means I have my Yahoo and Gmail to check, plus my own Outlook mail -- whew! I don't know how people lived before social media and email, but maybe we had time for other things, like gardening, cleaning, taking care of pets, spending time with friends in person instead of "virtually."
That's it for today. It's a short week and I'm trying to fit in all my students, computer stuff, celebrating, and maybe even writing. Have a great week and get your flag out for the Fourth!
Tags: Celebrating, working, teens, eating out, learning to economize, making lunches at home, family time, social media time, making time.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Award-winning children’s author, Penelope Anne Cole brings forth a . The imaginative illustrations by Kevin Collier make the story come alive before your eyes. Magical Matthew is a must have for homes with young children.
Ms. Cole’s second book in the magical series teaches a valuable lesson to not only Mea, but to the reader of the importance of listening to others with more life experience and destructive decisions often conclude with disastrous results. Illustrator, Kevin Collier once again creates the quirky characters that have become the trademark of Ms. Cole’s Magical Matthew and Magical Mea series.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
I read it while substitute teaching and enjoyed it, but at that time I wasn't searching out authors and reading their books. Then Carly Watters, a literary agent at an SCBWI Workshop, recommended we read some authors for how to write multiple points of view (POV). So I checked out Flora and Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux from the digital library. I read Flora and Ulysses first and then Despereaux, and loved them both.
In Flora and Ulysses, Kate DiCamillo uses a hybrid format, adding in some graphic, comic book type scenes by K.G. Campbell, because Flora is enamored with a comic book superhero, "Incandesto." The story is told from both Ulysses and Flora's perspectives. That's the beauty of using multiple POVs—you can get into more than one character's "head" and see their thoughts and feelings more clearly.
I loved Flora and Ulysses simple for its laugh out loud humor and great good fun. There is the pain and trials of normal day-to-day life. And there are wonderful uplifting scenes that satisfy our human need for love and hope and cheering up. But what was totally captivating was her deft use of humor to lighten parts of the story that hurt and to see the world in its craziness as a world of possibility, love, and rightness. This is a great middle grade read that is enjoyable and satisfying.
Then on to The Tale of Despereaux. This one I thought I wouldn't care as much for since it's about a mouse and a princess, but it's done with sweetness and humor. It harkens back to days of "Once upon a time. . ." and "Happily ever after," and who can resist. The main character is Despereaux, a tiny mouse who is destined for greatness because of his pure heart and strength of character.
That is what is so appealing about both of these character-driven stories—they speak to the heart, to goodness, our hopes and dreams, and to simplicity. Our modern day world is too complicated, too incomprehensible, too dangerous, and overwhelming at times. Kate DiCamillo's books give us an escape from where we live, to another world where there is goodness, sometimes greatness, but always hope. I highly recommend both books.
I look forward to reading more of Kate DiCamillo's books:
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Magician's Elephant
The Tiger Rising
She also has the Mercy Watson Series and Bink and Gollie, both for ages 6-9.
Tags: Kate DiCamillo books, middle grade, POV, children's books, Flora and Ulysses, The Tale of Despereaux.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
Now, since I'm a writer, I need to keep writing each day. I need to post on my blog and on other blogs. I need to work (and re-work) on my stories. Today I dusted off a children's mystery story. I'm not quite a mystery writer, but I wrote a little story with the problem of some missing candy. It's probably not a story that will be published, I've been told. Now isn't the right time to write about the glories of candy and other sweets, what with an epidemic of childhood obesity. Being overweight is another disability, another handicap, another weakness in our society. If we eat too much and don't move or exercise enough, we'll become a nation of couch potatoes.
In my distant youth we barely had time to eat. Weather permitting my brothers and I, our friends and neighbors, were all outside, racing around, chasing each other, playing hide and seek, capture the flag, riding our bikes, playing on play structures, ball games, and even running around the block.
Yes, we had TV was on at night, and kid shows were over by bedtime. There were cartoons on Saturday mornings. But most of the time there were endless things to do outside with friends. If it was bad weather, and I mean really bad weather, we'd be inside reading comic books, maybe watching TV, if there was something on that our folks would let us watch. We didn't have access to endless video, digital, computer entertainment. We were blessed with real kids to play with, not digital images, or virtual friends.
I guess I feel sorry for kids nowadays who have so many advantages and opportunities and yet limit themselves to hours of YouTube, TV, Cable, Netflix, XBox, Gaming programs, etc. And I'm totally blown away when I hear a kid, any kid, say "I'm bored." How can anyone be bored with endless entertainment at your fingertips and on screens all over the house?
Please teach your kids to think for themselves. Make sure they have bikes, skateboards, scooters, skates, wagons, kites, all so they will want to go outside and move, exercise, play, and enjoy being kids. Telling a kid to go fly a kite or play outside is a good thing. And don't forget about comic books, and children's literature. Please never stop moving and never stop reading.
My next post will be an ode of appreciation for grandparents. Stay tuned.
Tags: Playing inside, playing outside, sports, bikes, games, staying active, reading, watching TV, playing video games, staying healthy, getting exercise.