Archive for August, 2011

INTERVIEW: MY BIRTHDAY IS SEPTEMBER ELEVEN AND OTHER SHORT STORIES

A huge thank you goes to my author friend Cherese Vines for interviewing me.
Interview with the author of My Birthday Is September Eleven: Nicole Weaver. Thank you for the interview.
1) Tell us who you are.
My name is Nicole Weaver.  I am Haitian American.  I am fluent in four languages-French, English, Spanish and Creole.  I am a veteran French and Spanish high school teacher. I am also a published author of a trilingual book titled: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle/ María y su Amiga la Tortuga Del Mar/ Marie et son Amie la Tortue de mer. I have a second trilingual book titled My Sister is My Best Friend due to be published fall 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing.  My third trilingual book titled: My Brother is My Best Friend is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.
2) What influenced you to become a writer?
 
I first became interested in writing after winning a poetry contest.  That experience fueled my interest in writing.  I later joined my church’s writing group.  Being a part of the group allowed me to venture out with my writing.  I have pieces published in my church’s journal.  Next, an author friend talked me into attending a writer’s workshop.  The workshop peaked my interest even more.  I later decided to write my first trilingual children’s picture book.
3) Why do you think you chose to write for children?
 
I see a huge need for more books that portray children of color in a positive light.  I also see a need for more books that encourage the learning of a foreign language. I write all of my children’s picture books as trilingual books because a child’s brain is wired to learn language when he or she is young.
 
4) You mentioned that many of the stories from My Birthday is September Eleven are true. Are all your stories/books based on true events? Where else do you get your inspiration?
 
Yes, most of my stories/books are based on true events.  Having been an educator for the past twenty five years affords me many opportunities to see and experience many things.  Many times I am emotionally moved by these experiences and I must find a way to channel the emotions into a positive way and writing provides me with that outlet. For instance, around ten years ago, I received a call from a woman who adopted a Haitian little girl.  The little girl only spoke Creole; she wanted me to help her communicate with her in Creole.  I was very honored and blessed to help her.  I later learned that the little girl was dropped off at the local adoption agency in Port-au-Prince Haiti, because her mom could not feed her.
 I carried that information in my heart and I always wanted to write a story about it.  This is where the idea for the story “No More Hunger” came from.  Imagine the pain that mother experienced when she dropped her daughter off.  I hope my story will bring attention to what goes on in my native land of Haiti.
I also get inspired by what I see in my classroom.  I taught middle school for fifteen years.  During my tenure as a middle school teacher I observed how cruel students can be towards one another.  It pained me greatly to witness the way many bi-racial children were constantly teased and picked on.  The short story “Zebra Boy” is based on what I saw happening to those children.  Honestly, it would take me two lifetimes to write about all the things I have seen and experienced as a classroom teacher.   
 
5) What would you have liked to have been told as a budding writer?
 
It would have been nice to know how difficult it is to market yourself.  Getting published is only the first step; the real work begins with marketing yourself and your book.
6) Can you tell us something that your readers may not have guessed about you?
 
I love being an American citizen.  My life changed for the better when I set foot in America. I believe the only way to beat bigotry is through education. Through hard work and dedication one can achieve great things.
 
 
7) Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
 
Never give up on your dreams.  When I first came to America, after reading many books from the Curious George series, I instantly knew that I would one day write my own picture book.  I also invite all readers interested in learning more about me can visit my sites:
 
My Sister Is My Best Friend Blog:
Marie and her Friend the Sea Turtle Blog:
 Websites:
 Educational Expert:
Blogcritics Contributor:

MY INTERVIEW WITH MAYRA CALVANI

I am thrilled to announce award winning author, Mayra Calvani recently interviewed me for Blogcritics.  You can read the interview here: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/interview-with-nicole-weaver-author-of1/

BOOK REVIEW: WALKING THROUGH WALLS BY KAREN CIOFFI

Most people assume the grass is greener on the other side. The harsh reality is that is not always true. In the case of Wang, the main character in Walking Through Walls, he learns a valuable lesson. Walking Through Walls is a fantasy chapter book based on an ancient Chinese tale, providing a magical adventure.

Wang quickly gets tired of working in his family’s wheat field. Twelve-year-old Wang craves wealth and power. Instead of helping his father in the field, Wang spends most of his daydreaming about becoming a wealthy person.
Despite his father’s plea not to leave, Wang decides to go off in search of wealth.

After dinner, Wang speaks to his parents. “Mother, Father, I am twelve years old. The time has come for me to leave and seek my own way. Your life is not the life I want. My life will be full of riches and power. The Eternals live in the Lao Mountains, and that is where I am going.”

Off to the mountains goes Wang, but much to his dismay, he learns things are not as easy as he had pictured them to be. He began to wish he was back home with his parents and sister.

There are many lessons to be learned from this delightful story, and not just for child readers.

As parents we can’t always control our children, but the values we teach our children are the one thing they can always fall back on when they encounter hardships. This is exactly what Wang does, as soon as he realizes life with his parents wasn’t as bad as he had previously thought.

It is not easy to let our children venture off on their own, but this is the only way they will learn what is important in life.

The soft black-and-white illustrations by Willow Raven enhanced the story, and the reader can get a feel for the characters.

This well-written story is a must-have for every classroom, for the lessons it teaches are very valuable.

Thanks Karen for sending me an ARC for review.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-walking-through-walls-by/#ixzz1U22UrB43

BOOK REVIEW: WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT BY MAX ELLIOT ANDERSON

What do you do when you suspect your dad’s job is in jeopardy? What can you do to help prevent terrorists from carrying a possible deadly mission?

Max Elliot Anderson’s newly released When the Lights Go Out is an intriguing tale of captivating suspense designed especially for boys ages 8-12.
The main character, Peyton Aldrich, idolizes his father, who believes that after what happened on 9/11 , somebody has to help keep the country safe.

Peyton decides to train as a ranger just like his dad. He befriends two boys, Gill and Dave. Together they venture out to become rangers. Thus begins an adventure of a lifetime for the three boys.

The three boys overhear what they are sure is a terrorist plot to deliver secret weapons to the base where Aldrich’s father works.

What will happen? Will Aldrich tell his dad about what he heard? Or will he take matters into his own hands?

Aldrich and his friends react just like typical teenagers; they decide to keep what they know a secret . They are convinced with their plan of action they will expose what the terrorists are planning to do.

As I read the book, I kept thinking about the safety of the three boys. Are they going to get killed? The author does a tremendous job keeping the reader in total suspense.

What resonates well with the story is the underlying message of how well Aldrich respects his father. In our world today, that is a lost art. Too many dads or even moms do not fulfill their responsibility to be involved in the life of their children; consequently children do not have a good role model that they can look up to.

Aldrich’s respect and love for his dad is what compells him to try to take on the terrorists on his own. His decision, in my opinion is based not on being defiant, but on his desire to help his dad. This is commendable.

The author delivers a well written story that will shock the daylights out of you once you read the ending.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-when-the-lights-go/#ixzz1U1Sp8J65

Newly Released Kindle EBook

Cover of my newly published Ebook. Can you imagine giving birth on September Eleven, 2001? I am sure there are a ton of kids born on that terrible day. I know two who were born on 9/11, this inspired me to write a story titled: My Birthday is September 11. It is a thought-provoking story for all readers. The Ebook titled My Birthday is September Eleven and Other Short Stories is available on Kindle. See description below:

Growing up is filled with new experiences and they partner emotions. Our trials in life teach us compassion and help us to empathize with others. Our difficulties make us who we are, helping each of us to find our place in the world.

In this collection of short stories, simple acts of kindness make a world of difference in the lives of individuals. The theme of compassion weaves through all five stories, inspiring readers to discover this important lesson in life; we were created to help others.

My Birthday is September Eleven- A story about a boy who was born on 9/11. When the reader steps into the world of Matthew he or she will recognize the undercurrent of mourning that will help all to never forget 9/11.

Zebra Boy – A biracial boy is spared further teasing when his best friend comes to his rescue.

The Good Samaritan – A group of fifth-graders raise funds to help a fellow classmate who needs money for a life-saving surgery.

No More Hunger – Ronald, a Haitian boy whose village was virtually wiped out by a devastating hurricane, becomes a victim of abject poverty. He is later rescued when the well-respected Madame Wilson takes it upon herself to nourish him back to health.

A New Life – A biracial boy experiences many hardships before being adopted by a caring couple.