Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Book Review of Theodore Boone the Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

Theodore Boone is a thirteen-year old boy who loves everything about the justice system. He’s on friendly terms with judges, police officers and lawyers. He attends as many court trials as he can, school is the only thing preventing him for attending more, he provides legal advice to his school mates. Theo even defends some of his classmates in animal court. Not surprisingly, both of his parents are lawyers, and he, too wants to become one.

With readers, the adventures of Theodore Boone begin when the murder of a woman takes place in the small city of Strattenburg.  The accused is the victim’s husband, a prominent business man. However, the evidence is circumstantial. Then from out of nowhere, Theo is presented with information that could break the case wide open, concrete evidence on exactly who committed the crime. But there’s only one problem, he can’t mention it to anyone.

This is an entertaining book for young readers and adults. It starts off a bit slow but gradually picks up speed after the first 60 pages. At times I found it quite amusing and had laugh-out-loud moments while coming home on the public transportation from work.

It also provides a great introduction to the judicial system for kids and those of us who know little about it.

This is definite read for young readers.

To learn more about Theodore Boone visit: www.theodoreboone.com

Monday, 19 August 2013

Humble Beginnings as a Fiction Writer

I always thought it would be fun to write a book for toddlers. So when a story came to mind I was ready to go. But there was only one problem, I was too busy with work to put pen to paper. So that dream was put on hold. It wasn’t until I was laid-off from work five years later when I would finally make an attempt to write the story that was unfolding in my head ever so rapidly. 

But after several pages later, I knew no toddler would have the attention span for it, plus the story wanted to take a different direction than I had intended for it, for the first time as a new fiction writer I experienced writer’s block.  So while I was battling it out with the main character of this story, a cute little chubby-cheeked golden blonde six year old boy came to mind. He was a snoopy little fellow who loved to solve all things difficult. The story flowed out of me like water from a faucet.  I had my protagonist, his side-kick, the victim, the suspects and the second book all in tow.  I was so excited I started outlining the storyline immediately.  From that day on I never looked back at my first story until one year and a half later.   

Like Declan, the main character of my second story, I love a good mystery.  Nothing is more gratifying to me than trying to make sense of something difficult. So the story just poured out of me.  Forty pages later I realized this book was too complex for any six year old to follow, so I aged the characters by five years – what’s it with me being one reading stage off when writing these stories?   
After I finished the first book, Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin, I started on the second. 
This was a wonderful experience writing both books of the series back-to-back.  This allowed me to really learn about my two main charters of the book, as well as the supporting cast.

Monday, 12 August 2013

When Kids Hate to Read

Reading this article When Kids Hate to Read conjured up images of my childhood years. As a child who did not care to read, I can sympathize with the many kids who feel the same way I did when I was their age. With the exception of Charlie and the Chocolate, Charlotte’s Web and the Judy Blume series, reading fiction for me was a waste of time.  This should not come as too much of a surprise, but I also found creative writing a waste of time.  It wasn’t until after college when I started to fall in love with all novels by Nora Roberts. From there I started to read mysteries, adventures and chick-lit. I finally ventured off into children’s books when a co-worker lent me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Discovering fiction books as an adult made me a little angry at my younger self.  I thought of all the wonderful books I missed out on as a child.  The places they would have taken me, the things I would have learned. But there was no turning that clock back.  So I continue to move forward exploring all books both fiction and non-fiction. And maybe, just maybe this is why I’ve taken such a liking to writing children stories, so I can make-up for all those lost years of not reading them.

Reading fiction novels is like stepping out of your world and into someone else’s. Books take you places you may not be able to see otherwise and they give you hope to dream about achieving the seemingly impossible.  Books help to expand your creativity and appreciation for the arts, while improving your reading comprehension, grammar and spelling.

With the advent of computers/iPhones/text messaging, etc., the challenge to get children to read is even greater.  The article When Kids Hate to Read provides some wonderful strategies on getting children to read.