The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little: Book Club Meeting Planner

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My dad was born in , so that's a second plus. I haven't read any of your books, so there's my third reason why I would love to win this book. What was the inspiration? Where did the idea for this book come from? Larissa Renaud, the scarred girl from my novel, Circle of Secrets, only got a couple of very small scenes with Shelby Jayne, the main character. But those scenes were crucial because of her accident and because of her connection to the antique doll owned by her mother.

The scene also contained a twist that tied Gwen, the girl from the past who drowned in the bayou, and her beloved doll to the present. I found myself wanting to know more about Larissa, how she got the scar and why her family is living in an antique store. The question of where the doll originally came from was never answered, either. My daydreaming evolved and suddenly there was a curse in the history of this family from to the present, and Larissa needed to break the curse to prevent the 5 generations of tragedy from repeating once again by saving her mother and baby sister.

Once I had that premise, the story contained high stakes and a ticking clock. How cool that your family is surrounded by antiques and all that history on a full-time basis! I love anything old and dusty and musty with a story behind it! How did you come to choose Louisiana as the setting? Oh, the mystery of that setting! The spooky aura! I created a fictional town in The Healing Spell and found myself returning to Bayou Bridge for Circle of Secrets and When the Butterflies Came, each from a different viewpoint character, and each a completely different story and character arc.

That first phone call is bound to hook readers immediately. Did you already know where your book was going when you drafted the first page? Do you outline, or is drafting a process of discovery? I was experimenting to see how fast I could get to the big story question, or mystery, and still ground it in character and setting — all in just a few pages.

Plus end the first chapter with a great cliffhanger, of course! But drafting is still a surprise as far as specific dialogue and character details, the story growing and developing, often twisting and turning as I write. Larissa finds herself traveling back in time, to What kind of research did you have to do on this time period?

The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little: Book Club Meeting Planner

We made up characters and stories and hardships for ourselves. I love nonfiction historical reading and reading about other cultures as well as watching movies set in various time periods. One of my all-time favorite movies, Somewhere in Time, is set in Of course, Fireflies is partially set in an old plantation home and my oodles of research the last ten years came in very handy.

After three contemporary novels I just had to set a book in the past. My own great-grandmother treasured such a Bible. Does your own family have such a historical treasure? I do not and always wished our family did. I could have continued, but I am the type of person who likes to jump from one project to another, so I left to work for another company in another industry for three more years. Then I went to a university, where I switched projects several times over fifteen years, finally ending up in science education and outreach.

After one more short hop to a different university, I realized I would be happiest working on my own as a writer. That was , and I have been learning about as many different science subjects as I can. The best part is I can share what I learn with young readers who get as excited about them as I do.


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Why is non-fiction so important for kids? First of all, I'll rearrange the standard librarian's categorization and include most plays and poetry under fiction, unless they are written to be specifically factual. Also it is important to distinguish nonfiction books for kids and textbooks. Textbooks cover a lot of territory but rarely go very deeply into any topic.

That means they can't really satisfy young readers' natural curiosity or their imagination. Fiction allows readers to exercise their imagination by exploring plausible human situations. Nonfiction exercises both imagination and curiosity by exploring factual material, real human relationships, the real world, and other real scientific and natural phenomena. That's why nonfiction takes up so much more space in libraries.

But as a writer, I also recognize the power of story, and so I make a point of using good story-telling techniques to capture and challenge my readers. That is certainly the case in Meltdown! Were you a huge reader growing up and what were your favorite books?

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Unlike most authors, I was not a "huge" reader. I enjoyed reading and literature as ways to learn, but I especially appreciated experiential learning. I lived in a city Pittsburgh with easy access to great museums, including a wonderful planetarium, and I was fortunate enough to go to a school that had great field trips and to be selected for programs with even better ones. You might say I was a "huge learner " who had great opportunities to discover and pursue interesting materials and questions.

My favorite research adventures involved spending time with notable scientists who were happy to allow me to share their work with young readers. I have a knack for asking them the kinds of questions that release their inner teenager. I love it when my question unleashes their enthusiasm for and excitement about what they do, usually in words that speak directly to middle-graders and teens. Two of my books take readers on those research adventures with me.

It includes the late Richard Smalley, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in the year after my interview and before the book was published, stating, "I don't think that most people thought I would amount to anything as a high-schooler. Neither did I, frankly. Also in that book, I had a chance to visit the late Eugene Shoemaker, founder of the field of astrogeology, and his wife Carolyn who has found more comets than any living person. They were so gracious and pleased about my project that Carolyn made sure I got to see the original image of "squashed" Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that had been captured by Jupiter and broke into pieces.

The Shoemakers enjoyed a bit of public fame when those fragments smashed into Jupiter and produced dramatic images. Another person who gained fame from what became known as "the Great Comet Crash" was a young planetary scientist named Heidi Hammel, who had been selected to head the Hubble Space Telescope imaging team for the event.

She had a way of explaining the images that endeared her to the public. I have a section on my website devoted to that book with a travelogue of my Hawaiian adventure, including both a significant setback and an unexpected discovery for Heidi and her colleagues.

TITLES THE - page 2

When the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan, my first reaction was that the tragedy could have been so much worse. Japan was remarkably well-prepared for large earthquakes and tsunamis, and its toll of dead and missing, though large, was less than a tenth of the losses in the tsunami in Indonesia and the Haitian earthquake of But soon word came that the tsunami had washed out key backup generators at the Fukushima Dai'ichi power plant and that multiple meltdowns were possible.

Because I had written a chapter "Fission with Melted Rods" about nuclear reactor meltdowns in my book Catastrophe! Great Engineering Failure--and Success W. In Catastrophe! I noted that as time passed, reactor technology would improve, while the need for electricity would grow. I didn't specifically mention that nuclear energy doesn't produce greenhouse gases, but I was aware that global warming was likely to become a major concern and would be an argument in favor of going nuclear.

I was right on target with that analysis. Now the big question from Fukushima , which is still being argued about, is what the events teach us about the necessity for and possibility of building safe nuclear power. The economic cost and societal impact on Japan are still being evaluated.

Kimberley’s Wanderings: November

So are questions of whether the meltdowns were preventable and how likely a similar event would be with new standards and technology. These questions will need time and careful analysis to be answered. And even when we have answers, the political process will have to produce decisions on policy and regulation. That means we will have to evaluate alternative "green" power technologies. And that's another thing that nonfiction can do for readers. A novel is supposed to have a clear ending or at least send the readers in a clear direction with their thoughts.

In real life and science , we are often left with unanswered questions, which, as likely as not, will lead us to other unanswered questions. Any advice for using non-fiction in the classroom or school library? Fred's School Author Visits!

UPlift #8: "The List" Book Club Discussion

I think my answers to the previous questions contain the answer to this one, but I will add that my publisher and I have created a specific classroom project called "Build an Energy Campaign Policy" based on Meltdown! The eSource links also include some supplemental information about the electric power industry and a list of live website links. One of those live links is the "Meltdown! What are you working on now?


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  8. Now that I have dipped my toes into a technological topic with significant political connections, I am eager to tackle global warming. The scientific evidence of what to expect and why is quite well established, but the political solutions to the problems ahead are likely to be difficult. Different political points of view lead to different policies, and I do not intend to recommend one political policy over another.

    enter But the politics of climate change have been beset with arguments that distort the scientific conclusions in order to support a particular political agenda. I hope to counter that by returning to the genre of my favorite research projects, the story of a science as seen through the eyes of a scientist.

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    In particular, I have a proposal for a book about how scientists develop and use climate models. I also have a completed manuscript about humanity's future in space, including the possibility of settling other worlds. It sounds fascinating, Fred! We hope to read it in the near future! Email Kimberley your humble Spellbinder at kglittle msn. OR Enter by leaving a comment at Kimberley's Blog here:. Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other.