A writer inspired by nature and human nature

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12 Ways to Develop your Child’s Writing Skills


GREAT TIPS from Nicholas Rossis for teachers, parents and adults everywhere! WE CAN ALL CONTRIBUTE to childhood literacy: Developing a child’s writing skills… ~ Bette A. Stevens, https://www.4writersandreaders.com

Nicholas C. Rossis

Getting people — and kids, in particular — to read and write has long been a passion of mine. You may remember my post, Reading Tricks for Kids of Any Age, originally written for Mom’s Favorite Reads.

Well, I recently came across an article by Abigail Elijah of Knowledge Isle with 20 tips for developing your kid’s writing skills which inspired me to write up a new post, this one on the subject of getting your child to write. I hope you find these tips useful!

12 Ways to Develop your Kid’s Writing Skills

helping your child write better - girl writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Seven out of ten children find writing particularly challenging. What can we do to support them and help develop their writing skills?

1. Read

One of the most important things you can do for your kids’ writing skills, is to encourage and develop their passion for reading.

Writing is different than speaking. Abigail…

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Beautiful Borestone—A Maine Haiku & a View from the Mountain too!


“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
Bette A. Stevens

Seven-year-old Sophie loves to read and listen to poetry! I discovered that about her when I met Sophie and her mom Janet the evening of my book signing, “Celebrating  Maine through Poetry” presentation in October.  Now Sophie loves to write poetry too! 

In fact, Sophie enjoys poetry so much that Janet told me how grateful she was that they had come that night to learn about  the benefits that poetry provides for readers and writers of all ages. The audience even had a chance to practice finding some of the poetic devices I used when writing My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons that evening.

When we talked about the beauty and bounty that Maine has to offer, Janet shared that she had recently taken her children on a day trip to Borestone Mountain. Borestone is a popular hiking spot near the center of the state, with a trailhead located on Mountain Road near Willimantic. Sophie and Janet have captured Borestone beautifully in their haiku! 

Beautiful Borestone

Climbing made it fun
Brilliant trees and pretty lakes
Beautiful Borestone

Haiku by Sophie & Janet

Janet and I have kept in touch by email since the event and I was delighted when she sent me photos she’d taken at Borestone and a haiku that she and Sophie had written together.  Sophie wants to write more poetry! That makes my author/teacher heart sing…

 

Educators, librarians, community groups and organizations:

Maine author and retired teacher Bette A. Stevens shares her love of Maine, of poetry, of nature and of reading and writing with children and adults of all ages. Stevens is currently booking presentations for Spring 2020 in the central Maine area as “The Pine Tree State” launches its Bicentennial celebrations. Stevens’s presentations are tailored to your classroom/group needs. Poetry is powerful and its benefits are invaluable. For more information contact the author at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: POETRY—Group Presentation.

Find out more about Maine author Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Travel Back in Time—Thanksgiving 1963 (Excerpt from DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens)


Thanksgiving 1963

 

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

 

“In Dog Bone Soup, Bette Stevens captures the feeling and images of growing up in hardscrabble times perfectly.” ~ John Clark, librarian and author

DOG BONE SOUP

A Thanksgiving excerpt

“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries on the table and ran in to see what Mum was so worked up about.

“President Kennedy’s body’s back in Washington. Look, they’re switching from the Washington to that Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. The world’s at a standstill and no wonder. I can’t believe that someone’s gone and killed the President…Sit down. Watch.”

“What’s for dinner?” I asked when I handed her the change.

“Good. We have more than a dollar left for the week.”

“What about dinner, Mum?”

“I’ll fix us some supper, later. We had plenty of hotcakes to tide us over this morning,” Mum sat there, captivated by the news.

Coverage went on all day and long into the night. Willie and I went out to cut and split fire wood for the week. Then we grabbed our fishing poles and ran down to the brook. I figured if we caught something, we could have a nice fry for supper, even if I had to fix it myself.

Willie peeled and cut potatoes while I figured out how to mix flour and cornmeal and get the fish going. I set the fish on the stove to keep warm while I fried up the potatoes.

We never did get Mum away from the darned TV.

I wondered if it was like that for other families that night. I wasn’t up to watching TV non-stop. I’d pop in every now and then to keep track of what was happening though. I kept thinking about President Lincoln. Far as I could see nothing good came from fighting, killing and wars. Why couldn’t people just treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated.

I got the washtub heated up before bed. The girls got their baths first, like always. Then Willie and I took turns. There’d be no hair cuttin’ this Saturday. There was only one good thing about this day—Dad didn’t show up. I didn’t want to think about that shotgun, but I couldn’t shake that Saturday out of my head.

∞∞∞

By the time I got up Sunday morning, the news was already runnin’ non-stop. President Kennedy had big dreams for America. He hoped we would land on the moon; wanted Americans to be healthy; wanted Negros and poor folks to have rights like everybody else and he wanted to make peace with people in other countries. I wondered what would happen to those dreams now that he was gone.

Mum had the volume turned way up, but she wasn’t watchin’. She had the wood stove blazin’, fresh biscuits warming on the stove top and scrambled eggs cookin’ on the griddle.

“I’ve been praying for the President’s family,” she looked up and whispered. “Call the kids and sit yourself down. Thanks for fixin’ supper last night, Shawn. I’ve been walking around in a fog with all that’s been going on. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to kill the President.”

After breakfast, Willie and I ran out to milk the cows.

“Now you boys, bundle up real good. It’s mighty cold out there.”

Two heifers started mooing real low the second they spotted us. The wind was blowing so darned hard, the pails were swingin’ all on their own, even with the weight of milk jars in them. By the time we got back to the house the sky was spittin’ out snowflakes big as quarters.

“Let’s fix us a cup a hot coffee, Willie.”

“Mum’ll have a fit if she finds me drinking coffee.”

I threw in a few small chunks of kindling and set the coffee pot on top of the stove.

“You might like it. I mix it up with lots of milk. We’ll fix Mum a cup, too.”

“Boys, get in here quick,” Mum hollered. “Some night club owner named Jack Ruby just shot and killed that Oswald guy who shot President Kennedy!”

Bad news just kept coming. Cameras jumped from Washington to Dallas and back again every few minutes. We watched the casket being carried from the White House to the Capital’s Rotunda. In between, they showed pictures of the President’s family before all this terrible stuff happened. Caroline and John-John were just little kids and the family looked real happy doing things together.

Then, reporters started talking to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I poured up coffee and went in to watch the mess. My head pounded. I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how I was gonna get out of school next week. I had to talk to that recruiter.

Just as I downed the last of my coffee, I heard a knock at the door. “Please don’t be Dad,” I prayed.

I lifted the latch, opened the door and there stood two snow-crusted ladies that I recognized from church. They were holding baskets chock-full of all the things us kids had been dreamin’ about. One had a turkey, a ham and all kinds of canned goods. The other held a plate mounded high with cookies and two pumpkin pies. I even spotted a can of cocoa.

“Come on in and sit down. I’ll go get Mum.”

“We’ll just set these baskets on the table. We have three more deliveries and we want to get home before the roads get any worse.”

“Mum, it’s ladies from church. They brought us baskets chock-full of food,” I hollered.

Mum and the kids must have flown out to the kitchen.

“What on earth are you doing here?” I thought Mum’s eyes would pop out when she spotted those baskets.

“Thanksgiving’s only a few days away and we’re out making deliveries this afternoon. I think you’ll find enough for a nice holiday feast, Mrs. Daniels. If there’s anything else you need, just let us know.”

“You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” The ladies smiled before they turned to leave.

“You take your damned charity baskets and leave ’em somewhere they’re needed!”

The ladies spun around, looked at one another, then at Mum, then at us, then at the baskets. One of them held her hands up clutching at her coat like someone might steal it. The shortest one looked like she was ready to bawl. When they picked up the baskets and turned to leave, my stomach clenched up tighter than a double fisherman’s knot.

Annie and Molly stood there crying. Willie stared at Mum with eyes as round as donuts, shakin’ his head.

“I can’t believe you did that, Mum. You were rude and here we are starvin’ to death,” I scowled.

“I don’t want to hear any sass from you. And you girls stop your whining. We’re proud folks. We’ve never taken charity and we’re never gonna take it.” Mum shook her head and shuffled back in to watch TV.

I sat down at the kitchen table and didn’t know what to make of it. Mum couldn’t believe somebody’d killed the President. Well, I couldn’t believe Mum just killed our only chance of having a decent meal.

###

Today, more than 45 million Americans are living below the poverty line. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/poverty-household-income_n_5828974.html

Most of them aren’t looking for a hand-out. They’re looking for a hand up—decent jobs that pay a living wage.

 

Want more Dog Bone Soup?

 

  • DOG BONE SOUP, A Boomer’s Journey (Literary/Historical Fiction/Ages 12-Adult) by Bette A. Stevens
    Purchase Paperback and download
    Kindle version for FREE anytime—”Kindle Matchbook”
  • Paperbacks make GREAT GIFTS  and you can download the eBook for you!
  • Available at YOUR AMAZON

About the author

Inspired by nature and human nature, Maine author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Baby Boomer’s coming of age novel: and MY MAINE (Poetry & Photography Collection)—see Maine through the eyes of a poet. You can find out more about the author and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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2019 🎄 PRE-HOLIDAY SALE 🎄 Three eBooks by Bette A. Stevens 🎄 ONLY 99¢ each November 14-21


Gifts that keep giving!

 

You’ll find three great  5✰ reads by Maine author Bette A. Stevens at great prices (eBooks only 99¢ each) November 14th through November 21st at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens 

“Something special for everyone on your list…”

Amazing Matilda (Ages 4-11)

“If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, ‘Are You My Mother’ about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book.” Award-winning monarch butterfly adventure

Pure Trash (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-Adult)

“A nostalgic trip into the recent past, with 9 year old Shawn and 6 year old Willie Daniels enjoying ‘The Perfect Day’ until…”

Dog Bone Soup (Historical Fiction 1950s & 60s Novel/Ages 11-Adult)

“Compelling story of struggle, survival and the human spriit rising above it all!”

Happy Holidays & Happy Reading!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 

I Review Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’sTale by Bette A. Stevens for A Better World of Books #bookreviews #childrensbooks


Honored to share a spotlight on author Alethea Kehas’s “Better World of Books” feature for my children’s picture book Amazing Matilda. Thanks so much for supporting authors and reviewing books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world, Alethea. You’re amazing! ~ Bette A. Stevens

The Light Behind the Story

52ca1c7db77f2615817ce50b65e2e2acI am thrilled to be featuring Bette Steven’s award-winning children’s book, Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Taleon “A Better World of Books.” Bette resides in Maine and finds her inspiration for her writing through “nature and human nature.”  She is an advocate for childhood literacy and the protection of monarch butterflies and their habitat. Her book Amazing Matilda combines her passions into an engaging story about a young caterpillar’s journey of growth and transformation as she becomes a monarch butterfly.

Matilda’s tale begins when she emerges into life as a tiny caterpillar with an innate desire to fly. The world is spread before her and she is eager to explore it with wings. Her journey evokes the inner child that exists in all of us. Matilda is filled with the promise of life, but she must learn trust and patience as she grows from a caterpillar…

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From Kids to Corporate Executives—Everyone Benefits from Poetry!


An evening of poetry

I spent a lovely evening in October at The Newport Cultural Center in Newport, Maine reading from My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection by Bette A. Stevens), chatting with the audience about Maine and about poetry before signing books. Whether writing a paragraph, a poem or a book, preparing marketing materials, deciding how to format a page or publication, selecting images or designing book covers—even when preparing a presentation for a group, organization or classroom—writers/authors are researchers at heart. Welcome to a brief recap of “Celebrate Maine through Poetry” night.

A wonderful evening chatting about “MAINE” & “POETRY” with old friends and new friends. We talked about the benefits of reading and writing poetry for people in all age groups and professions, discovered some tricks for picking the perfect word whether writing poetry or prose. The audience was amazing at it! 

The Pine Tree State

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine will officially celebrate its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

A Peek Inside the Collection

The Pine Tree State

Maine pines and people
Survivors, resilient souls
Standing tall and proud

Pragmatic figures
Independence their calling
Rugged yet limber

Growing where they choose
While rising ever higher
Strong arms branching out

Tempering spirits
Amidst the boundless medley
Solid, steady, proud

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit 

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

I’ll be elaborating on all four of these benefits in future posts. Plus you’ll get to meet some of my old and new friends who are benefiting from the power of reading and  writing  poetry. 

Why Pick Poetry?

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poem snapshots into the unique place I know and love.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.” –Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization or simply to find out more about it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy Reading & Writing Poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Have Fun Writing Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Write a Halloween Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

Black Cat HALLOWEEN Haiku BAS 2019

Midnight—our fabulous, furry feline—inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a Halloween haiku (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) and design a poster to go with the poem. Kids love illustrating their poetry. This Halloween post is shared in loving memory of our amazing Miss Midnight. 

What’s inspiring you this Halloween?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some Writer’s Tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

BLACK CAT

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their webs.
Spiders are her treats!

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Three Writer’s Tricks (Literary devices) used in writing poetry and prose

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.

Consonance
Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance—repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase. This repetition often takes place in quick succession.

Alliteration
You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

Finding “just the right words”
Abundant writing resources are available in print as well as online. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies on hand, and in my opinion they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        Happy Writing and Reading Haiku

                                    & Happy Halloween!

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

 

  • Find out more about how to write haiku and other poetry at Reference.Com

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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