Creative Writing Holiday Contest

christmas-fireplaceDear Parents — The holidays can be a great time for reading, but writing is also something children can spend time doing as well, especially:

  • On Winter Break
  • Driving to see Relatives
  • Sitting with family by the fireplace
  • Just before going to bed
  • Anytime they want to because Writing can be soothing

Benefits of Writing

  • Writing can be soothing and relaxing for your child’s soul
  • Writing helps your child express who they are
  • Writing helps build your child’s creativity
  • Writing helps your child build communication skills
  • Writing helps your child build higher-level thinking skills
  • Writing helps your child reflect further
  • Writing helps your child build confidence

Before you get started, please follow the steps below.

Step 1: Please go to the side bar of my website and subscribe to receive email alerts. My blogs and writing center on Diversity, Bullying, Multicultural education, and subjects stemming from these two important topics.

Step 2: Please proceed with entering your child into the holiday writing contest

Holiday Creative Writing Topic

Pretend it is Christmas Morning. How would you prepare the perfect Christmas party for your family?

Tip: Ask your children to include your family’s traditional decorations, traditional foods and traditional gifts. This creative writing should reflect the pride of their culture.


Write five (5) paragraphs

  1. Introduction — Strong important theme/arguments/main ideas (at least 3)
  2. Point 1 — Supporting paragraph stemming from Introduction
  3. Point 2 — Supporting paragraph stemming from Introduction
  4. Point 3 — Supporting paragraph stemming from Introduction
  5. Conclusion — Tie conclusion back to introductory paragraph (summarizing 3 supporting paragraphs without specifically duplicating the introduction). The story should come to an end. Within the Conclusion – Your children will want to answer one of these questions: Is there a call to action? Is there something you want to change? Is there something you’d do differently?

Encourage your child(ren) to use their five (5) senses when describing/giving creative details. I want them to “show not tell”






Double space

Check spelling and punctuation

Type/Print/Cursive (your choice).  Just be sure the writing is legible.  

Within subject of email, please type: Creative Writing Holiday Contest.

Include your child’s first name on the first page of entry. I will autograph the winner’s journals, and I want to recognize each child for participating with a thank you note.

Important Note: Parents – Please attach your child(rens) writing and forward to my email address:

Dr. Vasquez will select two participants who

1. Followed the rules

2. Sent in a fabulously written story

diversityaffirmationPrize Winnings

Dr. Cherrye will send your child a surprise gift and both copies of her 2 writing journals titled:

Affirmation Daybook: Journal

Diversity Daybook: Journal

Surprise: 1 additional special gift (from author’s marketing stash)

Please see my website for more information about journals and diary


Important Notes:

  • Deadline: Creative Writing must be sent to Dr. Cherrye no later than Friday, December 30th @ 5:00 p.m. This will give your child the entire holiday break to write
  • Dr. Cherrye will contact parents by email determining how to forward winner’s prizes.

Thanks for allowing your child(ren) to participate. Tell them to have fun!

Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez

‘Tis the Season: Books of Encouragement and Cheer

christmas-treeHappy Holidays for some Children

For some children and their families November and December months can be the most wonderful time of the year! We’ll see children scurrying around with their parents making holiday preparations, ringing in the season to be jolly, singing holiday tunes, and all with happy wide smiles from ear to ear –




Not so Happy Holidays for Others

Among happy children frolicking about we may notice a few smiles turned upside down. As you know, this can also be the toughest time of year for many children. Some children may be driven into depression and/or feel a sense of hopelessness. Many will want and need someone to talk to – perhaps a clinical therapist, pastor/minister/religious affiliate, even a close relative, or an adult they trust.

So, let us not forget children who won’t feel this season is as joyous as a few others attending their schools and/or living in their neighborhoods. For whatever their personal reasons (death of a loved one, hunger/poverty, loneliness, separation from their parents, abusive home lives, being bullied and/or isolated at school, just to name a few), the holiday season may bring about sad memories/moments. Some children may stem on the negative, and spend lots of time on reminiscing about sad moments in time.


Individually, let us ask ourselves this question

What can WE do to help the special children in our lives feel better around the holiday season? How can we help lift a child’s spirits/hearts so they can enjoy what other happy children enjoy during this season?

I don’t claim to have all the answers, and perhaps you can think of many more ideas and/or activities than I can, but together we can decide to start somewhere lending our shoulders, or share ideas in efforts to help lift a child’s spirit.

Anti-depressants may help some children, but if we can avoid this, perhaps some children can get through the holidays without being medicated.


What about a great book/coloring book, journal, diary?

Books of various types may help children relax, put a smile on their faces, help them laugh a little, or sooth their minds. Perhaps others would love to spend time journaling. Writing can be another past-time to get through the holidays while children take their minds off their personal home life/environmental issues.

Of course there are many other ideas, but within the Prezi link below I thought to share a few books from inspiring authors/writers/bloggers/speakers/podcasters that may help get the special children, or your children/grandchildren through the holidays. You may have more book ideas/journals you can add to the list and share. If so, please do.


Take a look at the Prezi Christmas Presentation link below

Gingerbread HouseIt’s a Prezi Holiday presentation showcasing books of more than a dozen authors who have written children’s books, but that’s not all – take a look at these author’s websites, blog spots and amazon author pages to get to know the faces behinds these books and other books/works they’ve been busy sharing throughout the years. 


‘Tis the Season! Books Make Great Stocking Stuffers, too!


The Cat Who Wanted a Dog


Have you ever known a cat who wanted a dog? If not, you’ll want to read this aspiring little children’s book, ‘A Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ and perhaps share it with the little ones in your life.




Last week I introduced you to Micki Peluso, a phenomenal freelance writer, award winning author, 3rd place winner in Predators and Editor contest, and 1st place winner for People’s Choice award.









Now, I’d love for you to really get to know Toby, the protagonist of this story, through the pages of its text. In addition to the wonderfully scripted text, I hope you’ll enjoy the coloring book illustrations revealing so much about Toby’s character.

My favorite illustration is the one showing Rocky licking Toby’s coat. I hope you’ll soon share which illustration is your absolute favorite, too.




toby-the-catMicki shares a true story of Toby, a cat she and her family loved for years. Toby wanted his own little dog, and he was in for a big surprise. Go along with Toby now, as Peluso tells his story for what she perceives as her cat’s point of view. It’s really a cute story.


Hi boys and girls, I’m Toby, a handsome cat if I say so myself. I do whatever I want, but Grandma and Grandpa thinks they own me! My favorite thing is to take Grandma’s shiny jewelry and hide it. Grandpa is still looking for his favorite pen. I have one friend, Casey, a wild cat who lives outside, but she tells me through the screen door about the outside world. I was a happy, cool cat until—-well, read what I wrote about the day Grandma invited the ‘Monster’ to visit. Yikes!


Do you think Casey will ever convince Toby to join her outside, or is Toby far too comfortable inside enjoying the joys of life his family joyously gave him all those years?


For a limited time only October 5-12 you can purchase a copy of ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog for the low price of .99. That’s right! This price just in time for the holidays – Don’t miss out! Link for ‘A Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ 


See what others have to say about Micki’s new book:




5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!

By Bette A. Stevens on August 31, 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

After reading Micki Peluso’s memoir and several of her short stories, I could hardly wait for her first children’s book to arrive in my mail box. The day it arrived I was not disappointed. Peluso’s unique sense of humor shines through in this delightfully written and illustrated coloring book for kids. I highly recommend it for children of all ages. Whether a read-aloud or read-along, the whole family is sure to smile. And lessons on friendship will long be remembered. My grandson loves The Cat Who Wanted a Dog and so does this still-laughing-out-loud grandma. ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author of award-winning picture book Butterfly and other inspirational books for children and adults.


4.0 out of 5 stars The cat thought he HATED dogs, but once he got one for a …

By Patricia A. Guthrie on September 10, 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

How cute is that! Micki Pelus, along with illustrator Neva Franks, wrote the most delightful pet story about a cat who wanted a dog. The cat thought he HATED dogs, but once he got one for a visit, when the dog had to go home, depression hit the cat. He knew what he wanted, but his owners didn’t. Children/especially the toddlers starting to use their crayons will love this book. Great birthday and Christmas gifts.

Adorable. Just adorable.


5.0 out of 5 stars I love the character of the Cat with it’s snide remarks

By Amazon Customer on September 15, 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This was SUCH an enjoyable children’s book, and the coloring is therapeutic! I love the character of the Cat with it’s snide remarks. The natural inclination of dogs and cats to dislike one another is funny, but it’s even funnier that in the end they forge a lasting bond! I bought three of these books and gave two to my nephews ages 5 and 2 years, they LOVED it!


5.0 out of 5 stars Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity, DBA

on September 19, 2016
‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ is a really cute children’s book about a house cat who was really comfortable with his life indoors even though Casey, a wild cat who lived outside, tried to convince Toby he’s truly missing out on all the adventures in the outside world.Toby ignored Casey because he was content with his wonderful life indoors with his family until one day his life changed forever when grandma’s daughter and her two kids came to visit, but they didn’t come alone. According to Toby’s eyes, they brought along a ‘monster’ and he was a huge golden retriever, at that.Later, Toby learned this ‘monster’ was called Rocky. As far as Toby was concerned, Rocky was surely starving for attention, or was it friendship he wanted? Whatever the reason, Toby wanted no parts of it! Rocky did all sorts of things trying to get Toby’s affection and attention, but all Toby could see was huge annoying ‘monster’, or so it seemed.Soon, Toby began taking advantage of Rocky’s attention playing tricks on him. Toby’s plans were to show Rocky who the real boss was in his home. After all, Rocky was on Toby’s turf.Rocky found himself all out of ideas gaining Toby’s friendship, but he decided to try one last thing. Rocky dropped a dog treat at Toby’s feet. Imagine that! Can you believe a dog giving up a treat?! Rocky must’ve wanted Toby’s friendship awfully bad, huh?Do you want to know what Toby did next? Well, I don’t want to be the one spoiling the end of this story line, so you’ll want to purchase a copy of Peluso’s children’s book for all the children in your life. I believe you’ll find children enjoying this book, but that’s not all. ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ is filled with coloring book illustrations the children are sure to adore and spend time coloring for hours.I find this children’s book a two for one steal. Children can read the book, and then color the illustrations which carefully help tell the wonderful story revealing Toby’s feelings, and emotions about wanting a dog.And, don’t forget about the holiday season soon to arrive. ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ would make an absolute wonderful stocking stuffer.


Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D., author/writer of children’s books
Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity, DBA Link for ‘A Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ 


See Peluso’s other book ‘…And the Whippoorwill Sang’


Coming Soon:

‘Don’t Pluck the Duck’ (Release date, 2016)
















Meet Author, Micki Peluso

mickiheadshotAuthor BIO:

Micki Peluso began writing after a personal tragedy. This lead to a first time publication in Victimology: An International   Magazine and a career in Journalism. She’s freelanced, and had been staff writer for one major newspaper, written for two more,   and has published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in colleges, magazines and e-zine editions.





517ytomhb1l-_sx348_bo1204203200_Hi boys and girls!

‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog is a children’s coloring book based on a real cat who meets our visiting grand dog and becomes friends with him after a really bad beginning. Toby wanted to write this story all by himself but his claws kept getting stuck in the keyboard. So I told him that I’d help a little. This handsome cat is not your ordinary cat. He also insists that he’s a doctor. I will admit that when he lays across my aches and pains and purrs, I do feel better. He also does this to other animals and children and they all feel better too. The animal doctor says that the sound of cats’ purring hits a note that is healing to people, themselves and other animals. Isn’t that amazing?

Toby has lived with Grampa and me since he was a kitten. Normally he is a well-behaved cat, except when the Christmas tree is decorated. He waits until nighttime and takes all the soft ornaments off the branches. At least he leaves the glass balls alone! Then he curls up in the manger of straw and cuddles with the baby Jesus.

Don’t give me a dirty look, Toby. You know this is true.” Well, he’s off to sulk in a corner and wait for his friend, Casey, to stop by the screened in patio so he can complain to her about me. Sigh. We feed Casey and give her warm blankets and a litter box but even Toby can’t convince her to come into the house. Se likes her freedom. I know Toby is sad since our grand dog went back to his home after a long visit. He keeps trying to tell me something. Can any of you figure out what it is that Toby wants from me?


Other Works from Micki Include:

Micki’s first book was published in 2012; a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called, . . . And THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG which won the Nesta CBC Silver Award for writing that Builds Character, won third place in the Predators and Editors Contest, and first place for People’s Choice Monthly Award. She has stories in ‘Women’s Memoirs’, ‘Tales2inspire’, and ‘Creature Features.’ Two of her short horror stories were recently published in an International Award winning anthology called ‘Speed of Dark.’ She is presently working on a collection of short fiction, and slice of life stories in a book collection called, ‘Don’t Pluck the Duck’, due to be released in 2016.


For More Information via Links:


Guest Author, Natasha Sayles

aibeiaiaaabdcmgg_kmi65ewvyildmnhcmrfcghvdg8qkdlkzdhinwu0yju4yznizmqwmwq3ntg1nti5ogixm2uwngflytkxnjqwaeeitejp7wobhk4gje1h7vilhdjtMeet my guest author, Natasha Sayles.

Natasha was born in Cleveland, Ohio. When she was a young child her family relocated to Southern California. According to Natasha, her family “bounced around” year-after-year before finally settling in to Riverside, California.

Natasha discovered a love for writing at the young age of 15 after completing a high school poetry assignment; however, she didn’t do too much with it at that time. In fact, Natasha favored art during that time.

                               “I found myself sitting and drawing for hours,” said Natasha.

According to Natasha art became a way to escape her surroundings, which at that time her world (abusive household) was filled with domestic violence, emotional, mental and verbal abuse which left her dealing with low self-esteem, and searching for love in all the wrong places. 

In Natasha’s book, “Father, Daddy, Dad” she used her personal life experiences highlighting her protagonist, Natalie, the main character in this storyline.   


Natasha speaks about her struggles with Cerebral Palsy, and how at times she hated being different, or deemed handicapped

Natasha spends time sharing her personal story of struggling and trying not to become a product of her past environment.

“Father, Daddy, Dad” is now available for pre-order at: 

Follow Natasha’s journey via her Social Media sites:

Meet Guest Author, Raymond Shinault

Raymond Shinault photo


Author Bio


Author, Raymond Shinault, has published several books including High School Dropout.


Shinault has gone from a college dropout not once, but twice, eventually becoming a 20+ year experienced professional truck driver to an established author and an “Award Winning Speaker.”


Shinault is regarded by many as one of the most dynamic motivational speakers they’ve heard relating to leadership, personal and purposeful living development.


Shinault’s true desire is instilling practical steps and concepts within our youth and college-age young people enabling them to utilize the greatness already instilled within while further growing and developing through education, training, personal development and leadership skills.


One of the keys to Shinault’s speaking success is customizing his presentations to audience’s unique needs. Shinault has discovered making a decision to live your life “on purpose” takes planning. He further believes college and high school students, and organizations need road map directions for planning a life of successful and extraordinary living. Shinault stresses the importance of preparing our students for their future, and then the successes they’ll experience as a result.


Author Shinault’s book, Living Your Life’s Purpose, addresses an important fact: We are all here “on purpose” for a purpose, and with a purpose.


According to Shinault, “Discovering your purpose is the easy part. The hard part is keeping your purpose with you on a daily basis, and working on yourself to the point where you become that purpose.”  Shinault goes on to say, “I learned later in life that living my life’s purpose was the only way to win in life.


Shinault believes wholeheartedly in the importance of every reader recognizing this: “Life without purpose is no life at all.”



  • Living Your Life’s Purpose 


This presentation is designed for middle, high school and college level students, corporations, organizations, and sales teams

  • The Value Of  Learning


This presentation is designed for middle and high school level students, college level students, corporations, and organizational sales teams

  • Live Your Full-Potential


This presentation is designed for Middle and High school level students

  • Influencing Teen’s


This presentation is designed for in-school educator seminars, staff developments, teacher conferences, and parents

  • Positive Leadership


This presentation is designed for high school and college students, corporations, and organizational sales teams

  • What purpose is there for being a BULLY? Anti-Bully Campaign


This presentation is designed for Middle and High school level students

  •  Retaining College Students


This presentation is designed for in-school educator’s seminars, administrators, teacher conferences, parents, and business owners


Your teams will LEARN  .  GROW  . PRODUCE


Author Shinault offers 7 core programs and he is pleased to tailor his presentations to your group’s needs


Contact Author Shinault today for your next Keynote Speaker event:



Helping young people and adults receive fundamental life skills and personal development philosophies necessary for success in schools, businesses, and Life.


“The past is the past. Who or what we used to be doesn’t matter anymore. What matters are who and what we are now, and who and what we can become in the future.”


Living Your Life’s Purpose  Raymond Shinault Book

It’s That Time of Year Again – The 1st Day of School

At her locker 8th grade, 2016It’s that time of year again!

The First Day of School!



Anxieties are high! You and your children are preparing for that big day scurrying around malls from store to store finding the perfect uniforms, blue jeans, shirts, tennis shoes, back packs, and more. Some children are looking forward to new opportunities – meeting new teachers, and friends especially, while others dread walking through the door. By now, you know which category your family fits in.



Teachers are busy making classroom preparations, filling their bulletin boards with academic content, arranging student desks, posting classroom rules, writing school supply lists, attending staff developments, aligning subject curricula to district expectations, and the like.


School officials (Administrators, Instructional leaders, and Assistant principals)

Administrators are checking their lists and then twice more ensuring safe and orderly classrooms settings, ensuring building infrastructure needs are in place, disseminating rules and regulations for staff members, welcoming newcomers (teachers, students and their parents).



• Please be prepared to work with all learning styles – Differentiate Instruction (including students with Special Needs, and ESL students)

• Maintain patience and understanding

• Love what you do each day – Think about why you became a teacher – Love the pedagogy and art of teaching. Showcase teacher efficacy daily

• Keep an inviting voice tone – Never scream at your students (our children)

• Initiate Diversity Awareness in positive manners

• Respect your student’s ideas/voices before making final decisions

• Get to know each of your students

• Remain organized and ready to teach once the student enters your classroom

• When parents ask questions most times they are trying to support you and their child – Do not become defensive



• Send your best child to school

• Work with school officials – not against them

• Ask questions when needed

• Expect your child to become dependent (according to age – it’s difficult to let go)

• Expect your child to behave and use great manners/social skills

• Attend school events

• Teach your child to respect authority

• Send your children to bed on time on school nights

• Wake your children up on time on school mornings – Ensure they arrive to school on time

• Start your children off with a good healthy breakfast

• Ensure homework is completed each night

• Ask your child about their school day – Ask if there is anything you should know



Everyone is full of enthusiasm as anxieties are running high, so I hope all parties will put their “best foot forward” ensuring our children/your students have the best school year ever. Let us work closely together

Our little ones going to Pre-K or Kindergarten for the first time certainly may have apprehensions unawares, so please be patient with them. Their first impression of school could be left up to parents and teachers


Additional Notes

Let us all work together supporting our most treasured stakeholders – our children.

Stop, Look and Listen to them – If your child reports being bullied, please listen and intervene appropriately.

See my blog post on Bullying titled: My Child is being bullied? Oh, I Don’t Think So!

This blog post entails a step-by-step approach for assisting parents when their child is being bullied.


Writing Five (5) Paragraphs – Creative Writing


faviconLast week — July 24, 2016

I blogged about a very important topic helping children feel more confident in their writing. I titled my blog, “Writing That Makes Sense” and within this sharing I focused on children using their Five (5) Senses describing their words giving their writing more expressive thoughts — Link:


This Week — July 31, 2016

I want to take these strategies further by teaching children how to format their writing into five (5) important paragraphs, but first I’d like to define what I mean by “creative writing.”


Creative Writing Defined

Creative Writing can be defined as original writing that expresses feelings, emotions, ideas, or thoughts with no set limits.

Students can feel free to use their imaginations telling their stories of current or past experiences.


Framing/Outlining Paragraphs

After teaching children to incorporate their five (5) senses bringing their stories alive, so their readers can imagine themselves in their stories, they also need to know how to frame their paragraphs.

At the time of this writing and during the era of state mandated testing, children are given one single sheet in which to write their stories. This one sheet has 25 lines, and students are told not to write outside the framed box in which the 25 lines are placed.


Writing Prompt

Give students their writing prompt (short snippet (stimulus) in which to express writing. Students must remember not to stray away from their prompt (central theme or idea they’re asked to focus on).

To keep students writing on track and remain on the focal point (prompt), ask students to write Five (5) paragraphs.



Paragraph 1 –     Introduction

Main thematic idea – remember to focus on prompt

  1. Within Introduction, ask students to point out three (3) supporting points within their Introductory paragraph relating back to their prompt


Paragraph 2        Point 1

Strong supporting argument/claim, add example(s) to help strengthen or reinforce your case


Paragraph 3        Point 2

Second significant supporting argument/claim, add example(s) to help strengthen or reinforce your case


Paragraph 4        Point 3

Less significant supporting argument/claim, but still important, so add example(s) to help strengthen or reinforce your case



Paragraph 5        Conclusion

Have students tie their conclusion back to my introductory paragraph (summarizing the 3 supporting paragraphs) without specifically duplicating the Introduction.

It is okay to use a bit of the original words from the Introduction, but it should be very clear the story is coming to an end.


Helpful Question to Help Students Write Conclusion

Is there a call to action? Is there something you want to change, or do differently?


In addition: For paragraphs 2-4, I sometimes ask students to begin these paragraphs using ordinal words to help guide their writing. This will keep them on track.

For example:

First, Second, Third



Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly.


Or some may choose to do this:

First, Secondly, Thirdly,


Important Notes:

Be sure to help children review their writing paying attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling as they improve and grow in their expressive writing skills.


Writing That Makes Sense – Teaching Children to use Five (5) Senses for improving Writing Skills

Book TrailerSchool will start next month. If you have a child going into 4th or 7th grade, they will have to pass a state mandated test in Writing. If you live in Texas, the exam is titled: State of Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (STAAR).

Whatever the case, writing can be difficult for some children. Just imagine your child stumped, day dreaming trying to think of how to get started. To help with this, I use a strategy that proves to help those who struggle in this subject area.


I’ve created a lesson titled:

Writing That Makes Sense


Objective: Show/Don’t Tell

Goal: Students will utilize 5 senses giving them the ability to strengthen their creative writing and improve their writing skills


Five (5) Senses

Sight — Describe how a person or object looks

Smell — Describe how a person or object smells

Touch — Describe how an object feels

Sound — Describe how something sounds (What do you want the reader to hear?)

Taste — Describe how something tastes (such as food)


Helpful Words that Describe

Color – light, dark, pale, sharp

Sound – harsh, swish, vibration, echo, hum

Pattern – zig zag, straight, flowery

Texture – smooth, rough, silky, soft

Shape – round, oblong, tubular

Odor – musty, sweet, aroma

Condition – worn, new, old, dull, sparkly

Motion – swirling, back-in-worth, circular, spiraling

Your child’s reader will be able to picture, or imagine the richness of their story in their minds as if the reader is actually inside the story


Helpful TipDrop the Adverbs – Remember the objective – Show/Don’t Tell

Ask your child to stay away from adverbs. By doing so, they will give their reader bright, striking and colorful pictures describing their stories.

2 Examples of using Adverbs

1. Tell: The baby slept soundly

Show: The baby slept without a whimper


2. Tell: He gently placed the jar on the table

Show: With trembling hands, he placed the jar on the table as if it were a feather.


2 Examples of: Writing that Makes Sense





A Great Start:

I love eating breakfast at my grandmother’s house. Her food is really tasty.


That’s a great start. Right? But let’s take it a step further


Much Better:

My grandmother prepares the best bacon, eggs, and pancakes. Her food makes my mouth water.


There’s certainly nothing wrong with this sentence, but can we give it more description? You bet we can.


How About This?

Juicy bacon sizzled on a griddle. The whiff passed my nose reminding me of hickory smoked logs in the woods during summer camp. Fluffy cloud-shaped yellow eggs sat on a platter next to a stack of perfectly round-shaped light brown pancakes.

Grandmother picked up an orange wedge and firmly pressed it against the glass juicer as she prepared fresh squeezed pulp-free orange juice. The pulp and juice flowed alongside the edge of the glass.


Doesn’t this one give more descriptions using 5 senses?





A Great Start:

Summer vacation is here. Now it’s time for me to meet-up with my cousins at our family farm. Each year we have lots of fun together.


That’s a great start. Right? But let’s take it a step further


Much Better:

My cousins and I couldn’t wait to meet up at the family farm. We’d wake up each morning with lots of things to do like feed the animals, and then play in the hay.


There’s certainly nothing wrong with this sentence, but can we give it more description? You bet we can.


How About This?

My cousins and I awakened in our soft beds to the sound of country and western music echoing from an old-fashioned brown boxed radio. The neighbor’s black and red American Game Bantam rooster sang out a sound of “cockle-doodle-doo.” Whenever we heard this familiar wake up call, we knew it would be another awesome day with family members on our family farm.

We could hear our Mom’s stirring in the kitchen. The heels of their shoes flopped against the wooden floor. They talked some and then hummed their favorite church hymns, “This Little Light of Mine.” Pots and pans were tinkling. We knew it was going to be a great day.


Doesn’t this one give more descriptions using 5 senses?



Have your children include all five senses, or as many as they can. Have the children describe the scenery by drawing their readers into their stories using sensory details.

Feel free to use these examples as you work step-by-step with your children.


Using the writing examples above – Pause for a moment and determine if children are able to pick out descriptive words using 5 senses. 




1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________




1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


1. _____________

2. _____________

3. _____________


If children can learn how to incorporate these strategies into their writing, they will succeed and pass their state mandated writing test.

Have fun teaching children to write well!

Telling vs. Tattling: “Constructive” Criticism from a Book Reviewer

teacherHello Fans!

By now, I hope you’ve viewed my Facebook Live Streaming video posted on my Facebook Fan Page @ Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity. I spoke about Telling vs. Tattling from the perspective of a “constructive” critique received from a great grandmother who purchased my little rhyming book on bullying titled, “Teacher, Teacher, Can’t You See?”


I have not identified the reviewer, as it is not my goal to embarrass anyone, but I really feel if people believe, especially when a child is being bullied, telling is tattling, this topic needs more attention.


My goal is for us to exchange friendly dialogue/discourse about this topic. Let us share our thoughts and perhaps experiences as we attempt to unlock the true meaning and perhaps differences in these two terms.


Of course, you do not have to agree with me. We can agree to disagree, but if you have viable, usable suggestions and recommendations, please share it with us. The goal is to help children with bullying issues of all kinds.


Here goes:

From the Reviewer

“I am sorry, but I want to give constructive feed back.  I looked forward to this book, and purchased it, could not use it.  A student cannot just run to teacher and tattle, and the child gets counseled.  And not everyone will go to your website and look up what to say or do.

This book should encourage children how to not take “bullying” personal, how to understand the person who bullies and how to preserve their self-esteem in the rat race of life.  How they react to the bumps in life as a child sets the stage for how they will view life’s difficulties as an adult.  They have to learn to keep their dignity throughout difficulties.  And, not every school has enough counselors for every child who needs it. Too many students, no aides, no money for supplies, and we do need to support our teachers better.  It is a subject that needs discussion, but this book falls short.  Sorry.”


My Response to the Reviewer (titles added later for purpose of blog post clarity):

Just as any author, I love constructive feedback.

I am happy you purchased my book, but sorry you found it no use, as many do.


Although most educators and parents do not encourage tattling, rather problem solving techniques, bullying behaviors has grown in leaps and bounds with national attention, so I’m not sure if we’d want to scorn our children, and label them tattlers for gaining the attention of teachers sooner than later.


Here’s what anti-bullying advocates encourage

Most anti-bullying advocates plead with children to gain assistance earlier on. By doing so, these negative and unwarranted behaviors are “nipped in the bud” sooner than later.


Too, intervention may save many heartaches, allow more time in our classrooms for actual teaching/learning, and decrease nuisance behaviors on contact, and by ALL means decrease the most alarming issues facing the negative effects of bullying behaviors (as statistics has alarmingly shown us these days) = SUICIDE.


Some children come to school with “baggage” and anger stemming from all sorts of home, and/or personal issues. We do not get to choose our students. The bully does choose a victim they find weaker (as many believe).


So, yes. Most anti-bully advocates teach children to alert a friendly face, speak-up and tell a school official just as soon as possible. If we do not know, we cannot begin our intervention processes helping both children with their needs as relative to the bully and bully-ee (victim).


Yes, the Bully does need help: It’s not the victim’s role to fix the bully

The bully does need so much love, social skills, counseling and redirecting, but why place this monumental chore on the victim? When someone is being bullied (physical, verbal, religious, cyber, and more), most times it gets personal, so I beg to differ.


It isn’t a child’s job, or concern to figure out why another child chooses to physically (in most bullying forms) hurt them. It is the adult’s job – beginning with the bully’s parents.


Were you aware, (I typed reviewer’s name here), children as early as kindergarten get bullied? How does this child begin to unlock the many convoluted threads of bullying, along with the possible antecedents which causes another child to bully them? Most young children are eager to come to school for learning, making new friends and bonding with their new teachers.


Encouragement/Empowerment to Children

In addition, we need to teach children not to be afraid to speak-up whenever they’ve had enough pain and abuse, and need our assistance. Children should not be made to feel ashamed, or weak for gaining assistance. Children deserve to attend bully-free schools.


Also, anti-bullying advocates (like me) are known for encouraging by-standers not to turn their heads when they see a peer being bullied. Who knows, they may save a dear life. We want to encourage our children it is okay to seek help. This is another great lesson in life. This encouragement also teaches our little girls not to remain in abusive relationships (a topic for another forum).


We often preach tolerance. To me, it depends on what one is being asked to tolerate. Bullying behaviors should not be tolerated.


Of course we want to empower our children along the way, and build self-esteem. This does help them get through tough times. Some children may never need adult assistance with bullying. While that is great, some others may need help.


My Experiences/Observations

By the way, I have been a public school educator for the past 34 years, and an Adjunct Professor for the past 8 years, so I am the last person who wishes to discredit a teacher. Trust me!

But, I also have lots of experience, have observed lots of teachers, and what trumps it all is I am a devoted mother. My own child has experienced being bullied, and it didn’t feel good to me as a parent.


Although we have many wonderful teachers in our classrooms, we have a few who are not worthy of teaching anyone’s child. Another topic for another occasion – There are teacher bullies as well.


Story-line of “Teacher, Teacher, Can’t You See?”

I think you failed to grasp the full meaning of my story. The little boy was overly excited to begin school. He and Johnny started off as friends, but then Johnny’s bullying began. The story-line emphasized in “Teacher, Teacher, Can’t You See?”  realizes the young child crying out for help. He just needed his teacher to take notice.

So many times teachers get busy and have tunnel vision. They are stressed-out attempting to get their test scores up because they need their “bread and butter” like each of us. Their livelihood is just as important as their supervisor’s livelihood – the people who evaluates their teacher effectiveness each year, but those test scores must shine.


With this in mind, teachers need to teach, but they sometimes do not realize bullying acts going on in their classrooms around them.


Budget Cuts: No School Counselors and Support Staff on our Campuses

I realize there are school officials tasked with making difficult decisions how best to spend their allotted funding from the state and district budgets. There are a few who decide (as per what their stakeholder climates suggest) if they will have a counselor, or nurse available on their campuses for students. Although most elementary schools employ both, some district officials are plagued with choosing which is needed the most. Trust me, however, whenever a child needs any of these two, principals and school administrators are trained when to call for assistance (back-up).


Going to my website is an added choice – an option – just another resource made available of the many out there. I not only offer people (fans) visit my website, I also stream live with various topics on bullying, diversity and related topics. There are many resources available out there. Authors love to give fans choices.


What some few critics fail to understand is this: Authors like me have many stories in our heads. We write from various experiences, but cannot possibly write all our books in one setting. This book took another angle that many appreciate.


Additional Note from Me

This reviewer responded back to me saying I should have expanded the story giving uneducated parents, or caregiver options. She went on to say children need to learn how to deal emotionally with a very complex, and often cruel world, stand on their own two feet, deal with the bumps of everyday life, and even away from the protected home, or school environment. She also said her great grandson needed bullying assistance in a different way, so my book was of no help for their family situation.


My Final Note to Viewers and Fans

While not everything this reviewer said was bad, she had a few great points, but she missed the story-line point of this one little book (of many I’ll write from varying standpoints about bullying), and failed to realize that sometimes children just need to tell someone.


Children should know its okay to speak-up and out in an attempt to seek help, if they need to. They should realize they’re not alone and should not be intimidated or made to feel they are tattle-tales

for not enduring bullying abuses of any kind.


Bullying is real, and so is Suicide.


My Goals for Writing Various Story-lines

My goal for writing books with multiple story-lines centered on bullying and diversity issues is to make every child feel comfortable in their environments. Children must realize they are not alone, and that there are people available to assist them.


Please Comment

If you are reading this post and have a thought, or two, or if you have viable solutions, and/or recommendations on this subject, please comment and share your view points. I’d certainly appreciate it and other readers will too.

I hope to hear from you very soon!


Facebook Live Streaming

virtualGood Afternoon Friends and Fans,


For the first time, I’m utilizing Facebook Live Streaming to reach my audiences. I began trying this new venture out Sunday, March 13, 2016 introducing myself to my fans and audiences. Again tonight, Monday, March 14, 2016, I went on again speaking to my audience about Cyber bullying, and its effects on our teens due to their use of mobile devices via Social media networks such as (Instagram, KIK, Snap Chat, and the like).


So far, I’m having a great time reaching my fans, although the topics are marginal and difficult to discuss at times. What I mean by this is: Sometimes it isn’t pleasurable sharing alarming statistics about bullying, and other oppressive topics some dare discuss, but we must discuss these topics so our children are helped, schooled and cautioned.


I love what I do, and I hope you’ll join me many times as I go live sharing knowledge coupled with statistics about my platform topics bullying and diversity, and of course related topics drawn from these two topics.


Facebook Fan page: Books That Sow: Strength, Character & Diversity, DBA

Please go to my FB fan page and “Like” it.

I’d appreciate views, support and comments – Dr. Cherrye

Innovative Creativity: What Inspired me to Write my First Book, No Tildes on Tuesday

tildesWe all have a story within us. Among a few genres, our stories may be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, folklore, or whatever the writer desires, but the main point is getting our stories out of our heads/hearts and onto paper. So, don’t be shy. Begin writing and journaling as much as possible. Write, write, and continue writing.

A Good Hook: Ask Yourself this Question

A hook sentence (also called a narrative hook or literary hook) is a sentence in the first paragraph of a piece of writing which “hooks” the reader into “thirsting” for more. It’s what authors coin “a page-turner.” You will want your “hook” written within the first sentence or paragraph. Your hook shouldn’t be too far down after your first paragraph.
Think about what makes a story interesting to you. This is what will assist you in writing a good “hook” for your story. You’ll want to give your readers the same gift you received from stories you’ve read that had great “hooks.”

 So, think about how will you make your story so interesting the reader will have a hard time putting your story down.

Make Character(s) Come Alive on Paper

Go ahead and begin jotting down your ideas and notions. Give your characters names, and express their characteristics/personalities (sassy, smart, and intuitive). Don’t forget your scenery (school, home, sunshine, snow, rainy day).

 • Give your scenes color/vivid descriptions
• Set interesting Scenes
• Get into your Characters heads
• Personalize your story
• Imagine yourselves in the story
• Voice out your characters words/Act our your story

Helpful tips for planning your very own story (click on hyperlink below)
Components of Planning a Story

How No Tildes on Tuesday was born

This is how I made my first book, No Tildes on Tuesday, come alive. Even though the story within the pages of No Tildes on Tuesday is fiction, it is based, in part, on my personal life which makes this story realistic fiction. Well, you might ask, what is realistic fiction? Realistic fiction means that the story is based on issues surrounding my life, even though it isn’t entirely true. For example, the storyline is based on a biracial girl, Isabella, who is not bilingual. Isabella’s dad, Antonio, didn’t teach Isabella Spanish because of how he was forced by his school teachers to drop his Spanish language at a very young age and concentrate learning English. Isabella’s grandmother (abuela) yearned for Isabella to learn her father’s native language, but really didn’t know how to teach Spanish properly.
Isabella’s father is Hispanic and her mother is Caucasian. Isabella, however, identifies with only one half of her heritage (the Caucasian side). In fact, her very best friend is Caucasian and believes it to be a waste of time for Isabella to learn Spanish since no one at school, or in their community speaks Spanish.
Further into the storyline of No Tildes on Tuesday Isabella meets a new friend who is bilingual. Juanito loves speaking both languages and invites Isabella to a Fiesta where she learns and sees the beauty of the other half of her heritage.

How No Tildes on Tuesday Mirrors my Personal Life

Well, in my real life, my own daughter is biracial, and even though she isn’t bilingual, she has taken Spanish for the last two years in middle school. My husband is Hispanic and I am African-American. My husband’s teachers encouraged them to only speak English while in school, but he continued to use Spanish while at home with his parents.
My daughter’s grandmother (abuela) really wanted her to learn Spanish, but abuela wasn’t able to help my daughter learn the language using proper linguistic skills. In addition, Isabella’s dad’s name is Antonio. Antonio is my husband’s middle name.

As shown on the Back matter of No Tildes on Tuesday

Isabella never wanted to learn to speak Spanish. But when her parents announce they are moving to the family to a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, Isabella become desperately afraid that she won’t be able to fit in and grudgingly agrees to start Spanish lessons with her abuela.
But the lessons aren’t as easy as she thought they would be. Abuela is a strict teacher and the words are a lot more difficult to memorize than Isabella thought they would be, so at the goading of her best friend she decides to put a stop to them. Through a runaway adventure, a visit to her father in the hospital, and an introduction to a new kind of friend, Isabella comes to realize that Spanish may not be as bad as she thought, and that being able to communicate with people who share her heritage could be invaluable.

Self-Identity: Love Who You Are

As the author and creator of this story, it was my aim to reveal how complicated it is avoiding self-identity, but how great and rewarding life can be when we embrace all of who we are. We must have deep-seated love, confidence and self-respect for self. Love for self must become ingrained within at a very young age and massaged daily. We must love our heritage whether, biracial, multi-racial or monoracial (of only one race as I am).


Balloon Great BossFrom my experience as both a boss and subordinate I know first-hand what it takes being a dynamic boss.

By definition subordinates are those who are ranked in positions not equal to that of their boss.


Yes, but how commandeering are you?

No, not all people can or will have the same rankings on various jobs, but bosses must always consider how they treat the very people who help them do their jobs well, and I might add, those who help their bosses “shine.”

People should not be treated as inferior, subservient individuals made to feel lower in thought, and privileges. Although bosses are taxed with final decisions as per their knowledge and skill-sets, those who are looked at as inferior also have talents, and can often bring new ideas “to the table” never imagined.


Have we taken this scripture completely out of context?

Biblical Scripture (Taken from Bible Gateway)

 Ephesians 6:4-6 Worldwide English (New Testament)

Servants, obey your boss. Respect him with all your heart and try to please him as you would Christ.

Obey not only when he is looking at you, as if you were pleasing a man. But obey as the servants of Christ, and do with all your heart what God wants you to do.

Work gladly as if you were working for the Lord and not for men.


Even still, those in Managerial/Supervisory roles should not take the word out of context, and especially for granted when interacting with persons considered not equal in their positions. Those blessed enough to be in such roles should always think to treat others the very same way they’d want to be treated.


Input and talent of Subordinates

How often have you had to rely on your assistant to help “keep your head above the water” or help you during “crunch time?” It doesn’t hurt to listen to reason. Many times my assistant has had great ideas I could use. Whenever I could not, I listened and knew when to “draw the line” especially whenever I felt (via my expertise, teaching, experience and training), I realized my idea(s) and proceedings were better suited for the task at hand. Even still, I was warm-hearted, and always thanked my assistant for her input.


Ideas to ensure you’re a great boss?

  • Listen without interrupting
  • Acknowledge what subordinates have to say
  • Utilize some of their ideas from time-to-time
  • Expect accountability without being overpowering
  • Avoid harsh criticism. Rather, give another point-of-view
  • Tell subordinates how well they have done
  • Show subordinates they’ve done well by kind gestures
  • Use words such as “Thank you” and “Please” often
  • Give reasonable timelines/deadlines ahead of time
  • Never shout or use unkind words
  • Always remain humanistic showing concern about their health, or the well-being of their family members if shared with you
  • Treat subordinates the very same way you’d want to be treated

Following these ideas just makes a better working environment one to another as daily work tasks are completed.

And, along the way, why not have the boss and subordinate respecting one another, too.

Pep Talk

Teacher, Teacher, Can't Tou SeeAt the beginning of last school year, I posted an article on my blog titled “Pep Talk.” This 2015-2016 school year, I want to repost that article, adding a few more points.


As our children journey back to school this year, let us not forget to give them a huge hug and/or kiss while assuring them we are their best advocates, and spokespersons just long as they follow school rules, respect themselves and others, and follow the laws of the land.


I believe in my heart-of-hearts if we instill in our children there are rules to be followed, perhaps our children can and will avoid adverse issues unawares that could surface along their crossings.


Our children must also learn empathy, and care for one another. Using their manners by simply saying words such as “excuse me” “thank you” and the like will soften spirits.


When our children are not with us, but in the trusting hands of school officials, we must allow our children to soar with independence while becoming responsible citizens in our society who will one day be charged with making decisions in our stead.


Remind our children to choose their company wisely, not become followers but leaders. Let us remind them if it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t right. Tell our children it is okay to move themselves out, or away from situations that aren’t good for their well-being. They must trust their “gut feelings.” So, when peer pressure lurks their way, it is okay to stand tall and say “no.”


Tell children to “keep their heads to the grind” meaning – listen to your teachers, get organized and remain that way.  Remain studious, ask questions, and get their assignments completed in timely fashions.


Let us not forget to closely monitor our children’s coming and goings. Ask questions about their day, possible homework, or just ask, “Is there anything I need to know?” You’d be surprised at their relief that you asked, and what you may learn from them.


Let us give our children a “pep talk” today and throughout the school year, and let us pray for their safety, strength, and positive growth in right directions.



~ See more helpful back to school information at:

Wipe Out Bullying: Is it Possible?

My Child is Being Bullied: Oh, I Don’t Think So!



Microaggressions: What’s Inside You – Will Come Out

Cailee and Kelly eating icecream at James Coney IslandI distinctively recall a very casual conversation I had with a co-worker one day. As she stood before me expressing her disgust and frustration due to her daughter’s latest inauspicious actions, without thinking, I announced, “How trifling!” No sooner I said those words; I wished I could stuff them back down my throat. Later, I asked myself, How could I?


I apologized immensely assuring her I meant no harm, and I should not have judged her daughter. My co-worker stood calmly looking me straightly in the eyes and said, “That’s okay. What’s inside you will come out.” I began a strained attempt to quantify my statement by explaining what I meant. By now, I’m sure my words became deafening, and she could care less for furtherance of my babbling.


I can’t tell you how badly I felt. Just imagine. How could I judge another’s daughter, for I have a daughter of my own? Furthermore, I’ve always pledged not to utter ill words of another mother’s child.


I can tell you this; however, that scene has never left my mind. I learned something vital that day. I carry it with me often, and I reflect on those words more than you’ll ever imagine. That one experience has allowed me not only to mirror that moment countless times, but has taught me to become more cautious before opening my mouth.


Just recently, I read Dr. Dana Leeman’s July 30, 2015 article, titled: “Everyday Stings: The Power and Pain of Microaggressions” and suddenly that ill-timed scenario with my co-worker trickled back to mind.


Dr. Leeman’s definition of microagressions is as follows: subtle, often nuanced, verbal or behavioral slights, snubs, or insults that can be intentional, but are often unintentional. They communicate negative, pejorative, and sometimes hostile messages to others solely based on their membership in a marginalized group.


Dr. Leeman (2015) goes on to say, “We are products of our context and socialization, and we are not above saying or doing insensitive things…”


With this in mind, I’d like to reflect a minute on what my co-worker said to me that day. “What’s inside you will come out.” Just think on these words for just a moment, asking how is it we learn the “stings” which causes pain and hurt to others? How did we usurp and develop traces, tinges and shades of miffs which offend others that are embodied within our hearts, and thought processes? As you reflect on these questions for just a bit, I’ll declare I must concur with Dr. Leeman. We are indeed products of our context and socialization. We are what we’ve observed, learned and absorbed from our first role-models (our parents and/or caretakers) who influenced us from infancy. What a loaded statement, right?


What I believe, nonetheless, is this: If we truly desire to make positive changes for the better where microagressive actions (whether verbal or in deed), we must begin working with our children from the cradle, early and often. Just imagine the many years one has had learning and embedding what has been learned by our role-models/first teachers. We are like sponges cramming what our home lives imparted, shown and trained.


Parents and caregivers must teach children social skills, social etiquette, care and respect for others. What about this statement? — Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. When we teach our children to carefully nurture and give attention to their actions, we also teach lessons in remorseful conducts, manners and attitudes. Are we perfect? No way! But practices of compassion, sensitivity and consideration for others produce consistency, and breeds socially appropriate preferences while allowing for steady uniformity of goodness towards others (words and deeds).


Home is where the inception (the burning torch) begins. Parents must teach cultural sensitivity at home, and then pass the social skills torch to school officials. Educators must command and take ownership of the burning torch while entertaining passion for culturally-responsive pedagogy. Legislators and policy makers must allow educators to include and incorporate culturally-responsive curriculum within lesson planning. When this occurs, we will become kinder, more loving toward one another, and I’ll be willing to strongly anticipate microagressive behaviors will lessen.