My next Middle Grade Novel:

“Saving Gardenia” is HERE

My newest middle grade novel is now available! “Saving Gardenia” is book two in my Gemstone Dragons Series. Its available as a Kindle book and a softcover book. The amazon link is here.

Natural Consequeses

“Saving Gardenia” expands on the idea that keeping secrets causes drama.

In book one, “Escaping Gardenia”, the main characters are both keeping secrets and it makes it difficult to form a friendship. One of them finally opens up, but before the other can do the same, life intervenes and his secret exposed.

Book two, “Saving Gardenia” covers the fall out of having your secret exposed instead of sharing them.

All of this on the background of a fantasy novel, in which two kids are working to help other people, figure out who they are and who they want to be. Oh, and dealing with a magical force that has an agenda all its own.

Target Audience

Middle Grade books are a very misunderstood category. I believe its because different regions have there own names for this age group. Middle Grade does NOT mean Middle School.

Now that I have the cleared up what does middle grade mean? Middle grade is for kids aged 8-12. So upper elementary kids from 2nd grade through early 7th grade. That’s a pretty big range and obviously not every middle grade novel is going to be right for every 8-12 yr old kid.

Encouraging a love of reading

Try exposing your young people to a wide variety of books in order to find the niche that resonates with them. I write fantasy books, as a parent if that’s not your thing then it might be easy to skip those for your kids. I encourage you to reconsider that. Fantasy books encourage a child’s imagination in ways other books do not. I also encourage mysteries and historical books even though I personal don’t read mysteries, and I have a love hate relationship with historical books.

My kids are often drawn to similar books to what I like. Thankfully, early exposure to a wide variety of books means they read a much more varied selection than I ever did. This not only expands their imaginations, like I mentioned before, it gives them a larger vocabulary, and a broader understanding of how other people think and interact with each.

More books by me, Shannon L. Mokry

Good Sportsmanship is for Everyone

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘good sportsmanship”? Sports? How about games? If so your not alone, however good sportsmanship is about so much more than being nice on a sports field. It’s about attitude and attitude is important everywhere.

A good attitude helps with our family relationships, friendships, school and work. Think about the attributes of your family and classmates or co-workers. What stands out as making some a joy to be around or a person you avoid? Attitude.

So What IS Good Sportsmanship?

This is what I found when I searched for good sportsmanship in google. Is this really all that is meant by good sportsmanship? I don’t think so but read the quotes and decide for yourself.

Good sportsmanship is when people who are playing or watching a sport treat each other with respect. This includes players, parents, coaches, and officials.”

Sportsmanship is defined as ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behavior while participating in a game or athletic event. When a basketball player plays by the rules, is fair to his opponent and is gracious when he loses, this is an example of sportsmanship. YourDictionary definition and usage example.” –

I believe that good sportsmanship is so much more.

Attitude is Everything

In competition and in all areas of life, having a good attitude makes the difference between a good day and a bad day. When people are competing this is especially important, but what if you don’t realize your competing? That is where good sportsmanship bleeds into everyday life.

When you eat a meal you have your favorites right? Do you also have your favorite preparer? It can be a favorite restaurant or an Auntie that makes it better than anyone else. Your kids only like your spaghetti and no else’s. You didn’t know it was a competition, but how you handle these situations is showing good sportsmanship in everyday life.

Do you have a favorite desert, but you never ask for it, because the person who makes it best boasts to much, or it makes your mom feel bad that you don’t like her version? That’s an example of how a negative attitude or bad sportsmanship and affect everyday life as well.

How do I teach my kids Good Sportsmansip?

Its true that you can’t control anyone but yourself. Not even our kids. So if you choose to be kind, to be nice, and to be helpful, then you are teaching the best way possible, by example.

Other ways to teach this concept is through story telling and books. That is why I wrote “Bubbles and the Big Race”. With stories like this, kids can see this concept in action, without feeling lectured or called out. They can see what examples of what bad sportsmanship looks like, and how it makes other people feel. Making the connections between bad attitudes and other peoples feelings increase things like empathy.

Empathy is a big social skill so lets encourage it.

What else have I written about?

What’s next?

The future is hard to pin down but I have several things planned out for the next year. Here is a lists of dates I have set right now. I’ll update them as things change.

  • Saving Gardenia – September 1, 2019 – Coming Soon!
  • Bubbles and the Big Race – September 21, 2019 -Coming Soon!
  • The Little Yellow Llama – November 2019
  • The Little Green Fox – February 2020
  • Take a Walk on the Beach – April 2020
  • Take a Walk in the Rain – July 2020
  • The Middlest- October 2020
  • Restoring Gardenia -2020

*sample illustrations by Callan Clark

Free Elephant Bookmarks

This one is for the fans of my book “The Little Pink Elephant“. If your not familiar with it you can read about it in another post here. Or check it out on amazon here.

Make it a treat or a reward

Bookmarks are an easy and popular treat to give to book loving kids. Even if you and your kids are not familiar with my little pink elephant these book marks are sure to be a hit!

I make these a reward because I find that any gift I give is treated better if my kids think they have earned it. Try rewarding a wiggly child who manages to sit through a whole story, or better yet, reward a begging reader that reads a book to you!

Printing Instructions.

To print these bookmarks put 8.5 x 11 white cardstock into your printer and make sure it is ready to print. Then click the link above. It should pop up a new tab or page with both pages. Print as you normally would, stopping to flip the page so that it is two sided.

After printing them, cut them apart along the dotted lines and enjoy. The second side of the bookmark has a place for you or your child to right their name. That way if you have more than one child it is easy to remember who’s bookmark belongs to who.

Remember only laminate after they have colored it. Laminating isn’t required, but it does extend the life of the bookmark.

Copyright reminder

These bookmarks are free for you to print and hand out, but they are NOT for you to sale or post on any site.

You are welcome to share my blog post as long as you link it back to me and do not copy it.

Thank you!

Want more bookmarks?

  • Valentines Day bookmarks are here.
  • Dragon Bookmarks for my book Bubbles and the Berry Bush are here.

Free Cactus and Coloring Pages

Summer is almost here and that makes me think of heat. Well this summer my daughter and I hope to spend a lot of time with a new friend. That new friend happens to be crazy about succulents. So this months succulents where inspired by her. My daughter, of course, is getting lessons in what the differences are between the different kinds of succulents, and how to keep them alive and thriving. As always I like to provide lots of reminders of the important things we are learning. Coloring sheets do this is a very kid friendly and fun way. Enjoy!

How to get the free printables

Just head on over to Teacher’s Pay Teachers, log in and select my free Cactus Coloring Pages. It will give your the files to download from there. I want to make this as safe and easy as possible. Since I am providing these at no charge, I wanted a way for you to safely access the pages without paying for anything out of my pocket. Teacher’s Pay Teachers does that for both of us.

Want more?

Don’t forget to signup for my newsletter, I’ll send links to all of my new content directly to your inbox. You can also check out my store on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and see what else is there. Have fun!

Let Everyday be an Adventure!

As a parent I know how hard it is to let my kids explore the world and have their own adventures. It gets even harder and more complicated when one of them is different. Society has a history of being unkind, and children are the worst. Or are they?

I’m not talking about bullies here…

I’m not saying you should let your child be bullied. Society has been making huge strides in fixing this, its not a perfect world. It is still very broken. Always step in if you suspect bulling.

However, this is the world that our kids have to live in, and we need to let them live. That means working together on solving misunderstandings. It means helping empower them to deal with misunderstandings. They will have their own stories, their own pain and triumph.

Here is the thing, if we don’t ever let them try, then they won’t every have a triumph. Its our job to encourage, to help, and to eventually step back. Kids are amazing at doing so much more than anyone ever thought possible, when given a chance.

Are you letting your child find his or her own triumphs? My book the Little Purple Porcupine is about a mom’s worry for her child. How she steps back and lets him find his adventures.

If mama’s not happy, no one is happy!

The same goes for worry. If mama’s worried, then everyone is worried. Mom is the security blanket and rock that kids turn to.

This is why I wrote a children’s book about a mother’s fear. Kids know when mom is worried about them. Its not a surprise, so it makes since to read a book about this topic. It makes it easier to open up conversation. Communication is always the best way to move forward.

Preorder your copy of The Little Purple Porcupine on amazon here.

Want more books from Shannon L Mokry?

All links below take you to their Amazon pages.

DIY Safari Summer Camp Activities!

Are you looking for some fun activities to do with your children this summer? Me too! Well one of my kids, the big kids may join in once they see how much fun we are having. This week the theme is Safari, and with that in mind I have an elephant craft and a book to share.

1. Elephant Masks

To start off Elephant Day, lets make some Elephant masks!

What you need:

  • Download Pattern Pieces HERE
  • One piece of cardstock (I used pink to match my book)
  • 2 pieces of regular printer paper (to match the cardstock)
  • elastic
  • glue
  • scissors
  • printer to print the pattern pieces
  • optional-crayons or markers, but only if your stuck using white paper
  • hole punch (or something to make small holes)

Download and print my pattern pieces. Make sure to print the main mask piece (page 1) on cardstock. It needs to be heavier paper. Cut out the pieces for the mask and the ears. Carefully cut out the eyes. Glue the ears on slight above the holes for the elastic. attach the elastic. Then, cut out the nose piece. Be carful to not cut past the lines down the nose or you’ll end up with a short nose. Glue the uncut sides together forming a tube. Carefully trim along the top edge of nose, fold those pieces up and glue it to the face of the mask. I found it worked easier to put the glue on the mask and press the nose down onto the glue.

Give it a few minutes for the glue to dry then have an elephant parade! End the parade in a story time. I hope you enjoy this mask as much as we have.

2. Elephant Books

There are so many great Elephant themed books. I wanted to give you a reading lists of books available as ebooks. You can cuddle up on the couch to read them, or project them up the TV to read to a group. Of course physical copies are also available for those of you that like to plan ahead.

  • The Little Pink Elephant
  • Eyesha and the Great Elephant Gathering – Amazon Link
  • The Last Rhino(Don’t let the title fool you, its got lots of elephants going on-Amazon link

I hope you have fun reading about elephants and doing some arts and crafts. Most of I hope you are having fun spending time together.

Want more DIY Safari Themed Summer Camp Activities? Click HERE!

DIY Art Themed Summer Camp Activity

Our summer is starting to look jam packed with activities. So we are getting a head start on making some practical things to make our summer more comfortable. To start that off we are decorating some tote bags. I’m hopeful that these bags will keep our needed supplies at hand. What your going to need is:

  • Cotton Tote Bags
  • cardboard to go inside the totes
  • fabric paint or fabric markers or both!
  • potatoes, celery, sponges, varies other items
  • stencils?

First, I stuffed the card board into the tote so that the paint doesn’t seep through. Then I cut up the celery, potatoes, and anything else we want to use (we used the tops of mini bell peppers, and some sponges). My daughter took a few minutes to plan her design then we got to stamping!

To get the two toned celery “roses” we used spray on fabric paint. We sprayed the paint directly on the celery. you could also paint directly on the celery. My last suggestion is to spread the paint out on a plate for the child to stamp into them onto the tote bag. I found the fabric spray paint at my local craft store.

We left the bottom corner blank for her to write her name, but a stencil or sponge letters would be more fun! For older kids, you could have them carve the letters into the potatoes, there are as many options as their are kids!

Of course, I know that not all of you can pull out paints at a moments notice. That is okay, too. Or, you may have a child with sensory issues that just can’t handle the feel or the disorganization of paints. You can still do this project with stencils. Stencils help create a sense of control. Not only do the markers control the mess, the stencils create a set pattern.

I hope you enjoy this craft and have a wonderful summer making memories!

I’ve teamed up with some other talented bloggers to bring you even more DIY Summer Camp Activities. You can check them out by clicking HERE!

Book Review and Craft: Little Narwhal’s Day

A friend and fellow author is getting ready to publish a new book and I’m just as excited as she is! Well close anyways, we love narwhals! So when she posted that she had her sample book in, I jumped right in and made a craft to go with it.

photographed by Angela Castillo

I can’t wait to get my own physical copy to read with my daughter. If you have a love for arctic animals like the Narwhale then help make this dream a reality by supporting Angela’s Kickstarter campaign. The sooner the better, the campaign ends on May 11 and when its gone, the special values go with it.

I hope you and your child enjoy the book and craft as much as my daughter has! We love to read about this fun character and the arctic waters he lives in. After reading the book, dive into this cute painting project. We dug into our recycle bin and pull out some bubble wrap and learned about curves, and how that impacts the stamping abilities of two different shaped bubble wrap, we used different shades of blue and talked about why you layer lighter or darker first. We cut drew and cut out the shape of our Narwhal. Then discussed how paints mix when wet and layer when dry. But most of all we had fun and made a memory!

Art and books pair so well together. If you haven’t done art projects based on books you read with you child, I highly recommend giving it a try. I also suggest painting with your child, they love seeing our work, mistakes and all. I thought about making a more perfect example, then realized, that my work would just be different, not more perfect. Child art has a special appeal that we need to encourage.

Free Elephant Coloring Pages

Elephants are everywhere right now.

You may have noticed that I have a new book out! The Little Pink Elephant. You may also be able to guess who my inspiration was? Well inspiration or not, my little one wanted more elephants. Even after illustrating the book, I was happy to provide them. That means you get them too!

I’m not the only one with elephants on the brain. With an upcoming movie, and the general popularity of elephants in the baby section of most stores, I hope you all find my elephants fill a need for your little one, just like they did for mine.

Fun Fact

There really are pink elephants in Africa! I was surprised too, but once I new I had to share the information. No they aren’t born pink, but the dirt in the area they live is bright red, and when it dries it turns the elephants varies shades of red and pink. How cool is that! Click here to find out more about the these elephants!

How to get the free printables

Just head on over to Teacher’s Pay Teachers, log in and select my free Elephant Coloring Pages. It will give your the files to download from there. I want to make this as safe and easy as possible. Since I am providing these at no charge, I wanted a way for you to safely access the pages without paying for anything out of my pocket. Teacher’s Pay Teachers does that for both of us.

Want more?

You can sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll deliver them right to your inbox. If you want to know more about my book, you can check it out on amazon by clicking the link above or here. You can also check out my store on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and see what else is there. Have fun!

I also have Free Elephant Bookmarks here.

Every Person Has Room to Shine – amazon link

When I first became a mother I had so many ideas on how it would go. As any seasoned mother can tell you, those dreams soon went out the window. They had to, as I got to know each of my unique and precious daughters reality set in. Over the years I have learned so much from them, and been humbled in the process. The enormity of being the right mother for each of them with all of their unique needs was not lost on me.

The Little PInk Elephant

While each of my girls is very unique, they did have some things in common. For some reason they got the idea in their heads that the world was a musical and would burst into song and dance at every opportunity. This proved challenging as I’m sure you can image. The first few times, I was a little embarrassed, then I embraced it. To be so secure and confident, it was a beautiful thing and I wasn’t go to steal that joy. As they each grew out of this phase, I found myself missing it.

That experience, combined with an recent art project with my youngest daughter, was the inspiration for my newest book, “The Little Pink Elephant”.

Shine Bright

I’ve written before about choosing to live without fear (you can read more about that here). Part of choosing to live without fear, means shining my brightest. To be the best mother, wife, artist, author, person, that I can be. It’s what we all want for our kids, right? The only way for that to happen is to model it. Let your joy shine, if you’ve lost it, don’t worry, you can find it again. Start by remembering your dreams, and take steps to follow them, no matter how scary the idea.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
—2 Timothy 1:7

Support One Another

We teach this concept at a young age, intentional or not. Its not about building up our children’s self esteem, its about building up our friends and family. Lets start doing this with intention! Do you kids see you building up those around you? How about yourself? Our kids learn more by what they see us doing than what we tell them to do. So sing along with them, encourage your friends, and speak positive things. It will make a difference in their lives as well as yours!

Other Elephant Posts

Other Books by Shannon L. Mokry

More books coming soon:

  • Saving Gardenia-Chapter book -Fall 2019
  • Bubbles and the Big Race – September 2019
  • The Little Yellow Llama – November 2019
  • The Little Green Fox – February 2020