Who Knew?

Reading has been a part of my world since childhood. Hence, I am passionate about reading, and that will never change. Because I wanted to connect with other bibliophiles, I became a member of Litsy, Goodreads, and Instagram. I even began a blog, so I could share my book reviews and engage in stimulating conversations.

Through the Instagram community, I met LaQueisha Malone, editor of Strawberry-Lit Magazine.  When attending one or her Instagram lives, she asked me if I was an author. My response was simple, “No.” At the time, the thought of becoming an author never crossed my mind. Although she told me that I could become an author, I still had no interest in trying to become one.

Well, one day, that changed. Little did I know that these authors were having an influence on me. Due to the grade level that I teach and students that I tutor, I read a lot of children’s books and young adult literature. Therefore, I aspire to become a children’s author. Having decided on the type of writer that I aspire to be, an idea instantly came to mind, so I will be working on my new book. Having met many authors on Instagram has been a blessing in disguise. Stay tuned!

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Weekly Quote

If you get, give. If you learn, teach.

Maya Angelou

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We’re Moving Where?! Glen Blackwell

As a member of Goodreads, I am afforded the opportunity to meet individuals who, like me, love reading books. This is how I met Glen Blackwell. He sent me a message to ask me if I would review his preview copy of We’re Moving Where?! Because the synopsis sounded interesting, I agreed to read and review it.

Harry and his parents, Mark and Jess Jones, reside in England. Harry is living the fun life of a ten-year-old, watching cartoons, playing with his toys, and spending time with his friends. However, unbeknownst to Harry, his life is going to change in a major way. 

This change focuses on Harry’s dad. When his father receives an offer for a new job, one that he should not turn down, Harry will have to relocate with his family. This new job is in Canada, and Mark and Jess are concerned with how Harry will react toward this news. At first, like most children, Harry does not want to leave his friends. But once he learns that they will be living adventurously in the woods and that he will be able to keep in touch with his friends, Harry warms up to the idea. Hence, moving to and living somewhere in the middle of the woods in Canada gives this novel its title, We’re Moving Where?!

While reading this novel, I also noticed the British spelling of certain words, such as mum, whilst, coloured, pyjamas, and favourite. I do not know if this strategy was intentional, but I liked it. It teaches children that the same words used in different countries have different spellings. This is a great way to allow students to learn about different countries. At the end of the novel, I did not want to stop reading, so I hope that Blackwell writes another book to give this story some closure.

I enjoyed reading this novel, as it was full of positivity. Page after page, I kept waiting for something terrible to happen. But with each page, I did not find anything negative. Moreover, this novel is full of adventure, and the events make this novel fun for students to read.

I was curious about the readability level of this novel, that is the appropriate grade level of it. To determine the grade level, I used two popular readability formulas to see if the grade levels of this novel were consistent. The first formula that I used was the Fry Graph Readability Formula. I randomly selected three 100-word passages. Then, I counted the number of sentences and syllables in the these passages. Next, I calculated the average sentence length and syllables; after calculating the average sentence length and syllables, the determined readability level of this novel is for students in the 7th grade. 

The SMOG Readability Formula is the second method that I used to determine this novel’s readability level. With this formula, I randomly selected three passages consisting of ten sentences. Next, I found all the polysyllabic words, words with three or more syllables, in each passage. Then, I totaled the number of polysyllabic words in each set of three passages and found the closest perfect square of the sum. For the next step, I found the square root of the number closest to the perfect square. After finding the square root, I added three to the calculated square root; this will be the readability level. According to the SMOG Readability Formula, this novel is for students in the eighth grade. Therefore, I recommend that this novel, We’re Moving Where?!, is for for middle school students. It is a clean, appropriate novel that is full of much imagery, which will allow readers to use their imagination as they read.

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Protostar Love Sheopatra Smith

Do you have a love of your life? A soulmate? A ride or die boyfriend or girlfriend? Nia Nayeli Badi and Boyden “Bizzy Boy” Miller have this kind of relationship, one that is undeniably  strong. Nia will not allow anyone to disrespect Boyden, and it is the same for Boyden. When it comes to one another, they are loyal to the soil. 

Everything is going great until one particular day. Nia’s decision to become a single woman does not sit well with Boyden. In fact, Nia does not even like her decision, but she has made a choice, and she is going to see it to the end. However, Boyden is not going to allow the end of “Noyden” (Nia and Boyden) to be a reality. 

One thing that Smith does well is bring her characters to life. While reading this novel, you will feel like you know these characters. In fact, you might find yourself thinking, for example, Nia  reminds me of _____; Boyden reminds me of _____; Halima reminds me of _____.  While reading Protostar Love, I felt like I personally knew the characters, and I was able to experience their every thought and emotion.

In Protostar Love, Smith examines the dynamics of relationships. She focuses on the good and the bad of them. When reading this novel, you may be reminded of or you may be familiar with some of the aspects of these relationships. Hence, this is what makes Smith’s book extremely real.

Although I did notice a few spelling errors, they did not distort the meaning of the sentences; I was still able to follow the storyline. Overall, this is a great novel to read, so I recommend reading Protostar Love.

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Boyden’s Love for Nia

Nia, I’ll be with you, and do whatever you ask. I’ll love you forever, and ever ever. Until the universe passes, baby.

Protostar Love — Sheopatra Smith

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New Book Review

Through Goodreads, I am a member of the Black Coffee community. In January 2021, our group read Deesha Philyaw’s novel, The Secrets Lives of Church Ladies. I was really excited to read this collection of short stories. Although there were a few short stories that I enjoyed reading, I am not able to say that I loved the book. Therefore, I encourage you to read the book to determine your feelings about it.

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Weekly Quote

Surround yourself with a trusted and loyal team. It makes all the difference.

Alison Pincus

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from Protostar Love

What I’m trying to say is, if you’re not willing to reciprocate my energy and love me on purpose, the way I need you to – the way I do you – if you’re not ready to honor the boundary lines we’ve set for ourselves so we remain in pleasant places, then I think we need to call it. And that’s on mic drop.

Nia talking to Boyden

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Eric Jerome Dickey

Sister Sister. Between Lovers. Thieves’ Paradise. Naughty or Nice. Naughtier Than Nice. Drive Me Crazy. An Accidental Affair. These are just a few of the many novels that Eric Jerome Dickey wrote. It is with sadness that I write the post. On January 3, 2021, Eric Jerome Dickey, a literary giant, departed this earth, and his death came as shock to his audience.

When I saw the first Instagram post about Dickey’s passing, I immediately searched the Internet to find out if this news was true; I found nothing. A few hours later, I saw another post. I searched the Internet again, and again, I found nothing. I saw a third post. For the third time, I searched the Internet. This time, I found an article confirming his death. and no, it was not fake news. I could not believe it. I stared at my phone; I was hurt. This man was my favorite author. Although I never had the opportunity to meet him, I felt like I had lost a friend.

As I processed this news, my phone rang. It was a friend calling to see if I was okay. She knew that I would be sad about Dickey’s death. When I answered the phone, she immediately asked, “Are you okay?” I totally appreciated that call, so to my friend, LaQueisha Malone, thank you for your act of kindness.

The literary world lost an icon. He had the power of the pen. He was a master of words. He made his readers feel like they knew the characters in his books He made his readers feel emotion while reading his books. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Eric Jerome Dickey, thank you for sharing your talent. God rest your soul.

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