Tag : Middle Grade

Forest Secrets by Laurie Woodward

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Forest Secrets

by Laurie Woodward

full cover Forest Secrests by Laurie Woodward

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The half-tree, half-human beings lived a secret existence deep in the old growth forest.

Until now.

When 11-year old Daisy Castillo discovers a plot to destroy the forest, she tries to halt the approaching evil while keeping these magical creatures from being discovered.

But danger waits in every shadow. For if these corrupt men succeed, the Forest People will die. A few surprises are in store, as some unknown and undiscovered friendships hold the key to her success.

Fate hangs in the balance as Daisy faces her deepest fears, including heartbreak from the past, to rise up against all odds.

Suspenseful, mysterious, and full of danger, Forest Secrets captures the enchantment of nature and the power of friendship in this classic tale of good vs. evil.




A Word from the Author

Author Laurie Woodward PictureWhen I was traveling through Alaska many years ago, I noticed that the pine and spruce trees were stunted. This surprised me and when I asked a local about it discovered that the tundra has permafrost that is impenetrable to roots and shallower roots make for smaller trees. This got me thinking about forests, logging, and how each tree is so unique as found myself seeing faces and forms in many of the trees. This lead to the idea of a mythical species that is part tree and part human. From there, the ideas just flowed until I had a pretty good draft of Forest Secrets.

What is this middle grade fantasy novel about?

Eleven year-old DAISY CASTILLO wishes for two things: real adventure and a real friend. On a daring journey to explore the forest near her new home, she discovers more than she bargained for. There are hidden things in the trees– secrets that, if released, could undo an entire race of mythical beings. One of them, a lost forest creature named CALLIANDRA, befriends Daisy and the two set out on a mission to find the tree-girl’s parents. Along the way they encounter thirteen-year-old ALBERT MAHONEY. This sharp-witted son of a local environmentalist joins the quest, and together, the three children stumble upon a nefarious scheme concocted by the corrupt logging foreman BUSTER T. OXJACK and slimy reporter PERCIVAL PIERPONT. Driven by greed, the two are falsifying documents that will allow them to illegally log in protected areas.

Now the children know the real reason Calliandra cannot find her parents: a road recently built as part of Buster T. and Percival’s plot has trapped her parents. Worse, they’re caught in an area that will be cut down in three days.

With time running out, the children race to halt the logging and save Calliandra’s parents. But will they be able to do it in time?

(Laurie Woodward, January 2018)

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The Guardian by L. M. Nelson

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The Guardian

The Power of the Elements in the Hands of a Boy

by L. M. Nelson

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Devastated by the tragic death of their parents, Camryn and Toby Hunter find themselves alone in the Idaho wilderness. When Toby discovers a pair of gold rings, he and Camryn are magically transported into a mystical land they’ve never seen before. Their only known exit is immediately sealed off, and they find themselves surrounded by mythical creatures, a beautiful waterfall oasis, and moss-covered Redwood trees with faces. Named as “the Guardian” by the locals, Toby is faced with a life-changing task. He and his sister can only return home when the elements are reunited and peace is restored to the land of Gelnoff. With only two gold rings, ten days’ worth of supplies, and the guidance of a wise, old Redwood tree, Toby and Camryn begin the journey of a lifetime.




A Word from the Author

Author L. M. Nelson 320x461Have you ever had a dream so vivid and so detailed that it stuck with you for days or even months? That’s how The Guardian came to be. A dream. A very vivid dream.

I’ve always been a lover of fantasy books and sci-fi movies. As a child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favorite books. I loved the world of Winnie the Pooh and floated away to Neverland with Peter Pan. I saw the very first Star Wars movie when I was a child and have been a fan ever since. Imaginary worlds fascinate me. The land of Pandora is one of my favorite imaginary worlds. I wish I could see its many moons, smell its rainforests, and hear the flying dragons screech across the the sky. I’d also love to visit Nabu, Narnia, and Hogwarts, or meet Yoda, Dumbledore, and Frodo.

Creating a fantasy world is a challenging endeavor, and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. But as I began to piece together the images I had in my head, my imaginary world began to take shape. The characters came alive, and I began to feel the landscape – the sounds, the scents, the smells. Trees began to talk, rivers flowed, and glowing stones emitted rainbow colored hues. Although creating the land of Gelnoff challenged me as a writer, it was incredibly fun to write. I compiled all the vivid images I saw from my dreams and let my imagination take over.

In this book, you’ll see some familiar creatures like a Minotaur and a rock troll, but you’ll also meet talking Redwoods and a new fantasy creature called a Hawkstrich.

(L. M. Nelson, January 2018)

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The Kidnapped Smile by Laurie Woodward

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The Kidnapped Smile

The Artania Chronicles Book II

by Laurie Woodward

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Mona Lisa kidnapped? Her father, Leonardo, in tears? What will the Deliverers do?

It has been a year since Alex and Bartholomew first ventured into the mystical Artania. Once again they are called upon to keep this art-created world safe.

But peril waits at every turn.

Traitorous Pirates. Fearful gods and goddesses. Monsters of the deep. A world’s safety lies in the hands three twelve-year-olds. Alex and Bartholomew, with their spunky sidekick Gwen, return to Artania to wrench the kidnapped Mona Lisa from the hands of ruthless pirates.

Will they succeed? Read The Kidnapped Smile and find out.



A Word from the Author

Author Laurie Woodward PictureEvery child is born curious with a desire to create. When nurtured that creativity can be magical. But when children are forced to deny their true selves, part of that magic disappears. I believe that we should foster art in kids and that’s why I wrote Artania. As a teacher I had begun to think of excessive testing as a monster that was destroying beautiful parts of children. In my imagination art was a living being that was endangered every time we denied children’s creativity.

It made we wonder. Can a kid who’s forced to bathe six times a day save a magical world? It’s not his fault his father drowned in a mud puddle just before he was born, turning Mother into a cleaning fanatic. Now eleven-year-old Bartholomew Borax III can’t go to school, play outside, or, worst of all, make art. But he has to. So he sketches in secret.

Then two amazing thing happen, he’s allowed to go to school and he meets skateboarding painter, Alexander Devinci. In Bartholomew’s book, Alex is wicked cool because he gets needing to create. But sharing glimpses of a freaky world every time they brush past each other makes for a tentative friendship. Meanwhile, Alex’s strained relationship with his mother takes an ominous turn when she has a heart attack, leading Bartholomew to reach out.

Later, during an art museum field trip, a rainbow inside a painting yanks the boys into another realm. Bartholomew’s living in an antiseptic mansion is nothing in comparison to how weird Artania is with living paintings, sculptures, and sketches. It shares some mystical connection with Earth, but is in grave danger. Twelve pharaohs have been captured and if they are not freed soon, an entire Artanian nation will be destroyed. But only Alex and Bartholomew’s powers can rescue them.

No way.

When he sees a struggling Artanian child pulled underground, Bartholomew finally agrees to help, not knowing if it will be enough. With Egyptian gods, goddesses, and warriors at their side, they brave a series of battles, duels, and skateboarding escapes. Bartholomew blunders again and again. Amidst dead and wounded comrades, his guilt grows. As his confidence begins to erode, he must work with Alex but it takes all of his talents and more to battle an evil race of shadowy creatures. For only the power of true creation will finally defeat Sickhert’s army and bring art back to the world.

(Laurie Woodward, January 2018)

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