Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Resources for grief

I  recently received devastating news about beloved friends and community members. My heart is broken for the family and friends he left behind.

Because I was at such a loss to express my grief, and to explain to my own children what happened, I pulled together a few resources that I found helpful. I hope some of these things might help likewise confused and hurting friends.

For those of us who may help to care for grieving children in coming weeks, I thought these were thoughtful articles. This whole site, The Healing Center, seems to have wonderful resources. I don't think that I'd try the suggested projects during a playdate, but they're ideas to keep in the back of my mind, just in case. 

Here's a great article for those of us who want to help but aren't sure what to do or say. This article has thoughts about helping grieving children, too.

And for managing my own feelings, I've found a few self-care videos that provide some solace.

This video is lovely. It moves a little fast, which I found helpful for getting out of my head for a while. But if you're craving something more comforting, keep scrolling.

This next one is very soothing, comforting, and chill. It's a yin practice, but I see no reason men wouldn't find it healing as well.

Take care. I'll post and share other resources as I find them, as well as the efforts of our community to find concrete ways to support our friends in their time of sorrow and healing. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

New website coming soon!

I'm very excited to announce that I'm working on a brand-new website, GinnyKaczmarek.com! It's going to have my older blog posts as well as new stuff, like books I'm working on, samples of my work, an extended About Me (because everybody wants to know more About Me, right? Right? Hello?), plus ways to share, sign up for updates over email, and all kinds of goodies.

I'm pretty excited and hope to launch soon!


Friday, May 26, 2017

Book review: YA fantasy books with strong girls

Welcome to Part 3 of my book review series featuring speculative literature books with strong girl protagonists. In previous installments, I listed books for younger middle grade readers (ages 8-10) and middle grade readers (10-12). This post emphasizes readers 12-16, moving into the young adult category.

(By the way, my age recommendations are based on my judgement of thematic appropriateness, rather than on reader comprehension. Younger readers may be able to read older books, but parents and teachers might want to check out the books first.)

On to the books!

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This book has been raking in awards, nominations, and glowing reviews for good reason. Set in a school for unique students who don't fit anywhere else, this book explores what happens after children are cast out of Fairyland.

Of course, there are as many different fairylands as there are doorways (rabbit hole, anyone?). Seventeen-year-old Nancy was recently cast out of an Underworld, where she learned the power of extreme stillness as she served the Lord of the Dead. Now the noise and chaos of 21st century life is overwhelming. Sent to Miss West's special school, Nancy and the other students (and teachers) learn to relate to one another based on their alternate reality (and its degree of Logic, Nonsense, or Absurdity) with the hope of reconciling to the "real" world--or finding their doorway back.

When a gruesome murder shatters the school's calm, Nancy--the newest student--and her fellow Underworld friends are under suspicion. They must work together, using their various paranormal skills, to solve the mystery, clear their names, and save the school from further violence.

I loved this book's tone, from the perspective of a quiet, moody, intense teenage girl who's weird even among the weirdest kids. Her friends (and nemeses) are equally memorable characters from diverse backgrounds (although most of them are white). Of particular note is a clever, magnetic transgender student who befriends Nancy and becomes a love interest. Although I would have preferred more ambiguity in the final pages, I definitely recommend this book for anyone drawn to the spooky and strange.

Very excited to see that a sequel is due in June 2017!