Unit Study Inspired by Spark

When kids are interested in a topic, they’re more engaged and the process of learning is enjoyable. Which, in turn, helps foster a love for learning (and makes teaching fun).

And as both a homeschool parent and a writer, I felt led to combine the two areas to create printable unit studies centered around some of the great books I’ve featured on this blog.

Here’s, hopefully, the first of many. A unit study inspired by J.M. Hackman’s Spark.

Spark Unit Study
Topics: Bioluminescence, Cartography, and Griffins
Plus, don’t miss out on the discussion questions J.M. Hackman provided in the back of her book!

You can also find this unit study, along with other free teaching resources on this blog under Teaching Resources.

Just incase you want to know a little more, here’s a few related posts about Spark and other books in the Firebrand Chronicles series.

Spark (book review on Lands Uncharted)
Flare (book review)
Firebrand Chronicles (world building interview)


A Review of “Vincent in Wonderland”

Vincent van Gogh meets Alice in Wonderland—literally.

C.E. White’s Vincent in Wonderland is a middle-grade fantasy reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. We follow an eleven-year-old Vincent van Gogh through a burrow into Sian. There he encounters the white rabbit who introduces him to Alice. With their special abilities awakening, Vincent and Alice learn they have been brought to the newly created Sian to use their gifts to defeat the Jabberwock.

A delightful tale, Vincent in Wonderland sweeps the reader away into a world awash with vibrant color. Stunning imagery and inspiring words breathe fresh life into an adventure that includes a few familiar faces.

While the beginning pace was a little slower than I expected for a modern tale, it is quiet reminiscent of the original classic in that respect—moving along in a dream-like state. The excitement increases as the final battle scenes approach, culminating to an end ripe with heartfelt intensity and meaning.

It’s a tale fans of the original classic are sure to love. And each chapter offers a Vincent van Gogh.

Vincent in Wonderland is available on Amazon.

Content Guide

Romance (low)
Hand holding.

Violence (low)
Characters encounter death. Two battle scenes with the Jabberwock. Nothing graphic.

Language (low)
Four instances of stupid, one instance of idiot, and one instance of imbecile.

Sensitive Topics (low)
Death and grief. Suitable for intended audience.

About Vincent in Wonderland

A prequel to The Worlds Next Door.

11-year-old Vincent van Gogh discovers a curious new world through a tunnel on the moor. A mysterious white rabbit introduces Vincent to Alice, and their quest begins—defeat the dreaded Jabberwock before it consumes all of Wonderland. 

A slithy tove, an ill-tempered caterpillar, and the Cheshire cat meet them along the path as their adventures take them through fields dancing with flowers, tangled forests, and looking-glass pools. 

Visit Amazon for more details and reviews.

About C.E. White

C.E White is an author and collage artist living in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and two cats. She loves whimsy, fairy gardens, and the Oxford comma. She also delights in rainy days spent on her porch with long books and large cups of coffee. Vincent in Wonderland is the prequel to her first book, The Worlds Next Door.

“One of the most impactful things I’ve learned from reading other-world stories is contentment. So many of my favorite characters had to travel to other worlds to find that what they wanted most was right in front of them. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis taught me about faith and perseverance and forgiveness. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which I remember reading in one sitting as a child, taught me about hope and resilience and friendship. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie taught me that we all have to grow up, and that maybe that’s not a bad thing. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeliene L’Engle taught me to be OK with not fitting in. I don’t think I ever read a story that made me a worse person.” – C.E. White

​Connect with C.E. White on Instagram (@cewhitebooks), Twitter (@cewhitebooks) or on her website (cewhitebooks.com).


C.M. Banschbach’s Oath of the Outcast

Enter the Blog Tour Giveaway (details at the bottom)!

K.A.:
C.M. Banschbach is on the blog today talking about her newest release, Oath of the Outcast!!

Last year, while this story was in its early stages and known under a different title, I had the privilege of reading the first few chapters. And, man, did it hook me. The characters, the conflict… C.M. is a talented writer.

K.A.:
Glad you’re here, C.M.! Before we launch into all the behind-the-scene fun, tell us about the story.

C.M.:
It’s a New Adult Fantasy-Adventure. Perfect for people who want something more than typical YA fantasy, but don’t want everything that comes with current adult fantasy. Good for fans of Stephen 
Lawhead and Michael J. Sullivan.

C.M.:
A lost brother. 
An unwilling outlaw. 
A rising enemy. 
An unusual alliance. 

Years ago, Rhys MacDuffy was brutally cut off from his clan, stripped of his name and inheritance, and banished to the remote Dragon Keep. Perched high above the Shang Pass in the land of Alsaya, he assumed the mantle of the Mountain Baron, serving out his sentence as the overseer of the worst outlaws and outcasts. 

But one day he receives a desperate message from the clan who disowned him: MacDuffy’s Seer—his beloved brother—has been taken by their enemies. 

With his band of Mountain Brigands and an unwelcome sidekick, Rhys leaves his mountain stronghold to find and rescue his brother. The tide of war is rising amongst the Clans of Alsaya, fueled by the magic-wielding sect of Druids who seek to unleash a dark force the world has long forgotten. 

Can the bond of blood run deeper than banishment?

K.A.:
Rejected by his family, cut off from the only life he’s ever known, and exiled to a land of the worst criminals and outcasts. That’s a hard life. Where did the idea for this story come from?

C.M.:
Driving in foggy weather, funnily enough! Because my brain is always hyperactive, it plopped the image of a man riding down a foggy mountain. All I knew about him was that he had a massive chip on his shoulder about something, and was less than happy to be leaving his mountain keep. The rest of the morning at work was spent sorting out information this guy, now known as the Mountain Baron/Rhys MacDuffy, graciously dumped in my lap.

K.A.:
What research went into writing this story? Did you venture into any new areas or topics?

C.M.:
I…maybe shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t do a lot of hard core research usually. But some things I did look up were – voodoo dolls/voodoo in general (didn’t spend a whole lot of time there because it’s super weird lol!), sword fighting videos, lots of castle floor plans, time spent calculating distances/how fast and far horses can realistically run at a time (because chase scenes…) and sandstone. 

K.A.:
Lol. I would have never guessed. Your stories feel so authentic and immersive.

What’s the most interesting discovery you made writing this story?

C.M.:
The most interesting discovery was actually about myself (kind of cheesy, I know!). I was about a third of the way through the initial draft when I realized that Rhys/The Baron and I were working through a lot of the same issues. That really helped me dive deeper into the story and it kind of became the story of my heart as I tackled some of my own scars head on after several years of thinking I was fine, and starting to actually process/work through things.

K.A.:
Not cheesy at all. It’s a beautiful sentiment, C.M.. Heart stories are special.

K.A.:
Okay. I’m a huge fan of Easter eggs. Any hidden references, details, or tidbits readers should keep an eye out for? ;)

C.M.:
Back when I was first writing this book, my sister was doing some research on Robin Hood and outlaws. She was telling me about outlaws being known as wolf’s heads, and I loved that, and worked it into the book! (See what you can spot on the map!)

K.A.:
How cool! Before we go, share a line from the story you love.

C.M.:
“Rhys MacDuffy died on that beach and it was Brogan that killed him. The Clans have forgotten him, and so should you.”

K.A.:
Oath of the Outcast is available from Crosshair Press or from other retailers, like Amazon. Grab a free copy of a prequel story by signing up for C.M.’s newsletter and join the celebration giveaway. Details about the giveaway, as well as the blog tour schedule are posted at the bottom.

K.A.:
Great to have you here, C.M.. Thanks for giving us a backstage tour of your latest release, Oath of the Outcast!

About C.M. Banschbach

C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent Hobbit if she weren’t so tall. She’s a pizza addict, a multi-faceted fangirl, and a firm believer in being authentic—even if it means acting like a dork sometimes! When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric physical therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.

She also writesYA/MG fantasy-adventure as Claire M. Banschbach.

You can connect with her at her website, or on Instagram, Facebook, or Goodreads.

 

Giveaway

Open internationally!

  • 2 ebooks
  • 1 paperback
  • 1 combo pack of a bookmark and a map postcard

Enter the giveaway here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d11da96b6/

Blog Tour Schedule