Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Amanda in Spain

March 3 was World Book Day this year and many schools encourage students to dress up as a favourite character from a book. I was delighted that one young reader dressed as Amanda in Spain! Her aunt sent me a picture. How special is that?

I love seeing who children choose to dress up as. A friend´s granddaughter dressed as Heidi, from a book I loved as a child. The young girl was upset that her mummy was in the hospital for three weeks, so her grandmother read a chapter of Heidi to her every night before bed, which settled her down nicely. It was her grandmother’s favourite book and now it is her favourite book too. Isn´t her costume great!

I now want to read this wonderful book, set in Switzerland, again.

I was invited to do a virtual visit to a Year 5 class in Birmingham, England to discuss Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting, as they were reading it in class.

This is part of the email from the teacher:

Dear Darlene,

I hope this email finds you well.

This year I am again using your wonderful text, Amanda in Spain in my English lessons to link to our Viva Espana topic. I have another class of Year 5 pupils who are absolutely mesmerised by every word and complain each time I close the book when a chapter ends!

I am emailing in the hope that you would be willing to do another virtual meet, like the one we arranged last year? We will have started a second of your books, in Reading lessons instead – Amanda in England. My class last year, LOVED this book just as much. We read the last chapter eating a scone with jam and cream to celebrate! I hope to do this again also. In fact, my previous pupils, who are based in the classroom next door, keep asking myself and the current pupils which chapter we are on and what has happened! I think that is a true sign of how much your book enthralled them.

I’m off to place tomatoes on the tables to enhance my lesson on the Tomatina chapter now! Hope to hear from you soon.

Now if that doesn´t make an author´s heart sing!!

What a delightful class, we had so much fun. The visit was the day after WBD so I asked who they dressed up as and they told me everyone dressed as a Harry Potter character! That would have been great to see.

Each student had prepared a comment or question about the book, writing in general, and Spain. Some practised using the Spanish words in the book.

Here are some of the comments and questions:

Reading Amanda in Spain made me want to visit Spain.

The book was amazing and now I want to read more Amanda Travels books.

After I read the book, we tried tapas.

I was inspired to research Guadi and discovered he was a famous architect.

After reading your book, I was inspired to write a story called Pedro and the Missing Blanket.

Have you been to The Prado Museum and did you see the painting?

Have you taken part in Tomatino?

Have you ever been to a fiesta?

Will we see Dona and Francisco in any other books?

Will we get to know more about Amanda´s parents in other books?

Besides, travel, what other hobbies does Amanda have?

What inspires you to write these books?

Why did you move to Spain?

Have you been to a bullfight?

What advice would you give a young author?

Who would you use as an illustrator if you decided to have the books illustrated?

How much time do you spend proofreading each book?

Have you written any books for adults?

Aren´t these just the best questions? They were all so well-spoken, polite and sincere.

I also read a couple of pages from Amanda in Malta which they loved. This was my second visit to this school, and later the teacher told me that the class from last year were watching through the window and wished they could have been part of it.

Visiting classrooms in person or virtually is the best thing about being a children´s author.

I hope everyone had a super World Book Day!

Who would you choose to dress up as?

I am so pleased to be reading from my book, Amanda in Spain, on Tea Toast and Trivia.

Bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops are great places for book readings. There is something extraordinary about hearing the voice of an author reading their stories. Their voice and intonation are nuanced by the many hours of effort putting pen to paper.  They created the characters, structured the plot, and lived every twist and turn that creates bumps in the storyline. 

Living in the reality of Covid-19, book readings at public libraries and bookstores have been curtailed.  We are learning to embrace technology in new ways.  Welcome to the podcast series, “Authors Reading their Books”, which will recreate the reading spaces in a virtual venue.  I invite you to put the kettle on and join the conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia. I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

I am thrilled to introduce Darlene Foster who has graciously agreed to be our guest author reading from her novel, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting (Amanda Travels #2) which is available on Amazon.   I am looking forward to meeting up with Darlene and joining Amanda on one of her many adventure.

You can listen to the podcast here

https://teatoasttrivia.com/2021/05/31/season-3-episode-22-darlene-foster-reading-amanda-in-spain-the-girl-in-the-painting/

Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting is getting some international attention recently. The book is being featured on Sally Cronin’s (from Ireland) Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore today with a superb review by Balroop Singh from the USA. Read the article and review here

A Spanish participant in an English speaking program I recently volunteered for, (more on that later) ordered a copy to help him with his English reading skills. He was delighted to receive it from amazon.es in two days.

A happy Amanda fan.

I am delighted to see that this book is still very popular. I wrote it before I moved to Spain!

One of my goals, when I started writing the Amanda Travels series, was to educate as well as entertain readers. So I am always delighted when I learn that parents are using my books for homeschooling. One parent even sent me her child’s work and reports. I was impressed with the lesson plans and projects, as well as the student’s answers.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Kegan, an eleven-year-old young man, admits he is not a keen reader but enjoys Amanda and her adventures. His mom told me she loved seeing his interest and attention to almost every detail which she hadn’t seen with any other books he’d read. Looking at his reports, I can see that he understood the idea of the story. I love it when kids get it!

Here are some of the worksheets and projects from his Language Arts class

For his first report he chose to read Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone because he is from Alberta and familiar with some of the sights in the story. He also plans to visit some of the other places mentioned.

He got 81% for his final mark. Which is excellent.

One of the projects was to write a letter to the author. This is what he wrote to me:

Dear Darlene,

I am doing a book report on your book, titled “Amanda in Alberta.” I liked it! My favourite part is the horse ride. I have been to many of these places, mostly with my dad in the semi-truck. Did you visit all of the places in your books? Can you make a book of ” Amanda in Iceland”? I think that would be awesome!

Thank you for writing these amazing books!

Sincerely,

Kegan

I loved the story map he created summarizing the story via seven events
Ten out of ten for his depiction of the cover and short summary

For his next book, he chose Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting and got 83% as his final mark!

I always include a few more challenging words in the story to help increase the reader’s vocabulary. The words Kegan added to his vocabulary from this book were – monastery, boleros, distressed, dubious, spittoon, trance, alcove, apprehended. The teacher wrote, “It looks like this story was at the right reading level for you.”

I like how he described the characters.

Amanda – happy, determined, she does not listen to Leah, kind-hearted. An explorer.

Leah – helpful, loud scream, acting, kind-hearted. The tall one.

Dona – determined, kind, helpful, big heart. Loves her horse, Pedro.

He was required to summarize each chapter, which he did quite well, as well as predict what might happen at the end of each chapter. His predictions were 50% correct and 50% incorrect. The teacher wrote, “If your predictions were wrong, that means the writer was successful in her writing in order to keep you interested and surprised.”

I just heard from his mom that during lockdown, he has been reading Amanda in Holland for his current Language Arts class.

It makes me very happy to know that my books are being used in classrooms and for homeschooling. My goal has been accomplished.

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

My publisher reminded me that it has been ten years since we published my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask. Ten years!!

It made me think back to my first book launch at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC. I was so excited and so scared. What if no one came? What if no one bought my book? What if no one liked it? How many times had I gone to a book launch or book signing and dreamt of one day having my own? Thanks to Central Avenue Publishing my life-long dream came true.

My first book launch!
I brought Ali Baba along and he was a big hit.
And lots of people came
And bought many books.

I was over the moon with happiness. I had to pinch myself, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

And the following year I had another book launch for Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting.

Even more people came, the bookstore was packed and I sold more books.

So I wrote another book, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, and launched it at Albany Books. No one could even tell I had a broken ankle.

I launched the next book, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, wearing the appropriate hat.

My biggest supporter!
Amanda fans

Then I moved to Spain and wrote Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music, but returned to Albany Books for the launch.

I was so pleased that my daughter could attend this launch

Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind followed with another fun launch.

And then there was my recent launch of Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Well attended in spite of a rainy Vancouver day.

Friends and long time supporters
With my amazing publisher, Michelle Halket, who made all of this possible.
Nothing like seeing your books on the shelves of a bookstore
I’ve held all seven book launches at Albany Books, a wonderful independent bookstore with knowledgeable and super friendly staff.

Thank you to everyone who has attended my book launches over the past ten years, for buying my books and for spreading the word about them.

Thank you to Albany Books for hosting my book launches. Even though in lockdown, they are open for phone-in and online orders, with local curbside delivery and mail delivery otherwise. Please support your local bookstores at this time. https://www.albanybooks.com/

Thank you to Michelle Halket of Central Avenue Publishing for believing in me and my Amanda Travels series.

And thank you for coming along with me down memory lane. I wonder what the next ten years will bring. Stay strong, stay safe and stay home!

There are many things that make me happy, but as a writer, good reviews and happy readers just make my day. A super review for Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action was recently posted on Robbie Cheadle´s blog.

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/amanda-in-holland-missing-in-action-by-darlene-foster/

Darlene Foster has a lovely series of travel combined with mystery books for middle school readers. Amanda in Holland is the fourth book in this series I have read and it certainly did not disappoint me.

The book is action-packed and filled with interesting titbits of information about life in Holland, WWII and perseverance and determination in unraveling a mystery.

Amanda is a clever and kind girl who will appeal to middle school and young teenagers who will admire her pluck.

Read more about what she has to say here

Jacquie Biggar posted a great review of Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone on her blog https://jacqbiggar.com/2020/02/24/bookreview-amanda-in-alberta-by-darlene-foster-childrensmystery-supermegawoman/

Amanda in Alberta is a fun, page-turning mystery with interesting tidbits of indigenous history along with Alberta landmarks thrown in.

While geared toward the pre-teen age group, this book has something for every reader to enjoy.

I give Amanda in Alberta four lovely kisses- Traveling with Amanda is an adventure!

Read the rest of the review along with a couple of perfect pictures here

And a long time blogging friend and amazing photographer, Ruth Hendricks, https://rutheh.com/ sent me a great picture of her granddaughter, Maura, receiving Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting in the mail. She looks pretty happy.

These are the things that make the hard work of writing books worthwhile.

It’s been ten years since my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask was published. I never imagined I would have a series of seven books out there. A huge thank you to everyone who has read my books, written reviews, told friends, family, and teachers about my books, given them as gifts and sent me emails and pictures. It has been the huge support of so many that has made this dream of mine come true. I can’t thank you enough.

You can read more about my books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

In case you haven’t read this fabulous review of Amanda in Spain by an eight-year-old, here it is on Marcia Meara’s blog! Check out Marcia’s books too. They are amazing.

This summer I have been fortunate to be featured on a number of great blog sites. Today I am a guest of Hugh Roberts as he shares snippets of his diary entries from 1988. Find out what song from the 80s I picked and read a wonderful review of one of my books from an eight-year-old.

All aboard the music time machine! Continuing the story from 1988. This week my guest is the author, writer and blogger Darlene Foster.

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Our day trip to Villajoyosa ended with a stop at Santa Barbara Castle, overlooking the city of Alicante and the Mediterranean Sea. The very capable bus driver took us to the top of Mount Benecantil, 166 meters above the city, on a narrow, windy road. This was a large bus and we all held our breath as he barely made it through the castle entrance, built for horse and buggies.

The narrow entrance to the castle

The narrow entrance to the castle

Once there we had an hour to wander the castle and discover the history of Alicante on display in the museums throughout the castle. Archaeological remains from the Bronze Age, Iberian Age and Roman Times have been found on this site.

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I enjoyed climbing around the many levels, checking out the dungeons, chapel, guardroom, bastions and turrets. I loved the wrought iron warriors and archers strategically placed around the castle.

The dungeons

The dungeons

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The chapel ruins

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Watch out for the archers!

Watch out for the archers!

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Fascinating views of Alicante and the Mediterranean Sea

Fascinating views of Alicante and the Mediterranean Sea

This was fun for me as I visited this site a number of years ago and set a scene in Amanda in Spain in this very castle

kids posing with a warrior while dad takes a picture

Kids posing with a warrior while dad takes a picture

Another person posing for the camera.

Another person posing for the camera.

I can´t get enough of the rich history and fascinating castles around here.

Amanda in Alberta

I am honoured to be featured on Sharon Ledwith´s blog. I came. I saw. I wrote. She is also offering a give-away of an Amanda  e-book if you comment on her post.

Spotlight on a Book Series: Darlene Foster and the Amanda Travel Adventure Series

I want to thank and welcome wonderful (and well-traveled) MG author, Darlene Foster for sharing her personal experiences on writing a book series and showcasing her middle grade adventure series the Amanda Travel Adventure series with us on my blog today.

BONUS: One lucky reader will win an Amanda Travel Adventure ebook of their choice just by leaving a comment! Don’t forget to leave your contact info for a chance to win, and good luck! So let’s get this interview rolling…

 

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write the Amanda Travel Adventure series, Darlene?

I was inspired by an amazing trip I took to the United Arab Emirates. While I was there, I felt as excited as a twelve year old. I decided it would be a great setting for a children´s book. I created the character of Amanda, an average girl who wishes for travel and adventure as she blows out the candles on her twelfth birthday. The next day an airplane ticket arrives in the mail for her to visit her aunt and uncle who live in the UAE. What follows is an adventure of a life time. Once Amanda got the travel bug, she had to see more interesting places. I suppose I created Amanda because as a child, I wanted to see the world.

Read the rest  of the interview here

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Please pop over and leave a comment. Amanda and I will appreciate it.

 


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