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Writing Altarious: The Dreamland--A Mini Collection of Short Stories for Children

Before Altarious was even a concept, I was working as a substitute teacher at Harmony Science Academy in Austin, Texas. I had a 4th grade student that I was working with who was given an assignment to create a short story for her English class. However, she didn't know where she wanted to begin or how to write a story. In an effort to show her how to write a short story while helping her create her own short story, we discussed the type of stories she liked to read: mystical, mystery, family-oriented. We also discussed the types of characters she liked to read about. I then began penning "Our Family's Thanksgiving", with one of the main characters in the story, being based on her. I wanted to do something special for this student to encourage her love of reading and encourage her as a writer. Based on our conversation, I penned the three short-stories in this book, "Our Family's Thanksgiving", "Whodunnit?" and "Altarious: The Dreamland". Once the book was completed, I gifted her the very first copy (and special edition) of this book just before Thanksgiving Break. After the students returned from Thanksgiving break, she found me on campus and let me know how much she and her brothers loved the book, especially the story "Our Family's Thanksgiving." She thought it was amazing that someone had not only taken an interest in helping her academically, but also worked to create a project that was not only specifically made for her but also created to be a tool of encouragement.

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This post is very inspiring. As a writer, I definitely get inspiration from different people in my life.You inspire me to be consistent with developing my ideas into actual stories, novellas, and collections. Thank you for sharing this because it definitely speaks to the power of writing and reading. Books have the power to lift, inspire, and even make people feel special!

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semien Shaquana
semien Shaquana
Dec 05, 2019

This blog post was inspiring because I work for the YMCA, and my afterschool kids hate reading. I would normally try to bribe them with treats to get them to read, but this was a great idea to get the student more engaged. Also its was a great idea to write your own short story to be an example. I'm interested in reading this short story especially if its about Thanksgiving!

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I thought this was a very heartfelt backstory to the creation of your book and I love that it was able to help and inspire your student. I also think it goes to say a lot about you as an educator and your care and dedication to your students. Do you still keep in touch with her? How did the book have an affect on her writing, if it had one? Did she say what her favorite parts were within the stories? Were there any parts of the stories which she did not like? What other outside sources helped influence your writing of these stories? I know that you said she was into mystical, mystery, and family oriented type stories…

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Taylor Frazier
Taylor Frazier
Nov 14, 2019

Wow! This is astonishing! Your creativity and the way that you access things and initiate things like this independently is extremely breath taking! I am proud to see a black woman and mother do so much! You are showing the little black girl she can be what ever she wants! You are showing the little black girl she can do it all, be a mom, be a sister, be a daughter, all while conquering a career in something you ACTUALLY enjoy! Thank you for telling your story!

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Bianca Alyssa
Bianca Alyssa
Nov 07, 2019

This blog post is so cute! I think it was very creative of you to use this story as your first blog post, and kind of tell the backstory about how you started writing your books. It was so kind of you to write a book just for one student to get them motivated about reading and writing! I hope that student ended up really enjoying not only the stories your wrote, but also likes to read and write now! That is such a creative thing for a teacher to do.


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