“. . . true meaning of the word ‘family.'”—Chris Fischer, Readers’ Favorite

OUTBACK 3D-book-72DPI-RGBReviewed By Chris Fischer for Readers’ Favorite

In Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, the new young adult novel by author Mark Wayne Adams, and the one of the books in the Family Tree Novel series, which also includes graphic novels, readers will be treated to a very unusual and interesting story that is certainly well worth the read. Protagonist Driew Qweepie is a boy on a mission of sorts, an adventure to find the truth of his family history, what his home is, and the true meaning of the word ‘family.’ Adventurous, thrilling, and exciting at times, the story of Driew’s journeys and growth is one that will have readers hungrily turning the pages until they get to the very end.

Outback: Bothers and Sinisters was a unique and fascinating read. Besides introducing readers to some great characters that they will find intriguing, the book serves as a guide to new terms and language in Australian, American and Qweepie. Young adult readers are certain to learn something from this book, but will also be presented with positive messages about the importance of family and family history. It’s easy for me to be able to recommend this book, both as a great read as well as a guide for children to learn about other cultures and terminology from those cultures. I was excited to find this book, and am very much looking forward to reading more from the highly inventive mind of author Mark Wayne Adams in the very near future. If it’s anything like Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, it will certainly be worth the read!”

 

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“fun, adventurous and rooted in history”—Tracy Slowiak, Readers’ Favorite

Mayflower-Fly on the Wall Series-3D-book
Reviewed By Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite

Wow! That’s exactly what I thought when I finished reading Mayflower, the first book in debut author Linda Smigaj’s Fly on the Wall series. This was simply a fantastic read; fun, adventurous and rooted in history with quite an interesting protagonist, a cheese fly named Anna. Anna has traveled to England with a family fleeing Holland, and then she takes the Mayflower to the New World. With lots of historically accurate illustrations showing how the ship was organized, as well as facts and information presented in an absolutely wonderful way, this book will keep children entertained as they are being educated…a dream for any parent or teacher for sure!

I so, so enjoyed Mayflower. Author Linda Smigaj has done a completely wonderful job in writing an engaging and delightful story with a great deal of educational merit. Her use of a fly as the narrator is both surprising and delightful – the old saying of “I wish I could be a fly on the wall…” comes true in this book! This book does an excellent job in relaying true life facts and experiences about the  Mayflower and those who journeyed to the New World on her, but does so in such a way that kids might not even know that they are being educated, they’ll be having too much fun. I highly recommend Mayflower to any child looking for a good book, or parent for a unique book that their child will love. I look forward to reading more from Linda Smigaj’s entertaining new Fly on the Wall series, and hope that the author is already hard at work on the next installment!

FREE Mayflower Electronic Scavenger Hunt

Mayflower-Electronic Scavenger Hunt-www.flyonthewallseries.com

History with a Twist Makes Learning Fun!

Welcome to the world of Linda Smigaj’s books. Educator and juvenile fiction author Linda Smigaj, aka Professor Fuddy-Duddy, captures the imagination of readers, ages 7–10, through stories of historically accurate events told from a unique perspective. Come travel through early American history with these adventurous flies.

Other FREE Printable Educational Resources for Mayflower:

Written by Linda Smigaj and Illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams
ISBN:  978-1-59616-034-7

Retail Price: $9.99

Visit Linda Smigaj’s websites at: www.lindasmigajbooks.com or www.flyonthewallseries.com.

As a Kentucky native and a Florida transplant, how autobiographical is this story in comparison to your own?

As a Kentucky native and a Florida transplant, how autobiographical is this story in comparison to your own?

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_Author

I did pull from my own experiences of visiting my Kentucky family as an adult and how my Floridian children must feel when visiting Dawson Springs for weeks at a time. Growing up in Kentucky, my family was average middle class to most people living there and poor to outsiders when compared to big city living.

My childhood is a far cry from my adult life in a manicured Florida suburb. I wanted to share how caring for even the worst home can change everyone’s perspective. Like Gulia grew to love the Qweepie farm saying she “could live there forever.”

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

Who is Gulia Brown?

Moment Two: Perspective

“Oh, I understand! There are some real haters in this town. I’m Gulia. Spelled with a G instead of J. Kids call me Goo-lia, Gruelia, Moolia, and a list of bloody hurtful and ignorant combinations,” said Gulia. “What’s yer name, mate?”

“You’re a girl!”

“Too right, mate! Don’t I stand out like a shag on a rock?”

“What’s with your pirate talk, mate? Does everyone here talk like you or is it Talk Like a Pirate Day?” asked Driew.

“I adopted words when visiting Australian relatives,” said Gulia.

I need an Australian dictionary to understand her, Driew thought. “That makes sense. My name is Driew; also misspelled, with an ‘I’ after the ‘R.’ My bothers tease that an odd baby needed an odd name,” said Driew, with a crooked grin.

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters by M. W. Adams

FREE Mayflower Resources and Websites

Mayflower-Resources and Websites-www.flyonthewallseries.com

History with a Twist Makes Learning Fun!

Welcome to the world of Linda Smigaj’s books. Educator and juvenile fiction author Linda Smigaj, aka Professor Fuddy-Duddy, captures the imagination of readers, ages 7–10, through stories of historically accurate events told from a unique perspective. Come travel through early American history with these adventurous flies.

Other FREE Printable Educational Resources for Mayflower:

Written by Linda Smigaj and Illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams
ISBN:  978-1-59616-034-7

Retail Price: $9.99

Visit Linda Smigaj’s websites at: www.lindasmigajbooks.com or www.flyonthewallseries.com.

OUTBACK is set in the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Why did you choose to set the novel here?

OUTBACK is set in the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Why did you choose to set the novel here?

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_Author

I’ve lived nearly my entire life in a small town. I’m fascinated by the customs of small towns. Relationships there are a social dance that you don’t get in major cities. I think I’ll always write about this lifestyle.

Dawson Springs is my hometown in Western Kentucky. The Qweepie farm combines my parent’s family farms and a 1939 home where I lived briefly in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I think using the town is a homage to the people who said, “Remember me when you’re famous!”

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

” about growing up in not so perfect circumstances” —Kim Anisi, Readers’ Favorite

OUTBACK 3D-book-72DPI-RGBReviewed By Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Outback: Bothers and Sinisters is one of the books in the Family Tree Novel series by Mark Wayne Adams. It is a story about a boy who kind of doesn’t really get along with his brothers and sisters – hence they are called bothers and sinisters. It doesn’t help that his family has moved to a neglected farm which needs to be cleaned up. Fortunately, a new friend appears and she tries to help him to see another point of view. It is a story about family connections, about a different kind of bullying, about friendship, and about growing up in not so perfect circumstances (or would you call it perfect when your sister is willing to pay a large amount of money just so someone else walks you home?).

While Outback: Bothers and Sinisters by Mark Wayne Adams isn’t a book you’d call an absolute page-turner, I did enjoy it because sometimes you need a book you can relax with. However, I was a bit confused sometimes, but that might be because I haven’t read any of the other novels in the series and it seems that there is quite a connection between them all. I think it would be more enjoyable if you read them all in the right order. The writing style is quite smooth, you can read the book easily without running into obstacles (though some readers might have to look up the Australian terms). In general, I’d recommend the book to young readers and to older readers who enjoy stories about family connections (and problems).

What research did you do and how did you go about discovering your inspiration?

What research did you do and how did you go about discovering your inspiration?

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_Author

Reading and sharing my interest in places and ideas inspires me. When I decided to use the outback as my theme, I received various comments and feedback—positive and negative. Naturally I chose the theme since every parent and child has played in the magical outback at some point in their lives.

I chose to read children’s books to adult fiction about Australia. This taught me what Gulia’s character might learn at her age and what her mother might experience as an adult. Discussions about Australia revealed information about living there that I had not experienced. Smells, sounds, events, and moments only residents can relay.

Lastly I wrote a list of commonalities of Australian and United States families. I chose native folklore, ancient trees, and immigrant family history.

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

When you began the Family Tree Novels, did you have the adventure completely outlined?

When you began the Family Tree Novels, did you have the adventure completely outlined? How have you been surprised along the way? Were the introductions of additional characters  important in the influence of the story’s direction?

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_Author

At the start of the series, I had a thin thread of intention of the entire series, five books. I’m a supporter of timelines and outlines. I used several drafts that were stimulated from the main outline. The titles and Australian theme came as I introduced Gulia’s character. The attraction to Australia and the region inspired the titles.

The character that surprised me the most was Ida Mae. She was a character who was a first draft villain. “The maid did it” theme was my original intent with Ida Mae. Through the revisions, I saw the potential of her adoption into the family. She forced me to choose a dark underlying problem in my childhood to face. I think she has become a fabulous addition to the story.

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author