Timeless Tales: Children’s Stories That Still Captivate Us

Timeless Tales: Children’s Stories That Still Captivate Us

What were your favourite books when you were a kid? Not the first book where you learned the alphabet or how to rhyme with “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss. I mean the first book with an actual story. As a child, there was nothing better than diving into the pages of a good book and getting lost in a story.

In this blog post, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and share some children’s stories that have stood the test of time and captured our hearts.

Classic Children’s Stories

Generations have loved these classic children’s stories that continue to be popular today.

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland whisks readers away on a wild and wonderful journey through Wonderland, where they meet the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden is a beautiful story of friendship and recovery, when Mary Lennox finds a secret garden and helps her cousin Colin come out of his shell.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis is a classic fantasy series that’ll take you on a wild trip through a magical land with talking animals, mythical creatures, and epic wars.

    Little Women

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott tracks the lives of four sisters as they age and face life’s struggles, showing the strength of family and bond of sisters.

      Modern Children’s Stories

      Modern children’s stories have also made a big impact on young readers.

      Harry Potter

      Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a super popular series that’s beloved by millions. It’s the story of young wizard Harry Potter, who heads off to Hogwarts and takes on the wicked Lord Voldemort.

      Percy Jackson and the Olympians

      Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan is an exciting series that takes Greek mythology and makes it real, as Percy Jackson finds out he’s a demigod and goes on a journey to save the world.

      The Hunger Games

      In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, we follow the journey of Katniss Everdeen as she fights to stay alive in a deadly arena, emphasizing the power of determination and grit.

      Diary of a Wimpy Kid

      Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid is hilarious and follows Greg Heffley’s misadventures of being a middle schooler.

      My Favourite Kids Books

      I can’t remember every book I’ve ever read since I was a child, because let’s face it… it’s been a while since then. But here are a few that have stuck with me.

      Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

      I am sure you all know this story about Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives in a small house with his parents and grandparents. Charlie’s life changes forever when he finds a golden ticket that allows him to visit the famous chocolate factory run by the eccentric Willy Wonka. Along with the other winners, Charlie goes on a magical journey of the factory, seeing incredible sights and taking on various challenges.

      What I loved most about this book was it’s vivid descriptions, witty humor, and memorable characters, (Willy Wonka, the Oompa-Loompas, and the spoiled Veruca Salt, among others).

      The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

      The four Pevensie sibs – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – get into a wardrobe and end up in Narnia, where they run into an evil White Witch who’s made it winter all the time. With the help of Aslan, a lion, the kids go on a risky journey to take down the Witch and bring spring back to Narnia.

      The best part for me was picturing a new world beyond ours. This book’s got a magnificent world, awesome characters, and covers courage, friendship, and being saved.

      Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

      Black Beauty, a beautiful black horse who tells the tale of his life and the experiences he had with different owners, some kind and some cruel. Throughout the book, Black Beauty endures many hardships, including being overworked, mistreated, and sold into difficult situations.

      The best part for me was when it highlighted animal welfare, emphasizing the need to be kind to animals. It was one of the first books to advocate for animal rights.

      Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

      Various authors penned Nancy Drew under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
      The series follows the adventures of Nancy Drew, an amateur detective, as she solves various cases and puzzles using her intelligence, wit, and determination.

      The best part for me was that Nancy was a female protagonist, plus I also love mysteries. It also has timeless themes of justice, friendship, and adventure..

      1001 Arabian Nights

      This is a compilation of folktales from the Middle East and South Asia. The stories revolve around Shahrazad, who tells her husband King Shahryar a new tale each night in order to stay alive and avoid execution. Everyone knows the stories like Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Sinbad the Sailor.

      I loved the mix of fantasy, adventure, romance and morals in these stories

      .

      Final Thoughts

      Children’s literature has the power to transport us to different worlds, introduce us to unforgettable characters, and teach us valuable life lessons. I’d love to hear about your favourite children’s stories in the comments!

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Lukas from Pixabay.

      15 Christmas Trivia Questions

      15 Christmas Trivia Questions

      After the Christmas presents are opened and dinner is over, how do you spend your time? Think about adding Christmas trivia to your party or family event. Trivia is a great way to unwind and connect with other people, and it’s fun to test your memory.

      Definition of Trivia

      The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trivia as: 

      A. unimportant matters: trivial facts or details
      B. facts (as about people or events) that are not well known
      Chalkboard with trivia written on it.

      Created in Canva.

      15 Christmas Trivia Questions

      Here are fifteen Christmas trivia questions for you to try. Click on the plus sign in the answer box for the answer.

      1. Can you name the popular Christmas song that was actually written for Thanksgiving?
      A. Jingle Bells
      B. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
      C. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
      D. Away in the Manger

      Answer

      A. Jingle Bells
      James Pierpont composed the song in 1857. It was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh.

      Related Story: Top 30 Christmas Songs

      2. Which Christmas tree fact is NOT true?
      A. Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones every year since 1991.
      B. Nova Scotia leads the world in exporting Christmas trees.
      c. Franklin Pierce was the first president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree.
      D. They chose the Christmas tree to represent this holy holiday because its shape points the way to heaven.

      Answer

      B. They chose the Christmas tree to represent this holy holiday because its shape points the way to heaven. Though this one sounds like it could be true.

      3. Good King Wenceslas was king of what country?
      A. Bohemia
      B. England
      C. Germany
      D. Morocco

      Answer

      A. Bohemia.
      Although, history has it that Wenceslas, who lived in the 10th century, was only a Duke, and not a King.

      4. In 1897, the New York Sun newspaper wrote a famous response to a little girl’s question: “Yes, _______, there is a Santa Claus.” Can you name that girl?
      A. Mary
      B. Charlotte
      C. Vidalia
      D. Virginia

      Answer

      D. Virginia
      Virginia O’Hanlon to be exact!

      5. Taylor Swift grew up on what type of farm?
      A. Peanut Farm,
      B. Corn Farm,
      C. Potato Farm,
      D. Christmas Tree Farm

      Answer

      D. Christmas Tree Farm.
      Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a Christmas trivia question.

      6. What Dr. Seuss character steals Christmas?
      A. The Grinch
      B. Cindy Lou Who
      C. Max
      D. Horton

      Answer

      A. The Grinch
      This question was too easy.

      7. Name Scrooge’s dead business partner from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?”
      A. Jacob Marley
      B. Tiny Tim
      C. Bob Cratchett
      D. Old William

      Answer

      A. Jacob Marley
      The first of four spirits to appear to Scrooge that fateful Christmas Eve was that of Jacob Marley, his old business partner.

      8. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in what year?
      A. 1865
      B. 1895
      C. 1905
      D. 1932

      Answer

      B. 1895
      American Ralph E. Morris had the bright idea (pun intended) that electric Christmas lights would be safer than using candles.

      9. Many people are familiar with the term “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but not everyone knows where it originated. Can you pick out the right explanation?
      A. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the number of days Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem.
      B. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the time that the three wise men from the East travelled to reach Baby Jesus after his birth.
      C. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the number of reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh.
      D. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the time required to celebrate Good King Wenceslas’ birthday.

      Answer

      B. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the time that the three wise men from the East travelled to reach baby Jesus after his birth.

      10. Who started the Christmas gift-giving tradition of giving sweaters for Christmas presents?
      A. Those three wise men who visited the stable where Jesus was born.
      B. The ancient Romans who exchanged gifts to bring good fortune for the new year.
      C. Mark Antony, who was always looking for new ways to please Cleopatra.
      D. The ancient Greeks who sought to placate the gods on Mount Olympus.

      Answer

      B. The ancient Romans who exchanged gifts to bring good fortune for the new year.

      11. One of the pagan traditions that Christians have incorporated into their Christmas celebration includes hanging mistletoe. Which of these is NOT a former pagan belief?
      A. Ancient Europeans believed that the mistletoe plant held magical powers to give life and fertility as well as protect against disease.
      B. French girls used to slip branches of mistletoe beneath their pillows to dream of their future husbands.
      C. The Celts believed mistletoe brought about peace and goodwill.
      D. Northern Europeans associated mistletoe with the Norse goddess of love, Freya and developed the custom of kissing underneath mistletoe branches.

      Answer

      Answer
      B. French girls

      12. While today the Christmas tree is an enduring symbol of the season, it wasn’t always a holiday tradition. Which historical fact is NOT true?
      A. According to legend, Martin Luther, the founder of German protestantism, while walking through the forest on Christmas Eve, was so moved by the starlit fir trees he brought one indoors and decorated it with candles to remind his children of God’s creation.
      B. In 1841, Prince Albert of Germany gave his wife, Queen Victoria of England, a gift of a Christmas tree. This was reputedly the first Christmas tree in England, but the custom quickly spread.
      C. German immigrants brought the Christmas tree to Europe, the United States and Canada, where it soon became a popular tradition.
      D. On a bet, 11-year-old P. T. Barnum started hawking trees in Connecticut in 1821, telling his marks they were all the rage. Soon the fashion spread throughout the country and it became a tradition, thus establishing his motto “There is a sucker born every minute.”

      Answer

      D. P.T. Barnum
      P. T. Barnum tried to sell just about everything, and may in fact have sold Christmas trees, but I doubt he sold them that young!

      13. Who do we NOT have to blame for sending Christmas cards?
      A. Medieval Europeans who exchanged wood prints of religious themes for Christmas.
      B. English illustrator John Calcott Horsley, who created the first modern Christmas card in 1843 that depicted a family celebration with the caption “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”
      C. German-American printer Louis Prang, who made advances in colour lithography, allowing him to mass-produce colorful Christmas cards in 1875.
      D. Desmond Hallmark, who had a surplus of cards left over from Arbor Day depicting a fir tree and unloaded them by the box by simply printing Merry Christmas across the trees in red ink.

      Answer

      D. Desmond Hallmark
      You can blame everyone else, thank goodness for the e-cards.

      14. Where does the name Santa Claus come from?
      A. Clauslass
      B. Sinterklaas
      C. Nicholaas
      D. Santerklass

      Answer

      B. Sinterklaas
      They derived the name Santa Claus from Sinterklaas, the Dutch term for the ancient Christian figure of Saint Nicholas who was famous for his generosity to the poor.

      15. Bing Crosby wrote the most recorded and well-known Christmas song of all time
      A. Silent Night
      B. Joy to the World
      C. White Christmas
      D. Blue Christmas

      Answer

      C. White Christmas
      Sales are now over 50 million copies worldwide.

      Final Thoughts

      How many questions did you get right? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

      Exploring the Star Wars Universe

      Exploring the Star Wars Universe

      Do you love the Star Wars universe? The series has spanned nine films and many prequels and spinoffs. Star Wars was an instant phenomenon when it debuted and it still continues to attract new fans all the time. There is a certain fascination with the “Star Wars” movies. Almost every child has swung a lightsaber, wishing they were a Jedi at some point in their lives.

      The movies are all available on Disney+ and new series have expanded the stories, bringing more depth into the Star Wars Universe.

      Star War Backstory

      In 1975, George Lucas wrote a long story about Anakin Skywalker. The story was so long that it needed to be divided into 2 trilogies. Since Lucas thought the second trilogy was more interesting than the first, he decided to film episode four as the first movie.

      In May of 1977, when A New Hope was released, it was instantly seen as the biggest adventure film… ever. Critics considered the special effects magnificent and outstanding. In fact, nothing remotely close had ever made it to the big screen before.

      On opening day, the Star Wars movie ran in only 32 theatres, but it still produced an amazing $254,309 in ticket sales. By the end of its first run, it had become the most successful film ever in North American history, grossing more than $750 million.

      Star Wars: Episode V A New Hope

      We all know the story of Star Wars, and if you don’t… where have you been?

      The plot starts when Darth Vader captures Princess Leia, but not before she sends a plea for help from Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi through the droid R2D2. Somehow a farm boy (Luke Skywalker), a cocky pilot (Han Solo) and a Wookie need to save the galaxy from the Empire’s Death Star.

      Money Lost

      Can you believe Universal Studios passed on developing Star Wars because they thought it was a ridiculous idea? In fact, every Hollywood studio passed on the movie… except 20th Century Fox who gave George Lucas 10 million dollars to make the first movie a reality.

      When Lucas made his deal with Fox, he was more interested in the control of the film, than he was in his percentage. He wanted all rights to the final cut and all rights to future sequels, merchandise rights, and 40% of the gross. This deal ultimately made Lucas a billionaire.

      How to Watch the Star Wars Movies

      People like to argue about the correct order to watch the Star Wars movies. The two most common ways are by theatrical release and chronological order. Neither way is wrong. 

      The Star Wars Franchise Release Order

      If you want to watch the movies in the theatre release order, then this is your marathon:

      Original Trilogy
      Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
      Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
      Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

      Prequel Trilogy
      Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
      Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
      Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

      Sequel Trilogy
      Episode VII – The Force Awaken (2015)
      Rogue One (2016) (optional)
      Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
      Solo (2018) (optional)
      Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

      The Star Wars Franchise Chronological Order

      If you want to watch the movies in chronological order (the events in which things happen), your marathon should look like this:

      Episode I – The Phantom Menace
      Episode II – Attack of the Clones
      Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
      Solo
      Rogue One
      Episode IV – A New Hope
      Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
      Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
      Episode VII – The Force Awaken
      Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
      Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

      Expanding the Star Wars Universe

      Along with the movies, there are television series that expand the Star Wars Universe (all available on Disney+). There are more series in the process but the available ones right now include:

      • The Mandalorian
      • The Book of Boba Fett
      • Obi-Wan Kenobi
      • Andor

      Animated Star Wars Series include:

      • Tales of the Jedi
      • Druid and Ewoks
      • The Clone Wars
      • Rebels
      • Resistance

      Numerous well-known authors have also penned Star Wars Book: They include

      • Terry Brooks
      • R.A. Salvadore
      • Alexandra Bracken
      • Wil Wheaton

      Wikipedia has a fantastic list if you are looking for more books to read.

      Why People Love Star Wars

      Whether you’re an action-loving junkie or a classic fairy tale enthusiast, the Star Wars movies are a timeless classic. The storylines never seem to lose their relevance, and each movie offers a bit of everything. There’s an adventure, family complications, romance, and action. Not to mention the innovative technology, special effects and lightsabers.

      Why I Love Star Wars

      I have to admit that I didn’t watch the original Star Wars trilogy until 1985 when I rented (yes rented) the movies from a video store for the weekend. (Millennials will never realize the struggle of having to go to the store and spend time looking for movies to rent. Sometimes we would even rent the machine too, if we didn’t have one at home. It was much harder than telling Alexa to play Game of Thrones. #firstworldproblems)

      Since then, I can’t tell you how many times I have watched the trilogy, but I can tell you I watched all the rest of the movies in a theatre as soon as they were released.

      I can’t really tell you why I love the universe so much. Maybe it’s the stories, the characters, or the way it all ties together. Maybe the movies make me realize that there’s more to this world than we can imagine. But I know I will continue to watch and re-watch the movies and television shows forever.

      Final Thoughts

      Star Wars is one of the most influential movies in the history of cinema. Do you agree? How many times you have watched the movies or series? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Andrew Martin from Pixabay.

      The Positive Side of Procrastination

      The Positive Side of Procrastination

      Are all writers procrastinators? There are so many novelists who talk about the wasted time spent on social media or other things instead of writing. They will do everything in the world first (see what’s new on Netflix, scroll social media, or check emails) before sitting down to write. Why is that? The truth is… for most authors, writing is hard work. 

      On movies and television, you see writers who type thousands of words with little to no effort in a short time. For some writers, this might be true, but for most of us, it isn’t. Every word is an effort. We struggle with plots, characters, dialogue, world-building and research. It is no wonder that we procrastinate.

      Admitting You Have a Problem

      As you have already guessed, I have a problem. I am battling with procrastination. The sequel to Hollow Edge is taking longer than I thought to write. When I open up scrivener ready to get some work done, I get distracted by other things.

      The good news is that I am not ashamed or too afraid to admit it, and neither should you be. I bet you’re saying to yourself right now, “I don’t have a problem.” Well, I am here to tell you that if you have this problem, there is hope for you.

      The first step towards recovery is being able to admit your problem. I will go first ‘Hi, my name is Frankie and I am a procrastinator.’ That wasn’t so bad. So, are you ready to admit that you should be doing something else right now besides reading this? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us; all the time.

      Procrastinators Anonymous for Writers

      Maybe I should start a Procrastination Anonymous for Writers (PAW) group. It would be very popular. The thought sounds good, but I’m not too sure about how great of an idea it would be to start one.

      Reasons it would fail
      1. Members may keep postponing the meetings for no clear reason.
      2. There would not be enough room to hold almost every single writer in the world.

      We all procrastinate. As a matter of fact, we are all experts at it and lucky for us; it isn’t as bad as they make it out to be.

      Undivided Attention

      It may sound crazy, but I believe that the rest of the world also loves it when I procrastinate. Suddenly, everyone seems to get my undivided attention. My dog gets walked for a few extra minutes, my cat gets more attention, housework gets done, and emails get opened.

      The even crazier thing about this is I only procrastinate like this with writing. I don’t know why I do it, but it always happens. Maybe I think I need the perfect conditions to write. A rainy day, a fully charged laptop battery, and a quiet house with no distractions. Don’t forget about being in the mood to write. That’s a big one.

      Created in Canva.

      Benefits of Procrastination

      Here are two benefits to procrastinating:

      1. Time to Think

      As a writer, procrastination gives me the time to think about my book while I’m doing something else instead of writing it. What better way is there to make use of all that time other than using it to contemplate new ideas, fine-tune details, and get everything just perfect before I sit down to write?

      Some of my best ideas come when I am in the shower or out taking a walk. (I usually have my phone with me to take notes or I yell at Siri when I am in the shower.)

      I know one thing; it may have taken me 20 hours to write something that I could have written in less than an hour, but who is to say that I would have come up with the same ideas that fast without letting the story marinate?

      2. Avoid Frustration

      If you think about it, procrastinating can be useful and necessary because it allows writers to let go. Sometimes when you hold on to an idea too tight or try to force creativity, it disappears completely, leaving you frustrated.

      But when you just let it go, it comes to you naturally. It’s no different from trying to remember that name on the tip of your tongue. When you wrack your brain trying to remember it, it never comes; but the second you stop trying and just let it go, the name pops into your thoughts as if you weren’t even trying to remember it in the first place? Some things are just unexplainable or strange.

      I am not making excuses for my procrastination; instead, just learning to appreciate and accept it.

      Famous Writers That Procrastinate

      I became curious and did some research and found out that most writers procrastinate. That is when I chalked up my procrastinating tendencies as a trait that all writers and creative people are born with. Here is a list of many well-known writers considered to be some of the biggest procrastinators.

      • J. K. Rowling
      • Margaret Atwood
      • Victor Hugo
      • Henry Melville
      • Franz Kafka

      Now I don’t feel so bad.

      Final Thoughts

      So now that I have admitted my problem, which has turned out to be not much of a problem at all, can you admit to being a procrastinator and accept the rewards and benefits that come with resourcefully killing time? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

      How to Change an Asteroids Trajectory

      How to Change an Asteroids Trajectory

      Do you think it’s possible to change an asteroid’s trajectory? With its Double Asteroid Redirection Test last month, NASA proved you can.

      Double Asteroid Redirection Test

      DART stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, a NASA spacecraft designed to hit an asteroid for testing. Dimorphos, DART’s target asteroid, does not pose a threat to Earth, however, the Didymos asteroid system provides the perfect opportunity to test whether it is practical to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to alter its course if an asteroid poses a threat to Earth in the future.

      The DART’s Focus

      As the first mission of its kind, DART explores one method of deflecting asteroid motion through kinetic impact. Essentially, the purpose of the DART is to observe the response of an asteroid following a kinetic impact. Earth-based telescopes will measure the asteroid’s motion after the collision with Dimorphos.

      Image courtesy of NASA

      The Results

      DART’s kinetic impact with Dimorphos, its target asteroid, was successful on September 26th. After studying the data from the test for two weeks, NASA confirmed the successful change of Dimorphos’ orbit. This marks humanity’s first attempt at changing the motion of a celestial object on a large scale.

      New Rotation

      Dimorphos took 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its larger parent asteroid, Didymos, before DART’s impact. Using telescopes on Earth, astronomers have measured how much time has changed since DART collided with Dimorphos on Sept. 26. According to the investigation team, the spacecraft’s impact shortened Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos by 32 minutes, shortening its 11 hours and 55-minute orbit to 11 hours and 23 minutes. An error margin of about 2 minutes is essential for this measurement.

      The minimum successful orbital change for Dimorphos before its encounter was 73 seconds. Using these early results, DART outperformed this benchmark by over 25 times.

      Final Thoughts

      Neither Dimorphos nor Didymos posed any hazard to Earth before or after DART’s controlled collision. Does this test sound like science fiction? Maybe the movie Armageddon needs to be updated. Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Images courtesy of NASA.