Summer Reading Recommendations
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy some new books and authors!
I have a number of books I will recommend in a future post, but for now, I want to give you a list of recommended books put together by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Don't let the picture books turn you off-- there are many middle grade and YA options listed, as well. You can search by region if you are looking for local authors or just look at each YA section if you only want YA.
Mer-Charmer is in the International-Other section, because I'm living in Germany right now and that's the division Germany is included in for SCBWI's regions. I'm delighted to be included in the list!
So scroll through these books and think about which ones you want to take with you to the pool, to the beach, or on your camping trip. Many of these will be perfect to enjoy on a rainy Monday afternoon, too, just curled up on your couch with your favorite treat to eat.
And if you have any book recommendations for others, please feel free to share in the comments!
5 Ways to Ace Your Final Exams
It's that time of the year again... final exams are looming, the gate through which you must pass to reach summer vacation.
But don't worry. I've got your back.
Here are five steps to follow to finish out your school year with style and grace, instead of blood, sweat, and tears.
1. Don’t cram
Research says cramming isn’t effective, even though a lot of people keep trying. It’s far better to study for 10-15 minutes each day for a week than a bunch all at once. Think of it like taking sips of a slushie instead of gulping it—and getting a brain freeze. Cramming may let you feel like you’ll succeed because the material will look familiar and it’s easy to think, “Yeah, yeah, I know this, I know that,” but recognition is not the same as recalling it. Instead, dedicate a little bit of time every day to study for each final exam. Depending on how much material your test covers, a chapter per day for a week might work.
2. Write out Your Notes
The science is in: writing things by hand helps us remember things much better than typing them out. You may not be able to write down every word the teacher says—but that’s precisely what will help you discern what is actually important to know and summarize as you listen, so you can write down only the critical stuff. Or even if you take notes in class on a laptop, go home and make notecards the old-fashioned way to help lock in the information you’ll need.
Sleep is critical to our health, but also to our learning. Sleep consolidates our new knowledge and organizes memories. Getting a good night of shut-eye is your best tool for making sure you remember what you studied the night before. Logically, this means that pulling “an all-nighter” is a really bad idea. Not only are you cramming (see point 1) but you aren’t giving your brain any time to absorb the material.
4. Eat well.
We all know that eating well is a priority, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Breakfast in particular can be tough to maneuver on a busy school morning. But on test days, it’s critical that you eat a solid breakfast with protein so your brain has the energy to carry you through the day. As a bonus, eggs contain a nutrient that is thought to help improve memory and cognitive performance. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Fast and easy ideas: Yogurt parfait, breakfast burrito, fruit smoothie with protein powder, oatmeal made with soy or dairy milk for a protein boost.
5. Decide your goal and go for it.
Writing down your goals or stating them in public helps people reach their goals. Goals help us stay more accountable. So write down your test goal and post it in your room. Tell your friends, parents or teacher that your goal is to make whatever grade you need—an A, a B…even if it's just to pass! You are much more likely to do so once you’ve officially committed to doing it. Goals transform people from wishers to doers.
So there you go—five steps for taking charge of your academic success during final exams. This all assumes, of course, that you’ve been paying in class (because you have, right??) and listening with intention. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if you learn as you go, with the understanding that you might as well do it right the first time. Don’t find yourself sitting in summer school while your friends are heading out to the pool.
With a little planning and dedication, you can ace all your finals and soar off into summer with victory. Decide to rock your finals and end your school year strong.
You’ve got this.
Take the quiz to find out which Fairy Keeper character you are! (If the quiz isn't showing in the preview pane, click on the post itself and it should appear within the bigger post.)
The Myers-Briggs personality test has been around for a long time. Like, even since *I* was in high school. It sorts people into 16 basic types. Of course, everyone is unique and no one is the same way all the time. This is about your general, first-response preferences. And preferences can change over time. But if you are curious about what your preferences say about you in this one short snapshot in time, feel free to take this free, condensed version of the Myers-Briggs test. Then maybe browse the description of your type to see if you agree.
Also, here is a short test-- really short-- based on the Myers Briggs by 16 Personalities, but I got the same result as usual: INFJ. If you use Facebook, it's been floating around on there, so you may have already taken it.
I scored as an INFP for many years and for years, identified more with that type than INFJ. They are very similar anyway, but I have realized lately-- NOPE, I'm really an IFNJ. To look over the different types, read this page or this page. it has a great summary of each type.
You are the final judge of what you are like and in the end, knowing yourself is what's important. People who know who they are, deep inside, feel less pressure to act in ways that don't match their own values. I think that's part of why I enjoy taking personality tests. It affirms who I am. Yes, I'm introvert. I'm not anti-social and I'm not weird. Well, okay, I'm weird, but so's everyone! But it sure helps me understand why some people are harder for me to get along with than others.
Personality tests help me take things less personally, as funny as that sounds. They help me see that others have their own unique way of looking at the world, like each of the characters in my stories. And just because they see things differently than I do, doesn't make them automatically wrong. It's just different. I recommend trying the test and reading through all the different "types." Knowing that someone else may see something totally differently can help you resolve differences quicker and more smoothly. Understanding each other is a key step toward compassion and peace.
*Image used with permission, copyright free, from Morguefile. Greyerbaby. "djfdklj.jpg" Morguefile. <http://mrg.bz/W0HlXa>
To young readers, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of school, friendships, and life.