Tag: magic

Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt Themes

Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt Themes

Peer Pressure

Wanting to feel part of something can put pressure on a teen to act in certain ways. If they’re doing something they wouldn’t normally do, or are not doing something they’d like to do, simply so that they’ll be accepted by the people they hang out with, they’re suffering from peer pressure.

Peer pressure can influence:
* the way someone dresses or wears their hair
* the activities they get involved in the music they listen to
* the decisions made about using drugs and alcohol
* who they date
* who they’re friends with.

The pressure to act in a certain way can be:
1) direct: someone telling the teen what they should be doing
2) indirect: the teen’s group of friends might do certain activities together that they’re unlikely to do outside of that group
3) self-motivated: putting pressure on the teen to fit in with their friendship group, because of certain standards they’ve set or comments they’ve made.
https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-peer-pressure

In Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight, peer pressure is a pivotal catalyst for the turn of events in the story. Daniel is a superhero in primary school and the beginning of high school. Things change in Year Eight, and with taunting, bullying and pressure on him, Daniel goes against the rules set down in the Scrivener book. Consequences await him upon disobeying the rules. In Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt, Daniel reflects on why he is in his predicament and knows it is because of peer pressure and making poor choices. 

Ancient Egypt

The Scrivener book is a present that was given to Daniel’s grandmother by a magus when she was traveling through Egypt. It was then passed down to Daniel’s mother and then to himself.
In Power or Blight there are some references to Egypt with the Mummy’s blight. At the end of the story, Grandma decides that they need to go back to Egypt to stop the blight.

In Journey to Egypt, ancient Egypt comes alive. I did a lot of research about ancient Egypt to ensure the facts I have woven into the story are correct. 

Some fun facts about ancient Egypt:
1) Egyptian men and women wore makeup. It was thought to have healing powers, plus it helped protect their skin from the sun.
2) They used mouldy bread to help with infections.
3) They were one of the first civilizations to invent writing. They also used ink to write and paper called papyrus.
4) The Ancient Egyptians were scientists and mathematicians. They had numerous inventions including ways to build buildings, medicine, cosmetics, the calendar, the plow for farming, musical instruments, and even toothpaste.
5) Ancient Egypt plays a major role in the Bible. The Israelites were held captive there as slaves for many years. Moses helped them escape and led them to the Promised Land.
6) The Pharaoh kept his hair covered. It was not to be seen by regular people.
7) Cats were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.
https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt.

Bullying

As with most of my books, bullying is featured in By Power or Blight. Daniel is called names and taunted, until he explodes. Bullying does not occur in Journey to Egypt, but instead Daniel is befriended by Meryatum, the Pharaoh’s son, Meryatum, quickly becomes friends with Daniel and they share their adventure together. 

Bullying goes hand-in-hand with negative peer pressure.

So what is bullying?

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools says:
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

In the story, Daniel is bullied because he is picked on by many children; some like Ethan and his mate have it in for him. Daniel is physically and verbally picked on. After things start going bad, he becomes isolated from his friends.

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/WhatIsBullying/DefinitionOfBullying

In By Power or Blight, the school does not action to stop the bullying – this is all part of the Mummy’s Blight. But in reality there are policies and procedures that schools need to follow.

These strategies could include:
• teaching and learning programs to develop students communication, social, assertiveness and coping skills
• changes to the school environment to improve teacher supervision, such as removing visual barriers between teacher and students
• increasing supervision of students at particular times or places
• support from a guidance officer or school counsellor
• changes to technology access at school
• timetable or class changes that may be temporary or permanent to decrease the contact the students have with each other
• class discussions of bullying including underlying issues and possible responses for students
• promoting positive bystander behaviour
• disciplinary action against students who bully others
An action plan may be developed for the child and any other children involved. Strategies for use at home may also be included in a plan.
https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/RespondingToBullying/HowAustralianSchoolsRespond

Single-Parent Family

Daniel Barker lives with his mother, his father having left when he was a baby. Mrs Barker still carries some resentment towards her husband and expresses in the story that she doesn’t want her son to become like him.

Mrs Barker has the help of Daniel’s grandmother, who he is close to. Daniel often rings his grandmother to ask her advice, and they have a good relationship. She helps him many times throughout By Power or Blight. In Journey to Egypt it is Grandma who takes Dan to Egypt. 

This theme was chosen as over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called “nuclear family” consisting of a mother, father and children. Today we see all sorts of single- parent families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren.

Life in a single-parent household — though common — can be quite stressful for the adult and the children. Members may unrealistically expect that the family can function like a two-parent family, and may feel that something is wrong when it can not. The single parent may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of juggling caring for the children, maintaining a job and keeping up with the bills and household chores. And typically, the family’s finances and resources are drastically reduced following the parents’ breakup.

Single-parent families deal with many other pressures and potential problem areas that the nuclear family does not have to face.

Stressors faced by single parent families include:
* Visitation and custody problems.
• The effects of continuing conflict between the parents.
• Less opportunity for parents and children to spend time together.
• Effects of the breakup on children’s school performance and peer relations.
• Disruptions of extended family relationships.
• Problems caused by the parents’ dating and entering new relationships.
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/single-parent.aspx

Difference & Diversity

We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and included and never to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. But the reality is that we do live in a world in which racism and other forms of bias continue to affect us. Discrimination hurts and leaves scars that can last a lifetime, affecting goals, ambitions, life choices, and feelings of self-worth.
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/teaching-diversity-place-begin-0/

Even though in Power or Blight, Daniel is a typical boy, as stated in the Introduction, the gift of his Scrivener power changes things. It makes him different. When I wrote the story I thought an equivalent example for today may be a child’s family winning the lottery, or a child acquiring a physical disability – something that had a dramatic change – something that may be accepted for a while, but then not so much.

Having the theme of difference and diversity in the Daniel Barker series encourages discussions. It goes a step towards children thinking about how they can show respect for others who are different from themselves, and the language they speak.

Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt Information

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight

Daniel Barker Series #2

Upper Middle Grade Novel

Ages 9-13

157 pages

Publication Year: 2020

ISBNs:
978-0-6488337-0-3 (pbk)
978-0-6488337-1-0 (e-bk)

RRP $15 AUD paperback
RRP $4.14 AUD ebook

THE STORY:
Thirteen-year-old Daniel Barker has a magical book from Egypt which gives him 99 wishes.

In Book 1 Dan ignored the rules and awakened the Mummy’s blight so now Grandma is taking him to Egypt to find a cure.

While visiting the museum in Cairo, Dan gets chased by mummies into a room where Ramesses II’s son, Meryatum, appears to help him in his quest.

A chariot, crocodiles, robbers, temples, palaces, papyrus scrolls, a cunning high priest and much more await him in his journey to stop the Mummy’s blight.

Will Dan be able to?

Daniel Barker Journey to Egypt Information Sheet

***
COMING SOON as an EBOOK or PAPERBACK

in Australia

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight Book Launch

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight Themes

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight Themes

Peer Pressure

    

Wanting to feel part of something can put pressure on a teen to act in certain ways. If they’re doing something they wouldn’t normally do, or are not doing something they’d like to do, simply so that they’ll be accepted by the people they hang out with, they’re suffering from peer pressure.

Peer pressure can influence:
* the way someone dresses or wears their hair
* the activities they get involved in the music they listen to
* the decisions made about using drugs and alcohol
* who they date
* who they’re friends with.

The pressure to act in a certain way can be:
1) direct: someone telling the teen what they should be doing
2) indirect: the teen’s group of friends might do certain activities together that they’re unlikely to do outside of that group
3) self-motivated: putting pressure on the teen to fit in with their friendship group, because of certain standards they’ve set or comments they’ve made.
https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-peer-pressure

In Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight, peer pressure is a pivotal catalyst for the turn of events in the story. Daniel is a superhero in primary school and the beginning of high school. Things change in Year Eight, and with taunting, bullying and pressure on him, Daniel goes against the rules set down in the Scrivener book. Consequences await him upon disobeying the rules.

 

Ancient Egypt

The Scrivener book is a present that was given to Daniel’s grandmother by a magus when she was traveling through Egypt. It was then passed down to Daniel’s mother and then to himself.

In Power or Blight there are some references to Egypt with the Mummy’s curse. At the end of the story, Grandma decides that they need to go back to Egypt to stop the blight. It is in the second book that the pyramids, pharoahs, mummies and the ancient Egyptian world is explored.

Some fun facts about ancient Egypt:

1) Egyptian men and women wore makeup. It was thought to have healing powers, plus it helped protect their skin from the sun.
2) They used mouldy bread to help with infections.
3) They were one of the first civilizations to invent writing. They also used ink to write and paper called papyrus.
4) The Ancient Egyptians were scientists and mathematicians. They had numerous inventions including ways to build buildings, medicine, cosmetics, the calendar, the plow for farming, musical instruments, and even toothpaste.
5) Ancient Egypt plays a major role in the Bible. The Israelites were held captive there as slaves for many years. Moses helped them escape and led them to the Promised Land.
6) The Pharaoh kept his hair covered. It was not to be seen by regular people.
7) Cats were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.
https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt.php

 

Bullying

As with most of my books, bullying is featured in By Power or Blight. Daniel is called names and taunted, until he explodes.

Bullying goes hand-in-hand with negative peer pressure.

So what is bullying?

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools says:
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

In the story, Daniel is bullied because he is picked on by many children; some like Ethan and his mate have it in for him. Daniel is physically and verbally picked on. After things start going bad, he becomes isolated from his friends.

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/WhatIsBullying/DefinitionOfBullying

In By Power or Blight, the school does not action to stop the bullying – this is all part of the Mummy’s Blight. But in reality there are policies and procedures that schools need to follow.

These strategies could include:
• teaching and learning programs to develop students communication, social, assertiveness and coping skills
• changes to the school environment to improve teacher supervision, such as removing visual barriers between teacher and students
• increasing supervision of students at particular times or places
• support from a guidance officer or school counsellor
• changes to technology access at school
• timetable or class changes that may be temporary or permanent to decrease the contact the students have with each other
• class discussions of bullying including underlying issues and possible responses for students
• promoting positive bystander behaviour
• disciplinary action against students who bully others

An action plan may be developed for the child and any other children involved. Strategies for use at home may also be included in a plan.

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/RespondingToBullying/HowAustralianSchoolsRespond

 

Single-Parent Family

Daniel Barker lives with his mother, his father having left when he was a baby. Mrs Barker still carries some resentment towards her husband and expresses in the story that she doesn’t want her son to become like him.

Mrs Barker has the help of Daniel’s grandmother, who he is close to. Daniel often rings his grandmother to ask her advice, and they have a good relationship. She helps him many times throughout By Power or Blight.

This theme was chosen as over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called “nuclear family” consisting of a mother, father and children. Today we see all sorts of single- parent families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren.

Life in a single-parent household — though common — can be quite stressful for the adult and the children. Members may unrealistically expect that the family can function like a two-parent family, and may feel that something is wrong when it can not. The single parent may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of juggling caring for the children, maintaining a job and keeping up with the bills and household chores. And typically, the family’s finances and resources are drastically reduced following the parents’ breakup.

Single-parent families deal with many other pressures and potential problem areas that the nuclear family does not have to face.

Stressors faced by single parent families include:

* Visitation and custody problems.
• The effects of continuing conflict between the parents.
• Less opportunity for parents and children to spend time together.
• Effects of the breakup on children’s school performance and peer relations.
• Disruptions of extended family relationships.
• Problems caused by the parents’ dating and entering new relationships.
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/single-parent.aspx

 

Difference & Diversity

We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and included and never to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. But the reality is that we do live in a world in which racism and other forms of bias continue to affect us. Discrimination hurts and leaves scars that can last a lifetime, affecting goals, ambitions, life choices, and feelings of self-worth.

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/teaching-diversity-place-begin-0/

Even though in Power or Blight, Daniel is a typical boy, as stated in the Introduction, the gift of his Scrivener power changes things. It makes him different. When I wrote the story I thought an equivalent example for today may be a child’s family winning the lottery, or a child acquiring a physical disability – something that had a dramatic change – something that may be accepted for a while, but then not so much.

Having the theme of difference and diversity in Daniel Barker encourages discussions. It goes a step towards children thinking about how they can show respect for others who are different from themselves, and the language they speak.

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight Information

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight

Daniel Barker Series #1

Upper Middle Grade Novel
Ages 9-13

152 pages

Publication Year: 2018

ISBNs:
978-0-9945341-6-3 (pbk)
978-0-9945341-7-0 (e-bk)

RRP $15 AUD paperback
RRP $4.14 AUD ebook

THE STORY:

Thirteen-year-old Daniel Barker has a magical book from Egypt which gives him 99 wishes. The wishes must be used to make the world a better place. If not, the Mummy’s Blight will be awakened.

Dan is like a superhero, until he wishes for a fire at school to impress Charmaine, the cutest cheerleader. Things then start getting crazy and out-of-control.

Is it the Mummy’s Blight and how will Dan stop his favourite teacher from becoming a zombie?

Daniel Barker By Power or Blight Information Sheet

***

Available as an EBOOK or PAPERBACK

in Australia

Land of Britannica Author Interview

An Interview with Jenny about why she wrote Land of Britannica

Why did you write Land of Britannica?

I was at a church ladies camp in 2016 and a fellow camper came up to ask me if I had written a book that could help her grandchildren. She was after a story that dealt with marriage breakup as her grandchildren weren’t coping with what was happening to their family. I hadn’t as I had only written Ride High Pineapple and Brockwell the Brave. This request bubbled around inside of me, growing into the story, Land of Britannica.

My inspiration for the way I wrote the story was the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy goes into a fantasy world. In Oz she must solve the problem she was been wrestling with in the real world. So it is the same with Land of Britannica – Brittney finds herself in the Land of Britannica where she goes through her adventure to work through her feelings of her parents’ impending divorce. The characters in the story are representative of people in Brittney’s real world experiences.

I also wanted the story to do more than just be an adventure story, so I made each of the obstacles Brittney meets in the Land of Britannica, representative of each of the stages of the grief cycle. The grief cycle is a step of cyclical steps humans go through when they are dealing with a traumatic situation. It is described on the Themes page.

This type of story is called an allegory.

What is the story about?

Brittney’s parents have separated. Dad introduces her and her brothers to his new girlfriend. This devastates Brittney as she realises her parents’ marriage is over. Brittney goes to bed upset. She hears a sound under her bed and touches a glowing green light. Brittney is taken into a strange new world, where there are talking animals, dragons, flying carriages and strange food. She meets Carly-Anna who tells her that she is the Chosen One and must save the heart that hangs in the sky from cracking and falling down. Brittney must also save the kingdom from the evil queen who is trying to take over the land. The story follows Brittney’s journey through the Land of Britannica where she must face obstacles and rescue creatures. Along the way she meets different characters, who give her weapons and clothing that give her powers. I won’t tell you what happens, but at the end of the story Brittney needs to make an important decision…

How did you decide on the green heart which hangs in the sky?

I love hearts, and green is the colour of healing. The fact that the heart was cracking and about to fall out of the sky in the Land of Britannica was symbolic of Brittney’s devastation about her parents’ marriage breakup. The evil Queen who was causing the heart to crack, was symbolic of Brittney’s father’s new girlfriend.

How did you decide on what superpowers Brittney would have?

I am a Christian and I thought about the armour of God talked about in the bible, in Ephesians. I created the powers based on this idea. When Brittney enters the Land of Britannica, Carly-Anna gives her a change of clothes. Then as Brittney progresses through the land, she is given items such as a shield, sword, crown, cloak and torch. It was fun to think of the things she could be given and how they could be used.

What would people get out of the story?

The story has five main themes: friendship, separation and divorce, courage, superheroes, and emotional health and the grief cycle. Therefore these are the themes that I hope the child will pick up on and take away from reading the story. Brittney is a strong female character as well. Once she has decided on her journey, Brittney confidently sets out and attacks her enemies with confidence. She problem solves and makes her own decisions. Brittney is a wonderful role model for girls.

Where can people buy Land of Britannica?
Land of Britannica is available as an ebook and a paperback. It can be purchased from many online bookstores which are listed on my website, and from me directly, via my website.

Land of Britannica Information

Land of Britannica

Middle Grade Novel
Ages 9 – 12

198 pages

Publication Year: 2017

ISBNs:
978-0-9945341-4-9 (pbk)
978-0-9945341-5-6 (e-bk)

RRP $15 AUD paperback
RRP $4.14 AUD ebook

The Story:

Twelve-year-old Brittney is upset her parents have split up and she wants them back together. After Dad introduces his girlfriend to Brittney and her brothers, she is plunged into a strange world… the Land of Britannica. This kingdom is ruled by the evil Storm Queen and it is Brittney’s mission, as stated in the Book of the Kingdom, to defeat the queen and restore the cracked green heart that hangs in the sky. She must face many perils and dangers. Will Brittney be able to fulfil her destiny?

Click here to download the Land of Britannica by Jenny Woolsey Information Sheet

See a review of Land of Britannica at Goodreads

***

Available as an EBOOK or PAPERBACK in most online bookstores:

IN AUSTRALIA

Brockwell the Brave Book Launch

Brockwell the Brave Author Interview

An Interview with Jenny about why she wrote Brockwell the Brave

Why did you write Brockwell the Brave?

My first book, Ride High Pineapple, was based on myself and my eldest daughter. I wanted my second book to be based on my son. He also has my craniofacial syndrome but I didn’t want to write a boy version of the story. I decided to focus on another of my son’s qualities. He is not your typical boy. My son growing up has been a quiet, gentle and you could say, ‘girlie’ boy. He was always into dressing up, he loved dancing, he didn’t possess any action figures or trucks or cars. He owned ‘girl gender’ toys, loved sparkles and the colour pink. My son is now 14 and has hair nearly down to his bottom. He loves to read, to draw, to cook, video games and his soft toys.

Now one could say this is a product of his circumstances and environment. He has two sisters, so he grew up playing with them, and his friends from kindy upwards have been girls as well, so he has grown up in their world. My son was also banned from playing sport growing up because of his face. And his hair was shaved off multiple times with operations, so there could be a subconscious want to have a long hair. Who knows? But it doesn’t matter to us. We love him how he is.

The story Brockwell the Brave, is set in a fantasy Viking village called Enga. Brockwell, the main character, lives on a dragon farm. Even though the village is a fantasy, everything else relating to the village and Viking way of life, is factual, including the names used. Throughout the story I have inserted the Icelandic language which is the closest modem day language to Old Norse. This added some extra authenticity to the story.

I chose the dragons as my son asked for dragons to be in the story. At the time, he has obsessed with the How to Train Your Dragon series and was collecting the dragons he liked. I was very conscious, not to make my book similar to the films or books.

What is the story about?

So Brockwell is twelve, and lives on a dragon farm. His family raises dragons from eggs to be the working animals in the village, like bullocks in the olden days. He loves the babies but is scared of the older dragons which his father wants him to feed and care for. He also likes to do the ‘female’ jobs like going to the village markets to buy the food. Brockwell’s secret desire is to be a healer and he often sneaks off to the village healing hut to help out. Brockwell’s best friend is a strong girl, Ingrid. Mr Ness, Brockwell’s father, believes she’d make a better son then he is. The village bully, Colden, picks on Brockwell as he is a soft target. One day, Brockwell’s father goes on an expedition to rescue an injured wild dragon. He would bring the dragon back to the farm. When Mr Ness doesn’t return, Brockwell goes against his mother’s wishes, and goes with Ingrid and her brother, to find his father. He is given a magical dragon’s tooth which belonged to his grandfather, to protect him. Along the way Brockwell must face his fears and encounters many obstacles. I cannot tell you the ending. 🙂

What did you enjoy the most about writing the story?

I really enjoyed researching the Vikings way of life. I learned a lot! I enjoyed researching Old Norse names for the names of the characters. And I loved creating my own type of dragons and deciding what they would be used for in the village. I wanted them to be unique and the babies adorable.

If you could own a dragon, what would it look like?

Hmmm, my dragon would be hot pink, with scales that shine like the colours of the rainbow. It would be more cute than scary. It would probably also have a silver heart on its side, as I love anything with hearts.

What would people get out of the story?

Brockwell the Brave provides an insight into the world of the Vikings and teaches some of the Icelandic language. The story is a fun adventure with a magical component. It challenges gender stereotypes of both boys and girls. It teaches a child it is okay to be themselves, and that they can face their fears.

Where can people buy Brockwell the Brave?

Brockwell the Brave is available as an ebook and a paperback. It can be purchased from many online bookstores which are listed on my website, and from me directly, via my website.

Brockwell the Brave Information

Brockwell the Brave

Middle Grade Novel
Ages 9 – 12

136 pages

Publication Year: 2016

ISBNs:
978-0-9945341-2-5 (pbk)
978-0-9945341-3-2 (e-bk)

RRP $15 AUD paperback
RRP $4.14 AUD ebook

The Story:

Twelve-year-old Viking, Brockwell Ness, lives on a dragon farm in the village of Enga. He would prefer to be at the healing hut rather than at home with the scary juvenile and adult dragons or around the village where Colden picks on him. When Brockwell’s father doesn’t come back from a mission to capture an injured dragon, he has to make a decision. Will Brockwell be able to face his giants?

Click here to download the Brockwell the Brave Information Sheet

Read a review of Brockwell the Brave at Goodreads

***

Available as an EBOOK or PAPERBACK in most online bookstores:

IN AUSTRALIA: