52 List Project – Week 44 Update +Free Printables

52 List Project – Week 44 Update +Free Printables

52 List Project Week 44 Update plus Free Printables

Just a quick update to my 52 List project that I have begun.  I began with week 43 which had me think about my favourite treats and snacks.  Why are my favourite foods my favourite foods?  A lot of it was related to childhood memories.  Fond memories of course, unless it was ‘liver’, then not so fond.  I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to be writing in the book itself. I quite like the hardcover of the book and haven’t yet decided to write in it or not. You can see from my first post on the project  how the book is set up.  I have been using printables to jot down my brainstorming for each prompt. You can pick these printables up at the end of the post.  (more…)

Creative Writing Prompt #1

Creative Writing Prompt #1

Creative Writing Prompt 1



As a stay at home mom who strives to keep my creativity alive and burning I find I sometimes feel the drudgery of motherhood leaves me feeling uninspired.  Whose with me?  Right!  This post is a repost of one I originally created last year but I have now updated.  During the festive season we have the Christmas carol music going all the time.  One time to amuse myself while yet tackling the boring dishes yet again I found myself creating a different version of Oh Christmas Tree.  I began creating a version of the song to my Kitchen Sink because well I just love it so much.

Because this is just a writing exercise to loosen my creativity it is not perfect but the purpose was not to be perfect but to try something different to stretch my brain muscles.

Oh Kitchen Sink, Oh Kitchen Sink

by Bonnie Dani

Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
thou faucet is most fair and lovely!
Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
thou faucet is most fair and lovely!
The sight of dishes piled high at Christmas time,

spreads feelings of distress and despair far and wide.
Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
thou faucet is most fair and lovely!

Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
Doth not sparkle in stainless steel beauty!
Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
Doth not sparkle in stainless steel beauty!
Your plug is clogged in sludge of brown,
and your drain oh so very slow down.
Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
Doth not sparkle in stainless steel beauty!

Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
thou hast a malodorous smell!
Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
thou hast a malodorous smell!
I dost proclaim a grand cleaning,
with rubber gloves and scrubby things.
Oh kitchen sink, oh kitchen sink,
Oh why thou can’t be self-cleaning!


That was actually quite fun once I got in to it.  So what is your favourite Christmas carol?  How about a Challenge?


creative writing prompt challenge 2

I would love to see or hear about your creation.  Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect by any means it just has to take you brain out of its usual comfort zone and push it to think about things in a new way.  When we do push ourselves in this way we begin to think about other things in a new way as well.  Also, it is just to have a bit of fun in an unexpected way!  Send me a link to your creation and it would be great if you could link back to this post.  So what will you choose?  Toothbrush, rocking chair, coffee maker, computer, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, washing machine…

Cheers and have some writing fun,


Bonnie New Signature




Bonnie Dani

Educator, Writer, Blogger, Mom

Contact Me: bonniedani@adalinc.org


Teachers Write 2015

Teachers Write 2015


Teachers Write 2015 has gotten under way.  If you haven’t heard or want more information head over to Kate Messner’s Blog to find out all the details.  I had tried to participate last year but I discovered I wasn’t organized enough.  I have 3 kids at home with me on summer vacation and last year I fell behind and then just didn’t get back on the bicycle.

This year armed with more knowledge, and a more ritual of writing (committed time) I’m hoping I will be participating more this year.  My hope is to journal my progress good or bad here.  Of course, it is summer and with 3 kids in background it will probably still be hit or miss but any writing is better then no writing, right?  So off I go:

Day 1: Teachers Write #1: Kate Messner Blog

Kate invited us to wonder today which I loved as I saw a similar concept at my children’s school this year for the students.  This table was coated in chalkboard paint and then the kids could write their wonder statements down on the table.  My son in grade 3 also kept a wonder journal.  The book you see in the picture is I Wonder by Annaka Harris.  After today’s prompt, I am going to begin my own Wonder journal.

Here were some of my Wonder statements today:
  • I wonder why my 8 year old son is obsessed with using the phrase ‘chicken nuggets’ for everything? Such as ‘awe, chicken nuggets!’
  • I wonder how many personalities my 4 year old daughter can have in one day?
  • I wonder what it was like to come to Canada as a refugee in the 1960s?
  • I wonder about growing up as a kid during the Klondike Goldrush in northern Canada?
  • I wonder if forgiveness can save relationships?
  • I wonder what would have happened to France with no Napoleon?
  • I wonder if my kids will see a man/woman land on Mars or another planet?
  • I wonder how to use my introverted qualities to my advantage?
  • I wonder why the world has mosquitos?

Here is my new wonder journal.


I thought I would also share some of my son’s entries in his Wonder Wednesday Journal he did during the year at school.
His first wonder was :  I wonder what we are going to do today?  Sounds like a typical kid.
2. Is there snow in Africa?
3. How is electricity made?
4. Why do we have weeks?
5. How do trees make oxygen?
6. Why was money made?
7. Why we wear clothes?
8. How are bandaids made?
9. Why do people need food and water to survive?
10.  Who was the first to make names in the ice age?
11.  Who was the first to make a water bottle?
If you are participating in #teacherswrite this summer I would love to know.  Also check out the Monday Morning Warm Up from Jo Knowles.
Currently… June 8th

Currently… June 8th

list writing

It has been a bit of a whirlwind 2 weeks.  So I just wanted to say Happy Monday Everyone and let everyone know I’m still here.  Here is what I have been up to:

Reading:  I just started my first ever Mary Higgins Clark book.  I received it as a gift and oddly enough I have never read anything by her before but I do love a great murder, suspense, who done it kind of book.  The last book I read was The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hill which appeals to my historical fiction obsession.  If you have any good recommendations for my summer reading list just drop me a comment with the author or book title for me to check out.

Watching: The only thing I usually watch in the summer is So You Think You Can Dance!  I love that show.  I missed the first episode last week but I will be watching it tonight.  I’m interested to see how these new judges work out because when American Idol changed judges I stopped watching.  I really hope this isn’t the case with SYTYCD.  

Writing: I’m in-between writing projects.  I’m finishing edits to my first children’s picture book which has been a year in the making, well, actually longer but actively working on for about a year.  I am working on 2 other ideas to make into picture books as well.  

Drawing: I am still working on practicing my drawing but the month has been heavily focused on my writing and editing, so I will get back to my Manikin Man now.  I will update my progress soon.  

Dreaming:  A few things in this one.  First, I’m dreaming of my writing being published, a new renovated kitchen in my house which then leads me to dream about winning the Lotto Max which leads me to dream about my dream vacation with my family.  You gotta have dreams!  

Moming:  Didn’t know what to call the category of what’s up in being a mother so I’m just going to call it moming.  As a mom, I am currently busy with the end of the school year wrap up which means last minute project completions, meetings with teachers, teacher gifts and soccer, soccer and more soccer.  Did I mention the soccer?  

Planning:  Summer vacation plans are the big thing right now.  Where to go, what to do, how to keep the kids busy?  

Making:  Need to get making Father’s Day gifts.  

Feeling:  Excited about submitting my first picture book manuscript, energized with the hot weather finally, and feeling hopeful about a nice, relaxing summer.

This is a quote I have been loving in 2015 to keep me motivated in my writing and learning how to draw.  

Maya Angelou
Background was created by @rhonnafarrer

So what is up in your part of the world this Monday or week?  What are you reading, watching, planning, dreaming, making or drawing?  

And congratulations to Vesper Meikle who was the lucky winner of my 2nd Blogiversary Giveaway. 



Author Interview with Elsa Takaoka

Author Interview with Elsa Takaoka

Author Interview With Elsa Takaoka 
Author Interview with Elsa Takaoka

I very excited today as this is my first author interview and it is with the talented, and inspiring children’s book author Elsa Takaoka.  Elsa released Goo and Spot in the Do Not Wiggle Riddle and A Moat is Not a Goat: Poems for Clever Little Girls last year.  I had won a free copy of Goo and Spot and did a review of it  here.  Elsa graciously answered some questions I had in between her busy mommy, writing and publishing schedule.

So here we go, lets learn a little more about the author behind the books.

One thing I always wonder about is how long authors have been writing and what their writing practice might look like.  We will start there:

1. How long have you been writing for kids and what is your favourite part of writing for kids?

Elsa: I started writing picture books a little over a year and a half ago. At first it started as an escape, a distraction from our new life abroad but it quickly grew into a passion an obsession. I love everything about writing for kids from the first “Aha!” moment when an idea appears to seeing that idea brought to life by the illustrator.

Me: I think lots of people think many writers have been writing for a long time, but it is great for new authors who are venturing out to realize that writing can begin at any age.  You just have to have passion for it which is evident in your books.  If one wants to write then one should practice writing everyday.  Just like one would practice a jump shot in basketball, or the front stroke in swimming or drawing cartoons, only through practice does one learn and grow.  Which leads me into the next question:

 2. Do You have a writing practice? Describe or explain. 

Elsa:  I have come to realize that a great WRITTEN story is really a magically complex IDEA told in a few precisely chosen words. I sit and write down my initial idea and may even jot down a draft, but for me stories are best created mentally without pen and paper. This way I am not afraid of trying different angles nor do I feel committed to a line or phrase. I often lay at night building on an idea, visualizing details and illustrations. Then when I am sure of the beginning, middle and end I start writing, I prefer rhyme, which is both a curse and a blessing. I have never been good at mathematics or music, but for some reason rhymes and rhythms and syllable counts and tones mesmerize me.

Me: Ah, so you build most of your story in your head and then begin writing.  I like how you said that you are not committed to a line or phrase as well because sometimes I build a story based on one line that magically appeared in my head one day but no matter what I try with it I have a hard time making a story fit around that line, or idea.  One has to be able to let go sometimes or look at things from a different angle like you said.
You jumped right in to writing and self-publishing in a year and half, do you have any advice?

3. What is your best advice to other authors who are thinking of self-publishing? 

Elsa: Learn industry standards. Learn the page count, word count, and layouts, study as much as you can. Hire that editor, splurge on that illustrator, read blogs, absorb yourself in children’s literature. Avoid rhyme if necessary (unless you are
stubborn like me then bite the bullet!) After the formalities I say, “be bold, be brave, and be confident! ”

Elsa Takaoka quote

In the beginning I was afraid no one would take me seriously, I was very sensitive to bad reviews, I have since learned that I am an unstoppable writing force because I LOVE this, I am crazy in love with writing for kids and with kids (especially my own) and if you love something you are willing to fight for it. Children’s books are for CHILDREN not for adult critics.

Me: Great advice! I will have to remember that.  Be bold, be brave, be confident! It definitely is a new world now with self-publishing becoming easier but still a lot of work.  I commend you on passionately believing in your work and forgoing ahead in the self-publishing world.  You are so right, kids are the best critics and they know what they like and why they like it.
Elsa, your family is currently living in Japan and I thought it would be interesting to find out how life might be different there compared to my kids in Canada.

4. Can you tell us one thing that most people probably don’t know about life in Japan? How is raising kids different there? 

Elsa:  The preschool and kindergarten systems (four ages six and under) are amazing here in Japan. My little one goes to a school that prides itself with allowing kids to roam free in the fresh air while playing with mud and sticks and rocks. Needless to say, my kid is now a tree-climbing, mud-pie baking, free spirit which is something not many people imagine from such a disciplined nation.

Me:  You are right, roam free, playing with mud and sticks is not what I expected but great to hear.  Kids are kids no matter what part of the world they live in.  Mine also love adventure walks in the forest, collecting rocks and puddle splashing.  You have been a very busy lady so lets find out what you are currently working on:

5. What are you currently working on?

Elsa:  I am currently working on the third book in the Goo and Spot series “Goo and Spot Under the Orange Tree” a picture book that teaches fractions to the youngest of children. I am also writing my first chapter book about a mischievous and rumbustious little girl and her knack of getting into predicaments. I am beyond excited to be writing a book for older children and hope to have that done before the end of 2015.

Me:  My daughter and I love the first book of Goo and Spot so we are looking forward to the new books in the series and its very exciting to hear about your chapter book.  You will continue to be a busy lady.  Thank you so much Elsa Takaoka for the interview and good luck this year in all your book adventures.

*Elsa Takaoka sent my a complimentary copy of the this book.  A review was not requested.  I only write reviews of books my kids and/or I enjoy and want to share with my readers.

A Moat is Not a Goat:  Poems for Clever Little Girls by Elsa Takaoka and Illustrated by Fanny Liem

A Moat is Not a Goat

A Moat is Not a Goat is a collection of 13 entertaining, imaginative poems for little girls.  I read this book with my 4 year old daughter.  I did purchase this book for my kindle app on the iPad and we first read it there.  This is a gorgeous book on the device.  The illustrations by Fanny Liem are vibrant and beautiful and look just as good on the kindle as in print.  My daughter particularly loved the ponies and thought many of the girls in the book were ‘so pretty’.
Each poem has its own message for girls meant to empower, stretch and expand their minds.  My daughter’s favourite poems were Snippety-Snip and The Squabble which were the shorter poems and so the ones I think she understood easier.  In Snippety-Snip is about a girl who takes the scissors to her hair only to be devastated by the results, but in the poem I love the last line ‘uh-oh, I’ll wear a hat.’     Even though she didn’t like the result she didn’t sit in the mud ( as I say it to my daughter) and dwell on it.  In The Squabble, it is altogether familiar scene of a disagreement between 2 young girls who by the end get over the disagreement and are friends again.  I also enjoyed the more complex riddles and poems and can see how these would lend itself to a girl 7 or older.  The Mollusk’s Daughters has an underlying message questioning where true beauty comes from and in True Treasure girls are empowered to make their own grand adventures through writing.  These poems will definitely challenge young girl readers to find the answers to the riddles.   Overall, this is a delightfully, engaging book of poems for young girls and another winner by Elsa Takaoka.  I would recommend this book for girls ages 4 to 10.
A Moat is Not a Goat book review
A Moat is Not a Goat


For more with this book you can go to the author’s website where you can find
Free Downloads  for colouring.

Where can you find Elsa Takaoka?  Here are her sites:

Elsa Takaoka on Facebook

Picture Story Ebook Blog

Google +


Bonnie New Signature




Educator, Writer, Blogger, Mom

Contact Me: BonnieDani@adalinc.org


Intentions for Writing: A New Writing Series

I’ll be honest, I don’t really know how this series will turn out but I have made it one of my goals for 2015 to develop my own writing practice.  Of course, I have been writing for more than half my life but usually just for myself.  Although, I recently found a file folder of some ideas and writing I had in late high school when I was obsessed with books about espionage and history.  I was reading a lot of Jack Higgins, John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum.  I guess it was no surprise that I was a history major in university.  I didn’t really write a lot for myself in my university years as I was pretty busy researching and writing essays.  I did, however, continue to write in my journals.  After university I became a high school teacher so a lot of my time was spent creating lessons and the items that go with it.  It was through my job though that I took additional courses in teaching English (in Canada) English Language Arts which is where I began exploring more of my own writing again.

Fast forward, I had three kids in just under 4 years and pretty much most of my reading and writing was pushed way, way, way back in the priority lists.  And I was just too, **** tired (family blog better watch my wording).  Most of the books I was reading were board books, concept books and picture books.  So naturally most of the writing I have been doing in the last few years centre around kids.  Just last year I finally devoted one journal to my actually writing ideas.  As you can imagine, I have ideas strewn all over the place.  Back of envelopes, different journals, napkins, school papers, my purse agenda book.  That is how my brain feels sometimes.  Ideas scattered everywhere.

I did manage to compile the many notes on one topic and write it up in an actually rough draft.  Then I sat on it again for awhile.  Mainly because of lack of confidence.  Then in the summer I handed that story to two close friends of mine who both have kids and love to edit.  That was a gargantuan step for me.  I mean GARGANTUAN!  Oh, the vulnerability of putting myself out there for other people to see and read.  I was finally at a place in my life where I could make these moves and not feel completely deflated with small setbacks.  I reworked my story over, over and over again until I had no idea what to do with it anymore.  That is when I enlisted the help of a professional who does picture book manuscript evaluations.  Yikes!  Maybe I had been labouring all that time on this story for nothing.  Maybe it sucked really bad!  I am happy to say that it was the best thing I had ever done.  Her analysis of my manuscript gave me renewed vigour to carry on which is where I am right now.

My mantra for this year of writing is going to be to ‘Start where I am’.  I have pulled this book off my shelf once again, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg and whenever I need some inspiration to write I open a chapter and read.  On page 19 she discusses how to create a list of topics for writing practice and so I begin there.  I like this idea because it gives me focus and direction.  And  of course it is great idea to have ideas ready for those days when I don’t know what to write.

Here is an example of my list I have started:

*The time I fell off a bridge
*Nosebleed in junior high math class
*What is a trumble bumble or a trumble dumble?
*Why pink is my favourite colour

January Intentions:

*I will write daily with the intent to open myself up and stretch my writing muscles.

*I will commit to revising and editing my current picture book manuscript with focus and passion

*I will connect with more writers whenever I can.

My hope is that I will keep this series up possibly twice a month on Fridays.   I do have 2 Pinterest boards devoted to writing and publishing, if you would like to follow just click the links below to be transported to my boards.  I can also be found on Twitter, or on Facebook.  I look forward to this year and all it has to offer.


Follow Bonnie’s board Publish that Book on Pinterest.Follow Bonnie’s board Keep on Writing on Pinterest.