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CLASSICS: Why we should encourage children to read them Winner in the 3rd Annual Beverly Hills International Book Awards

Received this email just now from the President and CEO Beverly Hills Books Awards

Dear Fiza,

Congratulations, You’re a Winner in the 3rd Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards!

It is our great pleasure to inform you that you are a Winner in the Education Category of the 3rd Annual Beverly Hills International Book Awards. Your book, CLASSICS: Why we should encourage children to read them, truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you and your fine work.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00005]

BHBA-winner-100
The lists of winners and finalists are also highlighted on our website. Be sure to go to
www.bhbookawards.com  and see your name and book cover among those of the other proud winners and finalists.

The entire team at the Beverly Hills Book Awards sincerely hope your participation in our contest will serve you well in creating the success your book deserves. You have our warmest congratulations.

Warmly,

ELLEN REID
President & CEO
Beverly Hills Book Awards

www.bhbookawards.com

http://www.amazon.com/Classics-should-encourage-children-read-ebook/dp/B00DUVZ3GW/

Launch March 16: Book Marketing on a Shoestring

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

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Don’t miss this offer:

On Amazon for Pre-Sale – only $2.99

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How Authors Can Promote their Books Without Spending a Lot of Money 
Book Marketing on a Shoestring is  available: 
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE
on Amazon for Pre-Sale for only $2.99
, until launch day March 16.
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OVERVIEW OF THE CHAPTERS:
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PART ONE
Why Book Marketing is Important – and Rewarding.
How Readers Will Find Your Book.
Author/Entrepreneur – Do You Have What it Takes?
Marketing Possibilities Seem to Be Overwhelming!
The Internet is Full of Bogus Stories.
What’s the Difference Between Marketing and Selling?
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PART TWO
Evaluate Your Current Publishing Situation.
Let’s Start With the Basic Tasks.
Get a Professional Author Portrait.
Create Your Avatar.
Use Your E-mail Signature.
Join the Most Effective Social Media Sites.
Join Reader/Writer Communities — Online and in Person.
Start a Website and/or Blog.
Sell Your Books from Your Website/Blog.
Create a Business Card, or Bookmarks.

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Those Eyes (Short Story) by Elsa Thomas

Those Eyes
by Elsa Thomas

I shot at him twice. After making sure that his fellow gunmen were killed, I walked towards him. His mutilated body told me that he was barely fourteen. The bullet had pierced through his ribs and stomach and both he and I knew that life in him was now a matter of a few minutes. I do not know why, but I stood there watching this boy cry of pain due to the physical ache and the mental agony. For us, he was a terrorist, a jihadist who we had to kill for the safety of the population that were sleeping peacefully with the undying belief that we were awake and alert for their sake, for their safety, for their peaceful existence.

The encounter went on for hours together and frankly I had lost track of time. The forest patch was such that it made the morning look like the evening time. Now back to that teenager who lay three feet away from me. After having shot about three jihads, he was my fourth target. His cries tore my ear shades into pieces. I bent down and I still have no idea why, I put my arms under his neck, supporting his back. My duty told me to do the deed but the human in me asked me to think twice. I should have shot another bullet at him, finishing off the story of another inhuman life who if he would remain alive cause nothing total destruction. I was in a dilemma but I felt my heart go out to this child who seemed to narrate to me an account of his life, a life put to death at an age so tender, a life put to death without having to kill. You may term it cowardice or a gutless act of an officer but I too had a heart which winced every time I heard this child cry out of unbearable pain. His eyes, those soft brown eyes that stared at me with a question for which I do not have and might never have an answer too.

I was sure that he was a child recruit, forced, threatened and trained by the group who decided to make use of him, both as a target and a participant. There might have been a reason for his pathway, a reason that may be laid to rest on his death, a reason that the world will remain unknown to. I wonder if the cause for which he now suffers was understood by him in the real sense or was it just the fear that coaxed him into being one among the many jihadists. He definitely was not doing or thinking and facing what a normal fourteen year old must be doing, thinking or feeling. He was a jihadist! The markings on his person showed that he was previously injured too and that proved that this was not the first time he took to shooting down the soldiers of the state.

I wondered who were that malevolent characters who forced this child into the world of darkness and ignorance; the ones who imparted to him the skill and expertise at warfare; the one who robbed him of the many pleasures of a normal life.  A man of the devil surely, was he to me. The hands that must hold a book and a pen, a mind that had to think of liberation and freedom, a boy who had to express his views to the world, the ideas that brimmed in the mind of a fourteen year old for this world was used at the leisure and convenience of some thoughtless men who never understood that it was time we spoke and practiced peace, understanding and humanity.

The boy kept howling and screaming, his eyes transfixed at mine. He knew that I was his murderer but even then, his brown eyes kept staring at me softly as if telling me that I was not responsible for this anguish. I could feel the turmoil in him. Blood oozed out of his mouth and nose, the holes on his person too let out streams of blood out on the ground. For the first time in my career did I cry at the obvious death of a jihadist! Well, not a jihadist but for a child who was nurtured the wrong way, who was abused to do something which he never comprehended; for a child who had so many more events in life to celebrate, his birthdays, his graduation, his first job, his very own car and so much more of the simple pleasures that he was and will be deprived of.

I could hear some of my fellow soldiers approach and he and I both knew of the torturous death awaiting him had he been caught by them. His eyes pleaded for the mercy that only I could grant; a mercy petition of tears that needed my approval. All of a sudden, he held my hand. I felt some wave of an unknown emotion pass through me. I passed my fingers through his hair.  All I could now do was to make death a little less painful for him for a child who knew not of the charges that he was guilty of. I stood up and walked back a few feet away from him, loaded my gun and granted his wish. This was the least I could do for this fourteen year old jihadist who never comprehended the theory for which he shed his blood, the theory that will remain untold to him.

Copyright © 2015 Elsa Thomas

Young Martyr of the Soil: Stop Turning Children into Terrorists by Fiza Pathan

Young Martyr of the Soil: Stop Turning Children into Terrorists
by Fiza Pathan

child-soldiers

The earth echoes in the years so small like a tiny flame flicker,

Blood so red cut from your tender throat by shrapnel piercing;

Young are you in age but the wrinkles on your brow show the pain,

Aged before time to bleed your loyalty for a cause not your own.

Gun in hand they placed you infront of the line to fire,

Tiny hands smell of gunpowder as the machine guns shoot;

Little one grown you so tall in the eyes of the powerful,

Die you soundless in tears in the soil which turns you into dust.

Tie your matted hair with a green band to justify your cause,

Small & soft are your footfalls upon the sand drenched in blood;

You were taken from your mother’s bosom to tend to the cause,

Young martyr then why is your voice in silence cry out no more?

Ebony is your shiny skin & dark brown are your eyes,

You were meant for the slate to chalk out a future little soul;

Yet here you are gun in hand & cyanide capsule between teeth,

Simple are your coffins that they lay within the dust of loss.

Dirty are your black boots by threading too much in the desert,

Your sister has been violated so she takes up the rifle with you;

They have turned you all into an army of screams & shrieks,

Hear you not the sound of a grenade twisting flesh a burning.

Young martyr don’t rally your forces against your friends,

You are yet a child but fury has turned you into a monster;

Revenge of the avenger carries you along your path of doom,

Then will you return to the earth soulful in your final battle cry.

You use the dagger in your boot to scrap the rotten flesh,

You are burnt but you still want to fire at the unknown enemy;

Young one they have brainwashed you can’t you see with focus?

Red are the wounds of the tiny ones who sleep in the wilderness.

People of Humanity please cease to make martyrs of the young,

Clear out from your terrorist groups the innocent & the delicate;

What shall you gain but the anger of the silent God,

Who cries every time a young martyr is buried in the soil.

Copyright © 2015 by Fiza Pathan

Image courtesy: http://www.ibtimes.com/children-guns-stronger-un-arms-trade-treaty-needed-stop-use-child-soldiers-amnesty-says-1077478

My Woman Cried: Stop the Abuse of Women by Fiza Pathan

My Woman Cried: Stop the Abuse of Women
by Fiza Pathan

abuse2(P)

Dear lady of womanhood divine why do you cry?

We worship you sweet lady in our lotus womb of semblance;

Yet you weep to tears of blood depart from our love,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

They gang raped you magnificent lady within the pit so dark,

I was a witness but turned my eye to the blindness of indifference;

Now in blood soaked you lie tainted on the soil of our land,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

Molested your sari is tattered into rags upon your flesh,

You veil your scars in black and blue but don’t I see them always;

Speak gentle one within the serenity of a mother’s lost song,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

They beat you infront of the throng for a crime unfit to blame,

They abort your baby girl from your womb till you bleed again;

I am not a counsel to you dearest of mine heart for I sin,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

Cover your face in shame and lower your broken self to the ground,

Beg pardon dear femininity but did I see a pearl drop from your eye;

You are kicked in the womb and violated in the cavity of the lonely,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

Beg not mercy from the Divine for none renders as He,

Comfort your girl child not to wander in the demon’s wilderness;

Bring your girls home to me so that I may pay homage to them,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

Beggary steals the innocence from your ebony face,

Multiple wounds cry out to me in the dead of pain’s singular moan;

How can I bear to see you naked and mirthless like this?

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

Low caste you say so is violation without consent is final?

You burn in the fire of self-immolation to curse my love for you;

Cover yourself at once for danger lurks in the form of violence,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

The leprosy of womanhood you do possess in quality,

But evil beings search for your nude flesh in quantity;

You suffer the crucifixion of the race born with milk to feed,

My woman cried because I let her soul die.

Mother darling dove so fair yet there are puss boils upon your back,

Inferior you are to a minority who have not respected your dignity;

To you I vow to die before they will ever make me kneel,

My woman will not cry for my soul one day when I will die for her.

 Copyright ©2015 Fiza Pathan

Image courtesy: Google images

http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/fb925f0040db1d90b9eab9434f2981a1/Centre-set-to-empower-abused-CPT-women-20132508

Children Ace 19-Point Quiz on Reading Classics

insaneowl:

Thank you Ma’am, for featuring my quiz on your blog. Love
Fiza

Originally posted on cozybookbasics:

handsupclassics2

Your child’s self image and empowerment can grow because of one young woman’s sharing of her early and lifelong passion for reading good books. Here’s a video clip of the Classics Excellence award quiz at teacher/author Fiza Pathan’s launch of How We Can Encourage Children to Read the Classics. Test yourself to see if you know as much as the kids. It’s a long video, so start watching from 46:30 and then follow to the end.

http://insaneowl.com/2015/02/09/video-of-book-launch-classics-how-we-can-encourage-children-to-read-them-17th-january-2015/

Fiza Pathan’s 19-Point Quiz on Classic Books

  1. Who wrote Alice in Wonderland?
  2. Who wrote The Jungle Book?
  3.  Who wrote Oliver Twist?
  4. Who wrote The Time Machine?
  5. In what book does the main character say, “Please, sir, I want some more”
  6. Name one book by Jules Verne
  7. Name one book by Jack London
  8. What classic has a white whale as its main character?
  9. What classic is narrated by a horse?
  10.  What is…

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‘To Save a Life, To Save a Child’ Guest Post by Elsa Thomas

To Save a Life, To Save a Child
by Elsa Thomas

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The door bell rang at nine in the morning. My aunt indicated the arrival of her new maid and requested me to open the door for her. It was only yesterday evening that I had joined my aunt and was supposed to leave in the morning once the bank for which I worked, had readied a flat for my stay at Indore, a city in Madhya Pradesh in India. My aunt was a teacher at St. Anne’s High School at Indore. Her husband worked for a private firm. Her daughter’s aged thirteen and nine were students of the very same St. Anne’s. My aunt was kind enough to accommodate me for a day but I had no good opinion of her. She always came across to me as a rude person. Coming back to the door bell which I answered on her request, the visitor was a young girl, aged about thirteen or so, dressed in an oversized salwar kameez . Her hair was all messed up and she looked as though she was starving for days together. I called for my aunt just to confirm the visitor and to my surprise, this thirteen year old was my aunt’s new domestic help.

My eyes popped out. I knew of my aunt’s mean nature but did not think that she would have the audacity to do such a thing. Once she entered the house, my aunt gave her a whole list of instructions. She was to do almost every single chore of the household. I felt the urge to ask my aunt to feed the poor girl some bread but my aunt would not spare a second to even listen to me. The girl quietly listened to all of this. Just then my cell phone rang and it was my colleague who informed me that a place had been readied for me and that I was to reach in an hour. I packed my belongings and left for the flat. Just as I bid a bye to my aunt, I saw the little girl sob behind the curtains. My heart was heavy and I could feel some kind of grief take over me.

After a few days I was asked to baby sit my cousins for a day since both my uncle and aunt had to leave for a function to another city. The girls kept themselves glued to the television. It was on a Sunday so I thought of catching up on a movie on you tube.  At nine, the very old little girl walked in. she gave me a slight nod and smiled at me. She looked weaker than I had perceived of her, the first time she came to the house. She took full charge of the house and all of a sudden things came to life. She started cleaning the utensils, cooked lunch. She rolled out twenty five, perfectly round chapattis and had prepared some dishes for lunch. In the twenty three years of my life, I could not have created such perfect ones.

As she was doing these chores, I felt terrible. She was of the same age as that of the older one from my cousins.  I felt some kind of shame take over my being. What upset me further was an appalling scene. The little thirteen year old girl kept scrubbing the tiles beneath the sofa on which my thirteen year old cousin lay catching up with her favorite television program while munching some goodies. I felt the discomfit of having witnessed such a depressing act. Here was Vidya (that was the name of the girl) who struggled to earn for a livelihood and here was the privileged one, enjoying the comfort of the soft cushions. I wondered how my aunt managed not to feel a bit of shame on having done this! Did she never feel anything when she saw Vidya and her older daughter perform two different chores, one having to struggle and the other enjoy the pleasures of life? The line of division between the privileged and the under privileged was now distinct and clear before me. It was malice at its best.

Vidya, her name suggested knowledge, education, something that she was being deprived of.  I was a spectator to a dirty game played by life on this girl whose dark brown eyes had deep sorrow in them. I could not see the spark, the happiness, the cheer that one often notices in the eyes of a young child. Instead I saw the grief, the helplessness and humiliation in her eyes. Those eyes that should have been bright and curious to know more of this big world was dull. Instead of a pen and book in her bag, there were old clothes and leftover food in them. The heart that should have nurtured the love for knowledge was now a grief stricken part of person.

Helpless or rather clueless of what I could do for her, I returned to my flat and shared my thoughts with my room-mate who at first smiled at my concern and posed a question at me for which I had no answer. She said that there were about 12.6 million child laborers in our country. Some work hard enough to only be able to feed their family and go hungry themselves. She said that these kids took up various techniques to combat hunger. They would tie a wet towel across their stomachs to not feel the hunger, drink a jug full of water and tire themselves to such an extent that they would not feel the pangs of an empty stomach. Was it possible for me to save all those kids? I could do something to save a few but what about the rest? What was the fate of the rest of such population? An even mightier question came across to me was, if children like Vidya would not work, how was she going to keep herself alive?

Well that was indeed a question, what would she do to remain alive if not to work? I did not have any answer to this but I very well knew what to do for Vidya. I knew that Vidya was an orphan and lived alone in a slum area at the outskirts of the city. I arranged for her to be put up at an orphanage in Indore and I am now her guardian. I made sure that Vidya attended school and all her necessities are being financed by me. She performed well at school and made it a point to inform me of her progress. I could now see the spark in her eyes, the spark I wished to see in her a few months back, the spark which had a power in it to live, to nurture the idea of living a better life, to get educated, to make it possible. What makes me happy further is that the branch of the bank for which I work, on having known of this entire episode and on having realized the potential that a single individual could bring about has taken up the initiative to sponsor ten children who have been victims of such cruelty.

Even then, I have a question, a very important question. If these children are forbidden from working, then who was going to provide for their families? Many of them are the children of poor men and women who are either ill or handicapped or not capable enough to fend for their families. These kids are bread earners and are the support pillars for their siblings who are unable to take up any kind of work. What was going to happen to them? What did the future hold for them? It is high time our so called well read, educated breed of thinkers, the government and the upper class think of it. Their resources of all kinds can help bring in a solution. Meanwhile, even if you cannot bring in a big change, commoners like you and me can try putting in a little effort towards rebuilding the broken soul of a little child, help them mend their lives and blossom into a brighter young future. It does not take much of your resources to do so. It is only the matter of a will to do that, to save a life, to save a child.

Copyright  ©2015 Elsa Thomas

Image courtesy: http://ctah.binghamton.edu/krizan/childlab.jpg

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