Two Truckers Lost Everything: Their Home Burned and Their Friend Died


A couple of years ago, when someone in my family was gravely ill, two dear friends from back home in Indiana, raced to pick me up in Chicago at the airport, and drive me several hours back to my hometown in Culver, IN – after working to get me to the hospital in the quickest way possible. They gave me their own car to drive that week (telling me there was no need to rent a car when they had one to spare), and later had me over for a special dinner – one they had clearly slaved over – on top of everything they already had done. Simple acts of kindness.

But this week, Anna and Donald Neher, two truckdrivers, got word that their home had burned while they were hauling a load in California. As if that devastating news wasn’t enough, they learned their dear friend, who was housesitting for them while they were away, had tragically died in the blaze. All I know is Anna and Don would give the shirts off their own backs, like any upstanding Midwesterner would, to anyone in need. This time – it’s Anna and Don who are in need, and I imagine I’m not the only beneficiary of their past kindness. The only real question is how can we help these, kind-hearted, and generous citizens, Anna and Don, get back on their feet while their hearts are so heavy-laden. This burden is too much to bear, both grappling with a death in their home, due to a fire, and during Christmastime.

Imagine everything they are going through. They’ve lost every material possession in the world. While they’ve lost so much, they still have friends like me who remember their past generosity, and they have their family and their community whom I know will want to rally around in support of them. At bare minimum, let’s get them funded so they can get some of the basic necessities they’ll need to start over again.

Watch news regarding the fire.

You can help by clicking here.

Sincerely,

Tonia Allen Gould
Just a friend, trying to help some friends, in their time of need

IMG_1502.JPG

IMG_1501.JPG

when thought turns to hate


IMG_1385.JPG

What makes discussion great is when thought leaders’ advocate, debate, pontificate, commiserate, relate, educate and collaborate…until thought turns to spate, promotes hate, carries weight, problems accelerate, personal ideals dictate, ideas deflate, people turn irate. And, then it’s too late.

-TA Gould

Would Your Child’s Teacher Enjoy Free Books?


This month, I am giving away Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. Twenty-four autographed books will go to one special PK or K-5 teacher and her classroom. All you have to do is write individually on my Author’s Page on Facebook- not here in this post – why “your” teacher deserves the gift of books in his or her classroom. The story with the most likes on my wall gets the books. Contest ends 12/31. Who knows, I might even pay that class a visit sometime in 2015. Approximate retail value of the books is $500. Happy Holidays!

Tonia

IMG_1386.JPG

A Family Christmas Pictorial


DSC_0039

Underwood Family Farms. We found the tree!

DSC_0049

Come here, cute stuff! Let me squeeze the dickens out of you in front of a tree that isn’t ours.

DSC_0071

Sure dad. Park the car under a big tree that overshadows the tree we picked out on top of our car.

DSC_0053

I cropped out the fact that both of my men are wearing shorts on a day we picked-out our Christmas tree. Note my chilly weather attire. In their defense, it was 73 degrees outside. I was burning up.

DSC_0062

As I was shooting this picture. Santa told Miles that I wanted a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl. I reminded Santa – yes, but it never came. Miles smiled.

IMG_1267

A big old wad of tangled lights. John can handle this. I’m not equipped.

What was in the 20-gallon storage bin (labeled “SHOES”) taking-up all that space in the garage, you ask? One string of lights and three bows. No shoes in sight.

You thought I was kidding about the SHOES, right?

IMG_1259

Found the tree skirt!

IMG_1260

What are these weird, fake plants doing in the holiday decorations? Hmmm.

IMG_1246

He always looks like he’s waiting for me to leave the room so he can pee on the tree. He never does. But, I always think he will, eventually pee on the tree when I’m not looking.

IMG_1263

Time for wine.

IMG_1265

Found another giant bin in the garage filled with only one angel, one star and one string of lights. WHO puts this stuff away?

IMG_1261

I’m going to need more wine.

IMG_1281

You thought I lied about the peeing on the tree thing? There’s my dog again just waiting for me to turn my back so he can snatch a chocolate. (Note the glass is almost empty.)

IMG_1286

The stockings are up! My husband asked me if I could iron them. What? They are made of felt. No one irons felt. Wait. Do they?

IMG_1289

I asked John to stand behind the tree while he was stringing the lights, because he was in boxers. No one needs to see that. P.S. That’s his annoyed face.

IMG_1298

“Here mom! Let me help you hang ornaments!” What a good son.

IMG_1299

After Miles helped hang one ornament.

IMG_1300

One of those is a crystal wedding present. He’s broken two ornaments after hanging five ornaments.

IMG_1276

It was a three glass of wine kind of night. #deckthehalls

IMG_1307

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

IMG_1294

Where do all the unstrung ornaments go? #ornamentgraveyard

IMG_1301

Time to focus.

IMG_1292

I love this Santa. He takes up too much room, but I love him.

IMG_1275

Time for the star!

IMG_1293 IMG_1273

Compelling Reasons Why This Book Should Be in Your School Library


Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Book CoverPut Me In, Coach!

Children’s rhyming picture book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, tells the adventurous story of Sam, a tenacious land and sea fiddler crab who finds himself on the sandy shores of an idyllic island named Corte Magore. He wants to stay there and live there forever, but he’ll have to overcome obstacles to accomplish his dream. This book teaches children about courage and tenacity – to stand up to bullying and to fight for what they believe in, while also teaching them the importance of dreaming. Sam’s story is told in one big epic poem. This book is geared towards children ages 4-7, although all young children seem to enjoy it. Here’s why: 

The book is written in rhyme. Rhyming verse aids in early-development learning and recall. The British Council writes about teaching children English:

“…playing with the short texts of rhymes, children explore the mechanics of the English language. They find out how language works and become familiar with the relationship between the 44 sounds of English and the 26 alphabet letters – information which helps them when they begin reading to decode the sounds that make up words. The value of this type of language-play with rhymes in early learning is both underestimated and undervalued.”

The book utilizes many different poetic devices – typically difficult to teach children –such as alliteration, point-of-view, stanza, meter, repetition, assonance, personification, and my personal favorite, onomatopoeia. Poetic devices are used to take the reader to a different time or place and helps with imagery. Education Portal says:

“Poetry can follow a strict structure, or none at all, but many different types of poems use poetic devices. Poetic devices are tools that a poet can use to create rhythm, enhance a poem’s meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling. These devices help piece the poem together, much like a hammer and nails join planks of wood together.” 

Books Written in Prose May Be a Dying Art. Authors like Seuss and Silverstein paved the way for poetry in children’s literature, yet it’s hard to find new children’s books today written in prose. Carol Hurst intimates why it’s best to not let this great art die in the following excerpt taken from Hurst’s article on the website:

“…along came Shel Silverstein. He wrote poems about picking your nose and selling your baby sister and adults (some of them) winced and kids guffawed and kids’ poetry was changed forever. Now we’ve got the gamut of emotions and subjects in kid’s poetry. Poetry, of course, be it for child or adult (and the distinction is not always clear) is very much a matter of perception. Poems speak to the individual, even more than stories do, and some are not speaking to you — at least not right now. The rules of poetry selection are the same as for the selection of any kind of literary material that you’re going to use with your kids. It must speak to you as the living breathing adult you are before you can help it speak to kids. If it’s supposed to be funny, it should make you laugh or at least smile. If it’s supposed to be sad, it should choke you up a bit. If it’s a description of a thing or a feeling, it should help you see it or feel it in a new way. So, which of all the books of poetry will you choose for your classroom? Every one you can afford.”

Erin Koehler writes, “The more picture books I read, I start to notice the ones that catch my interest the most, and the ones I end up re-reading several times in a row, are the ones that feel the most poetic. By that I mean that even though the language may appear to be “simple” the language is actually rich in complex diction, syntax, and imagery–not to mention attention to rhythm, sounds, and pacing. Sound familiar? Like a poem maybe?”

Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore is published in more formats than the average book. In addition to hardcover, softcover, an audio version, and a soon published Spanish translation (being published for the Finding Corte Magore project) did you know this literary gem is also available in a picture book app available exclusively for the iPad? The iPad version, for all you tech-based schools, boasts interactivity, professional narration, full animation and an original musical score produced by Nashville singer and songwriter, Robby Armstrong. (Hint: Sam is a “fiddler” crab.)

Finally, have you ever heard of SpongeBob SquarePants? Of course you have! Kids love sea creatures! What we all admire most about the television series are the unique characters, setting and bold use of color. When one of my good friends told me her brother, a Storyboard Director for SpongeBob SquarePants would be interested in working on the book, I knew I had found the right art director. “Mr. Lawrence” -who incidentally is also the voice of Plankton, then brought in his colleague, another SpongeBob storyboard director, Marc Ceccarelli, to produce the original character art and many of the final illustrations.

So, as promised, these are succinct, definitive reasons why this book should be in a school or public library, despite my newbie authorness and utter lack of literary famelessness (I’m a writer, I get to make-up words.)

As always, thanks for the ear!

Tonia Allen Gould, Author

Click here to Order Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore on Amazon.

A Personal Path to Growth


This week, I’m especially thankful – thankful I have a solid roof over my head and a home with windows and doors, and readily available food hand-picked from a market, proper medicine and supplies, running water and yes, definitely yes, flushing toilet facilities and a roll of paper always at an arm’s reach to me.

I’m equally thankful I’ve seen with my own eyes, through experiential and cultural travel, a part of the world along the Caribbean Coast, in developing Nicaragua – so now I know what it means to call myself truly fortunate.

I’m thankful for the opportunities, present and past, I’ve had bestowed upon me simply because I’m a red, white and blue, flag-waving American, and thankful to know I could, if I had to, live without surplus and modern conveniences, electricity and things that don’t really matter if it came down to instinctual survival. I am heartened and enlightened to know there are nations of people everywhere, especially in developing countries, that know far more about survival than many of us ever could. And, it is they that have much to show us on what that really means, and globally, we can each benefit from showcasing our cultural differences in a non-exploitative, educational way.

I’m thankful to know I can survive under dire circumstances because I’ve seen people, with my own eyes, who have literally nothing and yet maybe, in some ways, they have everything they could ever want and need, because they know how to live and thrive in some of the poorest conditions on the planet and still know what it means to be a part of a community and to love and support their families.

I’m thankful that I can now put my personal judgements and biases aside, because I’ve seen impoverished children, far more impoverished than I ever was growing up – living below the poverty line in Midwestern America. While many of the people I met may be lacking in opportunity, Nicaraguan children still smile and are happy, because they are each cared for by an entire village of people, and causes, who invest their hearts and souls into their wellbeing and care, despite economic conditions.

Mostly, I am thankful that I have stumbled upon the Finding Corte Magore project which has put me on a personal path to growth and the opportunity to work and mindshare with some of the smartest and caring people I can ever hope to know. I am thankful that we have “found” Corte Magore and that I have had the great pleasure of coming to know the Campbell family, and their beautiful, private island of Hog Cay, Nicaragua, and that I have personally earned their family’s trust and support in the Finding Corte Magore project. It’s a huge undertaking and I’m comforted to know, it will take our own village of incredible people, to raise this project to be everything it promises to be.

See you on Corte Magore!
The Finding Corte Magore Project
Coming Soon on Hog Cay, Nicaragua

Tonia Allen Gould

IMG_0741.JPG

IMG_0589.JPG

IMG_0585.JPG

IMG_0753.JPG

IMG_0497.JPG

IMG_0533.JPG

IMG_0499.JPG

IMG_0536.JPG

IMG_0562.JPG

IMG_0566.JPG

IMG_0513.JPG

IMG_0581.JPG

IMG_0997.JPG

The Finding Corte Magore Project, Live in Nicaragua


Day 1:
We woke-up in Managua, Nicaragua’s Capital. We had hoped to be on the future site of the Finding Corte Magore project today on Hog Cay, but our flight to Bluefields, Nicaragua cancelled due to a tropical depression that moved in. We took advantage of the rain delay and Team Finding Corte Magore hired a driver and we traversed our way to historical Grenada. We hit the streets and really got to be tourists on foot and from inside a horse carriage. The highlight of our day was spending time out on Lago Nicaragua and getting caught in the rain.

IMG_0392.JPG

IMG_0352.JPG

IMG_0406.JPG

IMG_0398.JPG

IMG_0394.JPG

IMG_0279.JPG

IMG_0268.JPG

IMG_0325.JPG

IMG_0297.JPG

IMG_0252.JPG

IMG_0397.JPG

IMG_0275.JPG

IMG_0391.JPG

IMG_0350.JPG

IMG_0384.JPG