Tonia Allen Gould talks to middle schoolers at a Technology Magnet School about all things authoring and dreaming BIG. Here she walks you through her journey to Finding Corte Magore.
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By children’s author, Tonia Allen Gould, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, tells the story of a small land and sea fiddler crab (complete with a fiddle and a bow) that finds himself on the sandy shores of an idyllic island named Corte Magore. When he arrives at Corte Magore, Sam decides he wants to make this place his permanent home, but he realizes he will have to build himself a shelter from the rising tides that could take him and his fiddle and bow back out to sea. He must work diligently and ignore mocking from hermit crabs and seagulls and beat the clock on his arch nemesis, The Great Tidal Wave if he wants to stay.
Sam’s story is art directed by Mr.Lawrence; an original Storyboard Director for SpongeBob SquarePants and mostly illustrated by Marc Ceccarelli, another Storyboard Director for SpongeBob SquarePants. Michelle Fandrey at Skies America Publishing also contributed. The colorful book explores several important themes for young readers, including: – The concept of building a home – Hard work and self-reliance – Daring to dream of a better life – Overcoming adversity – Dealing with bullies and naysayers I want this story to help parents start a conversation about hard work, dedication, and independence. Sam does everything himself in this book, and he doesn’t ask for help. I want children to understand that life isn t always peaches and cream, but if you re willing to put your nose to the grindstone and ignore bullies and naysayers, in the end, everything usually works out okay.
Sam is also available on iTunes as a narrated and animated picture book app with an original musical score.
I sat outside on a bench next to a kind, aging lady, last night, before entering my son’s Christmas pageant. After we chatted a bit, she announced she was celebrating her 60th anniversary next week. I smiled and said, “60 years, huh? Now that’s something! What’s the secret?” She thought a minute and said, “You can’t change each other; no sense in trying. People don’t change, they grow.
Might as well accept each other for who you both are – the person you were when you got married, and the person you’ve each become.”
For Thanksgiving, I have a story to share. Yesterday, I pulled into the crowded grocery store parking lot, where cars were stopped everywhere, waiting for a place to park. Towards the back of the lot, a homeless man sat under a tree with a book in his hand. The book was covered with a handwritten sign asking for money. Next to him was an empty space – where no one wanted to park. No one wanted to park their car next to the homeless man.
Honestly, I didn’t get it, and I was overjoyed by luck at finding a space. So I pulled into it, and dug through my purse looking for some bills. I got out of my car and said, “Hey! Whatcha reading?” He looked up at me in surprise. “Grisham,” he said with a smile. I handed him the money and smiled back, “I love Grisham,” I said, and walked away. By the time I came back out – he was gone. I was hoping he went to find food with the money I gave.
After dealing with the long line at the grocery store, I hurriedly put my groceries in the back of my SUV, and unbeknownst to me, the gate didn’t latch. By the time I made it onto the street – three bags of groceries toppled out and into the middle of the left turn lane. I was horrified and worried my groceries were going to cause an accident. So I whipped back around – turned on my hazards – and got out of the car while a young lady had already crossed the street from the gas station to help me get my groceries out of the way.
Every single one of my food items survived the fall – except for two bottles of sparkling lemonade -but, everything else I picked out for today’s feast was left totally unscathed. And, I couldn’t help but think, as I raced to get those groceries out of the way, that my willing gesture of kindness with the homeless man came right back to me with someone who was willing to help me out in my own time of need.
That handsome feller is my Grandfather. He died when I was ten. He served his family and country well. He ruffled my hair with his calloused hands and carried an ample stock of Handi-Snacks cheese and crackers (packed out with the little red stick), just for me. He’d let me spread my cheese over that cracker and watch me stuff my face – and laugh – whenever I was down. And, that was all I needed. Me and my Grandpa, bumping along the back roads of Indiana in his old jalopy, and laughing, with my cheese and crackers. If that ain’t a God Bless America tribute, I don’t know what is.
Problem: 42% of all children along the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua drop out of school by sixth grade, if they ever enroll at all. (The Guardian)
They drop out because they don’t have shoes to walk to school, because they have to watch their siblings while their parents work, or because they themselves have to work to support their families.
They drop out because they see school as pointless.
Guess what? They’re right.
There are no jobs waiting for students if and when they graduate. Which means poverty will live on in Nicaragua forever.
Solution: Our project aims to start to reverse this cycle of poverty by driving social good tourism to the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS) in Nicaragua via the island of Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua. At minimum, our project works like this:
Tourists visit the island, driving revenue to fund…
- Jobs and job training for locals seeking to better provide for their families, such as eco-building, island maintenance, security, hospitality, transportation, and cooking – skills that parents can take back to their communities to show their children that job security is on the way.
- Education for students, like a floating educational barge to deliver school supplies to remote areas, after school sports and crafts programs that only students who stay in school can partake in, or on-island biodiversity research camps for older students.
By providing job opportunities for parents and making school meaningful for students, the island will free students to stay in school, go after their dreams, and spread prosperity as they become business-owners, entrepreneurs, tourism professionals, artists, scientists, coders, teachers…
We believe the dreams of children are the most precious resource in Nicaragua – but also the most squandered. So many dreams go unfulfilled due to poverty. Every child deserves a shot to go after their dreams, and the Finding Corte Magore Project intends to give it to them. We believe that achieving their dreams can not only elevate them above their birth circumstances, but also their communities and, over time, their nation.
We’ve secured the island – how would you like to help?
Finding Corte Magore – findingcortemagore.com
Tonia Allen Gould – toniaallengould.com
FCM Twitter – @cortemagore
This is a call to open source a poem. How would you make mine better – to honor our Veterans?
Don’t think your freedom is deserved because they served – that’s absurd. It’s not just a word. Freedom is a privilege granted you. Paid by sacrifice – in red, white and blue. But, have you paid back your due?
Are you being a good citizen? Respecting your fellow men? Showing up to vote again? Fighting for what you believe in? Showing gratitude to whom you depend? Time and time and time, again?
The tax on freedom is to do your part
From the start…
And from your heart…
Do they really have your loyalty?
Those men and woman who keep us free?
Or, is this just another fruitless holiday?
One where you get to stay…
At home – with pay?