Activities for kids: make a moto

I’m posting my latest activity for all of us kids big and small who are stuck at home. Today’s activity: making a moto!

What’s a moto, you ask? It’s a type of robot that wreaks havoc upon Ozzie and friends in my latest middle-grade book, The Guardians of Zoone.

guardiansofzoone_3d_spine

The motos didn’t make it to the cover, but rest assured they play a big part, as their world, Moton, is one where our characters spend a lot of time. Here’s a look at some motos, as depicted on the vintage-style travel sticker that I created for that treacherous realm:

moton

What you will need:

  • Paper to print out the template below.
  • Pencils and coloring supplies.
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Just download the template sheet and follow the instructions. Of course, I always encourage my students to make their own creations from scratch—but sometimes a little inspiration can go a long way, and maybe this sheet will help!

make_a_moto

These are pretty much the same pieces that I used to design the travel sticker above!

There is also a maker-space opportunity here. I love building things, so if you’re like me, and keep every lid and cap from your household products, then you will have a big store of switches and buttons. I recently used a lot of these to build my own moto probe. Admittedly, I also had to draw on some more specialized supplies from the craft store, such as brads, gears, clock hands—but otherwise, a lot of the pieces are just “junk” or bits and bobs such as thumbtacks, paperclips, and plastic lids. The “body” is just a styrofoam ball painted with metallic paint.

guardiansofzoone-moto

Have fun imagining and stay safe, stay well, and stay tuned . . .

Activities for kids: Design your own travel sticker

I’m posting my latest activity for all of us kids big and small who are stuck at home. Today’s activity: creating vintage-style travel stickers for imagined fantasy worlds!

In a recent post, I uploaded the activity to make a travel brochure. The activity I’m posting today is less ambitious, but just as fun (and, in fact, I used many of my own travel sticker designs to populate my travel brochure example).

What you will need:

  • Paper to print out the template below.
  • Pencils and coloring supplies.

Just download the template sheets, which are filled with various frames and shapes. This project is a great way to brainstorm ideas for different worlds, and distill a setting to its most important feature or essence.

Also, for those young writers who have already created a setting, this is a fun way to celebrate it!

You can download the template sheets here:

Zoone_travelsticker_templates-01

Zoone_travelsticker_templates-02

And here are some examples of vintage-style travel stickers that I designed for the worlds in my middle-grade books, The Secret of Zoone and The Guardians of Zoone.

zoone_multiversal_travel_stickers

 

There’s an add-on project here, of course. You can cut out your ideas and glue them to your own storage boxes or luggage. (It’s probably no surprise to people that I have Zoone stickers on my actual suitcase that I travel with.)

Stay safe, stay well, and stay tuned . . .

Activities for kids: Let’s get out of this place

zoone_brochure_inside_mockup

I’m posting my latest activity for all of us kids big and small who are stuck at home. Today’s activity: Designing a brochure for an imagined world.

The truth is that when I was a kid, we didn’t go on a lot of vacations. A big reason for this is that I grew up on a family farm and the summer—when most people go on vacation—was the time for us to work really hard and earn the income that would sustain us for the rest of the year.

So, most of my “vacations” were taken through books—either by reading them or writing them.

Of course, reading or writing are great ways to escape NOW, during our world COVID-19 pandemic, but I want to provide a bit more focus with this activity. Who knows, it might turn into a book—or, if you have already written a book or story, this project can be a fun way to view your “world” from a different perspective.

I’ve delivered this activity several times with students at schools or programs I’ve worked at in Canada and Korea, and it’s proven to be a lot of fun.

The imaginary travel brochure

What you will need:

  • Paper — you can use either blank paper or use the template I’ve provided
  • Drawing supplies: Pens, pencils, colored pencils, fine-liners, markers—your preference!
  • Optional: glue

The goal of this project is to make a three-panel tri-fold brochure, which you can do simply by folding a letter-sized piece of paper into thirds. That gives you three panels on one side of the brochure, and three on the other. You can do your brochure double-sided on a single sheet of paper, or if you are worried about your paper being too thin, and markers bleeding through, then just do this project on two separate pieces of paper, which you could always glue together afterward.

travelbrochure-template-folded-flat

travelbrochure-template-folded-standing

There are no real rules to how to fill out the pages, but I recommend:

SIDE 1

  • Panel 1 (the cover): Cover art and title, such as “Come Visit . . .”
  • Panel 6 (the back cover): Contact information.
  • Panel 5: More information about the world the brochure is advertising—I like doing a “did you know” section here.

Travel Brochure.indd

SIDE 2

  • Panel 2: General information about the world, showcasing key points of interest.
  • Panels 3&4: A bigger piece of artwork, such as a landscape of the world, or a map.

Travel Brochure.indd

Of course, I highly recommend brainstorming the content and working on some rough copies before worrying about the final version. You can use your own blank paper folded into thirds, though if you want some content blocks to work with, then you can download my template HERE. You can also download and print out the template with the instructions, just in case you want something sitting in front of you to look at.

If you do print out my template double-sided, you may have to experiment with how your printer works—certain devices seem to flip the second page the wrong way!

Come visit these imaginary worlds:

I always have this rule in my creativity classes: If I ask YOU to do it, then I’ve also done it. So, here are two brochures that I’ve made! One is for The Land of Een, which is featured in my Kendra Kandlestar book series. The other is for the multiverse that appears in my Zoone series–because Zoone features so many different worlds, I decided to do that brochure a little bit differently!

een_brochure-side01

een_brochure-side02

zoone_brochure-side01

zoone_brochure-side02

Finally, here are some brochure examples done by past students.

Foodlandia:

Betty-travelbrochure01

Betty-travelbrochure02

Rainbow Island:

Camille-travelbrochure01

Camille-travelbrochure02

Land of Cute:Jimmy-travelbrochure01Jimmy-travelbrochure02

Ocean Kingdom:

Linda-travelbrochure-01Linda-travelbrochure-02

I’d love to see what kids come up with! If you post them on social media, please hashtag #imaginarytravelbrochure and tag me (I’m @leefodi on Instagram and twitter).

In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and stay tuned . . .

 

The Guardians of Zoone takes flight!

The Guardians of Zoone takes flight!

Planning a book launch isn’t all that different from planning a wedding—there are invitations, food to organize, giveaways, speeches . . . and all the stress to go with it.

Which is all to say how grateful I am that the launch for my latest book, The Guardians of Zoone, was such an overwhelming success. A big thank you to the Main Street Book Warehouse in Vancouver for hosting. The store was packed wall to wall and we sold out every book in the store emblazoned with the word “Zoone” on the cover!

I am blessed to have friends and family in many talented areas, who helped out with the event. My wife, Marcie, and our friend Stacey made delicious skyger cookies with melted turquoise chocolate. My friend, Jeff, took my drawing of the key to Zoone and turned it into a template to 3D print keys for prizes (by the way, that template is loaded up on my website, so that anyone can print their own key—the template is here). My friend, Jina, took all the amazing photographs you see below (you can check out her Instagram at @jinakimphotography).

I dressed as a portal pirate for the occasion (since they play a big part in the book) and had plenty of freebies to hand out—including keys and stickers. The prizes included the 3D-printed Zoone keys, and some props handmade by me: a dragon egg and a “moto” probe (a robotic spy that flies about the multiverse, gathering information on worlds to “motonize”).

A big thanks to everyone who came out! And, of course, you can check out the order links for the Book of Zoone here.

guardiansofzoone-skygercookies

guardiansofzoone-lef_table02

guardiansofzoone-dragonegg

guardiansofzoone-girlwithbooks

guardiansofzoone-keysguardiansofzoone-launch-opening_cwc_kids

guardiansofzoone-lef_goggles

guardiansofzoone-lef_junno

guardiansofzoone-lef_reading

guardiansofzoone-lef_table

guardiansofzoone-lef_talking

guardiansofzoone-moto

guardiansofzoone-family

guardiansofzoone-signing

guardiansofzoone-launch-opening_painting

guardiansofzoone-jinasfamily

Door of the day: The final one!

Door of the day: The final one!

. . . well, at least for now!

Since tonight is my book launch for The Guardians of Zoone, I’m going to end my series of doors (and details) a day today. I’ve been posting for over fifty consecutive days!

Even though there are still many doors to choose from, I opted to go with this mischievous knocker from Shanghai because its personality seems to best represent my writing!  

YuGarden-Shanghai-happydoorknocker

Thank you, everyone, for all the door love, these past two months!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonebooks-Bookshelf-basement

Door of the Day: The door to happiness

Door of the Day: The door to happiness

This door is from the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.  It is one of many beautiful doors and door details that I photographed during our exploration.

MeijiShrine-japan-gates

This place holds a special memory for me. We visited Meiji Shrine when adopting our son in 2018; Hiro was only six weeks old at the time of our visit. Outside of the shrine, we stopped to get some takoyaki (a battered seafood ball—often octopus) for our lunch and the elderly man behind the stall scurried out front to see our new son cradled against Marcie’s chest in the baby carrier. He was so effusive: “Happy, happy, happy!” he cried, beaming ear to ear. We felt very welcomed!

MeijiShrine-japan-flourish

MeijiShrine-japan-upsidedownheart2

MeijiShrine-japan-florette

MeijiShrine-japan-lilies

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone! 🚪🗝️

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonebooks-Bookshelf-basement

Door of the Day: The spider’s haven

Door of the Day: The spider’s haven

This door knocker in Bath, England appears very stoic, despite the fact that it’s clearly the west wing of a spider’s haven.

Bath-doorknockerwithspiderwebandface

Bath celebrates its connection to Jane Austen, so if you travel there, you can visit many museums or sites related to her. For our part, we tracked down her old flat, then enjoyed tea and crumpets.

Bath-jane austen plaque-marcie

Bath-marcie-havingtea&crumpets

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonecovers

Door of the Day: The one-sided conversation

Door of the Day: The one-sided conversation

Here’s a gnomish door knocker I had a conversation with in Florence, 2013. It was a one-sided conversation (his mouth was full).

Florence-gnomedoorknocker

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone!

There are plenty of door knockers in the nexus of Zoone, mumbling away because they are just like this fellow—clamping heavy metal rings between their teeth!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Guardians of Zoone - Galaxy

Door of the Day: Guardian snakes

fancydoorbackground

The doorway at the Quetzalcoatl pyramid in Chichen Itzá, Mexico, can only be reached by a stairway flanked by a pair of snakes.

ChichenItza-Mexico-temple

ChichenItza-Mexico-temple-snakehead

Chichenitza-Mexico-snake

The snakes appear to undulate during sunset on the spring and fall equinoxes. In another pyramid at this site, I had a massive claustrophobic meltdown and had to make a quick exit (though it wasn’t as quick as I would have liked!)

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone!

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonebooks-Bookshelf-basement

Door of the Day: Here be zombies

Door of the Day: Here be zombies

Door of the day: the back-garden shed at the B&B we stayed at in St. Mary Bourne, England, had a door that had not been opened in a LONG time.

StMaryBourne-oldsheddoorpadlock

What’s locked behind this door? Zombies. Gotta be zombies. Right?!

I’m posting my door inspirations from around the world to celebrate the release of The Guardians of Zoone! There are no zombies at Zoone, though there is a character in the latest book who claims he should be dead because he is Minus-ten years old.

You can find order links for the books of Zoone HERE.

Zoonecovers