I taught full time for fifteen years and am now subbing so that I can finish my novel. I don't have all the answers. None of us do. In fact, even if something works great for me, there is no guarantee it will work for you.
I hope that we will give each other suggestions. I went to all the trainings I could get my principal to approve when I taught full-time. I talked to a lot of teachers. AND I just kept trying things until I found something that worked FOR ME. We can not go against our own nature. Kids can sense that and will test us.
So, don't give up. Keep on trying new things and always know that there is a place to go where you can be anonymous and speak freely.
Best of Luck to all of you. Our children deserve the best that we can offer.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Where Our Students Come From - I wrote this in '09 but it is definitely still relevant

I just witnessed the saddest scene out of my window. This guy was bringing his child to the
mother, but the mother did not want him to come near her. She wanted him to put the child in her car while she looked on from a distance.
So these two people argued for about twenty minutes trying to figure out how they could share custody of their child. It looked (to me) like they hate each other! How did they get together to make this child? Who knows? It could have been a one night stand.
My point is that our students come to us with a myriad of issues created by the parents and anyone else the parents have had caring for them. They often don't know that they are loved unconditionally and maybe they aren't.
We owe it to them to find ways to teach that raise their self-esteem.

How to bring an author to school without breaking the bank?

How to bring an author to school without breaking the bank?

Are you a teacher who is looking to offer your class an exciting experience? Do you want to build excitement about books and writing? Or maybe your class is working on a project and you want them to publish it? Are looking for an author who can give you motivation, advice and encouragement? Yes! An author will definitely do that! But, how can you afford one without leaving your PTA broke?

(Read my post 5 Reasons to bring an author to your Classroom for inspiration)

You don’t have to bring in J.K. Rowling. Sure you could ask her if she’d come at no cost. Maybe she would. (If she does, let me know and I’ll contact her myself!) There are other authors though that will be more than willing to come visit.

Hit the web! You can find several directories of authors who visit schools by going online. Sites like Author-Ilustrators or the literary giant Scholastic have lists of children’s authors who are willing to do school visits. They even offer you tips on how to plan a visit and ways to fundraise for the event. Maybe if you are interested in a particular author that’s the way to do it. But, seriously, fundraising? It sounds like you’ll need a lot of dough!
Target offers grants to schools and other institutions that bring art and culture into the classroom, and that includes school visits. The downside is that you have to apply by a certain date and well, wait to see if you are selected. Anyway, this is their website.
But there are easier ways to bring authors to your class!

Check with your local Writer’s Association. A quick search on google will guide you to their website, blog or Facebook page. This is what I found when I searched ‘Oklahoma City writers’picxarticle1
The next step would be contacting the association you chose and asking them to refer you to children’s authors. There are many local authors willing to visit schools at a nominal fee or no cost to you! Make sure the one you choose is right for your class by researching the authors’ work. Most authors would be delighted to provide you with a PDF copy of their book and an outline of their school visit plan. Authors will most likely ask if they could send order forms with your students. Sending order forms with students and other teachers are the easier way to support the author who is spending his or her time with your class. Chances are that most authors use the money they earn from book orders to produce more high-quality books to keep on promoting literacy. That’s what I do when I visit local schools!

Bring an author from another state (or country)… without an airfare ticket! Crazy, huh? But not so much anymore. Have you ever heard of Skype? Did you know they have a program called Skype in the Classroom? Have you ever heard of Google Hangouts? It’s an online video conference room. Now, do you have a computer with a screen (maybe a smart board) in your classroom? Do you have access to the internet or could you request it? Are you making the connection? That is the new trend in schools around America and the world. You could potentially host ANY guest speaker who is signed up for those programs! What I like about Skype is that it offers ‘lessons’. For example, these are mine:
blog pix

Before scheduling a lesson on Skype, make sure it’s appropriate for your school aged children by requesting additional information (their website or even a PDF copy of the book) and find out if there is a cost by contacting the guest speaker by email or phone. Every author is different. In my case, I do not charge for lessons, but I ask teachers if they don’t mind sending order forms for autographed books. In that case, teachers only have to collect orders with payment and mail them to me. I mail the books to them within a few days. Of course they are also free to order from Amazon but it gets a little more expensive. I’m flexible and I’m always willing to work a deal and make it easy-peasy for all of us. Make sure you work out those details before scheduling a visit. You can sign up for free in Skype in the Classroom HERE Add me by typing ‘marianallanos’ on seach box. There are great authors and guest speakers, and you can search them by topic too.There is also this list where you can find authors who do Skype for free (I’m working on having my name added to that list!): AUTHORS WHO SKYPE
Google Hangouts are video calls that work similar to Skype but offer the possibility of screen sharing, which I LOVE especially when showing older kids the early drafts of my books. It helps them visualize how the publishing world works. You can get a free Google+ account by opening a gmail account. If you wish to add me, you can go here and we can set up a ‘hang out’ with your class.
Can you imagine the possibilities? You don’t have to leave your classroom, and the world can come to you! Skype or Google Hangouts provide you with an excellent tool to show your students that the world is broad, but it’s still one place. Teachers, building literacy takes a team, let an author be your partner in fostering the love for reading and writing.

66491_656112837769155_1242780781_nMariana Llanos is a Peruvian born author based in Oklahoma City. She’s authored five children’s books available on Amazon. She has visited several schools across Oklahoma and she’s working on visiting several more across the world! She writes with the heart of a mother and the imagination of a child. Her favorite thing to do is visit schools and spark children’s imagination. Visit her at

Saturday, April 18, 2015

David Mason : The Poetry Foundation

David Mason : The Poetry Foundation

Please check out my debut novel too!
Although readers are calling my debut novel historical fiction, it is actually historically-based fiction. All the characters who are alive at the end are fictional. One reader even called it "NON-FICTION" as she knew about the civil war in El Salvador so I guess she thought that I had written a memoir. All the major events in the novel are true, but many minor events are purely my imagination.
Secrets and Lies in El Salvador: Shelly's Journey (paperback)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"Secrets & Lies in El Salvador" can be used to teach History Through Literature

Check out my debut novel about a war the U.S. wrongly supported:

Thursday Interview: Allan Cox.

Thursday Interview: Allan Cox.: Today I'd like to welcome Allan Cox, author of  “ Change the Way You Face The Day ” to The Thursday Interview.  Before we get sta…

Check out my debut novel about a war the U.S. wrongly supported:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

BookMarketingBuzzBlog: 3% Of Postage Stamps Feature Books & Writers

BookMarketingBuzzBlog: 3% Of Postage Stamps Feature Books & Writers: Over 5,200 stamps have been issued by the US Post Office and some 150 were of authors or books.  That’s a lot more than stamps about socc...

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Cares About El Salvador & Democracy

I write to you as a fellow human being and a fellow American who is also concerned about the events in the U.S. funded civil war in El Salvador.
I have written a novel that helps tell the story of the war.
Sherrie Miranda
Check out my historically based debut novel:

Rape survivor Shelly Dalton Smith travels to war-torn El Salvador hoping to heal from multiple traumas and deception. Shelly is taken in by a host family, but is tricked into a mission that jeopardizes her life and exposes her to secrets and lies.

Witnessing the death of an American journalist and overhearing harrowing accounts of refugees who saw their families massacred tears Shelly apart. It is almost too much to bear until she meets an American fighting with the guerrillas. He teaches her a passion for living she has never known, but every day places both of their lives in danger, and she wonders if anyone will make it out alive.

Secrets and Lies in El Salvador exposes death and destruction at every turn, but also validates the power of love and embodies the gift of hope.

Sherrie Miranda is an author who writes in order to create more peace and understanding in the world. She is a teacher who has taught students from many countries of the world. She is also a life and writing coach and hopes to soon find a way to help seniors and troubled teens write their life stories.

She loves to travel and first traveled to other countries before finally deciding to see some of the U.S., places that foreigners she met had been to, but that she hadn't.
She is happily married to a teacher who identifies himself first, as a musician. They hope to someday travel together to places where she reads her novel(s) and speaks to people about writing and life while Angelo plays his piano and entertains the audience.
Life has much to offer so she always encourages young people to hang in there and know that things WILL get better.