Tag Archives: superheroes

Guest Post by R. M. Strong — Teach Your Children to love Reading

flash

“Mom! Look! It’s your book! Can I read it?”

The CreateSpace proof of Flash had come that afternoon, all pretty and shiny and crisp. David, my 6-year-old, grabbed it and flipped through the pages. “Oooh!” he said. “Can I read it!?” I honestly don’t know who was more excited.

Now, my young adult My Life as a Superhero series is not necessarily the best reading material for my 6-year-old. As with any superhero story—from Captain America to Captain Underpants—there is conflict in the story. Being a series for young adults, the conflict is a bit more adult in nature. However, it is nice that someone other than me is as excited as I am.

I love that my boy loves to read—just like his mommy and daddy did at his age. In preschool, he was reading at a second grade level. Now, in his last quarter of kindergarten, he is reading—and, more importantly, comprehending—3rd-grade level chapter books by himself. He is also, like Mom, writing his own book. He has nearly 500 words (and over 20 chapters) now.

It’s easy to forget sometimes that our kids really do want to be just like us, just as it’s also sometimes hard to remember that they are blessings straight from Heaven. Even when they don’t act or say it—and even when they’re teens and oh-so-independent—kids desire to emulate the qualities they respect in their parents.

Before his death, Moses gave a very long speech. Fortunately, the Israelites saved his sermon text so we have it today. Moses told the people, “Teach [God’s laws] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19, NIV). Moses is giving us parents some very sobering advice: We need to model the behavior we want to see in our adult children. The Israelites hearing Moses speak wanted their children to love God (because the alternative came with some pretty bad consequences). But children are not born loving God. This behavior—as with nearly all behaviors—needs to be taught and modeled.

Do you want your daughter to love reading when she is an adult? She needs to see you reading. Do you want your son to be kind to people he doesn’t know? You need to be kind to people you don’t know. Do you want him to love and honor his future spouse? You need to (as much as it is up to you) love your spouse and work through your differences in an adult manner. Do you want her to love Jesus? You need to not only tell her, but also show her what that means.

David currently wants to be president, a doctor, an astronaut on the first mission to Mars, and (and, not or) a gold-medal Olympian in every sport except gymnastics (“Because boy gymnastics is too hard”). “Writer,” “Stay-at-home Parent,” or “Tech Support Representative” are not currently on his list of desired careers, but that is fine with me and my husband. He wants to be like us in the areas that matter—he is a reader, a learner, a servant, and he loves Jesus.

Rikki Strong has always been enamored with superheroes, and started writing the My Life as a Superhero series (currently Karis and Flash) when she was a sophomore in high school. She began writing for fun and profit in 2006 and has since written or ghostwritten more than 10 books and over 50 web articles. When not writing—which is most of the time—she is a stay-at-home wife and mom to a very active 6-year-old boy who has already about 500 words and 25 chapters into writing his own book.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/R-M-Strong/281097011925041

Twitter: @RM_Strong

Blog: http://rachelstrong.blogspot.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106319550273644506645/posts/p/pub

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/rmstrong

Link for Flash: http://www.amazon.com/Flash-My-Life-Superhero-ebook/dp/B00C01JIOQ

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Review of Karis by R.M. Strong

We all need heroes, and some of us even need to be heroes. The vigilante seeking justice is certainly not a new or original idea, but R.M. Strong has put, for me, a highly desirable twist on it with the story teenaged Tamara Weatherby. I’ll talk about the twist shortly. Tamara’s family and scores of others fall victim to a deranged bad-guy, Nothos, who uses gasses to force his victims to fear him but normally does not kill. He takes hostages, makes demands, and releases them. This time, however, when costumed crimefighters Krino and Krisis do not make an appearance (the police commissioner forbids them), Nothos uncharacteristically shoots everyone in the art museum. Tamara ends up being the only survivor.

I have to state that I believe this story is handled clumsily and the whys and wherefores of the plot elements are sometimes not explained at all. Sometimes the explanations just don’t satisfy. The book includes a lot of social commentary, about the rich and how people treat (but should not treat) them, but it doesn’t give the right answers for change. It also gives its heroine too much power and “attitude” for my taste.

Several times the point is made that Tamara should have a “female figure” in her life but it’s made weakly and shouted down. It shouldn’t have been. Questions about her new living arrangements and threats against her purity are dealt with too lightly for my taste. I wish the character Kuria had been developed more and put into that “female figure” role. I think that would have been a great help. Even her “disability” would have been an intriguing plot element.

The book ends at an odd place, even understanding that it begins a series. There was a potentially great climax point and though it wasn’t handled as well as it could have, it would have made a better ending.

The twist Strong puts on this is to add Christianity into the mix. Karis, the title character, goes through the same struggles all budding crimefighters do: the sense of loss, the realization that her ordinary friends can’t offer her the sympathy and understanding she wants, the rage and thirst for revenge. But over and over she is forced to examine her feelings, her actions, her decisions, and those of others, in the light of God’s Word and her upbringing in a Christian home with active church involvement. Christian readers need to know that there is some profanity, but a pleasing evangelistic and Christian growth emphasis balanced that out for me. There are also two pretty strong instances of attempted rape, clearly presented as evil and wrong.

R.M. Strong as an author and Karis as a character don’t always make the right decisions in this book. We all fail, and can learn from our failures to turn them into opportunities for growth. I am certainly not saying this book is a complete failure. It is an opportunity for growth, and a hopeful sign in a world, and a writing genre, where Christianity is so marginalized. The author seems to have promise of growth as a writer, and here’s hoping Karis will grow along with her.

I give it three stars

Also, here is a link to a blogger interview for our writing:

http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.com/2011/12/words-with-mary-campagna-findley.html

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