Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ancient Egypt Speaks to Kids Today: #History and Mystery for the Middle Grade Classroom

The Eyes of Pharaoh by Chris Eboch: This mystery set in 1350 BCE Egypt, for ages nine and up, introduces young readers to an ancient world. The dangers and intrigues of the time echo in the politics of today, while the power of friendship will touch hearts both young and old.

Great for Classroom Use

The Eyes of Pharaoh is ideal for use in elementary and middle school classrooms or by homeschooling students studying ancient Egypt. 

Suzanne Borchers says, “I teach a gifted class of fourth and fifth graders. Using this historical fiction is a window into Ancient Egypt—its people, culture, and beliefs. My class enjoyed doing research on Egyptian gods and goddesses, and hieroglyphs. Projects extended their knowledge of this fascinating time and place. I also highly recommend it for its fast paced plot, interesting and ‘real’ characters, and excellent writing.”

Lesson Plans for CCSS

To help teachers in the classroom, extensive Lesson Plans provide material aligned to the Common Core State Standards. View them here.

f you are a teacher or librarian interested in finding out if this novel would work in your school, contact me through my website to get a free digital copy for review.

The Eyes of Pharaoh is available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book via book retailers and distributors, including Amazon.

Chris Eboch is the author of more than 60 books for young people, including The Well of Sacrifice. This historical drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala is used in many schools as supplemental fiction when students learn about the Maya. Kirkus Reviews said, “The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable and determined heroine.”

The Eyes of Pharaoh is sure to reach readers in the same way. Ms. Eboch’s other titles include The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show; the fictionalized biographies Jesse Owens: Young Record Breaker and Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier (part of Simon and Schuster’s Childhood of Famous Americans series); and many nonfiction titles.

Learn more at or my Amazon page.

Monday, February 6, 2017

How Do You Turn Your Idea into a Story? Follow-Up for #STORYSTORM

Jan. 1-31 was #STORYSTORM with Tara Lazar. Formerly known as #PiBoIdMo, the challenge was to come up with one new story idea each day of the month. Maybe you met the challenge every day, or maybe you came up with fewer ideas. Either way, the next question is, "Now what?

Sometimes, a writer has a great premise, an intriguing starting point—but nothing more. How do you recognize when you have just a premise, and when you have the makings of a full story? And more importantly, how do you get from one stage to the other?

What is a story?

If you have a “great idea,” but can’t seem to go anywhere with it, you probably have a premise rather than a complete story plan. A story has four main parts: idea, complications, climax and resolution. You need all of them to make your story work.

The idea is the situation or premise. This should involve an interesting main character with a challenging problem or goal. Even this takes development. Maybe you have a great challenge, but aren’t sure why a character would have that goal. Or maybe your situation is interesting, but doesn’t actually involve a problem.

For example, I wanted to write about a brother and sister who travel with a ghost hunter TV show. The girl can see ghosts, but the boy can’t. That gave me the characters and the situation, but no problem or goal. Goals come from need or desire. What did they want that could sustain an entire series?

Tania feels sorry for the ghosts and wants to help them, while keeping her gift a secret from everyone but her brother. Jon wants to help and protect his sister, but sometimes feels overwhelmed by the responsibility.

Now we have two main characters with problems and goals. The story is off to a good start. (It became Haunted: The Ghost on the Stairs.)

Make sure your idea is specific and narrow, especially with short stories or articles. Focus on an individual person and situation, not a universal concept. For example, don’t try to write about “racism.” Instead, write about one character facing racism in a particular situation.

Next week we'll talk about how to set up those complications through CONFLICT.

Chris Eboch is the author of over 40 books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. Chris Eboch’s novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting.

Learn more at or her Amazon page.