Something To Do

A book about being comfortable in your own skin: Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan

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**Guest post from Hannah Rials, author of the award-winning YA book, Ascenion.

Summary of Swan Boy

Swan Boy

Being the new kid at school is hard. When the main character in the book (Johnny) moves and starts a new school, he has to deal with a bully who won’t leave him alone. But help comes from an unexpected and surprising source and Johnny’s growing power soon puts him in a very special place.

My Perspective

After Johnny and Mojo’s father dies, their mother moves them to a new home, new district, new school–new everything. Nothing has been right, nothing feels right. Mojo has slipped into a phase where he acts like an animal all the time; the Populars at school have picked Johnny as the kid to torture; and on top of all that, Johnny’s mom saddles him with the responsibility of taking care of Mojo while she works and makes new friends.

Soon after the school year, Johnny falls into a scrap with Liam and his squad of goonies, and they have a choice. They can either be on litter patrol or join the ballet–Swan Lake. As much as Johnny wants to blend in, be invisible, he soon begins to fall in love with dance and with the idea of swans in general, their power and grace. Before he knows it, he’s starting to transform into a swan–a white streak in his hair; white, fluffy down growing on his chest.

Instead of life becoming easier, things just get more difficult. The bullies won’t leave Johnny alone, he loses the one friend he starts to make, his brother’s odd behavior becomes increasingly odder, and his mother notices nothing. All he wants is his old life, to fit in, to be a kid–not to be the man of the house. So how can Swan Lake help all of that?

Nikki Sheehan has created a beautiful middle grade novel right when it is needed. Swan Boy teaches young readers how to cope with bullying, family and friend loyalty, as well as being comfortable in your own skin, as well as dealing with grief in a unique way both through Johnny and his brother Mojo. She experiments with the novel form by playing with the line format, mixing in a bit of poetry into this graceful story.

Something To Do
1. One of the major themes throughout this novel is the idea of children coping with grief. Johnny and Mojo cope in very different ways. Where Johnny lets out his emotion through dance, Mojo lets it out through drawing. If you’re child is experiencing grief of some kind, the key is to find outlets to let their emotions out.

  • Sports
  • Journaling
  • Dancing

You could even make a memory jar, in which you write down the best memories you have of the person or thing lost so that they will stay with you forever.

2. Johnny never says what kind exactly, but we know that his favorite food is Kebabs. If you’re interested in trying out this Mediterranean dish, check out this recipe:
3. Swans aren’t just beautiful, graceful creatures. There’s a lot more to them then meets the eye:


  • -Swans mate for life. If their mate dies, the other could die of a broken heart.
  • -Swans can fly super fast–up to 60 miles per hour! Whoa, baby!
  • -Swans aren’t just dumb birds. They are very intelligent and have great memories. They are able to remember who has been kind or unkind to them.
  • -Don’t get too close to their nests because though they are normally gentle creatures, they are very protective of their young and are strong enough to break an arm or two.

4. Are you being bullied or do you see it at school? Don’t be passive. Be an active defender of what is right. Here’s what to say –
say no to bullying

One More Thing

Today is the LAST DAY to get my children’s book A Year in the Secret Garden at special holiday pricing!

As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages, is also an important act that will aid in them being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only work to create special family time, it allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences.
A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book.

This delightful children’s book that is co-written by Marilyn Scott-Waters and I offers unique and original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.
This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning and FUN! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!
A Year in the Secret Garden

So I’ve decided to take my excitement and turn into An Extra Special Holiday Book Sale on this book, and only this book from my children’s book line-up.

A Year in the Secret Garden

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

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