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you’ve heard a lot from me lately about Worlds of the Crystal Moon. yes, I’m excited to be involved as an actress being considered to audition for a role in future films based on this series of books (right now there are two novels in print, there will be six in the series when it’s complete). but my enthusiasm for this project has expanded as I’ve learned more about the author and how he’s reaching out to teens and young adults through his books.

Phil is inspiring and motivating youth on two fronts:

first, the _Crystal Moon_ books are engaging, with complex interwoven story lines and plenty of unexpected twists and turns. fantasy, adventure, mystery, action, romance, drama, humour — they’re all there! students (and even parents) who’ve previously insisted they HATE to read have become completely absorbed in these novels.

seeing kids get excited about reading is a BIG deal to me b/c I know the extent to which early literacy and my passion for reading have absolutely, indisputably shaped my own life. when my kindergarten teacher Ms. Taylor kept me in from recess one day, I thought I was in trouble and couldn’t figure out why. but my amazing, perceptive teacher spent that time w/me one on one, teaching me how to read, and I took to it like a fish to water. I set a record for most books read in a school year that stood unbroken for more than 30 yrs! learning to read was like being given a magic power, the ability to travel to faraway lands and worlds that only existed in my imagination, to see and hear fantastic creatures, to share experiences with amazing characters. my love of fiction carried over easily into non-fiction, and to this day I continue to thoroughly research subjects I find interesting, for any reason whatsoever. reading has made up for my lack of formal education in spades — I’ve never set foot in a university classroom, but I can hold my own in conversations w/people who hold multiple degrees (unless they start talking about detailed specifics of their particular area of expertise, like applied materials engineering or meteorology {G}). everyone who ever discovers that I have no university education is quite shocked, but the choices I made during that stage of my life led me in a different direction. am I opposed to formal education? absolutely not! but I’ve met some highly educated people who are actually surprisingly ignorant — they have no capacity for learning outside of a classroom environment. reading has allowed and continues to allow me to learn about anything and everything my heart desires, completely independent of formal instruction. organized schools afford unique and valuable opportunities for education and development, but there’s no reason why you can’t make the WORLD your classroom as well, and books are a powerful way to do exactly that, affording us opportunities that we might otherwise not have the resources to experience.

secondly but no less  importantly, Phil is a great role model for the kids he meets. there have been plenty of nay-sayers along his path, and he’s ignored them all (and thank goodness for that!) as he’s worked hard to make his dreams come true. he openly asks people for comments and suggestions, and he takes what works for him and leaves the rest (isn’t that a great philosophy for life in general?). Phil hasn’t waited to have anything handed to him, either; instead he’s gone out and found the people and the resources and anything else he needs to achieve the end he has in mind. he’s happy to take as many people along for the ride w/him as want to go, all the while encouraging them to branch out onto paths toward their own dreams. I’ve talked to many MANY teen fans who want to follow in Phil’s footsteps and become authors themselves. the best kind of leader is one who leads by example, and Phil is doing it w/gusto.

I’ve had plenty of obstacles to overcome in my own life. statistically speaking, I should be dead. in a fast-paced world that can be confusing and overwhelming, kids need to see that you can make up for poor choices, that you can change your life and make it into whatever you want it to be. yes, it’s always better to make wise choices in the first place, but knowing that we possess the power to shape our own lives means we don’t have to waste time sitting around waiting for opportunity to knock — go build a door and walk through it!

it’s a very big deal to me to be involved w/_Crystal Moon_ b/c of the huge impact it stands to have on the lives of hundreds, even thousands of kids — it’s a privilege to be part of something that touches people’s lives for good.

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