The Adventures of Tempest & Serena: A Chapter Book Home Run!

As a child, I loved books in all shapes and sizes. 

I remember the summer between third and fourth grade, I would go to the library and take out piles of books…and sit reading in the back yard…all day long!  Black Beauty, Little Women, Nancy Drew…as soon as I turned the last page, I would start another book.

About two years ago, there was a controversy about “chapter” books…are they replacing picture books for young children and when should parents encourage their kids to read them.  I have to admit that I wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about…were “chapter” books some new electronic age phenomenon? 

Luckily, I met children’s author Marty Mokler Banks at a local SCBWI meeting last weekend.

 And now I know all about chapter books because she wrote one.

And it was just published.

And she graciously gave me a copy so that I could review it.

And I LOVED it.

And I remembered those wonderful classic stories I had read years ago…the forerunners of today’s “chapter” books.

And here’s something awesome for all of you…other than my wonderful review, that is.

The author is offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of The Adventures of Tempest & Serena for the entire weekend (Friday, August 24 to Sunday, August 26). Just click on the link below.

I know you won’t want to miss reading it…and then you can click over to where the paperback copy is for sale on Amazon…believe me, this book is a GREAT gift for any young boy or girl…the holidays are coming sooner than you think and it’s all about encouraging children to READ!

And after you read this review, I know you will want to pick up several for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or any kid age 7 and up.


The Adventures of Tempest & Serena

Written by Marty Mokler Banks (she also did the inside illustrations!)


Sisters, courage, valuing one’s own strengths and qualities, friendship, bullying/teasing, magic, adventure, travel.


From the Amazon site: “Wild, brave Tempest wants summer to last forever. Her calm, timid sister, Serena, can’t wait for the start of the new school year. On the first day, Tempest decides to skip fourth grade, seek adventure by using magic to sprout wings, and fly away to exotic places. As she waves good-bye, Serena promises to save her sister’s seat on the bus. Will Tempest make it home? Can Serena keep her promise? As each sister battles bullies, disasters, and loneliness, they discover they’re more alike than they know.”

Why do I like this book

I don’t only like this book…I love this book!  It kept me turning the pages and wanting to find out what would happen next…I couldn’t put it down once I started it.

A number of timely topics such as girl empowerment and bullying and teasing are addressed.  In addition, the story takes us to distant lands and enables the reader to see how the various characters face their fears and conquer them.  Children need great roles models and they will find them in Tempest and Serena and some of their friends.

Author Banks has certainly stepped up to the plate with her debut chapter book…with The Adventures of Tempest & Serena, she has hit a homerun, right out of the park and into the hearts of her readers!

The Adventures of Tempest & Serena is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle (

If you’d like to know more about children’s author, Marty Mokler Banks, you can visit her website at

And if I may impose on your patience another minute, I need to mention three quick items of importance:

1.      Please don’t forget we are accepting nominations for your favorite school or classroom to win a copy of Show Me How!  All you have to do is leave a comment on one of my posts…telling which school should get a copy.  At the end of September, we will select a dozen winners using

2.      On Wednesday, I watched the LIVE Google+ broadcast of The Happy Mommy Handbook with Susan Case and Katie Norris.  It was lots of fun…and I joined the after-hangout chat when the program was over.  I don’t know if any of you have done Google+ Hangouts…it was kind of like Skype…real-time face-to-face interaction.  All three of us agreed that we’d like to do a program together…perhaps addressing the subject of bullying.  I’ll let everyone know when that will happen.

3.      Regarding bullying…I will be interviewed on the 9News morning show on Monday, August 27th at 8:20am (Mountain Time).  If you click on their link, I think it will be able to see it…unless, of course, you are in Denver and get that channel and can watch on your TV.  We will be talking about the Subtle Signs of Bullying and what steps parents can take.  This is an important topic, especially with school just starting.  Let’s stop bullying in its tracks!  I’ll be doing an article about it next week.

27 thoughts on “The Adventures of Tempest & Serena: A Chapter Book Home Run!

  1. I have to get this book! It looks great. I am always reading children’s chapter books. I’m working on two books and hope to finish by the end of the year. I will be looking for your interview on August 27th. We need to get the word out on no more bullying! Great blog, by the way. 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Tina! Hope you get to see the interview…I’ll be posting about bullying sometime during the week and reporting on what I spoke about. 🙂
      Best of luck with the chapter books!!!! Are you in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group?


  2. The picture of you reading to the children says it all, Vivian. You–and they–are involved and absorbed in the story. Sitting under a tree, just as you did as a child.
    Excellent post. I’m going to get TEMPEST AND SERENA for my granddaughter, Grace, who just began fourth grade.


    • Hi Marylin…Oh goodie…I’m sure your granddaugher will LOVE it!   Those are my niece and nephew…I was visiting in Chicago last summer and they would have sat under the tree all afternoon with me, reading!!!!   


  3. TEMPEST AND SERENA is a delight, Vivian! It’s on my Kindle now, and I read it last night. My granddaughter will have her own “real” copy in her stocking at Christmas!
    You are a blessing to all your readers, Vivian, and I have nominated you for “The Sunshine Award.” Please go to my blog for the information and to claim your award. Enjoy, and know you are appreciated!


    • You are so kind, Marylin! Thank you so much for that lovely award…I really appreciate it. Glad you liked Tempest and Serena…what a great message Marty Banks relayed in an upbeat, fun and exciting read for kids!


    • Hi Amberr, I so apologize from being MIA from your blog…which I LOVE!  Too many things going on at the same time. I’m so glad you discovered this post…it’s a GREAT book…glad you were able to download it. 🙂   


  4. Vivian, thanks for sharing this book. I too find the evolution of genres interesting. I kind of feel like leveled readers are replacing picture books starting in pre K. There is such a push for children to read on their own very early. I always feel a little sad when I see bookshelves bare of picture books.


    • Yes, Kirsten…I also definitely have an issue with the disappearance of picture books in the early childhood classrooms…there is just so much they can gain from exposure to picture books.  And they have yet to prove that kids who are taught to read and write at an earlier age will maintain that advantage in later years.  Kids that are ready for chapter books should have access to them…but to picture books as well. 🙂   


  5. Ah, chapter books… I think any kid over 5 is going to be interested in longer stories, even though they enjoy picture books for a long time past the age of five. My six year old LOVES the Ricky Ricotta series and we read The Magic Tree House series together, alternating pages. We usually read each book in two nights, so they’re not that long but full of adventure. As for the Junie B. Jones books, I can’t stand her poor speaking skills and spelling, it drives me nuts so she’s “banned” at our house. Plus she’s a girl, not too popular with two boys.


    • That’s so funny, Milka…we were talking bout Junie B. Jones books and others that don’t offer good role models as far as speech, etc. are concerned…and everyone was saying just about exactly what you said.   I agree that as kids get older, they want to expand their reading choices…but I hope that parents (and teachers) will always keep the picture books available…I know that you do. 🙂   


      • I still use picture books in my Kinder-enrichment class. I always try to have a literacy enriched classroom. My first chapter book is a good story for kids who love the outdoors and fishing, or those who have never fished. 🙂 check it out-


      • Hahahaha…Tina, you are so funny!!!! But I do thank you for the kind words…my husband watched it and said the same thing (not about having my own show)…I think when I speak about children and their needs, my passion overcomes my shyness and anxiety. 🙂 🙂


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