Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals
by Peggy McAloon
I'm very pleased to be featuring Peggy McAloon and her book Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals. As I was putting this post together I was struck by the series of amazing reviews she has received for this book on Amazon. Not only is this book a great adventure for kids, it also has some important lessons to impart.
“Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” is the first book in the “Lessons from Fiori” series. It’s a Coming of Age Fantasy series about a young girl who encounters a winged creature from another dimension on her way to school. She soon discovers these winged creatures are everywhere. Their goal is to breathe the first breath of life into a newborn human to give them a kind heart and stay with the children until they reach the age of eight to help protect them from life’s complications.
In book one, Elle’s only ten. She soon discovers she can see the creatures because she’s been chosen as a human Guide to help the tiny winged creatures. Even more amazing, Elle is potentially the Guide spoken of in the ancient scrolls. Will she be the one to unleash the magic in the pendant she’s been given by Mother Blue in Fiori?
Elle faces the same social injustices with her friends in the book that far too many kids today struggle with. In book one, she deals with personal loss, an older friend who is being physically abused, and the class bully.
And a brand new Audible version
Q. What inspired you to write a children's fantasy?
A. I was an abused child. Back when I was small, no one talked about these things. It was considered something you shouldn’t ever discuss. What made things worse for me was trying to talk to my mother with hints I would have immediately followed up on as a mother, and having her make excuses for what may have caused my physical symptoms.
I was too humiliated to tell anyone for over fifty years. I believed I wasn’t worthy of the life other people lived. Once abused, a child grows into an adult who is easily taken advantage of by spouses, bullies, and employers.
A few years ago, I read some of the statistics about child abuse. Here are some of the most current numbers:
Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children).
The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect
I decided this had to stop. Whatever we as the adults are doing, doesn’t work. The big movement of “Good Touch, Bad Touch” has been found not to work either. I will admit, when my back was rubbed, it felt good. It was the other things that happened to me that didn’t feel good. As a matter of fact, the pain was unbelievable for a seven-year-old child.
I struggled with what I might be able to do to help kids. I decided to create a role model who stands up to the social injustices our kids face every day:
Physical abuse, bullying, loss, kidnapping, etc., and put the stories in a book series.
I worked with Catherine Z. Gruener, a child counselor in the Chicago area, to use the characters in the book to provide a discussion sheet for the parent to use to discuss these social injustices with their children in a non-threatening way.
My goal is to get kids talking about the social injustices we have swept under a rug for far too long and come up with their ideas they can discuss with their parents and friends. We need to include the children in these discussions, so they are no longer afraid to come forward if they’re being hurt.
Q. Are you working on a sequel or is there another book you are currently working on?
A. The second book in the series: “An Elle Burton Book: Missing” is very close to publication. It continues the story from the moment Elle’s little brother JJ was kidnaped at the Dunn County Fair. She receives support from the winged creatures of Fiori in her attempt to bring her brother home. Will she be strong enough to fight the evil forces who want to prevent her from fulfilling the predictions made in the ancient scrolls? Is she the young girl who will help change the direction of the Earth and help protect our children?
Book three is also in the works, and should be out by the end of the year.
Q I noticed you had some terrific reviews. Have you been pleased with the response you have received?
A. It never occurred to me that women like myself would step up and admit their abuse after reading “Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals.” I have witnessed healing and relief in women who have read the book and who relate to Elle’s character and the children in the book who are also suffering. It takes courage for a child to stand up to bullying and abuse.
I addressed the issue of the class bully, Jimmy Backus, by using a real-life example of how I helped my son move beyond the daily taunts and beatings. The kids who have read the book are too young to write reviews (8-13). But, I have talked to several of them, and they love the way Elle stands up when friends are being hurt.
Q. What life lessons do you want kids to take away from reading Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals?
A. I want kids to understand that there is always someone out there who will believe them. We live in a world that is just beginning to understand the evil that lurks behind the closed doors. Unfortunately, the majority of abuse against children is done by friends and family members. That is the cruel truth that keeps many families from contacting the authorities. What wife wants to turn her husband into the authories?
I looked at my children as they grew into wonderful young men, and I couldn’t imagine keeping my mouth shut if anyone hurt them. We have taught our young women that children leave home, and we need to pledge our allegiance to our men. That can never be true whether the abuser is the mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, brother or sister. No child ever deserves to be hurt by anyone.
Q. It looks like your book has great appeal for adults as well as kids. What would you say to someone reading about your book for the first time that might convince them to give it a try?
A. The Elle series has everything. It has a father who was killed in the Gulf Conflict. (Something kids are facing every day) Her mother fails to do everything necessary to protect her children due to her grief and post-partum depression. It includes beautiful grandparents and elderly friends who add a sense of duty and compassion to the story. The story meshes reality and fantasy beautifully and provides a role model for kids today who is the child I always wanted to be…we all did.
For any person who has been abused or bullied, Elle’s story will instill a sense of empowerment to go beyond the grief and begin the healing process. It’s never easy to talk about these things, but the message is that we need to understand we do not stand alone.
You can download the parental discussion sheet at no charge by going tohttp://bit.ly/1DQQJAV
My website is at http://peggymcaloon.com and the message there is “Hope”. That is the message and the lesson provided in the book series.
NOTE: Sexual abuse is not discussed in the book, only physical abuse. Kids aren't stupid, they already know things happen to friends. Elle will give them the courage to stand up and give friends the support they need to get help and move beyond the social injustices that affect their lives. This is not something that's rare. It happens to our kid's friends on a daily basis.
Ms McAloon has worked with a certified child counselor to prepare a two-page discussion sheet that allows parents to easily discuss topics such as bullying through the non-threatening characters in the book. Her hope is to provide an open dialogue between kids or kids and their parents to help reduce the number of children who are hurt each year.
Peggy McAloon is retired from the field of commercial credit. Her first book, “The Art of Business Credit Investigation” was picked up by the Book Store of the National Association of Credit Management in the 80’s. It is currently out-of-print. She has also been a contributing author for “So What Do You Do? Discovering the Genius Next Door Vol 2” with New York Time’s Best Selling Author, Joel Comm (2014) and “An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tales #1” with Renee Alter (2015). The second book in the “Lessons from Fiori” series, “Missing” will be released in 2016 and a new Jess Gantry series will be released in the fall of 2015.
When she isn’t busy writing, she enjoys playing with her two rescue dogs, reading, doing watercolor art, and she is passionate about protecting our water resources. She and her husband love to travel and meet new people.
You can find out more at Peggy's website: http://peggymcaloon.com/