These Wicked Waters by Emily Layne is about Annie Mayfield, a teen who moves to an island where an ancient enemy lurks beneath the depths of the surrounding water. As strange things begin to happen, Annie channels her inner Nancy Drew—minus the skirt and pearls, of course—in an attempt to uncover a truth beyond anything she could ever have imagined, and she’ll have to face her biggest fears as she attempt to save those she loves.
This week we’ll be talking about mermaids, sirens, and the strange things that lurk under the sea.
Under the Sea:
Art and Storytelling: Mermaids and Sirens | Skills: Creativity, Descriptions, Drawing, Focus, Motor Skills, Storytelling | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen
Some say mermaids are kind, beautiful, and sing to bring peace to those on the water, while sirens are dangerous predators who use their voices to lure people into death and destruction.
The sirens in These Wicked Waters have sharp teeth and long hair. They can be naughty and scary. They’re just the right amount of creepy.
What will your mermaid or siren be like?
- Draw a mermaid or siren (or use these printable coloring pages).
- Talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your version.
- Write a short story about it.
- Take a paper and divide it into two columns. Label one side Mermaids and one Sirens. Name the qualities, abilities, and adjectives you think would describe each.
- Tag author Emily Layne when you post your creation on social media!
Letters and Communication: Message in a Bottle, Postcards, and Letters | Skills: Communication, Letter Writing, Social Interactions, Storytelling | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen
Stay in touch during social distancing
- Research the history of the message in a bottle. Wikipedia has a really good overview of the history, metaphorical uses of the term, and unique examples. Reading about them is more interesting than you’d think!
- Make your own message and put it in any kind of empty bottle. We don’t recommend throwing it in the ocean because of the pollution, but you could leave it on a friend’s porch who lives nearby for them to have an exciting surprise during quarantine. You could also leave it in a park or other area where it will be spotted but not negatively impact wildlife. Talk with your parents and make a plan together! Whatever you decide, it’s always so much fun sending and receiving a message in a bottle!
- We took our message to the next level by giving it an antiqued look. You can do this by:
- Using a paper sack to cut up and give your letter a unique feel.
- Carefully burning the edges over a kitchen sink WITH adult help and permission.
- Using coffee grounds or a used teabag (black and gray teas work best) and either dipping the paper in the tea to give it an antique look, or gently rubbing the grounds or teabag across the paper for a worn texture. Let dry completely before writing on the paper.
Postcards, Letters, and Notes
- Print or cut out pictures of the Greek islands (where These Wicked Waters takes place), a favorite vacation destination, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Turn them into postcards by gluing the pictures on cardstock (postcards specifications HERE).
- Pretend you are there and write messages about your journey on the back. Send them to a friend or family member.
- Another option is to use recycled cereal/pizza/other light cardboard boxes and cut out the size of a postcard. Decorate with markers or crayons, and mail to someone you love.
- Use these printables to create fun, sea-focused notes to tell your loved ones you care. You can either learn how to send a letter HERE or you can leave them around the house for family members to find on their pillow at night, attached to the bathroom mirror, inside the fridge, or any other creative place that you can think of for a note to give someone a quick smile or pick me up.
- Design your own envelope using scraps of colored paper or pretty patterned paper. Check out two basic styles HERE.
- With a parent’s permission, download the app “Bottled” and send a virtual message in a bottle to someone, somewhere in the world! We haven’t tried it, but we’ve heard great things about the way it helps people connect.
- Another cool app is “Slowly,” which gives you the pen-pal and stamp collecting experience while exchanging “letters” with new friends around the world.
- Use Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or the telephone to call someone you love who might be missing you. Grandparents or people who live alone could use extra care during this difficult time!
What are YOUR favorite ways to communicate during quarantine?