Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Schools Back in Session and Brothers of the Fire Star is Back in the Classroom, Too

 One of the best ideas I ever listened to as a writer came from a curriculum specialist for a school system: "Doug, you need to develop a curriculum standards-based study guide for your novel. That will make it much easier for teachers to use it in the classroom."

It took me two months--last January and February--here in my Writer's Cave. I used a commercially available study guide for a famous YA novel as a model and got to work. Looking back on it now, it wasn't that difficult, but at the time, I thought I might have gotten in over my head. It was a lot of work. The finished product was 150 pages long and includes such teaching necessities (in this day of heavy teacher workloads and accountability) as quizzes, vocabulary, writing exercises, historical background essays, and even answer keys for chapter tests and the final exam.

After I was finished, I had an small epiphany: Why not make it available to download for FREE on my website? So, it's there at under the BOOKS page. Just open up TEACHER RESOURCES and sign up.

And it was worth it. Brothers of the Fire Star is now being used in classrooms. And better yet, students are using the new PREZI method ( of presenting reports on the book and posting them online. It's fun and looks great.

Bottom line: While curriculum standards-based instruction is controversial, if teachers want to used it, it's there.

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