The Frame-Up

June 5th 2018

The Frame-Up - Bookcover

Renovating a Book

 

I’m in the midst of a kitchen renovation, and it’s not fun.

we’ve just started the tear-out and it looks like this:

 

In other words, a total mess.

My latest book looks remarkably like this:

  • Things piled up  haphazardly.
  • Walls half torn down.
  • Cupboards and countertops waiting to be torn out.

When I look at these pictures I can’t imagine December 1st, when the reno is scheduled to be done.

But I trust that it will be.

 

I’m at the point in my revisions where everything is a jumble.

I feel like I’m groping in the dark.

I feel like it will never be pretty.

I can’t imagine being able to turn it in to my editor on December 1st.

But I trust that I will.

 

The thing is, you have to practically dismantle your book to see what needs to be there and what needs to go.

What you need to do to make it coherent.

The kitchen reno has a plan, but no doubt things will crop up and that plan will have to be adjusted.

The same thing is happening with my revision.

You can’t have a new kitchen unless you tear the whole thing apart.

Just like I can’t have a good book without tearing my WIP apart.

It’s not fun, but it can be very satisfying…

Someday, it might even look good….

I’ll keep you posted!

 

(On the kitchen and the reno!)

Books, Glorious Books

 

Have you been reading a lot this fall?

I’ve been a reading and writing machine, casting aside all other pursuits to get my current work in progress completed by deadline and greedily adding to my to-be-read pile.

 

Here’s some new releases that you will adore (I promise:

 

 

I also just read DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone in one sitting and it is fantastic!

 

 

And here’s the to-be-read pile, which is getting out of control.

 

There is so much goodness in this list that I don’t know where to start. I can’t NOT begin THE BOOK of DUST by Philip Pullman, and I suppose I should get to those library books, but this pile will be completed in the next two or three weeks.

Because soon it will be time to start planning my holiday list…

In the meantime, are you looking for books to give as gifts? Then pop over to SCBWI Book Stop – you can query authors, titles, mosey the shelves, see what you’d like…

 

 

And by all means, visit my page and say hi!

Have a great week and let me know what you’re reading this week!

Winner!

 

We have a Winner!

 

Lisa Maucione – You’ve won these three books! Hope you and your class enjoy them! I’ll be in touch to send them your way!

 

Thanks everyone for entering! Stay tuned for another giveaway in late November!

 

Meanwhile, I’m spending the next week dreaming about the release of Philip Pullman’s new book, . I cannot wait to read it! Hmmm. we may have to talk about HIS DARK MATERIALS next week…

 

 

Have a great weekend!

Book Giveaway!

 

First of all – thank you for the kind words about my friend Brian Carty. He will be missed forever, but his light goes on shining!!!

In honour of Brian and the fact that it’s October and I’ve just finished the first draft of my third book, I’ve decided to do a giveaway!

This time, one lucky winner will win not one, not two, but three MG books!

The 1st book is PATINA by the genius that is Jason Reynolds. I loved this book and think you will, too!

 

 

The 2nd book is NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES by my friend Jonathan Rosen in honour of Halloween and because it is one of the funniest books I have ever read!

 

The 3rd book is IT’S A MYSERY, PIG FACE! by moi, guaranteed to make your nostalgic for summer days and crave chocolate!

 

 

All you have to do is leave a comment and I’ll pick a random winner next Thursday night.

 

Open to the US and Canada.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

A Heartfelt Remembrance of my “Number Three Fan”

 

I lost a good friend this week.  

His name was Brian Carty, and we have been friends for just about forty years.

 

 

And he was wonderful.

But even better than being wonderful. He was good.

And that goodness sustained not only himself and his family, but his many friends.

And when I say many, I mean MANY. Bri-Guy was beloved, because he knew how to love.

A little over ten years ago, Brian made a major professional change. I’d known he was dissatisfied; we talked about it all the time. But when you have two young children, it’s hard to make big changes, it often feels like its impossible.

But Brian was also brave, and that bravery and subsequent career change meant that hundreds, if not thousands, of social work students benefited from his wisdom and his goodness.

Five years ago, when I decided to drop everything and pursue my wildest dream of writing for children, he had my back. Big hugs. Always interested in what was happening. Always telling me it was going to happen soon.

There were high fives when I signed with my wonderful agent Lauren Galit.

And when I sold my first book in 2015, he was almost as excited as I was.

And when I created this website and began writing this blog, he was my third subscriber. (When I told him that he said he was my Number Three Fan)

The thing about we writers is that we are an insecure lot. We toil away in solitary places (or in busy places with earphones!) and pray that what we bleed onto the paper touches someone.

And we rely heavily on our wonderful family and friends who buoy us up and ask us how things are going and keep at us not to keep plugging away.

Brian was one of those people for me.

I saw him one Friday afternoon this summer and we marvelled at how, after so many rough patches, our lives were turning out pretty darn well, thank you very much.

Two weeks ago when I saw him, he was walking towards one of the tents at our local Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, a bounce in his step. He was going to his happy place.

But then, he always carried that happy place with him. And even better, he shared it with everyone else.

When you lose a friend too soon, you can’t help but wonder “what if?”

I like to think I’ll see Brian again. I hope so. But this is my way of thanking him for supporting, no, celebrating, what was one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life.

That made all the difference to me.

And what makes me happiest of all? That not only did Brian touch my life in such a positive way, but  that he touched so many others in exactly the same way.

Love you, Brian. And thank you.

 

 

Sequels you need to read! (and they’re Canadian, too!)

 

Hi everyone,

Wanted to share two new releases this week, written by a couple of Canadian writers who are exceptionally talented!

They’re the second in a series and you absolutely do NOT need to read book one (but you are SO going to want to, I promise!)

Without further ado:

Howard Wallace, P.I., #2: Shadow of a Pug

 

Description:

“Give this to fans of Encyclopedia Brown who are looking for longer (and funnier!) well-plotted mysteries.” —Booklist on Howard Wallace, P.I.

“My partner scanned the message and a slow grin took over her face as she said our four favorite words: We have a case.’”
HOWARD WALLACE IS BACK!
Middle-school detectives Howard Wallace and Ivy Mason are itching for a juicy case. But when their friend and cohort Marvin hires them to prove his nephew— über-bully Carl Dean—didn’t pugnap the school mascot, they’re less than thrilled. To succeed, not only must Howard and Ivy play nice with Carl, they’ll have to dodge a scrappy, snoopy reporter and come face-to-face with Howard’s worst enemy, his ex-best friend Miles Fletcher. Can Howard deal with all these complications and still be there for Ivy when her life is turned upside down? Or will he once again find himself a friendless P.I.?

Another sequel is in the offing, and young mystery fans should be glad.” —Kirkus Reviews (less)

What I think:

Howard and Ivy are back! And twice as funny as they were in book one! This time they’re hot on the case to figure out who took school mascot, Spartacus, and framed Howard’s #3 nemesis Carl. You know this is going to be a humdinger, and Casey Lyall does not disappoint. This is a wonderfully fun book, and I can’t wait for book three!

 

For more information:

Visit Casey’s website!

 

The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (and Why They Keep Biting Me)

 

 

Description:

Get ready for dragons, robots, and an even more dangerous quest in the sequel to The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes!

Anne, Penelope, and Hiro have returned to Saint Lupin’s Quest Academy for Consistently Dangerous and Absolutely Terrifying Adventures, where there’s only one way to leave: pass or fail. At the annual Quest Academy awards, they’re recognized for their success in their first outing-Best Illegal Quest That Nearly Destroyed the Entire World–but a strange boy steals Anne’s gauntlet and activates a new quest that pits them against all of dragonkind. Their charge: kill the dragon queen. The problem is, Anne doesn’t want to kill any dragons! But ignoring a quest can have horrible consequences, just as killing the dragon queen would start an all-out war between people and dragons. To avert disaster, Anne and her friends will have to dodge robot attacks, defeat new foes, and survive the dangerous dragon trials just for a chance to explain.

With charming, funny text and lots of heart, The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons is the perfect read for anyone who likes fantasy with lots of laughter.

 

What I think:

Seriously, Wade Albert White is one of the funniest authors writing today. This book, book two in the Adventurer’s Series, is even better than the first and just as witty and creative. Anne and Penelope and Hiro are off on another quest, one that could result in them being shish-kebobs for the Dragon Queen. Rollicking adventure, brilliant writing, clever plot-twists – this book has it all!

 

For more information:

Visit Wade’s website!

 

Guaranteed good reads!!!!

Podcasts You Should Know About!

 

One of the things I love doing is listening to podcasts about children’s books.

They are hosted by passionate educators and writers and they have one thing in common: they love children’s literature!

The upcoming long weekend is the perfect opportunity to take a listen to one of these wonderful podcasts, so I thought I’d share a small list of my favourites!

 

Books Between

 

Hosted by Corinna Allen, I ADORE this podcast!  Corinna always ask the questions I would ask and has the best guest! A real treat in every episode!

 

 

Click here to start listening!

 

KidLit Drink Night

Hosted by Amy Kurtz Skelding, this podcast hosts great discussions about books and my throw in the odd recipe as well…

 

 

Click here to start listening!

 

Fuse 8 n’ Kate

Hosted by Betsy Bird and Kate Ramsey, this is all about picture books and is such a delight!

Click here to start listening!

 

 

Secrets of Story

 

 

this is not just about kidlit, but SO helpful for writers that I need to include it!

Click here to start listening!

 

Reading with Your Kids Podcast

 

A fun podcast (I was recently interviewed!)!

Click here to starting listening!

 

I’d love to hear what podcasts you love!  Happy Labour Day!

End of Summer

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to let the summer go…

It was 10C when I woke up this morning.

Which means fall is coming.

But what better way to celebrate the end of summer with some great middle grade books that take place in summer?

Savour the warmth. Take those last outdoor swims. Eat that ice cream.

And read!

Here are five books that evoke those lazy days of summer:

The Penderwicks

 

 

Because of Winn-Dixie

 

 

One Crazy Summer

 

 

This One Summer

 

 

All of these books are great reads for your end-of-summer hurrah!

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Some books to read in the aftermath of Charlottesville

 

This has been a terrible week.

Hate marched, its opponents were murdered or injured, and a country realized that the leadership to address racism and bigotry was not there.

Of course, many would rightfully argue that we have lacked true leadership on that issue for hundreds of years. And not just in America.

But we can change that. And one way to do that is through books, especially children’s books. Here’s a short list of books we could all benefit from reading this week and the coming months. I’ve also tossed in a couple of adult books.

We need to learn. We need to do better.

 

 

Recent Books I’ve read that I know are going to be “Forever Books”

 

Don’t you love to reread favourite books?

 

Most of the time, those books are books I read when I was much younger:

 

 

But this summer I’ve had the pleasure of reading two books that I am positive are going to require multiple readings over the course of my life:

 

ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder

 

 

The Description:

For readers who loved Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and Lois Lowry’s The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

 

My Goodreads review:

There are almost no words to express my Wonder at what author Laurel Snyder has achieved in this book. Part childhood meditation, part mystery, part glorious wonder, this book is amazing. A true achievement and an author at the top of her game.

 

Weeks later, I’m still thinking about this book. And I know I will want to read it again soon.

 

SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS by Claire Legrand

 

 

The Description:

Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
-Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
-Never having met said grandparents.
-Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

 

My Goodreads Review:

If you ever want to read a truly magnificent book about the inner lives of children, especially ones who are hurting, this one is for you. The story of Finley, sent to stay with her grandparents for the summer (grandparents she’s never met) while her parents contemplate divorce, this book is a beautiful treatise in imagination, pain, friendship, and hope, and is truly one of the finest books I’ve ever read. Legrand is a remarkable writer.

 

I love knowing those books are out there, waiting to be reread again!

How about you? Any book you are dying to reread again?

AUGUST MIDDLE GRADE READS!

 

Don’t you love summer?

If you’re like me, you’ve been soaking up the sun (a bit), working (a lot), and reading, reading, reading!

In Canada, there’s still a month until school starts again, so I thought I’d share some new middle grade books releasing this month that are worth checking out:

 

Zinnia and the Bees

 

 

The Description:

Talk about having a lousy day. While Zinnia’s seventh grade classmates are celebrating the last day of school, she’s cooped up in the vice principal’s office, serving detention. Her offense? Yarn bombing a statue of the school mascot. And when Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother, Adam, who also happens to be her best friend, she’s devastated to discover that he’s left home with no explanation. Just when it looks like Zinnia’s day can’t possibly get any worse, a colony of frantic honeybees mistakes her hair for a hive and lands on her head! Told from the alternating perspectives of Zinnia a humorous young loner and knitter and an unintentionally comical hive of honeybees, this quirky, heartfelt novel will strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt alone, betrayed, or misunderstood as it explores the challenges that come with learning to trust yourself and the often messy process of discovering the true meaning to home.

I’ve read this book already and loved it!

 

The Countdown Conspiracy

 

 

The Description:

 

Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5…4…3…2…. Get ready to blast off with this high-action, high-stakes middle grade adventure that’s perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein and Peter Lerangis!

Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

 

Karma Khullar’s Mustache

 

 

The Description:

Debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this sweet and charming novel in the tradition of Judy Blume.

Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

Again – I’ve read this book already and it’s delightful!

 

Kat Greene Comes Clean

 

 

The Description:

Kat Greene lives in New York City and attends fifth grade in the very progressive Village Humanity School. At the moment she has three major problems—dealing with her boy-crazy best friend, partnering with the overzealous Sam in the class production of Harriet the Spy, and coping with her mother’s preoccupation with cleanliness, a symptom of her worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Read this one, too and it is heartwarming and wonderful!

 

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

 

 

The Description:

Twelve-year-old Devin Dexter has a problem. Well, actually, many of them. His cousin, Tommy, sees conspiracies behind every corner. And Tommy thinks Devin’s new neighbor, Herb, is a warlock . . . but nobody believes him. Even Devin’s skeptical. But soon strange things start happening. Things like the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life.

That would be great, because, after all, who doesn’t love a cute bunny? But these aren’t the kind of bunnies you can cuddle with. These bunnies are dangerous. Devin and Tommy set out to prove Herb is a warlock and to stop the mob of bunnies, but will they have enough time before the whole town of Gravesend is overrun by the cutest little monsters ever? This is a very funny “scary” book for kids, in the same vein as the My Teacher books or Goosebumps.

This book is a HOOT and your kids are going to devour it!

 

Any and all of these books will be a great addition to your home or school library, or ask you local library to order in a copy!

Happy reading!

 

 

Giveaway Winners and a Chocolate Dance!

 

We have winners!

We had such a great response to the giveaway that I decided to add another package!

 

 

Congratulations Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Gettler!

 

Can’t wait to talk to your classes!!!!

And in other news:

 

I’m being induced into the Chocolate Lovers Society during Chocolate Fest 2017!

 

 

 

 

Cannot wait to go home again, see old friends,  AND eating some chocolates and chicken bones (my favourite!)

 

See you in St. Stephen on August 11th!

If you want to learn more about Chocolate Fest, click here!

 

Recharge Those Batteries!

Everyone needs a break now and then

I’ve been working so hard this past month, revising book two, that I feel like my closest relationship is with my computer.

But earlier this week I slipped away for an overnighter in Bar Harbor, Maine.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

There was walking, ocean views…

 

 

Good coffee and blueberry muffins…

 

Excellent Meals.

 

And conversations with real people.

 

 

 

Now I’m back, refreshed, doing the big push to hand in this round of edits by the end of the month.

Late last week, I was panicked, worried that going away was a mistake and I wouldn’t have enough time to to get my edits done if I went away.

But sometimes we need to unplug and step away from a project for a couple of days. Issues I thought were impossible are suddenly more manageable.

And the salt air made me sleep like a baby!

Now if I can just put my other baby to bed…

 

Classroom Swag Pack Giveaway!

 

It’s been six months since It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! was published!

 

I’ve learned a lot during that time, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I love classroom visits!

The chance to connect with kids and their teachers is amazing! I love talking to them about writing and publishing and about other middle grade books I love!

In honour of that, I want to do a giveaway specifically for teachers:

  • An autographed hardcover copy of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! for your classroom
  • Bookmarks and postcards for all of your students
  • A free one hour Skype or Google Hangout session with you and your students this fall (if you live in New Brunswick, I’ll come to your classroom!)

 

To enter:

(if you do all of the things below they will be counted as multiple entries and will increase your chances of winning!)

By Friday July 21st. Can’t wait to talk to you and your class this fall!

 

 

On Editorial Letters

 

Until I got my first book deal, I had no clear understanding of what an editorial letter was

 

 

I think I had this strange idea that the editorial letter was a sweet note from my new editor saying how much they loved the book, and pointing out the odd grammatical slip-up.

I was wrong.

 

 

 

Oh sure, they love your book – they bought it after all. But if you thought you’d finished the hard lifting, having run through the gauntlet of the slush pile or online pitching to secure yourself an agent, and then had same-said agent pull off the miracle and actually land you a book deal, you will be very very wrong.

I got my second editorial letter this week for the book that Greenwillow Books is publishing in 2018.

It was a wonderful letter, full of kind words.

But then came the list of required fixes:

  • those characters who are not as fully formed as they might be
  • the glaring plot holes you didn’t catch yourself or that defy all logic
  • Pacing that is too slow or too fast.

And then there is the manuscript, line edited perfectly, and you wonder: “Why the heck didn’t I realize THAT was the best way to say that?” or “Who knew that wasn’t capitalized?”

It turns out my editor, Virginia, knew.

The best part of the letter was her last line: Enjoy the revision process.

As I read her comments, I was suddenly looking at my manuscript with fresh eyes and a renewed vigour.

I am excited about the next three weeks and digging into the work.

And then guess what?

There will be more revisions!

 

 

I think the editorial letter is a thrilling part of the publishing process, perhaps almost as thrilling as when a box of books with your name on it arrives on your doorstep.

It’s the beginning of the final assault, the chance for you and your editor to refine the book’s vision, your chance to make the book the best it can be.

Our readers deserve nothing less!

Meanwhile, I’m heading back into the revising cave! Have a great week!

Canada’s 150th birthday – a book party and giveaway!

 

July 1st is Canada’s 150th birthday.

 

In honour of that day, and seeing how everybody else is making their list of their ten best Canadian books, I thought I would share my own list!

These are in no particular order, because frankly, it was torturous enough to limit myself to ten book!

 

And if you leave me a comment before July 6th, telling me which of the books listed below you’d love to have a copy of, you’ll be entered into a draw to win that book! Open to Canada and the U.S.

 

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Seriously, you didn’t think I’d leave this off the list did you?

 

 

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

One of the finest books ever written and will haunt me until the day I die.

 

 

No Great Mischief, Alistair MacLeod

Beautiful story, East Coast at its best.

 

 

Lives of Girls and Women, Alice Munro

Hard to pick just one, but I read this as a young woman and adored it.

 

 

The Deptford Trilogy, Roberston Davies

 

Ok, I’m cheating, but read them all. Davies is so funny!

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

I’ve been nervous around men and the state ever since…

 

 

There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, Sheree Fitch

It’s hard to pick just one of Sheree’s books, but this one always makes me laugh!

 

 

The Coming of Winter, David Adams Richards

I read this at university and it blew me away. Richards is a native of New Brunswick (like me and Sheree Fitch) and has been called Canada’s Tolstoy, deservedly so.

 

 

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

A profound and beautiful book.

 

 

The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King

We need to read more Indigenous authors and this is a great place to begin!

 

My Wild Card:

 

The Sisters Brothers, Patrick Dewitt

Please, someone make a movie out of this book ASAP!

 

 

That’s my list! What’s yours?

Coping with Pet Loss through Children’s Books

 

I recently lost my seventeen year old dog, Indy, and it was heartbreaking.

 

 

I had forgotten how sad it is to lose a pet, since the last time I’d lost a beloved pet I was 14 years old.

That dog, Charlie, was a beautiful soul, and I was glad I got a chance to immortalize her in It’s a Mystery, Pig Face!

 

Of course, I always find tremendous solace in books, and it got me thinking of the wonderful children’s books that deal with losing a pet.

The New York Times just published a great article on this subject recently, and you can read the article here.

Personally, I have always loved Judith Viorst’s wonderful THE TENTH GOOD THING ABOUT BARNEY.

 

 

The NYT article focuses on picture books, but I’m interested in middle grade novels that deal with the issue.

And for the life of me, the only one I can think of is THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING, where Batty has to cope with the death of her beloved Hound.

 

There are lots of nonfiction books, but I struggle to think of other fiction ones.

So am asking you all for your recommendations, since this is information I think everyone should have in their back pocket.

What are your go-to Middle Grade Novels that address pet loss?

 

A book you should read!

 

I just finished reading ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL by Leah Henderson.

 

 

For those of you who’ve not yet heard of it, here’s the description:

 

An orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined. With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?

One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.

 

This book reminded me of the power of books to take us to places we’ve never been and show us characters whose lives are different, and yet ultimately similar, to our own.

Beautifully written by Leah Henderson, the story is at times heartbreaking, scary, heartwarming, and inspirational. And a page-turner.

It casts a light on a culture and place in the world not often represented in books, especially children’s books.

And it belongs in every school and public library, so as many children as possible can benefit from its themes of family, tenacity, and joy, and are able to learn more about the wonderful (and at times heartbreaking) culture of Senegal.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It is a must-read in 2017! If you want to read my Goodreads review, click here.

 

If you want to read more about author Leah Henderson, click here.

Book Three

 

A short post because: I am almost ready to pass book three into my agent!!!!!

Cue the marching band:

 

This book has not been an easy write.

And I KNOW there will be revisions before we ever submit it to Greenwillow – God bless my agent for being so editorial!

But I have feedback. I am making the last few changes:

 

 

Every stage in the process is rewarding, even if it isn’t easy. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get this whole book-writing thing down someday. In the meantime….

 

 

I’ll have more next week!

Have a great week!

Author of Children's Literature

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