HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO…

Stories

Girl Code—the latest in the Brianna Justice series. Our sixth-grade heroine has set aside her mixing bowls to pursue a new dream—TV anchorwoman. However, when she winds up working for a print newspaper in Detroit with her new mentor, Brianna soon learns that much like baking, great journalism requires the right balance of ingredients. Is she up to the challenge of staring down prejudicial stereotypes—especially when SHE is part of the group doing the stereotyping? Get ready, ‘cause Brianna Justice is here!

A Writer’s Life…

Stories

The Breakdown Cure

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I’m juggling a couple projects, but on deadline for only one. So, of course, it takes precedence. My brain has jet lag even though it’s been months since I’ve been near a jet. And I’m trying to plan marketing strategies for my two newest books as well as a book giveaway. Too early for vodka. So, comfort food it is. #amwriting

Homemade tomato soup is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Not to mention creative meltdowns and middle-of-the-night panic attacks. (“Oh, god! Did I remember to rearrange paragraphs three and four? DID I? THE WHOLE MANUSCRIPT IS DOOMED!”)

Quick zesty tomato soup recipe. Eat like a published author or manic insomniac. Either way, the soup tastes good.

1 can tomato sauce (I prefer Contadina, but hey, you do you)

1 cup 2 percent milk (I’ve done it with pure cream or whole milk; richer taste, but can feel greasy)

2 tsp butter

1 tsp basil

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Tomato sauce, basil and pepper in saucepan, bring to boil. Lower heat, add butter, milk, and nutmeg. Bring to slow boil. You can get your bowl and crackers, or toast points or grilled cheese ready while you wait. Takes about six minutes. Watch carefully. You know that milk will rise up like a frothy beast if you’re not careful. Voila! Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan or cheddar. Soup is served.

 

BIG BOOK NEWS: THE SWEETEST SOUND PAPERBACK

Stories

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It may be rainy today throughout Florida, but there is sunshine in my heart. My sweet, sweet little book about a 10-year-old girl who has the voice of an angel—Mariah Carey is her hero—but is afraid to be heard. I wrote the book so that each chapter would feel like a song. I love this book and now that she’s a brand new paperback, I hope you get to know Cadence Mariah Jolly and fall in love with her story, too. Kisses!

President of the Whole Fifth Grade

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What happen when a scrappy 10-year-old cupcake entrepreneur discovers that the road to success goes through school politics? A hilarious, emotional political race that proves being successful doesn’t always mean getting the most votes.

COUNTDOWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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At this time of year, everyone is posting lists of faves. Us book lovers get filled with holiday glee at the thought of books fresh from the book garden, or wherever great books are born. So here are a few goodies on my list of recommended must-reads:

Must Read:

Stunning tale of heartache and redemption.

Stunning tale of heartache and redemption.

Lost In The Sun (LISA GRAFF): Masterfully written and heart-achingly real. Trent starts middle school desperate to hit the restart button on his life. He craves a new beginning after a fifth-grade tragedy left one classmate dead and Trent feeling the weight of his friend’s loss. After all, he surmises, it was all Trent’s fault. How would you cope with causing the death of another kid? Trent’s struggle feels real and honest. The kind of book that makes you clutch your chest and shake your head while you’re reading it. A darned good book!

 

 

Monsters don't stand a chance against the PIB!

Monsters don’t stand a chance against the PIB!

Princess In Black and the Perfect Princess Party (SHANNON HALE): I mean, really? Who wouldn’t want to attend a perfect party in honor of a monster hunting princess? Welcome to the castle, y’all. Princess In Black is in the house. Is it wrong that I buy these books knowing I have no age-appropriate reader with which to share? The PIB (Princess In Black) delivers charm, hilarity and plenty of action. You may scoff, but her tales are a pure delight!

 

 

 

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President of the Whole Sixth Grade (SHERRI WINSTON): Brianna Justice thought she had sixth grade all figured out. Until she was actually in sixth grade. Then everything she thought she was sure of–her friends, her future, her Self!–began to shift. How Brianna chooses to find herself and figure out her next move is an inspiration to anyone who has ever faced a challenge and then challenged themselves to figure it out. In a story filled with Ancient Roman facts, yummy cupcake recipes and a class trip from Detroit to Washington, D.C., Brianna Justice learns a few things about life. And maybe teaches a few things, too.

President of the Whole SIXTH Grade!

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Congratulations to my favorite alter ego, Brianna Justice. Little, Brown has just announced the upcoming release to the sequel of President of the Fifth Grade. Brianna and her friends will face the social land mines of middle school in the 2015 release of President of the Whole SIXTH Grade! Woo-hoo!

Congratulations to my favorite alter ego, Brianna Justice. Little, Brown has just announced the upcoming release to the sequel of President of the Fifth Grade. Brianna and her friends will face the social land mines of middle school in the 2015 release of President of the Whole SIXTH Grade! Woo-hoo!

I have waited a while for this announcement. It’s official — President of the Whole Sixth Grade is set for a 2015 Fall release.

A year ago, I was returning home from a summer of craziness, teaching at a camp in Western Pennsylvania and having a time of a my life. Except for the part where I went to New York to pitch a manuscript I’d been working on for over six months only to learn that the editors at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers were interested in hearing more from the heroine of my previous LB middle-grade novel, Brianna Justice.

The hardest thing about waiting for the next book in the sequence is anticipating the new cover.

The hardest thing about waiting for the next book in the sequence is anticipating the new cover.

Luckily, I, too, felt that Miss Justice had plenty more to say. President of the Whole Fifth Grade featured a 10-year-old girl who wanted to become a cupcake-making millionaire. She idolized television cooking personality Miss Delicious and hoped to follow in her diamond-studded footsteps. However, as Brianna grew closer to her goal, she started to realize that she was sacrificing her friends and herself.

Hey, who hasn’t been there, right?

I love the Brianna Justice character because she represents wish-fullfilment. I was such a timid and shy kid in fifth grade that when I look back, I wish I could have been more daring and outgoing, like Brianna. Now, in President of the Whole Sixth Grade, I get to push my wish fulfillment a step further, positing a sixth-grade in which a smart, level-headed girl is able to gather her wits and strength to motivate those around her to be their absolute best. And make a difference.

With so much to celebrate, I couldn’t let the occasion pass without a beautiful chocolate cake.

So here’s to you, Brianna Justice — and all the Brianna Justices out there. Thank you for your awesomeness!