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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Official Adventures Series

I'm excited to share The Official Adventures series (plus a giveaway!) with y'all today...

“The Official Adventures” is a new children’s chapter book series that teaches the importance of sportsmanship, persistence, discipline, and respect - for referees, each other, and individuals with special needs.

The series tells the tale of two hockey loving brothers, Blaine and Cullen. On and off the ice, they have deep love for the game and also each other! Cullen is the all-star team captain and Blaine, who has Down syndrome, is the team manager and clearly the "unsung hero" of the team. The brothers join Rylee and Rosee, America’s favorite referees, in game day adventures filled with laughter, love and lessons.

“This is a rarity in children’s literature. We’ve seen characters with special needs on stage, film and other artistic expressions. But in books such a character is almost non-existent. It really is ‘ice breaking,’” states Katrina Dohm, Illustrator and Co-Creator, The Official Adventures Series.

The storyline doesn't hide Blaine's challenges; instead the text proudly displays Blaine's heart-warming perseverance, his discipline and love for the game, his family and life. Blaine's leadership and unselfish actions speak louder than any textual words. Through detailed illustration young readers are able to learn respect and a better understanding for the challenges individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.

The first two books in the series “Drop the Puck, It’s Hockey Season” and “Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup” are out now, with the third book “Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey” set to be released this Fall 2016.

Proceeds from book sales will benefit The American Special Hockey Association. ASHA strives to give people with physical and developmental disabilities the chance to play ice hockey in an environment which is adapted to the level of ability which the athletes are able to participate.

Praise
  
The book series has received the endorsement and support of NHL greats:

This is a very worthwhile read that contains life lessons beyond the rink. It’s a great pickup and I especially appreciate that it includes Blaine, a special needs character.” –Mike Hickey, President, American Special Hockey Association.

“Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup is a great book with a very important message for kids everywhere – Everyone deserves the chance to play hockey, no matter what their capability.” –Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

“The Official Adventures Series books are terrific heart-warming stories that celebrate hockey, family and children with special needs! Our family loves these hockey tales that teach life lessons and encourages everyone to treat others with respect.” –Bridget and Matt Cullen (Pittsburgh Penguins Center)

“This book teaches real life lessons through sport, through victory and losses, and emphasizes the importance of hard work regardless of the score.” –Jocelyne Lamoureux, Team USA, Silver Olympic Medalist

“Playing hockey is awesome and reading about it can be just as fun. It's important to learn fundamentals on and off the ice!” –Claude Giroux, Captain, Philadelphia Flyers

To learn more, go to http://www.officialadventures.org/


With a shared love and energy-driven passion for outstanding academics, stellar athletics and innovative arts, Jayne Jones Beehler, a college professor, and Katrina Dohm, a high school educator, have teamed up and joined forces as co-authors and co-creators of “The Official Adventures.” Jones Beehler, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, is passionate about children, education, foster care and adoption, and child abuse/prevention public policy. Jones Beehler worked for US Senator Norm Coleman from 2002-2006, then headed to the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Steve Sviggum. Jones Beehler teaches political science classes at Concordia University-St. Paul where her students have gained national attention and praise for their legislative activities and involvement.

Dohm was exposed to hockey growing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but her true love of the game began when she went to college in January of 1987 at the University of North Dakota. She arrived just in time to cheer on her future alma mater as they skated their way to an NCAA Championship. Dohm graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  For the past twenty-two years, Dohm has dedicated herself to being an art teacher and all the “extras” that go with it.  Her classroom is filled to the brim with personal touches (especially her favorite color, PURPLE) student projects galore, yearbook publications, shelves filled with art and design books, school spirit signs, and memorabilia.

Jones Beehler and Dohm, have earned “Hall of Fame” status for their real-life story-telling, colorful fresh illustrating and combined natural zest for helping young learners enjoy reading, appreciate the arts, while ensuring their writing and books instill life lessons and reader’s adventures of their own, while inspiring and reaching educational goals.


Win a copy of Drop The Puck!
The authors have generously offered one copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 12/9/16
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out Rafflecopter form to enter:

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Guest Post: The Importance of Homework


The Importance of Homework

Admittedly, it’s a tough sell explaining to children the importance of homework. After all, a school day is more than just grammar, math, science, and history. School-aged children learn to navigate social situations, deal with different personalities, and development a degree of independence. All of this combined can get stressful for children. 

Nonetheless, the importance of homework cannot get overstated so hire a cleaning service (apartment cleaning NYC) to do the housework and prepare to help your children. Homework serves as an opportunity for children to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes without the stress of test scores and performance evaluations. Additionally, for parents, homework serves as a window into your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. Homework is the bridge between school, home, and either higher education or the workforce. 

When a student gets assigned homework that students learns to work through problems alone or semi-independently under the guidance of a parent or tutor. Learning to work through problems independently is a vital personal skill. It enables students to gather, organize, and synthesize information. It increases critical thinking and time management skills. Beyond that, homework gives students and sense of accomplishment without pressure. 

Homework assignments also allow parents to observe progress in school. It’s a parent and school accountability tool. When a teacher sends after school tasks home parents can see that a school is on track regarding addressing age appropriate curriculum. Homework is a school’s opportunity to demonstrate to parents that children are being challenged to develop critical life skills and social context. 

Children, like adults, are unique. They learn differently from each other. They learn at a pace that is specific to each student. Homework levels the playing field for students who need extra time and extra effort to compete with students who naturally and effortlessly absorb and apply information. 

It sounds cliché, but human beings learn more through failure than through easy success. It’s only through focus and learning to work through problems that children get educated and develop a life skill such as work ethic, which allows every student the opportunity for future success.


*********************
DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored guest post, written by another author, and Word Spelunking was compensated for sharing. The thoughts and opinions in the post belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Word Spelunking.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Review: Two "Wow-Worthy" STEM Books for Kids from National Geographic

This Fall, National Geographic Kids Books is introducing two big, bold, gift-worthy titles for middle graders that show the fun, intriguing and fascinating side of science, technology, engineering and math:


How Things Work by T.J. Resler (November 2016, ages 7-10, $19.99) - Discover the secrets and science behind bounce houses, hovercraft, robotics and everything in between in this book that provides both the quick answers AND complete explanations for all things high tech, low tech and no tech (how DOES glue work???). Detailed diagrams, revealing photos, hands-on activities and and fascinating facts all help to demystify many common items -- like how a microwave works, how an eraser makes pencil marks disappear and how an iPad or tablet can do so much --  and also delves into the more futuristic -- but very real -- inventions like bionics, invisible cloaks and  tractor beams.  "Tales from the Lab" and profiles of talented engineers, inventors and scientists provide plenty of inspiration and extensive back matter encourages curious kids to find out even more by providing a listing of additional websites, videos and other resources.  How Things Work is perfect for the kid who thinks "just because" isn't a REAL answer.  


National Geographic Science Encyclopedia (October 2016, ages 8-12, $24.99) -- Attention science lovers!! From tiny atoms to plate tectonics, from the far reaches of space to the depths of the ocean, this title has the most comprehensive coverage of all things science. Lively, expert-reviewed text coupled with fascinating facts about earthquakes, electricity, elements, and the life sciences as well as mini experiments combine to make the National Geographic Science Encyclopedia THE gold standard in science reference books.








National Geographic has outdone themselves with How Things Work and their newest Science Encyclopedia! Both of these truly wow-worthy STEM books are bursting with fascinating and captivating information, stunning images, and super fun layouts. Each book provides hours of exciting, yet educational entertainment and learning. Young readers will be inspired, impressed, and have their imaginations tickled by the contents of each book. I know I've had such a blast reading through both books, exploring the various topics, and studying all the bright, bold images.

National Geographic is so very good at making learning fun and enjoyable and these books are definitely both of those things. These would make perfect holiday gifts for the science-loving and curious young readers in your life!

5/5 Cupcakes for both books

Monday, November 7, 2016

Return to the Secret Garden Spotlight Tour {excerpt and giveaway}


Return to the Secret Garden
Holly Webb
November 1, 2016
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Return to the magic of Burnett’s classic tale with a brand-new character as she discovers a very secret garden.
It’s 1939, and the occupants of the Craven Home for Orphaned Children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall, a fancy manor in the English countryside, to escape the Blitz. Emmie would hardly call the orphanage “home,” but her heart breaks knowing that leaving Craven means leaving her beloved cat, Lucy. Away from everything she’s ever known and trapped in imposing Misselthwaite, Emmie finds herself more miserable than ever.
But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house—a boy who cries in the night, a diary written by a girl named Mary, and a garden. A very secret garden…

Buy Links
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/1yFh305NpWv

Praise for Return to the Secret Garden
“What a joy to return to the scene of a beloved children's classic... RETURN TO THE SECRET GARDEN with Holly Webb and enjoy the wonder of childhood and the magic of friendship in this sequel that is sure to warm the hearts of young readers everywhere. This is an absolute literary delight.”
Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books (Excelsior, MN)

Excerpt

One
The children marched down the street in a long line of twos, and only one of them looked back. The others didn’t turn because they didn’t need to. There was nothing to look back for. Everything they owned was with them—-a few clothes, a battered, shapeless stuffed toy here and there. Each of them carried a paper bag and a gas mask, and that was all they had.
Emmie trailed, peering over her shoulder, so that Arthur, behind her, gave her a shove to tell her to keep up. She kicked him swiftly and walked backward instead, still trying to see.
But Lucy wasn’t there. It was stupid to expect that she would be anyway, Emmie thought. Lucy hardly ever came out onto the street. She was shy, and she hated loud noises. Emmie still stared though, hoping to see the small, black cat peering after her around the corner of the tall house. Lucy had probably fled out into the backyard, Emmie decided miserably. She kicked Arthur again because he was smirking at her—-and because she felt like it.
“Emmeline Hatton!”
Emmie whipped around with a sigh. Of course Miss Dearlove hadn’t seen Arthur giving her a push. She never did see. “Me, miss?” she asked innocently, trying to look as though she didn’t know what was the matter.
The matron glared at her. “No, the other Emmeline Hatton. Of course you! You bad--tempered little girl, how dare you kick Arthur like that?”
“He pushed me…” Emmie started to say, but Miss Dearlove didn’t bother to listen. She grabbed Emmie by the arm and hauled her up to the front of the line. She was a tiny lady, not actually much bigger than Emmie, but Emmie didn’t dare pull away. She had known Miss Dearlove forever. The matron was like a busy little clockwork train, wound up into a clicking fuss of pure crossness. It was best not to get in her way—-but somehow Emmie always did.
“You can walk here with Miss Rose and the babies since you can’t be trusted to behave like a ten--year--old. Why is it always you? And after your ridiculous behavior this morning as well. As if we haven’t got enough to worry about.” She glanced down at her watch. “Miss Rose, we need to hurry. The station’s bound to be busy, and there isn’t that much time to spare.” She scuttled down to the end of the line again with one last growled “Behave!” to Emmie.
Miss Rose was usually less bad--tempered than the matron, but even she eyed Emmie and sighed. “Today of all days, Emmie? I would have thought you’d have more sense.”
“He shoved me,” Emmie muttered. She knew that wasn’t quite true, but she wasn’t letting them have the last word. “It isn’t fair. Why do I always get into trouble?” She walked down the street next to Miss Rose, seething and muttering to herself. If she huffed and growled, she wouldn’t cry, and she wasn’t going to give Arthur Banks the satisfaction of that, however much Miss Rose frowned.
They had been told the day before that they were leaving. Miss Dearlove had stood up at the end of breakfast and explained that since war was expected to be declared within a few days, the Craven Home for Orphaned Children would be evacuated “somewhere safe.”
No one knew what evacuation meant, except that it was vaguely connected with the rows of brown boxes on the shelves in the schoolroom, which contained the gas masks. Once a week for the last few months, they had pulled the masks on and sat staring at each other, snout--nosed and goggle--eyed. After the first few tries, Arthur had figured out how to make a rude noise, a sort of farting snort around the rubber facepiece. He did it every time now, and they all laughed. Even Miss Dearlove didn’t sound that cross when she told him off.
But Emmie had dreamed of those huge, round eyes almost every night since. The glass lenses of the masks leaned over her, stooping down close and staring. The gas masks were supposed to help them breathe, Miss Dearlove said, but when Emmie thought of her mask, sealed away in its flimsy cardboard box, she found her breath catching in her throat. Where was this gas going to come from anyway? No one had said. Arthur and his friend Joey said it would be dropped by planes, but all the gas that Emmie knew about came in pipes to the kitchen for the stoves. She didn’t see how it could be carried in a plane. If only someone would explain, she thought bitterly, kicking at a crack in the pavement as they marched on. Where were they going—-and why? What was happening? No one told them anything. They didn’t need to know. They just got packed up like their clothes and sent away…
“Look.” The little girl Emmie had been shoved next to tugged at her sleeve.
“What?” Emmie muttered, not looking.
“Over there.” Ruby pointed across the road. “See, Emmie, there! Do you think they’re being evacuated too?”
Emmie turned and saw that they were passing a school, where a long column of children was lining up on the playground. They were carrying an assortment of battered cases and brown paper bags, and there were labels tied onto their coats.
“I suppose so.”
“Just like us…” Ruby said thoughtfully. “I didn’t know everybody was.”
“We have to get out of the cities—-in case of planes flying over,” Emmie said vaguely. “All the children do.” That was what the boys had thought anyway. They had been lurking around the matron’s sitting room, listening to the news broadcasts, so Emmie supposed it was possible they were right. The children on the playground did look a lot like them, except that there were mothers huddling around them and even a few fathers. They were pushing packets of sandwiches into children’s pockets, hugging them, and running along beside them as the line of children started to snake out onto the street. The children marched away, following two older boys who had a banner with the school’s name stitched onto it. Almost like a procession, Emmie thought.
Some of the schoolchildren were crying, Emmie noticed. A lot of the smaller ones were clinging to their mothers, pale faced and bewildered. They didn’t seem to know what was happening either. But some of the others looked happy, swinging their cases as if they were off on holiday. Perhaps they were—-they might end up at the seaside.
Emmie blinked thoughtfully. She was almost sure she’d never been out of London. Until now, she hadn’t really thought about where they were going. She’d been too worried about what they were leaving behind. Maybe those two boys in the line with grins all over their faces were right. It was an adventure…
But almost all the mothers were brushing tears away quickly with the sides of their hands so as not to be seen. Emmie shivered. She supposed the children from the Home were lucky—-all the adults they knew were coming with them. It didn’t make her feel lucky though. She tried to remember the softness of Lucy’s head bumping against her fingers, the warmth of her breath as the little cat nuzzled against her. But all she could hear was Ruby, grumbling because she was tired and her shoes were too tight.
They hadn’t gone all that far, but the streets were so much busier than the quiet area around the Craven Home. Even Emmie felt tired, with so many people pressing around her and the constant roar of cars and carts and buses along the bustling street. On any other day, it would have been fun to stand on one of those islands in the road and watch and wonder where all these people were streaming off to. Today, Emmie wished she was back sitting in the window of her dormitory, peering out at the street to see the grocer’s van and a car every so often. She’d wished for something to happen, something exciting, and now it had.
“We’re almost there, Ruby,” Miss Rose said soothingly. “The station’s just along the road there. Do you see? The clock tower and the name underneath: King’s Cross.”
The station was huge, with two great, curving arched windows across the front, like tunnel mouths.
“London and North Eastern Railway? Are we going northeast then, miss?” Emmie demanded sharply, looking at the rest of the white letters along the roof. But Miss Rose ignored her, starting to hurry the line of children across the road. A policeman waved them over, holding up a line of buses and smiling down at little Ruby clutching her faded bear.
There were other lines of children converging on the station now. Hundreds of them, marching along like little ants. More and more poured out of buses, labeled, carrying parcels and bags and battered cases. Emmie had never seen so many people her own age before. How many were going out of London?
Miss Rose slowed as she walked them past the scattering of shops around the front of the great building and glanced around anxiously for Miss Dearlove.
“What is it?” Emmie asked. Miss Rose looked so suddenly uncertain. All the staff at the Home had been brisk and decided about the move, brushing away questions and urging the children to complete their meager packing. Now for the first time, Emmie wondered if they were as confused and worried as the children. Mrs. Evans, the cook, was clutching her big, black handbag against her front like a shield.
“Nothing, Emmie!” Miss Rose replied sharply. She was glancing back and forth between the sandbags built up around the doorway and a flight of steps down—-still with a sign to the Underground but blocked off with a great pile of bits of broken stone. She glanced down at Emmie with a bright smile that showed her teeth. “I just wasn’t quite sure which door we were to take, that’s all. We must expect everything to look a little different in wartime, mustn’t we?” she added in a comforting, singsong voice as though Emmie had been the scared one.
Miss Rose didn’t allow herself to be daunted by the huge space inside the station or the milling crowd of children. She straightened her shoulders and hurried them in, then started counting everybody again in case one of the twenty orphans had disappeared on the way. Emmie didn’t think any of them would have dared. Not with those planes coming—-and the gas. She had thought about running away before—-on days when nothing happened and no one spoke to her. But that had been before she found Lucy.
Miss Dearlove marched over to a man in a station uniform. He frowned down at his list and eventually pointed across to one of the farthest platforms. Then he checked his watch and pointed again, flapping his hands.
The matron came trotting back to them and caught Emmie’s hand, pulling at her sharply. “We haven’t much time. Come along, all of you. No dawdling. There are only so many extra trains for the evacuated schools,” she added to Miss Rose. “The timetable is all upset. If we miss this one, we’ll have to wait hours.” She glanced irritably down at Emmie as she spoke, as if it were her fault that they were late.
The train was already steaming as the children hurtled onto the platform and a porter flung the doors open for them, bundling them in as Miss Rose and Miss Dearlove and Mrs. Evans wrestled with bags and food baskets.
Emmie collapsed onto a padded seat, clutching her brown paper bag of clothes and staring out the window. She could see another train at the next platform with a girl gazing back at her. She smiled faintly, recognizing the strange girl’s expression of fear and excitement. There was even something of her own sickening loneliness. Perhaps that girl had never been out of London either. Perhaps she’d never been on a train. But maybe, just perhaps, the train was taking her toward something new and different. Things might be better—-even though she’d had to leave so much behind.
The girl waved at her, and Emmie lifted her hand slowly as their train shuddered and creaked and began to pull out of the station, out of London, heading for somewhere else.


Holly Webb worked as an editor at Scholastic Books in the UK before she became a full-time writer. She is the author of the popular Rose series. Holly lives in Reading, England, with her family. Visit Holly at www.hollywebb.com.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HollyKateSkeet




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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone by Jenny Lundquist {review, interview, giveaway}


I'm thrilled to have the lovely Jenny Lundquist here to chat about her upcoming middle-grade book, The Charming Life of Izzy Malone! Read my review, the interview, and enter the giveaway below...


The Charming Life of Izzy Malone
by Jenny Lundquist
November 2016
Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X
Source: ARC from author for review purposes
Izzy Malone isn’t your typical middle schooler. She wears camouflage combat boots, the stars are her only friends, and after a month she’s set a new record for the most trips to her principal’s office.

But Izzy’s life isn’t so charming these days. The kids at school think she’s a mouthy misfit, her musical prodigy sister gets all the attention at home, and no one takes Izzy’s determination to compete in her small town’s Great Pumpkin Race seriously.

When Izzy’s antics land her in hot water, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School. At first Izzy thinks it sounds stupid—her manners are just fine, thanks—but Mrs. Whippie’s first assignment proves intriguing. Tucked inside a letter is a shiny charm bracelet and instructions telling her she will “Earn Her Charm” by performing a series of tasks. For each task Izzy completes, she’ll receive a charm to place on her bracelet. “Complete them all,” the letter says, “and you will have earned a prize unlike any other.”

Soon Izzy’s adding charms to her bracelet. But when a task goes seriously awry and threatens to derail her mother’s budding political career, Izzy has her hands full proving she’s not an emerging juvenile delinquent. Add in some middle school mean girls, a giant pumpkin that could be the answer to all her problems, and discovering she might have a crush on the boy she accidentally punched in the face, and Izzy may just pull it all together and Earn Her Charm. And she’s about to find out the best kind of friends are just like stars: Bright and beautiful, appearing just when you need them, to shine a little bit of light on a dark night.


Izzy Malone just started middle-school and it isn’t going so well. Her big mouth has landed her in the principle’s office too many times and her unique clothes, unusual hobbies, and general “I don’t care” attitude, hasn’t made her any new friends. Izzy feels like she just doesn’t fit, not with the kids at her school and not with her musical prodigy big sister, running-for-mayor mother, or police chief father. Izzy’s behavior has prompted her parents to enroll her in a home-study charm school. Izzy receives letters from Mrs. Whippie, the charm school teacher, along with a new charm and task to earn it per letter. Izzy soon learns that earning the charms won’t be as easy as she hopes, but with the help of some possibly new friends, Izzy learns that each charm comes with so much more than she expected.

Jenny Lunquist’s The Charming Life of Izzy Malone is most certainly charming! Lundquist has spun an engaging and fun middle-grade read bursting with humor and heart and explores subjects like family, friendship, and fitting in, with depth and a pitch-perfect voice.  The middle-school world in The Charming Life of Izzy Malone feels achingly and hilariously authentic. From dreaded teachers to mean girls, annoying assignments, and first crushes, this is a world readers will get and relate to. The Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School is a creative and captivating story idea that young readers will love and reading about Izzy’s sometimes wacky and awry attempts to earn her charms is just too much fun!

Izzy Malone is a lovable heroine with a spunky attitude and charming wit. Readers will admire her fearless ability to be herself, while appreciating her vulnerability. Izzy is surrounded by a superb group of girlfriends with their own unique and special personalities. I love the wonderful female relationships (friendships, sisters, mother/daughter) Ludquist creates and explores in this book.

My final thoughts: Like Izzy herself, The Charming Life of Izzy Malone is sweet and sassy and heartfelt and humorous, and sure to spark many thoughtful discussions about self-esteem, bullying, and embracing one’s uniqueness.

MY RATING
4/5 Cupcakes


Q1. What three words best describe your book, The Charming Life of Izzy Malone?

I would say humorous, heartfelt, and of course, charming!

Q2. Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Charming Life of Izzy Malone a try?

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone is about a mouthy middle school misfit who, through joining a special charm bracelet club (and racing a giant pumpkin!) discovers the best friends of her life.

There! How was that?

Q3. Grab a copy of The Charming Life of Izzy Malone and answer the following:

Favorite chapter?

My favorite is chapter 34 which is titled The Great Pumpkin Regatta. I had so much fun writing Izzy’s racing scene, probably because I’d like to race a giant pumpkin myself one day.

Favorite page?

My favorite page is actually page 1 because the opening sentences are: The bracelet and the first charm appeared the day I punched Austin Jackson in the nose. I didn’t mean to slug him. His face just got in my way….Izzy is my fifth book, and these are by far my favorite opening lines that I’ve ever written.

Favorite place/setting?

The book is set in a small fictional northern California town called Dandelion Hollow, and while there are a ton of places that I love, I think my favorite is The Kaleidoscope Café, where Izzy sometimes hangs out, the menu is certain to change, and you can always count on running into someone you know.

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:

I flipped to page 187, and my favorite lines from it are: There are plenty worse things in this world than not fitting in—like fitting in way too much. You strike me as a real original, Izzy Malone, in a world that loves carbon copies.

Q4. What inspired The Charming Life of Izzy Malone? How did the story come to be?

The book was inspired partly by when I attended a giant pumpkin race a couple years ago. It was also inspired by my love for charm bracelets. I was sitting in a coffee shop one day, reflecting about how we use charm bracelets to tell the story of our life. But then it struck me, what if I wrote about a misfit middle schooler who used a charm bracelet to build the story of her life. I married the two ideas together into a manuscript that eventually became The Charming Life of Izzy Malone.

Q5. Can you tell us a bit about your character, Izzy? What makes her unique and what do you love about her?

I love Izzy so much; I love her spunk. I think she’s a unique blend of spunky toughness and hidden vulnerability, with a mouth that, unfortunately, often gets her into trouble.

Q6.  In The Charming Life of Izzy Malone, Izzy works to earn charms for her bracelet...what three charms, that reflect you/your life, would you want for your charm bracelet?

I think if I could pick three, I’d get the letters R, N, and T. They represent the first names of my husband and two sons. If I was using a charm bracelet to tell the story of my life, it would be incomplete without the three of them, because I am blessed to have them in my life.

Q7. What is the BEST thing about being a children’s author?

The best thing in the world is getting to know other authors! As a raging bookworm, it can’t be beat!

Q8. What projects are you working on now and what should we readers expect from you in the future?

Currently, I’m actually working on edits for the sequel to The Charming Life of Izzy Malone. It’s titled, The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby, and will be releasing in the fall of 2017. It has been so exciting diving back into the town of Dandelion Hollow and spending more time with Izzy, Violet and their friends and family.

Q9. Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome atprocrastinating!

I’m really embarrassed to admitthat I am deathly scared of bees. Seriously, if I was swarmed, I might potentially throw my kids in front of me as a shield.

The last great book I read wasThe Trespasser, by Tana French. I love her mystery series.

Q10. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Charming Life of Izzy Malone, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

I think I would somehow concoct a pumpkin butterscotch cupcake and call it Pumpkin Scotch Cupcakes. On a different note: Does anyone have a good ButterBeer Cupcake recipe? My Harry Potter obsessed boys want one.

Thanks so much for having me!

It was a pleasure chatting with you, Jenny!


Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.




Win a copy of 
The Charming Life of Izzy Malone plus swag!
Jenny has generously offered up a copy of her book and some swag for one winner.
DETAILS
-US only
-ends 11/8/16
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out Rafflecopter form to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway