Big Top Burning, book review, Children's Writing, Laura A. Woollett, Ruby Lee and Me, San Francisco Book Review, Shannon Hitchcock

Ruby Lee and Me — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
~ Jack Kerouac ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
K. M. Weiland has a very good post HERE on avoiding the deadly anticlimactic ending. Check it out. 

Janice Hardy will help you avoid too much backstory with her post HERE

Kim van Alkemade has a terrific guest post on The Writer’s Dig about research for writing historical fiction. Click HERE to read it.

Let me start by wishing all of you a happy Christmas and wonderful New Year. I doubt I will be here for the next two weeks, but who knows. Sometimes I think I won’t have the time or energy to write a post and then everything changes. In any case, I will be back soon.
When last we met, I offered a copy of Big Top Burning by Laura A. Woollett. The winner this time is Jess Haight, one of the authors of The Secret Files of Fairway Morrow and someone who happens to live in Connecticut, where Big Top Burning takes place. You can find Jess at her blog HERE and read more about her book, answer some riddles, and other fun things. Congratulations, Jess. I will get the book out to you this week.
I fell in love with the writing of Shannon Hitchcock a couple years ago when I read her debut novel, The Ballad of Jessie Pearl, which went on to win a Crystal Kite Award. I wrote about it HERE on my blog if you happened to miss it.  It’s a terrific book. So I was very excited when I heard she had a new book coming out. I was not disappointed. I lived it just as much. Here is the review of Ruby Lee and Me I wrote for San Francisco Book Review.

Sarah is supposed to be watching her little sister, Robin, when she hears screeching brakes and screams. Everything changes. Robin is in the hospital, and Sarah moves to her grandparents farm while everyone waits for Robin to wake up. Granny’s neighbor Miss Irene’s granddaughter Ruby Lee is Sarah’s best friend. Being with her makes waiting tolerable. Robin’s healing is long and hard. Hospital bills mount, and Sarah’s parents sell their house and move near the farm. Sarah will have to start a new school. At least she will have her best friend. But Granny warns Sarah since she is white and Ruby Lee is black and North Carolina schools are just integrating (it’s 1969), their friendship best be kept at home.

“This house was like opening a box of underwear on 
Christmas morning. It wasn’t a present I would have
pick out, but I’d put it to good use anyway.”

Shannon Hitchcock has written a rich, complex story set in a time and place

Shannon Hitchcock

filled with tension. The first-person narrative in the voice of 12-year-old Sarah is pitch perfect, the characters are well-rounded and absolutely believable, the story is compelling, and the writing is beautiful. This is the kind of coming-of-age story that should become a staple in middle-grade classrooms. Kids will love it, but it deserves a much wider audience.


I have an ARC of this book I would be happy to send to one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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