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Though I've published 115 books, I feel I'm just now writing the books I was meant to write. As a ninth generation Virginian, I've often written about my native state--historical fiction, nonfiction, biography. A few years ago, I decided to write funny contemporary books set in Virginia. IVA HONEYSUCKLE DISCOVERS THE WORLD (Disney-Hyperion) and REBEL MCKENZIE (Disney-Hyperion) both celebrate life in small quirky towns that can be found anywhere in the South. Where else would you find a cat named Doublewide with a fondness for pudding cups? Where else would double-first cousins be best-best friends or (in Iva's case) best-enemies? I love writing books for kids and teens that will make them laugh and inspire them to explore the richness of their own backyards, no matter where they live.
Seeing Sky-Blue Pink is a fantastic, fun book for younger middle grade readers who have graduated from chapter books like Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House but aren't ready for titles that are too long or sophisticated. It's a quieter title that celebrates simple pleasures and makes readers want to celebrate them, too.
This isn't an action-packed book. There's nothing nerve-wracking or edgy about it. But it's a book that I would have read and loved with a passion when I was eight years old. I would have kept it on a special place on my shelf and wanted to do all the things that Maddie got to do.
Maddie is eight years old herself, and she's got a lot to deal with when the book opens. She's just moved to a new house in the country from her old house in town, and she has a brand new stepfather. He's not the stereotypical evil step-parent. He's loving and funny and kind, and he introduces Maddie to a delicious summer of new experiences in her new home that almost make up for the special sundaes she used to eat with her mother on their shopping days in town.
The characters in Seeing Sky-Blue Pink are likable and memorable. The language is simple and lovely. If you long for the days when kids enjoyed old-fashioned pleasures like staring at sunset skies, treasure-hunting in creeks, and building tree houses, you'll feel right at home in these pages.
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