Posts Tagged friendship

Shining Light Onto Death: Interview and GIVEAWAY with Joanne Levy, author of SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS

Our instinct is often to want to shield kids from death, despite death being something that is difficult for adults to understand any better. And despite the chances that children will encounter it in some form—whether it’s the passing of a loved one or a close friend’s loved one, or even a tangential acquaintance.

Enter SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, a new middle grade novel by Joanne Levy, about a girl whose family runs a funeral home. Besides being a brilliant idea, Joanne pulls it off with just the right balance between heartfelt, moving, sad, funny and respectful, as the main character Evie must navigate a friendship with Oren whose parents have just been killed in a horrific car accident. I’m so honored and excited to welcome Joanne to our blog.

MD: Hi, Joanne–welcome to …From the Mixed Up Files!

JL: Thank you so much for having me! I’ve been following along almost since the beginning so it’s a great honor to be here. And thank you so much for the kind words about SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS—I’m so pleased it resonated with you!

MD: Absolutely. Joanne, I had to laugh when your email subject line to me was “The book whose title doesn’t do well as a subject line.” I definitely can see that when you’re cold calling people to promote your book offering them condolences (“Sorry for your loss”) might get you off on the wrong foot! It’s both a funny joke but also feels like perhaps it is a metaphor for the complicated business of writing a children’s book—or any book for that matter—that is about death and the rituals and procedures surrounding it. Beyond avoiding putting the title in email subject lines, what were other challenges or complications you had to navigate when writing SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS?

JL: It wasn’t until I started sending out emails about the book that it quickly occurred to me that I might alarm people with a subject line containing the title! Of course, that pitfall was easily avoided. What was more difficult to navigate was including the right content in the book. You’re right that writing a book with such difficult topics (not just for kids, either, since as you say above, adults also struggle with death, grief, and loss) is complicated business. I didn’t want to scare kids or be overly graphic, but at the same time, I felt it was really important to be honest and pull back the curtain on death and funerals in a way that would satisfy readers’ curiosity without crossing the line into nightmare territory. I made very conscious decisions in what details to include and which to leave out and hope that I found that right balance. Even so, I recognize that some readers are going to wish there were more details and some might wish there were fewer and some won’t pick up the book at all. That’s perfectly okay, especially when it comes to difficult topics.

Still, as I’m writing this response to your question, I’ve only gotten feedback about the book from adult readers so I am very nervously holding my breath, waiting to hear from kids.

MD: Evie’s family runs a Jewish funeral home and Evie opens up to the reader (myself included) many of the mysteries of the rituals and practicalities surrounding death and burial –whatever the religion–that are often shrouded in mystery and whispers, deemed too morbid or “gory” to think about. I personally found it refreshing and eye-opening and I think other readers, young and old, will too. Were there parts though that you originally put in but had to take out?

JL: As I mentioned above, I was very conscious of the details I included in the book. I wanted to make sure that each was organic to the story and not just there for shock value. So I don’t think I had to back out any details but I will say that I struggled a little with how far I wanted to go with respect to Evie and Oren seeing a body. Slight spoiler: It wasn’t until I wrote the scene where they open the fridge that I even knew for sure what was going to happen there. Looking back, it feels inevitable that it would play out the way it did (and I strongly feel I made the right choice) but just to give you that little behind-the-scenes insight into how it happened, it took until that moment for me to know what was going to happen even though I’d known for weeks that the scene was coming.

Sidebar: if anyone is interested in my research, I have put a page on my website that tours the funeral home my dad manages – with pictures and further reading links. You’ll find it here.

MD: Great, thank you. In general, how did you balance writing a book about death and funerals with writing a book for children?

JL: My number one consideration when writing for kids is being absolutely honest. That doesn’t mean I need to put every single detail about death and funerals on the page, but I’m not hiding them, either. Kids are curious and resilient and want to know what happens to us when we die. That said, this book is about so much more—friendships and bullying and finding little joys in life, even in dark moments.

Also, I looked at the story through Evie’s eyes and how she would see the things around her. She sees funerals nearly every day and it’s just a part of her life and family business, so while many of us shy away from death and grief, for her, elements that we find taboo or strange are mundane. Caskets? She sees them as dust-collecting furniture she has to polish. It’s through her perspective that we can get past the scary symbols and rituals to the feelings underneath.

MD: To what extent did you draw from your own experiences? You mention in the promotional materials that you did research by “touring” the funeral home your father manages. Did your family manage the funeral home when you were growing up too? If so, like Evie, did you help out? And did you find that other children had difficulty accepting you and/or understanding the vital role your family played in the community? 

JL: Actually no, my parents came to the funeral business later in life. My great aunt was a member of the group of volunteers that prepares bodies for burial and I believe she recruited my dad who, in turn, recruited my mom. The manager of my hometown Jewish funeral chapel retired and my father took over that role and I believe by then he was in his sixties. So I didn’t grow up entrenched in the business the way Evie does in the book. But I’ve always been fascinated by the industry and had I been born to it, I have a feeling I’d have been the one dusting caskets and giving out tissues.

MD: One of the points that come up several times throughout the novel is the idea of respect, especially the importance of respecting the body of the person who has died. Can you talk about that?

JL: Not only is it built right into the ritual of caring for the body—there are even specific prayers that require those preparing the body for burial to beg forgiveness for any inadvertent wrongdoing–but this is how my father looks at his role. He takes great pride and care in what he does and that respect—both for the deceased and their families—never wavers. Knowing that gave me great comfort when we laid my mom to rest because I knew everyone taking care of her would treat her with that same respect. I never had to worry and I felt that it was really important for readers to know that the people behind the scenes really, really care about what they do and take it very seriously.

 

On Writing:

MD: This is your 6th published book. Congratulations! Did you find the process of writing this one similar or different to your previous book? Did you feel more experienced having gone through the writing, editing and publishing process before?

JL: Every book feels like its very own mountain to climb but I will say that with every book I trust my process more. That doesn’t mean books are easier to write, just less anxiety-inducing and I know that even when I feel blocked, it’ll come back and I’ll get it done. I just need to trust that process and get out of my own head (or house – long dog walks are great to unstick plots!).

That said, this book was a huge challenge because of how important it was to me to get it right. I was committed to making it readable and entertaining and maybe even educational for kids, same as all my books. But SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS is also a tribute to my dad and those like him who do such important work. I also wanted it to be accurate, accessible, and interesting to non-Jews as well. I have never worked harder, done so much research on a project, or sent out to so many beta readers for feedback, but I’m proud of the result and it feels like a job well done.

 

On Crafting (and writing!):

MD: I follow you on Instagram and adore all the crafty things you make and sell on Etsy. Do you find there is a connection between being a writer and the other creative things you do?

JL: That’s a great question and I think that indirectly there is a connection and it’s that creativity piece. I was always a crafty kid and I love being creative and making things with my hands. But crafting things out of wool or some other tangible medium is different than crafting worlds and characters out of thin air. Still, I think that creativity begets creativity and one type can influence another and crafts have woven their way into my books – quilling in for SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, knitting in FISH OUT OF WATER.

That said, repetitive crafts, like needle felting (stabbing wool with special needles), give my brain space to wander while my hands are busy. I’ve detangled many a plot issue while my hands were occupied with other things. I think a lot of writers turn to other artistic pursuits either as a respite from a constantly whirling mind, or to give that mind space to work in the background.

Hmm. That feels like a convoluted answer to a very straightforward question. Let’s just say yes.

MD: Haha. As a knitter, crocheter and needlepointer myself I am smiling at that answer! 🙂

MD: Joanne, when I first met you it was at breakfast my first morning as a fellow of TENT: Children’s Literature, a week-long writing residency  I was a 2019 fellow and you was a past fellow, returning to use the time as a retreat as well as mingle and meet the new crew of authors writing children’s literature with Jewish content. I was jet lagged and bleary-eyed from my journey but I’ll never forget how I perked up when you told me you were writing a novel that is set in a Jewish funeral home, based somewhat on your own experience of being part of a family who manages a Jewish funeral home. I thought it was a brilliant idea, with so much potential, not to mention something that would definitely fill a hole in kidlit, with the practicalities of death in any religion not something often covered.

I was delighted this past month to read the finished result.  I think that readers will laugh and cry with Evie and Oren and that SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS will open up many important discussions about respect in death as well as the procedures and customs surrounding it regardless of faith or religion. Scroll down for a chance to win your own copy. Joanne, thank you so much for joining us on MUF today 🙂

JL: Meira, I remember that breakfast well and despite your jet lag and long journey, you were a joy to talk to! Thank you so much for your kind words about SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. It means so much to me that the book resonated with you. While I wrote it from a Jewish perspective, I wrote it for ALL readers, hoping they would find relatable characters and lots to discuss. Thank you for this opportunity to chat about it here and share it with you and the MUF community!

MD: Thanks, Joanne!

Joanne can be found at www.joannelevy.com and https://www.instagram.com/joanne_levy_/

SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS came out October 10th and can be found here and wherever fine books are sold.

Giveaway!!!

Joanne has offered to send an author-signed copy of SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS to one lucky winner!

Enter here for your chance to win! Entries close October 28th 2021. US & Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE! Congratulations to Danielle Hammelef who has won a signed copy of SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS!

 

The Most Perfect Interview with Author Tricia Springstubb

Author Tricia Springstubb

I’m very excited today to welcome author Tricia Springstubb to The Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors! We’re here to talk about her newest middle-grade novel The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe.

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the book.

Eleven-year-old Loah Londonderry is definitely a homebody. While her mother, a noted ornithologist, works to save the endangered birds of the shrinking Arctic tundra, Loah anxiously counts the days till her return home. But then, to Loah’s surprise and dismay, Dr. Londonderry decides to set off on a perilous solo quest to find the Loah bird, long believed extinct. Does her mother care more deeply about Loah the bird than Loah her daughter?

Things get worse yet when Loah’s elderly caretakers fall ill and she finds herself all alone except for her friend Ellis. Ellis has big problems of her own, but she believes in Loah. She’s certain Loah has strengths that are hidden yet wonderful, like the golden feather tucked away on her namesake bird’s wing. When Dr. Londonderry’s expedition goes terribly wrong, Loah needs to discover for herself whether she has the courage and heart to find help for her mother, lost at the top of the world. 

 

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe is available for preorder now and releases June 1, 2021.

MH:  When and where did you get the idea for The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe?

TS:  A writer’s mind is a wild, unpredictable place. Ideas lurk about. You glimpse one from the corner of your eye but before you can catch it, it has slipped back into the shadows. Maybe you get another chance–this time it lingers long enough to walk beside you for a while before it disappears again, leaving you to puzzle out what to make of it…

…which is my devious way of saying, I don’t exactly know where I got the idea for Loah!  If I look at my files, I can see I first tried to write about her back in 2017. The files have names like Loah After Retreat and Loah After Mary Jane’s House(two of many places I worked on the book) and Loah Yet Again. I set out to write a historical novel, something I’d never done. I did research, which I loved, and began a story about a timid, turn of the century girl who lived in an ambiguous European country in a spooky house with her ancient caretakers. Her beloved older sister vanishes; an orphan seeks refuge. But my world-building was shaky–I kept making things up rather than sticking to established historical facts. After many tries and lots of frustration, I had to admit I lacked the discipline to stay within set bounds of time and place.

But by then I was too in love with Loah to let her go. She became a timid contemporary girl who lives in a spooky house with ancient caretakers. It’s her beloved mother who vanishes, her new friend Ellis who hides out with her. The birds came winging in on their own. Birds have flitted through so many of my books–a sparrow even gets its own little arc in Every Single Second–and here they settled in and became central to the story.

MH: Was there a time you thought you might give up on this book? What did you do to get through that?

TS: More than one time! I especially remember one gray January afternoon. I’d been working all morning, and had just introduced a brand new character, a snarky woman wearing a hat made of faux-giraffe-skin. What in the world was she doing there? I went for a long, desolate walk. Getting away from the desk helped me realize that I was writing loony scenes in an effort to distract readers (and myself!)  from the fact that I’d lost my story’s thread. I needed to think more deeply about who Loah was, what she needed and wanted. What was my story about, and what was it reallyabout? The woman in the giraffe hat got the axe (though who knows–she may yet turn up in a different story, where she actually belongs).

I do endless revisions for all my books, but usually one thing remains constant the–the setting, the situation, the conflict. For The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe, it was Loah. She may be my favorite of all the young heroes I’ve written.

MH: What do you like about writing for MG readers?

TS: Pretty much everything! Kids this age brim with curiosity. They love to laugh. They are vulnerable and brave and they will commit to a story like nobody’s business. Middle grade readers demand strong plots, but they’re also sophisticated enough to appreciate nuance. Their sense of justice and their hopes for the world make me want to be a better person as well as a better writer. Their eyes are so wide and their hearts so big!

MH: Was this your original title?

TS: Yes, except for all those working titles I mentioned when Loah’s story was a different book. The title was a gift that came to me during my research. It’s drawn from a quote from the nineteenth-century naturalist Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who wrote, “I think that, if required on pain of death to instantly name the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on….”

Well, I am not going to give the rest away!

Wouldn’t filling in that blank be a fun classroom writing prompt?

MH: Tell us something fascinating you discovered while researching this book.

TS: Each year Arctic terns make a round trip migration of up to 25,000 miles, the longest recorded migration of any animal on the planet. Much of their route is over water–how do they do it without the GPS lady? Sadly, due to climate change, Arctic terns, like far too many species of animals and plants, face increasing challenges to their habitat and survival. Research made me even more aware than I’d been of Earth’s precious, fragile inter-connections. We can all help protect and preserve. The Audubon Society has wonderful suggestions for how we can become nature’s advocates, starting in our own neighborhoods.

MH: Now time for a Quick-Answer Finish-This-Sentence Round. Ready?

          TS: Sure!

MH: Recently, I’ve been very interested in learning about…

          TS:   … dogs, for my new novel.

MH: The best thing that happened to me yesterday was …

           TS:  … helping my neighbor get a vaccine appointment.

MH: I can’t help but laugh out loud when …. 

            TS: … my tiny granddaughter imitates Elsa.

MH: I’m looking forward to ….

           TS: … visiting schools and young readers for real.

MH: I really like the smell of …. 

           TS: … licorice.

MH: If I weren’t a writer, I might like to be a …

           TS: … person who delivers flowers.

Well, if Tricia Springstubb showed up on my doorstep with flowers, I would welcome her smiling face! But I am very, very happy she’s writing thoughtful, engaging, entertaining middle-grade fiction for all of us.  Thank you, Tricia!

Tell us about your favorite Tricia Springstubb book! Leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

STEM Tuesday: Science in Fiction Books – Author Interview with Mary Knight and Giveaway

Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview & Book Giveaway, a repeating feature for the fourth Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math! 

Your host this week is Dr. Amber J. Keyser, evolutionary biologist and author of many books for young readers. Today, she’s interviewing Mary Knight, the author of Saving Wonder.

About the book: Having lost most of his family to coal mining accidents as a little boy, Curley Hines lives with his grandfather in the Appalachian Mountains of Wonder Gap, Kentucky. Ever since Curley can remember, Papaw has been giving him a word each week to learn and live. Papaw says words are Curley’s way out of the holler, even though Curley has no intention of ever leaving.

When a new coal boss takes over the local mining company, life as Curley knows it is turned upside down. Suddenly, his best friend, Jules, has a crush on the coal boss’s son, and worse, the mining company threatens to destroy Curley and Papaw’s mountain. Now Curley faces a difficult choice. Does he use his words to speak out against Big Coal and save his mountain, or does he remain silent and save his way of life? With everything changing, Curley doesn’t even know if there will be anything left to save.

About the author: Mary’s debut novel, SAVING WONDER (Scholastic), won the 2017 Green Earth Book Award, a Parents’ Choice award, a Sigurd Olsen honorable mention for nature writing from Northland University, and was named a Notable Book for Social Studies by the Children’s Book Council. In addition to author visits and working on her next novel, Mary is a mentor for the Carnegie Center’s Author Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. She is also co-authoring a professional development book for teachers called CoreEmpathy: Transforming the Literacy Classroom. More about Mary and her work at www.maryknightbooks.com

Praise for SAVING WONDER from School Library Journal: Descriptions of the setting’s fragile beauty are so subtly interwoven with dialogue and action, they’re not only powerful visual images but ever-present reminders of what’s at stake in Curley’s fight…Characters are fully developed and endearing, their dialogue direct and sincere…Curley and Pawpaw’s word-a-week ritual crystallizes their relationship for the readers and gives Curley the confidence to take on an adversary that seems more powerful than he is. VERDICT A remarkable debut novel from an author to watch.

Also check out great reviews from Bookpage and Publisher’s Weekly.

Mary’s ideas for how to use SAVING WONDER to introduce STEM topics in the classroom: Generally, teachers who want to use the story of Saving Wonder as a “jumping off point” for further exploration of STEM topics have found it to be very versatile. Fiction has a unique function in engaging student interest in STEM topics by showing how an individual life is being personally affected by that topic or issue.

For instance, my novel offers a very personal, heartfelt betrayal of how one family (and community) is affected by a coal company’s decision to mine a mountain. A fictional story can show readers WHY we study and explore these topics, WHY they matter to people in their everyday lives. The story inspires interest and then, the student has their own personal stake in what they are researching and exploring…because they’ve “walked in a character’s shoes” and seen that topic from that character’s point of view. In short, a story can inspire them to care…and that caring makes all the difference in their learning.

Math topics:

First paragraph of the book, Curley says that learning a word a week from his grandfather and going through the alphabet twice a year is “a perfect system.” I love asking readers “why” this is. What’s the math? A teacher could ask: What are some examples of perfect systems? “Is an equation a ‘perfect system.’ What makes a system “perfect?’

Researching statistics / surveys on the effects of mountaintop removal on the Appalachian region. Exploring the economics involved in the issue, i.e. jobs versus effects on environment and public health.

Science topics:

Extinct species in the Appalachian Mountains: What made the Appalachians a perfect habitat for animals during the ice age? What made species go extinct? The considerations / consequences of introducing a new species into a region. (The introduction of western elk into the Appalachian region is explored in the novel.)

The long-term effects of extractive mining processes, specifically mountaintop removal mining, on environment and health. 

(Science and engineering) Designing experiments on run-off and water quality on nearby streams. One fifth-grade teacher in South Charleston, West Virginia created a classroom experiment showing how toxic minerals leech into the soil and then, streams and rivers. Contact Knight through her website for a copy of this lesson. 

How mountains are formed. If the Appalachians are among the oldest mountains in the world, why are they so short? 

How coal and other energy materials are formed. How and why they burn (chemistry).

Sustainable vs non-sustainable energy systems. (Cost analysis / diagrams could also be a math topic.)

One of Curley’s words is “tipping point.” What does “tipping point” mean in science? What are some examples of a tipping point? Scientific demonstrations of “tipping point,” say when water becomes a solid and/or a gas. Relating the scientific to social or cultural tipping points may enhance understanding of both.

Curley and his friends use the power of technology to spread the news about the mining threat to their mountain and to inspire other people to care through the power of their words. Where are all the places where technology comes into play in the novel–for good or ill? How does their use of technology have to do with “tipping point?” What is the definition of “going viral” these days and how may it differ from the past?

How might you use technology to spread the word regarding something you care about? Projects could revolve around this. One middle school teacher, after reading Saving Wonder with her class, invited her students to answer the question: “What makes something worth fighting for?” And then they created projects in which they took action to make a difference in their community. This same invitation could be made, inviting students to incorporate technology in their design / response.

On a more social note . . . 

In Saving Wonder, my protagonist Curley Hines has a conversation with the new coal boss, Mr. Tiverton, concerning the mountaintop removal mining planned for Curley’s mountain. Both characters have their say, offering what the mountain and the proposed mining means to them. I think this scene offers a great example of how to have a civil conversation where both parties are able to speak and be heard–something I believe we need more of in today’s divisive culture. I created the following lesson based on this scene to help students create and practice civil conversation. This is not STEM oriented, specifically, but anyone in a STEM field will one day need this skill! This was a guest blog for Jacqueline Jules’ blog, “Pencil Tips Writing Workshop.”

These are just a few ideas for integrating the “A” of language arts into “S-T-E-M” to increase the vibrancy of learning! 

A Q & A with Amber J. Keyser and Mary Knight:

When you began to work on Saving Wonder, which came first, the environmental issues or the characters?  

Chronologically speaking, my experience and impassioned response to the environmental destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining came first, but it wasn’t until I was “introduced” to my main character, Curley Hines, that the story began to unfold.

When my husband and I moved to Kentucky from the Pacific Northwest eight years ago, we were missing our mountains, so when we heard that a state park was offering elk tours in eastern Kentucky, we jumped at the chance to explore our new landscape. Little did we know that that tour would land us on an active mountaintop removal (MTR) site. We were absolutely flabbergasted at the sight of so much devastation—hundreds of acres absolutely stripped of all life. The experience led me to conduct research on the mining practice for the next two years, while also participating in some environmental activism.

Two years after that initial experience, I was researching the setting of another novel I was writing when I came upon a historic gazebo in a public park in Cincinnati. People through the decades had carved their initials on its stone wall. As I was running my hands over the engravings, I came upon one that read: “I love Curley Hines” and in that moment, I knew that boy. I tell my readers that “he came to me whole.” I knew that he was tall and thin with curly hair, of course, that he was really smart and lived in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky with his grandfather. And I began hearing his voice. He wanted to tell me his story! It was then that I knew MTR would provide the central conflict. I had finally found a story big enough to explore the topic.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while working on this book?

As part of my research, my assistant interviewed a contact she had in the mining permit field to answer my story-specific questions. When he was asked, “What stops mountaintop removal?” he answered, “Very little.”

Although I knew how challenged environmentalists are regarding MTR in Kentucky where many say, “Coal is King,” this answer was still very sobering. We followed up later by asking, “We’re not looking for what is probable, but rather, what might be possible to stop MTR.” He said, “Well, I suppose if an ancient Native American burial site were found, maybe some petroglyphs…” and then he said, “But none of that would matter UNLESS (caps, mine) there was also a large public outcry.” This was when I understood the power of numbers in getting what you want…or stopping what you don’t want. These answers figured prominently in the choices I made with my plot. Specifically, this was when the Native American element entered my story—an element I love. As I talked with Cherokee elders now living in the commonwealth, I discovered that the state government doesn’t even recognize that they exist nor that they ever lived here. Historians claim Native Americans were just passing through!

Can you tell us a fascinating research tidbit that you weren’t able to work into the book?

There is a very important tree that is a central element to the story—a tree that my young characters call “Ol’ Charley.” It was initially a Native American marker tree, a tree that some theorize was bent as a sapling to indicate the direction of trails or to sacred sites. An anthropologist who was a member of the Cherokee tribe and who vetted the Native American elements in the book strongly disagreed with this theory, however. To include his name in the credits, we decided to change the tree to a sycamore. The sycamore plays an important role in the Cherokee creation story and sometimes Native Americans hid in its hollowed trunks to escape “removal,” otherwise known as The Trail of Tears. I felt good about making Ol’ Charley a sycamore…but I still miss the marker tree!

Why are STEM topics important to you? 

Honestly, the most important mission I have as a fiction writer is to engage my readers in a really good story. STEM topics offer great material that can capture a reader’s attention and inspire their curiosity—which in turn keeps them turning those pages! But I have a confession to make—I didn’t really set out to introduce STEM topics in my novel. That just happened. Now, however, I’m the one who’s hooked! My next novel intentionally explores issues around endangered species and global warming on the beautiful of island of Hawaii…and yes, I had to go there to conduct my research!

I hope all you STEM folks check out SAVING WONDER and find lots of ways to use it in your classrooms! As you do, I hope you will also send me your lesson ideas. I love sharing these with other teachers. Feel free to contact me at maryknight314 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy STE(A)Ming! Don’t forget the wonder of ‘A’!

Buy a copy of SAVING WONDER! 

Win a copy of Saving Wonder! 

Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. The randomly-chosen winner will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (within the U.S. only) to receive the book.

About Amber J. Keyser: Evolutionary biologist Amber J. Keyser has an MS in zoology and a PhD in genetics. She writes both fiction and non-fiction for tweens and teens. More information at www.amberjkeyser.com.