It’s Here! The charming, funny story of Ruby LaRue,an eleven-year-old girl with an enthusiastic zest for life,
and her shy, brilliant friend, Eleanor Bandaranaike.
Ruby and Eleanor live in the quaint town of Paris, New Hampshire, located at the base of Sugar Mountain, an exclusive ski resort in the White Mountains. Every winter, Paris comes alive with “Outers,” wealthy families from out of town who own ski condos and wear designer clothes, luxuries that Ruby and Eleanor (and most of the year-round residents of Paris) can’t afford.
One December day, Ruby and Eleanor stumble across Madame Magnifique, the “World’s Most Divine Psychic,” who urges them to unlock their deepest dreams. Ruby has always longed to mingle with the Outers and now, more than ever, she is determined to make that dream come true.
As a chain of events unfolds over the winter months, both girls find themselves on a journey of self-discovery that includes unlikely friendships, crushes, profits, secrets, and a surprise ending!
A relevant story in today’s world – exploring cross-cultural sensitivities and diversity within a classic New England microcosm – The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball questions the role of destiny and the ability we all have to achieve that which seems impossible.
Islandport Press, FALL 2015
(Ages 8 – 12)
Order a copy directly from Islandport Press HERE
or at your local Independent Bookstore HERE
or on Amazon HERE
From KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“Even when dreams do come true, they might not look exactly as imagined. When narrator and native ‘New Hampshirite’ narrator Ruby and Eleanor, whose family has emigrated from Sri Lanka, visit a fortune teller for a free reading, they are thrilled with the very nonspecific fortunes they hear and immediately embark on a plan to make those fortunes come true. Ruby’s greatest wish is to go to the Snow Ball Dance with her crush, JB Knox, and Eleanor would do anything for a sewing machine. What they don’t foresee, however, is how their lives will change in other ways beyond the fulfillment of their dreams. Even when their dreams look like they’re never going to be realized, their close friendship saves them from hopelessness. Atkinson offers two adorable characters who are as different as they are brave and builds a sweet tale of inspiration and triumph over factors usually far beyond kids’ control….”
Getting to know the Author and the Book
What was your inspiration for The Sugar Mountain Snowball?
I set out to write a book about kids who felt stuck in the proverbial RUT with little control over their lives, because I (like most kids) often felt trapped and unfairly labeled in middle school. And when I thought back to that time, I remembered how low my self-esteem dropped during the winter months in particular…also known in New England as ski season.
In a nutshell, I grew up in a quiet little town in Massachusetts and if you skied (and collected the tickets on your jacket) you were cool. If you didn’t, you weren’t. As you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t ski. So I wondered what it would be like for kids who actually lived in one of those famous ski resort towns, but didn’t or couldn’t ski. At the same time, I wanted to portray different perspectives within that microcosm – most importantly, multicultural perspectives – to further emphasize the current complexities of pre-adolescence, friendship, and the need to fit in.
Who is your mentor or biggest influencer when it comes to your writing?
My mother has always been the one person who consistently encouraged me to pursue writing and stick with it. I had a few teachers/professors along the way who also supported me. And Judy Blume’s books (and great characters) gave me the courage to express myself through writing when I was young. However, my first boss (and dear friend), Ann Redpath – a distinguished and gifted editor who also owned her own publishing company, Redpath Press, for many years – was my most important mentor.
If you were to let parents, teachers and librarians know ONE THING about The Sugar Mountain Snowball…what would that one thing be?
Your children/students will smile deeply from within after reading this book.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My new novel, THE ISLAND OF BEYOND (Carolrhoda Books), will be released on April 1st – in five years I hope I will continue to publish new work and transform the lives of children through the power of a well-told, uplifting story. I also hope to still travel and experience other ways of life. Without traveling to other countries and falling in love with other cultures, I would not be the passionate writer (or person) I am today.
If you were to give any advice to those who dream of writing and publishing a book, what advice would you give?
I always advise young adults to try to get an internship or job in publishing to learn the business. Traditional publishing is an extremely competitive world, so understanding the industry is essential. Also, keep writing (and reading) anything and everything to hone your unique voice. And most of all, make time to write… because you will never find the time.
What are you most grateful for?
My two wonderful (& grown) children, my sweet husband, my wise parents, and my entire family.
What would you like readers to know about Elizabeth Atkinson?
I write for middle school kids because it was the hardest time of my life! I felt invisible and mediocre in middle school, and worried constantly that I had no chance of succeeding as an adult. I was a shy, sensitive girl and a slow reader, but when I found a book I loved, it inspired me to reach outside my comfort zone. Eventually, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin… although I’m still trying to figure out how to be an adult!
Thanks so much for the terrific questions, and also for including The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016! Hundreds of people have viewed the book trailer on YouTube here and you can find out lots more about this book and my other tween novels on my website: www.elizabethatkinson.com
Elizabeth Atkinson is the middle grade author of From Alice to Zen and Everyone In Between, I, Emma Freke, The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball, and The Island of Beyond (April 2016). Her books have earned various honors and awards, including Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books, Honor Book Award by the Society of School Librarians International, Sunshine State Young Reader Award, a gold Moonbeam Award, and most recently, the Ado-Lisant Prize in Belgium. In addition to freelance writing for many years, she’s worked in publishing and taught English Literature as far away as Hangzhou, China. She divides her time between the seaside village of Newburyport and the magical woods of western Maine, and visits schools across the country, virtually and in person. More info at www.elizabethatkinson.com
One lucky winner will receive one copy of The Sugar Mountain Snowball
Giveaway begins 2/28/16 and ends 3/05/16
• Prizing & samples courtesy of Author of the above book
• Giveaway open to US addresses only
• ONE lucky winner will win one copy of each of the above books.
• Residents of USA only please.
• Must be 18 years or older to enter
• One entry per household.
• Staff and family members of MCCBD and Audrey Press are not eligible.
• Winners will have 48 hours to claim prize
• Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on3/6/16
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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