Monday, August 21, 2017

5 with Jennifer Maschari author of Things That Surprise You

Things That Surprise You begins the summer before middle school for Emily Murphy. Things with Emily's best friend Hazel have been changing ever since Hazel joined the field hockey team, things with her family have been evolving after her parents' divorce, and things with her sister have been the most difficult of all. Emily's sister Mina has been living at a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia.

Things That Surprise You perfectly captures the feelings of a sibling just outside the epicenter of a family emergency who is trying not to add to the damage by quietly internalizing emotional aftershocks. This tenderly crafted and poetically written story filled with truth and hope will leave Emily Murphy firmly nestled in your heart.

Today author Jennifer Maschiari stopped by to answer my 5 questions. 

Be sure to keep scrolling after the interview to enter 2 fabulous giveaways!

Published: August 22, 2017

Welcome, Jennifer, thank you for visiting LibLaura5!
Thank you so much, Laura! I’m so happy to be here.

1. When did you know that you wanted to tell this story and to tell it from Emily’s perspective?
As I was finishing up edits on my first book, THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE, I knew I wanted to write my next book about a girl who was having difficulty with changes in her life. I also wanted to write a sister story. Originally, though, I set the book at a camp and called it BEST SUMMER EVER. The idea and story underwent a lot of revision and rethinking and many, many drafts. But Emily’s character and voice were there from the very beginning.

2. Eating disorders... are important for kids to know about. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetimes.. It is likely that kids will know someone in their real lives impacted by an eating disorder.

3. Emily’s teacher Ms. Arnold is a wonderfully memorable supporting character. Were there real people or experiences that played a part in shaping her in the story?
Oh, I’m so glad that you love Ms. Arnold! I can remember a few really influential, wonderful teachers from my childhood who encouraged me and really made that extra effort to get to know me and what was going on in my life. I wanted Emily to have a special teacher like this - who sees that she is struggling and who meets that with kindness and support. In addition to being an author, I’m a teacher, too! I teach 7th and 8th grade science now, but for a time, I was a fifth grade language arts teacher. I loved reading along with my students and suggesting books, just like Ms. Arnold. She’s far more stylish than I am though!

4. I hope readers of Things That Surprise You... see themselves in the story! Middle school can be SUCH a hard time for kids. I hope I’ve captured the awkwardness and the rough patches but also some of the bright spots, too (like making friends who really get you and being true to who you are).

5. Sharing the books we love is a way we share about ourselves and connect with each other. What is one book you read and loved lately?
One book - that’s tough! I have been reading a lot of fantastic books lately. I really enjoyed  Dee Romito’s NO PLACE LIKE HOME. It’s about a girl named Kenzie who is always on the road with her dad. For six weeks, she gets the chance to settle down into real middle school life. It was such a fun read, full of heart.

And if I could sneak in a second book, I also read ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder (I loved her 5 questions on your blog!) and was mesmerized by it: the kids on the island, the island itself, the survival aspect. Some of the very best discussions I ever had with my students were about the end of THE GIVER. I think this book is going to invite that same rich conversation. There are so many questions to chew on.

Thank you, Jennifer!

Giveaway #1: Enter to win a copy of Things That Surprise You using the form below


Giveaway #2: Click here to enter to win the Grand Prize Crafty Unicorn Kit!

Visit Jennifer Maschari's Webpage:

Find Things That Surprise You on...

About Jennifer MaschariJennifer Maschari is a classroom teacher and the author of THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE and THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU. She is hard at work on her next middle grade novel with Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. Jennifer lives in Ohio with her husband and stinky (yet noble) English bulldogs, Oliver and Hank.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Episode 23 Drew Brockington - PCS Reads

Author-Illustrator Drew Brockington visits PCS Reads and shares about creating his Catstronauts graphic novel series. 

Visit to listen and for more details about the episode, or subscribe to PCS Reads through iTunes/Apple Podcasts.

Monday, August 14, 2017

5 with Kathy Strahs author of The Lemonade Stand Cookbook

"Give life a squeeze"

There is truly something special about the idea of a lemonade stand. It is an idea that has ignited excitement and action in kids for decades. The Lemonade Stand Cookbook is a the perfect guidebook including information on finances, advertising, following the law, safety, and of course lots of delicious recipes and creative crafts.

As author Kathy Strahs explains at the start of The Lemonade Stand Cookbook, there may be specific laws in your area to follow about Lemonade Stands. Regardless this collection of simple and enticing recipes with easy to follow instructions for drinks, treats, snacks and crafts stands out as one to share with young makers and bakers.

This cookbook includes pictures, anecdotes and testimonials from a diverse group of girls and boys ages 5-11. Even details like using a range of skin tones in the illustrated images for instruction steps are not overlooked. Young readers are sure to see themselves and find inspiration in The Lemonade Stand Cookbook.

Today author Kathy Strahs stopped by to answer my 5 questions. 

Welcome, Kathy, thank you so much for visiting LibLaura5!

1. You have written multiple cookbooks for adults, what drew you to create one for young readers?
My own children, who are 7 and 9, inspired me to write this book. I observed how much fun (and learning) they were experiencing at their lemonade stands with friends from our cul-de-sac.  It was more than just kids selling lemonade. They were collaborating, strategizing, preparing drinks and food, shouting to attract customers. Most importantly, they were having a blast. As a cookbook author, a parent, and an entrepreneur I wanted to help kids everywhere have experiences like this.

2. Lemonade Stands... allow kids to get creative, raise money, and learn important life lessons – all while having a ton of fun.

3. What surprised you during the writing and creating of The Lemonade Stand Cookbook?

I was surprised by just how many lemons it takes to write a cookbook about lemonade stands!

4. I hope readers of The Lemonade Stand Cookbookare inspired to set up their own lemonade stand and experience the satisfaction of becoming a creative entrepreneur. I hope that it helps pave the way for them to confidently pursue their goals – whatever they may be – in the future.

5. Sharing the books we love is a way we share about ourselves and connect with each other. What is one book that has been important in your life?
One of my favorite books is actually a cooking reference book, called The Flavor Bible. It’s a big, thick book that lists a whole bunch of different ingredients along with the flavors that pair well with them, according to well-known chefs and others with great palates. For example, under “chocolate” it recommends bananas, cinnamon, and mint as excellent complementary flavors. As someone who loves to cook, it’s been an incredible resource when I’m creating new dishes.

Thank you, Kathy!

Visit The Lemonade Stand Cookbook Website:

Find The Lemonade Stand Cookbook on...

Author Kathy Strahs:

KATHY STRAHS is the author and publisher of The Lemonade Stand Cookbook. She founded Burnt Cheese Press in 2015. A former marketer with a Stanford MBA, Kathy entered the food world first as a blogger (Panini HappyCooking On the Side and Sunny Days Good Food) and later as a cookbook author (The 8x8 Cookbook and The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook). The 8x8 Cookbook earned the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book - Nonfiction at the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards in 2016.Kathy has been named one of the top Mom Food Bloggers by several times. She is also a frequent cooking contest judge, including the Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles and the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.Kathy is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Les Dames d’Escoffier, San Francisco Professional Food Society, IBPA, and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA). Kathy, her husband Michael, and their two children live in the Silicon Valley.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Episode 22 - Erin Soderberg - PCS Reads

Author Erin Soderberg visits PCS Reads and shares about writing under multiple author names and her Puppy Pirates series

Visit to listen and for more details about the episode, or subscribe to PCS Reads through iTunes/Apple Podcasts.