ABOUT THE BOOK
Ginnie relaxed, pleased to hear the merriment in her dad’s voice. She waited for him to enter the kitchen and notice her.
No sense bringing on a lecture earlier than need be.
“Hi, Uncle Ben!” Uncle Jake stopped and took a second look at Ginnie, obviously puzzled at her presence in the kitchen. “Hey, Trouble. Are we late from work or are you early from school?”
Ginnie shrugged, and turned toward the scale, the candler, and the cartons that littered the blue countertop. She put the dropped egg on the scale. It was still whole.
Dad felt her forehead. “Hi, honey. Are you okay? Did you come home sick?”
“Now that you mention it, I have felt better.”
Uncle Ben cleared his throat.
Dad’s gaze moved from her face to Uncle Ben’s, waiting for an explanation. When Uncle Ben didn’t say anything, Dad crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked her straight in the eye. “Am I going to like what I’m about to hear?”
Note to self, comic relief isn’t a good strategy.
She turned away and studied the pot of violets on the windowsill.
Well, here comes the lecture.
“That depends on how you feel about me getting suspended for defending my brother.”
“Been there. Done that!” Uncle Jake teased.
Thank goodness for Uncle Jake!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.
The Ginnie West series is a labor of love for me. I started out sharing a fun story of a character I made into an imaginary friend as a kid. Then, as I grew up (and Ginnie didn’t), I realized that I still loved Ginnie’s spirit, her feistiness, her courage. I like that she stood up for what she believed in, that Ginnie was a good and loyal friend to Tillie and myself, and that she was a lot of fun.
Ginnie isn’t afraid to try new things or think new thoughts. As I grew up and turned my attention to my growing family and over 100 abused and neglected kids that I fostered over a 12 year period--I realized that Ginnie could help me give a voice to kids who may not have the courage or ability to voice their concerns and desires--good or bad.
The second book in my Ginnie West series: Trouble Blows West was born.
Tweens are people who feel things passionately. If they don’t feel their voices will be heard--they often hide inside themselves--and still feel things passionately.
The middle grade years are amazing, puzzling, adventurous, meaningful, and unpredictable. Kids redefine themselves and their world--over and over until it makes sense to them. They figure out what they as individuals stand for--or don’t stand for, rather than just going along with what their families, friends, teachers, and others in authority stand for.
Middle graders embrace new thoughts, discover new situations, learn and grow. They make deliberate decisions, comparisons, reframing the world as they know it into a world they want to be a part of--or they don’t want to be a part of.
While Ginnie West is a bit impulsive, she chooses not to fear new situations. Often she finds joy in simple things, or clinging to truths she believes in, like she needs to protect her best friend, Tillie. Over time, she helps Tillie realize that she isn’t helpless, that her opinions have value, and that she is worthy to be loved.
When I was 12, two of my friends were being abused in their homes--I knew it--but didn’t know how to help them. Worse, I’m not sure I could help them. I reconnected with one of them on Facebook when I was writing the 3rd book of the Ginnie West series.
She shared with me that she, in fact, considered me one of her very best friends. I was always friendly to her, but I didn’t consider us best friends. Why did she? Because, apparently I stood up for her when she was being bullied at school by a much bigger boy. The boy also bullied me on occasion--but even so--I stood up for her, insisting he treat her better or leave her alone. The saddest part for me was when she went on to tell me that she considered us “secret best friends”--because I didn’t see her outside of school--she considered us best friends--but she didn’t think I would want anyone else to know we were friends.
To her, my standing up for her was the most important thing. I made her feel like she had value--even if she thought she had to keep our friendship secret back then. I still don’t know what to think of that confession--I just know I don’t want any other kids to not have the courage to be true to themselves and their friends. It saddens me that my friend didn’t feel openly valued.
Knowing I didn’t do more to help her or our other friend (mostly because I didn’t know what to do when I was 12) filled me with guilt and regret--and pushed my desire to become a foster mom--so that I could help kids like her.
Now, as an author, I want to write books that help all kids--ones like Ginnie that have a good grasp on their feelings and opinions, ones like Tillie who need a little courage and ones like Pierce, who have spent a lot of years angry because they have been mistreated, find peace in their lives so that they can overcome, flourish, and grow.
To quote a good friend of mine: author, motivational speaker, artist and illustrator of his book, Drawing Out The Dragon, James A. Owen: “If everything in the past has value, then there’s no reason for regret, ever. With no regret and no fear there's nothing left but possibility and joy. And the realization that it is a wonderful world that we live in, after all.”
So now I realized that my series may give voice to kids who need it. As a former foster mom--I am always about empowering kids, helping them realize they have value, and encouraging them to change their own stars.
Recently I had an 18 year-old girl who had been physically abused by her birth dad (as well as held her birth mom as she died of a drug overdose when she was 13 years-old) approach me and share with me that she had read all of my books and that reading them brought her peace and healing.
I am thankful that my story brought her peace and healing, and that she shared this with me. Her story is a hard reality that too many kids share--quite often unbeknownst to those around them. I like to think of the Ginnie West Adventures as “real-life with humor” and I plan to continue to write the series in the hopes that Ginnie’s adventures will continue to help others find humor, courage, passion, inspiration, compassion, integrity and strength in their lives, to help themselves and to help those they care about.
Laugh lots … love much … write on!
(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card OR winner's choice of Google Play, Apple, or Kobo!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 25, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on September 1, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
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Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.
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