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Hey Kid! with Abi Elphinstone (THE DREAMSNATCHER)

hey kid

Dear 8-year-old Abi,

It’s 30-year-old Abi here. Yup, you’re still here. The monster that you thought lived in the attic at home didn’t actually gobble you up – even though you probably deserved it once or twice. I’m sorry to say that 30-year-old you is no wiser than 8-year-old you (you’re still headstrong, impulsive and lacking in common sense). But for what it’s worth, and with the power of hindsight, I’m going to answer ten of the questions that are whizzing around your head right now.

Abi by sea

  1. Why is my hair so knotty? Trust me, Abi, knots in your hair is the very least of your worries. I’m afraid you accidentally dye your hair pink the day before senior school starts and when, weeks later, you try to go for the Gwyneth Paltrow Sliding Doors style, you dodge that completely and end up looking like Dawson from Dawson’s Creek. So chill out about the knots; it gets worse…
  2. Will I form a secret club soon? Yes, together with two of your best friends, you’ll form BULC (CLUB backwards). It will be like Just William’s gang but for girls. You’ll have purple tracksuits, secret passwords, funky handshakes and you’ll get into trouble a lot.
  3. Why am I so bad at Maths? Don’t take it to heart when your brain freezes and you can’t add up the simplest sums. You’re not stupid. You’re actually dyslexic and it’s just that your brain processes numbers in a different way from a lot of other children. It’s slow to count but fast to build stories. And that’s fine.
  4. Will boarding school be scary? You’re going to have the time of your life there. You’ll have dorm feasts, you’ll run away with a group of friends in the middle of the night into the woods, you’ll play rounders for Scotland and you’ll make lifelong friends.
  5. Do I get any cool pets any time soon? You get two mice, which you pretentiously call Mozart and Beethoven. But you lose interest in them when a black rabbit called Shadow comes along. You lose in her, too, when she bites you so hard you have to wear ski gloves to handle her. You’re still waiting for a snow leopard. Ever hopeful.
  6. Is growing up going to hurt? There are times when it’s really going to hurt. Your parents aren’t going to stay together and though you think you can stop that happening aged 8, you can’t. This is something that can’t be fixed, Abi, and it’s not your fault. Though it’s going to knock you down for a while, you’ll get back up again and fight. And out of all the pain, good things will happen. For one, you’ll realise you have family and friends who will stick by you no matter what.
  7. Is it possible to stay 8-years-old forever? You’ll be pleased to know that your mental game is still pitched at 8-years-old. You had a giggling fit in front of twenty 15-year-old pupils you were teaching the other day, you wear a lot of animal onesies and you love swings so much you bought one to go inside your house last week.
  8. Am I going to be famous when I’m older? No. But you’re going to bounce on a bouncy castle with Charlie from Busted. And Westley from A Princess Bride is going to hug you. Three times.
  9. Am I going to present Blue Peter when I’m a grown up? You haven’t presented on that show (yet) but you did as your mum told you – you dreamed BIG – and now you’re a published children’s author.
  10. Do I still have my teddy aged 30? Yes, you do. It even comes on your honeymoon with you.

Yes, 8-year-old Abi, you can go back to your tree house now. Keep dreaming magical thoughts, don’t worry about the times you walk out of class with your skirt tucked into your knickers and know that the adventures you’re having right now – jumping into icy rivers, searching for hidden waterfalls on the moors, building dens in the woods – are going to happen all over again in your debut children’s book, The Dreamsnatcher.

~Abi

Dreamsnatcher Final High Res Cover

Find The Dreamsnatcher in the UK on Hive, Waterstones, WH Smith, and Amazon, worldwide on The Book Depository, or request it in bookstores and libraries near you.

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.

Find more Hey Kid! letters here.

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. THE DREAMSNATCHER is her debut novel and when she’s not writing about Moll and Gryff, she runs her children’s books blog www.moontrug.com.

Connect with Abi on abielphinstone.com, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Hey, What’s Happening?

I’ll tell you what’s happening. Book things!

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Hook’s Daughter, the UK version of Hook’s Revenge, releases this week—out Thursday from Chicken House Books! So, if you are across the pond from me, keep a look out. Fellow Americans, if you want a copy because you love both covers and, like a Pokemon, gotta catch them all, The Book Depository offers free shipping.

Hook's Daughter-Hook's Revenge

Go ahead and judge this book by its covers because they are both awesome.

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I’m celebrating the UK release with a blog tour! Check in at the following locations.

Hook's Daughter blog tour banner

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I have some events coming up! Come see me:

March 25 Green Bean Books Family Book Club
April 2 Dallas Public Library (Dallas, Oregon)
April 18 SCBWI Next Level Professional Series

What’s happening with you?

Swashbucklingly,

signature

Hey Kid! from Alison DeCamp (MY NEAR DEATH ADVENTURES)

hey kid

 

Dear Middle-Grade Me,

5th grade meYou are just about the right amount of weird. I like that you wear the same sweater every day and don’t care how your hair looks. I like the yellow and orange hat you’ve grown attached to and how you still sleep with Teddy, your oldest and most beloved stuffed animal. I like how quirky you are, how imaginative you are, and how happy you are reading a book or being read to.

You are never too old to have someone read to you.

It’s okay to spend time by yourself. It’s also okay not to be “popular.” No one really knows what that means, anyway. Keep those friends who make you feel good about being you, and let go of the ones who don’t have a sense of humor.

Also, your mother is smarter than you think. Remember things she tells you because you’ll want to repeat them when you have your own children.

Make things. Forts. Poorly constructed stuffed animals that have all the insides fluffing out through the seams. Dollhouses and miniatures to fill them. Maps. Tunnels. Fairy villages in the woods. Jewelry. Games. Drawings of castles. Potholders.

Do the little things. Pick up a dropped pencil. Invite someone to sit next to you at lunch. Put the dishes from the sink into the dishwasher without being asked (I guarantee your mom or dad will LOVE this one). Fold a blanket. Pick wildflowers. Look for four-leaf clovers. Lie on your back and look at the clouds. Play in the rain. Write a letter to a grandparent. Let the dog in. Or out. Or back in again. Scratch the cat under the chin. Say a prayer for the man walking along the street. Give someone a dollar and tell her she doesn’t have to pay you back. Get dirty.

Be kind. You never, ever have to regret being kind. Even if someone takes advantage of your kindness, that’s the person who has lost—he has lost the trust of a kind person.

Don’t worry about boys. I know that’s easier said than done, but now that you have both a son and a daughter, you realize boys don’t necessarily like the prettiest girls—they might just prefer the happier one, the funnier one, the one who laughs at their jokes, the one who is comfortable in her own skin and makes him feel comfortable, too. Boys can make for really great friends.

Change is good—don’t try to fight it. Friends will change. Houses will change. People will change. Presidents and principals and weather and schools, health and family and location and what you value will all change. Love where you are and who you’re with. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up on everything else, it means you value the present.

If you can, travel. Don’t ever be afraid of looking stupid. Always laugh at yourself and never laugh at other people. Make mistakes. Make more mistakes. Don’t keep making the same mistakes.

Don’t wait around for other people to recognize how great you are. Just be your awesome self. And if some people are late for that party bus, well, they are just going to have to run to catch up. Because you are worth it.

You are worth every bit of it.

~Alison

Find Alison DeCamp’s debut novel, My Near Death Adventures on Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Random House, or order a personalized and signed copy at her local indie bookstore, Between the Covers.

front cover

It is 1895. Stan is on a mission to find his long-lost father in the logging camps of Michigan. And he’s embellishing all of it in his stupendous scrapbook.

There are many things that 11-year-old Stanley Slater would like to have in life, most of all, a father. But what if Stan’s missing dad isn’t “dearly departed” after all? Who better to find this absent hero/cowboy/outlaw than manly Stan himself? Unfortunately, Stan’s fending off his impossible cousin Geri, evil Granny, and Mama’s suitors like Cold-Blooded Killer Stinky Pete. If only he could join the River Drive, the most perilous adventure of all, where even a fellow’s peavey is at risk.

It’s a wild ride for Stan as he finds out about true manliness. But at least Stan has his scrapbook, full of 200 black-and-white 19th-century advertisements and photos, “augmented” with his commentary and doodles.

Alison DeCamp grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, graduated from Michigan State, and used to teach middle school and high school language arts. She lives in Harbor Springs, Michigan with her husband and two children.
Connect with Alison on AlisonDeCamp.com, or on twitter, facebook, and Goodreads.
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