Re-release!

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Hi Guys, This is Lissy with exciting news!

Today Operation Golden Llama has a new home with the middle grade publishing company, Spellbound River Press!

CIA – Operation Golden Llama has been re-released under the Spellbound River banner and will be the home for all the cousins adventures in the future!

If you are looking for some summer reading you can check out all the fun middle grade books at their website: http://spellboundriver.com/

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Happy 90th Birthday, Your Majesty!

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It’s not often you get to wish the longest reigning English monarch a happy 90th birthday! One of my favorite parts of the CIA series is in Operation Jewel Thief was when Tess has, what was henceforth to be known as, “the chocolate biscuit incident” when she accidentally drops a chocolate biscuit on the queen’s lap. To mark the occasion I’ll be giving away a copy of Operation Jewel Thief. Just like or comment below to be entered and I’ll get Tess to randomly choose an entry.CIA UK_FULL_29_actualSize_Cropped

Great Britain is Really Great!

IMG_3012Hello fellow explorers, this is Cagney Puddleton. Most of you know we recently traveled to England. After Peru and India it was less of a shock. No llamas galloping down the high street. No tiger pits hidden in the forest and nobody trying to sell me food that could send me to the bathroom for a week.

However England is still very much a foreign country and not like the US at all. For instance even though Americans speak English – let me tell you this – turns out, we don’t!

Of course everyone has heard British accents and I don’t mean the one Dick Van Dyke does in Mary Poppins. Our dads can’t go to a single restaurant without someone commenting on their British/Australian/South African accent – turns out Americans can rarely tell the difference. It also turns out everyone loves an English accent – especially here in Texas.

The English don’t only sound different but they use different words for lots of different things. Even though our dads are all English, words like pavement (sidewalk), knickers (underwear) and fringe (bangs) all confused us while visiting England. Cookies are biscuits, flats are apartments and a car park is a parking lot – who knew?

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Something I also noticed while in England is that their sense of comedy is very different. If I had to use one word to sum up the British sense of humor I would say – sarcastic. Half the time we had no idea if people really meant what they said or if they were (as they would say) having us on, which means they were joking.

_MG_3368acI’d heard people say the food was rubbish (as they’d say) in England. I may be biased after my time in India, but I thought the food was really good. While at the Googly Gherkin we had several amazing meals. Fish and chips (which is really fish and French fries) was Olivia’s favorite. Aidan really enjoyed the massive English breakfasts served each morning – even their bacon is different than ours and their beans far more orangy. Lissy liked the scones served with raspberry jam and something called clotted cream which is like the thickest cream you can imagine – like so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. Tess ate so many packets of the British crisps (chips) called Hula Hoops, we were scared she was going to turn into a hoop. My particular favorite was something called a Cornish pasty, which I will be petitioning to bring to the school cafeteria next year.

Another major difference, of course, is that the British drive on the left hand side of the road. That was a fun fact someone forgot to mention and almost caused me to have a heart attack while driving into central London. Their cars are also a lot smaller than ours and when you see the price of petrol (gas) you’ll understand why.

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The British are also really into football, which to us translates as soccer – they call our football, American football. Instead of baseball they play cricket and basketball is not so popular, although girls netball is. Hockey is invariably played on a field and not on ice.

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The Googly Gherkin

Also everything is older in England. Where in Texas something that’s more than a couple of hundred years old is considered antique, in England a couple of hundred years is nothing. Take the Googly Gherkin for example, built in the 15th century and still running as a pub and restaurant. If that was in America it would be a museum for sure.

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England also has several iconic images that we were all happy to experience while visiting. The famous red double-decker buses, unlike in India, were really fun to ride on, as were the easily recognizable black taxi cabs, although not so many of them are black any more. Even though everyone and their mother has cell phones, those bright red telephone boxes seemed to pop up around every corner along with their squat red cousin – the mail box, or should I say post box?

Of course, England is arguably most famous for is its royal family, and even though our encounter with royalty got off to a bit of a rocky start (the chocolate biscuit incident will no doubt haunt us for the rest of our lives), but other than that it was absolutely the best!

If you get a chance to visit London or England I highly recommend you go, soak it all up and I guarantee, as the British say, you’ll be totally gobsmacked!

 

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https://www.visitbritain.com/us/en/visitbritain

The Sweet Spot

Hi Guys, Olivia here.

The Sweet Spot

My mom gave me a book about baseball a few weeks ago. I’m not a big reader, but I guess I can make an exception for a book on sports, especially when the main character’s a girl who’s really good at baseball. The book is about a girl named Sam who goes away to boys baseball camp and all the scrapes she gets into while trying to prove herself as good as the boys.

We were discussing it over dinner one night and I told my mom how much I enjoyed The Sweet Spot and it turns out she knows the author and asked me if I’d like to ask her a few questions. I’m not big on interviewing people, but I figured it might be fun.

The author’s name is Stacy Mozer and she is a third grade teacher (we love third grade teachers in this house) and has been teaching for over sixteen years. She grew up in Long Island and now lives in Connecticut and has two children, who both play soccer.

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The first thing I asked Ms. Mozer was how long it took to write The Sweet Spot. I can barely write an essay without getting bored, so I figured a whole book must take years. It turns out Stacy re-wrote the story from start to finish five times! FIVE!!!! So even though it didn’t take too long to write the book, her revisions took years. This is why I’m going to race dog sleds in Alaska, folks!

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Author: Stacy Mozer

Then I asked her what types of sports she likes. Turns out Stacy is a terrific kickball pitcher, but now spends most of her time attending her kids soccer games and was lucky enough to be in Montreal during the Women’s World Cup last summer. Pretty cool! Stacy also loves to go to the US Open tennis competition each year and is a big NY Mets fan! Hmph! Well I guess you can’t have everything! Go Sox!

Here is the rest of the interview:

OP.   I am sure this book is popular with a lot of girls who are good enough to play on the boys team but aren’t given the opportunity. Did you or anyone you know have any personal experience with this?

SM.  As a teacher I often see girls at recess who want to play sports with the boys and have a varying amount of success (without teacher intervention). Those are the girls that were in my head when I wrote this character.

OP.  What advice would you give girls trying to break into a male dominated sport?

SM.  I would give the same advice I write in the book at book signings, “Never let anyone stop you from following your dreams.” This advice is true for anyone who is being told you can’t, whether it is in sports or in other areas of life. I just saw Zootopia with my daughter over the weekend and was pleased to see that same message reinforced in that movie. The only one who can tell you you can’t is you. If you work hard, even if you don’t achieve your dream, at least you know you tried your best and gave it your best shot.

OP.  What are you writing next?

SM.  I am currently working on three projects. Book 2 for The Sweet Spot, which will release from Spellbound River this time next year, a middle grade fantasy story which was the first novel I ever wrote, and a fun project about a girl whose parents might be letting their own interests stand in the way of their daughter’s happiness. Fortunately I have a school vacation coming up soon so I can get to back to work on all of these.

OP.  Thanks for answering my questions, Ms. Mozer. I think this is a perfect book for both girls and boys interested in sports or for a parent wanting their child to read a book that teaches about the importance of not giving up. Congrats on the new release of The Sweet Spot and I’ll be looking forward to hearing what Sam is up to in The Sweet Spot II.

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www.StacyMozer.com www.SpellboundRiver.com

www.facebook.com/StacyMozerAuthor

www.twitter.com/SMozer

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29474468-the-sweet-spot

Chinese New Year

It was so fun to attend the annual Chinese New Year event in Quincy, MA last month. The girls and I flew up to Boston and spent a wonderful weekend with our friend Chris and her family whose girls were adopted at the same time as mine. I signed books for over four hours and met so many smart, book-loving children. What a blast!

Red Thread Sisters

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Hi Guys, Aidan here with a new book recommendation.

I was at Lissy’s house when I saw this book. She had just finished reading it and although it has a picture of two girls on the front she said I should read it and that I’d enjoy it. She was right.

The book is about an eleven-year-old Chinese girl named Wen who is adopted by an American family. Before leaving the orphanage Wen promises her best friend, Shu Ling, she will find her a home in America too. Of course, that’s not as easy as Wen might think.

One of the most heartbreaking parts of the book is Wen believing if she’s not well behaved her parents will send her back to her orphanage. When her father loses his job and they have to cut back on extras, Wen thinks the of herself as an extra and prepares to return to China.

Wen also finds it hard to attach to her new family, especially her mother. The guilt she feels over leaving Shu Ling behind makes it difficult to even make new friends.

Having two cousins who were adopted from China made this book even more special to me. The book really made me think about a lot of things I take for granted. From major things like knowing my parents love me and would never give me up, to more minor things like knowing presents I get are mine and won’t be given to other people. Seeing American culture through the eyes of someone new to our shores is also really interesting.

I highly recommend this book by Carol Antoinette Peacock to anyone interested in learning more about orphanages and China, but also those who enjoy books about friendship, love and trust.

http://www.carolpeacock.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Thread-Sisters-Carol-Antoinette-Peacock/dp/0670013862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457444780&sr=8-1&keywords=red+thread+sisters

Launch for CIA – Operation Jewel Thief

Operation Jewel Thief LaunchHey guys, Lissy here.

My aunt’s new book, CIA  – Operation Jewel Thief, came out in December and she is having a launch party on Saturday, January 16th at our local community library.

This is always such a fun event. I get to go up front and read the trivia questions (the answers are all in the book) and then one of the other cousins hands out the prize to the person who wins!

This time my aunt is also going to be serving tea and biscuits (one of her main food groups). She’ll also be reading a passage from the book (one of my favorites about our visit to Buckingham Palace) and taking questions.

If you are in the Austin area stop by and say hi!