Operation Golden Llama – Book Trailer

The wonderful librarians at Wooten Elementary School in North Austin put together this wonderful book trailer on Operation Golden Llama to welcome our aunt to their school last Monday. Too cute not to share.

https://spark.adobe.com/video/uoUak1MFIpVu0

 

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New Book in the CIA Series

Hey Guys,

Lissy here to announce a new book in the CIA series. Operation Dude Ranch is coming out this week and Sam will be signing copies of both Operation Dude Ranch and Operation Pharaoh’s Curse at the Westbank Community Library next Sunday at 1pm. If you are in the Austin area please stop by.

Check out the fabulous new artwork by new cover artist, Claire O’Brien. I just love that we’re pieces of art! Although I hear that Cagney was less thrilled!

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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

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!