The book I’m featuring today is by my friend and part-time Ninja, Carmella Van Vleet! It’s a great story about taekwondo and not giving up. Carmella also has a very cool “Black Belt in Kindness Club” on her website that kids can join when they do something nice for a friend.
Today’s Pick: Eliza Bing is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter
by Carmella Van Vleet
Holiday House, 2014
In this uplifting novel about determination and the rewards of hard work, a preteen girl struggling with ADHD must stick with a summer taekwondo class to prove that she’s dedicated enough to pursue her true passion: cake decorating.
Eliza’s personality really shines in this story. It’s fun reading about the trouble she gets into and how she tries to get herself out if it. I also enjoyed the fact that her parents and family were in the story and supporting her, even though Eliza solves her own problems. (None of that “dead parents” syndrome common in many middle grade books.) It was great to read a story where the main character has a disorder (ADHD), but where coping with it isn’t the main focus of the story.
As a writer, I think this would be a great book to study if you’re working on creating a unique character voice. It’s also interesting that the book is organized in short sections rather than chapters, which fits with Eliza’s personality and her ADHD.
“I was peanut butter, and Tony was jelly.”
“Mom says decisions are like coats because they weigh on your shoulders.”
“But I found out wanting to do something isn’t anywhere near being able to do something.”
Carmella Van Vleet is a full-time writer who lives in Ohio. She writes non-fiction as well as fiction. Eliza Bing is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter is her debut middle grade novel.
In an interview with Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl, Carmella gave this advice for writers: “One of the most important things you have to remember is not to compare yourself to other writers.”
Carmella talks about writing non-fiction for middle graders in an interview for Middle Grade March.
Non-fiction books by this author include:
Great Ancient EGYPT Projects: You Can Build Yourself
Amazing BEN FRANKLIN Inventions: You Can Build Yourself
Seven Wonders of the World: Discover Amazing Monuments to Civilization with 20 Projects
Explore Ancient Greece!: 25 Great Projects, Activities, Experiments
Amazing Arctic & Antarctic Projects You Can Build Yourself (Build It Yourself series)
Explore Electricity!: With 25 Great Projects
Writing Club: A Year of Writing Workshops for Grades 2-5
For more, visit Carmella Van Vleet’s website.