Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SUGAR AND ICE- Kate Messner

For years, I have dreamed of writing a novel. I even have a plot, kind of, in my head. Every summer, I say, "This is the year I'm going to do it." But, like most people who dream of writing novels, I never quite get around to actually sitting down and writing.

I've followed with fascination and huge admiration, then, the writing career of Kate Messner. I first became aware of Kate through her writings on Twitter. Kate is a middle school teacher in New York. And she is a working mom. But somehow, she also manages to write. Looking at her website, it looks like she has published two novels, with two more on the way. The first book in her new series, MARTY MCGUIRE, came out to rave reviews this spring. She has a new professional book, REAL REVISIONS, that has also gotten really good reviews. Messner has a couple of more books set on Lake Champlain, where she lives. And she has a couple of picture books coming out. Oh, and she is a poet. (One of her recent poems, "The Book in My Head," was about people like me, who never actually get to the writing).

Yesterday, for bookaday I read Messner's SUGAR AND ICE. Claire Boucher is a busy middle schooler, who divides her time between school, friends, working on her family's maple sugar farm, and pursuing her passion for figure skating. During a figure skating show, she is "discovered" by a scout, and invited to train at Lake Placid. While she is thrilled by this opportunity, it's also a huge commitment. Long, hard practices, three to five days a week, and the 90 minute drive each way mean that Claire has to make sacrifices in other areas of her life- time with family and friends, and school interests and clubs. Plus, the world of ice skating is super competitive and many of the kids in Claire's new world are not all that nice. Ultimately, Claire has to make some really hard choices…

A great read for the intermediate grade and middle school athletes in your life!

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