#MeBeingMe by Challa Fletcher


#MeBeingMe
by Challa Fletcher
Genre: Middle Grade, Coming of Age

Jonathan is getting ready to start 6th grade, but without his best friend. The issues of growing up are about to become all too real for him, especially with bullying and labels and all the other pressure that comes along with growing up. He's hoping his close relationship with his brothers, his love for treehouses and his passion for comics will be enough to pull him through the rough patches, but will it?



I was born in Colorado Springs, CO as an Army Brat. I have lived all across this country but unfortunately I don't remember most of it (hate that). What I do remember is growing up in Detroit and Highland Park, Michigan, playing in my grandmother's basement that was filled with books my family bought for me and my sister, pretending to be a singer, a news anchorwoman, and a writer. Of these, reading and writing stuck.

When I was still very young I moved to Arkansas with my father and sister and have thus lived here for most of my life. I graduated from Jacksonville High in Jacksonville, AR. I got my BBA from Philander Smith College and my MSM from Kaplan Online University. And I have spent the last 10 years working for the State of Arkansas. Yet all I really wanted to do was have reasons to read and write. But not only did I want to write, I wanted to share my writing with the world. 

I have not been more proud of a completed goal as I am of being able to share #MeBeingMe with you. This story is inspired by my oldest son (and my own) experiences with challenges, change, and middle school (sometimes it really does suck).

I still live in Arkansas with my three sons and our dog, Barker. I am still finding every available minute to read, write, and share it with the world.





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Spotlight: Rosie and Friends: One-of-a-Kindness by Helen Hipp

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Embark on a new safari with Hornsby the rhino as he comes face-to-face with losing his sense of belonging. No longer accepted by his herd, Hornsby searches for companionship. With the help of his new buddies, Hornsby learns that his life is one of a kind, and that spreading his kindness is a good way to make new friends!

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About the Author

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Approaching life with excitement and energy, Helen works hard to help people achieve exuberance! Born in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1959, Helen is the middle child of five. Her father, whose work demanded strong problem-solving skills and mother whose interest in art, provided Helen with endless opportunities to look at things from different perspectives.

Today, Helen continues to take advantage of an imaginative mindset that creates opportunities out of obstacles. A concept she fostered in her children, one of whom has special needs. As Helen explored career opportunities, she connected her personal experiences (parenting a child with special needs) with her beliefs, professional skills, and aspirations.

Helen received her M.A. in counseling and began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on helping individuals with special needs reveal their innate ability to solve difficult situations. Inspiration and fun, is Helen’s motivation and her life’s fuel.

Helen explains her enthusiasm as, “each day is an opportunity, waiting to be shaped and here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.”

Helen has authored articles for Family Works and Washington Family Magazine and written multiple self-help articles published by ezine.com where she is viewed as an expert in her field. 

In addition to her work, Helen has written two children’s books creating a very effective way to motivate kids of all ages to meet their challenges with self-acceptance, confidence and understanding.

Her debut children’s book, A Different Kind of Safari, released in 2013 addresses the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities. Once again, the engaging safari family led by Rosie the Pink Hippo inspire, and help you see your life differently in her new book, Rosie and Friends Positively Different. With a cast characters experiencing real-life issues, her books provide children with the opportunity to identify, understand and feel supported by the characters handling of similar fears, interests, and concerns.

Rosie and Friends Helping Children to Understand That Their Uniqueness Is Not a Weakness.

Connect: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Spotlight: Snickety Dickety Doo by Danica-Lea Larcombe

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George, Fiona and Marni find a tin of bubbles, not just any ordinary bubbles but planets. The planets shrink the children and take them to faraway lands. The children have many exciting adventures and try not to let their secret be discovered.  They learn about different cultures, currencies and languages, and are inspired at school.

In Series Two, George, Marni and Fiona continue their adventures around the world in the planet bubbles. They narrowly escape being killed by some monks in Turkey, find a little companion in Paris and visit royalty in Monaco.

Book Excerpt

It wasn’t just a small piece of tin.  Curiosity got the better of her and Marni decided she better keep digging around.  She could see the edges now and it looked like it was a tin box of some sort. Marni suddenly forgot about her wish and dug frantically to get the box out.  It was quite a light box of about medium size. It was not painted and there was no writing on it.

“What on earth could be in it?” Marni wondered.

It had a small padlock but this was rusted and broke off easily.  She opened the lid carefully to find nine individually wrapped balls, or so she thought.  She unwrapped one of the balls to find it was not a ball. In her hand it shone like a bubble, and was soft and tender to touch.  It had little feet and hands and was the colour of the sun.

“Oh my”, Marni whispered, “It has got a face!”  

The bubble’s eyes were closed and the mouth still.  On the other side it had the shape of a door, but there was no door handle.  How odd.

Marni looked at her watch quickly. It was six o’clock which was tea time and her parents would be calling her any minute.  She hastily re-wrapped the ball and closed the tin. She put her secret wish down the hole and filled it up with the dark brown coloured soil.  

Somehow Marni made it back inside the house and into her bedroom without anyone seeing the box.  She could not wait to show it to George and Fiona but it would have to wait until after tea. Her hands and knees were filthy dirty now, and her father questioned her.  

“What have you been doing? You look like a gypsy”.  

“Oh, just helping Fiona in the garden” Marni lied.  

Dinner was always a silent occasion in the Dimond household, and you got your knuckles rapped if you spoke.  Which Fiona did quite often.

Marni wished tea time would hurry up and finish but she had to wait for the compulsory pudding first.  It would either be apple crumble or apple strudel with ice-cream. Her mother baked wonderfully, but never seemed to want to try new recipes.  Now they were all allowed to leave the table because everyone had finished but the dishes still had to be dried and put away after her mother had washed them.  It was the height of the summer and daylight savings time meant that sunset would not be until about 8.30pm.

“George, Fiona, come into my room.  I have something to show you” Marni said.  “Quickly then” grumbled George. “I want to finish my hut”.  

“Ooh what is it?” asked Fiona.  

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About the Author

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Danica-Lea Larcombe has a B.Sc (Environmental Health), a Grad.Dip in Education and has taken courses in Journalism, Travel Writing, and Photography. She is currently undertaking a thesis in Biodiversity and Human Health, and lives with her Japanese Spitz Bella.

Connect: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Spotlight: The Gorilla Picked Me by Michele McAvoy

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Olive felt ordinary. Always last to be picked for teams at recess and never a Valentine placed on her desk. Olive blended in. Until one day at a daddy-daughter dance, the dancing gorilla picked her from the crowd! 

He scooped her up and twirled her around the dance floor. Olive's soul sang! THE GORILLA PICKED ME is a fun, sentimental story that reminds little girls that they are all worthy of attention.  No little girl is ordinary!  

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About the Author

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Michele McAvoy is an award-winning children's picture book author. Her debut picture book MY SUPERHERO GRANDPA received a 2016 Moonbeam Children's Book Award. Michele grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey until she moved to New York City where she attended NYU and law school. Michele enjoyed the crazy, busy, single life of New York for over 15 years until she got married and had her first child.

With a small one bedroom apartment and a baby that did not sleep, Michele moved back to her small hometown. She settled back to her roots and traded in the noisy city streets of NY and extra dirty martinis at trendy bars for manicured lawns and backyard BBQs. When she's not being a lawyer or a mom, Michele writes uplifting, whimsical stories to help children understand and respect their emotions. You can see more about Michele and her books at www.michelemcavoy.com

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Spotlight: The Adventures of Mitee Mite by David John

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Building on a desire to teach children about time, shapes, measurements, and money, author David John created THE ADVENTURES OF MITEE MITE series. In the same way that many of us learned our ABCs, the book and app (available on Google Play and iTunes) collection helps young readers learn how many seconds are in a minute, the number of sides different shapes contain, and more, using a catchy tune that captures their attention and motivates learning.

Focusing on children from age 3 to 11 years old, THE ADVENTURES OF MITEE MITE book and app series offers its readers a dynamic female superhero, Mitee Mite, as their guide through the often tricky terrain involved with mastering time, shapes, measurements, and money. In her matching red cape and boots, Mitee Mite, accompanied by her alarm clock sidekick, Terry the Ticker, activates her superpowers by using her manners, respecting others, and accurately answering questions in the games she encounters during her adventures.

The five books in THE ADVENTURES OF MITEE MITE book and app series include The Time Frame Game and The Time Frame Game Advanced, which break down seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years to teach readers the fundamentals of time. The Measuring Game explores the components of feet, yards, and miles, as well as cups, pints, quarts, and gallons. Mitee Mite teaches kids about currency in The Money Game and dives into a colorful world of triangles, squares, hexagons, and more in The Shape Game. The companion song for this series (available at www.miteemite.com) helps kinds absorb the skills in an enjoyable and interactive way.

The idea for THE ADVENTURES OF MITEE MITE book and app series came about when David was faced with a dire challenge. “One day as I was babysitting my friends’ children, and not having any idea what to do, I made up fun games to help them learn,” David revealed. The goal of the series is to expose children to a variety of lessons in a manner that is fun, relatable, and memorable. David says, “Mitee Mite was created to help give children a head start on the basics of time, measurements, shapes, and money.”

David’s daughter, whom he calls his “Little Mite,” is the inspiration for the main character and the themes of the series. David’s desire to teach his daughter the basic skills featured in THE ADVENTURES OF MITEE MITE book and app series has expanded into the goal of sharing these lessons with other children through his “You Buy, They Read” program. “We plan to give away one book for every one bought to kids in need.” In addition, David will donate $1 for every $2 of the gross sales of apps to teachers “who are going into their own pockets to buy supplies.”

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About the Author

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David John is the author of The Adventures of Mitee Mite book and app series. The series follows the adventures of superhero Mitee Mite and her sidekick, Terry the Ticker. The five titles in the series are The Time Frame Game (Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-9860919-0-2; Softcover ISBN: 978-0-9860919-6-4), The Measuring Game (Softcover ISBN: 978-0-9860919-2-6), The Money Game (Softcover ISBN: 978-0-9860919-4-0), The Shape Game (Softcover ISBN: 978-0-9860919-3-3), and The Time Frame Game Advanced (Softcover ISBN: 978-0-9860919-5-7). Complementary apps for each book are available on Google Play and iTunes.  The companion song is available at the website:  www.miteemite.com.

David lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife and daughter. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing hockey, and creating new stories for The Adventures of Mitee Mite book and app series.

Connect: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Spotlight: Fairy Wishes 1-2-3 by Michele Barrow-Belisle

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A tale of two little fairies of different ethnicities, backgrounds and environments, who are envious of the things the other gets to do…from catching shooting stars to playing the guitar. 

They decide to trade places, but soon realize that being someone else isn't as much fun as they thought. The girls quickly discover the importance of just being themselves. 

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About the Author

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A dreamer at heart, Michele Barrow-Belisle has always lived with one foot in this reality and one foot in another, one of her own imagining. So it follows that she would grow up to write about and sculpt the characters from those enchanting worlds she knows and loves so well. As a fan of everything romantic, her young adult novels are populated with witches and vampires and faeries. Michele resides in southern Canada with her hubby and son who indulge her passions for writing, reading, lattes, and most of all chocolate. 

She also loves shoes. 

Did we mention the chocolate?

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube * Bookbub | Goodreads

Spotlight: Marabel And The Book Of Fate by Tracy Barrett

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Free-spirited Marabel must defy expectations to rescue her brother--and their kingdom--in this charming, action-packed, and magical story perfect for fans of Ella Enchanted and Dealing with Dragons.

In Magikos, life is dictated by the Book of Fate's ancient predictions, including the birth of a royal Chosen One who will save the realm. Princess Marabel has grown up in the shadow of her twin brother, Marco, who everyone assumes is the true Chosen One. While Marco is adored and given every opportunity, Marabel is overlooked and has to practice her sword fighting in secret.

But on the night of their thirteenth birthday, Marco is kidnapped by an evil queen, and Marabel runs to his rescue. Outside the castle walls for the first time, accompanied by her best friend and a very smug unicorn, Marabel embarks on a daring mission that brings her face-to-face with fairies, trolls, giants--and the possibility that all is not as it seems in Magikos.

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About the Author

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Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the award-winning historical novel Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte, 1999), a beloved classic which has sold over 200,000 copies to date. Her numerous YA and MG titles have garnered multiple starred reviews from Kirkus, PW, and SLJ. Her books have also been named ALA Quick Picks and Best Book for Young Adults titles; included on "best of" lists from Bank Street, BCCB, Junior Library Guild, and many more; and have received countless other awards and honors on the national and local level.

Tracy was the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Regional Advisor for the Midsouth from 1999 to 2009 and is now SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator. She was awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005 and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1994. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, TN, where until recently she taught at Vanderbilt University.

Spotlight: Bear And Chicken by Jannie Ho

Humor, a surprise ending, and an unlikely friendship make Bear and Chicken fall into the ranks with Mo Willems and Dev Petty, and the soup recipe at the end will inspire young chefs to get into the kitchen and cook!

When Bear finds a chicken frozen in the winter snow, he brings it home to try to defrost it. As Chicken thaws-um, awakens-he fears that Bear is actually prepping to eat him. Oh no! All signs are pointing to a fateful end for Chicken-being wrapped like a burrito, chopped basil and veggies sitting on the counter, the huge pot on the stove that's just the right size for a chicken to fit inside.

It's almost time for lunch, so Chicken makes a run for it! But in the end, Chicken learns that perhaps he too quickly jumped to conclusions. This funny and clever friendship tale teaches kids that things are not always as they seem, while learning a thing or two about making soup with a friend!

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About the Author

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Jannie Ho has a BFA in illustration from Parsons The New School of Design and has been an in-house graphic designer at Nickelodeon and Scholastic, as well as art director for TIME Magazine for Kids. Since 2006, she has been doing illustration work full time. Jannie lives in Boston, MA.

Spotlight: 1-2-3, You Love Me by Jill Howarth

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A counting board book about love for family and friends while teaching kids to count from 1 to 12.

From one bear hug to twelve pretty red roses, 1-2-3, You Love Me will foster lots of hugs, kisses, and affection between parent and child while teaching young ones to count from one to twelve. With charming love-filled illustrations, sturdy pages, and clever rhyming text, this is the perfect gift for baby for Valentine's Day or any time of year. Sipping on yummy shakes, cuddling puppies, counting the colors in a rainbow, and making music with friends are all ways that children can express their love for their friends and family with Jill Howarth's delightful board book.

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About the Author

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Jill Howarth began her career as a senior designer and art director at Hasbro Toys then transitioned into full-time illustration. Her previous illustrated children's books are Jingle Bells and The ABCs of Christmas. She lives in Westborough, MA. 

Spotlight: No Hugs For Porcupine by Zoe Waring

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Embrace what makes you unique and encourage compassionate friendships with Porcupine and Armadillo in this delightful picture book that makes a great gift for Valentine's Day or for any day when a hug (or kiss) is needed.

Poor Porcupine just cannot be hugged-his quills are too spikey! Each night, before settling down to sleep, all of Porcupine's forest friends hug each other goodnight. All except Porcupine, who feels left out-and grumpy! But when Armadillo shows him what a warm, fuzzy "kiss" is (even for a porcupine!), Porcupine is delighted and cannot wait to show his friends. 

With adorable art, Zoe Waring's story of making the most out of your physical limitations is sure to win hearts. No Hugs for Porcupine is filled with love and friendship, and is the perfect gift for Valentine's Day, or any day that requires a hug and a kiss. 

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About the Author

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Zoe Waring is a professional doodler and designer who loves the warmth and humor found in children's picture books. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and can be found surrounded by children's books, colored pencils, and sweets.