Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sugar and Ice

I was twelve years old once…and I remember lacing up my white skates and teetering across Tenth Street after a winter’s snowstorm in northern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie to skate on ice that had formed on the high school’s front lawn. The blades of frozen grass that stuck up from under the iced surface did not stop me from pretending I was a world class skater—that I was Dorothy Hamill or a female version of Scott Hamilton. I had little to no technique, just the joy of sliding around on two silver blades and sometimes twirling in what must have been near imperfect circles. Oh yes, I loved trying to ice skate when I was growing up, and I loved watching all the ice skating competitions when they were televised.

And this is probably why I was enthralled with Kate Messner’s newest novel, Sugar and Ice. While reading this book, I brought my own experiences twirling around on an ice patch in my youth to the experiences Claire dealt with in her story. I, unlike Claire, simply never made it off my ‘cow pond.’

"Claire loves to skate, and when she is offered a scholarship to skate under the direction of Andrei Groshev with some talented skaters at Lake Placid, she enters into an unfamiliar world of grueling practice sessions and competitions not to mention tension-filled relationships with other determined skaters. Can Claire find the strength to stand up to the people who want her to fail and the courage to decide if ice skating is the dream she wants to follow?"

Middle grade girls will fall in love with this story, for the sheer excitement of Claire’s journey in the ice skating world. After readers become immersed in the drama on and off the ice, there is an innocent girl-likes-boy and same girl-meets-new-boy story that will keep girls reading!

Kate Messner certainly knows how to write for middle grade readers.

This week, my students were very fortunate to Skype with Kate Messner during her lunch period—she teaches full-time, folks! She talked to the students about her inspiration behind Sugar and Ice. She showed students a brainstorming technique for generating writing ideas and graciously answered students’ questions. To say her own students are fortunate to have her as a teacher is probably the largest understatement of the year!

Be sure to check out Sugar and Ice as well as her other popular middle-grade novel, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. Also, look for other works coming from Kate soon…Marty McGuire, a new series for younger readers…SeaMonster's First Day, a picture book coming this summer...Over and Under the Snow, a picture book coming in the fall...

Click HERE to visit Kate's extensive website and HERE to read her blog.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

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