Monday, July 2, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Sugar Plum Ballerina Books

I'm so excited to share with you an interview with the co-author of the Sugar Plum Ballerinas books.   Deborah Underwood co-authors the series with Whoopi Goldberg, and the books feature characters of different races who face a variety of situations in which they learn to work together and prevail.   Diversity + girl power =  yes, please!

Deborah's publisher has generously offered to give five lucky White Sugar, Brown Sugar readers one set (!!!) of Sugar Plum books in paperback.     Even if you don't have a Sugar Plum ballerina in your household, you can donate your winning set to your local library or pass them on to a lucky young lady.   

First, let's meet Deborah. 

Rachel:    Summarize the Sugar Plum Ballerina series---the main characters, their ages, and typical plot themes. Who is your target audience (age-wise)?
Deborah:  The series is about a group of eight- and nine-year-old girls who live in Harlem and take ballet classes together at the Nutcracker School of Ballet. Each book centers on a different girl and is told in her voice. Some plots focus on challenges many kids face: moving to a new city, getting used to a parent's new relationship, overcoming perfectionism, and so forth. Other plots are more unique to the series: in one book, the ballet school is in danger of closing, and the girls must figure out a way to save it.

The books are aimed at ages 7-10, but some parents use them as a read-aloud for even younger kids. According to the reviews I've read, I'm happy to say some parents are enjoying the books, too!
Rachel:  What attracted me to the books in the first place was the racial diversity represented on the books' covers. As a mother of two African American girls, I'm always seeking books, toys, and videos that feature kids of color as lead characters, not just sidekicks serving as supporting roles. Was a diverse cast of characters important to you and your co-author, Whoopi Goldberg? Why?
Deborah:  A diverse cast was part of Whoopi's plan from the beginning. Some of the girls are African-American, one is half-Chinese, one is Puerto Rican and Italian. While the girls come from diverse backgrounds, the books don't dwell on that. The books are about the girls themselves and their relationships, not the color of their skin.

Rachel:  What sorts of situations do the characters encounter, and what lessons do these situations bestow upon readers?

Deborah:  I don't like to think of writing books to teach kids lessons, although of course the girls do grow and change over the course of each book. But empathy and seeing things from someone else's perspective is somewhat of a theme in the books. In TOESHOE TROUBLE, Brenda is jealous of her wealthy cousin and uncharacteristically lies to her--but of course the lie comes back to haunt her, and along the way she learns that her cousin's life isn't as easy as it looks. In TERRIBLE TERREL, Terrel's dad starts dating her arch-enemy's aunt. Terrel tries to sabotage their relationship in a rather humorous way, but ends up with a better understanding of her dad, her dad's new friend--and even her arch-enemy.
Rachel:    What is next for you? Do you plan to write more books in the series, begin a new series or project, or something else?
Deborah:  DANCING DIVA was the final Sugar Plum book. I really miss my ballerina pals, but am looking forward to my other projects. My picture book THE CHRISTMAS QUIET BOOK, which is a sequel to THE QUIET BOOK and THE LOUD BOOK, comes out in October, and another picture book called PART-TIME PRINCESS debuts next spring.
Rachel:    If the Sugar Plum Ballerinas could send one message to their readers :), what do you think it is?
Deborah:  In each book, the girls come together to support each other and to solve problems, and each girl brings her own unique skills to the table. So I think the main messages are that friendships are important and that our differences should be cherished.
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Giveaway
What:  Five blog readers, selected at random, will win one paperback set of Sugar Plum Ballerina books, offered by Disney-Hyperion.  
When:  7/2-7/6 at noon, Central Standard Time.  Winners will be posted on 7/6.   Winners must e/m me their mailing address (whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com) by Monday, 7/9, at noon, Central Time.    Disney will mail the books to the winners. 
How:   Each reader may enter up to four times, via four separate comments.  
1:  Subscribe to Deborah's mailing list, and leave me a comment telling me you did so. 
2:  Visit the Sugar Plum page on Deborah's website, and in a comment, tell me which book you are most excited about and why.  
3:  Become a follower of my blog on Facebook, and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
4:  Facebook, blog, or Tweet this giveaway, and leave me a comment telling me you did so. 
Thanks to Deborah for her interview and to Disney for offering my readers their fabulous books!  

27 comments:

  1. I think it is too hard to narrow down which book I would like the most. I love the idea of having girls who may look different but are best friends. Can't wait to check them out!

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  2. My daughter is our bio child and she's white. Even before we adopted, we tried to make sure she had multicultural experiences, toys, and books. She's five now and these are absolutely the kinds of books she would love us to read to her. I don't think I could pick just one that I'm most excited about. I'm excited that they all exist.

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  3. Followed on Facebook (under the name Amanda Pielecha Sauter).

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  4. Posted the giveaway on Facebook.

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  5. I'd love to read Sugar Plum to the rescue to my 3yr old daughter, Kennedy. She is all about super heroes and helping her friends. She says she loves pink (which I hate) because it makes her strong so she can rescue her friends when they need it!

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  6. My daughters loved the cover for Dancing Divas so I'd say that's the one I'm most excited about.

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  7. Followed your blog on facebook, and will donate the books to our library after sharing them with my daughter :-)

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  8. Shared the giveaway on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Collinsville-Memorial-Public-Library-Childrens-Library/77899154059)

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  9. They all look great! Based on covers -- likely "Toeshoe Trouble". Puppies are popular at our house!

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  10. Great series, my girls have enjoyed reading those books!

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  11. It looks like one of the books may delve into the aspect of 'mean girls'. My daughter is only 4 and has FAE...and not always able to see truth or make good judgement with people. These books look wonderful in working on relationships, friendships, diversity--AND since we read out loud as a family they look to be something our whole family would enjoy.

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  12. I joined Deborah's mailing list!

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  13. I follow your blog on facebook.

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  14. I tweeted! tweet tweet tweet
    https://twitter.com/jodilee0123/status/219997603042037760

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  15. I teach ESL in South Korea and am always seeking educational material that will offer exposure to my students. Many of them have formed negative ideas and stereotypes regarding other ethnic groups. This either stems from what they have viewed on television or have heard from ill-informed parents or peers. As their teacher it is my aim to illicit a curiosity that will cause them to challenge the ideas they already have in regards to other races. One way to do this is by introducing them to other races and cultures through literary pieces. In a homogeneous society, I Want my students ti learn of others that do not look like them without being distrusting or seeing them in a negative light. As a multi racial woman they are very curious but lack complete understanding, which is expected among such young children. Having this book series would definitely offer further exposure, while peaking interest and making them more aware. What better way than to have them connect with child characters and find the beauty in others. shygirl.sk@gmail.com

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  16. Already follow on FB, shared on FB, signed up for Deborah's mailing list, and Brynn is most excited about "Plum Fantanstic"... because "I AM fantastic!"... her words ;)

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  17. Checked this out due to Friend on Facebook

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  18. Thank you for writing about these books. I'm in the midst of the homestudy process, hoping to adopt a girl from foster care. I would love to read these books with her! I have registered for Deborah's list, checked out her website (although I couldn't pick a favorite book -- they all looked great!) and liked your FB page. Thanks for entering me in your contest!
    becka42377@yahoo.com

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  19. Thanks for a chance to win! I am following you on Facebook now!

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  20. Thank you for brining another great giveaway to your readers! I joined Deborah's mailing list.

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  21. I am most excited about the first book, Plum Fantastic, because I can dig into the series with the girls with whom I work and see if they enjoy them.

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  22. I liked your blog on facebook.

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  23. I just shared on facebook as well. Thanks again!

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  24. I liked your blog on facebook!

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  25. I also visited the website, and all the books look really sweet! Perhaps Toeshoe Trouble might win for me because the main character is what I imagine my 3 year old niece will look like when she's older. I just went to her first dance recital - she's a great dancer at weddings, but stood on the stage with her arms crossed. :)

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