Happy Monday, everyone! Well, ’tis the season for cover reveals, and today I’m fortunate enough to have the honour of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for Rebecca Donnelly’s forthcoming 2017 middle grade debut, How To Stage A Catastrophe! Coming to a bookstore and library near you April 2017 from Capstone Young Readers, How To Stage A Catastrophe follows the story of Sidney Camazzola who, along with the help of his friends, embarks on an adventure filled with hijinks and hilarity to find a means of saving their beloved Juicebox Theater, a local children’s theatre in which Sidney has always dreamed of one day working. Not only does Rebecca Donnelly’s 2017 debut sound absolutely delightful, it also has the distinction of recently being selected as a Winter/Spring 2017 Indies Introduce title, which is a list of ten forthcoming children’s titles chosen by the American Booksellers Association. You can find it, along with the rest of the books featured, Here! In the meantime, please read on learn more about this promising middle grade debut, including an exclusive cover reveal along with a personal note from the author about the story’s origins and its journey to publication and an opportunity to win some lovely How To Stage A Catastrophe-related swag.
I was never a joiner as a kid – I dropped out of ballet, I dropped out of Girl Scouts, and I was happiest sitting on my bed reading Garfield comics and eating peanut butter M&Ms. The one thing that compelled me to put the Garfield down was an audition for James and the Giant Peach at the Alameda Children’s Musical Theater when I was in sixth grade. (Despite the name of the theater, this was a non-musical production; otherwise I would have stayed far, far away.) I got the part of Miss Spider, and whether it was the excitement of being cast, or the black hoodie with extra arms sewn on to it that I got to wear, I was enchanted. I did two more plays, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Tom Sawyer (the non-musical version) with ACMT, but that is where my theater experience ends. I never became a drama geek in high school – that was probably too cool for me. But I always remembered how it felt to be part of a group that came together to make something wonderful, and to me, that has always been the defining part of my middle school years. I wrote How To Stage A Catastrophe not because I have a deep technical knowledge of the theater world but because I recognize the power of that world to engage kids’ talents and imaginations.
Like me, Sidney Camazzola loves the amateur children’s theater in his small town. But for Sid, the theater is his life, and it’s in danger of closing. Sid and his friends (and frenemies) put together a plan that involves another of my favorite things – hijinks, and lots of running into things and falling down. There are also life-size puppets, a dog who literally plays dead, dozens of meringues, magical accessories, and a thunderstorm at exactly the right time. This was my first attempt at writing something that was both funny and, I hope, hits some emotional notes as well. Even though I’m not musical.
About Rebecca Donnelly
Rebecca Donnelly was born in England and has lived in California, Florida, and New Mexico. She has an MA in Humanities and a Master’s in Library and Information Science. These days she writes and runs a small rural library in upstate New York. Her debut middle-grade novel, How To Stage A Catastrophe, the story of a children’s theater in the Florida panhandle, will be published by Capstone Young Readers in April 2017.
Title How To Stage A Catastrophe
Author Rebecca Donnelly
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published April 2017 by Capstone Young Readers
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon.com ● The Book Depository
Sidney Camazzola plans to be the director of the Juicebox Theater when he grows up. For now, he handles the props, his best friend Folly works the concession stand, and his sister May hangs out in the spotlight. But the theater is in danger of closing, and the kids know they need a plan to save it — and fast. When they join a local commerce club to earn money, Sid and Folly uncover some immoral business practices, and it gives them a great idea for saving the theater. That is, if you can call extortion a great idea. Their crazy scheme is the production Sid was born to direct. But can they pull it off?
As an extra special bonus, Rebecca has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the chance to win some lovely How To Stage A Catastrophe-related swag! This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Click Here and follow the directions provided in the tweet to enter!