Author Interview & Giveaway: The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens picked up a brick and threw it at an old trash picker. Fortunately it hit him in the arm and not the head. But the judge isn't buying Arthur's explanation. He's ready to send him to juvie for the foreseeable future. Shockingly, it's the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours...working for him. Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, wood, light bulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can't believe it--is he really supposed to rummage through people's trash? But it isn't long before Arthur realizes there's more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the "trash" he collects is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine...

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by Shelley Pearsall
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers | On sale September 8, 2015 | Ages 10 and up
Hardcover: 978-0-553-49728-1| $16.99 | $19.99 Can. | 288 pages
Ebook: 978-0-553-49730-4| $10.99 | Hardcover Library Binding: 978-0-553-49730-4| $20.99 | $24.99 Can.

A former teacher and museum historian, SHELLEY PEARSALL is now a full-time writer. Her first novel, Trouble Don't Last, won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. To learn more about the author and her work, visit

How long did it take you to write “The Seventh Most Important Thing"? And subsequently how long did it take to edit and polish it to a state that it could be published? 
The story has been circling through my imagination for years, so when it came time to put the story on paper, the process was pretty quick. The book took about a year to write and edit—which is very speedy for me! Then you wait about a year for the book to be published.  

If writing had not worked out for you as a profession, what would've been your back up career plan? What would you pursue instead? 
I might have been an artist or a teacher…or hey, an art teacher! I enjoy writing scripts and educational programs, too, so I might have pursued a career in those fields.

Do you have any friends or family that read your rough drafts? If yes, do you change the outcome and plot based on their feedback?
My husband, Mike, always reads my first draft and gives me feedback. It isn’t an easy job to do, but so far, we are still married! I do take many of his suggestions. Sometimes, I’ll invite student volunteers to read my later drafts and offer feedback. Their names often appear in the acknowledgments section of my books.

What book (s) have influenced your life the most?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (the unforgettable characters)
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (the surprising ending)
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (the memorable writing and observations about life)

Were you anything like any of your characters when you were their age?  
I think I was probably more like Squeak than Arthur in The Seventh Most Important Thing. I was a smart, kind of nerdy kid, who was fiercely loyal to my friends.

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Blog Tour: 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle

The perfect handbook for movie-lovers of all ages, helping both kids and parents choose classic and contemporary movies appropriate for the entire family. Movies are made to entertain! Movies can make you think, teach you a lesson, or just let you escape into a fantasy world for a few hours. This book serves as an interactive bucket list of films for children ages 8 and up to watch before they grow up. 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Upgoes beyond mainstream films. From modern flicks to classic films, the list offers a wide selection of "must see" movies. The book is divided into categories and acts as an interactive film journal where kids can document when they see the movie, if they liked it, and how they would rate it. Each page focuses on a single movie with basic information about each film, including the director, runtime, rating, and date of release. There is also a "Film Critic" section at the bottom of each page that allows young movie buffs to write in their own opinions and observations about the movie. 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up is the perfect handbook for movie-lovers of all ages, helping both kids and parents choose classic and contemporary movies appropriate for the entire family.
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Here is a snippet from the book's interior:

Suzette Valle is an award-winning mother of two and freelance writer focusing on family entertainment. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of San Diego, and has a Master's Degree from Oxford University, England. Suzette has been a director and board member of several non-profit organizations in her community, including the Parent Teacher's Association, Islander Sports Foundation, and is currently a board member of the San Diego-based international charity Foundation for Women. She also has her own blog, Mamarazzi Knows, where she writes about parenting in a celebrity-driven society and all aspects of entertainment. She is a featured Hollyblogger at the award-winning Hollywood publication The where she contributes film reviews, interviews with celebrities, and has covered and written about pop-culture events like Comic-Con International where she's interviewed actors, directors, producers and writers about current and upcoming projects. Her articles have been featured on,, and REUTERS among others. She wrote over 30 articles for the monthly column Parent Talk for AOL's, and headed this publication's Parents Council in her community. Suzette lives in the seaside town of Coronado, California. This enchanted island is also known as the Emerald City because L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, penned several of the Oz books here. Suzette enjoys watching movies, and walks on the beach with her husband of 25 years and Bella, her adorable dog.

$20 AMAZON GIFTCARD AND BOOK GIVEAWAY: Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason? Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having "one drop of Japanese blood in them"—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys. Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to na├»ve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change. For months, they've lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window. In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away. Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.

Release Date: February 29, 2016
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Format Available: Mass Paperback and Digital Format

Lauren Nicolle Taylor is the best-selling and award winning author of The Woodlands Series. Below you will also find a note from her about her inspiration for Nora & Kettle. 
Visit her website here