Journey to the Center of the Desk
Ten-year-old science geek Carrot Campbell wants detention. Purely for research, of course. No one else notices that kids return from Mr. Veetle’s afterschool program almost…mindless. Unfortunately, although Carrot may be brainy, she’s a trouble-making flop.
Until her little brother disappears.
To find him, Carrot and her best friend Lilly Tran resort to breaking-and-entering. Just a bit. They don’t expect rows of zombie-eyed students in the science lab, including Carrot’s brother wearing a colander with a chin strap.
Turns out, the colander is a mind-swapping helmet, as Carrot learns when Mr. Veetle places it on her head. Personalities transplanted into walking, talking pencils, Carrot and Lilly are plopped inside a desk full of barking erasers, snarling scissors, and flying cough drops. Dodging the Ruler and his henchmarkers, they search for Carrot’s brother and a way out through the hole in the center of the desk.
Can Carrot hold on to everything that makes her her—even when she literally becomes something she despises—to stop Mr. Veetle’s mad-scientist plot and save the pencils, er, kids she loves?
The Beastly Beauty
When 10-year-old Lettie finds a mysterious golden acorn in her backyard, her frenemy Ty’s first instinct is to scoff. Magic is baby stuff, not for tough, urban kids like him. He slaps the acorn out of Lettie’s hand, then watches, stunned, as it grows into a massive tree with a tunnel between its roots. Adventurous Lettie dives in, and Ty swallows his fear to follow her.
Emerging in a strange garden, Ty wants to tell off Lettie, but footsteps approach. The kids duck behind bushes and watch as a Beast terrifies a young lady. Ty flees into the garden maze without looking back—or waiting for Lettie.
Exhausted, scared, and lost, Ty begins to panic until Lettie and the haughty young lady, Lady Catherine, find him and explain that they are trapped in 16th century Paris. Trying to figure out how to get home, Ty and Lettie deduce that they are trapped in a broken version of “Beauty and the Beast,” only this is no fairy tale; these real, historical people need help to straighten the timeline before history disappears.
My Grandma, the Alien
In the sweet, lighthearted picture book, a child believes that Grandma is from outer space. Why else would she smush bananas into the radiator? Mom and Dad try to explain dementia, but the young child is convinced Grandma is an alien sent to study their family.
When Grandma puts on her cape and announces she’s going home, the child eagerly awaits the spaceship with her. Together, Grandma and grandchild eventually redefine what it means to be family—and to be home. My Author’s Note offers additional information to help children demystify dementia, as well as a few resources.
I was inspired to write “My Grandma, the Alien” after observing family members with young children handle a grandparent’s dementia with gentleness and humor, always emphasizing compassion and family connection.
Comparable books include Max Wallack’s Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? and Julia Jarmon’s Lovely Old Lion.