I still cannot believe I actually get to say it, but here I go. Allow me to introduce my second Kid Lit series, Odd Jobs!
These spook-tacular ghost stories feature Ella, recently orphaned and sent to live with her old Aunt Raven in the creepy town of Windy Hollow. Not much for family affection, Aunt Raven sends Ella off each day on random odd jobs throughout town. Stock a shelf here, fold some laundry there – the tasks are trivial and boring … until they’re not. With ghoulish guests and paranormal plots, Ella’s jobs quickly transform from odd to oooddddd. (I couldn’t resist. Word Nerd.)
Odd Jobs was a particularly rewarding project because it features a Hi-Lo structure. Hi-Lo books are written for, say, a struggling Second Grade reader who wants to move on to “big kid chapter books,” but has not yet progressed to the genre’s reading level. Enter Odd Jobs! Its mature plots and chapter list provide appealing content (the Hi), while its vocabulary and sentence structure do so at a lower, more approachable reading level (the Lo). Cool, right? The former teacher in me thinks so, too!
Mix in the whimsical and alluring artwork of Elena Napoli and we’ve got ourselves a series that aspiring readers will love! I couldn’t be more proud of how these books turned out. As always, many thanks to my rockstar agent Clelia Gore, and to my family and friends for their continued support.
Now, hit the covers and grab your flashlights. It’s time for a ghost story!
Baker Jones needs an extra set of hands to man the register at his bakery. But instead of heavenly aromas and tasty treats, Ella is met with stale crumbs and bare shelves. That’s not all that’s odd about this place. With their piercing blue eyes and soulless stares, the bleak bakery’s customers are what spook Ella the most. Determined to unearth the truth, she follows the day’s final client into the nearby cemetery, where she discovers that perhaps she should have focused less on the bread and more on the dead.
The crumbling houses on Daggett Street have been abandoned since Ella arrived in Windy Hollow. So when Postmaster Silverton asks for her help delivering packages around town, she is surprised to see the mysterious mansions on her route. Odder still, the packages are missing recipient names, and nobody is home awaiting their arrival. Nobody, that is, except for a witchy woman who informs Ella that perhaps the package’s final destinations aren’t as mysterious as who boxed them up in the first place.
Ella loves to read, so alphabetizing the unorganized shelves at the spooky Simon’s Book Store seems like a simple odd job. She works quickly until her progress is halted by a little girl who is particularly possessive of the store’s children’s section. The mysterious child wants to tell Ella a ghost story. At first, Ella thinks the imaginary tale has been plucked from the shelves … until she hears the ending.
Ella has never really cared about clothes, so when Madame Pintuck enlists her help scrubbing soiled laundry she is less than enthused. The eccentric seamstress won’t stop rambling about famous fashions and scintillating styles. But when a stubborn red stain catches Ella’s eye, Madame Pintuck becomes eerily quiet. Even more suspicious, the woman who arrives to collect the garment does not seem to notice the flawed fabric. In fact, her ghostly gown sports a matching set of the crimson droplets.