December 11, 2015
Welcome to the final day of #MGRewind week!
Celebrate Middle Grade reads with
Sharing her memories as an MG reader, we welcome
KRYSTALYN DROWN, author of the
TRACY TAM: SANTA COMMAND.
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Tracy doesn’t believe that Santa can deliver all of those presents in one night with out a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. In order to test her theories, she sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh and ends up at Santa Command, the place where a team of humans monitors Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus to their system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Before the night is over, Tracy has to fix time and help Santa finish his deliveries. And she has to do it all with Santa’s magic, which she doesn’t believe exists.
I first read BLUBBER by Judy Blume when I was in fifth grade and immediately fell in love with it. Much like Jill, the main character, I fell somewhere in the middle of the class hierarchy. I wasn’t a leader. I followed along, mostly because I didn’t want to be the kid everyone picked on. Then, somewhere along the way, the dynamics changed. I befriended someone I wasn’t supposed to. I was threatened for walking with my new friend at lunch time. I was punched because the class bully thought I was looking at her. Girls who were once my friends walked away from me when I approached them and laughed at me. I remember sobbing in the bathroom while my teacher tried to figure out what was wrong. I never told her. I wasn’t a snitch.
Like BLUBBER, my story has a resolution but not a happy ending. Somehow, I struck a balance with some of the other girls. The school year ended. I moved. The class bully never got in trouble.
I have read that book many times over the years, because it was real. It could have been written about me. And I’m willing to bet, it could have been written about a thousand other kids. That’s why I love reading middle grade books, and that’s why I love writing them.
As for BLUBBER, I still own at least two copies. I read it again just a few months ago. Even though the middle grade years were tough, I love the reminder that I got through them, and that I wasn’t alone.
Krystalyn spent thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio, helped with her job there. Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author. Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband, son, a were cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.
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