"A relevant story in today’s world―exploring cross-cultural sensitivities and diversity within a classic New England microcosm―The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball questions the role of destiny and the ability we all have to achieve that which seems impossible." ––LitPick Top Choice Book Review, litpick.com
"Vastly different cultures can't prevent [these girls] from being best friends in this heartwarming, inspirational tale [. . .] Both girls also learn that to make a friend you must be a friend, as well as the hard lesson that people are not always as bad or as good as they first appear, and that kindness will always be returned."
––Bill Bushnell, Central Maine Newspapers
“A feel-good story that has it all, this work touches upon topics such as blended families, cultural diversity, economics, and even physical well-being without an ounce of moralization.”—The School Library Journal
"Atkinson offers two adorable characters who are as different as they are brave and builds a sweet tale of inspiration and triumph over factors usually far beyond kids' control."—Kirkus Reviews
"This affable story of a snow-filled middle school winter is a pleasant and entertaining read. Ruby is a typical middle school girl who eats a lot of junk food, takes care of her brothers, moons over the popular boy at school, and finds herself in humorous situations . . . the integration of issues around socioeconomic status and cultural sensitivity elevate this novel beyond the usual friendship tale. Sri Lankan characters are few and far between in young adult fiction, and the author’s respect for Sri Lankan culture shows."—VOYA Magazine
"The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball celebrates friendship, family and new beginnings—and the voices of Atkinson’s characters will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished the book.”—Diane Debrovner, Deputy Editor, Parents Magazine
“In prose as smooth as a dripping icicle, Elizabeth Atkinson tells the tale of one eventful winter in the lives of sixth grader Ruby and her friend Eleanor. Beginning—and ending—with lost socks and readings from the mysterious psychic Madame Magnifique, this story is about discovering what it means to have your dreams come true.”—Cynthia DeFelice, award-winning author of more than 30 books including Weasel, Wild Life, and Fort
"Crafting a heartwarming tale with relevance and substance, Elizabeth Atkinson’s novel is pure and true. It embraces the idea of believing in yourself, taking chances, and appreciating the people that surround you." —Lisa Allard, The New Hampshire Writers' Project
“Truly, apart from The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball being an inspiring and informative work . . . it is fun and exciting." ––Lois Henderson, bookpleasures.com
Islandport Press wins Three Children’s Book Awards
Islandport Press is pleased to announce that three of its children’s books were awarded medals in this year’s Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. One picture book and two pre-teen novels earned recognition, representing authors and artists from Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
“The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball,” written by Elizabeth Atkinson, won the Gold Medal for Pre-Teen Fiction. In the book, two unlikely best friends stumble across a mysterious fortune teller, and later that winter, their dreams come true—or so they think. “The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball”is set in a small New England town that is home to a large ski resort, which Atkinson, who lives part of the year in Lovell, Maine, based on North Conway in nearby New Hampshire.
Atkinson earned a BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and completed a Masters of Arts degree at Dartmouth College. Her other middle grade novels include the award-winning “I, Emma Freke,” “The Island of Beyond,” and “From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between.” She has also published three nonfiction books. She also lives part of the year in West Newbury, Mass.
“Chantarelle,” written by G. A. Morgan, won the Silver Medal for Pre-Teen Fiction, Fantasy. “Chantarelle” is the second book in The Five Stones Trilogy, which tells the story of the three Thompson brothers and their neighbors, the two Boudreaux sisters, who travel to a mysterious island called Ayda, where four realms are locked in a destructive struggle for power. Book One, “The Fog of Forgetting,” was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award and earned the Silver Moonbeam award for Pre-Teen Fiction, Fantasy. The final book in the trilogy, “The Kinfolk,” will be released on October 25.
Morgan spent childhood summers on an island in Maine, where she discovered that many secrets lie deep in the fog. She was the managing editor of Chronicle Books before moving to Portland, Maine, where she has written for a variety of editorial and commercial clients. She has also authored several nonfiction books under her full name, Genevieve Morgan.
“Hold This,” written by Carolyn Scoppettone and illustrated by Priscilla Alpaugh, received a Silver Medal in the Picture Book (4- to 8-year-old) category. In “Hold This!,” a girl and her father go for a walk and experience all the sights, sounds, smells, and feels of the woods. With every step and stumble, Mika discovers the wonders of nature, as well as the ability to pick herself up after a fall.
After working as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles, Scoppettone moved to Vermont to raise her children. In addition to picture books, Carolyn writes poetry, creative nonfiction, and middle grade novels. She lives in Montpelier with her husband Greg, their daughters, Sophia, Anna, and Nadia, plus two cats, one dog, and a puppy. Alpaugh makes illustrations for the children’s market as well as murals, traffic control boxes, design logos, bookplates, and digital animations. She lives in Maynard, Mass., with her family.
About the awards
The Moonbeam Children's Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians—and to children themselves.
Lit Pick Interview with Elizabeth Atkinson
Elizabeth Atkinson’s quirky, heartfelt middle grade novels include FROM ALICE TO ZEN, and the popular I, EMMA FREKE, which was awarded with several honors including Bank Street College of Education’s BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS, a gold Moonbeam Award, a starred School Library Journal review, an Honor Book Award by the Society of School Librarians International, the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award shortlist, winner of the Sunshine State Young Reader Award, as well as the Ado-Lisant prize in Belgium for the French Edition. Her novel, THE SUGAR MOUNTAIN SNOW BALL, is being celebrated for its charming candor and compassion surrounding multicultural themes set in a classic New England village. THE ISLAND OF BEYOND, was recently released in Spring 2016.
Read the full LitPick interview here.
Author Interview: Elizabeth Atkinson
Middle grade author Elizabeth Atkinson recently released her newest book, The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball, a relevant story that explores cross-cultural sensitivities and differences. It tells the story of two girls, Ruby and Eleanor, who couldn’t be more different. Ruby has always lived in Paris, New Hampshire and Eleanor ‘s family is from Sri Lanka. But what these girls share is an irreplaceable friendship and a strong desire to reach their dreams.
Read the full interview here.
Blog Post: "The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball" and Foreign Rights at Islandport
Check out the blog post here!