15% off sale! Use the code STAYCOZY

Azalea, Unschooled

Hardcover, 144 pages, 6 x 9, middle-grade fiction, ages 8-12

ISBN: 978-1-939017-58-1



Available as an e-book in these formats:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

About this Book:

Gold Medal, First Book (Chapter Book), 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award
Finalist, Young People’s Literature, 2016 Maine Literary Award

First, it was a clothing boutique for pets in Pennsylvania. Then a breakfast buffet in North Carolina. Then an apple orchard in Connecticut. Now, Azalea’s dad says he’s going to drive a tour bus in Portland, Maine.

Azalea’s sick of moving. She is determined to stay in Portland and call it home. But now, a mysterious bandit is threatening her father’s business. Can Azalea use her new freedom as an unschooler to save the day—and her family?

In Liza Kleinman’s fresh and funny debut middle-reader novel, the author deftly explores, with poise and insight, the growing unschooling movement as well as the challenges of moving to a new home, making friends, and finding room for differences within a family.


"With everyday challenges come valuable lessons, and both parents and kids can be educated by this fascinating perspective."
Foreword Reviews

“a fun mystery book for middle graders (which makes a great read aloud for younger children as well). The book’s real focus lies within the importance of family and friendship. . . A quick, page turner with sweet, black and white illustrations.”
––Children's Book Review, Instagram (@childrens_book_review)

“Unique [. . .] cute and enlightening [. . .] It’s a funny and rather sweet story." 

"Azalea, Unschooled is a sweet story with imaginative and thoughtful young characters. Young readers will be intrigued to find out that there are options when it comes to attending school and perhaps start conversations with their parents about how they might learn best."
—Jerri Blatt, homeschooling parent & children's librarian

"Kleinman’s use of language is well balanced and seemingly effortless. She maintains a consistent storyline with diverse and evolving (yet always relatable) characters, and expertly juggles multiple themes – family conflict, young friendship, and trust among them. With a moving plot and some unexpected turns, Kleinman upholds a sophistication that’s rarely seen in middle-reader books."
—Sarah Giles, Bangor Daily News Blogger

"The middle-grade novel has a good old-fashioned “whodunnit” that adds just enough suspense . . ."
Portland Press Herald 

"[Azalea, Unschooled is] a clever, fun story containing well-crafted life lessons about family and friend relationships, parents and children, and the things they learn when faced with unexpected challenges."
—Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal

Islandport Press and Vena’s Fizz House Revive Historic Beverage Switchel With an Interactive Author Event for Young Readers

Islandport Press and Vena’s Fizz House Revive Historic Beverage Switchel  With an Interactive Author Event for Young Readers

PORTLAND, MAINE (July 20, 2016): Switch it up on Tuesday, August 9, and take the kids out for a drink. Tweens and teens (and their parents) are invited to Vena’s Fizz House in Portland’s Old Port to help revive the refreshing ginger and vinegar-based switchel, a drink featured in the middle-grade novel, Azalea, Unschooled (Islandport Press 2015), by Liza Kleinman.

Kleinman, a Portland-based author, will read the switchel scene from her book Azalea, Unschooled, which was a 2016 Maine Literary Award finalist, and talk about the book.Event participants will bring literature and history alive by preparing a switchel recipe under the guidance of Vena’s own mixologists. The event will finish off with a tasting of switchel varieties featuring different sweeteners including the traditional molasses.

The switchel sampling will take place on August 9, 4 to 5:30 p.m., at Vena’s Fizz House, 345 Fore Street, Portland. Tickets cost $25 and include a signed copy of the book, a mixing lesson, and kid’s drinks associated with the programing. Drinks for parents are also available for $5. Tickets can be purchased on the Vena’s Fizz House events webpage: Read it, Mix it, TRY IT!

FMI: michelle@venasfizzhouse.com

Switchel, or haymaker’s punch, was popular in the 19th century as a cooling and restorative tonic. Traditionally, the concoction is made from apple cider vinegar, molasses, and ginger but it is gaining popularity in new modern varieties involving different sweeteners and flavors including maple syrup and honey.

Vena’s Fizz House is a family-friendly soda shop that also offers expertly crafted alcoholic beverages for adults. The bar specializes in hand-crafted sodas and mocktails and sells specialty items for the home soda and cocktail enthusiast. Located in downtown Portland, at 345 Fore Street, Vena’s Fizz house has a classic charm in an area that brings visitors to the area from all over. http://www.venasfizzhouse.com/

Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information about the company, visit www.islandportpress.com, call 207-846-3344, or email info@islandportpress.com. Azalea, Unschooled can be purchased online at www.islandportpress.com as well as at bookstores and gift shops.

5 Questions with Liza Kleinman Author of "Azalea, Unschooled"

5 Questions with Liza Kleinman Author of

"Azalea, Unschooled," a novel for middle grade readers, launches May 5. We sat down with Portland-based author Liza Kleinman to discuss the makings of the story, which focuses on a young girl who is facing the challenges of moving to a new home, making friends, and finding room for differences within her family. 


Liza Kleinman

About this Author

Liza Kleinman is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Maine. Her short fiction has appeared in several magazines and in the anthology Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories from the Hudson Review. She



About this Illustrator

Brook Gideon is an artist from southeastern Massachusetts. A graduate of the Children’s Book Illustration certificate program at the Rhode Island School of Design, she also has a degree in biology from the Unive



You May Like