Since the release of FROM ALICE TO ZEN and EVERYONE IN BETWEEN in 2008, I’ve heard from hundreds of teachers, librarians, parents, and most importantly, kids!! From fan mail and snail mail letters to book trailers (watch here), wonderful artwork, and even hand-beaded jewelry, these connections make my day!! I always send a reply, so if you haven’t heard from me, please try again. And if you prefer to write a letter (which is my personal favorite way of corresponding), please CONTACT ME for my mailing address!
A Few FAN Reviews (published here with permission):
“Dear Elizabeth, I know you must get this a lot, but I am a huge fan ever since I read your book I,Emma Freke in the fourth grade. I plan on reading more of you because I am in love with your writing and plots! When I heard “The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball” was going to come out, I did a countdown and couldn’t wait for it!” (Grace – 7th grader – California)
“THE SUGAR MOUNTAIN SNOW BALL is a terrific read, in my view! I relished the development of Eleanor and Ruby, and their relationships with their parents and friends. I like the diversity demonstrated on multiple dimensions. And the deft way you dealt with class distinctions sends a good message to us as readers. It is with pleasure I now turn to sending copies to friends. And I aspire to be a Madame Magnifique to others.” (Nancy – grandmother – Ohio)
“I really enjoyed reading this character driven, realistic fiction book. Starting from the first page, THE SUGAR MOUNTAIN SNOW BALL grabbed my attention to read.
There are surprises and cultural differences that any reader would be curious to read and benefit from reading it. It also shows how adults and children change with the environment and adjust to their new homes away from their original birth places.
Part of it has an immigrant’s story and how children of immigrant parents deal with their daily issues and how change happens in their families… It is a great book for middle school students, English Language Learners, and immigrant children, who are struggling with their own cultural changes and to learn how to cope in real life situations.
The tone of the book is funny, moving, encouraging and upbeat. It is covered in the subject areas of teens growing up, young girls, step families, multi-culture, traditions, immigrants, coping skills, friendships, New England and creativity. Appropriate for grades 4-6.
Thank you for sharing this book with me Elizabeth. I truly enjoyed reading it. All the best with the book, it is a true gem.” (Rukmal- Librarian and Instructor- Salem State University)
“I’m not usually a reader of middle-grade fiction, but I’ll read anything Elizabeth Atkinson writes. This latest tale, with the delightful friends Ruby and Eleanor, touches on some serious topics: immigrant culture clash, pre-adolescent girls’ desire to fit in, the stress of working parents, and more. But those themes are in the background, with the story always taking the lead. THE SUGAR MOUNTAIN SNOW BALL also shows us two resourceful and adventurous girls who help each other through some tough situations and mostly have fun doing it. I know my nine-year old friend is going to love the book, and you will, too.” (Edith – parent – Massachusetts)
“… 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. This is recommended for middle school and public libraries, especially those with South Asian communities.” (Samantha Godbey – VOYA Magazine)
“You’ll be instantly drawn into the lives of Ruby and her best friend Eleanor when just a little bit of magic sets them on a quest to make their dreams come true. Having lived in the shadow of ritzy Sugar Mountain and the seemingly perfect kids who vacation there, Ruby ultimately learns who matters most. 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 of 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, THE SUGAR MOUNTAIN SNOW BALL is about discovering what it means to have your dreams come true.” (Cynthia DeFelice ~ award-winning author of more than 30 middle grade novels)
“My name is Nikki and I am in eighth grade. I like to read and I really adored reading your book, I, EMMA FREKE. I found out about your book because it was one of the Sunshine State Books. (I live in Florida.) I certainly see why it was picked as one! This book has become one of my favorite books. It was easy to relate to and it was also sometimes funny. It is a great book about realizing that is okay to be different from others. I am looking forward to reading SUGAR MOUNTAIN SNOW BALL when it comes out. The summary of it sounds very interesting. I hope you continue to make really great and enjoyable books.”(Nikki – 8th grade – Florida)
“Hello! My name is Lucy and I love to write to my favorite authors. I write to them and then they write to me sometimes. Like, I’ve written to 6 and 5 have responded, one twice. I love to read and I have read your ‘I, Emma Freke’ masterpiece. It is one of the best books I have ever read, and I have read 62 books over this past summer alone!…. I recommended this book to all my friends, and those who read it, adored it as well! ….Thank you again for an astonishing book! I will read more of your books and will keep an eye out for your sequel to I, Emma Freke.” (Lucy – 6th grade – Illinois)
“Last night I started and finished ‘I,Emma Freke’…. I absolutely LOVED it and on so many levels it is great for my Girls and Moms [book club]!!!! Normally I read about 10 titles to find a perfect fit for my group- I am very picky about what I introduce them to… Imagine my excitement at giving them the opportunity to meet an author!!!!!!WOW!!– an author of an amazing title that I know they are going to just love!!… Thanks for writing this book!” (Dale – Children’s Librarian – Peabody Institute Library)
“I loved your book, I’ve already read it and was so happy that it was suggested by one of the girls. All the characters came alive for me and the quirkier ones were just delightful. 5th, 6th grade girls (and boys) are grappling with issues of identity and Emma’s voice is just perfect.” (Marina, Head of Youth Services, Stevens Memorial Library)
“In a bizarre turn of events whilst googling myself I stumbled across this book and I’m glad I did. Although ‘a little’ older than a teenager I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of the fictional Emma Freke. A delightful read and one that restores the belief that no matter how you see yourself, others always see the best in you. Often the hardest critique we face in life is our own, Emma teaches you to be proud of who you are and flourish in the confidence we all find when we feel we fit in and belong. Being different makes us human, and as the saying goes, if everyone was the same we’d be boring.” (Emma Freke — Henley-on-Thames, England)
“Heart warming, self affirming, funny – a book for the freak in each one of us.” (Lavanya Karthik– Mumbai India)
“Emma Freke is an enchanting story of a girl who under-appreciates herself, and who goes on an adventure that changes her life as well as the lives of a lot of other Frekes. Finding happiness in self-acceptance, Emma returns home cheerier and self-assured. So many of us think, Am I weird because I…?; I, Emma Freke is for anyone who’s ever asked that question.” (“Bob-on-Books” Blog)
“It’s difficult to find books that are as realistic and age-appropriate as this. I envision this becoming a timeless realistic tale.” (Diane Chen: School Library Journal/Practically Paradise)
“This honest and funny novel is all about figuring out who you really are and learning to accept that everyone is different.” (Rights People: Representing Children’s Fiction Worldwide)
“I enjoyed this novel a lot. It was fast-moving and fun to read. I loved the characters. The lesson of not being afraid to be yourself is done well and I recommend this to all middle schoolers.” (www.teensreadtoo.com)
“I can’t wait to read your next book!! I loved how you got the mean girls so right! There is a girl in my grade who is exactly like Hailey [in ALICE TO ZEN]!! It was so funny. When ever I pictured Hailey I pictured the girl in my grade!” (Shannon – NYC – 6th grade)
(My VERY first FAN email after the release of ALICE TO ZEN)
“I found your book, ‘From ALICE TO ZEN,’ when I was at Barnes and Nobles searching for a book to read for my project. My mom and I were looking in the teen section for appropriate books for my age. But, my mom thought that all the books were too old for me or not appropriate. They were for high school readers. We were looking at the Gossip Girl series and other novels that were about “older” situations.
So my mom and I headed for the children section, but there were books that I might have read in 2nd grade. We searched in the back where the cover of your book caught my eye. Well, my mom went away to search again in the teen section, again. I stayed and read the back of your book. All the books that my mom was looking at (I thought) were the same old, same old. The ones where they go on adventure in the woods. Or the books tell the story of their present life about their friends and nothing is really different.
But, as I read the back of your book I was amazed of how different the story was. About a boy who acts more of a girl than the girl does. I thought that the part where Zen says, “I just got a new curling iron and it crimps too” really made me just want to read on. I showed my mom the book and she thought that it would be funny and a good read for my age. So I took it home and once I started reading I just couldn’t stop. I thought that the book was so realistic and tells a real story of what a middle school student really has to go through. Picking what you want to be, or picking to be cool and popular. I really loved your book!” (Mallorie – Michigan – 7th Grade)