Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sharing the Joy: Tumbleweed Christmas, Author Guest Post, Book Review and Giveaway

UPDATED TO ADD GIVEAWAY DETAILS--SEE BELOW!


Please join me today in welcoming Beverly Stowe McClure, author of Tumbleweed Christmas.  You can read my review of the book below the guest post.


A TIME FOR MIRACLES

For most children, Christmas is a time of wonder, a time of joy, a time to dream of Santa and gifts, decorated trees and wishes fulfilled. Christmas is also a time for miracles. Once in a while, however, Christmas is a time of sadness. A parent is sick. A parent has only enough money for food and rent, with nothing left for gifts and trees. In today’s world, a parent may be deployed to a foreign land, or a family may have split up, the mother or father moving away from home. What are children to do in circumstances over which they have no control? They sometimes become very inventive and make their Christmas a special, if unique, one. 

Now, Christmas and Easter are my two favorite holidays. For years, when our sons were home, we put up a live Christmas tree. The scent of pine, the sparkle of lights, and the brightly colored decorations I made, along with stars and wooden school houses my students gave me, put us in the Christmas spirit. When I added the ceramic manger scene that I also made to the mantle, every day was a remembrance of the reason we celebrate Christmas.

One year not long before Christmas, I found a tumbleweed that had blown up against our fence. North Texas is noted for its wind and many times tumbleweeds are plentiful. For some odd reason the tumbleweed fascinated me. If you’ve never seen one, it’s a roughly round shaped weed of sharp branches that will stick you if you aren’t careful. Anyway, I took the tumbleweed into the house and set it on top of the China cabinet. Now, why did I do that? What good was the weed? For a few days it just sat there, a quiet reminder that I either should do something with it or else put it back outside to continue its wandering. I finally decided to see how it would look decorated with my western ornaments. I only punctured my fingers a few times as I hung the horses and mice cowboys on the branches because I am opposed to pain, especially mine, and was very careful. A few silver icicles tossed on the tumbleweed turned it into a pretty interesting Christmas tree. I hear that Chandler, Arizona, builds a tumbleweed tree in the historic downtown section and lights it to officially start the holiday season. That most be an awesome sight.

My fascination with the tumbleweed lasted for months, long after I’d put the weed out to tumble around the pasture. When an object or person stays on a writer’s mind for a long time, what does she do about it? She writes a story, of course. So was born my early reader, Tumbleweed Christmas, about a young girl and a tumbleweed.

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When Beverly was a kid she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with the written word, she attended Midwestern University where she read too many books to count, graduated, and became a teacher, which meant more reading. As she read to her students and they read to her, she made an amazing discovery. Reading was fun. 

She also started writing. To her surprise many of her articles were published in leading children’s magazines, such as Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. One of her articles was published in a PreK-K Scott Foresman anthology. She also has five novels for teens and two books for young readers published, along with a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her latest release is the children’s picture book, Tumbleweed Christmas.

Beverly has three sons and a bunch of grandkids. She and her husband live in the country where deer, skunks, and armadillos stop by for a visit. She writes most every day and usually has a book in one hand, with the vacuum, mop, skillet, or other household items in the other.

Visit Beverly online at http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

About the book:
Christmas is the time for miracles, but sometimes, a child must make her own miracle, and one for her siblings.

My thoughts:
What a charming early reader for children to read at Christmas.  It's also a lovely book to read together as a family, which I did with my sons.  Although they are a bit older than the age group for this book (they read quite well on their own now and my younger son reads at a higher level than his grade level), they enjoyed the book.  I asked them for their thoughts on the book and here is what they said.  They both thought it was cool how she figured out to use the tumbleweed as a Christmas tree.  They also liked  how she gave up her ball glove so she could buy presents for her family.  As we were reading, we came to the part where the main character is talking about miracles with her friend.  My son said, "Daniel doesn't know what a miracle is?"  So I asked him, "Do you know what a miracle is?"  He said yes, and told me, "It's something good that happens when you think it won't."  Exactly! Tumbleweed Christmas teaches that we should believe in miracles and that sometimes we just may have to make the miracles happen ourselves.  Also, I need to mention the wonderful illustrations.  Just terrific! I highly recommend this book as a family Christmas book to be shared every year during the season.

Giveaway Details:
In celebration of Beverly Stowe McClure’s Tumbleweed Christmas, she will be appearing at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an angel tree ornament from Beverly! Visit the official party page here!


Leaving comments on Beverly’s tour stops means more prizes! The person who leaves the most comments at Beverly’s tour stops will win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. The second place winner will take home an angel tree ornament. Visit Beverly’s schedule HERE to see where she’ll be stopping during the month of December. Deadline for comments is 11:59 PM Eastern on December 16th.


Thank you to Pump Up Your Book tours for having me on the tour today.

Always in spirit....



Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

17 comments:

  1. This looks like a great book for a young family..to start a new tradition with, will pass this tittle on to my niece.

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  2. I LOVED Tumbleweed Christmas! What a perfect book for the season. Beverly's story behind the book was so fun to read!

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  3. Thanks for the wonderful review of Beverly's latest. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's a very sweet book.

    Wishing you and your readers a blessed Christmas,

    Cheryl
    www.pumpupyourbook.com

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  4. What a fantastic review, Michelle. I love hearing your sons' thoughts about the story. Thank you for hosting me on this tour. Your sight really puts me in the Christmas spirit.

    Thank you, Kimbaa88.

    Darby, I appreciate your continued support. You're the best.

    Cheryl, thanks for finding such great bloggers for my tour.

    Merry Christmas to all.

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  5. You're welcome, Beverly! The book was wonderful and I really enjoyed your guest post. Thank you for being my guest today. =O)

    Merry Christmas!

    And thanks to everyone who has stopped by and commented so far today. I really appreciate it!

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  6. Due to life's stumbling blocks, I haven't been able to visit every stop on the tour, but the ones I have read are good. I enjoyed the post by Beverly and the delightful review with comments from sons.

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  7. Oh, I should let your readers know that Bev is running a contest during her virtual book tour. The person who comments at the most stops during her tour will win a $10 Amazon gift certificate and the second place winner will receive an angel tree ornament.

    Good luck to all who enter!

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  8. Wonderful review. It's also interesting to find out how Tumbleweed Christmas came about.

    Best wishes for a successful tour!

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

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  9. Thanks,Vivian and Karen for your kind words. Tumbleweed was an inspiring story to write, and Bridget's illustrations bring the characters to life.

    Bev

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  10. Nice guest post just hopping by

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  11. Thanks for stopping by Apple Blossom. Appreciate your comment.

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  12. Beverly, I enjoyed your guest post. It is always fun and interesting to learn where writers get the ideas for their stories/books.

    Michelle, you have a beautiful blog. Christmas is my favorite holiday. Thank you for sharing your review of Beverly's wonderful book, TUMBLEWEED CHRISTMAS.

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  13. I'm happy you enjoyed the post, Susanne. It is fun to see where story ideas come from. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. Can hardly wait to share this heartwarming tale with my great niece <3

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  15. Hi Nancy. So good to see you here. I hope your great niece (and you) enjoy Tumbleweed.

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  16. Sounds like a really cute book.

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  17. Thanks, Ryan. The illustrator did a beautiful job of bringing the characters to life.

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