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(Skypony Press, May 2017)
Sunny Beringer hates her first name—her real first name—Sunflower. And she hates that her mom has suddenly left behind her dad, Scott, and uprooted their family miles away from New Jersey to North Carolina just so she can pursue some fancy degree. Sunny has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, and she’s had to leave her beloved cat and all her friends behind. And no one else seems to think anything is wrong.
So she creates “Sunny Beringer’s Super-Stupendous Plan for Romance”—a list of sure-fire ways to make her mom and Scott fall madly in love again, including:
Send Mom flowers from a “Secret Admirer” to make Scott jealous and make him regret letting them move so far away.
Make a playlist of Scott’s favorite love songs—the mushier the better—and make sure it’s always playing in the car.
Ask them about the good old days when they first fell in love.
But while working on a photo album guaranteed to make Mom change her mind and rush them right back home, Sunny discovers a photo—one that changes everything.
Sunny’s family, the people she thought she could trust most in the world, have been keeping an enormous secret from her. And she’ll have to reconcile her family’s past and present, or she’ll lose everything about their future.
Here’s what they’re saying about CALL ME SUNFLOWER:
“Readers will be both heartbroken and warmed by the way Sunny views the world and her attempts to change it. This is a story of love, family, resilience, and grief―themes that resonate with many. Sunny is a relatable heroine with a noble cause that readers won’t soon forget.” ―Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Award-winning author of Hello, Universe
Call Me Sunflower is one of those rare books that settles into your very core and stays with you long after you finish the last page. Sunny’s story will captivate your heart, oftentimes break it, but ultimately heal it together with a warm hug filled with the promise of hope.” ―Brooks Benjamin, author of My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights
“Sunny’s story is heartfelt and hopeful, and it’s a poignant reminder that families don’t have to be perfect to be full of love. ―Gail Nall, author of Breaking the Ice and Out of Tune
“A beautifully told and at times poignant story about how difficult it can be for children to navigate their changing world. Franklin’s Sunflower is a lovable, creative character, and her attempts to reunite her parents, make new friendships, and form a bond with her grandmother will have readers glued to the page and heartened by the story’s themes of love and resilience.” ―Wendy McLeod MacKnight, author of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face!
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(Skypony Press, May 2015)
Last spring, Pansy chickened out right before going to spring break camp, even though she’d promised her best friend, Anna, they’d go together. It was just like when they went to get their hair cut for Locks of Love, and only one of them walked out with a new hairstyle.
But Pansy never got the chance to make it up to Anna. At camp, Anna contracted meningitis and a dangerously high fever, and she hasn’t been the same since. Now all Pansy wants is her daring best friend back—not the silent girl in the wheelchair who has to go to a special school.
When Pansy discovers that Anna is getting a surgery that might cure her, she realizes this could be her chance—she’ll become the friend Anna always deserved—even if it means taking risks, and trying new things (like those scary roller skates).
Pansy’s chasing extraordinary, hoping she reaches it in time for her friend’s triumphant return. But what lies at the end of her journey might not be exactly what she had expected—or wanted.
Here’s what the critics are saying about EXTRAORDINARY:
“A moving novel… crystal-clear writing is filled with rich detail and believable characters. The sensitive story will resonate with young girls wrestling with friendship pains.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“In this effective debut, an elementary-school student tries to cope with the absence of her longtime best friend.” –Booklist
“A gentle story about two ten-year-old best friends divided by illness…readers will recognize that Pansy’s dedication to her friend is plenty extraordinary…” Publisher’s Weekly
“A fine addition to upper elementary and middle school collections where weighty realistic fiction is in demand.- School Library Journal, Jessica Ko, Los Angeles Public Library
“Pansy is a delightful character! You can’t help but cheer for her as she seeks to become “extraordinary” for her best friend, who is set to have surgery in the near future… a heartwarming and solid debut from Spitzer Franklin.” Katie Posey, Bookish Illuminations
“Extraordinary is a tender coming of age story that exemplifies the meaning of friendship, and gently reminds the reader that we are capable of more than we think.”- Compass Book Rating
EMILY OUT OF FOCUS (MAY 2019)
The moving and memorable story of a girl who travels to China with her parents to adopt a new sister and discovers what family really means.
Twelve-year-old Emily is flying with her parents to China to adopt and bring home a new baby sister. She’s excited but nervous to travel across the world and very aware that this trip will change her entire life. And the cracks are already starting to show the moment they reach the hotel—her parents are all about the new baby, and have no interest in exploring.
In the adoption trip group, Emily meets Katherine, a Chinese-American girl whose family has returned to China to adopt a second child. The girls eventually become friends and Katherine reveals a secret: she’s determined to find her birth mother, and she wants Emily’s help.
New country, new family, new responsibilities—it’s all a lot to handle, and Emily has never felt more alone.
From the author of Extraordinary and Call Me Sunflower, Emily Out of Focus is a warm and winning exploration of the complexity of family, friendship, and identity that readers will love.