The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
Oh, how ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge longs for Glory! Heroism! Adventure! But instead she leads a very dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything, weaving baskets and sweeping floors. Until, that is, the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain at the center of the island, is not a mountain at all. It’s the belly of a sleeping giant! Now it’s up to Persimmony and her new friend Worvil the Worrier to convince all the island’s other quarreling inhabitants—the Rumblebumps, the Leafeaters, and most of all, the stubborn young king—that a giant is sleeping in their midst, and must not be woken.
With dazzling illustrations by the legendary Brett Helquist, Jennifer Trafton’s fantastical debut tells the story of one brave girl's efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible.
Maps, Poisonous Tongues, and Sweet Potato Soup
I was honored that The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic was named one of four finalists for the 2013 National Homeschool Book Award, which celebrates "great fiction that shines a positive light on what learning outside a traditional classroom looks like." The website included activities related to each of the books and suggestions for how to start a book club in your area. I was so impressed by the creative ideas they came up with for The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic . . .
I love maps and was thrilled when my publisher asked me to draw Persimmony's map of the Island at the Center of Everything (the one that appears in the opening pages of the book). The NHBA folks have put together a great introduction to "creative cartography." Did you know that the founder of the Boy Scouts was a spy who drew secret maps on diagrams of butterfly wings? I didn't either!
Kids are always asking me, "Where did you get the idea for . . . ?" Sometimes the best answer I can give is, "It popped into my head and made me laugh." This was the case with the poison-tongued jumping tortoises. The NHBA website has fascinating facts about tortoises and tongues and an activity sheet to help you invent your own crazy new animal.
In honor of King Lucas's devotion to sweet potato soup (with lots of pepper), the NHBA book group taste-tested three different recipes, appropriately named King Lucas Sweet Potato Soup, Majestic Sweet Potato Soup, and "Pepper Isn't the Only Spice" Sweet Potato Soup. Try them all--I plan to!
Read the Original Query
The Guide to Literary Agents blog invited me to post my original query letter to my agent Steven Malk of Writers House, along with Steve's reasons for taking me on as a client. It was fun to revisit that letter after six years, and—judging from the outpouring of interest in the blog comments and on Twitter—I was surprised at how many people found my rather unorthodox (I may say a bit crazy) approach inspiring. So here it is: enjoy!
Persimmony Smudge as an Oreo?
This definitely wins the prize for most creative fan art. Made on the 100th anniversary of the Oreo by the inimicable Rebecca Reynolds, these delicate carvings of King Lucas, Persimmony, Mount Majestic, a pepper shaker, and a giant's nose definitely take the cake . . . er, cookie.